Friday, January 04, 2013

Gift of Self: Abel, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Mother Teresa...


“Not even when Abel and Cain were making the first sacrifice – not even then did God pay attention to their gifts. He looked into their hearts, and the gift that was acceptable was the one offered by the one who was acceptable in his heart. Abel, peaceable and righteous in sacrificing in innocence to God, taught the rest of us that when we bring our gift to the altar we should come, like him, with the fear of God, with a heart free of deceit, with the law of righteousness, with the peace of concord. He sacrificed in such a way, and so he was worthy to become, afterwards, himself a sacrifice to God: he who bore witness through the first martyrdom, who initiated the Lord’s passion by the glory of his blood, had both the Lord’s righteousness and the Lord’s peace. Such are those who are crowned by the Lord at the end; such are those who will sit and judge with him on the day of judgment.” (St Cyprian, On the Lord's Prayer)

(Dialogue between Bl Pope John Paul II and Bl Mother Teresa, as recounted by Mother Teresa herself.)

After Holy Father gave a big speech to the people, I said, "Holy Father, I want to see you five minutes." He sat there; I sat there at his feet. He had his arms crossed with his head in his arms like this looking down at me. He said, "You got problems."

I said, "Holy Father, I am finding it very difficult. I have so many Sisters, 342 at the Mother House now in India, they need me and I need them, and now this continual calling. It is your will, I know, whatever you say I will do, but what do you want me to do?"

He said, "Continue doing what you are doing. Do not refuse Jesus. You have never refused Him before, do not refuse Him now. I will pray for you and give you the answer the next time I see you."

Just like that, simply like a child. Holy Father's words to me, "Do not refuse Jesus."

(Blessed Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, pp 298-299)

Suscipe, Domine, universam meam libertatem.
Accipe memoriam, intellectum, atque voluntatem omnem.
Quidquid habeo vel possideo mihi largitus es;
id tibi totum restituo,
ac tuae prorsus voluntati trado gubernandum.
Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi dones,
et dives sum satis,
nec aliud quidquam ultra posco.

(Older translation)
Receive, O Lord, all my liberty.
Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
Whatsoever I have or possess Thou hast bestowed upon me;
I give it all back to Thee
and surrender it wholly to be governed by Thy Will.
Give me love for Thee alone along with Thy grace,
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.

(Newer translation)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my entire will.
All I have and call my own, You have given to me;
to you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
(St Ignatius)

Love consists of a commitment which limits one's freedom - it is a giving of the self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit one's freedom on behalf of another.” (Bl John Paul II, Love and Responsibility)
"Authority" … "obedience". To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a "stumbling stone" for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ -- "the way and the truth and the life" -- we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. "In his will is our peace".” (Benedict XVI, Homily, Mass at Yankee's Stadium, New York, 20 April 2008)

(A journalist asked Mother Teresa if she was ever in doubt. After all, the journalist said, Christ himself had moments of doubt in Gethsemane.)

“No. There was no doubt. It was only for a moment that He felt unsure. That was as a human being. That was natural. The moment you accept, the moment you surrender yourself, that's the conviction. But it may mean death to you, eh? The conviction comes the moment you surrender yourself. Then there is no doubt. The moment Jesus said, "Father, I am at your disposal, Thy will be done," He had accepted. That was His agony. He felt all the things you and I would feel as human beings. That's why He was like unto us in all things, except sin."

“[If uncertainty remains] that's the time to go on your knees, eh? .... In that prayer, God cannot deceive you because that prayer comes from within you. That is the time you want Him most. Once you have got God within you, that's for life. There is no doubt. You can have other doubts, eh? But that particular one will never come again. No, I have never had doubt.... But I am convinced that it is He and not I. That it is His work, and not my work. I am only at His disposal. Without Him I can do nothing. But even God could do nothing for someone already full. You have to be completely empty to let Him in to do what He will. That's the most beautiful part of God, eh? Being almighty, and yet not forcing Himself on anyone.” (Blessed Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, pp 259-260)

Church of the Most Holy Trinity - Fátima
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Immaculate Mother,
in this place of grace,
called together by the love of your Son Jesus
the Eternal High Priest, we,
sons in the Son and his priests,
consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart,
in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.

We are mindful that, without Jesus,
we can do nothing good (cf. Jn 15:5)
and that only through him, with him and in him,
will we be instruments of salvation
for the world.

Bride of the Holy Spirit,
obtain for us the inestimable gift
of transformation in Christ.
Through the same power of the Spirit that
overshadowed you,
making you the Mother of the Saviour,
help us to bring Christ your Son
to birth in ourselves too.
May the Church
be thus renewed by priests who are holy,
priests transfigured by the grace of him
who makes all things new.

Mother of Mercy,
it was your Son Jesus who called us
to become like him:
light of the world and salt of the earth
(cf. Mt 5:13-14).

Help us,
through your powerful intercession,
never to fall short of this sublime vocation,
nor to give way to our selfishness,
to the allurements of the world
and to the wiles of the Evil One.

Preserve us with your purity,
guard us with your humility
and enfold us with your maternal love
that is reflected in so many souls
consecrated to you,
who have become for us
true spiritual mothers.

Mother of the Church,
we priests want to be pastors
who do not feed themselves
but rather give themselves to God for their brethren,
finding their happiness in this.
Not only with words, but with our lives,
we want to repeat humbly,
day after day,
Our “here I am”.

Guided by you,
we want to be Apostles
of Divine Mercy,
glad to celebrate every day
the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar
and to offer to those who request it
the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,
you who are fully immersed
in the one universal mediation of Christ,
invoke upon us, from God,
a heart completely renewed
that loves God with all its strength
and serves mankind as you did.

Repeat to the Lord
your efficacious word:
They have no wine” (Jn 2:3),
so that the Father and the Son will send upon us
a new outpouring of
the Holy Spirit.
Full of wonder and gratitude
at your continuing presence in our midst,
in the name of all priests
I too want to cry out:
Why is this granted me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43).

Our Mother for all time,
do not tire of “visiting us”,
consoling us, sustaining us.
Come to our aid
and deliver us from every danger
that threatens us.
With this act of entrustment and consecration,
we wish to welcome you
more deeply, more radically,
for ever and totally
into our human and priestly lives.

Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth
in the desert of our loneliness,
let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness,
let it restore calm after the tempest,
so that all mankind shall see the salvation
of the Lord,
who has the name and the face of Jesus,
who is reflected in our hearts,
for ever united to yours!


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