Year of the Priest: discover anew

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not just one among many different aspects of your daily life. Being a Christian is who you are. Period. And being a Christian means your life has a mission. It means striving every day to be a better follower, to become more like Jesus in your thoughts and actions.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld once said that, "God calls all the souls he has created to love him with their whole being. . . . But he does not ask all souls to show their love by the same works, to climb to heaven by the same ladder, to achieve goodness in the same way. What sort of work, then must I do? Which is my road to heaven?"4

God expects big things from each of us. That's why he made us. To love him and to serve one another, and to play our personal part in bringing about the kingdom of love. So you have to ask yourselves the same questions that Blessed Charles asked himself. What does God want you to be doing? How does he want you to follow Christ?

Now, how do you go about finding the answers to these questions? By talking to God, humbly and honestly, in prayer. By getting to know Christ better through daily reading and praying over the Gospels. By opening yourself up to the graces he gives us in the sacraments. "Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you." It's not about you choosing what you want to do with your life. It's about discovering how God wants to use your life to spread the good news of his love and his kingdom.

--Abp. Chaput

Each day we are called to conversion, but we are called to it in a very particular way during this year, in union with all those who have received the gift of priestly ordination. Conversion to what? It is conversion to be ever more authentically that which we already are, conversion to our ecclesial identity of which our ministry is a necessary consequence, so that a renewed and joyous awareness of our 'being' will determine our 'acting,' or rather will create the space allowing Christ the Good Shepherd to live in us and to act through us.

Our spirituality must be nothing other than the spirituality of Christ himself, the one and only Supreme High Priest of the New Testament.

In this year, which the Holy Father has providentially announced, we will seek together to concentrate on the identity of Christ the Son of God, in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who became man in the virginal womb of Mary, and on his mission to reveal the Father and His wondrous plan of salvation. This mission of Christ carries with it the building up of the Church: behold the Good Shepherd (Cf. Jn. 19:1-21) who gives his life for the Church (Cf. Eph. 5: 25).

Yes, conversion every day of our lives so that Christ’s manner of life may be the manner of life made ever more manifest in each one of us.

--Congregation for the Clergy

The great Feast of Pentecost invites us to meditate on the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Mary, a very close, privileged and indissoluble relationship. The Virgin of Nazareth was chosen in advance to become the Mother of the Redeemer through the power of the Holy Spirit: in her humility, she found favour in God's eyes (cf. Lk 1:30). In fact, in the New Testament we see that Mary's faith, so to speak, "attracts" the gift of the Holy Spirit. First of all in the conception of the Son of God, a mystery that the Archangel Gabriel himself explains in this way: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Lk 1:35). Immediately afterwards Mary went to help Elizabeth, and when she arrived and greeted her, the Holy Spirit caused the child to leap in the womb of her elderly kinswoman (cf. Lk 1:44); and the whole dialogue between the two mothers is inspired by God's Spirit, especially the Magnificat, the hymn of praise in which Mary expresses her innermost sentiments. The whole event of Jesus' birth and early childhood is guided almost tangibly by the Holy Spirit, although he is not always mentioned. Mary's heart, in perfect unison with the divine Son, is a temple of the Spirit of truth in which every word and every event are preserved in faith, hope and charity (cf. Lk 2:19, 51).

We may therefore be certain that the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the whole of his hidden life in Nazareth always found in his Mother's Immaculate Heart, a "hearth" ever alight with prayer and with constant attention to the voice of the Spirit. The events at the Wedding at Cana are an attestation of this unique harmony between the Mother and the Son in seeking God's will. In a situation laden with symbols of the Covenant, such as the wedding feast, the Virgin Mother intercedes and provokes, so to speak, a sign of superabundant grace: the "good wine" that refers to the mystery of Christ's Blood. This leads us directly to Calvary, where Mary stands beneath the Cross together with the other women and with the Apostle John. The Mother and the disciple receive spiritually the testament of Jesus: his last words and his last breath, in which he begins to pour out the Spirit; and they receive the silent cry of his Blood, poured out entirely for us (cf. Jn 19:25-34). Mary knew where that Blood came from: it had been formed within her by the power of the Holy Spirit and she knew that this same creative "power" was to raise Jesus, as he had promised.

Thus Mary's faith sustained that of the disciples until their encounter with the Risen Lord and continued to accompany them also after his Ascension into Heaven, as they waited for "[Baptism] in the Holy Spirit" (cf. Acts 1:5). At Pentecost the Virgin Mother appears anew as the Bride of the Spirit, for a universal motherhood of all those who are generated by God through faith in Christ. This is why, for all the generations, Mary is an image and model of the Church which together with the Spirit journeys through time, invoking Jesus' glorious return: "Come, Lord Jesus" (cf. Rv 22:17, 20).

Dear friends, let us too learn at the school of Mary to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to his inspirations and to follow them with docility. He makes us grow in accordance with the fullness of Christ, in accordance with those good fruits which the Apostle Paul lists in his Letter to the Galatians: "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal 5:22).

--His Holiness

No comments:

Blog Archive