05 January 2015

Catherine Winkworth: “Once He Came in Blessing”

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“Once He Came in Blessing” is perhaps my favourite translation from the German by Catherine Winkworth.  For Moravians and some Lutherans it is an Advent hymn. For some Episcopalians and Anglicans it is a Christmastide hymn.  In two of the parish's I served, we sang it during Pre-Lent. 

To my mind it is an excellent hymn for singing … or for quiet prayer on any day of the year:

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04 January 2015

Lo! The Eastern Magi Rise

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For the words please click this LINK 
to the excellent Hymns and Carols of Christmas website.
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27 December 2014

A Dorset Carol

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“Awake and join the cheerful choir”


Please click (or perhaps double-click) on the image above to see it enlarged.

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22 December 2014

My hymn: 'Sing of Mary, Blest is She'


My hymn text "Sing of Mary, Blest is She" has proven more and more popular over the years since I first wrote it. I have not charged any fee to use it so long as it is not reproduced for commercial use. (Feel free to contact me about any other commercial arrangement by writing to me at vincentuher3 @ gmail.com )  I have wanted God's people to have this hymn as freely as God inspired me to write it.

Here is a link to my text set to the well-known tune for 'Good King Wenceslas' — TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM, Piae Cantiones.

Please click below for my hymn text: 

 SING OF MARY, BLEST IS SHE

God bless all who shall sing this hymn and all who love the Holy Family!


+Laus Deo!

Ave Maria by Dawid Kusz, OP

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Ave Maria by Dawid Kusz, OP
Coro de Cámara Patagonia (CCP) / Eduardo Andrés Malachevsky, cond. (http://www.malachevsky.com.ar
3 November A.D. 2013 at the Trappist Cistercian Monastery of 
Nuestra Señora de los Angeles (Argentina)
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19 December 2014

O Radix Jesse

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13 December 2014

10 December 2014

A Prayer

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a prayer from the Liturgy
of the Catholic Apostolic Church
(Irvingite)
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01 December 2014

Beautiful Music for Advent

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Radio Walsingham Online broadcasts inspired music for the Advent Season 

http://www.live365.com/stations/walsinghamtexas



One can listen for free... but there will be some commercial interruptions by Live365.com.  For a small price, one can purchase a VIP membership and listen without any commercial interruption.  I highly recommend the VIP membership.


It is wonderful to listen to this selection whether at work, school, or home.  Please click here to enjoy!

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30 November 2014

ADVENT BLESSINGS

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For most of the Western Church Advent Sunday is the start of the Chuch's liturgical new year.  

So Happy New Year!  

Below I share with you something Pro Multis Media sent to me by email today that in a succinct way gives a synthesis of the propers and lections for Advent Sunday in the Vetus Ordo:

Commentary for the Readings
in the Extraordinary Form

First Sunday of Advent

"There will be signs in the . . .(heavens). . .and upon the earth, distress of nations. . .they will see the Son of Man coming. . .lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand" (Gospel).

On His second Advent at the end of the world Jesus will come in the fullness of Divine Power. Then will we be obliged to accept Him as King of Justice. So today let us begin to prepare for this year's anniversary of His first Advent as King of Mercy.

Because His coming is "nearer" we are warned to "rise from sleep,. . .lay aside the works of darkness. . .and put on he Lord Jesus Christ" (Epistle).

Aware of the dangers ahead during this preparation, we call upon His "power" to protect us (Prayer) and to "cleanse us" (Secret). Finally, we promise to "prepare with due reverence for the coming festival" (Postcommunion).

Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood


A Blessèd Advent to All
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Paul Jernberg's Mass of Saint Philip Neri

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25 November 2014

A Blessèd Thanksgiving

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I pray for the Lord's blessings to be upon all who keep a day of Giving Thanks to Almighty God.















ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Book of Common Prayer
1928   [USA]

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Pope Francis: Christ the King Homily

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With the excellent news of Cardinal Sarah's appointment to the Curia, I am most happy to post the following homily by the Holy Father:


Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
23 November A.D. 2014

Today’s liturgy invites us to fix our gaze on Christ, the King of the Universe. The beautiful prayer of the Preface reminds us that his kingdom is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace”. The readings we have listened to show us how Jesus established his kingdom; how he brings it about in history; and what he now asks of us.

First, how Jesus brought about his kingdom: he did so through his closeness and tenderness towards us. He is the Shepherd, of whom the Prophet Ezekiel spoke in the First Reading (cf. 34:11-12, 15-17). These verses are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the Shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture. All of these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ: he is truly the “great Shepherd of the sheep and the protector of our souls” (cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 2:25).

Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings. In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.

After his victory, that is after his Resurrection, how has Jesus advanced his kingdom? The Apostle Paul, in the First Letter to the Corinthians, says: “for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (15:25). The Father, little by little, subjects all to the Son and, at the same time, the Son subjects all to the Father. Jesus is not a King according to earthly ways: for him, to reign is not to command, but to obey the Father, to give himself over to the Father, so that his plan of love and salvation may be brought to fulfilment. In this way there is full reciprocity between the Father and the Son. The period of Christ’s reign is the long period of subjecting everything to the Son and consigning everything to the Father. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). And in the end, when all things will be under the sovereignty of Jesus, and everything, including Jesus himself, will be subjected to the Father, God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

The Gospel teaches what Jesus’ kingdom requires of us: it reminds us that closeness and tenderness are the rule of life for us also, and that on this basis we will be judged. This is the great parable of the final judgement in Matthew 25. The King says: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (25:34-36). The righteous will ask him: when did we do all this? And he will answer them: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). 

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity. In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters. Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other. Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom. But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity. If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.

Today the Church places before us the example of these new saints. Each in his or her own way served the kingdom of God, of which they became heirs, precisely through works of generous devotion to God and their brothers and sisters. They responded with extraordinary creativity to the commandment of love of God and neighbour. They dedicated themselves, without holding back, to serving the least and assisting the destitute, sick, elderly and pilgrims. Their preference for the smallest and poorest was the reflection and measure of their unconditional love of God. In fact, they sought and discovered love in a strong and personal relationship with God, from whence springs forth true love for one’s neighbour. In the hour of judgement, therefore, they heard that tender invitation: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

Through the rite of canonization, we have confessed once again the mystery of God’s kingdom and we have honoured Christ the King, the Shepherd full of love for his sheep. May our new saints, through their witness and intercession, increase within us the joy of walking in the way of the Gospel and our resolve to embrace the Gospel as the compass of our lives. Let us follow in their footsteps, imitating their faith and love, so that our hope too may be clothed in immortality. May we not allow ourselves to be distracted by other earthly and fleeting interests. And may Mary, our Mother and Queen of all Saints, guide us on the way to the kingdom of heaven. Amen.


“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” – St. Pio of Pietrelcina
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24 November 2014

The Civilisation Cycle

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The following (identified by Alexander Fraser Tyler) is the cycle for the rise and fall of civilisations:

“From bondage to spiritual faith; 
from spiritual faith to great courage; 
from great courage to liberty; 
from liberty to abundance; 
from abundance to selfishness; 
from selfishness to complacency; 
from complacency to apathy; 
from apathy to dependence; 
and from dependence back again to bondage.”

Alexander Fraser Tyler
The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Empire


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[Irvingite] Catholic Apostolic Holy Eucharist

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I have been spending some time reading through the eucharistic liturgy and offices of the Catholic Apostolic Church [Irvingite].  The denomination may be defunct, but the vision enshrined in the Liturgy deserves far more study.  

Below, dear reader, you will find scans of the beginning of the Holy Eucharist of the Catholic Apostolic Church.  To my knowledge no community makes use of this liturgy today:






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R. Somerset Ward: Of Darkness and Prayer

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“And what can possibly be the meaning of this coldness and darkness of the soul? Surely it is God’s test. How should we ever grow without tests? We say to God, ‘I want Thee more than I can say.’ 

God replies, ‘Do you really want Me?’ 

And straightaway in our prayers we find darkness and coldness, and the numbing loss of energy. 

If we were speaking the truth, we go on praying in spite of it; if we were not, we stop. And if we go on praying, the darkness becomes not a hindrance but a help, for the measure by which God values our prayers is the amount of desire in them, and it shows much greater desire to pray in darkness than in the light. 

For this reason it has been said that we walk faster on the Road to God in darkness than in light. If you persist in prayer through darkness, you will assuredly find yourself after the darkness has passed much nearer to God.” 


R. Reginald Somerset Ward: His Life and Letters
Edmund Morgan
 A. R. Mowbray Co., Ltd
London, 1963, p. 141

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23 November 2014

R. Somerset Ward: Quality not Quantity

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“What is needed above all for God’s kingdom on earth is quality. Quantity will take care of itself if we take care of quality.

“The most powerful instrument for the conversion of the world is the converted individual. Those who have a real desire and passion to help others must, of necessity, first attack their own lives and find in them the tool they can use to help others.

“The missionary spirit without the spiritual life is helpless. The failure to grasp this is responsible for the small return we perceive for such great activity.

“There is no lack of the power needed to convert the world–power and more than abundant power is waiting to be used–but the instruments which will give it free play are too few.”


R. Reginald Somerset Ward: His Life and Letters
Edmund Morgan
 A. R. Mowbray Co., Ltd
London, 1963, p. 77

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22 November 2014

Pope Benedict on Christ the King

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The following is from Pope Benedict's remarks before the Angelus  on the 25th of November A.D. 2012:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today the Church celebrates Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This solemnity comes at the end of the liturgical year and brings together the mystery of Jesus “firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” (Collect Year B), extending our gaze towards the full realisation of the Kingdom of God, when God will be all in all (cf 1 Cor 15.28). 

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem says: “We announce not only the first coming of Christ, but also a second which is much more beautiful than the first. The first, in fact, was a manifestation of suffering, the second brings the diadem of divine kingship…..in the first, He was subject to the humiliation of the Cross, in the second He is surrounded and glorified by a host of angels” (Catechesis XV,1 Illuminandorum, De secundo Christi adventu: PG 33, 869 A). 

All the mission of Jesus and the contents of His message consist in announcing the Kingdom of God and implementing it among men through signs and wonders. “But – as the Second Vatican Council reminds us – above all, the Kingdom is made manifest through the person of Christ (Lumen gentium, 5), who established it through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection, whereby He showed Himself to be the Lord and Messiah, the High Priest for eternity. 

This Kingdom of God was entrusted to the Church, which is the “seed” and the “beginning”, and has the task of announcing it and spreading it amongst all peoples through the strength of the Holy Spirit. 

At the end of time, the Lord will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father and will present to Him all those who have lived according to the commandment of love.


Pope Benedict
Dear friends, we are all called to prolong God’s saving work by converting ourselves to the Gospel, by placing ourselves with conviction in the footsteps of that King who came not to be served but to serve and to bear witness to the truth (cf Mk 10.45, Jn 18.37). 

[ . . . ] May the Virgin help each one of us to live this present time as we await the return of the Lord, as we decisively pray to God: “Your Kingdom come”, and as we carry out those works of light which bring us ever closer to Heaven, knowing that, in the tormented affairs of history, God continues to build His Kingdom of love.

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21 November 2014

Bishop Conley: 'Looking to the East'

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Below is the opening of a fine column by Bishop Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska:


Looking to the east

Jesus Christ will return in glory to the earth.

We do not know when he will return. But Christ promised us that he would return in glory, “as light comes from the east” to bring God’s plan of redemption to its fulfillment.

In 2009, Bishop Edward Slattery, of Tulsa, Okla., wrote that “the dawn of redemption has already broken, but the sun —Christ Himself—has not yet risen in the sky.”

In the early Church, Christians expected that Christ would come soon—any day. There was hopeful expectation. They were watchful—they looked to the sky in the east to wait for Christ. And because they did not know when he would return, they proclaimed the Gospel with urgency and enthusiasm, hoping to bring the world to salvation before Christ returned.

It has been nearly two thousand years now since Christ ascended into heaven. It has become easier to forget that he will come again to earth. It has become easier to forget that we must be waiting, we must be watching, and we must be ready.

In the season of Advent, as we recall Christ’s Incarnation at Christmas, we are reminded to be prepared for Christ’s coming. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent this year, Nov. 30, Christ tells us his disciples “to be on the watch.”

“You do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,” Jesus says. “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.”  [. . .]


I strongly suggest the reading of the rest of the bishop's column please click here.

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17 November 2014

Recalling a Great Sermon

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The following transcription remains the finest sermon I have heard from a Catholic bishop in the USA, a homily preached by Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from A.D. 2010:

The Most Rev. Edward J. Slattery
We have much to discuss – you and I …
… much to speak of on this glorious occasion when we gather together in the glare of the world’s scrutiny to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ascension of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter.
We must come to understand how it is that suffering can reveal the mercy of God and make manifest among us the consoling presence of Jesus Christ, crucified and now risen from the dead.
We must speak of this mystery today, first of all because it is one of the great mysteries of revelation, spoken of in the New Testament and attested to by every saint in the Church’s long history, by the martyrs with their blood, by the confessors with their constancy, by the virgins with their purity and by the lay faithful of Christ’s body by their resolute courage under fire.
But we must also speak clearly of this mystery because of the enormous suffering which is all around us and which does so much to determine the culture of our modern age.
From the enormous suffering of His Holiness these past months to the suffering of the Church’s most recent martyrs in India and Africa, welling up from the suffering of the poor and the dispossessed and the undocumented, and gathering tears from the victims of abuse and neglect, from women who have been deceived into believing that abortion was a simple medical procedure and thus have lost part of their soul to the greed of the abortionist, and now flowing with the heartache of those who suffer from cancer, diabetes, AIDS, or the emotional diseases of our age, it is the sufferings of our people that defines the culture of our modern secular age.
This enormous suffering which can take on so many varied physical, mental, and emotional forms will reduce us to fear and trembling – if we do not remember that Christ – our Pasch – has been raised from the dead. Our pain and anguish could dehumanize us, for it has the power to close us in upon ourselves such that we would live always in chaos and confusion – if we do not remember that Christ – our hope – has been raised for our sakes. Jesus is our Pasch, our hope and our light.
He makes himself most present in the suffering of his people and this is the mystery of which we must speak today, for when we speak of His saving presence and proclaim His infinite love in the midst of our suffering, when we seek His light and refuse to surrender to the darkness, we receive that light which is the life of men; that light which, as Saint John reminds us in the prologue to his Gospel, can never be overcome by the darkness, no matter how thick, no matter how choking.
Our suffering is thus transformed by His presence. It no longer has the power to alienate or isolate us. Neither can it dehumanize us nor destroy us. Suffering, however long and terrible it may be, has only the power to reveal Christ among us, and He is the mercy and the forgiveness of God.
The mystery then, of which we speak, is the light that shines in the darkness, Christ Our Lord, Who reveals Himself most wondrously to those who suffer so that suffering and death can do nothing more than bring us to the mercy of the Father.
But the point which we must clarify is that Christ reveals Himself to those who suffer in Christ, to those who humbly accept their pain as a personal sharing in His Passion and who are thus obedient to Christ’s command that we take up our cross and follow Him. Suffering by itself is simply the promise that death will claim these mortal bodies of ours, but suffering in Christ is the promise that we will be raised with Christ, when our mortality will be remade in his immortality and all that in our lives which is broken because it is perishable and finite will be made imperishable and incorrupt.
This is the meaning of Peter’s claim that he is a witness to the sufferings of Christ and thus one who has a share in the glory yet to be revealed. Once Peter grasped the overwhelming truth of this mystery, his life was changed. The world held nothing for Peter. For him, there was only Christ.
This is, as you know, quite a dramatic shift for the man who three times denied Our Lord, the man to whom Jesus said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Christ’s declaration to Peter that he would be the rock, the impregnable foundation, the mountain of Zion upon which the new Jerusalem would be constructed, follows in Matthew’s Gospel Saint Peter’s dramatic profession of faith, when the Lord asks the Twelve, “Who do people say that I am?” and Peter, impulsive as always, responds “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Only later – much later – would Peter come to understand the full implication of this first Profession of Faith. Peter would still have to learn that to follow Christ, to truly be His disciple, one must let go of everything which the world considers valuable and necessary, and become powerless. This is the mystery which confounds independent Peter. It is the mystery which still confounds us: to follow Christ, one must surrender everything and become obedient with the obedience of Christ, for no one gains access to the Kingdom of the Father, unless he enter through the humility and the obedience of Jesus.
Peter had no idea that eventually he would find himself fully accepting this obedience, joyfully accepting his share in the Passion and Death of Christ. But Peter loved Our Lord and love was the way by which Peter learned how to obey. “Lord, you know that I love thee,” Peter affirms three times with tears; and three times Christ commands him to tend to the flock that gathers at the foot of Calvary – and that is where we are now
Peter knew that Jesus was the true Shepherd, the one Master and the only teacher; the rest of us are learners and the lesson we must learn is obedience, obedience unto death. Nothing less than this, for only when we are willing to be obedient with the very obedience of Christ will we come to recognize Christ’s presence among us.
Obedience is thus the heart of the life of the disciple and the key to suffering in Christ and with Christ. This obedience, is must be said, is quite different from obedience the way it is spoken of and dismissed in the world.
For those in the world, obedience is a burden and an imposition. It is the way by which the powerful force the powerless to do obeisance. Simply juridical and always external, obedience is the bending that breaks, but a breaking which is still less painful than the punishment meted out for disobedience. Thus for those in the world obedience is a punishment which must be avoided; but for Christians, obedience is always personal, because it is centered on Christ. It is a surrender to Jesus Whom we love.
For those whose lives are centered in Christ, obedience is that movement which the heart makes when it leaps in joy having once discovered the truth.
Let us consider, then, that Christ has given us both the image of his obedience and the action by which we are made obedient.
The image of Christ’s obedience is His Sacred Heart. That Heart, exposed and wounded must give us pause, for man’s heart it generally hidden and secret. In the silence of his own heart, each of us discovers the truth of who we are, the truth of why we are silent when we should speak, or bothersome and quarrelsome when we should be silent. In our hidden recesses of the heart, we come to know the impulses behind our deeds and the reasons why we act so often as cowards and fools.
But while man’s heart is generally silent and secret, the Heart of the God-Man is fully visible and accessible. It too reveals the motives behind our Lord’s self-surrender. It was obedience to the Father’s will that mankind be reconciled and our many sins forgiven us. “Son though he was,” the Apostle reminds us, “Jesus learned obedience through what He sufferered.” Obedient unto death, death on a cross, Jesus asks his Father to forgive us that God might reveal the full depth of his mercy and love. “Father, forgive them,” he prayed, “for they know not what they do.”
Christ’s Sacred Heart is the image of the obedience which Christ showed by his sacrificial love on Calvary. The Sacrifice of Calvary is also for us the means by which we are made obedient and this is a point which you must never forget: at Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Christ, who offers Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. We make this offering in obedience to Christ who commanded us to “Do this in memory of me” and our obediential offering is perfected in the love with which the Father receives the gift of His Son.
Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ’s obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ’s final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today.
Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come.
Do not be dismayed that there are many in the Church who have not yet grasped this point, and fewer yet still in the world will even dare to consider it. But you – you know this to be true – and it is enough. For ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.
If, then, someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke only of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came here to Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery. And if someone asks what I said to the present situation, tell them only that we must – all of us – become saints through what we suffer.
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