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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A disciple's tongue, a disciple's ears and a disciple's heart

From Isaiah 50: "The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied, he provides me with speech." Words are powerful indeed, but for what? I think Isaiah hits a few good points: to encourage, to strengthen, to confirm, to comfort, to counsel, to console, to love the weary in their misery. But I can't give what I don't have, and so on top of a disciple's tongue, I need a disciple's ears, in order to learn from the Master, the Word of God. But can one know the meaning of love without enduring pain for the sake of love? So I also need and a disciple's heart, to know the Sacred Heart of Christ on the cross, he who is the love of God in human flesh. And then, my words become action: they become love, to comfort, console, to strengthen, and to aid. Then the disciple's words are made flesh, and God, who is love dwells among us,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We have a pope!

By the grace of God, we have Pope Francis, by all accounts a humble shepherd of faith. It has occurred to me before that when Jesus gave authority to his apostles, and in particular St. Peter, there came with it an inherent duty of love from the sheep to actually listen to their shepherds. It is easy to point a finger at the pope and blame him for everything or expect everything from him, but we do forget how that might actually work... St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis of Assissi, pray for Pope Francis!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To become the righteousness of God in Christ

This phrase from St. Paul (Cor 5:17-21) puzzles me. How can we become the righteousness of God? The context is that of having been reconciled to the Father through the Son: we who were estranged from Him are now his sons. But who can be His son who is not righteous as He is? A son inherits the Father's traits beyond mere similarity, so our inheritance must be truly intimate. In our adoption as His sons through Jesus, whose flesh becomes our flesh and whose blood becomes our blood, we truly do become his sons, and thus, we are his righteousness too, in Christ, who is the righteousness of the Father. And this is instrumental in our role as ambassadors of Christ in the same text: we minister reconciliation to the world who is still estranged to the Father, and we can only do that effectively if we ourselves are the message of reconciliation. How? Because we have been reconciled to Him already, and this is the powerful witness that we bring with us. How do we witness to reconciliation? We must therefore be compassionate as the Father, merciful as the Father is -- in short, we must be witnesses of love, peace, forgiveness -- all being characteristics of God who is love. It is therefore paramount that we who bring the message of reconciliation must shown ourselves to live in peace -- not simply the absence of hostilities but also the presence of communion, the communion of saints (both here and in Heaven). In the movie, "Jesus of Nazareth," the actor paraphrases somewhat when he speaks of the greatest commandment, that there is a second that is just as important as the first, the second being to love your neighbor as yourself. How can this be just as important? Because one loves God completely by loving neighbor as oneself. It makes even more sense if you consider your neighbor as another Christ, who said that whatsoever you do to the least of these brethren of his is done to him as well..

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Justice and Mercy

The parable of the fig tree
The parable in the gospel reading for Laudate Sunday, from St. Luke (13:1-9), is a magnificent portrait of God's justice and mercy meeting in the perfect middle:

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”

We are living that year of favour, and our divine gardener is ever so diligently fertilizing our souls with grace. If we would only appropriate (borrowing from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa and St. Bernard) this grace that he freely gives! If we had faith but the size of a mustard seed .. !

In the barque of Christ

The Sede Vacante symbol
.. we hear St. Peter speaking, not as flesh and blood reveals, but as God reveals, as with this gem of a Petrine utterance:

"I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so."

In these days when the episcopal See of St. Peter is vacant, are we in the same boat as the Orthodox, or the Protestants? No, I do not think so. For we expect the resumption of the norm established by the Apostles. We do not take this situation as normal, to have no pope. And even so, we had popes, the most recent one still alive at that, and his pastoring does not disappear with his abdication, nor that of his predecessors. It is a moment of silence when he utters nothing for the meantime. For now, Peter rests. When the time comes, he will rise up again, to teach again with the keys of the kingdom; to strengthen his brother bishops; and feed the flock in the Petrine way.