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The Glory Of God Reaches Its Fullness In Jesus Christ

September 24, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE

(Editor’s Note: Raymond Cardinal Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, recently traveled to Australia, where he visited Sydney and Melbourne, giving multiple talks to the public, and met with two gatherings of priests organized by the Australian Confraternity.
(Other organizations involved with and sponsoring his visit included the Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman in Melbourne, the World Congress of Families, the University of Sydney Catholic Chaplaincy, and Oriens.
(Below is his sermon for the conferral of the Sacrament of Confirmation and Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Throne, Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost, at the Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, St. Aloysius Church, Caulfield North, Australia, August 31, 2014.
(His Eminence’s office kindly supplied the text of this sermon. All rights reserved.)

+ + +

2 Cor. 3:4-9
Luke 10:23-37

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen.
The Introit of today’s Holy Mass expresses the deepest longing of every human heart: to know God’s lasting help and mercy, and so to be saved from sin and everlasting death:
“Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me: let my enemies be confounded and ashamed, who seek my soul.” (1)
Fittingly, the first words of the Introit, taken from Psalm 70 [69], are the invocation with which the praying of each of the hours of the Divine Office begins. They give expression to the reality of our daily Christian prayer, expressed publicly in the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the lifting up of our poor, fearful, and sinful hearts to the Heart of God to know His mercy and love now and forever.
God the Father has answered the prayer of His faithful, has responded to our deepest longing, in an unimaginably wonderful way. His response is a mystery because, although we know it in part, we can never fully grasp all of its truth, beauty, and goodness.
God has answered our prayer, our most profound desire, by the sending of His only-begotten Son in our human flesh. God the Son was made man to suffer, die, rise from the dead, and ascend to the Father’s right hand, in order that He might dwell with us always, pouring forth into our hearts from His glorious pierced Heart the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit, the immeasurable and unceasing love of God the Father for us.
Thus St. Paul can proclaim:
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God, who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2)
God the Father prepared His children for the incomparable gift of His love through the Law of Moses, which, in view of its end — the response of love of God and neighbor — certainly had its own glory. After Moses had spoken with God, his face glowed so much with divine glory that he had to wear a veil, so that the people could look upon him. That glory remains, for the Law of God does not change, but, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, that glory has reached its fullness, a fullness beyond all man’s imagining.
Christ has won for us the grace, the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we can live according to God’s Law with the pure and selfless love for which it disposes us and disciplines us. Commenting on today’s Epistle, Dom Prosper Guéranger writes:
“Such is that glory of the new Testament, that glory of the Church and of every Christian soul, which so immensely surpasses the glory of the old, and the brightness which lit up the face of Moses. As to our carrying this treasure in frail vessels we must not, on that account, lose heart, but rather rejoice in this weakness, which makes God’s power all the more evident; we must take our miseries, and even death itself, and turn them into profit, by giving the stronger manifestation of our Lord Jesus’ life in this our mortal flesh. What matters it to our faith and our hope, if our outward man is gradually falling to decay, when the inner is being renewed day by day? The light and transitory suffering of the present is producing within us an eternal weight of glory. Let us, then, fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; the visible passes, the invisible is eternal.” (3)
No matter what necessity we may experience, no matter what suffering we may endure in life, we remain serene, for Christ dwells within us through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. His grace heals us and gives us strength.
The Holy Spirit makes the glory of Christ shine upon our faces, so that others may be drawn to Him Who alone is our salvation in His holy Church. St. Paul, in verses which follow quickly upon today’s Epistle, declared: “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Christ.” (4)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan helps us to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation as the answer to man’s deepest longing. When the seventy disciples had returned from the mission upon which Christ had sent them, they rejoiced in what God was accomplishing in Christ’s name. (5) Referring to the mystery of the two natures, human and divine, united in His person as God the Son, Christ declared:
“Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (6)
Christ Himself, God the Son Incarnate, is the response of God to the deepest longing of man about which the Law and Prophets had spoken throughout the many centuries from the sin of our First Parents. By His Incarnation and His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, He was completely obedient to the Father, fulfilling perfectly the twofold commandment of the Law: love of the Father and love of neighbor without measure or limit. And He has won for us a share in His life and in His saving mission.
When the lawyer asked Him what love of neighbor means in the Law, trying to justify the placing of limits on the extension of that love, Christ responded with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The Parable makes clear that there can be no limit to the love of neighbor, for it is the Samaritan, a foreigner and sworn enemy of the Jew who “fell among robbers,” who alone showed him mercy and love.
Christ Himself is the Good Samaritan Who gave up His life to save all men, without boundary, and He gives us a share in His pure and selfless love, so that we may be like Him in our love, not setting limits or conditions to the mercy and love we show toward our neighbor. At the conclusion of the Parable, when Christ asked the lawyer “who proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers” (7) and the lawyer responded that it was “[t]he one who showed mercy on him,” Christ commanded him: “Go and do likewise.” (8)

The Indwelling
Of The Holy Spirit

Referring to all of the just who along the centuries had looked for the coming of the Christ, of God the Son Incarnate, to bring us divine mercy and love, Dom Prosper Guéranger reminds us of the great mystery of divine love at work in our souls by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He writes:
“Do we, then, who are their descendants, — we for whom they were obliged to wait, in order to enjoy a share of those blessings which their sighs and vehement desires did so much to hasten, — appreciate the immense favour bestowed on us by our Lord? Our virtue scarcely bears comparison with that of the fathers of our faith; and nevertheless, by the descent of the holy Spirit of love, we have been more enlightened than ever were the prophets, for, by that holy Spirit, we have been put in possession of the mysteries which they only foretold. How is it, then, that we are so sadly slow to feel the obligation we are under of responding, by holiness of life, and by an ardent and generous love, to the liberality of that God, who has gratuitously called us from darkness to His admirable light?
“Having so great a cloud of witnesses over our heads, let us lay aside the burden of sin which impedes us, and run, by patience, in the fight proposed to us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before Him, preferred to endure the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. We know Him with greater certainty than we do the events which are happening under our eyes, for He Himself, by His holy Spirit, is ever within us, incorporating His mysteries into us.” (9)
By the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our souls from the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father. Through the Holy Eucharist we now celebrate, the life of the Holy Spirit is sustained within us all along our life pilgrimage by the Heavenly Food which is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.
Through the Sacraments, Christ descends from the right hand of the Father to remain with us always. When we struggle to love or even fail in love, we must never give up hope in God’s mercy and love. Christ dwells within us through the outpouring of His Spirit. In our struggles and failure, He bids us to lift up our hearts anew to His glorious pierced Heart, confident that He will win in us the victory over sin, the victory of life.

True Soldiers Of Christ

Today, before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which we are now celebrating, twelve young men and women received the Sacrament of Confirmation to complete the grace of Baptism, strengthening and increasing the life of the Holy Spirit within their souls, so that they can give strong witness to the love of Christ dwelling within them from the day of their baptism, so that they can be truly soldiers of Christ.
Conscious of the many challenges which young people today face in a world which has grown forgetful of God and hostile to His Law written upon our hearts, we thank Our Lord for the new outpouring of the Holy Spirit into their souls to make them strong in giving an account of their faith to others and in showing the sublime beauty of the faith by the way in which they live each day.
We pray that they will keep the life of the Holy Spirit strong within their souls, especially through their faithful participation in the Holy Mass and through regular Confession. May the conferral of Confirmation upon them today be the occasion for all of us to call anew upon the help of God’s grace, the help of the Holy Spirit, so that we will face the many challenges to our daily life in Christ.
Let us now lift up our hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glorious pierced Heart of Jesus, first opened by the soldier’s spear on Calvary and forever open to receive us with immeasurable and unceasing love. Let us give our hearts into His Eucharistic Heart, so that He may cleanse us of sin and nourish in us the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit for the love of God and of our neighbor, without measure or limit. Having rested our hearts in the Heart of God through the Eucharistic Sacrifice, with confidence let us pray, throughout the day and especially in moments of doubt, fear, or trial, the opening words of today’s Introit: “Incline unto my aid, O God: O Lord, make haste to help me.”
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Holy Mother of God, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, pray for us.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

FOOTNOTES

1. “Deus, in adiutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina: confundantur et revereantur inimici mei, qui quaerunt animam meam.” Missale Romanum. English translation: Saint Andrew Daily Missal, ed. Gaspar Lefebvre and the Monks of St. Andrew’s Abbey (Bruges, Belgium: Biblica, 1962), p. 696.
2. Cor. 3:4-6.
3. “Telle est cette gloire du Testament nouveau, cette gloire de l’Église et de toute âme chrétienne, qui dépasse immensément les splendeurs de l’ancienne alliance et le rayonnement de la face de Moïse. Quoique ayant ce trésor ici-bas en des vases d’argile, nous ne devons pas pour cela défaillir, mais bien plutôt nous réjouir de cette faiblesse qui relève en nous la vertu de Dieu, et mettre à profit nos misères et la mort même pour manifester davantage la vie du Seigneur Jésus dans notre chair mortelle. Qu’importe à notre foi et à nos espérances, si en nous l’homme extérieur s’en va et tombe en ruines, quand l’intérieur se renouvelle de jour en jour? La souffrance légère et passagère du moment produit en nous un poids éternel de gloire. Contemplons donc, non ce qui se voit, mais l’invisible; car ce qui se voit passe, mais l’invisible est éternel.” Prosper Guéranger, L’Année liturgique, Le temps après la Pentecôte, Tome II, 15ème éd. (Tours: Maison Alfred Mame et Fils, 1926), pp. 303-304. English translation: Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Time after Pentecost, Book II (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2000), pp. 295-296.
4. 2 Cor. 4:6.
5. Cf. Luke 10:17.
6. Luke 10:23-24.
7. Luke 10:36.
8. Luke 10:37.
9. “Nous donc leurs fils, qu’ils attendaient pour entrer en part des biens que préparaient leurs angoissés et leurs aspirations, comprenons le bienfait du Seigneur ! Nous si petits par la vertu en face des pères de notre foi, et que pourtant l’avénement de l’Esprit d’amour a plus éclairés que ne le furent jamais les prophètes, en nous donnant en possession des mystères mêmes qu’ils annonçaient : comment ne sentirions-nous pas l’obligation que s’impose à nous de reconnaître par la sainteté de toute notre vie, par un amour ardent et généreux, les faveurs de celui qui nous a gratuitement appelés des ténèbres à son admirable lumière ? Ayant sur nos têtes une telle nuée de pareils témoins, laissons enfin là fardeaux et entraves, dégageons-nous, pour courir résolument dans la carrière, les yeux fixés sur l’auteur et le consommateur de la foi. Jésus-Christ aux délices qu’il pouvait choisir a préféré la croix, méprisant la honte, et, maintenant, il est assis à la droite de Dieu. Nous le savons plus sûrement que nous ne voyons les événements qui se passent sous nos yeux ; car lui-même il est en nous sans cesse, par son esprit, nous incorporant ses mystères.” Guéranger, pp. 307-308. English translation: Guéranger, pp. 299-300.

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