Sorrow of Mary

The sufferings which Christ endured atoned for all the sins of the human race. God suffered as a perfectly innocent man. And He suffered in body and soul more deeply than we can imagine. The Son offered to the Father the dereliction of His apparent abandonment.

God made the Virgin Mary the mother of the sacrificial Lamb. She raised Him with sublime tenderness. Then she had to witness the agony by which He consummated His mission. The Virgin Mary shared in the most intimate way in the dereliction of the crucified Son of God.

More than anyone else, she knew the purity of His innocence and the injustice of His death. More than anyone else, she sympathized with her Son’s intimacy with the heavenly Father. She stood closest when the Lord cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Can anyone doubt that she would have preferred to die, rather than hear this?

But our Lady of sorrows gives us hope precisely because she knew such indescribable motherly pain. She has faced everything that we must endure; none of our sufferings are foreign to her. She greets them all with her patient faith.

She trusted in God even as she held her Son’s dead body in her arms. In the end, things turned out okay.

Holy Co-operation!

God is holy. By definition.

The apse wall of Otranto Cathedral holds the skulls of 800 martyrs
What is holy?

God.

What is God?

Holy.

He is holy.

He is infinitely, terrifyingly holy.

He is won-derfully, magni-ficently holy.

We Christians aspire to holiness. We desire the holiness of God. We want to share in His glory. We want to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.

Are we presumptuous? After all, how can we be holy—we who subsist on the flesh of dead animals, and sometimes produce bad smells and bad words, and spend a lot of time thinking about ice cream and professional sports and a lot of other things that don’t exactly pertain to holiness? How can we hope to be holy?

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Old Made New

“Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

“Behold, I make all things new.” This is what the One who sat on the throne in heaven said, according to the vision of St. John.

Christ our King speaks to us from His throne of victory. He says to us:

My children, you have grown old.

The dreariness of sin and worldliness has exhausted you. You can barely lift up your eyes to see the sunlight.

But, behold! I make all things new!

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Incomprehensible

Incomprehension at Verizon Center
How could the Hoyas beat up on Duke on Saturday and lose to South Florida on Wednesday?

Incomprehensible.

But if you want really incomprehensible, try: Almighty God.

You are quite unable to think of such a thing [as God]. Such ignorance is more religious and devout than any presumption of knowledge…

We are talking about God, so why be surprised if you cannot grasp it? I mean, if you can grasp it, it isn’t God.

Let us rather make a devout confession of ignorance, instead of a brash profession of knowledge. (St. Augustine)

…Perhaps you have been wondering two things:

1. Why haven’t we heard anything from Fr. White since Saturday?

2. Why doesn’t Fr. White ever write anything about the world-famous “Year of the Priest?”

I have been basking in the mystery of what happened 40 days after Christmas, when the most pure Virgin went to the Temple to be purified, and she and St. Joseph redeemed the Redeemer with the sacrifice of a some birds.

Why was the Temple built? Only at this moment did the reason become fully clear. The Temple was built for the Son of God to enter it, and then offer Himself to the Father.

The Blessed Mother carried Him in, so that He could make this offering from His little Sacred Heart.

So we see that there are two priesthoods.

1. Some of us men perform the ministerial priesthood. It is a sublime mystery. The Lord uses us to make Himself present, so that He can be the Church’s offering to the Father.

2. All of us Christians perform the baptismal priesthood. We offer the Son to the Father, and ourselves along with Him.

The ministerial priesthood is God giving Himself to us. The baptismal priesthood is us giving God back to Himself, and giving ourselves to Him at the same time.

May we all exercise our priestly office every day, with fidelity and generosity.

…Please say a prayer for the repose of Fr. Levester Jones.

We have lost an excellent priest at a young age. May he rest in peace. May the Lord console all of us who love him.

Hall of Famers and the Holy Name

Many art historians say: El Greco was a pioneer Modern painter.

I have no interest in this thesis. El Greco is an L.R.S. Hall-of-Famer by his own merits. He is the greatest painter ever. He is in a class by himself.

I have to admit that I never noticed that St. Mary Magdalene is in El Greco’s Saint Peter in Penitence. She is rushing from the empty tomb, with the angel behind her. (Just to the left of St. Peter’s right elbow.)

(FYI: El Greco painted this subject at least six times. The Phillips Collection houses one.)

…Had enough Christmas sentimentality? Check out this hard-nosed Epiphany poem by another L.R.S. Hall-of-Famer…

…Speaking of Epiphany, it is a good day to mark your calendars with the most important days of the year. Click here, and scroll down to page 3.

Also, here is a homily for the Solemnity, with a little something thrown in for the Feast of the Holy Name:

When the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, they learned something they did not yet know.

Continue reading “Hall of Famers and the Holy Name”

New Year

Sweet Hoya win over the team that embarrassed us twice in one week at the end of last season!

Makes a guy want to come clean for the foibles of ’09. Let me begin by acknowledging that:

1. I think I was unfair to Romeo and Juliet.

2. My sonnet about the Hoyas last February was kind of bitter.

…Here’s a New Year’s Day homily:

Christmas Day is such a holy and important day that it lasts for eight days. Christmas Day lasts from December 25 until today, New Year’s Day.

Everybody knows this. The greeting is: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” They go together, Christmas and New Year’s. They are the beginning and end of the annual celebration of the birthday of God.

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Three Points for Holy Family

Three little points about the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.

I.
The Law of Moses stipulated that the Jews of old were to go up to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple three times a year.

The trip on foot from Nazareth to Jerusalem was long. It took a few days. It was not a journey for anyone younger than twelve.

The pilgrimage of the twelve-year-old Christ to Jerusalem was the first time the Lord Jesus ascended to the Temple on His own two feet. It was His first religious pilgrimage.

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Sheep’s Gate Neighborhood

Happy Feast of Stephen!

The home of Sts. Joachim and Ann–our Lady’s parents–was in the northeast corner of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is less than a day’s journey from Bethlehem. Perhaps the Holy Family rested today in the home where the Blessed Virgin grew up.

St. Stephen was martyred right outside the Sheep Gate of the ancient city. This gate is just steps from the home of Joachim and Ann.

Nobody knows exactly why St. Stephen’s Day is the day after Christmas. It has been his feast day since the early centuries.

Maybe the first Christians all knew that the first martyr died very near the place where the Lord spent his newborn days on earth.

Perfect Offering

Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord.
–Malachi 3:4

Today is a great day to say Holy Mass. One of the prayers the priest prays today includes:

“You have given us this memorial [the Mass] as the perfect form of worship.”

He gave us the Mass on Holy Thursday, of course–so why do we say this prayer right before Christmas?

It is true that the Mass was instituted in the springtime of our Lord’s 33rd year on earth.

But the preparations for the Holy Sacrifice began long before that…

It started in the Garden of Eden, when God made us with a desire for Himself. He made us want to offer something to please Him. He made us religious.

He called Abraham to offer a sacrifice. He gave the Israelites the Passover and all the sacrifices of the Temple.

The holy Victim of the Mass is the Incarnate Word of God. The Word became incarnate on Annunciation Day, when the Blessed Virgin said yes to the Archangel. There would be no Mass without that day.

And Christmas is a special day for priests to reflect on our role in the Mass. We priests get to cradle Christ in our hands at the altar, like the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph did on Christmas.

So Christmas is the perfect day for priests to give thanks to God for the Holy Mass…

Jeremy Lin
…Unusual Wednesday noon game today for the Hoyas.

Harvard is by no means an easy opponent.

They have a Chinese-American phenom. They beat Boston College and almost beat Connecticut.

Hoyas need to bounce back from Saturday’s bone-cruncher with a solid win. Root hard, people! Chvotkin has the call on AM 980…

…I was thinking about ‘favorite Bible verses.’ Here is an encore presentation of one of the funniest comedy routines ever:

Hidden in the Womb

The Basilica of the Visitation

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. –Luke 1:41

We all started off our lives in our mothers’ wombs. We were hidden from the eyes of men, but we were very much alive.

When St. John the Baptist was in St. Elizabeth’s womb, he realized that the Son of God had come to his house. In other words, St. John exercised his mission as a prophet even before he was born.

Christ Himself also exercised His mission before birth. At the moment the Lord Jesus was conceived, God first lived with a human soul. At that moment, Christ made an act of submission to the Father. The act is perfectly expressed in the words of the fortieth Psalm:

I waited, waited for the LORD, who bent down and heard my cry, drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps, and put a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God.

Happy those whose trust is the LORD, who turn not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood…

Sacrifice and offering you do not want; but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts and sin-offerings you do not require; so I said, “Here I am; your commands for me are written in the scroll. To do your will is my delight; my God, your law is in my heart!”

Our lives begin at the moment of conception. Life begins to unfold in the womb. St. John’s mission in life was to point out the Lamb of God. He began to fulfill this mission even before he was born. The Lord Jesus’ mission was to offer Himself completely to the Father, to sacrifice Himself for the redemption of the world. Christ accomplished His self-offering perfectly even while He was still hidden in Mary’s womb. His 33 years on earth were simply a matter of living out what He had already resolved to do.

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