What’s the purpose of Christian meditation

The purpose of Christian meditation–and all Christian prayer–is to lead us to a closer union with God through Christ. The Triune God should be the focus of our prayer. We seek Him alone. In meditation, we seek to understand His character better, to understand what He requires of us. Then we express our desire for union with Him through thoughts, words, feelings, and even groans (see Romans 8:26). And, yes, sometimes with brief moments of silence.

Feast of the Nativity of Mary

Fra Filippo Lippi, Tondo Bartolini
Fra Filippo Lippi, Tondo Bartolini

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all men, and the holiest of God’s creatures. Because of her Son’s infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, Queen of heaven and of earth, all grace is given to men. Through her, by the will of the Trinity, the unbelieving receive the gift of faith; the afflicted are tendered the works of mercy; and the members of Christ grow in likeness of their Head. In Mary all human nature is exalted. We rejoice in her birthday, as the Church has done from the earliest times. This is one of the three birthdays in the Church Calendar — the Birth of Jesus (December 25), the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Birthday of Mary. All three were born without original sin, although Mary and Jesus were conceived without sin, and St. John was cleansed of original sin while in the womb at the Visitation of Mary.

On Our Lady’s birthday the Church celebrates the first dawning of redemption with the appearance in the world of the Savior’s mother, Mary. The Blessed Virgin occupies a unique place in the history of salvation, and she has the highest mission ever commended to any creature. We rejoice that the Mother of God is our Mother, too. Let us often call upon the Blessed Virgin as “Cause of our joy”, one of the most beautiful titles in her litany.

Prayer:  Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Source: CatholicCulture.org

 

The aim of all sacraments

“The mass is long”, you say, and I add: “Because your love is short.” – St Josemaria, The Way

The holy  Mass brings us face to face with one of the central mysteries of our faith, because it is the gift of the Blessed Trinity to the Church. It is because of this that we can consider Mass as the centre and the source of a Christian’s spiritual life.

It is the aim of all the sacrements (cf St thomas, St. Th. III, q.65 a.3). The life of grace, into which we are brought by baptism, and which is increased and strengthened by confirmation, grows to its fullness in the Mass. “When we participate in the Eucharist,” writes St Cyril of Jerusalem, “we are made spiritual by the divinizing action of the Holy Spirit, who not only makes us share in Christ’s life, as in baptism, but makes us entirely Christ-like, incorporating us into the fullness of Christ Jesus” (Catechisis, 22,3).

This pouring out of the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ  and makes us acknowledge that we are children of God. The Paraclete, who is Love, teaches us to saturate our life with the virtue of charity. Thus consummati in unum: “made one with Christ” (John 17:23), we can be among men what the Eucharist is for us, in the words of St Augustine: “a sign of unity, a bond of love” (In Ioannis Evangelium tractatus, 26,13).

– St Josemaria, Christ is Passing

How can we know God?

Jesus revealed to his disciples the great mystery of our faith – the triune nature of God and the inseparable union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus’ mission is to reveal the glory of God to us – a Trinity of persons – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and to unite us with God in a community of love. The ultimate end, the purpose for which God created us, is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity.

The Jews understood God as Creator and Father of all that he made (Deuteronomy 32:6) and they understood the nation of Israel as God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). Jesus reveals the Father in a unheard of sense. He is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father (see Matthew 11:27). The Spirit, likewise, is inseparably one with the Father and the Son.

The mission of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit are the same. That is why Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will reveal the glory of the Father and the Son and will speak what is true. Before his Passover, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the “Paraclete” and Helper who will be with Jesus’ disciples to teach and guide them “into all truth” (John 14:17,26; 16:13). In baptism we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth in faith and after death in eternal light.

Clement of Alexandria, a third century chuch father, wrote: “What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos (Word) of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her ‘Church’.”

How can we personally know the Father and his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the Father and the Son to us and who gives us the gift of faith to know and understand the truth of God’s word. Through the Holy Spirit, we proclaim our ancient faith in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ until he comes again. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit as our divine Teacher and Helper that we may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God. Do you seek the wisdom that comes from above and do you willingly obey God’s word?

Jesus’ departure and ascension into heaven was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus’ physical presence with his beloved disciples, it marked the beginning of Jesus’ presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised that he would be with them always to the end of time. He assured them of his power – a power which overcame sin and death. Now as the glorified and risen Lord and Saviour, ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus promised to give them the power of his Holy Spirit, which we see fulfilled ten days later on the Feast of Pentecost (Luke 24:49 and Acts 2:1-4). When the Lord Jesus departed physically from the apostles, they were not left alone or powerless. Jesus assured of his presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words to his apostles point to his saving mission and to their mission to be witnesses of his saving death and his glorious resurrection and to proclaim the good news of salvation to all the world. Their task is to proclaim the good news of salvation, not only to the people of Israel, but to all the nations. God’s love and gift of salvation is not just for a few, or for a nation, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it. The gospel is the power of God, the power to forgive sins, to heal, to deliver from evil and oppression, and to restore life. Do you believe in the power of the gospel?

– Don Schwager

Reflections for Trinity Sunday

We can celebrate this great solemnity, not by thinking about or arguing about concepts about how the Trinity works, but by opening our hearts to a deeper relationship with our God, who is love. We can have a relationship with each of the Persons in the Trinity.

Certainly the God who made us can fill us with grateful love. All of creation can give glory to God for the wonders which surround us. As we reflect on the gift of life itself, we may be tempted to feel overwhelmed with life’s struggles. Today we can celebrate a merciful and faithful Father who never forgets that we are his gift of life for the world and for all eternity. Today is a great day to speak to our Father and Creator and to give thanks and praise. A step beyond acknowledging the relationship and giving thanks is to rest in and enjoy our Father’s embrace. There can be nothing more consoling and healing, however we want to imagine it and relish in it. This embrace allows us to surrender our doubts and fears, our small-scoped wants and needs, even our wounds, our judgments and our angers.

Jesus is God’s love who has become one with us in our journey in the flesh on this earth. We can unpack and enjoy that today. We simply are not able to say that God doesn’t understand what it is to be human. Being human, is one of the ways God is for us and with us. And, today we can celebrate the life, death and resurrection gift that Jesus continues to be for us. We can let ourselves long to know him better, to fall in love with our brother and saviour. And we can ask him for the grace to be like him in laying down our lives for others. Being with him will draw us into being more deeply in love with his way of loving those most in need and it will certainly offer us the deepening desire and freedom to love the same way.

Jesus promised that he would not leave us orphans. As we celebrated last weekend, the Father and the Son sent us the Holy Spirit to gather us in this Trinity of love. We all know that we can orphan ourselves, by clinging to independance and the illusion of “freedom” and identifying ourselves with what we accomplish and what we possess. The spirit which is evil loves to divide and scatter us. But the Holy Spirit offers gifts to heal our wounds and bring us a peace that world’s attractions can’t give. Today we can celebrate the work of the Spirit within us and among us. Sometimes, it is a small movement, a simple awareness, a conviction which troubles us, or an inner peace we can count on. We can let the Spirit speak the words, the feelings, the deep deisres we can’t get out and express. We can let the Spirit help us discern small and great choices we make each day – the choices identified by mercy and reconciliation, care for those on the margins, and a deep peace which acknowledges that God is the Father of us all and that Jesus is the Lord. We can let the Spirit transform us from mediocrity to being on fire, allowing our hearts to be part of the Spirit’s work of renewing the face of the earth.

Trinity Sunday can be a day of celebration, of intimate conversation with our three-personed God, who is love. It can be a day of gifts which bring us closer to our origin, our salvation and our life together in community for others.

Pope Francis on Trinity Sunday

Pope Francis said this last year, on Trinity Sunday.

Today is the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity. The light of Eastertide and of Pentecost renews in us every year the joy and amazement of faith: let us recognize that God is not something vague, our God is not a God “spray,” he is tangible; he is not abstract but has a name: “God is love”. His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.