Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

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

Spiritual Reading

  • Sunday 12 June 2022

    The Most Holy Trinity - Solemnity 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    The Most Holy Trinity

    "The Trinity in its Glory (Enthronement of the Virgin)", miniature (1450s) by Jean Fouquet (1420-), from the Hours of Etienne Chevalier.

    A letter of St Athanasius
    Light, radiance and grace are in the Trinity and from the Trinity

    It will not be out of place to consider the ancient tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles and guarded by the fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name.
    We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being. It is a wholly creative and energising reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the holy Trinity is preserved. Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for he is principle and source; he is through all things through the Word; and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit.
    Writing to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.
    Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word. For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father. Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him. For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent grace.
    This is also Paul’s teaching in his second letter to the Corinthians: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. For grace and the gift of the Trinity are given by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Just as grace is given from the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the gift to us except in the Holy Spirit. But when we share in the Spirit, we possess the love of the Father, the grace of the Son and the fellowship of the Spirit himself.


    The ferial reading for today:

    11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

    St Cyprian's treatise on the Lord's Prayer
    Prayer comes from a humble heart

    Let our speech and our petition be kept under discipline when we pray, and let us preserve quietness and modesty – for, remember, we are standing in God’s sight. We must please God’s eyes both with the movements of our body and with the way we use our voices. For just as a shameless man will be noisy with his cries, so it is fitting for the modest to pray in a moderate way. Furthermore, the Lord has taught us to pray in secret, in hidden and remote places, in our own bed-chambers – and this is most suitable for faith, since it shows us that God is everywhere and hears and sees everything, and in the fullness of his majesty is present even in hidden and secret places, as it is written I am a God close at hand and not a God far off. If a man hides himself in secret places, will I not see him? Do I not fill the whole of heaven and earth?, and, again, The eyes of God are everywhere, they see good and evil alike.
    When we meet together with the brethren in one place, and celebrate divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we should remember our modesty and discipline, not to broadcast our prayers at the tops of our voices, nor to throw before God, with undisciplined long-windedness, a petition that would be better made with more modesty: for after all God does not listen to the voice but to the heart, and he who sees our thoughts should not be pestered by our voices, as the Lord proves when he says: Why do you think evil in your hearts? – or again, All the churches shall know that it is I who test your motives and your thoughts.
    In the first book of the Kings, Hannah, who is a type of the Church, observes that she prays to God not with loud petitions but silently and modestly within the very recesses of her heart. She spoke with hidden prayer but with manifest faith. She spoke not with her voice but with her heart, because she knew that that is how God hears, and she received what she sought because she asked for it with belief. The divine Scripture asserts this when it says: She spoke in her heart, and her lips moved, and her voice was not audible; and God listened to her. And we read in the Psalms: Speak in your hearts and in your beds, and be pierced. Again, the Holy Spirit teaches the same things through Jeremiah, saying: But it is in the heart that you should be worshipped, O Lord.
    Beloved brethren, let the worshipper not forget how the publican prayed with the Pharisee in the temple – not with his eyes boldly raised up to heaven, nor with hands held up in pride; but beating his breast and confessing the sins within, he implored the help of the divine mercy. While the Pharisee was pleased with himself, it was the publican who deserved to be sanctified, since he placed his hope of salvation not in his confidence of innocence – since no-one is innocent – but he prayed, humbly confessing his sins, and he who pardons the humble heard his prayer.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Blessed Alphonsus Mary Mazurek and Companions, Priest and Martyrs

    From the addresses of Pope John Paul II
    Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness

    “Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Mt 5:10) In a particular way, this beatitude places the events of Good Friday before our eyes. Christ was condemned to death as a criminal, and then crucified. On Calvary it seemed he had been abandoned by God and left at the mercy of people’s derision.
    The Gospel proclaimed by Christ was put to a radical test: those who were present at the event cried out, “He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him” (Mt 27:42). Christ does not descend from the cross since he is faithful to his Gospel. He suffers human injustice. Only in this way, in fact, is he able to accomplish the justification of mankind.
    Above all, he wanted the words of the sermon on the mount to be verified in himself: “Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you” (Mt 5:11-12).
    To whom do these words still apply? To many, many people throughout humanity’s history, to whom it was given to suffer persecution for the sake of justice. We know that the first three centuries after Christ were marked by persecutions, at times terrible, particularly under some Roman emperors from Nero to Diocletian. Even though these ceased from the time of the Edict of Milan, nevertheless they broke out again in various historical eras, in numerous places throughout the world.
    Even our century has written a great martyrology. I myself, over the twenty years of my pontificate, have elevated to the glory of the altar numerous groups of martyrs: Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican. How many there were during the period of the Second World War and under the communist totalitarian system! They suffered and gave their life in the Hitlerian or Soviet extermination camps.
    The time has now come to remember all these victims and to render due honour to them. These are often Nameless, “unknown soldiers” as it were, of God’s great cause, as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (37). It is also good to speak of them on Polish land, since here there was a particular sharing in this contemporary martyrology. They are an example for us to follow. From their blood we should draw strength for the sacrifice of our life, which we ought to offer to God every day. They are an example for us to give a courageous witness of fidelity to the Cross of Christ, as they did.
    I am happy that I was able to beatify, among the one hundred and eight martyrs, Blessed Father Alphonsus Mary Mazurek, a pupil, and much later, a well-deserving educator in the minor seminary connected to the Discalced Carmelite monastery. I had an occasion of meeting personally with this witness to Christ, who in 1944, as prior of the Czerna monastery, sealed his faithfulness to God with death through martyrdom. I kneel in veneration before his relics which rest in the church of Saint Joseph and I thank God for the gift of the life, the martyrdom and sanctity of this great religious.


    Blessed Hilary Januszewski, Priest, Martyr

    From the Canonical Process for the beatification of Hilary Januszewski, priest and martyr
    He gave his life that others might live

    Paweł Januszewski was born in Krajenki, Poland, June 11, 1907. At the age of twenty he sensed a vocation to the Carmelite Order and entered the Order in the friary of Cracow, taking the religious name Hilary. He was sent to Rome, to the International College of St Albert, for his theological studies, and there be made his solemn vows, and in 1934 he was ordained to the priesthood. The following year, having earned the degree of Lector in Theology and having won the prize awarded to the best prepared student by the Roman Academy of St Thomas Aquinas, be returned to his homeland. There he was named prefect of clerics and sacristan in the friary of Cracow. In 1939, when war was immanent, he was named prior of the same friary.
    Father Hilary was inflexible in his demands on himself, but very charitable with others. He showed special concern for the sick and the needy. He was widely known for his devotion, a quality particularly evident in his apostolic zeal, in his celebration of Holy Mass, in his prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, in other religious practices and in his fervent love for his Order. He spent long periods before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the church of Cracow. He gave frequent, well-prepared conferences to the clerics, and he took great pains as bursar to see to it that everyone without distinction – clerics, brothers, priests – had what he needed.
    On December 4, 1940, the Gestapo arrested several religious. Father Hilary, who spoke German fluently, did everything possible to free them; he even offered himself in place of an aged and infirm confrère. So began his Calvary, which was to end in the concentration camp at Dachau.
    There he was assigned to the arduous labour in the fields; regardless of his situation, he never forgot he was a priest and religious: a man of prayer who gave good example and exhorted the others to hope for a better future. He encouraged them, he ministered to them, he helped them. When he received some little gift from his confrères in Cracow, he shared it with them in all simplicity. He consoled his fellow prisoners with the hope of returning to Poland, and he inspired them saying: “You are to return to Cracow and work in the Lord’s vineyard.”
    Evenings, after the final roll call, the Carmelite prisoners gathered together, always secretly, for prayer. Carmelites of other countries also participated, such as the Dutch Carmelite Blessed Titus Brandsma.
    When the war was almost over and rescue seemed finally near, an epidemic of typhoid fever broke out. None of those responsible for the care of the victims was willing to help them.
    At that point the authorities turned to the priests: thirty-two of them volunteered for this service, fully aware that they were facing almost certain death. Among them was Father Hilary.
    Archbishop Kozlowski, a Jesuit, survived the camp and provided the following testimony: “Their decision was truly heroic, dictated by true love of neighbour. What we experienced during those five years could have annihilated any ideals. The ruthless struggle for survival could have been a source of selfishness and indifference toward others. But these heroic priests are a clear witness that the commandment of love, love of neighbour, promulgated by Christ is not pure utopianism, but rather an authentic reality that conquers even where blind hatred is master.”
    Father Hilary confided in one of his friends, “I have made my decision, even though I am aware I will not come out of there alive.” He served the infected victims for twenty days, with some hundred dying each day. He himself died on the Feast of the Annunciation in 1945, a few days before the death camp was freed. Fr Hilary Paweł Januszewski was called to the glory of Christ, and so – filled with hope – ended his young life.

    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.