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May 15, 2013

Meaning of the Virgin Church's First experience of her Spouse




Image result for mother mary imagesI have noted discussions on my reflections from this post  Here  by another blogger on her own blog [which to me seem out of context ] and wish to elaborate on what I've written regarding the Virgin Church's first experience of her Spouse.

The consecrated virgin is called to be a sign of the CHURCH’s virginity  which  keeps the FAITH whole and entire [Ref : Homily in the Rite ].  This vocation  has its origin in the early Christian community when the Church was young. Her faith was a totally new experience of the Paschal mystery and love of Jesus Christ, her treasure.

This  ancient vocation  is called to be  a reminder even today of the Church’s  new and first experience of the Risen Lord – Jesus Christ who loved the  Church and gave Himself for her salvation on the Cross.


SO WHEN I TAKE THE ANALOGY OF A VIRGIN BEING ABLE TO TREASURE HER FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH HER SPOUSE IN A UNIQUE WAY, it implies the following :

1] The ancient ceremony of the consecration of virgins is the theological locus of  the sacrament of marriage which developed several centuries later  [ Read This  ]

2] According to the rite, the virgin is espoused to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Church teaches that our Lord is truly Human and Divine. The consecration of virgins is also analogous to the Annunciation and Incarnation experienced by the Virgin Mary when the Divine Word was united with her human flesh. An ontological change is said to take place according to some theologians.

3] This can also be understood from a Eucharistic perspective. St Augustine said," Behold who you are, become what you receive ! "

See the previous post   Here

Ephesians 5
31 Scripture says: Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
32 This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church.


4] The Church as Bride of Christ was born when Jesus' heart was pierced and blood and water flowed signifying the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. 

For every Christian, the first experience of being an adopted son / daughter of God the Father and Jesus Christ as ‘Spouse’ occurs through Baptism when  immersed in the Paschal mystery and this is said to be consummated at the reception of Eucharist. Adult converts receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil [ RCIA], while cradle catholics receive Confirmation and Eucharist at later age.


In the ceremony of the consecration of virgins, the virgin BECOMES an image of the CHURCH as virgin, bride, and mother. Then onward the experience of the Paschal mystery that is the treasure of the virginal Faith of the entire Church, becomes her own treasure. It is an EASTER Church that shares the faith [kerygmatic experience ].

Over the centuries this virginal faith of the Church has experienced many attacks with her own members watering down the Paschal mystery  through moral relativism, religious relativism, or seeing Jesus merely as a Guru or Self-enlightened one, etc.

He  is THE Chris. He died to save the world, to reconcile all humanity with God the Father.

Christians who give in to moral and religious relativism or dilute the faith  living it in a lukewarm manner, do not give witness as those who treasure the Church's first experience of Christ as Spouse on the Cross. They give in to a form of  Idolatry or adultery.

CONSECRATED VIRGINITY IS CALLED TO BE A SIGN OF THE  VIRGINITY OF FAITH THAT TREASURES THE PASCHAL MYSTERY WHICH IS THE FIRST EXPERIENCE OF THE CHURCH WITH  HER SPOUSE JESUS  THE CHRIST !


5 ] The virginity of  Mary, Mother and first disciple of Jesus Christ, became ‘Christian’ virginity only at the Cross. The Incarnation got its fullest meaning only with the Paschal Mystery. 

Similarly, after the consecration as bride of our Lord Jesus Christ,  that happens during the rite of consecration to a life of virginity, the virgin’s first experience of Jesus as Spouse which happened when she received the Sacraments of Initiation, acquires the fullest meaning. The grace of  Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are deepened.

She is called to SHARE HER TREASURE, to remind  all  the baptized of their spousal relationship with Jesus Christ, of the virginity of Faith, and to   be a mother through evangelisation and the spiritual growth of the Church.


THE PURPOSE OF CONSECRATED VIRGINITY IN THE CHURCH IS TO BE AN EFFECTIVE SIGN THAT ANIMATES AND INSPIRES CHRISTIANS TO TREASURE  BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, AND EUCHARIST in their own lives, and to treasure the vocation and call to holiness, of every member of the Church.

Image result for mother mary images

April 15, 2013

Called to BECOME Eucharist to Others?

 




Today I received a comment from a friend questioning why I say that CV are called to BECOME Eucharist. She wrote, "We are called to be conformed to Christ, to adore Christ, to serve Christ, to enjoy Christ.  But we are not called to become Christ.  The source and summit of perfection is the Eucharist, and we are not meant to become the source and summit."

This blog mentions CV called to BECOME Eucharist. So let me explain..........

What we profess in the Apostle's creed will be fulfilled only with 'life everlasting'  when the bodies of all Christians will be resurrected  and united with God.  The consecration of virgins [according to me]  acquires it fullest meaning  in the journey of daily life lived in union with the Risen Lord, being transformed, more and more into Eucharist for others. [Of course we are not the Real Presence, but every baptized Christian is a presence of Christ in the world]. 

29 And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it. That is just what Christ does for the Church,
30 because we are a part of his body.
31 Scripture says: Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
32 This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church.

[Ephesians 5 ]

If you type  the following in google search : "Behold who you are, become what you receive"   there is plenty of Church teaching on this.





St . Augustine--Sermon 272

Augustine delivered this sermon on Easter Sunday.  Many in the congregation had been baptized the night before, at the Easter Vigil service.

               What you are seeing on the altar of God, you also saw last night.  But you've not yet heard what it was that you were seeing last night, what it signified, or how great a miracle the sacrament contained.  What you see on the altar is bread and a cup; that is what your eyes announce to you.  But what your faith, in need of further instruction, insists is that the bread is the body of Christ and the cup holds the blood of Christ.  That, indeed, is what has been briefly said to you, and that instruction may be enough for a faithful person. 

                       But faith desires further instruction.  The prophet Isaiah says: "Unless you believe, you will not understand."  You can say to me, "You have taught us so that we may believe.  Now, set forth the whole teaching so that we may understand."

               A thought such as this can arise in someone's mind:  We know our Lord Jesus Christ received flesh from the virgin Mary.  As an infant he was fed his milk, he was nourished, he grew up.  He was led from childhood to young manhood.  He suffered persecution from the Jews, he was suspended and killed upon the wooden cross, from the wooden cross he was brought down, and he was buried.  On the third day he rose again, on the day of his own choosing he ascended into heaven, and to that place he lifted his body.  From heaven he will come so that he may judge the living and the dead; and there, at present, he is sitting at the right hand of the Father.  How, then, is the bread his body?  And the chalice, or what it holds, how is it his blood?

               And so these, brothers, are called sacramental mysteries, because one thing is seen in them but another is understood.  What is seen has bodily appearance; what is understood has spiritual fruit.  If therefore you wish to understand the body of Christ, hear the Apostle Paul speaking to the faithful, "But you are the body of Christ, and its members." (1 Corinthians 12:27)  If, therefore, your sacramental mystery has been placed on the table of the Lord, you receive the mystery.  To that which you see in front of you, you respond, "Amen," and by responding you are saying "Yes."  For you hear "body of Christ" and you respond "Amen."  Be a member of the body of Christ so that your "Amen" may be true.

            But why in bread?  Let us offer no explanation of our own, but let us hear the same Apostle.  Paul, when he speaks about this sacrament, says, "One bread, one body are we, even though we are many." (1 Cor 12:13) Understand and rejoice: oneness, truth, piety, charity.  "One bread:" who is this one bread?--one body, the many.  Consider that the bread comes to be, not from one grain, but from many.  When you were exorcised  before baptism, you were softened, just as dough is kneaded.  When you were baptized you were sprinkled, just as an unbaked loaf is moistened.  When you accepted the fire of the Holy Spirit it was as if the loaf of bread was baked.  Be what you see, and receive what you are.  That is what the Apostle said about the bread.

            Now, the Apostle has shown us clearly enough what we have come to understand about the chalice, even if he did not tell us in so many words.  For just as in bread we see many grains gathered into one loaf, so also with the wine--and so also the faithful, as the scripture says, "They were of one mind and one heart in God." (Acts 4:32)  Brothers, recall where wine comes from.  Many separate grapes hang at the vineyard, but the liquor of the grapes is blended in unity.  So also the Lord Christ meant for us to see ourselves.  He wished to reach us and bring us to himself.  He consecrated the mystery of our peace and unity on his table.  He who receives the sacramental mystery of unity but does not keep the bond of peace, receives not a mystery for himself but a testimony against himself.

            Having converted, having turned to the Lord God the omnipotent Father, let us give true and great thanks to him with a pure heart, as much as we are able in our weakness.  With our entire soul let us pray to the Father that in his unique kindness he will graciously hear our prayers; that he will drive away the Enemy from our deeds and thoughts; that he may increase our faith, direct our minds, grant us spiritual thoughts and guide us to his beatitude: through Jesus Christ his son.  Amen.



****************************************************************************

My comments to St Augustine:

Each and every member of the body of Christ, the Church, BECOME what we receive through our union with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, more and more, every time we receive Him throughout our lives.

This Sacrament of Communion  contains the Mystery that belongs to God alone ---because God is the source and summit of our lives. But it also contains the Mystery of the Church who is called to participate more and more in His divinity.

The Bride of Christ is a title of the Church of Christ, gifted to individual consecrated virgins. Why ? So that every  CV can be a sign, an eschatological image, an inspiration of that communion with God and with each other  that  the entire Church is called to BECOME.

This according to me does not happen fully in the ceremony of [the rite of] consecration. The  ceremony is perhaps  the beginning of the journey to holiness, a special grace to help CV to grow from virgin to bride to mother.

It will be accomplished only in Heaven. The eschatological tension [ ALREADY AND NOT YET ] is kept alive in CV.


 Pope Benedict XVI has said, 
"St Augustine helps us to understand the dynamic of Eucharistic communion when he mentions a sort of vision that he had, in which Jesus said to him: “I am the food of strong men; grow and you shall feed on me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh into yourself, but you shall be changed into my likeness” (Confessions, vii, 10, 18).

Therefore whereas food for the body is assimilated by our organism and contributes to nourishing it, in the case of the Eucharist it is a different Bread: it is not we who assimilate it but it assimilates us in itself, so that we become conformed to Jesus Christ, a member of his Body, one with him. This passage is crucial. In fact, precisely because it is Christ who, in Eucharistic communion changes us into him, our individuality, in this encounter, is opened, liberated from its egocentrism and inserted into the Person of Jesus who in his turn is immersed in Trinitarian communion. The Eucharist, therefore, while it unites us to Christ also opens us to others, makes us members of one another: we are no longer divided but one in him. Eucharistic communion not only unites me to the person I have beside me and with whom I may not even be on good terms, but also to our distant brethren in every part of the world.

Hence the profound sense of the Church’s social presence derives from the Eucharist, as is testified by the great social saints who were always great Eucharistic souls. Those who recognize Jesus in the sacred Host, recognize him in their suffering brother or sister, in those who hunger and thirst, who are strangers, naked, sick or in prison; and they are attentive to every person, they work in practice for all who are in need."

March 23, 2013

FOURTEENTH STATION - Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb



We adore You O Christ  and we Praise You
 R : Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

The Shroud of Turin



 

 

 

Jesus’ dead body was laid in a tomb. The Paschal Mystery  has changed  many hearts since then. Uncountable number of people have fallen in love with Jesus and his teachings since 2000 years. When he rose again, he left behind the burial cloth known as the Shroud of Turin  to show us that God became human through the incarnation. In the image of God  we are made, each and every one of us. How important it is to recognize  each and every human being as a beloved son or daughter of God.

 

Prayer : Heavenly Father, thank you for your love poured out through your son Jesus for our salvation. Give us courage  to witness with our lives every day  to this love for others so that more and more may be drawn to you in Christ.

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…………