The House of My Father

1610_Cecco_del_Caravaggio_Christ_expulses_money_changers_anagoria.JPGLiturgy and Life of the Church

My lectio liturgica, during this momentous time in the life of the Church, has been unusually compelling, and this, quite apart from the fact that the opening of the Conclave took place on the feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. Thus far, the liturgy of each day this week has spoken with extraordinary clarity to the events underway in Rome.

Wisdom

On Monday we heard that “the wisdom of God was in him [Solomon] to do judgment.” (III KIngs 3:28). Hearing this, how could one not beseech God to infuse holy wisdom into the hearts of the Cardinal electors?

detail Cecco_del_Caravaggio_Christ_expulses_money_changers_anagoria-1.JPGPurification of the Temple

Monday’s Gospel recounted Our Lord’s purification of the temple in Jerusalem, a vivid image of the purification of the Church: “He said, ‘Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.” (John 2:16)

Whenever the world enters the temple, there enters with it noise, confusion, rivalries, greed, ambition, and incontinence.

• Noise violates the silence without which no man can hear the voice of God.
• Confusion attacks the sacred order that marks the Opus Dei: the work of God in His Church and for her, and the Godward work of the Church, the liturgy of His glory, and of the sanctification of souls.
• Rivalries fragment the unity of the Body of Christ by pitting member against member and organism against organism.
• Greed so preoccupies those held in its grip, that they fail to notice the gift of the Kingdom of God being offered to the poor in spirit.
• Ambition is a cancer, making souls insensitive to the Word of God, and incapable of compunction.
• Incontinence brings spiritual blindness in its wake, and an inability to see and accept the splendour and beauty of the truth.

Via Crucis 2005

Is it not the moment to recall the meditation and the prayer of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the Via Crucis in Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday 2005?

We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison – Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25).

Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

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