Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Plenary Indulgence: Te Deum on Dec. 31 Veni Creator on Jan. 1

§ 1. A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, in a church or in an oratory, are present [take part] in a recitation or solemn chant of: …
1° the hymn Veni Creator … on the first day of the year, imploring divine assistance for the whole of the coming year…

2° the Te Deum hymn, on the last day of the year, in thanksgiving to God for the favors received in the course of the entire year.

(Reference: Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th editional. concessiones.)
The indulgence is acquired under the usual conditions. i.e., to Confess mortal and venial sin within eight days prior to or after the day on which the indulgence is offered, to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

In God’s image we are made

“The image of God is not depicted on gold but is imaged in humanity. The coin of Caesar is gold; that of God, humanity. Caesar is seen in his currency; God, however, is known through human beings. And so give your wealth to Caesar but reserve for God the sole innocence of your conscience, where God is beheld.”

This reflection for the 29th Sunday of Church year from an unknown 5th century author names a key in our spiritual life: our humanity, not temporal items. God reveals Himself in the body, not in gold, real estate or academic degrees. Whom do we seek to know: God or things?

All I have is what I love

It is said that one of our late Benedictine abbesses said, “All I have is what I love!” This is what learned in homily today at Vespers.

A true judgment of man’s spirit and humanity. It is a touchstone in understanding who each of us is before God and others. The question” What do I love?” needs to be asked and answered daily. In fact, that is what happens in the daily Ignatian Examen. The discovery in answering this question is a work.

But as fragile people we are easily distracted; we can fool ourselves by making excuses, and rationales get in the way. Still, “What do I love” requires a concrete answer. What specifically do I love? Deeper down, a love holds my heart?
What stands out in what St Paul said today in his Letter to the Philippians:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.

St Paul’s letter can remain in the abstract and useless without going deeper in ascertaining the meaning of the various points the Apostle raises viz. our experience. Hence, we have to ask: What do I think is true? What is does it means to act honorably? What difference does purity make? What does the word gracious mean to mean?
It seems that this matter one of several keys for the spiritual life, and not mere word-smithing and academic argumentation. What it does necessitate, I have learned, is a disciplined focus of mind and heart in working with divine revelation.

The words we use

Given what I wrote the other day in a blog post, “Choose life” this post using a piece of Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis (now Fr Simeon, OCSO, monk of Spencer Abbey) from his magisterial work Fire of Mercy: Heart of the Word puts a finer  point on what I tried to convey. Christians believe that life comes through the Word. Preeminently, life comes through the Eternal Word of God –Jesus.

Our best words are far more than units of information; they are epiphanies of the truth and gifts through which we can communicate to others our own deepest being and the life of God that has been deposited into our “treasury of goodness.”

Like the divine Word, our own words have the vocation and the mission to do the work that God has purposed. Our words, springing out of the divine Word planted deep within us by baptism and the Eucharist, are called to be further incarnations in the world and in history of the one Word spoken by God in his heavenly dwelling before the beginning of all ages.

 

Angels defend us

Scripture reveals and theology teaches that angels help Christians fight the devil. Angels, those holy spirits who bring God’s messages to us help to overcome temptation. Good pastoral advice is to pray several times a day to one’s guardian angels, but also to the three Archangels, Saints Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, whom we honor today in the sacred Liturgy.
Here’s Vatican Radio’s summary of the papal homily for the Archangels, Saints Gabriel, Michael and Raphael:
“This struggle takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth to a child.  Satan always tries to destroy man: the man that Daniel saw there, in glory, and whom Jesus told Nathanael would come in glory. From the very beginning, the Bible speaks to us of this: Satan’s [use of ] seduction to destroy. Maybe out of envy. We read in Psalm 8: ‘Thou hast made man superior to the angels,’ and that angel of great intelligence could not bear this humiliation, that a lower creature was made superior to him; thus he tried to destroy it.”
“So many projects, except for one’s own sins, but many, many projects for mankind’s dehumanization are his work, simply because he hates mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute. He presents things as if they were a good thing. But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect. This is why the Church honors the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God – because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh.”
”This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches … If we do not struggle, we will be defeated. But the Lord has given this task mainly to the angels: to do battle and win. And the final song of Revelation , after this battle, is so beautiful: Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night”.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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