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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
IntroitBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. – Psalm. Praise the Lord, all ye nations, proclaim His glory, all ye peoples. Glory be to the Father.
O heavenly and eternal Father, deign to accept the love and adorations of Thy children on earth, and grant them to live ever united to Thee by perfect conformity to Thy Will, following the example of Thy beloved Daughter, the Virgin Mary, thus to merit to praise and adore Thy divine and eternal Fatherhood in heaven. Through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, our Lord, who, being God, liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. – Amen.
Reading of the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul to the Ephesians. Eph. 1:3-14.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in His sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as His sons, according to the purpose of His Will, unto the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He has favored us in His beloved Son. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace. This grace has abounded beyond measure in us in all wisdom and prudence, so that He may make known to us the mystery of His Will according to His good pleasure. And this His good pleasure He purposed in Him, to be dispensed in the fullness of the times: to reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth. In Him, I say, in whom we also have been called by a special choice, having been predestined in the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His Will, to contribute to the praise to His glory, we who before hoped in Christ. And in Him you too, when you had heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and believed in it, were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, for a redemption of possession, for the praise of His glory. – Thanks be to God.
Reflection on Epistle
If we knew how to say Father to the One who loves us as His true children, how joyful and strong we would be, even in the midst of trial! In order to accept from God everything that happens to us –and nothing happens without His command or permission– in order to obediently follow the arduous ways by which He draws us to Himself, in order to submit ourselves as little children, in silence and love to His providential designs whose scope often exceeds our own conceptions, we need to know and believe that He is our Father. This Father loves us and wants only our good, even if we do not understand Him. We are not asked to understand, but to believe and relate to Him blindly, holding His hand. As long as we always hold on to this Father’s Hand, everything will go well, everything will end beautifully: we will reach the top of the mountain of love and we will arrive at eternal bliss! Isn’t this our dearest ambition?
– Magnificat Magazine, January 1994
Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. = Philip, he who sees Me, sees also the Father. I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. Alleluia, alleluia. – You have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, “Abba! Father!” For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Alleluia.
Sequéntia sáncti Evangélii secúndum Lúcam. (Luke 10, 21-24)
In that very hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them to little ones. Yes, Father, for such was Thy good pleasure. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” And turning to His disciples He said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I say to you, many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and they have not seen it; and to hear what you hear, and they have not heard it.” – Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
Reflection on the Gospel
God our Father, we His children! This is a dazzling mystery that is beyond our reason, but which delights our hearts! A mystery so marvelous, so unexpected and so undeserved, that we would be tempted to say: It’s too good to be true! It was Jesus who taught us about this mystery and taught us to name God our Father: “When you pray, say: Our Father, who art in Heaven…” Since prayer is the expression of worship of the Supreme Being, would it not be more appropriate to give God the name of Master or Lord? Jesus does not think so. The fact of His Incarnation having established a new covenant between the Creator and His creature, He discovers for us here the mystery of grace: His Father wants to be our Father too, and it is as such that He intends from now on to be known, loved and adored. If there is one truth He has insisted upon, it is that God is Father, His Father by nature, our Father by the grace of adoption. The whole Gospel is full of this teaching.
Every time Jesus speaks of God, He calls Him by this Name, to open our hearts to trust: “The Father… My Father… your heavenly Father.” He compares Him to the fathers of this world, to show that their concern for their children is only a shadow of what the good Lord has for us. It is necessary to reread the Sermon on the Mount, where He condensed His doctrine and traced the charter of His kingdom: He comes back again and again to the Heavenly Father’s care and tenderness towards His children. The lesson of abandonment He gives us there is obviously based on divine fatherhood. He tells us again and again that we should not be troubled by the thought of tomorrow, because tomorrow will be able to meet its needs: every day is enough. And when He asks us to avoid anxiety, He gives us the reason: Your Father knows what you need.
At the Last Supper, Jesus ends His sacerdotal prayer with these words that summarize His doctrine and the nature of His mission among men: “Righteous Father, I have made Your Name known to them.” What name? The Father’s name that He has just pronounced and repeated forty-eight times during this discourse in which He has just poured out His Heart into that of His Apostles. “I have made Your Name known to them and will make it known to them again…” For what purpose? “That the love with which you have loved Me may be in them…” Let us understand: That the Father’s love which You have for Me may be extended to each one of them by the grace of adoption… And Jesus ends: “And may I Myself be in them. In them by My Spirit, My Spirit of a Son, to continue in their person My filial life of love and surrender to all Your good pleasures.”
In the Gospel of St. John alone, the name of Father given to God returns a hundred and eighteen times on the lips of Jesus or under the pen of the Apostle. This is really not too much, since after such insistence, our faith in the fatherly love of the good Lord is often still too weak to lift us up above all fear, all anxiety, and throw us into His arms with absolute confidence!
The response of love
However infinite He may be, God stoops down to us as the most loving father to his son and invites us to love Him, to give Him our heart: He has the right to demand this love imperiously, but He prefers to ask us for it gently, affectionately, so that there is, so to speak, more spontaneity in our response, more filial abandonment in our recourse to Him.
How can we fail to respond to so many delicate attentions, to His maternal solicitude? Yes, the Christian who lives by faith looks to God as his Father; he loves Him with filial love. He is not afraid of His punishments, precisely because he has a very strong fear of offending Him and the concern to avoid everything that might displease Him, without this concern, however vigilant it may be, going so far as to disturb the peaceful joy that reigns in him. At the same time that he has the most attentive respect for God, for His greatness and holiness, for His presence, for His word, he feels an exquisite and deep tenderness towards Him; he suffers to see Him outraged by sinners, and rejoices to see Him glorified by the Saints.
To this love of respect and tenderness is joined the love of gratitude. It is to this beloved Father that he owes everything, both in the order of nature and in that of the grace that crowns it. In memory of the favors that each day brings a magnificent increase, he vibrates with the most delicate feelings of gratitude. A thousandfold he thanks God with the impulse of a deeply touched heart and invites all creation to bless Him forever.
Divine goodness, in exciting his gratitude, sharpens the regret for the faults by which he has too often betrayed Him. He would like to erase them with his tears and his blood, such is his repentance. What tempers this pain in him is to think that these faults will highlight the multitude of heavenly mercies. Moreover, his falls make him resort more and more to the help of his heavenly Father. Without Him, he knows himself to be weak and powerless. If he aspires to reach the heights of perfection, it will be He who, at last touched by the stumbling efforts and continuous calls for help from His child, will finally come to take him in His arms.
In this way, grateful and repentant love becomes trusting love. “God is my father,” he often murmurs with as much conviction as joy, “God is my Father; He sees, He wants, He can,” and He expects from Him all that a child has the right to expect from the most powerful and generous of fathers.
His trust extends to the whole future. Far from seeking through anxious curiosity to pierce the veil under which God hides what He holds in store for him, he surrenders himself to Him, he rests in His goodness.
His will is indifferent to death as to life. God knows what is appropriate. The desire to contemplate the infinite Beauty would make him wish to die, but the thought of being able, by living, to contribute to making Him loved, even if only by one soul, makes him wish to live, if such is God’s good pleasure, in order to devote himself more to His service.
– Magnificat Magazine, January 1994