Monday, March 31, 2008

FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

From a Homily by St. Bernard the Abbot on
St Luke 1: 26-38

"The Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the Virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women".

Consider that this Angel was not one of lesser rank, even though such are, on one account or another, often sent on embassies to this earth. That he was an Angel of greater rank is indicated by his name which signifieth : Strength of God : and by the fact that he was sent, not by some Angel perhaps more excellent than he (as is usual), but from God himself. Therefore for this reason it is said : From God. Or, it might be for another reason, namely, lest it should be thought that God had discourteously revealed his counsel to any of the blessed spirits, except only the Archangel Gabriel, before he did so to the Virgin. For Gabriel alone was found so eminent among his compeers as to be held worthy both of such a name and message. Neither do his name and his message disagree. For whom did it more behove to announce Christ, who is the Power of God, than him who is honoured by a like name? For what else is power than strength? Neither doth it appear to be unbecoming or unseemly that the Lord and his messenger should be known by a like title. Christ is called the power or strength of God in a very different sense from that in which this appellation is given to the Angel. In the Angel it is but a name. In the case of Christ, it is also an eternal attribute. Christ is called, and truly is, the power of God. When the strong man armed was wont to keep his house in peace, a stronger came upon him, and overcame him by the strength of his arm, and forcibly deprived him of all his spoils. But the Angel is called the strength of God, either because this title was his right, as herald of the power of God ; or because it was his duty to comfort the Virgin (who was naturally timid, simple, and bashful) lest she should be affrighted at the novelty of the miracle. This he certainly did by saying : Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. Thus was Gabriel fitly chosen for this work. Yea, because he was entrusted with so great a mission, rightly was so great a name assigned to him.
Read whole post......

Sunday, March 30, 2008

DIVINE MERCY DEVOTION


Link to Divine Mercy Sunday Read whole post......

First Sunday after Easter - Low Sunday

EPISTLE (1 John 5:4-10)
Dearly Beloved, Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth. And there are three who give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that give testi­mony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater: for this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth in the Son of God, hath the testimony of God in himself.

INSTRUCTION
As in his gospel, so in his epistles, and especially in this, St. John proves the divinity of Christ which had been denied by some heretics. He says that Christ had come to purify all men from sin by water and blood, that is, by. His blood shed on the cross for our rec­onciliation, and by the water of baptism to which He has given the power, the divine effect of His blood, and has thus proved Himself the divine Redeemer. This His divine dignity is attested by the Holy Ghost who lived in Christ and worked through Him with His fulness, and when sent by Him after our Lord's Ascension, produced most won­derful effect in the apostles and the faithful. As now on earth three, the Spirit, water, and blood, give testimony of Christ's divinity and agree in it, so also in heaven three, the Father, who calls Him His beloved Son, (Matt. 3:17) the Word, or the Son Himself, who wrought so many miracles, the Holy Ghost, when He descended upon Him at the baptism in the Jordan, (Luke 3: 22) give testimony of His divinity, and these also agree with one another in their testimony. If Christ is truly God, then we must believe in Him, and this faith must be a living one, that is, it must prove fertile in good works, and this faith conquers the world by teaching us to love God above all, to despise the world with its pleasures, and to overcome it by indif­ference. Let us strive to have such faith, and we shal overcome all temptations and gain the eternal crown.

ASPIRATION
O Lord Jesus! strengthen me by a lively faith in Thy divinity, so that I may not suc­cumb in the spiritual combat against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and be eternally lost.


GOSPEL (John 20:19-31)
At that time, When it was late that same day, the first of the week and the doors were shut,where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when, they saw the Lord.


He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.


Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. Then he said to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands, and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said to him: My Lord and my God. Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.*
Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that, believing, you may have life in his name.

Why does Christ so often wish peace to the apostles?
To show that He only, by His death and resurrection, has made peace between God and man, and that His fol­lowers should be known by their harmony (John 13: 35). There is a threefold peace: peace with God, by avoid­ing sin; peace with ourselves, that is, a good conscience; peace with our neighbor, by the exercise of charity. This threefold peace is necessary for our salvation.

Why did Jesus breathe upon the apostles when giving them the power to forgive sin?
To show that as bodily life was once given to Adam by the breath of God, so should the spiritual life be given henceforth by the apostles and their successors, through the Holy Ghost in the Sacrament of Penance, to the children of Adam who were spiritually dead.

Why did God permit Thomas to doubt the Resurrection of Christ?
That Thomas, as well as we, says St. Gregory, should be strengthened in humble belief in the Resurrection of Christ, and that all doubts should be removed.

Had Thomas true faith when with his own eyes he saw Christ?
Yes, for he saw Christ only in His humanity, and yet testified to His divinity by exclaiming: My Lord and my God!

Is it true, meritorious faith not to be ready to believe before seeing that which is to be believed?
By no means; for faith consists precisely in firmly hold­ing as true that which is not seen. Therefore Christ calls him blessed who has not seen and yet believes.

When is faith true and meritorious?
That is true faith which firmly believes all that God has revealed, whether written or unwritten, and when one lives in accordance with that faith; for faith in Jesus simply does not save us, when that which He has commanded is not performed (Matt 7:21; James 2: 20). That faith is meritorious which without doubting and without hesitation willingly submits the understanding to revealed truths which it cannot comprehend, and this for the love of Gods who is eternal truth and cannot deceive.

Whence do we know for certain that God has revealed certain things?
From the Church of Christ which alone preserves the revealed word of God faithfully and uncorrupted, as it is contained in the Bible and in tradition; by the Holy Ghost all truth is given to the Church, and Christ remains with her until the end of the world (Matt 28: 20).

Has the Church of Christ any marks by which it may be known?
Christ's Church has these four marks: it is One, it is Holy, it is Catholic, and it is Apostolic.

How is the, Church one?
The Church is one, because all its members agreein one faith, are all in one communion, and are all under one head. (Matt 16:18; Eph 4: 37)

How is the Church Holy?
The Church is Holy, in her Founder, Jesus Christ, and by teaching a holy doctrine, by inviting all to a holy life, and by the eminent holiness of so many thousands of her children.

How is the Church Catholic?
The Church is Catholic or Universal, because she subsists in all ages, teaches all nations (Matt 27:19-20) and maintains all truth.

How is the Church Apostolic?
The Church is Apostolic, because she comes down by a perpetual succession from the apostles of Christ, and has her doctrines her orders, and her mission from them.

Which is this true Church?
The Roman Catholic Church, for she alone has these marks. She is One in her head, the Pope of Rome, in her doctrine, and in her Sacraments, which is evident since she excludes all those who do not accept all her dogmas. She is. Holy, for Christ her Founder is holy; and her doctrine and Sacraments lead to holiness, as shown by the multitude of her saints whose sanctity God arms by great miracles. No sect has saints. She is Catholic or Universal, for she has been in existence always from the times of the apostles, as is clearly shown by the fact that from the times of the apostles there have always been some who separated from her and founded sects. The Catholic Church has always existed, and cannot perish or be­come corrupt, since Christ has promised to remain with her to the end of the world; she is also spread over the whole world, is always being announced to all nations, and is fitted for all generations and for all people. She is Apostolic, for she accepts no doctrine which does not come from the apostles, and she can prove that the ministers of the Church, the bishops, have come down in unbroken succession from the apostles.

Can those who remain outside the Catholic Church be, saved?
The Council of Trent (Sess. V. in the Introduction) assigns the Catholic faith as the one without which it is impossible to please God, and the Roman Catechism teaches: (I part. art. 9.) "The Church is also called Catholic or Universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to, and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood." According to this doctrine of the Church, which the holy Fathers affirm, only those idolaters and obstinate heretics are excluded from salvation who knowingly deny the truth, and will not enter the Church. The Catholic Church does not condemn the unbelievers, she prays for them, leaves judgment to the Lord, who alone knows the heart, and knows whether the error is culpable or not, and she calls on all her, members to pray for their enlightenment.

Are we then already saved, if we belong to the true Church?
No, we must also live up to the faith which she teaches make good use of all means of salvation, regard and honor all her regulations and commands, for otherwise the words of Christ will be verified in us: And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom (the true Church) shall be cast out into exterior darkness (Matt 8: 11)

Read whole post......

Saturday, March 29, 2008

LOW SATURDAY

St Gregory the Pope interprets today's reading in mystical way for us. The faith of the disciples was not yet perfect. St Mary Magdalen, seeing the empty sepulcher was convinced Jesus's body was stolen, although she believed her beloved teacher was the Son of God, she did not think at that moment of His Divinity. Peter and John run to the sepulcher, John overrun Peter but did not dare to enter the tomb whereas Peter did not hesitate and went in and he signifies the Church, whereas: "The Synagogue came first to the Sepulchre, but she hath not yet entered in; for, though she hath received the commandments of the law, and hath heard the Prophets tell of the Incarnation and Passion of the Lord, she will not believe in him who died for her."

John 20: 1-9
And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre;



and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.



Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together,

and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.


And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
A Homily by St. Gregory the Pope
Dearly beloved brethren, the portion of the Holy Gospel which hath just now been read in your ears, is exceeding simple on the face of it, which is its historical sense; but the mystic sense, which underlieth that other, requíreth from us a little searching. Mary Magdalene came unto the Sepulchre when it was yet dark. The historic sense telleth us what was the hour of the day; the mystic sense, the state of her understanding who sought. Mary Magdalene sought for him, by whom all things were made, and whom she had seen die, as concerning the flesh; she sought for him, I say, in the grave, and finding him not, she believed that he had been stolen away. Yea, it was yet dark, when she came unto the sepulchre. Then she ran and told the disciples, but they who had loved him most, namely Peter and John, did outrun the others. So they ran both together, but John did outrun Peter, and came first to the Sepulchre, but yet took he not upon himself to go in first. Then cometh Peter following him, and went in. What, my brethren, what did the racing of these Apostles signify? Can we believe that the description given by the deepest of the Evangelists is without a mystic interpretation? By no means. John had never told how that he did outrun Peter, and yet went not into the Sepulchre, if he had not believed that his hesitation veiled some mystery. What signifieth John but the Synagogue? or Peter, but the Church? Neither must ye take it as strange that the elder Apostle should represent the Church, and younger the Synagogue: for although the Synagogue was first to worship God, yet the herd of Gentiles is in the world older than the Synagogue, as witnesseth Paul where he saith: That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural. By Peter, then, who was the elder, is signified the Church of the Gentiles; and by John, who was the younger, the Synagogue of the Jews. They run both of them together, for from the time of her birth until now (and so will it be until the end), the Church of the Gentiles hath run in a parallel road and manywise a common road with the Synagogue, albeit not with equal understandings. The Synagogue came first to the Sepulchre, but she hath not yet entered in; for, though she hath received the commandments of the law, and hath heard the Prophets tell of the Incarnation and Passion of the Lord, she will not believe in him who died for her.

Read whole post......

Friday, March 28, 2008

FRIDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER


Matthew 28:16-20 At that time the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.


Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.


A Homily by St. Jerome the Priest

After his resurrection Jesus was seen on a mountain in Galilee, and there he was worshipped. And, albeit some doubted, their doubts have led to a further establishing of our faith. Then he shewed himself more openly unto Thomas, and pointed out the wound-print of the spear in his side, and the prints of the nails in his hands. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Yea, all power is given unto him who but a little while before had been crucified, and buried in the grave, and had lain among the dead, but who also had risen again. Power is given unto him in heaven and in earth, that he who of everlasting had been King of heaven, might have a monarchy on earth also, through the faith of them which believe in him. Go ye, therefore, saith he, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. First they were to teach all nations; then they were to wash with water such as had been taught. For it cannot be that the body should receive the Sacrament of Baptism if the mind have not first received the truth of the Faith. And they were to be baptized: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: for, even as the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One, so is the one grace of Baptism the gift of all three divine Persons; and the Name of the Trinity is the Name of one God, not of three. Teaching t
hem to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The order of the Lord's commands to the Apostles is important. First, to teach all nations; secondly, to make them partake in the Sacrament of the Faith; thirdly, when they had believed and been baptized, to teach them what to observe. And lest we should think that he commanded things light and few, he hath said: All things whatsoever I have commanded you : so that all who have believed, and have therefore been baptized in the Name of the Trinity, are bound to observe all things whatsoever he hath commanded. And lo, saith he, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. He who promiseth that he will be with his disciples, even unto the end of the world, doth give them thereby to know that they will live for ever, and that he will never fail any which believe in him.
Read whole post......

Thursday, March 27, 2008

THURSDAY IN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER


John 20: 11-18
At that time Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre. And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him.

When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him:


Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.

A Homily by St. Gregory the Pope

Mary Magdalene, the woman of the city who was a sinner, through love of the truth, washed away by her tears the befoulment of her sin ; and thereby the word of the Truth was fulfilled which he spake : Her sins, which are many, are forgiven : for she loved much. She that had remained cold while she sinned, became burning when she loved. And so Mary Magdalene, after that she had been to the sepulchre, and had not found there the body of the Lord (wherefrom she was led to believe that it had been taken away), went out and told his disciples ; and they came and saw, and thought it was even as she said. So it is written : Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But of her it is said : Mary stood without, at the sepulchre, weeping.In connection with this matter, we ought to ponder on this, namely, the great store of love which was in that woman's heart. For she, when even his disciples were gone away, could not tear herself from the grave of the Lord. She sought him whom she had not found there, and as she sought, she wept. And the fire of love in her heart yearned after him, who (as she believed) had been taken away. And so it came to pass that she, who had lingered to seek him, was the only one who then saw him. For the backbone of a good work is endurance, and the voice of the Truth itself hath said : He that endureth to the end shall be saved.
As Mary wept there, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. It was but a little while since she had seen that the sepulchre was empty, and had declared that the Lord was taken away. Why then should she stoop down and look in again? It was because she loved him so well, that one look was not enough ; the energy of her affection constrained her to search again and again. She began by searching and not finding ; but she endured in her search, and behold, it came to pass that she found. And this was done that our own longings for Christ's presence might be taught to expand ; and that we might know how, that as they expand, they will meet with him to whom they aspire.

picture credit:unknown illustrator of Jerome Nadal's Bible, G. Ohe and Luiken Caspar

Read whole post......

Meditation for the fourth week of Lent with St Thomas Aquinas


CHRIST BY HIS PASSION MERITED TO BE EXALTED
He became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross: for which God has exalted him. - Phil.2:8.

Merit is a thing which implies a certain equality of justice. Thus St. Paul says, To him that worketh, the reward is reckoned according to debt (Rom.4:4). Now since a man who commits an injustice takes for himself more than is due to himself, it is just that he suffer loss even in what is actually due to him. If a man steals one sheep, he shall give back four as it says in Holy Scripture (Exod. 22: 1). And this is said to be merited inasmuch as in this way the man's evil will is punished. In the same way the man who acts with such justice that he take less than what is due to him, merits that more shall be generously superadded to what he has, as a kind of reward for his just will. So, for instance, the gospel tells us, He that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 14: 2). Now in His Passion Christ humbled himself below His dignity in four respects:

(i) In respect of His Passion and His death, things which He did now owe to undergo.
(ii) In respect to places, for His body was placed in a grave and his soul in hell.
(iii) In respect to the confusion and shame that He endured.
((iv) In respect to His being delivered over to human authority, as He said Himself to Pilate, Thou shalt not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. (John xix, 11).

Therefore, on account of His Passion, He merited a fourfold exaltation.
(i) A glorious resurrection.
It is said in the Psalm (Ps. 88: 1), Thou hast known my sitting down, that is, the humiliation of my Passion, and my rising up.
(ii) An ascension into heaven.
Whence it is said, He descended first into the lower parts of the earth: He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens (Eph.4: 9,10).
(iii). To be seated at the right hand of the Father, with His divinity made manifest.
Isaias says, He shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding high. As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and St. Paul says, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. For which cause God hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names (Phil. ii. 8,9), that is to say, He shall be named God by all, and all shall pay Him reverence as God. And this is why St. Paul adds, That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that art in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (ibid. X).
(iv) A power of judgement.
For it is said, Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked. Cause and judgement thou shalt recover (Job 26: 17).
Read whole post......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

JESUS APPEARING TO HIS DISCIPLES AT THE SEA OF TYBERIAS - THE SECOND MIRACULOUS DRAUGHT OF FISH

Matt, 28:16; Jn, 21: 1-14
After this the eleven disciples went into Galilee. Jesus shewed Himself again to [them] at the sea of Tiberias. And He shewed Himself after this manner: there were together Simon Peter, and Thomas who is called Didymus, and Nathaniel who was of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples.



Simon Peter saith to them: "I go a fishing." They say to him: "-We also come with thee." And they went forth and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing.


But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: "Children, have you any meat?" They answered: "No." He saith to them: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship; and you shall find."


They cast therefore: and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. That disciples therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter: "-It is the Lord."



Simon Peter, when he had heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him (for he was naked) and cast himself into the sea.



But the other disciples came in the ship (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits) dragging the net with fishes.


As soon as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon and bread. Jesus saith to them: "-Bring hither of the fishes which you have caught."


Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred fifty three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken.


Jesus saith to them: "Come and dine." And none of them who were at meat, durst ask Him: Who art thou? Knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to His disciples, after he was risen from the dead.


Fragments of St. Gregory, the Pope, Homily (from RB Matins, Lesson 3).
Again, it may be asked why, when the disciples were labouring on the sea, the Lord appeared, after his resurrection, standing upon the shore, while before his resurrection he had walked upon the waves of the sea in the sight of the disciples. We shall soon see the reason of this, if we consider the inner nature of the case. For what does the sea represent, if not this present world, surging with the tumult of its ever-shifting fortunes, and with the billows of this corruptible life? What is signified by the solidity of the shore, if not the everlasting peace of eternity? Since therefore the disciples were as yet surrounded by the bellows of this mortal life, they were struggling on the sea: but since our Redeemer had now passed beyond the corruption of the flesh after his resurrection he was standing on the shore.

Picture credit to following artists starting from the upper site of the post: Peter Bruegel the Elder, Alexander Bida, unknown, Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, unknown illustrator of Jerome Nadal's Bible, Alexander Bida, Gustave Dore, James Tissot and unknown artist in Jerome Nadal edition of the Bible.

Read whole post......

PEACE BE TO YOU - CHRIST APPEARING TO HIS DISCIPLES


Lk 24:36-47.
Now, whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them and saith to them: Peace be to you. It is I: Fear not. But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?



See my hands and feet, that it is I myself. Handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet.


But while they yet believed not and wondered for joy, he said: Have you here any thing to eat? And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish and a honeycomb. And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me.


Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

PICTURES CREDIT: first and third pic by Duccio di Buoninsegna, the second is the Rembrandt's drawing and the last one by William Blake (from Biblical art website)
Read whole post......

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

EASTER TUESDAY - WHOM SEEK YOU?

PRESENCE OF GOD - O Lord, may I always seek You alone, and seeking You, may I have the grace to find You.

MEDITATION
1. In the Masses of Easter week the Gospel recount the various apparitions of risen Jesus; the first, and one of the most moving, is that to Mary Magdalen (Jn 20:11-18). In this episode Mary appears with her characteristic trait, that of a soul completely possessed by the love of God. When she reaches the sepulcher, she has scarcely seen "the stone rolled away," before she is seized with one only anxiety: "They have taken away my Lord." Who could have taken Him? She repeats these questions to everyone she meets, supposing that they are filled with a like apprehension. She tells it to Peter and John who come running to see for themselves; she tells it to Angels, and she tells it even to Jesus. The other women, finding the sepulcher open, go in and find out what happened, but Magdalen runs off quickly to bring the news to the Apostles. Then she returns. What will she do near the empty tomb? She does not know, but love has impelled her to return, and it keeps her at the place where the body of the Master had been, the body that she wants to find at any cost. She sees Angels, but she does not marvel nor become frightened like the other women; she is so possessed by her grief that there is no room in her soul for other emotions. When the Angels ask her: "Woman, why weepest thou?" she has only one answer: "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." Later, Jesus asks her the same question and Mary, absorbed in her thoughts, does not even recognise Him, but "Thinking that it was the gardener," she says to Him: "Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take Him away." The thought of finding Jesus so occupies her mind that she does not even feel the need of giving His name; it seems to her that everyone must be thinking of Him, that everyone would understand immediately - as though everyone were in the same state of mind as she. When love of God and desire for Him have taken full possession of a soul, there is no longer room in it for other loves, other desires, other preoccupations. All its movements are directed to God, and through all things the soul does nothing but seek God alone......

COLLOQUY
.....O most loving Jesus Christ, although You have loved me inexpressibly, I, a wicked sinner, enclosing in my bosom a heart of stone and iron, have not recognised your burning love; even though I desired Your affection, I did not want to love You. Deign, then, to come to my aid, O most merciful Jesus Christ, and by the violence of Your most sweet love, force my rebellious soul to love You, so that I may serve You in peace and attain the unending life of love (Ven. R. Giordano).

credit: text from 'Divine Intimacy' by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene, OCD


Read whole post......

Monday, March 24, 2008

Road to Emmaus


At that time, Two of the disciples of Jesus went the same day to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus; and they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near went with them: but their eyes were held that they should not know him. And he said to them: what are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad. And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and bast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things?


And they said: Concerning Jesus of 'Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people: and how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this today is the third day since these things were done. Yea and certain women also of our company, affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, and not finding his body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say, that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And be­ginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things that were concerning him.

And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them.

And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And, they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within, us; whilst he spoke in the way, and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up the same hour they, went back, to Jerusalem and, they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, saying: the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way and how they knew him in the breaking of bread (Luke 24: 13-35).

Instructions on Easter Monday

Easter Monday Carmel meditation Read whole post......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

CHRISTUS RESURREXIT! HE IS RISEN!

Matt 28:1-7
In the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,came Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary, to view the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven: and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold, he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.

The LINK to read more on Easter Sunday

Carmelite Easter Meditation - LINK Read whole post......

Saturday, March 22, 2008

HOLY SATURDAY


The martyrdom of the Virgin Mary, implicit in Simeon's prophecy, is put before us in the story of Our Lord's Passion. Blessed Mother, a sword did pierce your soul, for no sword could penetrate your Son's flesh without piercing your soul. Though he belong to us all, He was yours in a special sense, and we rightly speak of you as more than a martyr, for the anguish of mind you suffered exceeded all bodily pain (St Bernard).


Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey. Their looks become like so many arrows to wound those hearts which love each other so tenderly (St Alphonsus)


Mary endured martyrdom in her soul, an anguish of mind exceeding all bodily pain. Could her Son die bodily and she not share His death in her heart? It was love that moved Him to suffer death, and it was love that moved Mary, the like of which no mother has ever known (St Bernard).


Look at what our Spouse's love cost Him; in order to free us from death....Fix your eyes on the Crucified and everything will become small for you (St Teresa of Avila).

Consider how, after Our Lord had expired, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross and laid Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother who received Him with unutterable tenderness and pressed Him to her bosom (St Alphonsus).

If you would understand that the Cross is Our Lord's triumph, hear what He Himself said:' If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself'. In sharing His Cross, you are seeking His glory (St John of the Cross).

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOLY SATURDAY 1.

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
Something strange is happening -- there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: 'My Lord be with you all.' Christ answered him: 'And with your spirit.' He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: 'Awake, o sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.' I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree. I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you. Rise. Let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.
I will not restore you to that paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity - credit: FISH EATERS

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOLY SATURDAY 2.


Read whole post......

Friday, March 21, 2008

GOOD FRIDAY

Matt 27:60-61
And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre


Matt 27:59

And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth.



Matt 27:57-58
And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered.


Matt 27:35
And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Matt 27:33-34
And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink.

Matt 27:29-30
And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head.

Matt 27:26
Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Matt 26:40-41
And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.

Pictures credit: Gustave Dore 'Bible Illustrations'

Read whole post......

Thursday, March 20, 2008

HOLY THURSDAY


John 13:2-17
And when supper was done, (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him). Knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God; He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them.



MATT 26:26-29
And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father



MARK 14:14-16
And whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house, The master saith, Where is my refectory, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? And he will show you a large dining room furnished; and there prepare ye for us.




MARK 14:12-13
Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch? And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith to them: Go ye into the city; and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water, follow him;
Read whole post......