Da “Pensiero alla morte” non datato.
Signore, come riparare le azioni mal fatte,
come ricuperare il tempo perduto,
come afferrare, nelle mie possibilità di scelta,
la sola cosa necessaria?
Alla gratitudine succede il pentimento.
Al grido di gloria verso Dio Creatore e Padre
succede il grido che invoca misericordia e perdono.
Che almeno questo io sappia fare:
invocare la Tua bontà, e confessare con la mia colpa
la Tua infinita capacità di salvare.
Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison; Kyrie eleison.
Signore pietà; Cristo pietà, Signore pietà.
Qui affiora alla memoria la povera storia della mia vita,
intessuta, per un verso, dall’ordito di singolari
e innumerevoli benefici, derivanti da un’ineffabile bontà
(è questa che spero potrò un giorno vedere ed “in eterno cantare”);
e, per l’altro, attraversata
da una trama di misere azioni, che si preferirebbe
non ricordare, tanto sono manchevoli, sbagliate,
Dio, Tu conosci la mia stoltezza (Ps. 68, 6).
Povera vita stentata, gretta, meschina,
tanto, tanto bisognosa di pazienza,
di riparazione, d’infinita misericordia.
Sempre mi pare suprema la sintesi di S. Agostino:
miseria e misericordia.
Miseria mia, misericordia di Dio.
Ch’io possa almeno onorare Chi Tu sei,
il Dio d’infinita bontà,
invocando, accettando, celebrando
la Tua dolcissima misericordia.
Da “Pensiero alla morte” non datato
Signore, voglio avere finalmente la nozione
riassuntiva e sapiente sul mondo e sulla vita:
penso che tale nozione debba esprimersi in riconoscenza:
tutto è dono, tutto è grazia.
Come è bello il panorama attraverso il quale passiamo;
troppo bello, tanto che ci lasciamo attrarre e incantare,
mentre deve apparire segno e invito.
In ogni modo, ecco il mio semplice atto di riconoscenza,
anzi di gratitudine: questa vita mortale è,
nonostante i suoi travagli, i suoi oscuri misteri,
le sue sofferenze, la sua fatale caducità,
un fatto bellissimo, un prodigio sempre originale e commovente,
un avvenimento degno d’essere cantato in gaudio e in gloria:
la vita, la vita dell’uomo!
Né meno degno d’esaltazione e di felice stupore
è il quadro che circonda la vita dell’uomo:
questo mondo immenso, misterioso, magnifico,
questo universo dalle mille forze, dalle mille leggi,
dalle mille bellezze, dalle mille profondità.
È un panorama incantevole.
Pare prodigalità senza misura.
Assale, a questo sguardo retrospettivo,
il rammarico di non averlo ammirato abbastanza questo quadro,
di non aver osservato quanto meritavano le meraviglie della natura,
le ricchezze sorprendenti del macrocosmo e del microcosmo.
Perché non ho studiato abbastanza, esplorato,
ammirato la stanza nella quale la vita si svolge?
Quale imperdonabile distrazione,
quale riprovevole superficialità!
Tuttavia, debbo riconoscere che questo mondo,
che è stato fatto per mezzo di Lui, Cristo, è stupendo.
Ti saluto e Ti celebro, sì, con immensa ammirazione
e, come dicevo, con gratitudine: tutto è dono.
Dietro la vita, dietro la natura, l’universo, sta la Sapienza;
e poi (Tu ce lo hai rivelato, o Cristo Signore) sta l’Amore!
La scena del mondo è un disegno, oggi tuttora incomprensibile
per la sua maggior parte, d’un Dio creatore,
che si chiama il Padre nostro che sta nei cieli!
Grazie, o Dio, grazie e gloria a Te, o Padre!
In questo sguardo mi accorgo che questa scena affascinante
e misteriosa è un riverbero, è un riflesso
della prima e unica Luce; è una rivelazione naturale
d’una straordinaria ricchezza e bellezza,
che deve essere una iniziazione, un preludio,
un anticipo, un invito alla visione dell’invisibile Sole,
“che nessuno ha visto mai” (cfr. Jo 1, 18):
“Il figlio Unigenito, che è nel seno del Padre,
Lui lo ha rivelato”.
Così sia, così sia.
INNO ALLA VITA (IN FACCIA ALLA MORTE)
Dal “Testamento” di Paolo VI – 30 giugno 1965 e 16 settembre 1972
Fisso lo sguardo verso il mistero della morte,
e di ciò che la segue, nel lume di Cristo,
che solo la rischiara, e perciò con umile e serena fiducia.
Avverto la verità, che per me si è sempre riflessa
sulla vita presente da questo mistero,
e benedico il vincitore della morte
per averne fugate le tenebre e svelata la luce.
Dinnanzi perciò alla morte,
al totale e definitivo distacco dalla vita presente,
sento il dovere di celebrare il dono, la fortuna, la bellezza,
il destino di questa stessa fugace esistenza.
Signore, Ti ringrazio che mi hai chiamato alla vita,
e ancora più che, facendomi cristiano, mi hai rigenerato
e destinato alla pienezza della vita.
Parimenti sento il dovere di ringraziare e di benedire
chi a me fu tramite dei doni della vita,
da te, Signore, elargitimi:
chi nella vita mi ha introdotto
(oh! siano benedetti i miei degnissimi genitori!),
chi mi ha educato, benvoluto, beneficato, aiutato,
circondato di buoni esempi, di cure, di affetto,
di fiducia, di bontà, di cortesie,
di amicizia, di fedeltà, di ossequio.
Guardo con riconoscenza ai rapporti naturali e spirituali
che hanno dato origine, assistenza, conforto, significato
alla mia umile esistenza: quanti doni, quante cose belle
ed alte, quanta speranza ho io ricevuto in questo mondo!
Ora che la giornata tramonta, e tutto finisce
e si scioglie di questa stupenda e drammatica
scena temporale e terrena,
come ancora ringraziare Te, o Signore,
dopo quello della vita naturale, del dono,
anche superiore, della fede e della grazia,
in cui alla fine unicamente si rifugia
il mio essere superstite?
Come celebrare degnamente la Tua bontà, o Signore,
per essere io stato inserito, appena entrato in questo mondo,
nel mondo ineffabile della Chiesa cattolica?
(Come per avere ricevuto nella Chiesa una vocazione particolare?)
In aetemum Domini Misericordias cantabo.
Canterò in eterno la misericordia del Signore!
In manus tua, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.
Nelle tue mani, Signore, affido il mio spirito!
Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
L’anima mia magnifica il Signore! Maria!
Credo. Spero. Amo. In Cristo.
We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. I John 4:16
God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Rom. 8:32
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psa. 145:9
We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:19
Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45
Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Rom. 12:16
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? James 2:1, 5
Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. I Cor. 10:24
Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. I Tim. 6:8, 9
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. I Cor. 1:27-29
LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty. Psa. 131:1
July 5, 2020
Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A
Readings for Today
Saint Elizabeth of Portugal—Optional Memorial
(Celebrated July 4 outside the USA)
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.” Matthew 11:25
What a profound truth to understand! For many, if given the choice to be either a “little one” or “wise and learned” it can appear that being wise and learned is more attractive. The problem is that, according to Jesus, those who are little children are in fact far more wise and learned than those who simply act this way.
Those who are childlike are the ones who have the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven revealed to them. They are given a special grace to penetrate the truths of God’s inner life. This reveals, in part, the simplicity of God’s inner life. God and His will are never confusing and complex. We may make Him seem confusing and, as a result, experience God’s wisdom as overly complex. But in reality, the truth and beauty of God is only discernable by the simple mind who lives in a humble way.
One tendency we can all have is to spend excessive time and energy trying to “figure out God’s will.” We can think and think and think, talk and talk and talk, and in the end remain in confusion about this or that. If you find yourself in this situation, of thinking too much and ending in confusion, then this is a sign that you may not be properly discerning the will of God and may not be allowing yourself to properly hear Him speak.
God speaks to us simply, clearly and only what we need to know, when we need to know. Therefore, it’s important to always approach our Lord in a humble and simple way, waiting for Him to speak the simple and profound truth we need to hear in His time. Ultimately, it comes down to patience with our Lord.
Reflect, today, upon whether you find yourself spending excessive time thinking about the mysteries of life only to be left confused. If so, seek to grow in humility so as to allow the Lord to reveal the simple yet profound truths He desires to reveal. Strive to be childlike in God’s eyes and you will become wiser and more learned than you could ever become on your own.
Dear Lord, help me to have a simple and childlike faith in You and, through this simple faith, come to know the beautiful mysteries You desire to reveal to me. Give me wisdom and knowledge, dear Lord, beyond what I could ever obtain by myself. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint Elizabeth of Portugal
(Celebrated July 4 outside the USA)
Source of content: mycatholic.life
Daily Reading & Meditation
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Meditation: Do you want to know the mind and heart of God? Jesus thanks the Father in heaven for revealing to his followers the wisdom and knowledge of God. What does Jesus’ prayer tell us about God and about our relationship with him? First, it tells us that God is both Father and Lord of the earth as well as heaven. He is both the Creator and Author of all that he has made, the first origin of everything. His authority, wisdom, and gracious care extends to every living thing, and his boundless love and goodness is directed to the welfare of each person made in his image and likeness. He is the source of all human life. That is why all fatherhood and motherhood are ultimately derived from him (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Pride – the root of sin
Jesus’ prayer contrasts the “wisdom of the world” with the wisdom which comes from above – from the Father of heaven who is all wise and good. Jesus’ prayer contains an implicit warning that pride can keep us from the love and knowledge of God. What makes us ignorant and blind to the wisdom of God? Certainly intellectual pride, coldness of heart, and stubbornness of will shut out God and his wise rule and fatherly care for our personal lives. Pride is the root of all vice and evil and the strongest influence propelling us to sin against God and to do wrong to our neighbor. Sinful pride first vanquishes the heart, making it cold and indifferent towards God. It also closes the mind to God’s truth and wisdom for our lives. What is pride’s flaw? It is the inordinate love of oneself at the expense of others and the exaggerated estimation of one’s own knowledge, power, importance and position over others.
Simplicity and lowliness of heart
Jesus contrasts pride with child-like simplicity and humility. The simple of heart are like “little children” in the sense that they see purely and simply without any pretense or falsehood. They instinctively recognize their utter dependence and reliance on others – especially those who can teach and form them to live strong, healthy, mature lives. No one can grow in wisdom and maturity unless they are willing to be taught and formed in how to live wisely and to distinguish between good and evil, truth and falsehood.
Simplicity of heart is closely linked with humility – the queen of virtues that forgets oneself in order to love and serve others for their sake. The humble of heart are the freest of all – emptied of vanity and self-concern they can single-mindedly focus on the welfare of others. The Lord Jesus is our model. He proclaimed to his disciples, “I am gentle and lowly of heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many” (Matthew 20:28). Jesus’ “gentleness” is not weakness or powerlessness. It is “strength under control” which is at the service of good rather than evil.
Jesus humbled himself to lift us out of our misery and slavery to sin in order to raise us up to glory with him and the Father. Jesus came not to bruise the weak but to heal, to pardon and not to condemn, to restore us to abundant life by defeating sin, Satan, and death. It was love for his eternal Father and for each one of us that motivated Jesus to humble himself to death on the cross in order to rescue us from slavery to sin and death. The Lord Jesus shows us the true path of love and victory, freedom and joy, through the cross that defeated pride and hatred, greed and selfishness, guilt and condemnation.
True humility – which is the opposite of false modesty or feeling bad about oneself – frees us to pursue what is good, right, holy, and true. Scripture tells us that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). Only the humble in heart can receive the wisdom which comes from God and the understanding of God’s perfect goodness and plan for our lives. Do you acknowledge your utter dependence on God and do you trust him with your whole heart, mind, and being?
The greatest reward for those who seek the “summum bonum” or “greatest good” is to be united with God – the one and only true source of peace, joy, and happiness that will last forever.
Knowing God personally
Jesus makes a claim which no one would have dared to make – he is the perfect revelation of God because he has been with the Father before all creation and time existed. He and the Father are united in an inseparable bond of love and unity. That is why Jesus alone can truly reveal the fullness of God’s mind and heart and purpose for our lives.
One of the greatest truths of God’s revelation and our Christian faith is that we can know the one true and living God. Our knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing some things about God and his true nature – we can know God our Father and Creator personally because God our Father desires to be closely united with each one of us in a bond of love through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus makes it possible for each one of us to have a personal direct relationship and experiential knowledge of God as our loving and gracious Father.
Through Jesus we have access to God the Father
To see the Lord Jesus is to recognize and know the true nature of God and his personal love for us. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over every man and woman whom he has created in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). God the Father loved us even while we were lost in ignorance and blinded by sin and pride. He sent us his Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who freely gave up his life for us on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 1:7). Paul the Apostle tells us that Jesus is the image of God (Colossians 1:15). He is the perfect revelation of God – a God who loves us totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. What can separate us from the love of God? Only our own stubborn pride, willfulness, and rebellious attitude towards God and his will for our lives.
Jesus makes an incredible promise to those who acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior. If we pray in his name – the name Jesus means God saves – then the Father in heaven will hear us as if his only begotten Son was speaking to him directly. That is the unity, blessing, and promise he wishes for each one of us. And that is why we have the confidence and boldness to pray as Jesus taught his disciples, Our Father who art in heaven… give us this day our daily bread, and deliver us from temptation. Do you pray to your Father in heaven with joy and confidence in his perfect love and care for you?
The sweet yoke of Jesus
What does the yoke of Jesus refer to in the Gospel (Matthew 11:29)? The Jews used the image of a yoke to express submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments, the yoke of the kingdom, the yoke of God. Jesus says his yoke is “easy”. The Greek word for “easy” can also mean “well-fitting”. Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well. We are commanded to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live the “heavenly way of life and happiness”.
Jesus also says his “burden is light”. There’s a story of a man who once met a boy carrying a smaller crippled lad on his back. “That’s a heavy load you are carrying there,” exclaimed the man. “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother!” responded the boy. No burden is too heavy when it’s given in love and carried in love. Jesus offers us a new kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. In his kingdom sins are not only forgiven but removed, and eternal life is poured out for all its citizens. This is not a political kingdom, but a spiritual one.
Freedom from sin and guilt
The yoke of Christ’s kingdom, his kingly rule and way of life, liberates us from the burden of guilt and from the oppression of sinful habits and hurtful desires. Only Jesus can lift the burden of sin and the weight of hopelessness from us – and give us a weight of love and glory in exchange. Jesus used the analogy of a yoke to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin and despair for a burden of glory and yoke of freedom from sin. The yoke which Jesus invites us to embrace is his way of grace and freedom from the power of sin. Do you trust in God’s love and submit to his will and plan for your life?
“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.”
1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you, and praise your name for ever and ever.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The grace of Christ bears us up, from an anonymous early Christian teacher
“‘My yoke is easy and my burden light’… The prophet says this about the burden of sinners: ‘Because my iniquities lie on top of my head, so they have also placed a heavy burden on me’ (Psalm 38:4)… ‘Place my yoke upon you, and learn from me that I am gentle and humble of heart.’ Oh, what a very pleasing weight that strengthens even more those who carry it! For the weight of earthly masters gradually destroys the strength of their servants, but the weight of Christ rather helps the one who bears it, because we do not bear grace; grace bears us. It is not for us to help grace, but rather grace has been given to aid us.” (excerpt from the INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 29: PG 56:780)
Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2020 Servants of the Word, source: dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org, author Don Schwager