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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In today's Gospel reading (Luke 10:38-42), the Lord points out to Martha that her sister Mary had chosen the better part: total abandonment to adoring and contemplating the face of God, who is Jesus Christ. The sermon below, which comes from DailyGospel.org, comes straight to the point about this: "The one, necessary thing is that you recognise your weakness and frailty. You can claim nothing of yourself; of yourself you are nothing." In some other text that I cannot now recall, Golgotha was where the Lord showed us how he emptied himself completely, absolutely abandoned to his death on the cross, so that he may then be filled with absolute glory at his rising. This, too, we are called to do, to renounce ourselves and the world and allow ourselves to be emptied out, so that the Father may then fill us up completely, if in stages.

And then.. then we may return to the business of ourselves and the world with a new heart, a new spirit, clean hands, ready to do the work that the Lord set out for us: to love, to serve, and to proclaim the good news to all.

John Tauler (c.1300-1361), Dominican at Strasbourg
Sermon 51

“Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly…, be killed and, on the third day, be raised” (Mt 16,21)

Our Lord said that his disciples were blessed because of what they saw (Lk 10,23). Looking at the matter closely, we ought to be just as blessed as they were since we see Our Lord Jesus Christ more perfectly than disciples such as Saint Peter or Saint John. They only had before their eyes a poor, weak, suffering and mortal man. Whereas, thanks to our holy and precious faith, we have knowledge of a God who is great, worshipful, powerful, Lord of heaven and earth and who made creation out of nothing. In contemplating this our eyes, yes, and our souls find eternal blessedness.

Dear children, great theologians and university doctors debate the question of knowing which is of greater importance and esteem: knowledge or love? We, on the other hand, speak more readily of what the masters of life have to say, since when we reach heaven then shall we see well the truth about everything. Hasn’t Our Lord said: “Only one thing is necessary?” What is this one, necessary thing that is so necessary? The one, necessary thing is that you recognise your weakness and frailty. You can claim nothing of yourself; of yourself you are nothing. And it was on account of this one necessary thing that Our Lord underwent an anguish so great that he sweated blood. It was because we did not want to acknowledge this one thing that the Lord cried out on the cross: “O God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27,46). Yes indeed, it was necessary that the saviour, our one, necessary thing, should be completely forsaken by all men.

Dear child, let go of everything that I myself and any master could teach: the active life, contemplation, lofty reflections, and study only that one thing necessary in such a way that it will be granted you. Then you will have worked well. This is the reason why Our Lord said: “Mary has chosen the better part,” yes, better than all. Truly, if you could gain it you would have gained everything: not just a part of the good, but all of it.

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