“O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers, and of every creature, and of the whole race of the righteous who live before you, I give You thanks that You have counted me, worthy of this day and this hour, that I should have a part in the number of Your martyrs, in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection of eternal life, both of soul and body, through the incorruption [imparted] by the Holy Ghost. Among whom may I be accepted this day before You as a fat and acceptable sacrifice, according as You, the ever-truthful God, have foreordained, have revealed beforehand to me, and now have fulfilled. Wherefore also I praise You for all things, I bless You, I glorify You, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, with whom, to You, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.
Perusing the pages of human history, and comparing ages long past, peoples distant from one another, and the most different cultures, we notice one common denominator: the presence of egoism, power struggles, greed and all the other vices related to pride. It is not surprising, since our first parents, Adam and Eve, fell into the trap of the evil one, thinking that by their disobedience they would become ‘like gods’ (cf Gen 3:5).
Who hasn’t passed through the sad situation of assisting a beloved one in their last moments? When finally he or she passes away, we continue to suffer as we contemplate their body, inert, but still loved….But, death is cruel – for it’s not satisfied to just take away life…if we don’t bury the body, a dangerous decay occurs, putting the health of the others at risk.
When we priests prepare young couples for marriage, we know that one of the most important points that is to be made clear is regarding the indissolubility of the marriage bond, which is sealed when they contract matrimony.
In the Acts of the Apostles, we find the intriguing story of an Ethiopian, minister of the Queen of Candace, who had travelled to Jerusalem to adore the true God. However, this high functionary of the court returned to his country full of uncertainties with respect to the Scriptures, which he meditated on without grasping their true meaning.
Throughout the ages, stories of heroes – whether true or legendary – have thrilled the hearts of the young. As a result of the disinterested courage and idealism characteristic of their age-group, adolescents dream of great undertakings. To such hearts, burning with desire for heroism, the Church has always presented models that would stimulate true valor, perfect audacity, and authentic generosity – in a word, sanctity. Who is not touched by the courageous lives of young people such as Saint Agnes, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and Saint Maria Goretti?
All Christians know, especially in moments of doubt and affliction, where and how to find God and obtain relief for their souls. Prayer, whether mental or vocal, is where we have the certainty of finding God, as he himself has promised us: ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’(Mt 18:17).
‘Charity begins at home’. This popular expression clearly transmits the attitude that an apostle of the Gospel should have. In fact, no one can give to others what he himself doesn’t possess.
‘You water the hills from your lofty abode; the earth is sated with the fruit of your works’ (Psalm 103:13). This simple material reality presented by the sacred text – of rain that irrigates the mountains, giving rise to springs and streams that in turn water the Earth – was chosen by the Angelic Doctor for his inaugural lecture at the University of Paris.
When the Queen of Sheba heard of the great wisdom of Solomon, she allowed no obstacle to impede her undertaking the difficult journey to meet this great monarch, despite the fact that protracted expeditions at the time were perilous adventures. She made all these efforts just to encounter an earthly king, and to observe his wisdom. Impressed with all she had seen and heard in Jerusalem, and after presenting the richest of gifts to the king of Israel, she returned to her country, filled with admiration (cf. 2Chron 9:1-12).