Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

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

Spiritual Reading

  • Thursday 5 May 2022

    Thursday of the 3rd week of Eastertide 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Thursday of the 3rd week of Eastertide

    From the treatise "Against the Heresies" by St Irenaeus
    The Eucharist, pledge of our resurrection

    If our flesh is not saved, then the Lord has not redeemed us with his blood, the eucharistic chalice does not make us sharers in his blood, and the bread we break does not make us sharers in his body. There can be no blood without veins, flesh and the rest of the human substance, and this the Word of God actually became: it was with his own blood that he redeemed us. As the Apostle says: In him, through his blood, we have been redeemed, our sins have been forgiven.
    We are his members and we are nourished by creatures, which is his gift to us, for it is he who causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall. He declared that the chalice, which comes from his creation, was his blood, and he makes it the nourishment of our blood. He affirmed that the bread, which comes from his creation, was his body, and he makes it the nourishment of our body. When the chalice we mix and the bread we bake receive the word of God, the eucharistic elements become the body and blood of Christ, by which our bodies live and grow. How then can it be said that flesh belonging to the Lord’s own body and nourished by his body and blood is incapable of receiving God’s gift of eternal life? Saint Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians that we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones. He is not speaking of some spiritual and incorporeal kind of man, for spirits do not have flesh and bones. He is speaking of a real human body composed of flesh, sinews and bones, nourished by the chalice of Christ’s blood and receiving growth from the bread which is his body.
    The slip of a vine planted in the ground bears fruit at the proper time. The grain of wheat falls into the ground and decays only to be raised up again and multiplied by the Spirit of God who sustains all things. The Wisdom of God places these things at the service of man and when they receive God’s word they become the eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. In the same way our bodies, which have been nourished by the eucharist, will be buried in the earth and will decay, but they will rise again at the appointed time, for the Word of God will raise them up to the glory of God the Father. Then the Father will clothe our mortal nature in immortality and freely endow our corruptible nature with incorruptibility, for God’s power is shown most perfectly in weakness.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint Angelus, Priest, Martyr

    From 'The Flaming Arrow' by Nicholas of France, prior general
    Every creature moves the interior man to give praise to the Creator

    Your first sons on Carmel, O holiest of Orders my Mother, were like stones mortared together in unfeigned charity, who held aloof from the least violation of what they had vowed when they made profession; while yet they strove, at home in their cells, to “ponder God’s law” and “watch at their prayers,” not because they were compelled to, but happily, moved by joy of spirit.
    Remember, beloved Order, your worthiness in the days when you never failed to regale your hermits, our saintly forefathers, with spiritual sustenance of the richest, in pasturage unequalled, and to lead them forth to waters of unparalleled refreshment.
    I tell you, my brothers, it is from Carmel that the brethren must climb to the Mountain – all those who deserve to be called “Carmelites,” in other words, who, on account of the excellence of their lives, will go from strength to strength in a steady ascent from the Mount of the Circumcision of Vices until they reach, as they surely will, the Mountain which is Christ.
    In the desert all the elements conspire to favour us. The heavens, resplendent with the stars and planets in their amazing order, bear witness by their beauty to mysteries higher still. The birds seem to assume the nature of angels, and tenderly console us with their gentle carolling. The mountains too, as Isaiah prophesied, “drop down sweetness” incomparable upon us, and the friendly hills “flow with milk and honey” such as is never tasted by the foolish lovers of this world. When we sing the praises of our Creator, the mountains about us, our brother conventuals resound with corresponding hymns of praise to the Lord, echoing back our voices and filling the air with strains of harmony as though accompanying our song upon stringed instruments. The roots in their growth, the grass in its greenness, the leafy boughs and trees – all make merry in their own ways as they echo our praise; and the flowers in their loveliness, as they pour out their delicious fragrance, smile their best for the consolation of us solitaries. The sunbeams, though tongueless, speak saving messages to us. The shady bushes rejoice to give us shelter. In short, every creature we see or hear in the desert gives us friendly refreshment and comfort; indeed, for all their silence they tell forth wonders, and they move the interior man to give praise to the Creator – so much more wonderful than themselves.
    Isaiah writes in figure of this joy that is to be found in solitude or in the desert: “The wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily, it shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise.” And we find in the psalms: “The beautiful places of the wilderness shall grow lush, and the hills shall be girded with joy.”
    Each wise solitary, resolute in his flight from the dangers of the world, longs to be so indissolubly united to Christ, the cornerstone, that he might say effectively with the Prophet: “It is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord.”

    Copyright © 1996-2022 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.