One Minute Reflection – 20 August – “Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” – Thursday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time, Readings: Ezekiel 36: 23-28, Psalms 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19, Matthew 22:1-14 and the Memorial of St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) “Doctor of Light”
“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” – Matthew 22:2
REFLECTION – “There are three kinds of marriage – the one that concerns union, the one that is about justification and the one that is about glorification. The first kind were celebrated within the temple of the Virgin Mary; the second kind are celebrated daily within the temple of faithful souls and the third, will be celebrated in the temple of heavenly glory.
The purpose of a wedding is to unite two people, the bridegroom and the bride. If two families are against each other, marriage usually unites them, when a man from one side marries a woman from the other. Between ourselves and God, there used to be a great division – to wipe it out and establish peace, the Son of God had to take His bride from someone of our lineage. To realise this marriage, numerous intermediaries and peacemakers intervened who, through their insistent prayers, were able to win it, at great cost. Finally, the Father Himself gave His consent and sent His Son, who joined Himself to our nature in the marriage chamber of the Virgin Mary’s womb. Thus the Father “gave a marriage feast for his Son.”
In the same way, the second kind of marriage is celebrated when the grace of the Holy Spirit intervenes and the soul is converted (…) The grace of the Holy Spirit is the bridegroom of the soul. When He calls it to repentance with His interior inspiration, all appeal from the vices is without effect.
Finally, the third kind of marriage will be celebrated at the coming of the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, on the Day of Judgement. Of Him it is written: “Behold, the bridegroom is coming! Go out to meet him” (Mt 25:6). He will take the Church itself as bride, as John says in the Book of Revelation: “Come here. I will show you the Bride, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, gleaming with the splendour of God” (cf. Rv 21:9-11). The Church of the Faithful comes down from heaven, from beside God, for it has obtained from God that it’s dwelling should be in the heavens.
And so, at present, it lives by faith and hope but very soon it will celebrate it’s espousals with it’s bridegroom: “Blessed,” says the Book of Revelation, “are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb!” (Rv 19:9).” … St Anthony of Padua OFM (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – All-knowing God, let me be able to stand in Your presence with a good conscience. Send Your Holy Spirit to fill my soul with the enlightenment of repentance and then to guide my steps towards the wedding feast You have prepared for Your Son. You made St Bernard burn with zeal for Your house and gave him the grace to enkindle and enlighten others in Your Church. Grant that by his prayer, we may be filled with the same spirit and always live as children of the Light. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.