Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cherishing God's presence within us

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him."

How amazing it is that God deigns to dwell within us!
We can only appreciate this truth adequately when we have a deep sense of our own lowliness and sinfulness. In other words, we cannot understand what it truly means if we do not at the same time find it strange. The alternative is to take it for granted, and to think that it is because we are so great that we were found worthy to receive his presence, or that there was never a time in which we did not have it, or even thinking that we can never lose it. But the truth is both more beautiful and more grave: "God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us... While we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son... Whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall" (Rom 5:8, 10; 1 Cor 10:12). Indeed, God makes his dwelling within us as a free gift and according to his will (when he wills and how he wills) as a seed is planted in the ground according to the plan of the gardener. The ground does not deserve the seed, nor does it have control over the gardener--likewise we do not have control over God, and did not deserve to receive God's presence within us when it in fact came and filled our hearts through faith and baptism. With humility we must cherish this incredible gift and never take it for granted, nurturing it through keeping his word, praying never to voluntarily cast it out it through grave sin or choke off its growth through less serious sin. Christ calls us to achieve and maintain the wonder and joy of the gift of the divine indwelling through vigilance.
Let us all spend time in prayer sometime this week meditating on the words of scripture: "My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." How amazing it is that God has deigned to dwell within us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Loving God the Father

"Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." (Jn 14:9)

I think that reflection on these words of Christ as we gaze upon his face can help us draw closer to the Heavenly Father. When we look at Jesus and think of him, we think of forgiveness and compassionate love. We pray to our Brother and God Jesus Christ with devotion because he has captured our hearts. We know that the face of our Savior reveals the love that not only heals but suffers wounds--a love that not only sets prisoners free but also suffers with us prisoners as a prisoner himself. But do we sufficiently realize that the love of Jesus is the self-same love of God the Father? Do we understand the true implications of the fact that they share the same Holy Spirit?
And further, do we know that in the truest sense it is God the Father who is our ultimate goal? Indeed, Christ came into the world not so that we could follow him to himself, but so that we might follow him to the One he called Abba: calling out his name with trust and love, and indeed loving our Abba with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength.
In this image of Christ known as "Ecce Homo," we see him beaten and spat upon, wearing a crown of thorns and a purple cloak, and holding a reed for a scepter. Incapable of understanding Divine Love, the powers of evil have arrayed Christ as a king in mockery. They do not understand that his kingdom is not of this world, for he is not a king like unto the kings and rulers of the world, but rules by making a complete gift of his life.
All of us have come to know Christ as this sort of king--but if we always recognize him this way, why do we not always acknowledge the Father to be the same kind of king as his Son? Jesus reveals God not only by telling us about him but by being his perfect image. Jesus is "cut out of the same cloth" as God his Father: "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God."
"Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also" (Jn 5:19).
There is no justification whatsoever for fearing to approach the Father if we are unafraid to approach the Son. In fact, it was so that his Father might be better known and loved that the Son came. The next time we read or hear the Gospel accounting of Christ's great words and deeds of compassion, especially those that have always struck us most profoundly, it would be good to think also of the words, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father," and "a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing." Then perhaps our hearts might be more open with love to the One from whom all, even Christ the Son, have come--the One whom Christ worshiped and was unafraid to call "Abba."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More on the Mystery of the Holy Innocents

In January of 2006 I posted a reflection on the fate of unbaptized children who die, using the account in Matthew of the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents as a starting point. The International Theological Commission had been investigating the issue of limbo.
Today it seems that the commission has released a Benedict-approved statement that there is, according to Zenit's reporting (April 20), "serious theological and liturgical grounds for the hope that such babies [those who die without baptism] are saved and enjoy the beatific vision."
If this 'seriously grounded' hope points to reality, then limbo is certainly a fiction.
What then of the doctrine of original sin? It remains untouched, despite what some might believe, as Zadok explains.
For some more details check out the CNS story on the document.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Mystery of the Triduum... the Mystery of Christ crucified and the Eucharist.

I thought that this entry from "the hermeneutic of continuity" blog was worth sharing:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stallone back in Church

"Aslan is on the move" in hollywood by the looks of this heartwarming story:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Papal Preacher...

...strikes again!

Fr.Cantalamessa on the notion of Epiphania as signifying more than the manifestation at the manger [courtesy Zenit]:

"We celebrate three wondrous events on this holy day: Today the star leads the Magi to the stable, today the water is changed into wine at the wedding feast at Cana, today Christ is baptized by John in the Jordan for our salvation." With these words the liturgy describes today's feast; it consists in the triple revelation of Christ: to the magi, at the wedding feast at Cana, and in Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. Since ancient times, that which has brought about the unification of these three events in a single feast is their common theme of manifestation (in Greek "epiphania"). In these events Jesus progressively reveals what he is in reality, the Messiah and savior. Christ reveals himself to all peoples and to each category of persons with signs appropriate and comprehensible to them. To simple shepherds he sends an angel; to the wise who scrutinize the courses of the heavenly bodies he sends a star; to the Jews attached to signs, he gives a sign, that is, a miracle: He changes water into wine. With what signs does Christ manifest himself to the men of our time?
[Code: ZE07010629
Date: 2007-01-06
Father Cantalamessa on the Epiphany of the Lord
"We Celebrate Three Wondrous Events on This Holy Day"]

He poses an excellent question. Every year growing up, my family's ritual Blessing of the House on the Epiphany served as an opportunity to evaluate together our journey towards Christ; when we sprinkled holy water on our door, we reminded ourselves that in every welcome guest we welcome Christ. Do we look for sings of His presence in our homes, our families, in every corner of our heart? Do we truly make ourselves Little Bethlehems, little "houses of Bread"?

This Lord's Day, let us find in the Eucharist the most expensive, most priceless, most adorable Christmas gift we have ever received! Let us admit His presence under our roof knowing that He came to dwell among us as Word made Flesh, that those who eat of this Flesh may have Eternal Life~

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Blogger version

I've switched over to the new version of blogger, and therefore will have to put back the parts of the blog that didn't survive the transfer (certain pictures, etc.). I plan on getting this done soon. Perhaps in the end there may be some changes, as well.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Seven

Because the grace and the mercy of the God of Jesus Christ are ever new, each new year, like each new day, is a chance to begin again on the Way of Christ. The freedom of the new is constantly held out to each of us as in an open hand: new grace, new love, new forgiveness, new encounters with Christ in the sacraments, new chances to live as he lived, new joy and new peace.
But is this true? My tendency would be to say, "Of course it is true," and then proceed to continue as before: the same old ways of before, the same attitudes, the same mild despair--"I am too far, too much a sinner, and to serve Him is too difficult and complicated!"
But is it complicated? No, it is not. Religion that is pleasing to God is "to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world." In other words, to actively love your neighbor, and hate the world for God's sake. To be single hearted in the daily pursuit of these is, for us to whom Christ has revealed himself, simple enough, and it is only complicated by compromising them with contrary things.
In the end, it all comes down to the question, "Do I want to give up all to follow the way marked out by Jesus?" In other words, do I want to yield up every aspect of my life to his Lordship? Am I willing to give up those boundaries I put before his love, saying, "you may come up to this point, but no farther"?
This new year, as every new moment, is a great opportunity to turn again and serve the Lord anew. Persevering in prayer, with trust, we know that he will not let us down, but will save us and make us like himself.