Where among you, tell me, are to be found preachers, well versed in the word of God, and fit to preach as it should be done?
Some there are, indeed, presumptuous enough, in their craving for vainglory, to attempt it, and to trot out to the people such scraps as they have been able to cull from books, in an effort to teach others what they themselves know neither by study nor by experience. They prate away before the common folk—without understanding a word of their own rigmarole—as bold-faced as though all theology lay digested in the stomach of their memory, and any tale will serve their turn if it can be given a mystical twist and made to redound to their own glory. Then, when they have done preaching—or rather tale telling—there they stand, ears all pricked up and itching to catch the slightest whisper of flattery. But not a vestige do they show of the endowments for which, in their appetite for vainglory, they long to be praised.
Nicholas the Frenchman Ignea Sagitta: The Flaming Arrow
Chapter 4, 36-37
The Flaming Arrow: Ignea Sagitta. Nicholas Prior General of the Carmelite Order (1266-1271); The complete text translated from the critical edition of Adrian Staring O. Carm.; by Bede Edwards O.C.D.
When I read in the Gospel “that Mary went in haste to the hill country of Judea” (Lk 1:39) to perform her loving service for her cousin Elizabeth, I imagine her passing by so beautiful, so calm and so majestic, so absorbed in recollection of the Word of God within her. Like Him, her prayer was always this: “Ecce, here I am!” Who? “The servant of the Lord,” (Lk 1:38) the lowliest of His creatures: she, His Mother! Her humility was so real for she was always forgetful, unaware, freed from self. And she could sing: “The Almighty has done great things for me, henceforth all peoples will call me blessed.” (Lk 1:49, 48)
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”
Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”
His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
The Mother of the Lord shows us the way: whatever he tells you, do it. Do what he says, put his gospel into practice, make it a body in motion, of flesh and blood. The huge, empty water jars in your heart will be filled — he will transform your life, from empty to full, from dull to happy.
The attitude of Mary must be our attitude as a Church: trust-filled but active.
This involves not only Jesus’ action but it involves our action, as well. “Truly, a New Covenant is pledged at this wedding. And a new mission is entrusted to the servants of the Lord, namely, the entire Church: ‘Do whatever he tells you’. To serve the Lord means to listen and to put his Word into practice. It is the simple, essential recommendation of Jesus’ Mother. It is the program for a Christian’s life” (Pope Francis).
Let us now fix our gaze on the bosom of God and the mystery of the Trinity, to the degree that revelation permits. I maintain that the Word of God is total, absolute virginity. Here is the reason why. As you are well aware, there is in the inner life of the Trinity a stupendous cycle, which overwhelms our poor, little minds. The pure intelligence of God conceives the being itself of God. The divine intelligence grasps and sees itself; it speaks and expresses itself. It grasps and expresses itself in a word, which equals the intelligence that sets it forth. With infinite simplicity, the divine nature eternally expresses the Word of God. In this one word is the infinite activity of the divine intelligence. The Word of God, begotten by the Father, is the infinite, equal, and divine expression of the very Being of God. The Word possesses the fullness of the divine nature, just as does the Father, and thus is truly God. In the infinite simplicity of God’s being, this unfathomable, living expression shines forth so brilliantly that a third person, an outpouring of love, unites in a single nature this Word and the One who begets him from all eternity.
These three persons: the Father, the Son begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit, whose infinite breath of love unites the three, constitute the perfect purity of God. That divine purity is what I term the fullness of virginity. Such is God himself!
Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D. Conference 6: Virginity in God and in Mary Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Pere Jacques
She is the model of all
who live by the Spirit of the gospel;
As we look up to her in prayer we learn
from her mind to love you above all things,
from her spirit to be rapt in contemplation of your Word, and
from her heart to serve the needs of others.
In this era of grace, now that the faith is established through Christ and the Gospel law made manifest, there is no reason for inquiring of him in this way, or expecting him to answer as before. In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word – and he has no more to say…
Those who now desire to question God or receive some vision or revelation are guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him by not fixing their eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.
God could answer as follows: If I have already told you all things in my Word, my Son, and if I have no other word, what answer or revelation can I now make that would surpass this? Fasten your eyes on him alone because in him I have spoken and revealed all and in him you will discover even more than you ask for and desire…
One should not, then, inquire of God in this manner, nor is it necessary for God to speak any more.
August 16 BLESSED MARIA SAGRARIO OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA Virgin and Martyr
Maria Sagrario was born at Lillo (Toledo) on 8th January 1881. A pharmacist by trade, she was one of the first women in Spain to be admitted to this qualification. In 1915 she entered the Carmel of St. Anne and St. Joseph in Madrid. Through her spirit of prayer and her love for the Eucharist, she was a perfect embodiment of the contemplative and ecclesial ideal of the Teresian Carmel. She was Prioress of her community when she was martyred on 15th August 1936. It was a grace she longed for and accepted in perfection of faith and ardent love for Christ.
From the common of martyrs or of virgins
THE SECOND READING
From the letters and writings of Blessed Maria Sagrario
Following Christ by way of humility and the cross
May Jesus reign always in my heart! The Lord asks me to be humble, to weep over my sins, to love him much, to love my sisters much, to mortify them in nothing, not to mortify myself uselessly, to live recollected in him wanting nothing for myself, completely surrendered to his divine will.
In this vale of tears, suffering will not be lacking, and we should be content to have something to offer to our most beloved Jesus who wanted so much to suffer for love of us. The most direct way to unite ourselves to God is that of the cross, so we should always desire it. May the Lord not permit that I be separated from his divine will.
Blessed be God who gives us these ways of offering ourselves up to his love! The day will arrive when we will rejoice for having suffered in this way. Meanwhile, let us be generous, suffering everything, if not with happiness, at least in close conformity to the divine will of him who suffered so much out of love for us. However great are our sufferings, they come nowhere near his. If you wish to be perfect, seek first of all to be quite humble in thought, word, deed and desire; learn well what this means and work tenaciously to carry it out. Keep your gaze always on our most beloved Jesus, asking him in the depths of his heart what he desires for you, and never deny him anything, even if it means going strongly against the grain for you.
Blessed be he who arranges everything for our good! In possessing him, we possess everything.
I have fought the good fight to the end;
I have run the race to the finish. I have kept the faith; —all there is to come for me now is the crown of righteousness.
Because of the supreme advantage
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
I count everything else as loss,
that I may partake of his sufferings
by being molded to the pattern of his death. —All there is to come for me now is the crown of righteousness.
who by a spirit of prayer and devotion to the Eucharist
prepared Blessed Maria Sagrario to suffer martyrdom,
grant that we, through her example,
may freely spend our lives for you
by faithfully and constantly fulfilling your will.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
“Virgo fidelis”: that is, Faithful Virgin, [Litany of Loretto] “who kept all these things in her heart.” [Cf. Lk 2:19, 51] She remained so little, so recollected in God’s presence, in the seclusion of the temple, that she drew down upon herself the delight of the Holy Trinity: “Because He has looked upon the lowliness of His servant, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed!” [Lk 1:48] The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother in time of Him whose Father He is in eternity. Then the Spirit of love who presides over all of God’s works came upon her; the Virgin said her fiat: “Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done to me according to Your word,” and the greatest of mysteries was accomplished. By the descent of the Word in her, Mary became forever God’s prey.