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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

"LOVE ONE ANOTHER" - an extract from Christ, the Life of the Soul by Blessed Columba Marmion




The following is an edited version of a chapter from Christ, the Life of the Soul, by Blessed Columba Marmion - I have highlighted the parts that particularly struck me, and it does seem that there is a good deal here that could be thoughtfully meditated upon. I haven't included the references which are mostly from the New Testament - if you are interested in reading the whole book it should be available second hand on the internet, and I believe it has been republished in a new translation.

Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God—a living practical faith which shows itself, under the influence of love, by works of life, and is nourished by the Eucharist and by prayer—leads us by degrees to intimate union with Christ to the point of transforming us into Himself.

But if we wish this transformation of our life into that of Jesus Christ to be complete and true, and to meet with no obstacle to its perfection, the love we have towards our Saviour must radiate around us and shine forth upon all mankind. This is what St. John points out to us when he sums up all Christian life in these words: “And this is (God’s) commandment, that we should believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ—and that we love one another.”

I have shown thus far how faith in Our Lord is exercised: it remains to me now to tell you how we are to fulfil His precept of mutual love. Let us see then why Jesus Christ has made this precept of charity towards His members the completion, as it were, of the love we ought to have for His Divine Person, and what characters this charity bears.

I


When did St. John hear this commandment which he makes known to us? At the Last Supper. The day so ardently desired by Our Lord has come. He has eaten the Jewish Pasch with His disciples; but He has replaced the figures and symbols by a Divine reality; He has just instituted the Sacrament of union, and given His Apostles the power of perpetuating it. And now it is that before going to suffer death, He opens His Sacred Heart to reveal its secrets to His “friends”; it is like the last will and testament of Christ. “A new commandment I give unto you,” He says, “that you love one another as I have loved you; and at the end of His discourse, He renews His precept: “This is My commandment, that you love one another.”

Our Lord begins by saying that the love we must have for one another constitutes a new commandment. Why does He use this expression?
Our Lord calls this precept of Christian charity “new “, because it had not been explicitly promulgated in the Old Testament, at least in its universal acceptation. The precept of the love of God had indeed been given explicitly in the Pentateuch, and the love of God contains implicitly the love of our neighbour: some of the great saints of the Old Testament had understood, by the light of grace, that the duty of fraternal affection extended to all the human race. But nowhere under the Old Law do we find an explicit precept to love all men. The Israelites understood the precept: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart . . . thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” not indeed of all men but of the neighbour in a restricted sense (the Hebrew word indicates what is signified by neighbour, i.e. those of the same race, compatriots, relatives). 

The explicit command to love all men, enemies included, had not been affirmed and promulgated before the time Jesus Christ. That is why He calls this a “new precept” and “His precept. And He holds so much to the observance of this commandment that He asks His Father to bring about this mutual love in His disciples: “Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name whom Thou hast given Me: that they may be one, as we also are . . . I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.”

Jesus did not make this prayer only for His disciples, but for us all: “And not for them only do I pray,” He says, “but for them also who believe in Me: that they may be all one, as Thou Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.”

So this commandment of the love of our brethren is the supreme wish of Christ: it is so much His desire that He makes of it, not a counsel, but a commandment, His commandment, and He makes the fulfilment of it the infallible sign by which His disciples shall be recognised. It is a sign all can understand, none other is given: no one can be mistaken as to it: the supernatural love you have for one another will be the unequivocal proof that you truly belong to Me. And, in fact, in the first centuries, the pagans recognised the Christian by this sign: “See,” they would say, “how they love one another.”

For Our Lord Himself, it will be the sign He will use in the day of judgement to distinguish the elect from the reprobate: He Himself says so: let us listen to Him, for He is the infallible Truth.

After the resurrection of the dead, the Son of Man will be seated on the throne of His Majesty: the nations will be gathered together before Him: He will place the good on His right hand and the wicked on His left. And speaking to the good He will say: “Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And what reason will He give for this?” I was hungry and you gave Me to eat: I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in: I was naked and you covered Me: I was sick and you visited Me: I was in prison and you came to Me.” And the just will wonder, for never have they seen Christ in these necessities. But He will answer them: “Amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren you did it to Me” He will then speak after the same manner to the wicked. He will separate them for ever from Himself. He will curse them. Why? Because they have not loved Him in the person of His brethren.

Thus, from the mouth of Jesus Himself, we know that the sentence which will decide our eternal lot will be founded on the love we have had for Jesus Christ in the person of our brethren. When we appear before Christ on the last day, He will not ask us if we have fasted a great deal, if we have passed our life in penance, if we have given many hours to prayer: no, but if we have loved and helped our brethren. Are the other commandments, then, put aside? Certainly not, but our observance of them will have served for nothing if we have not kept this precept of loving one another—this precept which is so dear to Our Lord, since it is His commandment.
On the other hand, it is impossible for a soul to be perfect in the love of its neighbour without possessing in itself the love of God, which love at the same time embraces the Divine Will in all its extent. Why is this?

It is because charity— whether it has God for its object or is exercised towards our neighbour—is one in its supernatural motive which is God’s infinite perfection’ Therefore, if you truly love God, you will necessarily love your neighbour. “Perfect charity towards the neighbour,” said the Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Sienna, “essentially depends on the perfect charity a soul has for Me. The soul has the same measure of perfection or imperfection in its love for the creature as is found in its love for Me.”

From another point of view, there are so many causes which separate us from our neighbour: selfishness, conflicting interests, differences of character, injuries received, that, if you really and supernaturally love your neighbour, the love of God necessarily reigns in your soul, and, with the love of God, the other virtues which He commands. If you do not love God, your love of your neighbour will not long resist the difficulties met with in its exercise.

We see then with how much reason Our Lord gives this charity as the distinctive sign by which His disciples will be infallibly recognised: St. Paul, too, writes that all the precepts are summed up in these words: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” And again, still more explicitly: “All the law is fulfilled in one word: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” 
It is as St. John has so well said: “If we love one another, God abideth in us, and His charity is perfected in us.” Like Christ, Whose last words he heard, St. John repeats that charity is the mark of the children of God. “We know,”—observe the sovereign certitude this term expresses—” we know that we have passed from death to life,” (supernatural and divine) “because we love the brethren. He that loveth not, abideth in death.” “Would you know,” says St. Augustine, “if you are living the life of grace, if God is giving you His friendship, if you are numbered among Christ’s disciples, if you are living by His Spirit? Question yourselves; see if you love men, your brethren, all men, if you love them for God, and you will have the answer. And this answer does not deceive.”

Hear what St. Teresa says likewise on this subject; the text is a little long but it is very 
explicit. “God asks of you only two things, the one is to love Him, and the other is to love our neighbour. That is, therefore, what we have to strive for; in accomplishing this perfectly, we shall be doing His Will and shall be united to Him. . . .” That is the aim, but are we sure of attaining it? “The most certain sign by which we may know if we are faithfully practising these two commandments,” the Saint continues, “is, in my opinion, if we have a true and genuine love for our neighbour. For we cannot know for certain to what extent we love God, although there are many signs by which we may judge of this; but we see much more clearly where the love of our neighbour is concerned. It is then extremely important to consider carefully the disposition of our soul and our outward behaviour towards our neighbour. If, both interiorly and exteriorly, all is perfect, then we can be well assured, for, considering the deprivation of our nature, we could never love our neighbour perfectly unless we had within us a great love for God.”

The great saint here only echoes the doctrine of St. John. This Apostle, who is the herald of love, treats as “a liar” one who says: “I love God,” and hates his brother, for, says he, if you love not your brother whom you see, how can you love God Whom you see not? What do these words signify?

We must love God totally, that is love God with all our soul, all our mind, all our heart, and all our strength: it is to love God in accepting, in its full extent, all that His holy Will ordains.

We must also love God and all that God associates with Himself. Now what is it that God associates with Himself? First of all, the Humanity of Christ in the Person of the Word, and that is why we cannot love God without loving Jesus Christ at the same time. When we tell God that we wish to love Him, God first asks us to accept this Humanity personally united to His Word. But the Word, in uniting Himself to human nature, has fundamentally united to Himself all humanity in a mystical manner. Christ is only the Eldest-born of a multitude of brethren whom God makes the participants of His nature. They are so united to Him that Our Lord Himself declares they are as gods, that is to say, like to God: They are by grace what Jesus is by nature: the beloved sons of God. We here touch upon the intimate reason of the precept which Jesus calls “His commandment,” the profound reason which makes its importance so vital: since the Incarnation, and by the Incarnation, all men are by right, if not in fact, united to Christ as the members are united to the head in the same body: the damned, alone, are cut off for ever from this union.

There are souls that seek God in Jesus Christ, and accept the Humanity of Christ, but stop there. That is not sufficient: we must accept the Incarnation with all the consequences it involves: we must not let the gift of ourselves stop at Christ’s own Humanity but extend it to His Mystical Body. That is why—never forget this, for it is one of the most important points of the supernatural life—to abandon the least of our brethren is to abandon Christ Himself; to succour one of them, is to succour Christ in person. 

If anyone strikes one of your members, your eye or your arm, it is yourself they strike; in the same way, to touch one of the members of the body of Christ is to touch Christ Himself. And that is why Our Lord has told us that any good or evil we do to the least of His brethren, it is to Himself we do it. Our Lord is the Very Truth; He cannot teach us anything which is not founded on a supernatural reality. Now, in this, the supernatural reality that faith discovers to us is that Christ, in becoming incarnate, has mystically united Himself to all humanity; not to accept and not to love all those who belong or who could belong to Christ by grace, is not to accept and not to love Christ Himself.
We find a remarkable confirmation of this truth in the account of the conversion of St. Paul. Filled with hatred against the Christians, he goes towards the city of Damascus to imprison Christ’s disciples. While on the road thither, he is overthrown by the Lord and he hears a voice crying to him: “Why persecutest thou Me? “ “Who art Thou, Lord?” Paul asks. And it is told him: “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest.” Christ does not say: “Why persecutest thou My disciples?” No, He identifies Himself with them, and the blows which the persecutor deals to the Christians strike Christ Himself: “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest.”

The lives of the saints abound in traits of this kind. Look at St. Martin; he is a soldier, not yet baptised; and behold, he meets a poor man on his road, and being touched with compassion, he divides his mantle with him. The following night Our Lord appears to him clad in that part of the mantle given to the poor man and Martin, enraptured, hears Jesus Christ say to the angels who accompany Him, “Martin, while yet only a catechumen, gave Me this mantle.”

Again, there is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. One day, in the absence of the Duke, her husband, she meets a little leper abandoned by all. She takes him and lays him upon her own bed. The Duke, on his return, learns the news and, in a rage, wants to drive away the poor leper. But on approaching the bed, he sees the form of Christ Crucified.

Christ has become our neighbour, or rather our neighbour is Christ, presenting Himself to us under such or such a form. He presents Himself to us suffering in the sick, in the needy, in those who are in want, a prisoner in those in captivity, sad in those who mourn. But it is faith that shows Him thus in His members, and if we do not see Him in them, it is because our faith is weak, our love imperfect. That is what St. John says: “If we love not our neighbour whom we see, how can we love God Whom we see not?” If we do not love God under the visible form under which He presents Himself to us, that is to say, in our neighbour, how can we say that we love Him in His Divinity?

II
I have already said, in speaking of the Church, that there is something remarkable in the Divine economy such as it has been manifested to us since the Incarnation, and this is the large place held by men, like to ourselves, as instruments in the distribution of grace.
If we would know the authentic doctrine of Christ, we have not to ask it directly of God, nor seek it ourselves in the inspired Books, in interpreting them by our own judgement, but we have to ask it of the pastors constituted to govern the Church. “But these are men,” you will say: “men like ourselves.” That does not matter, it is to them we must. go: they represent Christ, it is Christ we must see in them. “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.”

In the same way, in order to receive the Sacraments, we must receive them by the hand of men appointed by Christ: in Baptism, Penance, etc., it is Christ Who confers the Sacraments on us, but by the intermediary of man.

It is the same with charity. Do you wish to love God? Do you wish to love Jesus Christ? And we ought to do so because it is “the greatest and first commandment. Love your neighbour, love those with whom you live; love them because God destines all, as He destines you, to the same eternal beatitude merited by Christ, our one and only Head, because it is under the form of our neighbour that God presents Himself to us here below.

So true is this that God’s conduct towards us is regulated on our conduct towards our neighbour. Here are Our Lord’s own words:
“With what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” And see how He takes the trouble to enter into details: Your Father will only forgive your offences if you forgive those which are committed against you. Unless you show mercy there shall be reserved for you judgement without mercy. Would you be neither judged nor condemned? Do not yourselves judge or condemn. And if you wish God to show kindness towards you, show it yourselves towards men, your brethren. “Give “, He says again, “give, and it shall be given to you; good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over.” Why so much insistence? . . . Once more, because, since the Incarnation, Christ is so united to humanity that all the love we show supernaturally to men falls back upon Him.

I am sure that many souls will here find the reason of the difficulties, the sadness, the want of expansion in their inner life; they do not give themselves enough to Christ in the person of His members; they hold themselves back too much. If they would but give, it would be given to them and given abundantly; for Jesus Christ will not let Himself be outdone in love; if they would overcome their selfishness and give themselves generously to their neighbour for God’s sake, Christ would give Himself to them in His fullness; if they would forget themselves, Christ would take the care of them upon Himself, and Who better than He can lead us to beatitude?

It is not a small thing to love our neighbour always and unfailingly; it needs a strong and generous love. Although the love of God is in itself, on account of the transcendence of its object, more perfect than the love of our neighbour, yet, as the motive ought to be the same in the love we bear to God and that we bear to our neighbour, so often the act of love towards our neighbour requires more intensity and gains more merit. Why is this? Because God, being Himself Goodness and Beauty, and having shown infinite love towards us, grace urges us to love Him; while, as for our neighbour, there is always the probability of meeting in him—or in ourselves—with obstacles resulting from the differences of interest that arise between us. These difficulties require from the soul more fervour, more generosity, more forgetfulness of self and one’s own feelings and personal desires: that is why, if love towards our neighbour is to be maintained, there is more need of effort.

In this it is much the same as when a soul is in interior aridity; it needs more generosity to remain faithful than when it abounds in consolation. So it is with suffering; God often makes use of it in the spiritual life to develop our love, because, in such moments, the soul has to overcome itself, and that is a mark of the strength of its charity. Look at Our Lord; He made no act of love more intense than when in His Agony He accepted the bitter chalice offered to Him, and when, abandoned by His Father, He achieved His sacrifice upon the Cross.

In a like manner, the supernatural love that is exercised toward our neighbour, despite repugnances, antipathies, or natural dissimilarity, manifests, in the soul possessing this love, a greater intensity of Divine life. 

I do not fear to say that one who yields himself supernaturally and unreservedly to Christ in the person of his neighbour, loves Christ greatly and is infinitely loved by Him; he will make great progress in union with Our Lord. While if you meet with one who devotes much time to prayer and, in spite of that, voluntarily shuts up his compassion against the necessities of his neighbour, you may hold it for certain that there is much illusion in his life of prayer. For the object of prayer is to yield the soul to the Divine Will; and if the soul shuts out the neighbour, it also shuts out Christ and fails to comply with Christ’s most sacred desire. True sanctity manifests itself by charity and the entire gift of self.

If, then, we wish to remain united to Our Lord, it is of extreme importance to see if we are united to the members of His Mystical Body. Let us take care. The least voluntary coldness, deliberately cherished against one of our brethren, could form an obstacle, more or less grave according to its degree, to our union with Christ. That is why Christ tells us that, if at the moment of making our offering at the altar, we remember our brother has anything against us, we must “leave there our offering, and go first to be reconciled to our brother, and then coming we shall offer our gift.” When we communicate, we receive the substance of Christ’s physical Body; we must also receive and accept His Mystical Body; it is impossible for Christ to descend into our souls and there be the principle of union, if we retain resentment against one of His members.
St. Thomas calls sacrilegious Communion a lie. Why so? Because to receive Christ in Communion is to declare by the very fact that we are united to Him; if one is in a state of grievous sin, and therefore turned away from Christ, to approach Him in Communion is a lie. In the same way, all proportion guarded, to draw near to Christ, wishing to be united to Him, while we exclude from our love a single member of His, is to lie in act; it is wishing to divide Christ; we must communicate with what St. Augustine calls the “whole Christ”. Hear what St. Paul says on this subject: “The chalice of benediction (that is to say, the Eucharistic cup), is it not the communion of the Blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the Body of the Lord? For,” he adds, “we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread.”
Thus the great Apostle, who understood so well and exposed so vividly the doctrine of the Mystical Body, had in horror the discords and dissensions which might arise between Christians. “I beseech you, brethren,” he says, “by the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgement.” And what reason does he give for this? “As the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body whereas they are many yet are one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free . . . you are the body of Christ, and members of member.”

III
It is from this high principle that charity derives its most intimate reason; from this principle also we may lay down what qualities this charity should have in practise.

As we all form one single body, our charity ought to be universal. In principle, charity excludes no one, for Christ died for all, and all are called to belong to His Kingdom. Charity embraces even sinners, because the possibility remains of their again becoming living members of Christ’s body; only those souls that the sentence of damnation has for ever separated from the mystical body are excluded from charity.

But this love has to take different forms according to our neighbour’s state; our love, in fact, ought not to be a platonic love, of theory alone, which occupies itself with abstractions, but a love that translates itself into appropriate acts. 
The blessed in heaven are the glorious members of Christ’s body, they have reached the term of their union with God; our love towards them will take one of its most perfect forms, that of complacency and thanksgiving; it will consist in congratulating them on their glory, in rejoicing with them, in praising God with them for the place He has granted them in the Kingdom of His Son. Towards the souls that are finishing their purification in Purgatory, our love becomes one of pity; our compassion should urge us to assist them by our suffrages, and especially by means of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Here on earth, Christ presents Himself to us in the person of our neighbour under many different forms which furnish us with various ways of exercising our charity. Undoubtedly, there must be degrees and a certain order to follow. Our neighbour is, first of all, anyone who is closely united to us by ties of blood, for neither in this case does grace overthrow the order established by nature. Moreover, the exercise of material charity must be compatible with the supernatural virtue of prudence: a father of a family cannot despoil himself of all his fortune, in favour of the poor, but to the detriment of his children.

While the supernatural virtue of justice can and ought to require repentance and expiation from the culprit before he is forgiven, hatred, that is to say, to will or wish evil for evil, is not permitted; it is not permitted to exclude anyone from our prayers: such an exclusion would be directly opposed to charity.

There is often no better proof of forgiveness than to pray for those who have offended us. To love our neighbour supernaturally is, indeed, to love him in view of God, to the end that he may gain or preserve God’s grace which will bring him to eternal beatitude. To love is to “wish good to another, says St. Thomas, but all individual good is subordinate to the supreme good. That is why to give God, the Infinite Good, to the ignorant by instructing them, is so pleasing to God; and so it is to pray for the conversion of infidels and sinners that they may receive the faith or recover Divine grace. When, during prayer, we recommend to God the needs of souls, or when at Mass, we sing the Kyrie Eleison for all those who are awaiting the light of the Gospel or the strength of grace in temptation, when we pray on behalf of the labour of missionaries, we perform acts of true charity extremely acceptable to Our Lord.

If Christ has promised to give a reward for a cup of cold water given in His Name, what will He not give for a life of prayer or of expiation consecrated to the advancement of His Reign? There are yet other necessities. It may be a poor man who needs help; a sick person to be relieved, nursed, or visited; one who is in sorrow to be comforted by kind words; another overflowing with joy, who wants to share it with someone. Charity, says St. Paul, makes itself “all things to all men.”

See how Jesus Christ fulfilled this precept of charity, in order to be our Model. Christ loved to give pleasure. The first miracle of His public life was to change water into wine at the marriage-feast of Cana, so as to spare His hosts any confusion when the wine failed. We hear Him promise to refresh all who labour and are burdened and come to Him. And how well He has kept His promise! The Evangelists often repeat that it is because He is “moved with compassion”, that He works His miracles; it is from this motive He cures the lepers and raises the son of the widow of Naim. It is because He has compassion on the multitude who, having unweariedly followed Him during three days, now suffer hunger, that He multiplies the loaves. Zacheus, a chief of the publicans, one of that class of Jews looked upon as sinners by the Pharisees, ardently wishes to see Christ. But on account of his short stature he cannot succeed in doing so, for the multitude surrounds Jesus on every side. Therefore Zacheus climbs up into a tree along the road where Jesus is about to pass, and Our Lord anticipates this publican’s desire. Having come close up to him, He tells him to come down for He wills to be His guest that very hour, and Zacheus, full of joy, and at the height of his wishes, receives Him into his house. See again how, for His friends, He puts His power at the service of His love. Martha and Magdalen lament in His presence for their brother Lazarus who is already buried; Jesus is moved: tears, true, human tears, but the tears of a God, fall from His eyes. “Where have you laid him?” He at once asks, for His love cannot remain inactive, and He goes to raise up His friend. And the Jews who were witnesses of this scene said: “Behold how He loved him!” 
Christ, says St. Paul, who loves to employ this term, is the very kindness of God appearing upon earth; He is a King, but a King full of meekness, Who bids us forgive and proclaims those blessed who, following His example, are merciful. St. Peter, who lived with Him three years, says that everywhere He went about doing good. Like the Good Samaritan, whose charitable action He so wonderfully describes, Christ has taken humanity into His arms, He has taken its sorrows into His soul. He comes “for the destruction of sin which is the supreme evil, the only true evil; He drives out the devil from the bodies of the possessed; but, above all, He drives him out from souls, in giving His own life for each one of us. What greater mark of love is there than this? There is none. 

Now, the love of Jesus for men is the model of what our love should be: “Love one another as I have loved you”; What is the deep reason of Our Lord’s love for His disciples, and for us in them?
Because they belonged to His Father.
It is because souls belong to God and to Christ that we must love them. Our love must be supernatural; true charity is the love of God, enfolding, in the same embrace, God and all that is united to Him. We must love all souls as Christ loves them, even to the supreme degree of giving ourselves totally.

See how full of charity St. Paul was towards the Christians, animated as he was with the spirit of Christ: “Who is weak and I am not weak? . . . Who is scandalised and I am not on fire?” How charitable was he who could say: “I most gladly will spend and be spent myself for your souls.” The Apostle goes even so far as to wish himself to be anathema for the sake of his brethren; in the midst of his continual journeys, he labours with his own hands so as not to be burdensome to the Christian communities who receive him. 

We understand after this how the Apostle could write such a magnificent hymn to exalt the excellence of charity: “Charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

But all these diverse acts spring from the same source: namely, Christ seen through faith, in our neighbour. 
Let us then endeavour first of all to love God by keeping united to Our Lord: from this Divine love, as from a glowing furnace whence a thousand rays shine forth to give light and warmth, our charity will be extended to all around us, and so much the further according as the furnace is the more ardent. Our charity towards our neighbour ought to radiate from our love for God. So then, I will say to you with St. Paul: “Love one another with the charity of brotherhood with honour preventing one another. . . . Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep, being of one mind one towards another. . . . If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men.” And to sum up his doctrine: “I beseech you to support one another with charity . . . careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; one body and one spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling.”
Let us never forget the principle that should guide us in this path: we are all one in Christ; and it is charity that preserves this unity. We only go to the Father by Christ; but we must accept Christ entirely, in Himself and in His members; there lies the secret of the true Divine life within us. 

That is why Our Lord has made mutual charity His commandment and the object of His last prayer. Let us strive to fulfil, as far as possible, this supreme wish of Christ’s Heart. Love is a source of life, and if we draw forth this love from God so that it may be shed unfailingly upon all the members of the body of Christ, life will super abound within our souls, for Christ, according to His own promise, will pour upon us, in return for our self-forgetfulness, a measure of grace “good and pressed down, and shaken together and running over.



The Mass and the Priesthood


source: Vultus Christi
The priest is raised to a dignity which is, in a certain sense, divine, for Jesus Christ identifies Himself with him. His role as mediator is the highest vocation in this world. It is worth repeating: if a priest did nothing during his whole life but offer the Holy Sacrifice piously every morning, or even if he were to offer it once, he would have accomplished an act greater in the hierarchy of values that those events which convulse the world. For the effect of every Mass will endure for eternity, and nothing is eternal except the divine.
We must orient our whole day towards the Mass. It is the central point and sun of the day. It is, as it were, the focus from which there comes to us light, fervour, and supernatural joy.

We must hope that, little by little, our priesthood may take possession of our soul and our life so that it may be said of us: "he is always a priest." That is the effect of a Eucharistic life, embalmed in the perfume of the sacrifice which makes us an alter Christus, another Christ.  (extract from a conference of Blessed Columba Marion to priests on the Holy Mass.)


 THE SACRED, BEAUTIFUL AND UNIVERSAL LITURGY


my source: The Hermeneutic of Continuity


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