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Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Friday 14 August 2020

    Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest, Martyr 
    on Friday of week 19 in Ordinary Time

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest, Martyr

    Father Maximilian Kolbe in 1939.

    A letter of St Maximilian Kolbe
    We must sanctify the whole world

    I rejoice greatly, dear brother, at the outstanding zeal that drives you to promote the glory of God. It is sad to see how in our times the disease called “indifferentism” is spreading in all its forms, not just among those in the world but also among the members of religious orders. But indeed, since God is worthy of infinite glory, it is our first and most pressing duty to give him such glory as we, in our weakness, can manage – even that we would never, poor exiled creatures that we are, be able to render him such glory as he truly deserves.
    Because God’s glory shines through most brightly in the salvation of the souls that Christ redeemed with his own blood, let it be the chief concern of the apostolic life to bring salvation and an increase in holiness to as many souls as possible. Let me briefly outline the best way to achieve this end – both for the glory of God and for the sanctification of the greatest number. God, who is infinite knowledge and infinite wisdom, knows perfectly what is to be done to give him glory, and in the clearest way possible makes his will known to us through his vice-gerents on Earth.
    It is obedience and obedience alone that shows us God’s will with certainty. Of course our superiors may err, but it cannot happen that we, holding fast to our obedience, should be led into error by this. There is only one exception: if the superior commands something that would obviously involve breaking God’s law, however slightly. In that case the superior could not be acting as a faithful interpreter of God’s will.
    God himself is the one infinite, wise, holy, and merciful Lord, our Creator and our Father, the beginning and the end, wisdom, power, and love – God is all these. Anything that is apart from God has value only in so far as it is brought back to him, the Founder of all things, the Redeemer of mankind, the final end of all creation. Thus he himself makes his holy will known to us through his vice-gerents on Earth and draws us to himself, and through us – for so he has willed – draws other souls too, and unites them to himself with an ever more perfect love.
    See then, brother, the tremendous honour of the position that God in his kindness has placed us in. Through obedience we transcend our own limitations and align ourselves with God’s will, which, with infinite wisdom and prudence, guides us to do what is best. Moreover, as we become filled with the divine will, which no created thing can resist, so we become stronger than all others.
    This is the path of wisdom and prudence, this is the one way by which we can come to give God the highest glory. After all, if there had been another, better way, Christ would certainly have shown it to us, by word and by example. But in fact sacred Scripture wraps up his entire long life in Nazareth with the words and he was obedient to them and it shows the rest of his life to have been passed in similar obedience – almost as an instruction to us – by showing how he came down to Earth to do the Father’s will.
    Brethren, let us love him above all, our most loving heavenly Father, and let our obedience be a sign of this perfect love, especially when we have to sacrifice our own wills in the process. And as for a book from which to learn how to grow in the love of God, there is no better book than Jesus Christ crucified.
    All this we will achieve more easily through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, to whom the most kind God has given the task of dispensing his mercies. There is no doubt that the will of Mary should be the will of God for us. When we dedicate ourselves to him, we become tools in her hands just as she became a tool in his. Let us let her direct us and lead us by the hand. Let us be calm and serene under her guidance: she will foresee all things for us, provide all things, swiftly fulfil our needs both bodily and spiritual, and keep away from us all difficulty and suffering.


    The ferial reading for today:

    Friday of week 19 in Ordinary Time

    From a sermon on Baptism by St Pacian, bishop
    Let us follow a new way of life through the Spirit

    The sin of Adam passed on to the whole human race. As St Paul says, Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race. So the righteousness of Christ has to pass on to the whole human race also; and as Adam ruined all his descendants by sin, so must Christ, through righteousness, give life to his entire race. St Paul makes this point, saying As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Just as sin reigned and brought death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life through righteousness.
    Someone might object as follows: “The sin of Adam deservedly passed on his posterity, because they were born of him. And are we then born of Christ, that we can be saved through him?” Stop thinking simply in terms of the body: then you will see in what sense Christ is our parent and we are born of him. In these last days Christ took a soul and body from Mary. It is this flesh that he came to save, that he did not abandon to the underworld: he united it with his own spirit and made it his own. This is the marriage of the Lord, united with the flesh of man, a mystery uniting the two — Christ and the Church — in one flesh.
    From this marriage and from the coming of the Spirit of the Lord from above, the Christian people is born. The substance of our souls receives the seed of heaven: we are conceived in the womb of our mother and born of that womb we receive life in Christ. So St Paul says, The first man, Adam, as scripture says, “became a living soul”; but the last Adam has become a life-giving spirit. It is through his priests that Christ sows his seed in the Church. St Paul, again, says: It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus. It is the seed of Christ, that is, the Spirit of God, that produces the new man through the priest’s hands, conceived in the womb of his mother and born in the baptismal font under the auspices of faith.
    We must receive Christ so that he can give us birth, as the Apostle John says: To all who accepted him he gave power to become children of God. But this cannot be brought about except by the sacrament of cleansing and anointing, the sacrament which the bishop administers. Sins are washed away by the cleansing waters of the font; the Holy Spirit is infused by oil of chrism; and we receive both at the bishop’s hands and through his words. Thus the whole man is born again and made new in Christ: so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. That is, having put behind us the errors of our former life, we should through the Spirit follow a new way of life in Christ.

    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.