Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on SIN, The MOST HOLY REDEEMER, The PASSION, The REDEMPTION, The WORD

Friday of Passion Week – 8 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – “THE DARKENING OF ONE makes many bright… “

Friday of Passion Week – 8 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremiah 17:13-18, John 11:47-54

O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes.”Psalm 102:10

… It is expedient for us,
that one man die for the people,
instead of the whole nation perishing
.”

John 11:50

“THE DARKENING OF ONE makes many bright… “It is better,” said Caiaphas, “for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” It is better that One be darkened “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rm 8:3) for the sake of all, than for the whole of mankind to be lost by the darkness of sin; that the splendour and image of the substance of God, should be shrouded in the form of a Slave, in order that a slave might live; that the brightness of eternal Light should become dimmed in the flesh, for the purifying of the flesh; that He, Who surpasses all mankind in beauty (Ps 44:2), should be eclipsed by the darkness of the Passion, for the enlightening of mankind; that He should suffer the ignominy of the Cross, grow pale in death, be totally deprived of beauty and comeliness, that He might gain the Church as a beautiful and comely Bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ep 5:27).

BUT UNDER HIS DARK COVERING (Sg 1:5), I recognise the King… I recognise Him and I embrace Him. For, although He presents this dark exterior… within, is the brightness of Divine life, the beauty of His strength, the splendour of grace, the purity of innocence. But covering it all, is the abject hue of infirmity, His Face, as it were, hidden and despised – “one tempted in every respect, as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).

I RECOGNISE HERE ,the image of our sin-darkened nature; I recognise the garments that clothed our first parents after their sin (Gen 3:21). My God has clothed Himself in them by assuming the condition of a Slave and becoming, as men are, He was seen in their likeness (Phil 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gen 27:16), symbol of sin, I recognise, both the Hand that committed no sin and the Neck which never bowed to evil; no word of treachery was found in His Mouth. I know, Lord, that You are gentle by nature, meek and humble of heart, pleasing in appearance and lovable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above Your companions” (Mt 11:29; Ps 44:8). Why then this disfigured likeness to Esau? Whose haggard image this?… Ah! It is mine! He has taken my likeness, taken on my sin… And beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God and my Saviour.!” – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (28th Homily on the Song of Songs).

Posted in CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOD ALONE!, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, QUOTES on DEATH, The LAST THINGS, The MOST HOLY REDEEMER, The PASSION, The REDEMPTION, The RESURRECTION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 8 April – ‘ … No longer, then, do we die as men condemned …’

One Minute Reflection – 8 April – Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows – Friday of Passion Week, the Fifth Week in Lent – Jeremiah 17:13-18, John 11:47-54

… It is expedient for us, that one man die for the people, instead of the whole nation perishing.” – John 11:50

REFLECTION “God, the Word of the all-good Father, did not disregard the human race, His own creation, when it was sinking back into corruption but rather, by the offering of His own Body, He destroyed the death men had incurred and by His teaching, He corrected their negligence. So, He restored by His power, all that belongs to man’s estate.

Anyone can find confirmation of this from the Saviour’s own disciples who spoke of Him, for in their writings one reads: The charity of Christ constrains us as we judge that if one died on behalf of all, then all died and He died for all, in order that we may live, no longer for ourselves but for Him Who died for us and rose from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ. And again: We see Jesus, Who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone. Then the writer goes onto show why it had to be God, the Word and no other Who became Man: Indeed it was fitting that in bringing many sons to glory, God, for Whom and through Whom all things exist, should make perfect the One Who leads them to salvation. By this He means, that the task of bringing men back from the corruption into which they had fallen, belonged to no other save God the Word, Who had made them in the beginning. Further, Scripture shows, that the Word assumed a Body for the purpose of offering It in sacrifice on behalf of other bodies like His own, for the writer continues: Since the children have blood and flesh in common, He likewise, shared in them Himself ,so that, by His own Death, He might destroy the one who had power over death, that is, the devil and might deliver those, who all their life long, were enslaved by fear of death.

For by the sacrifice of His own Body, He both put an end to the law that stood against us and made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection. Hence Paul, the Christbearer, declares: As through a man came death, so through a Man has come the Resurrection of the dead. For as all died in Adam, so also in Christ all shall be made to live.

No longer, then, do we die as men condemned but as men being raised even now, we await the general resurrection of all, which God, Whose work and gift it is, will reveal at the appointed time. St Athanasius (297-373) Archbishop of Alexandria, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his “On the Incarnation of the Word” 10).

PRAYER – O God, in Whose Passion the sword, according to the prophecy of blessed Simeon, pierced through the soul of Mary, the glorious Virgin and Mother, mercifully grant that we, who reverently commemorate her piercing through and her suffering, may, by the interceding glorious merits of all the saints faithfully standing by the Cross, obtain the abundant fruit of Your Passion. Who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENTEN THOUGHTS, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, QUOTES on SIN, The PASSION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 27 March – ‘ … Beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God …’ St Bernard

One Minute Reflection – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Verse Before the Gospel: Ezekiel 18: 31, Gospel: John 11: 45-56

“It is expedient for you, that one man should die for the people.” – John 11:50

REFLECTION The darkening of one, makes many bright… “It is better,” said Caiaphas, “for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” It is better that one be darkened “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rm 8:3) for the sake of all, than for the whole of mankind to be lost, by the darkness of sin; that the splendour and image of the substance of God, should be shrouded in the form of a slave, in order that a slave might live; that the brightness of eternal ligh,t should become dimmed in the flesh for the purifying of the flesh; that He who surpasses all mankind in beauty (Ps 44:2) should be eclipsed by the darkness of the Passion for the enlightening of mankind; that He should suffer the ignominy of the Cross, grow pale in death, be totally deprived of beauty and comeliness, that He might gain the Church as a beautiful and comely bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ep 5:27).
But under His dark covering (Sg 1:5) I recognise the King… I recognise Him and I embrace Him. For though He presents this dark exterior… within is the brightness of divine life, the beauty of His strength, the splendour of grace, the purity of innocence. But covering it all, is the abject hue of infirmity, His Face, as it were, hidden and despised: “one tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).
I recognise here the image of our sin-darkened nature; I recognise the garments that clothed our first parents after their sin (Gn 3:21). My God has clothed Himself in them, by assuming the condition of a slave and becoming as men are, He was seen in their likeness (Ph 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gn 27:16), symbol of sin, I recognise both the hand that committed no sin and the neck which never bowed to evil; no word of treachery was found in His mouth. I know, Lord, that you are gentle by nature, meek and humble of heart, pleasing in appearance and loveable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above your companions” (Mt 11:29; Ps 44:8). Why then this disfigured likeness to Esau? Whose haggard image this?… Ah! It is mine. He has taken my likeness, taken on my sin… And beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God and my Saviour! ” – St Bernard (1091-1153) “Doctor of Light”of the Church – 28th Homily on the Song of Songs

PRAYER – Lord God, at all times You are working out the salvation of man but now, more especially, You enrich Your people with grace. Look kindly on this people, Lord, keep the seal of Baptism inviolate in those who have received it and in those, who still await their rebirth in te Spirit. With Mary, our advocate of love and mercy by our side, may we attain the brightness of Your Face. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Saviour, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forver, amen.