This short excerpt, written by St. Gregory Nazianzen in the late 4th century comes from the Second Reading from today’s Office of Readings of the Liturgy of the Hours. It’s a timeless message that inspires anew to this day.
“Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received — though not in its fullness — a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.”
How do you become a living force for all mankind?
How do you become the radiant light standing beside Christ.
Are you fully enjoying the PURE and DAZZLING light of the Trinity?
January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the church wrote a letter on how the Word made flesh took on human nature from Mary, his mother. St. Athanasius makes an important point concerning Jesus physical relationship to his mother, and thus to all of humanity. Here’s what he said,
“The Apostle tells us: The Word took to himself the sons of Abraham, and so had to be like his brothers in all things. He had then to take a body like ours. This explains the fact of Mary’s presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake. Scripture records her giving birth, and says: She wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Her breasts, which fed him, were called blessed. Sacrifice was offered because the child was her firstborn. Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of “what will be born in you”to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from outside; he spoke of “what will be born from you” so that we might know by faith that her child originated within her and from her.“
Imagine the difference the relationship would be if Mary were simply a “surrogate mother”.
A very holy priest explained Mary the Mother of God this way. She was the:
St. Augustine, in just a few sentences, brilliantly explains how the Holy Family simply works. In his Harmony of the Evangelists [ca. 400 AD]:
“Matthew, therefore, follows out the human generation of Christ, noting His ancestors from Abraham onwards, carrying them on to Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom jesus was born. For in this way it was not allowed that He should be thought of as apart from the marriage of Mary, although she bore Christ not from intercourse in that marriage but as a virgin. By this example it is strongly intimated to the married faithful that even when continence is observed by their common consent, their marriage can still perdue and still be called a marriage, not by a physical joining of the sexes but by the maintaining of the affections of the mind.”
So this prescription calls for:
Meditate on the first and second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel to better appreciate this understanding of the Holy Family.
St. Peter Canisius wrote beautiful prayers drawn from his spiritual experiences. We share an excerpt of a prayer of his to Jesus below.
“So, after daring to approach your most loving heart and to plunge my thirst in it, I received a promise from you of a garment made of three parts: these were to cover my soul in its nakedness, and to belong especially to my religious profession. They were peace, love and perseverance. Protected by this garment of salvation, I was confident that I would lack nothing but all would succeed and give you glory.”
“O man, you did not dare to raise your face to heaven, you lowered your eyes to earth, and suddenly you have received the grace of Christ: all your sins have been forgiven. From being a wicked servant you have become a good son…. Then raise your eyes to the Father who has begotten you through Baptism, to the Father who has redeemed you through his Son, and say: “Our Father….” But do not claim any privilege. he is the Father in a special way only on Christ, bu he is the common Father of us all, because while he has begotten only Christ, he has created us. Then also say by his grace, “Our Father,” so that you may merit being his son.”
And then ask yourself:
In what way does saying, “Our Father…” reveal you to yourself?
How does the Father reveal himself to you when you pray, “Our Father…”?