World, Soul and Things
(God Loves You)
Peace be to you.
We have now come to the end of our conversation. I am sure that you have noticed in the course of all these records how many imperfections there were. There may have been some words repeated, I possibly may have mispronounced some words, the recordings themselves might have been inadequate. All of this is due to the fact that we have not read; we have spoken out of our own heart.
I am not satisfied with these recordings as they are, and I am sure that you are not. But – I wish you would regard them just as a kind of– maybe a piece of carbon. I was about to say a diamond; rather, as a piece of carbon. And perhaps, if the light and fire of your own charity shines through the carbon, well, then, they might turn into a diamond. So, in conclusion about these, everything that is poor in them is mine; everything that is good in them is the Lord.
Woman at the Well:
If you have followed all of these, I perhaps have led you step by step, very much like our Blessed Lord led the woman at the well. You will remember that when He met her at noon, there were a number of steps that she took in coming to know our Blessed Lord. First of all, she was rather discourteous to Him, and she said to Him, “How is it that thou, a Jew, speak to me, a Samaritan?”(1) The Jews and the Samaritans did not speak. That was all our Lord was to her at first, just a member of another nationality with whom the Samaritans had no relations. Then, as she talked a little longer to Him, she perceived that He was a gentleman, for she called Him, “Sir”. (2)
And then in a few minutes more, when He began to put His finger on to her soul and to stir it into a kind of uneasiness, and particularly to tell her she had five husbands and that the man with whom she was living was not her husband, then she said that He was a prophet.(3) This was a step further in getting to know Him. And then she went a little bit further when she said, “I know that the Messiah is coming.”(4) And our Blessed Lord said to her, and think of how surprising it must have been to her when He said, “It is I, the Christ, the Messiah, who speaks to you.” (5)
Well, she was so excited when she heard that, she left her water pot at the well and ran back into the village. A short time later she comes out with a number of village people, and then comes out the last name. He is called the Savior of the World.
So, perhaps, I may have led you to some understanding of our Blessed Lord, namely
- First of all, He was just a Jew,
- then a great gentleman, and then after that,
- a prophet, then Christ the Messiah, and finally,
- the Savior of the world.
That is really what He is – the Savior of the world. We never know Him until we know that Truth. He is Savior because He died on the cross for us.
Man On the Cross:
Whenever there is silence round about me by day or night, I am startled by a cry. It came down from the cross the first time I heard it, and I went out and searched and found a man in the throes of crucifixion and I said, “I will take you down,” and I tried to take the nails out of His feet, but He said, ‘Let them be, for I cannot be taken down until every man, woman and child come together to take Me down.” “But”, I said, “What can I do? I cannot bear your cry.” And He said, “Go into the world and tell everyone that you meet there is a Man on the Cross.”
That’s what I told you. In all of these hours we have spent together, there was a Man on the Cross.
Now through that vision, may I bid you first look at the world, and then to look at your own soul.
First of all, at the world. We are part of it; it is our world. We are responsible for it and on the last day we are going to be judged in the context of that world. Our Blessed Lord said that He would say to us,
“I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink. I was naked, and you clothed me.” (6) And we who are saved, the elect, will ask, “When? When? When did we see you hungry and give you to eat, thirsty and give you to drink, and naked, did we clothe Thee?” And He will say, “When you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it unto Me.” (7) In other words, there is Christus Incognitos, the unknown Christ in the world, in the poor, in the slums, in the poor villains. This is our world, and we cannot know Christ apart from that.
A Pessimistic View:
I know there are many who are predicting disaster for the world, particularly in this atomic age of ours. Even in the close of the last century, there were some who were dimly envisioning this disaster. One day two great French scientists by the name of Claude Bernard and Emil Batrue, paid a visit to a French publisher whose name was Jean Quer.
And these scientists said to Jean Quer, “We have just begun to list the alphabet of destruction, and in the next century, we will have completed the alphabet.” And Jean Quer said, “And when that day comes, I think that God will come down from heaven like a night watchman rattling His keys, and He will say, ‘Gentlemen, it’s closing time’, and we will have to start all over again.” This is the pessimistic side of the world.
Then there are those who think of Communism and its dangers, which, indeed are very real, but we are never to be without hope. Remember that great Russian novelist and writer of the 19th century who was a kind of a prophet. He saw Communism coming in Russia long before it ever existed, long before anyone ever thought of it. But he also saw it ending in Russia, too. He foresaw a day when the devils would come into Russia and possess it, body and soul. And then he calls for the gospel and he picks up that particular passage in the gospel where our Blessed Lord drives the devil out of a young man into the swine, and they are drowned in the sea. (8) Dostoyevsky says, “That’s my Russia, my beloved Russia. It will one day be filled with devils, but the devils will be driven out of Russia, and they will be pushed back and back and back into the sea, and there they will be drowned, and Russia will sit at the feet of Christ and learn His gospel.”
Yes, there’s hope, hope, even in the midst of all of our trials and disasters and darkness, for we are never without God. If we but return to Him, all can be changed. It can be changed, as Noyes describes the home of Swinburne. Remember the English poet Swinburne, who wrote, “Glory to man in the highest, for man is the master of all.” (9) Alfred Noyes, the English essayist, before his conversion, visited Swinburne at his paternal home at Bonchurch, England. Swinburne took him into the library, where Swinburne said he wrote his atheistic poetry. They began talking about Christianity, and Noyes said he literally spat out his words. Years passed. Swinburne went to the meet the God whom he denied and was his Judge. Noyes later on was received into the Church. Noyes went back again to Bonchurch, walked up that same long line of lilac trees. Before him he saw children clothed in white and as they walked, they dropped flowers. He followed them into the home, which was now a convent, the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body of Christ. Noyes strolled into the chapel; the chapel was the old library, and at the moment of benediction, when Noyes raised his eyes to look at our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, his eyes also fell upon that great window which he had seen on his first visit. And immediately above the monstrance on that window were the initials of the paternal Swinburne unchanged, IHS. It is the Hebrew name for Jesus. And thus, all things can be changed by the power of God so sweetly and so gently. Thus for the world.
Now as regards to your soul. May I speak of some intimacies of love?
There are three degrees of intimacy.
- The first one is We would never know that anyone loved us unless he told us so. A word is the summation of a character, all that a person is and all that he will be. We need only hear a person speak and we can say he is a kind man or a cruel man or an educated man. So, the first intimacy of all love is that we must be told; we must hear it. And God has spoken. I told you about that revelation. Open up your scriptures to hear the Word of God. But is that all?
- It is not enough just merely to hear the voice of the beloved. We want to see the Beloved; we want to see words borne on human lips. We want to see the earnestness of a visage and the flash of an eye. And so if God is really to love us, He must not only be heard, He must be seen.
And one day, an angel came out from the great white throne of light to a humble virgin kneeling in prayer and said, “Hail, full of grace.” (10) These were not words; they were the “WORD’. The ‘WORD” became flesh and dwelt among us and so God was seen in the form of man. And you see Him, too, with the eyes of faith. You will see Him in the Blessed Sacrament with the eyes of faith. You will see Him in His Church in the continuation of His Incarnation. You will see Him also in the poor. That’s not all. Oh, yes, I might say that the speech and the vision of God is very much like the relationship between radio and television. The Old Testament is radio; we hear the voice of God but do not see Him. The New Testament is television where we not only hear but see God.
But is there not yet another intimacy of love, more sacred and profound still? There is one so delicate that the greatest insult anyone can show us who knows us not is to make use of it, and that is the intimacy of touch. And so, if our Blessed Lord is to exhaust all of the intimacies of love, He must touch and be touched. He was touched by Thomas, (11) by the Syro-Phoenician woman, and He touched the leper and the sick. (13) And as for you, if the gift of faith comes to you, you will have this gift of touch, which is reserved only for the intimates, the ecstasy of Holy Communion.
For just as in marriage, the peak of love is the unity of two in one flesh, so in the Eucharist the Peak of Love is the unity of two in One Spirit.
And it is my fervent prayer to God that there may come to each and every one of you who listen to me this third and most beautiful of all intimacies. That is your soul as regards the sacraments.
Now let me say something about things, the world in which we live.
Every single action of yours, your daily work, it makes no difference what you do, sweeping the street, teaching classes, everything could be made a prayer. Every action is a kind of a blank check, a blank check that has value only if the name of our Lord is signed to it.
That is why St. Paul said,“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it in the name of Christ.” (14) And so, the tiny little actions of your daily life, as a mother, as a father, as a workman or a teacher, as a nurse, as a secretary, all of these can be divinized, sacramentalized, provided you bring to them the divine intention. This is prayer, the prayer of action.
Down in the gutter of a city street is a drop of water, soiled, dirty, and stagnant. And way up in the heavens a gentle sunbeam saw it, leaped from out the azure sky, down to the drop, kissed it, thrilled it through and through with new strange life and hopes and lifted it up higher and higher beyond the clouds, and one day left it as a flake of immaculate snow on a mountaintop. And so, your humdrum routine, workaday world can be transmuted and changed just on condition that you do it all in the name of Christ.
It is not important what you do in this world, it is how you do it.
“All the world’s a stage; and why should he who plays a part of a king glory in his tinsel crown and tin sword and think that he is better than the one who plays a peasant? When the curtain goes down, they are just actors.”
And when the curtain of our life goes down, we will not be asked what role we played, we will only be asked how well we played the role that was assigned to us. So, it will not be hard to save your soul. But let me tell you this. Being a Catholic will never prevent you from sinning, but I can tell you one thing; it will take all the fun out of it. And the reason it will take all the fun out of it is because you once have loved. You know what love is, no one else. That is why sin in the scriptures is always called adultery, because it is the false love. Oh, yes, I know you will find people who will cut corners, who will play loose and cheat, commit adultery, avoid paying their taxes, ruin their neighbor’s reputation and the like, and they apparently do not seem to have any bumps on their conscience, but they have no peace – no peace.
**So that if we are ready to love, we do have to have a cross. This is the cross of Christ** We cannot escape it. We try to.
“I slipped His finger; I escaped His feet. I ran and hid from Him I feared to meet. One day I passed Him, fettered on a tree. He turned His head and looked and beckoned me. Neither by speed nor speech could He prevail. Each hand and foot was pinioned by a nail. He could not run nor clasp me if He tried. But – His eyes – He bade me reach inside. ‘For pity’s sake’, said I, ‘I’ll set you free.’ ‘Nay, take this Cross and follow Me. This yoke is easy; this burden light. Not hard or grievous if you wear it tight.’ And so did I follow Him who could not move, an uncaught captive in the Hands of Love.”
Our time is up. I must take leave of you now. I have enjoyed being with you; I hope you will profit. Perhaps our hearts have grown a bit together. They do, in long conversations. But may I remind you that your heart, my heart, are not perfect in shape and contour like a Valentine heart. There is a small piece missing out of the side of every human heart. And that may be to symbolize the piece that was torn out of the Universal Heart of humanity on the cross. But I think the real meaning is that when God made your heart, He found it so good, so lovable, that He kept a small sample of it in heaven and sent the rest of your heart into this world where you would try to be happy, but where you could not be perfectly happy because you did not have a whole heart to love with. And so, He has always reminded you that to be truly peaceful, to be really happy, to be really whole-hearted, you must go back again to God to recover that piece that He has been keeping for you from all eternity. Your heart will be there in heaven and, please God, so will mine. I will see you in the Heart of God.
Bye now, and God love you.
1. In today’s lesson on – World, Soul and Things
what stood out the most to you?
2. Why do you think Bishop Sheen gave the subtitle “God Loves You” to this lesson?
3. How would you explain to someone seeking a deeper understanding “God Loves You”.
4. Now that you have learned more about – God Love You
what changes do you think this will have in your daily life?
112. “Be especially attentive ‘to the content and unity OF the whole Scripture’. Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason OF the unity OF God’s plan, OF which Christ JESUS is the center and HEART, open since his Passover.[Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-46 .]
The phrase ‘HEART OF Christ’ can refer to SACRED Scripture, which makes known his HEART, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.[St. Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in Ps. 21, 11; cf. Ps 22:14 .]”
478. “JESUS knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one OF us: ‘The Son OF God. . . loved me and gave himself for me.'[Gal 2:20 .] He has loved us all with a human HEART. For this reason, the SACRED HEART OF JESUS, pierced by our sins and for our salvation,[Cf. Jn 19:34 .] ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol OF that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception.[Pius XII, Enc. Haurietis aquas (1956): DS 3924; cf. DS 3812.]”
LOVE OF GOD .
1. “GOD, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan OF sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, GOD draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to LOVE him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity OF his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness OF time had come, GOD sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs OF his blessed life. ”
3. “Those who with GOD’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by LOVE OF Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.[Cf. Acts 2:42 .] ”
27. “The desire for GOD is written in the human heart, because man is created by GOD and for GOD; and GOD never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in GOD will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity OF man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with GOD. This invitation to converse with GOD is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because GOD has created him through LOVE, and through LOVE continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that LOVE and entrusts himself to his creator.[Vatican Council II, GS 19 # 1.] ”
31. “Created in GOD’s image and called to know and LOVE him, the person who seeks GOD discovers certain ways OF coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence OF GOD, not in the sense OF proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense OF ‘converging and convincing arguments’, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These ‘ways’ OF approaching GOD from creation have a twofold point OF departure: the physical world, and the human person.”
49. “Without the Creator, the creature vanishes [GS 36]. This is the reason why believers know that the LOVE OF Christ urges them to bring the light OF the living GOD to those who do not know him or who reject him.”
68. “By LOVE, GOD has revealed himself and given himself to man. He has thus provided the definitive, superabundant answer to the questions that man asks himself about the meaning and purpose OF his life. ”
122. “Indeed, ‘the economy OF the Old Testament was deliberately SO oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming OF Christ, redeemer OF all men.'[DV 15.] ‘Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional,[DV 15.] the books OF the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy OF GOD’s saving LOVE: these writings ‘are a storehouse OF sublime teaching on GOD and OF sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury OF prayers; in them, too, the mystery OF our salvation is present in a hidden way.'[DV 15.]”
142. “By his Revelation, ‘the invisible GOD, from the fullness OF his LOVE, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.'[DV 2; cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38 (Vulg).] The adequate response to this invitation is faith.”
158. “‘Faith seeks understanding’:[St. Anselm, Prosl. prooem. PL 153 225A.] it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by LOVE. The grace OF faith opens ‘the eyes OF your hearts'[Eph 1:18 .] to a lively understanding OF the contents OF Revelation: that is, OF the totality OF GOD’s plan and the mysteries OF faith, OF their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre OF the revealed mystery. ‘The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood.'[DV 5.] In the words OF St. Augustine, ‘I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.'[St. Augustine, Sermo 43, 7, 9: PL 38, 257-258.]”
160. “To be human, ‘man’s response to GOD by faith must be free, and… therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act OF faith is OF its very nature a free act.'[DH 10; cf. CIC, can. 748 # 2.] ‘GOD calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus.'[DH 11.] Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. ‘For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom… grows by the LOVE with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself.'[DH 11; cf. Jn 18:37 ; Jn 12:32 .]”
166. “Faith is a personal act – the free response OF the human person to the initiative OF GOD who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.
You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our LOVE for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain OF believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith OF others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith. ”
201. “To Israel, his chosen, GOD revealed himself as the only One: ‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our GOD is one LORD; and you shall LOVE the LORD your GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.'[Dt 6:45 .] Through the prophets, GOD calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only GOD: ‘Turn to me and be saved, all the ends OF the earth! For I am GOD, and there is no other.. . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. ‘Only in the LORD, it shall be said OF me, are righteousness and strength.”[Is 45:22-24 ; cf. Phil 2:10-11 .]”
202. “Jesus himself affirms that GOD is ‘the one Lord’ whom you must LOVE ‘with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength’.[Mk 12:29-30 .] At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is ‘the Lord’.[Cf. Mk 12:35-37 .] To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive OF Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One GOD. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as ‘Lord and giver OF life’ introduce any division into the One GOD:
We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true GOD, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.”
210. “After Israel’s sin, when the people had turned away from GOD to worship the golden calf, GOD hears Moses’ prayer OF intercession and agrees to walk in the midst OF an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his LOVE.[Cf. Ex 32 ; Ex 33: 12-17 .] When Moses asks to see his glory, GOD responds ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name ‘the LORD’ (YHWH).'[Ex 33:18-19 .] Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, ‘YHWH,
YHWH, a GOD merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast LOVE and faithfulness’; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving GOD.[Ex 34:5-6 ; cf. Ex 34:9 .]”
211. “The divine name, ‘I Am’ or ‘He Is’, expresses GOD’s faithfulness: despite the faithlessness OF men’s sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps ‘steadfast LOVE for thousands’.[Ex 34:7 .] By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, GOD reveals that he is ‘rich in mercy’.[Eph 2:4 .] By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: ‘When you have lifted up the Son OF man, then you will realize that ‘I AM’.'[Jn 8:28 (Greek).]”
214. “GOD, ‘HE WHO IS’, revealed himself to Israel as the one ‘abounding in steadfast LOVE and faithfulness’.[Ex 34:6 .] These two terms express summarily the riches OF the divine name. In all his works GOD displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast LOVE, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. ‘I give thanks to your name for your steadfast LOVE and your faithfulness.'[Ps 138:2 ; cf. Ps 85:11 .] He is the Truth, for ‘GOD is light and in him there is no darkness’; ‘GOD is LOVE’, as the apostle John teaches.[1Jn 1:5 ; 1Jn 4:8 .]”
218. “In the course OF its history, Israel was able to discover that GOD had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous LOVE.[Cf. Dt 4:37 ; Dt 7:8 ; Dt 10:15 .] And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out OF LOVE that GOD never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins.[Cf. Is 43:1-7 ; Hos 2 .] ”
221. “But St. John goes even further when he affirms that ‘GOD is LOVE’:[l Jn 4:8, 16 .] GOD’s very being is LOVE. By sending his only Son and the Spirit OF LOVE in the fullness OF time, GOD has revealed his innermost secret:[Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-16 ; Eph 3:9-12 .] GOD himself is an eternal exchange OF LOVE, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.”
231. “The GOD OF our faith has revealed himself as HE WHO IS; and he has made himself known as ‘abounding in steadfast LOVE and faithfulness’ (Ex 34:6). GOD’s very being is Truth and LOVE.”
249. “From the beginning, the revealed truth OF the Holy Trinity has been at the very root OF the Church’s living faith, principally by means OF Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule OF baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer OF the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: ‘The grace OF the Lord Jesus Christ and the LOVE OF GOD and the fellowship OF the Holy Spirit be with you all.'[2 Cor 13:14 ; cf. 1 Cor 12:4 – 6 ; Eph 4:4-6 .]”
257. “‘O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!'[LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer.] GOD is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. GOD is LOVE: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. GOD freely wills to communicate the glory OF his blessed life. Such is the ‘plan OF his loving kindness’, conceived by the Father before the foundation OF the world, in his beloved Son: ‘He destined us in LOVE to be his sons’ and ‘to be conformed to the image OF his Son’, through ‘the spirit OF sonship’.[Eph 1:4-5, 9 ; Rom 8:15, 29 .] This plan is a ‘grace (which) was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began’, stemming immediately from Trinitarian LOVE.[2 Tim 1:9-10 .] It unfolds in the work OF creation, the whole history OF salvation after the fall, and the missions OF the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission OF the Church.[Cf. AG 2-9.]”
260. “The ultimate end OF the whole divine economy is the entry OF GOD’s creatures into the perfect unity OF the Blessed Trinity.[Cf. Jn 17:21-23 .] But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: ‘If a man loves me’, says the Lord, ‘he will keep my word, and my Father will LOVE him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him’:[Jn 14:23 .]
O my GOD, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging GOD, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place OF your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.[Prayer OF Blessed Elizabeth OF the Trinity.]”
288. “Thus the revelation OF creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging OF the covenant OF the one GOD with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to GOD’s all- powerful LOVE.[Cf. Gen 15:5 ; Jer 33:19-26 .] And so, the truth OF creation is also expressed with growing vigour in the message OF the prophets, the prayer OF the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings OF the Chosen People.[Cf. Is 44:24 ; Ps 104 ; Prov 8:22-31.] ”
293. “Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: ‘The world was made for the glory OF GOD.'[Dei Filius, can. # 5: DS 3025.] St. Bonaventure explains that GOD created all things ‘not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it’,[St. Bonaventure, In II Sent. I, 2, 2, 1.] for GOD has no other reason for creating than his LOVE and goodness: ‘Creatures came into existence when the key OF LOVE opened his hand.'[St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, prol.] The First Vatican Council explains:
This one, true GOD, OF his own goodness and ‘almighty power’, not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom OF counsel ‘and from the beginning OF time, made out OF nothing both orders OF creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . .'[Dei Filius I: DS 3002; cf Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.]”
301. “With creation, GOD does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source OF wisdom and freedom, OF joy and confidence:
For you LOVE all things that exist, and detest none OF the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who LOVE the living.[Wis 11:24-26 .] ”
2737. “‘You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.'[Jam 4:3 ; cf. the whole context: Jam 4:1-10 ; Jam 1:5-8 ; Jam 5:16 .] If we ask with a divided heart, we are ‘adulterers’;[Jam 4:4 .] GOD cannot answer us, for he desires our well-being, our life. ‘Or do you suppose that it is in vain that the scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us?”[Jam 4:5 .] That our GOD is ‘jealous’ for us is the sign OF how true his LOVE is. If we enter into the desire OF his Spirit, we shall be heard.
Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from GOD what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.[Evagrius Ponticus, De oratione 34: PG 79, 1173.]
GOD wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.[St. Augustine, Ep. 130, 8, 17: PL 33, 500.]”
2738. “The revelation OF prayer in the economy OF salvation teaches us that faith rests on GOD’s action in history. Our filial trust is enkindled by his supreme act: the Passion and Resurrection OF his Son. Christian prayer is cooperation with his providence, his plan OF LOVE for men. ”
2742. “‘Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name OF our Lord Jesus Christ to GOD the Father.'[1 Thess 5:17; Eph 5:20 .] St. Paul adds, ‘Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.'[Eph 6:18 .] For ‘we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.'[Evagrius Ponticus, Pract. 49: PG 40, 1245C.] This tireless fervor can come only from LOVE. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle OF prayer is that OF humble, trusting, and persevering LOVE. This LOVE opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts OF faith about prayer.”
2748. “In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:[Cf. Eph 1:10 .] GOD and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the LOVE that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer OF unity. ”
2785. “Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us ‘to turn and become like children’:[Mt 18:3 .] for it is to ‘little children’ that the Father is revealed.[Cf. Mt 11:25 .]
(The prayer is accomplished) by the contemplation OF GOD alone, and by the warmth OF LOVE, through which the soul, molded and directed to LOVE him, speaks very familiarly to GOD as to its own Father with special devotion.[St. John Cassian, Coll. 9, 18 PL 49, 788c.]
Our Father: at this name LOVE is aroused in us . . . and the confidence OF obtaining what we are about to ask…. What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift OF being his children?[St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2, 4, 16: PL 34, 1276.]”
2787. “When we say ‘our’ Father, we recognize first that all his promises OF LOVE announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the new and eternal covenant in his Christ: we have become ‘his’ people and he is henceforth ‘our’ GOD. This new relationship is the purely gratuitous gift OF belonging to each other: we are to respond to ‘grace and truth’ given us in Jesus Christ with LOVE and faithfulness.[Jn 1:17 ; Cf. Hos 2:21-22 ; Hos 6:1-6 .]”
2793. “The baptized cannot pray to ‘our’ Father without bringing before him all those for whom he gave his beloved Son. GOD’s LOVE has no bounds, neither should our prayer.[Cf. NA 5.] Praying ‘our’ Father opens to us the dimensions OF his LOVE revealed in Christ: praying with and for all who do not yet know him, so that Christ may ‘gather into one the children OF GOD.'[Jn 11:52 .] GOD’s care for all men and for the whole OF creation has inspired all the great practitioners OF prayer; it should extend our prayer to the full breadth OF LOVE whenever we dare to say ‘our’ Father.”
2803. “After we have placed ourselves in the presence OF GOD our Father to adore and to LOVE and to bless him, the Spirit OF adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings. The first three, more theological, draw us toward the glory OF the Father; the last four, as ways toward him, commend our wretchedness to his grace. ‘Deep calls to deep.'[Ps 42:7 .]”
2804. “The first series OF petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic OF LOVE to think first OF the one whom we LOVE. In none OF the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, OF the beloved Son for his Father’s glory seizes us:[Cf. Lk 22:14 ; Heb 12:50 .] ‘hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done….’ These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice OF Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for GOD is not yet all in all.[Cf. 1 Cor 15:28 .]”
2806. “By the three first petitions, we are strengthened in faith, filled with hope, and set aflame by charity. Being creatures and still sinners, we have to petition for us, for that ‘us’ bound by the world and history, which we offer to the boundless LOVE OF GOD. For through the name OF his Christ and the reign OF his Holy Spirit, our Father accomplishes his plan OF salvation, for us and for the whole world.”
2807. “The term ‘to hallow’ is to be understood here not primarily in its causative sense (only GOD hallows, makes holy), but above all in an evaluative sense: to recognize as holy, to treat in a holy way. And so, in adoration, this invocation is sometimes understood as praise and thanksgiving.[Cf. Ps 111:9 ; Lk 1:49 .] But this petition is here taught to us by Jesus as an optative: a petition, a desire, and an expectation in which GOD and man are involved. Beginning with this first petition to our Father, we are immersed in the innermost mystery OF his Godhead and the drama OF the salvation OF our humanity. Asking the Father that his name be made holy draws us into his plan OF loving kindness for the fullness OF time, ‘according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ,’ that we might ‘be holy and blameless before him in LOVE.'[Eph 1:9, 4 .]”
2840. “Now – and this is daunting – this outpouring OF mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. LOVE, like the Body OF Christ, is indivisible; we cannot LOVE the GOD we cannot see if we do not LOVE the brother or sister we do see.[Cf. l Jn 4:20 .] In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful LOVE; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace. ”
2842. “This ‘as’ is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’; ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’; ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you LOVE one another, even as I have loved you, that you also LOVE one another.'[Mt 5:48 ; Lk 6:36 ; Jn 13:34 .] It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths OF the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the LOVE OF our GOD. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.[Cf. Gal 5:25 ; Phil 2:1,5 .] Then the unity OF forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves ‘forgiving one another, as GOD in Christ forgave’ us.[Eph 4:32 .]”
2844. “Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness OF enemies,[Cf. Mt 5:43-44 .] transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point OF Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to GOD’s compassion can receive the gift OF prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, LOVE is stronger than sin. The martyrs OF yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition OF the reconciliation OF the children OF GOD with their Father and OF men with one another.[Cf. 2 Cor 5:18-21 ; John Paul II, DM 14.] ”
2845. “There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness,[Cf. Mt 18:21-22 ; Lk 17:3-4 .] whether one speaks OF ‘sins’ as in Luke (11:4), ‘debts’ as in Matthew [Mt 6:12 .]. We are always debtors: ‘Owe no one anything, except to LOVE one another.'[Rom 13:8 .] The communion OF the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion OF truth in every relation ship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.[Cf. Mt 5:23-24 ; 1Jn 3:19-24 .]
GOD does not accept the sacrifice OF a sower OF disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For GOD can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To GOD, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity OF the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 535-536; cf. Mt 5:24 .]”