Jerome: Christ, the Temple and the Church Thursday, Oct 31 2013 

St.-Jerome-of-StridoniumOn Jeremiah 30:18-31:9

The Lord says this: I will restore the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings, and the city shall be rebuilt on its hill.

There was already a symbol of these things in the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra, when the people returned to Jerusalem and the city began to be rebuilt on its hill and the law of the Temple observed, and so on as related in the book of Ezra.

But the prophecy was more fully and perfectly fulfilled in the time of our Lord and Saviour, and of the Apostles, when that city of which it is written: A city built on a hill cannot be hidden was built on its hill.

Moreover, the Temple was established with its rites and ceremonies, so that whatever was done outwardly among the people of the past might be fulfilled spiritually in the Church.

Then songs of thanksgiving will come from them, for all the Apostles said: Grace and peace to you. It will be the sound of people dancing, not like those who ate and drank and rose up to dance, but as David danced before the ark of the Lord.

And they will increase and not diminish, so that the whole world may believe in God the Saviour. They will be honoured, so that what was written may be fulfilled: Glorious things are told of you, city of God.

And its sons, that is, the Apostles, will be like the men of old, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who founded the Israelite race. At that time the Lord will punish all the hostile powers that oppressed God’s people.

And their leader will be one of themselves undoubtedly our Lord and Saviour who was born an Israelite; their ruler will come from their own number.

The Father placed him near himself, and he came so close to him that his Son could declare: I am in the Father, and the Father is in me; for no one can place his heart so near the Lord, nor be as closely united to him as the Son is to the Father.

And the words: You shall be my people and I will be your God we see partly fulfilled in Israel and completely in all the nations of the world.

Jerome (347-420): Commentary on Jeremiah, 6.30 (24:904-905); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of Week 31 in Ordinary Time, Year 1

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Benedict XVI: The Mystery of the Heart of a God Who Feels Compassion Friday, Jun 7 2013 

Pope_Benedictus_XVIIn a little while we shall sing in the antiphon to the MagnificatThe Lord has drawn us to his heart—Suscepit nos Dominus in sinum et cor suum”.  

God’s heart, as the expression of his will, is spoken of twenty-six times in the Old Testament.

Before God’s heart men and women stand judged.  His heartfelt pain at sins of mankind makes God decide on the flood, but then he is touched by the sight of human weakness and offers his forgiveness.

Yet another passage of the Old Testament speaks of God’s heart with absolute clarity: it is in the eleventh chapter of the book of the Prophet Hosea, whose opening lines portray the Lord’s love for Israel at the dawn of its history: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1).

Israel, however, responds to God’s constant offer of love with indifference and even outright ingratitude. “The more I called them”, the Lord is forced to admit, “the more they went from me” (v. 2).

Even so, he never abandons Israel to the power of its enemies, because “my heart”—the the Creator of the universe observes—”recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender” (v. 8).

The heart of God burns with compassion!  On today’s solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus the Church presents us this mystery for our contemplation: the mystery of the heart of a God who feels compassion and who bestows all his love upon humanity.

A mysterious love, which in the texts of the New Testament is revealed to us as God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind.

God does not lose heart in the face of ingratitude or rejection by the people he has chosen; rather, with infinite mercy he sends his only-begotten Son into the world to take upon himself the fate of a shattered love, so that by defeating the power of evil and death he could restore to human beings enslaved by sin their dignity as sons and daughters.

But this took place at great cost—the only-begotten Son of the Father was sacrificed on the Cross: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (cf. John 13:1).

The symbol of this love which transcends death is his side, pierced by a spear.  The Apostle John, an eyewitness, tells us: “one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water” (cf. Jn 19:34).

Benedict XVI (b. 1927): Homily on the Solemnity of the sacred Heart of Jesus, 2009.

Ambrose of Milan: Holy Scripture is Drunk when the Power of the Word Penetrates the Depths of the Mind Tuesday, Feb 5 2013 

ambrose_of_milanFirst drink from the Old Testament, so that you may drink from the New as well.

You cannot drink from the second without drinking from the first.

Drink from the Old Testament to slake your thirst, and from the New to quench it completely.

Compunction is found in the Old Testament; joy in the New.

Notice how the Lord, on his servants’ behalf, countered the wiles of the devil.

With deceitful cunning the devil beguiled one man in order to overthrow all mankind in his person.

But with salutary food Jesus redeemed all mankind, in order to restore with him all, even him who had been beguiled.

The Lord Jesus poured out water from the rock and everyone drank. Those who drank from the symbol were satisfied, but those who drank from the reality were inebriated.

That was a good inebriation that steadied the walk of the sober mind; that was a good inebriation that watered the gift of eternal life.

Drink of this cup, then, of which the Prophet said: Your cup that inebriates, how noble it is!

Drink the cup of the Old Testament and of the New, for in both you drink Christ.

Drink Christ because he is the vine; drink Christ because he is the rock that poured out water.

Drink Christ because he is the fountain of life; drink Christ because he is the river whose running waters give joy to the city of God, and because he is peace, and because out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Drink Christ to drink the blood which redeemed you; drink Christ to drink his words: the Old Testament is his word; the New Testament is his word.

Holy Scripture is drunk and swallowed when the power of the eternal Word penetrates the depths of the mind and the virtue of the soul.

In short, we do not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Drink this word, but according to its own order.

Drink it first in the Old Testament; then hasten to drink it also in the New.

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On Psalm 1, 33 (CSEL 64:28-30);  from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time Year 1.

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “Hail, Cross, Our Only Hope!” Friday, Sep 14 2012 

“Hail, Cross, our only hope!”….

At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the Cross greets us through the Heart of the Saviour.

And now, as the church year draws toward an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spellbound, until the Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and to rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb.

[…] More than ever the Cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the Antichrist show it far more dishonur than did the Persians who stole it.

They desecrate the images of the Cross, and they make every effort to tear the Cross out of the hearts of Christians.

All too often they have succeeded even with those who, like us, once vowed to bear Christ’s Cross after him.

Therefore, the Saviur today looks at us, solemnly probing us, and asks each one of us: Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully!

The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open.

If you decide for Christ, it could cost you your life. Carefully consider what you promise.

[…] The arms of the Crucified are spread out to draw you to his heart. He wants your life in order to give you his.

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house.

But high above all flames towers the Cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven.

It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the Cross.

From the open Heart gushes the Blood of the Saviur. This extinguishes the flames of hell.

Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth.

[…] Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious Blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is.

[…] Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine Heart. Its precious Blood is poured everywhere soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness?

What will you answer him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942): At the Foot of the Cross; Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included. Maintained by the Austrian Province of the Teresian Carmel

H.E. Manning: Adore the Sacred Heart and Pass into the Worship of the Eternal Throne Friday, Jun 15 2012 

The Sacred Heart is the key of the Incarnation; the Incarnation is the treasure-house in which are all the truths of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Incarnation casts off two rays of light: on the one side, the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar; on the other, the devotion due to the Blessed Mother of God.

Anyone who knows the Sacred Heart aright will know…the whole science of God and the whole science of man, and the relations between God and man and between man and man. These truths are the dogma of dogmas, the treasures hid in the Sacred Heart, the tabernacle of God.

Make yourselves, then, disciples of the Sacred Heart; learn to know it, and that knowledge will never pass away.

[…] Love…the Sacred Heart, and that love will pass into the Beatific Union; for charity is eternal, and the love of the Sacred Heart is the union of our faint weak charity with the fervent charity, divine and human, of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adore the Sacred Heart, and it will pass into the worship of the eternal throne, where there will be prayer no longer and reparation no more; but praise for ever, and thanksgiving to all eternity.

Do not think that the science of the Sacred Heart is too deep for yon. It is the science of the poor and the science of the little child; they, by an infused light and by an implicit knowledge, know the Sacred Heart even more perfectly and more precisely than the cultivated intellect which, in its cultivation, is cold.

Therefore it is a science within the reach of all; and it comes more by love than by light, more by prayer than by study; most of all it comes by communion with the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Himself.

Make yourselves, then, disciples of His Sacred Heart. Learn to love and to be like it; and in the measure in which you are like it you will know it; and in the measure in which you know it, you will love it; and it will be in you as rest and sweetness and light and strength.

You will walk with Jesus in this world as the two disciples walked with Him to Emmaus, but your eyes will not be holden: and your heart will bum within you as He talks with you by the way;.

And when you see Him in eternity He will not vanish out of your sight, but you will see Him as He is, and He will abide with you forever.

H.E. Cardinal Manning (1808-1892): The Glories of the Sacred Heart, pp. 97-99.

Lanspergius: The Wound of the Heart Makes Known the Warm-Hearted Charity of Jesus Christ Monday, Jun 4 2012 

In order to manifest more clearly His infinite love, Jesus has opened to us His Heart.

It is to make us understand that all he has endured for us, He has endured just on account of the love with which His Heart was filled.

After showing to us the pains suffered in His Body, Jesus wishes us also the see the love of His most merciful, most faithful, most loving Heart, which inspired Him with the desire and the necessity of suffering for us.

Again, He has opened up for us His Heart in order that we might have a place of refuge in temptation, of consolation in sadness, of protection in trial, of safety in adversity and of light in doubt.

Indeed, to all who enter into this most beneficial Wound of His Heart, Jesus gives the sweetness of holy love, with salvation and eternal happiness.

This wound of the Sacred Heart of Jesus teaches us to pray unceasingly that our hearts may be so pierced with the spear of charity, that tears of compunction and of divine love may be as a river always flowing in our souls.

The Wound of the Side, which is the Wound of the Heart, therefore makes known to us the warm-hearted charity of Jesus Christ, a love which sheds an ineffable radiance over all His actions, all His words, and all His sufferings, filling them with unspeakable sweetness.

O most sweet Jesus in Heaven, shall I find my delight in Thy most sweet Heart?

How great, immeasurable, inexplicable, and incomprehensible is the joy of the elect who read in this most perfect book of Thy Heart the infinite love Thou hast for them.

They understand the fullness of Thy unfailing charity, which nothing can ever weaken, nothing ever destroy.

Oh, how happy and blessed is the mind to which Thou revealest so clearly and unconstrainedly the secrets of Thy most sweet Heart.

I will fall asleep in the Heart of Jesus, the source of true and supreme peace, the fountain whence springs and flows for my soul the endless tranquillity which will set me free for ever from the trials and sorrows of this life.

And since I must so soon leave this world, I place in Jesus my desires, my thoughts, and affections, by entering into His tender and loving Heart.

There I will hide myself as in a sepulchre, and will rest in a sweet sleep.

When, at length, I breathe my last, I will place my Heart in His opened side; I will confide my heart to His Heart.

Lanspergius [John Justus of Landsberg] (1489-1539): Ancient Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Carthusian Monks of the XIV-XVII Centuries, pp. 39-41.

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: I Will Remain With You Tuesday, Aug 9 2011 

You reign at the Father’s right hand
In the kingdom of his eternal glory
As God’s Word from the beginning.

You reign on the Almighty’s throne
Also in transfigured human form,
Ever since the completion of your work on earth.

I believe this because your word teaches me so,
And because I believe, I know it gives me joy,
And blessed hope blooms forth from it.

For where you are, there also are your own,
Heaven is my glorious homeland,
I share with you the Father’s throne.

The Eternal who made all creatures,
Who, thrice holy, encompasses all being,
In addition has a silent, special kingdom of his own.

The innermost chamber of the human soul
Is the Trinity’s favorite place to be,
His heavenly throne on earth.

To deliver this heavenly kingdom from the hand of the enemy,
The Son of God has come as Son of Man,
He gave his blood as the price of deliverance.

In the heart of Jesus, which was pierced,
The kingdom of heaven and the land of earth are bound together.
Here is for us the source of life.

This heart is the heart of the triune Divinity,
And the center of all human hearts
That bestows on us the life of God.

It draws us to itself with secret power,
It conceals us in itself in the Father’s bosom
And floods us with the Holy Spirit.

This Heart, it beats for us in a small tabernacle
Where it remains mysteriously hidden
In that still, white host.

That is your royal throne on earth, O Lord,
Which visibly you have erected for us,
And you are pleased when I approach it.

Full of love, you sink your gaze into mine
And bend your ear to my quiet words
And deeply fill my heart with peace.

Yet your love is not satisfied
With this exchange that could still lead to separation:
Your heart requires more.

You come to me as early morning’s meal each daybreak.
Your flesh and blood become food and drink for me
And something wonderful happens.

Your body mysteriously permeates mine
And your soul unites with mine:
I am no longer what once I was.

You come and go, but the seed
That you sowed for future glory, remains behind
Buried in this body of dust.

A luster of heaven remains in the soul,
A deep glow remains in the eyes,
A soaring in the tone of voice.

There remains the bond that binds heart to heart,
The stream of life that springs from yours
And animates each limb.

How wonderful are your gracious wonders!
All we can do is be amazed and stammer and fall silent
Because intellect and words fail.

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942): I Will Remain With You; Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included. Maintained by the Austrian Province of the Teresian Carmel

F.W. Faber: The Precious Blood Is Living in the Chalice Monday, Jul 18 2011 

We need not go to Jerusalem, we need not have lived eighteen hundred years ago, to find the Precious Blood, and worship it.

[…] We actually worship it every day in the chalice at Mass. When the chalice is uplifted over the altar, the Blood of Jesus is there, whole and entire, glorified and full of the pulses of His true human life.

The Blood that once lay in the cave at Olivet, that curdled in the thongs and knots of  the scourges, that matted His hair, and soaked His garments,  that stained the crown of thorns and bedewed the Cross…;

that same Blood is living in the chalice, united to the Person of the Eternal Word, to be worshipped with the uttermost prostration of our bodies and our souls.

When the beams of the morning sun come in at the windows of the church, and fall for a moment into the uncovered chalice, and glance there as if among precious stones with a restless timid gleaming, and the priest sees it, and the light seems to vibrate into his own heart, quickening his faith and love, it is the Blood of God which is there, the very living Blood whose first fountains were in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

When the Blessed Sacrament is laid upon your tongue, that moment and that act which the great angels of God look down upon with such surpassing awe, the Blood of Jesus is throbbing there in all its abounding life of glory.

It sheathes in the sacramental mystery that exceeding radiance which is lighting all heaven at that moment with a magnificence of splendour which exceeds the glowing of a million suns.

You do not feel the strong pulses of His immortal life. If you did, you could hardly live yourself. Sacred terror would undo your life.

But in that adorable Host is the whole of the Precious Blood, the Blood of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, and Calvary, the Blood of the Passion, of the Resurrection, and of the Ascension, the Blood shed and re-assumed.

As Mary bore that Precious Blood within herself of old, so do you bear it now.

It is in His Heart and veins, within the temple of His Body, as it was when He lay those nine months in her ever-blessed womb.

[…] The whole of the Precious Blood is in the chalice and in the Host. It is not part: it is the whole. We may well tremble to think what sanctuaries we are, when the Blessed Sacrament is within us.

Frederick William Faber (1814—1863): The Precious Blood, pp. 23-34.

F.W. Faber: There is Precious Blood to be Had for the Asking; and What It Gives is Grace Tuesday, Jul 5 2011 

What is there in the world worth anything except grace? Oh, how childishly we let ourselves be run away with by all manner of follies, which have nothing to do with the interests of Jesus.

How stupid it is of us! What time we waste! What harm we do! What good we leave undone! And how sweetly patient Jesus is with us all through it!

[…] Graces keep coming; merits keep multiplying; almost as fast as the blessed beatings of the Sacred Heart.

Meanwhile, all the time that Heart is yearning over us with enraptured love, we are saying, I am not obliged to do this; I need not forego this pleasure; I must keep down religious enthusiasm.

[…] To receive…all the natural gifts and ornaments of St. Michael, his power, strength, wisdom, beauty, and all the rest, would be nothing compared with one additional degree of grace, such as we get a score of if we resist an angry feeling for a quarter of an hour; for grace is a participation of the Divine Nature.

[…] Fix upon any evil or calamity of the Church you please, and I am ready to show you it would never have taken place, if her children had had a true esteem of grace.

[…] Only pray that men may have a truer esteem of grace, and you will be a secret apostle of Jesus.

All graces are in Him; Ho is the fountain and the fullness of them all;

He longs to pour them out over dear souls, souls that He died for; and they will not let Him; […] Go and help Jesus. Why should a single soul be lost, for which He died ?

I say, why should one be lost ? It is a horrible thing to think of a lost soul, most horrible. And why should they be lost? why?

There is Precious Blood to be had for the asking; and what it gives is grace.

But men do not care about grace. St. Paul spent his whole life teaching people about grace, and praying for grace for them, and that they might use grace rightly when they had got it.

When the Fountain of all grace is springing up like a living well of joy in the heart after Communion, ask Him to open all men’s eyes to the beauty of His grace, and so will you cause His grace to multiply, and with the multiplication of grace His interests to prosper.

For thus stands the case with our dear Lord, that the more He gives away, the richer He becomes.

Frederick William Faber (1814—1863): All for Jesus, pp. 32-34.

Augustine of Hippo: What is Cleaner than His Blood? What More Health-Giving than His Wounding? Sunday, Jul 3 2011 

St Augustine of AfricaOne of the soldiers with a spear pierced His Side, and forthwith came out Blood and Water.

The Evangelist speaks carefully. He says not that he smote the Side, nor yet that he wounded It, nor yet anything else.

Rather, he pierced It, to fling wide the entrance unto life, whence flow the Sacraments of the Church, those Sacraments without which there is no entrance unto the life which is life indeed.

That Blood which was shed there was shed for the remission of sins, that Water is the water that is mingled in the cup of salvation.

Therein are we washed, and thereof do we drink.

Of this was it a type when it was said unto Noah The door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof, and of every living thing of all flesh shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive (Gen. 6: 16, 19).

This is a figure of the Church. Thus was it that the first woman was made from the side of her husband while he slept, and she was called Eve – which is, being interpreted, Life, because she was the mother of all living.

This name set forth a great good, before it became associated with the bitter fruit of a great evil.

And here we have the Second Adam bowing His Head, and the deep sleep of death falling upon Him upon the Cross.

And He sleeps, that the Lord God may take a thing out of His side, and may make thereof a wife for Him.

O what a death was His, which quickens the dead! What is cleaner than His Blood? What more health-giving than His wounding?

Then they were held bondsmen to the devil, slaves to evil spirits. But now they have been redeemed from that bondage.

They had been able to sell themselves, but they were not able to redeem themselves.

A Redeemer came and paid the price for them. He shed His Blood, and at that cost bought the world.

Ye ask what He bought, look what He paid, and ye shall see what He bought.

Christ’s Blood was the price. What is His Blood worth? What, but the whole world! What but all men?

[…] What He paid, He paid for all.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430:  120th Tract on John, from the Feast of the Precious Blood in the Old Breviary.

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