The liturgy of Palm Sunday puts these words on our lips: “Swing back, doors, higher yet; reach higher, immemorial gates, to let the king enter in triumph!” Anyone who barricades himself in the citadel of his own selfishness will never come down onto the battlefield. But if he raises the gates of his fortress and lets in the king of peace, then he will go out with the king to fight against all that misery which blurs the eyes and numbs the conscience. “Reach higher, immemorial gates.” The fact that Christianity requires us to fight is nothing new. It has always been that way. If we do not fight, we will not win and if we do not win, we will not obtain peace. Without peace human joy is illusory, fake, barren, and it is not translated into service of men, or works of charity and justice, of pardon and mercy, or the service of God.
Happy Father’s Day!
“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 the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11 : 25-30)
Nothing can ever overcome that one enormous sex superiority, that even the male child is born closer to his mother than to his father. No one, staring at that frightful female privilege, can quite believe in the equality of the sexes. Here and there we read of a girl brought up like a tom-boy; but every boy is brought up like a tame girl. The flesh and spirit of femininity surround him from the first like the four walls of a house; and even the vaguest or most brutal man has been womanized by being born. Man that is born of a woman has short days and full of misery; but nobody can picture the obscenity and bestial tragedy that would belong to such a monster as man that was born of a man.
G.K. Chesterton: What’s Wrong With the World
May is dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Protectress of America.
Mary attains a union with God that exceeds all the expectations of the human spirit. It even exceeds the expectations of all Israel, in particular the daughters of this Chosen People, who, on the basis of the promise, could hope that one of their number would one day become the mother of the Messiah. Who among them, however, could have imagined that the promised Messiah would be “the Son of the Most High”? On the basis of the Old Testament’s monotheistic faith such a thing was difficult to imagine. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit, who“overshadowed” her, was Mary able to accept what is “impossible with men, but not with God” (cf. Mk 10: 27).
…When Mary responds to the words of the heavenly messenger with her “fiat”, she who is “full of grace” feels the need to express her personal relationship to the gift that has been revealed to her, saying: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). This statement should not be deprived of its profound meaning, nor should it be diminished by artificially removing it from the overall context of the event and from the full content of the truth revealed about God and man. In the expression “handmaid of the Lord”, one senses Mary’s complete awareness of being a creature of God. The word “handmaid”, near the end of the Annunciation dialogue, is inscribed throughout the whole history of the Mother and the Son. In fact, this Son, who is the true and consubstantial “Son of the Most High”, will often say of himself, especially at the culminating moment of his mission: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45).
At all times Christ is aware of being “the servant of the Lord” according to the prophecy of Isaiah (cf.Is 42:1; 49:3, 6; 52:13) which includes the essential content of his messianic mission, namely, his awareness of being the Redeemer of the world. From the first moment of her divine motherhood, of her union with the Son whom “the Father sent into the world, that the world might be saved through him” (cf. Jn 3:17), Mary takes her place within Christ’s messianic service. It is precisely this service which constitutes the very foundation of that Kingdom in which “to serve … means to reign”.21 Christ, the “Servant of the Lord”, will show all people the royal dignity of service, the dignity which is joined in the closest possible way to the vocation of every person.
Mulieris Dignitatem, St. John Paul II
The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among the wild beasts, and angels minister to him. At the end of this time, Satan tempts him three times…. Jesus rebuffs these attacks…and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time.”
…By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.
Lent is underway from now until Easter Sunday, April 20th. This year, Archbishop Gomez has offered a special invitation to reflect on the Beatitudes during this holy season:
“In the Beatitudes, Jesus is calling us to live as he lived on this earth. And the first of his Beatitudes might be the most provocative:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
…Being poor in spirit means knowing that we depend on God for everything. It means knowing that everything we have – even what we’ve earned through our own creativity and hard work – is God’s gift to us. To be poor in spirit is to live like little children, trusting that our Father will always provide us with every good gift….”
Learn more about Lent at St. Sebastian here.