Tuesday, November 27, 2012

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down. Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. (St Luke, 21:5-11)

In place of Solomon's temple, Christ has built a temple of living stones, (1Pt 2;5) the communion of saints. At its center, he stands as the eternal high priest; on its altar he is himself the perpetual sacrifice. And, in turn, the whole of creation is drawn into the "liturgy": the fruits of the earth as the mysterious offerings, the flowers and the lighted candlesticks, the carpets and the curtain, the ordained priest, and the anointing and blessing of God's house. Not even the cherubim are missing. Fashioned by the hand of the artist, the visible forms stand watch beside the Holy of Holies. And, as living copies of them, the monks resembling angels surround the sacrificial altar and make sure that the praise of God does not cease, as in heaven so on earth... Their morning hymns of praise call all of creation together to unit once more in praising the Lord: mountains and hills, streams and rivers, seas and lands and all that inhabit them, clouds and winds, rain and snow, all peoples of the earth, every class and race of people, and finally also the inhabitants of heaven, the angels and the saints (cf. Dan 3,57-90)... We are to unite ourselves through our liturgy to the eternal praise of God. “We”, here, refers not just to the consecrated religious who are called to give solemn praise to God, but to all Christian people. (St Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, OCD) 

The picture represents interior of the Parish Church in Oberammegau, Bavaria. Oberammegau is the only place holding Papal license to stage the Christ Passion Play every ten years since 17th century. The Mass on the picture was celebrated by Scottish Cardinal, Keith O'Brien (May, 2010)
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Feast of Christ the King - click to read encyclical of Pope Pius XI 'Quas Primas' on the reign of Christ

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI to celebrate the Jubilee Year and 16th centenary of the Council of Nicea. In his encyclical letter issued on this noble occasion on Decemebr 11, 1925, the Pope brings to our attention traditional and biblical sources confirming the sovereignty of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He also explains the need for special liturgical celebration of the universal Church each year on the last Sunday of the liturgical year before the first Sunday of Advent.

“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.[35] If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection.” Pope Pius XI – Quas Primas

Let us adore Our Lord with Carmelite Saints:

Long live Christ the King!
(Blessed Teresa of the Child Jesus of Guadalajara Carmel, martyred in 1936)

"You, my God, are an eternal King, and Yours is no borrowed kingdom...When the Credo says: 'of Your Kingdom there shall be no end' this phrase nearly always makes me feel particularly happy. Yes, I praise You, Lord, and bless You, for Your Kingdom will endure forever" (St Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection, ch 22)

"I Shall Stay with You...."
Your throne is at the Lord's right hand,
Within the realm of His eternal glory,
God's word from when the world began.

You reign upon the highest throne of all,
Even in transfigured form,
Since You fulfilled Your task on earth.

So I believe, because Your word has taught me,
And, thus believing, know that this delights me,
And blessed hope blooms out of it.
For where you are, there also Your dear ones.
And Heaven is my glorious fatherland,
With You I share the Father's throne.
The Eternal One, creator of all being,
Who, holy thrice, encompasses
Retains a quiet realm all to Himself,

The inmost chamber of the human soul
Is favourite dwelling to the Trinity,
His heavenly throne right here on earth.
To free this heaven'ly realm from the hostile hand,
God's Son descended as the Son of Man
He gave His blood as ransom.

Within the heart of Jesus pierced with lances,
The realms of Heaven and earth become united.
And here we find the spring of life itself.

This is the heart of Trinity divine,
The center also of all human hearts.
Source of our life from God.

It draws us close with its mysterious might,
It keeps us safe within the Father's lap
And floods us with the Holy Spirit.

This heart beats in a tiny tabernacle
Where it remains in hidden mystery,
Within that orbit, silent, white.

That is Your royal throne, O Lord, on earth,
Which You have built for us, plainly to see,
It pleases You when we draw near....

Each morn You come to me at early Mass,
Your flesh and blood become my food and drink;
And wonders are accomplished...

How wondrous are the marvels of Your love,
We are amazed, we stammer and grow dumb,
For word and spirit fails us.
(St Benedicta of the Cross "Selected Works") 

Prayer (St Raphael Kalinowski (1835-1907)
Jesus, hope of suffering humanity, our refuge and our strength, whose light pierces the black cloud that hang over our stormy sea, enlighten our eyes so that we can direct ourselves toward You Who are our harbour. Guide our bark with the rudder of the nails of Your cross, lest we drown in the storm. With the arms of this cross rescue us from the turbulent waters and draw us to Yourself, our only repose, Morning Star, Sun of Justice, for with our eyes obscured by tears, we can catch a glimpse of You there, on the shores of our heavenly homeland. redeemed by You, we pray: Salvos nos fac propter nomen tuum - "Save us for the sake of Your holy name." And all this through Mary.
("Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to His Life and Spirituality")
Picture represents 18th century Cuzco, Peru, art school - "Triumph of Christ the King over four continents" original in the Brooklyn Museum NY.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

For a long time Carmel had been planning widespread honours for you, and in its happy caves it trains sons who in white cloaks will witness to perpetual chastity for you and will bind your name with the name of this Mount in everlasting covenant. You are purer than gold. You are whiter than snow. Your are brighter than the star of Venus. Your virginity was not vitiated by child-bearing, nor can your brightness be darkened by any stain. You certainly were not bound to this legitimate custom, and in all justice you could have renounced these gifts. Time will come when a future age will remember us and on this solemn day will offer you honour on the altars, and will carry candles in long procession of a well celebrated liturgy. Then your priest, processing in golden vestments, will chant your hymns and will sent forth a sweet smelling cloud throughout the Church and the breeze will spread the pleasant scent far and wide, and because our path cross at his point, posterity will call this day Hypante, in the Greek language, and it will be lit up with numberless torches. (Bl Baptiste Spagnoli of Mantua O.Carm)

Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to God, His divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some among the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the Temple, to be brought up in quarters attached to the Temple, attending the priests and Levites in their sacred ministry. There were special divisions in these lodgings for the women and children dedicated to the divine service (3 Kings 6:5-9). We have examples of this special consecration of children in the person of Samuel, for example. Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. It is very probable that the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who witnessed the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as we read in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke (verses 25) had known His Mother as a little girl in the Temple and observed her truly unique sanctity. It is an ancient and very trustworthy tradition that the Blessed Virgin was thus solemnly offered in the Temple to God at the age of three by Her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. The Gospel tells us nothing of the childhood of Mary; Her title Mother of God, eclipses all the rest. Where, better than in the Temple, could Mary be prepared for Her mission? Twelve years of recollection and prayer, contemplation and sufferings, were the preparation of the chosen one of God. The tender soul of Mary was adorned with the most precious graces and became an object of astonishment and praise for the holy Angels, as well as of the highest complacency for the adorable Trinity. The Father looked upon her as His beloved Daughter, the Son as One set apart and prepared to become His Mother, and the Holy Ghost as His undefiled Spouse. Here is how Mary’s day in the Temple was apportioned, according to Saint Jerome. From dawn until nine in the morning, she prayed; from 9:00 until 3:00 she applied herself to manual work; then she turned again to prayer. She was always the first to undertake night watches, the one most applied to study, the most fervent in the chanting of Psalms, the most zealous in works of charity, the purest among the virgins, her companions, the most perfect in the practice of every virtue. On this day she appears as the standard-bearer for Christian virginity: after her will come countless legions of virgins consecrated to the Lord, both in the shadow of the altars or engaged in the charitable occupations of the Church in the world. Mary will be their eternal Model, their dedicated Patroness, their sure guide on the paths of perfection.

Main text after 'Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints' a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

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Friday, November 02, 2012

All Souls Day

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom....Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Lk 23: 42-43) 

I feel it, we must go to heaven by the same route, the one of suffering united with love. When I reach the harbour, I will teach you....how to navigate on the stormy sea of the world, with the abandon and love of a child who knows that his Father cherishes him and would not leave him alone in a time of danger (St Therese, Letters)
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