Now is not the time to write, rather to weep. Jesus is dead to give us life. All creatures are mourning. The sun is darkened. The earth quakes. The rocks are rent. The veil of the temple is torn. Only my heart remains harder than flint. I will say no more. Join the poor mother of the dead Jesus as her companion. Ask the dear Magdalene and John where their hearts are. Let the sea of their pains flood within you. I end at the foot of the Cross.
Saint Paul of the Cross
I think God must have said to himself: Man does not love me because he does not see me; I will show myself to him and thus give him such cause to love me. God’s love for man was very great, and had been great from all eternity, but this love had not yet become visible… Then, it really appeared. The Son of God let himself be seen as a tiny Babe in a stable, lying on a little straw.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Joseph is the model for those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies… He is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need for great things; it is enough to have the common, simple, and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic.
Blessed Pope Paul VI
Doubtless we had some excuse for our moments of sadness and moodiness while we were without this lovable Infant who was just born to us, or will be born tomorrow. But henceforth it will no longer be right for us to be sad, for in Him we have every reason for joy and happiness.
Saint Francis de Sales
“Make straight the ways of the Lord” (Is 40:3; Mt 3:3; Mk 1:3;Lk 3:4; Jn 1:23), that is, acquire an even disposition by the mortification of your passions, inclinations, and aversions … These are the ways we should even out for our Saviour’s coming. To do this well, we must go to the school of the glorious Saint John the Baptist and place ourselves, or rather ask him to receive us, among his disciples. For he sent his disciples to be instructed by our Saviour personally.
Saint Francis de Sales
Today is, in the Latin calendar, Trinity Sunday. This is a mystery which we repeat, at least verbally, with every In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is present with all Christian prayer, yet we (or I) so infrequently remark on it. In fact, this mystery gets to the heart of the Christian religion and, consequently, to the heart of Christian contemplation.
When we say that God is with us, when we say that God dwells in us, and when we say that contemplation brings us an experience (however masked or straightforward) of the presence of God at the centre of our being and by grace, we are talking about the Holy Trinity. It may seem trite to say so. But it’s true. And it’s important.
We are not simply saying an unknown unity of a God dwells in us. God is, in some sense, very unknown to us, and he is very much One – that is true. But the mystery of Christian life is more than that. God reveals himself as Trinity.
Although present to all things in the measure of their goodness, God makes his very home in – that is, he dwells in – all those united to him by grace and a participation in his hidden, inner life. What is God’s inner life? It is communion. It is a life of Three Persons. It is a profound unity of being. In other words, the indwelling God is a tri-personal indwelling. And this is the vital centre of Christian mysticism, Christian prayer, and Christian contemplation – nothing more and nothing less than this. It’s about the Trinity: the bosom of unity and communion, community and oneness, actual distinction without utter separation. The Trinity is the fountain and spring of love and relationship.
Of course, this mystery is not a esoteric mystery reserved for a select few. The mystery of tri-personal indwelling is given, implanted, and promised to us in Baptism – it is a gift promised to us all. We might realize it awkwardly or directly in this life, or perhaps our realization will wait for the next life. Nonetheless, if we stay in grace, we are living with God dwelling in us, and God desires to make his divine life – communion, personality, relationship, love, Trinity – known to us in sighs beyond our poor words. According to Saints Teresa and John of the Cross, this deepening appreciation of the Trinity within us is one of the greatest emphases that can be experienced in the progressive deepening of Christian contemplation. May we all aspire to and pray for this gift.
The photo above is of the former Redemptorist novitiate house, with relics of numerous saints (Redemptorist and otherwise), in Nongkhai, northeast Thailand.
It’s beautiful. The relics line the walls, like the saints form that great “cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) around us, witnessing to us, to God, to all that is (for they see all in the Beatific Vision), yet acutely concerned with our particular lives below, especially in the particularities that coincide with their own lives and understandings. Then, all points towards the Crucifix and the Eucharistic sacrifice and banquet, with even the saints present in their relics within the sanctuary.
And that’s really how it is in every church – and at every moment in this present world, for every heart in a state of grace is a microcosm of all this: Christ dwells within, and with him the whole Church of Heaven and the Eucharistic desire which draws such graces even more.