Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fathers and Sons as Living Metaphors

The angel Gabriel From Heaven Came: The angel Gabriel from heaven came, His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame; "All hail," said he, "O lowly maiden Mary,” - "Most highly favored lady!" Gloria. -  "For know a blessed Mother you shall be, all generations praise continually, Your Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold" -  "Most highly favored lady!" Gloria. -  "Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head; "To me be as it pleases God!" she said.” "My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name." -  "Most highly favored lady!"  Gloria. -  
                All Mariology, all Marian devotion, must begin with solid theology.  For all that Mary does, and all that she is, flows from her relationship with God and her part in His divine plan.  She is His mother.  She is His spouse.  She is His daughter.  She is His handmaid.  We cannot begin to know her if we do not, first, have clear notions about Him-about God, and His dealings with His people.
                In the culture of ancient Israel, one's name was equivalent to one's identity.  At the end of Saint Matthew's gospel (28:19), Jesus command His disciples to baptize "in the name" of the Blessed Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Notice that He does not speak of these as three titles, but as a single name.  This single name, then, reveals Who God is from all eternity.  He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
                The earthly roles of father and son are living metaphors for something divine and eternal.  God Himself is, somehow, eternally, perfectly a family.  Pope John Paul II expressed:  "God in His deepest mystery is not a solitude, but a family, since He has in Himself fatherhood, sonship, and the essence of the family, which is love."  It is the mystery of God in Himself.  Thus, our understanding of God as a family should also affect our understanding of all His works
                The Catechism explains that God has revealed "His Trinitarian being" explicitly in the New Testament, but also left " His Revelation throughout the Old Testament' (no. 237).  The whole of the scriptures, then, can be viewed as the story of God's preparation for, and completion of His greatest work:  His self-revelation in Jesus Christ.  Saint Augustine said that the New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New.  For all history was the world's preparation for the moment when the Word was made flesh, when God became a human child in the womb of a young virgin from Nazareth.  (gathered from Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn) kvs

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday
                When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.
                He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy.  So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting Goad’s creation.  The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.
                Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant.  So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first fruits of all the nations.
                This is why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God.  Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven.  Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.
                The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to hsi Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world.
Since we have our accuser, we need an Advocate as well.  And so, the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, himself-like the Good Samaritan-bound up our wounds and left for our care two coins bearing the royal image, entrusted us to the Holy Spirit.  Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us, and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.  (Edited from a treatise by Saint Irenaeus, bishop. kvs)

Three Things

Three Things
                There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures.  They are prayer, fasting, and mercy.  Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.  Prayer mercy and fasting:  these three are one, and they give life to each other.
                Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting.  Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated.  If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing.  So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy’ if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others.  If you do not close you ear to others you open God’s ear to yourself.
                When you fast, see the fasting of others.  If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry.  If you hope for mercy, show mercy.  If you look for kindness, show kindness.  If you want to receive, give.  If you ask for yourself what you deny to others, your asking is a mockery.
                Let us use fasting to make up for what we have lost by despising others.  Let us offer our souls in sacrifice by means of fasting.  There is nothing more pleasing that we can offer to God, as the psalmist said in prophecy:  A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humble heart.
                Offer your soul to God, make him an oblation of your fasting, so that your soul may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim remaining your own and at the same time made over to God.  Whoever fails to give this to God will not be excused, for if you are to give him yourself you are never without the means of giving.  Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop
                As Saint Peter Chrysologus tells us, the bottom line is what we call the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  But he takes it a step further, a step deeper.  He says do without so that you can do for others, this is the part of “us” we keep, the part we own.  The rest of who and what we are belongs to God.  We may not have much to give to others in need except our kindness, but we have a great deal to give to God.  Ourselves!  Let us forget the “things” of this world, and give the “three things” God desires.       kvs