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

Spiritual Reading

  • Wednesday 26 August 2020

    Wednesday of week 21 in Ordinary Time 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Wednesday of week 21 in Ordinary Time

    From the Instructions of St Columbanus, abbot
    Let him who thirsts come to me and drink

    Beloved brethren, turn your ears to my words, for there are things that it is necessary for you to hear. I shall be speaking of the waters of God’s fountain: refresh your thirst at that spring but do not entirely quench it. Drink without sating yourselves, for the living spring, the fount and source of life, is calling us: if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
    Understand what it is that you are to drink. Let Jeremiah tell you, let the fountain himself tell you: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, says the Lord. So you see that the Lord himself, our God Jesus Christ, is the fountain of life; and he calls us to himself so that we may drink from him. Who will drink? Whoever loves; whoever is filled with the word of God; whoever adores enough, whoever desires enough; whoever is on fire with the love of wisdom.
    See the source from which that fountain flows. It comes from the same place that the manna came from in the wilderness – for the same person is both bread and fountain, Christ our Lord and God, for whom we should always hunger. Even if we eat him, the bread, with love, even if we devour him with desire, let us still hunger for him like starving men. So when we drink him, the fountain, let us always drink him with overflowing love, filled with longing and delighting in the gentle taste of his sweetness.
    For the Lord is gentleness and delight. We may eat and drink of him but still we will be hungry and thirst for more; for he is our food and drink that can never be entirely consumed. He can be eaten but there will always be more left. He can be drunk but he can never be drained dry. Our bread is eternal; our fountain lasts for ever, our fountain is sweet. So Isaiah says: come to the water all you who are thirsty – the fountain is for the thirsty, not for the surfeited. He calls the hungry and the thirsty to himself, and they can never drink enough: the more they drink, the more they desire to drink.
    The word of God on high is the fountain of Wisdom. So, my brethren, it is right that we should desire it, seek it and love it. In it all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden, as St Paul says; and God calls anyone who thirsts to drink from that fountain.
    If you are thirsty, drink from the fountain of life; if you are hungry, eat the bread of life. Blessed are they who hunger for that bread and thirst for that fountain; they eat and drink for ever and still they desire to eat and drink. For it is lovely above all things, that which is always eaten and drunk, always hungered and thirsted for. Thus David, king and prophet, was moved to say: taste and see that the Lord is good.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God (Dominic Barberi), Priest

    A painting (c.1900) in the Passionist archives in Rome.

    A sermon of Pope Paul VI
    He had a great love for England

    The fact which makes us remember Father Dominic is well known and was his principal claim to fame. It is the fact of Newman’s conversion. At Littlemore on the evening of 8 October, 1845, it was Father Dominic who received from that most remarkable spirit his decisive profession of the Catholic Faith.
    Newman later wrote: ‘Father Dominic was a marvellous missioner and a preacher filled with zeal. He had a great part in my own conversion and in that of others. His very look had about it something holy. When his form came within sight, I was moved to the depths in the strangest way. The gaiety and affability of his manner in the midst of all his sanctity was in itself a holy sermon. No wonder that I became his convert and his penitent. He had a great love for England.’
    ‘He had a great love for England.’ – This phrase would seem to define this humble but great follower of the gospel of Christ; it seems to sum up the historical current of the sentiments of the Church of Rome, towards that island of high destiny; it seems to give expression to this present spiritual moment of the Apostolic See, which now raises to the glory of the Blessed this generous missionary, whose arms are open wide towards all that is most venerable and most significant in that blessed country’s present portion of its magnificent Christian heritage; and it seems today to rise up from the heart of the Ecumenical Council, being celebrated in this basilica, like a sign of still suffering, but always confident, Catholic brotherhood.
    ‘He had a great love for England.’ Newman’s phrase, if properly meditated upon, means that the love of the pious religious, the Roman missionary, was directed to Newman himself, the promoter and representative of the Oxford movement, which raised so many religious questions, and excited such great spiritual energies; to him who, in full consciousness of his mission — ‘I have a work to do’ — and guided solely by love of the truth and fidelity to Christ, traced an itinerary, the most toilsome, but also the greatest, the most meaningful, the most conclusive, that human thought ever travelled during the last century, indeed one might say during the modern era, to arrive at the fullness of wisdom and of peace.
    And if that phrase was true and salutary for so distinguished a representative of a great people, so high an authority of a time like ours, will it not be still true and salutary today, in heaven, in the hearts of this beloved Beatus, and here below, in the hearts of all those who celebrate his glory, and wish to imitate his example?


    Blessed Jacques Retouret, Priest, Martyr

    From the Resolutions drawn up by the Priests imprisoned on the ship 'Les Deux Associés'
    They bore their cross without complaint

    They will not surrender to useless anxiety about their release; rather, they will try to profit from their time of detention, meditating on their past lives, making holy resolutions for the future, so that even during their physical imprisonment, they may find freedom of spirit.
    Should God permit them to recover, in whole or in part, that freedom for which nature yearns, they will avoid giving themselves over to an excessive joy when they are informed of it. Preserving their peace of soul, they will demonstrate that they have borne the cross imposed on them without complaint, and that they were ready to continue to carry it for a long time with the courage of true Christians who do not permit themselves be overcome by adversity.
    If given the possibility of recovering their belongings, they will show no eagerness to reclaim them; rather, they will respond humbly and truthfully to whatever they are asked. They will accept whatever is given them without complaint, accustomed, as they should be, to put little stock in the things of this world and to be content with little, following the example of the Apostles.
    They will not satisfy the curiosity of those whom they meet on their way, and they will not respond to useless questions about their experiences. Rather, without going into detail and without showing resentment either towards those responsible or toward those who were their agents, they will let it be known that they endured their suffering patiently.
    They will observe strict and absolute silence about the failings of their confreres and about the defects into which their sorry condition, the sad state of their health, and the length of their suffering may have led them. They will exercise charity towards those whose opinions are different from their own. They will avoid feeling bitterness or animosity toward them, keep their resentment to themselves, and seek to bring them back to the way of truth by their own kindness and moderation.
    They will show no regret over the loss of their belongings, no anxiety to recover them, no bitterness toward those who are in possession of them.
    From the present moment on, they will be of one heart and one spirit, excluding no one, and without distancing themselves from any of their brothers for any reason whatsoever. They will not interest themselves in news of current politics, but will be content to pray for the welfare of their country and to prepare themselves, should God permit them to return to their families, for a new life in which they will become good examples and models of virtue for their people through their detachment from the world, their fidelity to prayer, and their love of recollection and godliness.


    Saint Teresa of Jesus' Transverberation

    From 'The Living Flame of Love' by St John of the Cross
    You have wounded my heart

    Moses declares in Deuteronomy, Our Lord God is a consuming fire, that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation: he will burn one more, another less, and this he does insofar as he desires, and how and when he desires. When he wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul’s burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world, for he is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.
    It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul in which it so burns. And it does not afflict it, rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently. Since God’s purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, he does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it. The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: The spiritual one judges all things and he is judged by no one. And again: The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.
    It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better, a flame, is already enkindled. For the soul is converted into the immense fire of love.
    Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.
    O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because he who caused you is great! And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite and makes you delightful according to your capacity and greatness. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate centre of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!

    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.