Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The priesthood of Christ is derived from sacrifice

"In what was done by Melchisedech the priest we recognize a type of the Sacrament of the Lord's Sacrifice.  For thus it is written in the writings of God: And Melchisedech, King of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the Most High God, and he blessed Abraham.  Concerning the fact that Melchisedech was a type of Christ, the Holy Ghost himself doth testify in the Psalms, where the First Person of the Holy Trinity (that is, the Father) is set before us as saying unto the Second Person (that is, the Son): Before the day-star have I begotten thee: Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedech.  And doubtless the sameness of order in the priesthood of Christ and of Melchisedech is derived from sacrifice, and proceedeth from this, namely; that Melchisedech was the priest of the Most High God; that he offered bread and wine; and that he blessed Abraham.

For who is so truly the priest of the Most High God as is our Lord Jesus Christ?  And he it is that hath made an offering unto God the Father, and the same offering that Melchisedech made, Bread and Wine, that is to say, his own Flesh and his own Blood.  And so far as Abraham is concerned, the blessing which Melchisedech gave him so long ago belongeth also to us.  For if Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness, verily then, whosoever believeth God and liveth by faith, the same is found righteous, and is made manifest unto us as one who hath thereby attained the blessing given faithful Abraham; which same is also justified as the Apostle Paul proveth, where he saith: Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness; know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham; and the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

To the end therefore, that this blessing of Abraham by Melchisedech the priest might be duly solemnized, it was preceded (as we are told in Genesis) by a symbolic sacrifice consisting of bread and wine.  Completing and fulfilling this sacrifice, our Lord Jesus Christ offered up bread, and a cup of wine mingled with water.  And thus he who came, (not to destroy, but to fulfil, the Law and the Prophets,) utterly satisfied all the implications prefigured in the oblation made by Melchisedech.  Through Solomon's Proverbs also did the Holy Ghost clearly foreshadow, as it were in a parable, the Lord's Sacrifice, saying: Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out seven pillars: referring thus to the Church.  In the same passage he pointeth to the victim slain, and the bread and wine, saying: She hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine.  He pointeth to the altar in the words: She hath also furnished her table.  And to the apostolic priesthood in the words: She hath sent forth her servants, she crieth upon the highest places of the city, saying, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither unto me; as for them that want understanding, she saith to them, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled for you."

-- From the letter to Caecilius by St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr

Monday, June 27, 2011

"St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that 'the first thing that is necessary for every Christian is faith, without which no one is truly called a faithful Christian. Faith brings about four good effects. The first is that through faith the soul is united to God, and by it there is between the soul and God a union akin to marriage. 'I will espouse thee in faith.''

In other words, that Therese Martin should become St. Therese, a bride of Christ, should only appear logical to us in light of St. Thomas' doctrine. If espousal with God is the fruit of the act of faith, then this must also be a universal vocation and not something exclusive to consecrated souls. God's courtship of the soul begins in baptism. Certainly, the nature of love is that it must be freely offered and the response must also be given in freedom, but often God's proposal is left unrequited - hence, the scandal of sin. But when his offer is accepted whole-heartedly and with the radical response demanded of an authentic act of faith, then the soul enters into a marital covenant with God and takes upon itself all the dignity and privileges accorded to this state.

This faithful matrimonial love implies total participation in the life of one's spouse, experiencing in one's own soul the spouse's interior and exterior trials. Naturally, St. Therese of Lisieux, faithful spouse to Christ, could do no less than offer herself together with her divine Spouse as an expiatory victim for the salvation of sinners.

Her formal relationship with Christ and her new insertion into his life began fittingly on Christmas. Also fittingly, her relationship with him on earth would end on Calvary.

Between Bethlehem and Calvary, St. Therese of Lisieux would share in her Spouse's joys, sorrows, trials and always his peace. Further, like her Spouse, she could not remain indifferent to his rejection by so many souls. Her relationship with these souls began under the auspices of maternal love and intercession. It would transform with time into fraternal love and solidarity - and the vicarious suffering to which both loves expose themselves."

-- St. Therese of Lisieux: Spouse and Victim by Cliff Ermatinger

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of his Flesh the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined, for the world’s redemption,
From a noble womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man with man conversing,
Stay’d, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously his life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with his chosen band,
He the Paschal victim eating,
First fulfils the Law’s command;
Then, as Food to his Apostles
Gives Himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, the bread of nature
By his word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into his Blood He changes: —
What though sense no change discerns?
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.

-- Traditional Hymn

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Holy Spirit eternal love!

1.Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother's hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

2.Are you not the sweet manna
That from the Son's heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And he gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time his fullness is to stream through me,
Life of your life indeed, you yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

3.Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge's throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!

4.Are you the spirit's fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God's eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgement ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!

5.Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God's molding hand!

6.Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty's throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of your creation,
And radiantly your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!

7.Are you the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
The harmony,
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation!

-- St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ven Thomas Aquinas of St Teresa

"It seems that Thomas was born in Dublin about 1612; in 1635 he joined the Discalced Carmelites in the same city. Ordained a priest in 1640, he immediately began a beneficent ministry which was soon limited, but not interrupted, by the Puritan persecution that broke out in 1642. In order to save a Catholic family from falling back into error, he went for a visit, although the home of this family was in a very dangerous zone: the family had already abjured its Protestantism, but was in new danger because of the insistence of the Puritans. In consequence, soon afterwards he was captured. Transferred to Drogheda, Thomas was able to celebrate Mass secretly in prison and thus prepared himself for martyrdom. In fact, after only five days and having just about finished Mass, he received the announcement of his condemnation to death, an announcement which he publicly called «a happy and awaited message». He did wish to know the concrete cause of his condemnation and the reason for it without previous judgment. And when he learned that «for papist priests there was no need of any form of law,» he added: «Blessed be God! My Savior also was condemned to death against every law and reason. See, I shall die with Him, my friend! There is no reason for losing time».

Before leaving the prison he was able to go to confession to the guardian of the Friars Minor, who was also being held; and then, carrying a crucifix and a rosary in his hands, he was brought to the place of judgment. Along the way he recited the litany of Our Lady in a loud voice. He was interrupted by repeated invitations to abjure «the papal heresy,» but he immediately resumed his prayer. Along the way he was also able to confirm in the faith a poor Catholic woman who was also being led to punishment and was in danger of betraying her religion. With the litany of Our Lady still on his lips, Thomas reached the scaffold. Publicly, he asked once more for the reason of his condemnation and after it had been confirmed repeatedly that he had been sentenced because he was a papist, a priest and a religious, he exclaimed in a voice that could be heard by those present: «That is enough for me! Fortunately, I do not die for any other crime. I am very ready to die for the Catholic faith and for my religious profession.» He was tempted yet again to deny the faith; but when it was seen that all was in vain, the rope was put around his neck. But, the first time, it broke. He fell, still holding the crucifix and the rosary in his hands. The second time, the rope held and he died by hanging. It was June 6, 1642.

His body was buried by Catholics, and his burial place was repeatedly surrounded by a strange radiance, something that many persons experienced and confirmed, beginning with the Protestant authorities themselves. His cause was promoted immediately after his death, but had some success only at the beginning of this century. It was introduced by St. Pius X on Feb. 12, 1915, with that of the other Irish martyrs of the period from 1541-1713."

-- Biography by Valentino Macca

Friday, June 3, 2011

Act of Love

Reveal Thy Sacred Heart to me, O Jesus, and show me Its attractions. Unite me to It for ever. Grant that all my aspirations and all the beats of my heart, which cease not even while I sleep, may be a testimonial to Thee of my love for Thee and may say to Thee: Yes, Lord, I am all Thine; pledge of my allegiance to Thee rests ever in my heart will never cease to be there. Do Thou accept the slight amount of good that I do and be graciously pleased to repair all my wrong-doing; so that I may be able to bless Thee in time and in eternity. Amen. 

-- Writte by Cardinal Merry del Val