LETTER TO THE STIGMATINE LAITY – FOR APRIL, 2015

Stigmatines – St. Joseph Hall
554 Lexington Street
Waltham MA 02452-3097

Palm Sunday
                                         March 29, 2015 

Dear Stigmatine Lay Member,

             Many blessings for a new spring-time and a blessed Easter.  As we ponder  the mind and heart of St. Gaspar Bertoni,  let us ponder his Parish Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter over 2 centuries ago [in those days called “Low” Sunday, April 5, 1807] – on “The Spiritual Life”:

 1305:       Having thus proposed the future resurrection, St. Paul   requires another resurrection of us, a new institution in the present life, for the changing of our ways. When, in fact ,… when an avaricious person becomes merciful, or a wrathful individual becomes meek, there takes place in these instances a resurrection   which is the principle of the future… The former way of life is cancelled, and the new and angelic way flourishes anew. Thus, we can say with St. ANSELM [1]: intemperance has died in such a person, and sobriety has risen up; …. On hearing “new life”, let each one seek out in himself much diversity, and great changes….

1312:       To cite still another example, CORNELIUS a LAPIDE  [2] relates the story of the Holy Count, Eleazar, immobile in his mountainous solitude, lived there a celibate life with his virgin wife, Delphina. She sent him letters to find out how he was getting along.  He responded: I am healthy of body and safe. If you wish to see me, look for me in the wound of the side of Christ. For it is there that I dwell; and here it will be easy to find me. You will search in vain in any other place.

      Do you see, my hearers, the just idea of a person risen with Christ? Could such a person even yearn for the lowly realities of this life? Could such a one seek for anything else in this life, other than the supernatural and heavenly goods, among which he will live eternally?

1313:       But, precisely this life of glory, in the hope of which we now glory, is much less known and seen by the world. Similarly, there is not seen the glorious life to which Christ has risen, and of which He lives in God, that is, near His Father. This is why St. Paul states [Col 3:3, ff.] that our life is hidden with Christ in God: …When Christ shall appear, who is your life [i.e., the cause of your life]  , then you shall also appear with Him in glory… [v. 4].    This is just like the pearl, says St. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, [3] whose end is hidden as it is in its shell.

1314:       Even more fitting is the example that St. AUGUSTINE [4] uses to explain this passage, that later St. ANSELM [100] would copy. In the bitter winter even the green tree seems dry to the sight. As the summer approaches, the living root once again is  vested with fruit. This is our life, that is much like that winter, when the sun is further away from us and concealed behind the clouds. This sun for us is Christ.

1315:       We are much like the plants, dry on the outside, and without foliage, without honor, and without the appearance, or the luster of beauty. However, within we have living roots: charity, planted in God, as in a vital, stable, and living earth. The summer will appear, as the glory of Christ comes. And the plants will be seen to come to life again, rising up, and once more give their fruits and vital foliage. There will be the glorious traits of beatitude, both in the spirit as well as in the flesh. Come on now, exclaims  St. AUGUSTINE [104], come now, most sweet Jesus, that this pact  with You be a firm one for me: that I might die totally to myself so that You alone might dwell within me. Within, totally in recollection, I will keep silence, so that You alone might speak in me. I will be totally at repose, so that You alone might work in me. The Apostle cries out: … And I live now, not I; but Christ lives in me… [Ga 2:20].

1316:       And in another place: … But our conversation is in heaven… [Ph 3:20].  And: … But you are not in the flesh.. [Rm 8:9].  And again: … having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ … [Ph 1:23].   These are some of the sublime affections of a person dead to sin, one who no longer has a taste for the tings of this earth. These are the sublime feelings of a spirit living hidden together with Christ in God. Such a person seeks only the superior realities, those that are of heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God [Col 3:1]. These are the sweet transports of a heart ravished by the sweet joy of these holy thoughts….

1322:      … To heaven, to eternal life, to heaven, you have been called. You are already well along your way, and moving along with giant steps. Follow through to the goal, to your heavenly home. You have been enrolled by God for an eternity to be the citizens of heaven, domestics, heirs of God. Upward, then, with all vigor, with all your strength, hurry onward, hasten your steps. The saints await you, already sure as they are of their  happiness and  solicitous also for yours. Christ awaits you, and has already prepared a place for you – rather, a throne. Why do you hesitate, why look anymore to earth, to heaven, to heaven!  If you have risen with Christ…

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             Let us continue to pray for the Church, the Stigmatines and all trying to build a spiritual life in the hope-filled faith that if we have indeed risen with Christ, let our thoughts be above! As we pray in every celebration of the Eucharist: Lift up your hearts!

           For those of you who can come, please join us for the Mass in honor of the Stigmata, April 17th at 4:30 – with supper following. We will be in touch regarding  subsequent meetings.

          Sincerely yours in the Healing Wounds of Christ,

Fr. Joseph Henchey, CSS
Acting Spiritual Director

 

[1] Cited by Cornelius a Lapide, Col 3:3.
[2] Col 3:3.
[3] In Epist. Ad Col.  Hom 7, 2 [t. 11, p. 227/2 D].
[4] cf. De Script. Vet. et Nov., Test., Serm. 36, 4. [t. 5/1, pp. 176 G, ff.].