On Friday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time, the Office of Readings included an excerpt from a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella. As I read the passage, my heart was in my throat several times because I felt an intimate connection to some of the statements made; these four sentences will be the ones about which I will share my reflections as requested by my spiritual director. Although the Abbot intended “bride” to refer to the Church in this sermon, I felt that much of it could also be applied to the Lord's maid-servants, one of which I am.
“We must confess our sins to Him and look to Him for forgiveness.”
Before I had a personal relationship with the Lord, I hated to go to Confession; I didn't like to admit my failures, weaknesses and iniquities. Now, I am able to run to the foot of the Cross and beg for my Redeemer's mercy as soon as I recognize an error in judgment. I have come to know that a contrite heart pleases the Lord and initiates a shower of graces for the penitent soul. May the Tribunal of Mercy become a source of strength and grace for many more souls!
“But when the Almighty, the Most High, wedded a bride who was weak and of low estate, He made that maid-servant a queen.”
When I am crushed and broken, the Lord restores me to the full. When I am weak, He strengthens me. When I fall into despondency, He picks me up and raises me to heights otherwise unknown to mortals. When I feel like a wretch, He calls me to be queen of His Heart, for our merciful Lord wants all of us to live up to our full potential as the heavenly Father's sons and daughters. Jesus told Saint Faustina that misery is covered with mercy when a soul approaches Him with a contrite heart. Even the weakest, most lowly woman can become a princess or queen in the Lord's eyes. It is not by our own doing, but by the grace of God alone, that we can do any good at all. May His holy Name be praised both now and forever!
“And so the Bridegroom is one with the Father and one with the bride.”
It is indeed a mystery that the Almighty lowers Himself to unite with a creature – a mystery that makes me tremble like a leaf in the wind. Each time that I am intimately united with Jesus in Holy Communion, I become more aware of the presence of the Holy Trinity. It is incomprehensible to creatures how time is of no consequence to God; even before I am ready to live for eternity with the Lord, He allows me to experience a taste of Paradise through the Eucharist. Who could ask for anything more? Dear Lord, may Your people open their hearts to the awareness of the Triune God whenever they unite with You!
“He destroyed what was diabolical, took to Himself what was human and conferred on her what was divine.”
By dying on the Cross, our merciful Lord took on the sins of all humanity, thereby destroying the sting of death, opening the door to everlasting life for all of mankind. Each time one receives the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion, one is being transformed, drop by drop; weak human nature, slowly but surely, becomes divinized, strengthened by the grace of God to overcome many obstacles and to persevere in trials. Although one may feel like a drop in the ocean of mercy, a human creature can experience divine intimacy with the Source of all goodness. It is an awesome gift when Creator and creature become one – even if just for an instant. Continue to divinize Your servants, dear Lord, until we can be one with You for eternity!