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Posts Tagged ‘Sacrifice’

“To love means to renew our dedication every day, with loving deeds of service”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/02/13 at 12:00 AM
“These days”, you were saying, “have been the happiest in my life.” And I answered you without hesitation: that is because you have lived with a little more self-giving than usual. (Furrow, 7)

Remember the parable of the talents. The servant who received one talent could have put it to good use, as his fellow servants did. He could have set to work with his own abilities. He could have made sure that his talent bore fruit. Instead, what is on his mind? He is worried about losing his talent. Fair enough. But, then? He goes and buries it! [1] The talent he received bears no fruit.

Let us not forget this man’s sickly fear of putting to honest use his capacity for work, his mind, his will, his whole being. ‘I’ll bury it,’ the poor fellow seems to be saying, ‘but my freedom is safe!’ Not so. He has turned his freedom towards something very definite, towards the most miserable and arid barrenness. He has taken sides, because he had no alternative. He had to choose, but he has chosen badly.

It is utterly false to oppose freedom and self‑surrender, because self‑surrender is a consequence of freedom. Look, when a mother sacrifices herself for love of her children, she has made a choice, and the more she loves the greater will be her freedom. If her love is great, her freedom will bear much fruit. Her children’s good derives from her blessed freedom, which presupposes self‑surrender, and from her blessed self-surrender, which is precisely freedom.

But, you might say, when we have attained our heart’s desire, our search will be over. Does freedom vanish then? I assure you that it will then be more active than ever, because love is not content with a routine fulfilment of duty. Love is incompatible with boredom or apathy. To love means to renew our dedication every day, with loving deeds of service.

I insist, and I would like to engrave this deep in your hearts, that freedom and self‑surrender are not contradictory. They sustain one another. Freedom can only be given up for love; I cannot conceive any other reason for surrendering it. And I am not just playing with words or phrases. When people give themselves freely, at every moment of their self‑surrender, freedom renews their love; to be renewed in that way is to be always young, generous, capable of high ideals and great sacrifices. (Friends of God, 30-31)

[1] cf Matt 25:18

Eucharistic Communion and Contemplation Are Inseparable

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/02/28 at 12:00 AM

Pope Benedict pronounced a homily in which he focused on the sacredness of the Eucharist, and in particular on the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”A unilateral interpretation of Vatican Council II has penalized this dimension”, the Holy Father explained, “effectively limiting the Eucharist to the moment of celebrating Mass. It is, of course, very important to recognize the importance of celebration, in which the Lord calls His people, bringing them together around the table of the Word and Bread of life, nourishing them and uniting them to Himself in the sacrificial offering. This interpretation of the liturgical gathering, in which the Lord works and achieves His mystery of communion, naturally retains all its validity, but a rightful balance must be restored. … By concentrating our relationship with the Eucharistic Christ only on Mass we run the risk that the rest of time and space is emptied of His presence. Thus our perception of Jesus’ constant, real and close presence among us and with us is diminished”.

“It is a mistake to establish a contrast between celebration and adoration, as if they were in competition with one another. The opposite is true. The cult of the Blessed Sacrament represents the spiritual ‘environment’ within which the community can celebrate the Eucharist correctly and truthfully. Only if preceded, accompanied and followed by this interior attitude of faith and adoration, can liturgical activity express its full meaning and value”, the Pope said.He then went on to explain that, at the moment of adoration, we are all at the same level, “on our knees before the Sacrament of Love. The common and ministerial priesthood come together in the cult of the Eucharist. … By remaining together in silence before the Lord, present in His Sacrament, we have one of the most authentic experiences of being Church, one that is complementary to our celebration of the Eucharist. … Communion and contemplation cannot be separated, they go together”, and if contemplation is lacking “even sacramental communion can become a superficial gesture on our part”.

Turning then to consider the sacredness of the Eucharist, Benedict XVI noted that here too, in the recent past, there has been “some misunderstanding of the authentic message of Holy Scripture. The Christian novelty of worship has been influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 1960s and 1970s. It is true, and it remains valid, that the centre of worship is no longer in the ancient rites and sacrifices, but in Christ Himself, His person, His life, His Paschal Mystery. Yet this fundamental novelty must not lead us to conclude that the sacred no longer exists”.

Christ “did not abolish the sacred but brought it to fulfilment, inaugurating a new worship which is entirely spiritual but which nonetheless, as long as our journey in time continues, still uses signs and rites. These will only fall into disuse at the end, in the celestial Jerusalem where there will be no temple”.

Moreover, the Holy Father went on, “the sacred has an educational function. Its disappearance inevitably impoverishes culture, and especially the formation of the new generations. … Our Father God … sent His Son into the world, not to abolish the sacred but to bring it to fulfilment. At the culmination of this mission, at the Last Supper, Jesus established the Sacrament of His Body and His Blood, the Memorial of His Paschal Sacrifice. By doing so he put Himself in the place of the ancient sacrifices, but He did so in the context of a rite, which he ordered the Apostles to perpetuate as a supreme sign of the true sacrifice, which is Him. With this faith, … day after day we celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery, and adore it as the centre of our lives and the heart of the world”.

VIS 120608

“An action of God, of the Trinity”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/07/11 at 9:11 AM
Isn’t it strange how many Christians, who take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (they are in no hurry), in following the sleepy rhythm of their professional affairs, in eating and recreation (no hurry here either), find themselves rushed and want to rush the Priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy Sacrifice of the Altar? (The Way, 530)

The Mass is, I insist, an action of God, of the Trinity. It is not a merely human event. The priest who celebrates fulfils the desire of our Lord, lending his body and his voice to the divine action. He acts, not in his own name, but in persona et in nomine Christi: in the Person of Christ and in his name.

Because of the Blessed Trinity’s love for man, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist brings all graces to the Church and to mankind. This is the sacrifice announced by the prophet Malachy: “From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and a fragrant sacrifice and a pure offering is made to me in all places” [1]. It is the sacrifice of Christ, offered to the Father with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit — an offering of infinite value, which perpetuates the work of the redemption in us and surpasses the sacrifices of the old law. (Christ is passing by, 86)

[1] Mal 1:11

“The mystery of Holy Thursday”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/04/05 at 8:22 AM
We should dwell on those words of Jesus, and make them our own: I have longed and longed to eat this Passover with you. There is no better way to show how great is our concern and love for the Holy Sacrifice than by taking great care with the least detail of the ceremonies the wisdom of the Church has laid down. This is for Love: but we should also feel the “need” to become like Christ, not only inside ourselves but also in what is external. We should act, on the wide spaciousness of the Christian altar, with the rhythm and harmony which holy obedience provides, the holy obedience that unites us to the will of the Spouse of Christ, to the Will of Christ himself. (The Forge, 833)

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” The reader of this verse from St John’s Gospel is brought to understand that a great event is about to take place. The introduction, full of tender affection, is similar to that which we find in St Luke: “I have earnestly desired,” says our Lord, “to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

Let us begin by asking the Holy Spirit, from this moment on, to give us the grace to understand every word and gesture of Christ. Because we want to live a supernatural life, because our Lord has shown his desire to give himself to us as nourishment for our soul, and because we acknowledge that only he has “words of eternal life.”

Faith makes us profess in the words of Peter that “we have come to believe and to know that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” It is this faith, together with our devotion, that leads us to emulate the daring of John, to come close to Jesus and to rest on the breast of the Master, who loved those who were with him ardently, and who was to love them, as we have just read, to the end.

Any words we might use to explain the mystery of Holy Thursday are inadequate. But it is not hard to imagine the feelings of Jesus’ heart on that evening, his last evening with his friends before the sacrifice of Calvary. (Christ is passing by, 83)

“He is there, with his Flesh and with his Blood”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/04/03 at 11:09 AM
“This is my Body …”, and the immolation of Jesus took place, hidden under the appearances of the bread. He is now there, with his Flesh and with his Blood, with his Soul and with his Divinity. He is the same as on the day that Thomas placed his fingers in His glorious Wounds. And yet, on so many occasions, you saunter by, giving not even a hint of a greeting out of simple good manners that you would give to any person you knew when you met him. You have much less faith than Thomas! (Furrow, 684)

The Creator has loved his creatures to such an extent. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as though all the other proofs of his mercy were insufficient, institutes the Eucharist so that he can always be close to us. We can only understand up to a point that he does so because Love moves him, who needs nothing, not to want to be separated from us. The Blessed Trinity has fallen in love with man, raised to the level of grace and made “to God’s image and likeness” [1]. God has redeemed him from sin — from the sin of Adam, inherited by all his descendants, as well as from his personal sins — and desires ardently to dwell in his soul: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him” [2].

The Blessed Trinity’s love for man is made permanent in a sublime way through the Eucharist. Many years ago, we all learned from our catechism that the Eucharist can be considered as a sacrifice and as a sacrament; and that the sacrament is present to us both in communion and as a treasure on the altar, in the tabernacle. The Church dedicates another feast to the eucharistic mystery — the feast of the body of Christ, Corpus Christi, present in all the tabernacles of the world. (Christ is passing by, 84-85)

[1] Gen 1:26
[2] John 14:23