Saturday, December 27, 2008

Valde Honorandus

This morning I served Mass at Carmel again, and afterward went to confession at Church of the Apostles.  Having prayed St Stephen's Office, to-day I've now begun St John's; and, remembering that his feast is the Feast of Priests - for was not St John his chosen apostle in a special way beloved of Christ, and the priest and chaplain of Our Lady, making him par excellence priest of Jesus and Mary? - I again congratulate and pause to pray for Fr Mannes Tellis, O.P., ordained only eight days ago this evening, making this the octave of his priesthood.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest,
Make him a priest after Thine own Heart.
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ the High Priest,
Make him a priest after the Heart of thy Son.
O Saint John Evangelist, Priest of Jesus and Mary,
Make him a priest after His Most Sacred Heart.
O Holy Trinity, One God, by the intercession of all the Angels and Saints,
Make him a priest after the Heart of Jesus.

Domine Jesu Christe, summe Sacerdos æterne,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor tuum.
Beata Maria Virgo, Mater Christi Pontificis,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor Filii tui.
Sancte Joannes Evangelista, Sacerdos Jesu atque Mariæ,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum sacratissimum Cor ejus.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, per intercessionem omnium Angelorum et Sanctorum,
fac ut sacerdos fiat secundum Cor Jesu.

Fr preached with evident devotion on the theme of the great love of God that St John Evangelist so shews forth in his Gospel, which must be understood in its two senses: above all, God's great love for us, Jesus' great love for us, even unto death - as the Apostle put it, He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. ii, 20) - and our consequent impulsion to love Jesus Christ our Lord and God, returning love and compassion to Him Who has laid down His life for us, Who calls His disciples in love His Little Children (St John xiii, 33 & cf. xxi, 5)  - what amazing intimacy to speak thus to a bunch of sturdy fishermen! or to wash their feet (St John xiii, 5), or to say thrice unto Peter, Lovest thou me? (St John xxi, 15ff)  True, St John's Gospel teaches us the truth about the Divinity of Christ - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us (St John i, 1 & 14).  But moreover it reveals the humanity of Christ, even, dare we say, the human face of God, "Humanized Divinity" as Cardinal de Berulle said, for if to see Him is to see the Father (cf. St John xiv, 9), to learn of Him is to learn of the Father's love for all men: I have called you servants no longer, but friends... (cf. St John xv, 15)  Such was the tone of His voice, that the Magdalene knew Him when He called her name (St John xx, 16); the beloved disciple said, It is the Lord (St John xxi, 7), when He called to them from the seashore; doubting Thomas believed and cried, My Lord and my God (St John xx, 28: an aspiration that ought ever be on our lips).  Sic nos amantem quis non redamaret?  (So true a lover / Shall we not requite Him?)

Reading the first Nocturn of the Feast of St John entailed hearing again the words read at the first reading at Mass, and their continuation, so I append I John i, 1 - ii, 5 (being the whole of the three lessons in the Breviary), and especially given my reception of the Sacrament of Penance mark those comfortable words, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world's (I John ii, 1b-2).

Lesson i - I John i, 1-5

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life: for the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: that which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you, that you may rejoice, and your joy may be full.  And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness.

Lesson ii - I John i, 6-10

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Lesson iii - I John ii, 1-5a*

My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin.  But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments.  He who saith that he knoweth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But he that keepeth his word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected [and by this we know that we are in him*].

* Verse 5b is not included in the Breviary Lessons.

(Last year I posted concerning the Collects of St John, and the special Dominican antiphons for his Matins, BTW.)

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