Tuesday, December 11, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #234* The Catholic Defender: Work in Progress

"and every time I pray for you all, I always pray with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the very first day up to the present. For God will testify for me how much I long for you all with the warm longing of Christ Jesus; it is my prayer that your love for one another may grow more and more with the knowledge and complete understanding that will help you to come to true discernment, so that you will be innocent and free of any trace of guilt when the Day of Christ comes, entirely filled with the fruits of uprightness through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God."

Thomas Merton seems to agree that we are a work in progress, he states, “The whole Christian life is a life in which the further a person progresses, the more he has to depend directly on God...The more we progress, the less we are self-sufficient. The more we progress, the poorer [in spirit] we get so that the man who has progressed most, is totally poor [in spirit] - he has to depend directly on God. He’s got nothing left in himself.”

It seems that every time I think I have myself in control, that I am where I should be spiritually, I find that upon self inventory, I have to go back to the drawing board.  What is great is that through the Catholic Church, we have the foundation to help us keep our eyes fixed on the straight and narrow.

How appropriate it is that the Church sees St. Paul's message that "your love for one another may grow more and more with the knowledge and complete understanding..." 

We just celebrated the truth of the Immaculate Conception that offers us the greatest example for all creation. 

By imitating the life of Jesus and Mary, we are given the standard of  "true discernment, so that we will be innocent and free of any trace of guilt when the Day of Christ comes..."

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  St .Louis Marie de Montfort taught, “God the Father made a gathering of all the waters and called it the sea; he made a gathering of all graces and called it Mary. God possesses a treasure of vast richness, containing all there is of beauty, of splendor, of magnificence, even to the inclusion of his own Son; and this immense treasure is none other than Mary whom the saints call the treasure of the Lord… God the Son has communicated to his mother all that he has gained by his life and his death, his infinite merits and his admirable virtues, and he has made her the disburser of all that his Father has given him as his inheritance. It is through her that he applies his merits to his members, communicates to them his virtues and distributes to them his graces: she is his mysterious channel, his splendid aqueduct by which he pours forth his mercies, sweetly and abundantly upon us." 
(True Devotion to Mary Part 1, chapter 1, article 2)

I think it is interesting that it was the sound of Mary's voice that St. Elizabeth and John the Baptist both received the Holy Spirit. 

We too can receive the Holy Spirit in a deeper way by accepting the fullness of the gospel. 

By accepting the Mother of our Lord who comes to us bringing her Son, Jesus Christ.

The late great Pope John Paul II once said,  "Before this extraordinary reality we find ourselves amazed and overwhelmed, so deep is the humility by which God “stoops” in order to unite himself with man! If we feel moved before the Christmas crib, when we contemplate the Incarnation of the Word, what must we feel before the altar where, by the poor hands of the priest, Christ makes his Sacrifice present in time? We can only fall to our knees and silently adore this supreme mystery of faith. (Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday 2004 §2)

God loves us so much that he has given us the means through His Holy Catholic Church to be truly clean inside and out.  We are a work in progress and will continue to be until we reach the end of this life.

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