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One Minute Reflection – 3 January – ‘Rise up!’

One Minute Reflection – 3 January – “Month and Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus” – Readings: John 3: 22 – 4: 6; Psalm 2: 7bc-8, 10-11; Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25

“The people who sat in darkness, have seen a great light and to them who sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.” – Matthew 4:16

REFLECTION – “Because human nature, petrified by the cult of idols and solidified by the ice of paganism, had lost all its motivation towards the good, because of this, the Sun of Justice rises over that rigorous winter and brings in the spring. Just as the rays are rising in the East, the south wind causes this ice to melt by warming the whole mass, so that man, made rigid by the cold, should be penetrated by the Spirit with heat and melt under the rays of the Word and once again, he might become a spring, bubbling up to life eternal. “A breath from him and the waters flow” (Ps. 147:7 LXX). This is what the Baptist openly proclaimed to the Jews, when he told them that the stones would rise up to become children of the Patriarch (cf. Mt 3:9), imitating his virtue.

This is what the Church learns from the Word, when it receives the brightness of truth, through the windows of the prophets and the trellis of the Law. So long as the wall of doctrine and its figurative expression remains, I mean the Law, (cf. Sg 3:9) it shows the shadow of things to come but not the image itself of the realities. But behind the law stands the Truth that follows the figure. First of all it makes the Word shine out for the Church through the prophets, then the Gospel revelation dissipates all shadowy performance in figures. Through it “the dividing wall is broken down” (Eph 2:14) and the air in the house is invaded by celestial light: there is no more need any longer to receive light through the windows, since the true Light itself lightens everything inside, with the rays of the Gospel.

This is why the Word Who raises the broken cries to the Church through the windows: Rise up (from your fall, of course), you who slid in the mud of sin, who were chained by the serpent, who fell to the ground and whom disobedience dragged into falling. Rise up!” – St Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395) Monk and Bishop, Father of the Church (The Spiritual Spring).

PRAYERThe Love of Your Name

My God, Sweetness beyond words,
make bitter all the carnal comfort
that draws me from love of the eternal
and lures me to its evil self,
by the sight of some delightful good
in the present.
Let it not overcome me, my God.
Let not flesh and blood conquer me.
Let not the world and its brief glory
deceive me, nor the devil trip me by his craftiness.
Give me courage to resist,
patience to endure
and constancy to persevere.
Give me the soothing unction of Your spirit,
rather than all the consolations of the world
and in place of carnal love,
infuse into me the love of Your Name.

Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
The Imitation of Christ
(Book 3 Ch 26:1-4)