Priesthood: July 2012 Archives

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2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Psalm 125: 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6
Matthew 20:20-28

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7). Another translation puts it this way: “We have a treasure, then, in our keeping, but its shell is of perishable earthenware; it must be God, and not anything in ourselves, that gives it its sovereign power.” The contrast is striking: treasure held in earthen vessels. But what is the treasure? In verse 6, Saint Paul says, “It is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). The treasure, then, is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining in the Face of Christ.

An Eye-Witness of the Transfiguration

When one considers that James was an eye-witness of the Transfiguration, the deeper meaning of today’s First Reading comes into focus. While James looked on, together with Peter and with his brother John, Jesus “was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (Mt 17:2). The splendour of Jesus’ Face burned itself indelibly into the heart of James. Contemplating the Face of the transfigured Jesus, James was filled with “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6). This is the treasure that Saint James carried in a shell of fragile earthenware: his own human weakness.

Gethsemani

The Transfiguration reveals the treasure; the agony in the garden of Gethsemani reveals to us the fragility of the earthen vessels. To Peter, James, and John, Jesus said, “Remain here and watch with me” (Mt 26:38), but after His prayer to the Father, he found them sleeping. Again, a second time, He asked these, his intimate companions, to watch and pray, warning them of the weakness of the flesh, and again He came and “found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy” (Mt 26:43). And so it happened a third time but, by then, the hour of Jesus’ betrayal was already at hand (Mt 26:45). The radiant memory of Jesus transfigured, “the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6), was held in earthen vessels: in the hearts of men who could not watch even one hour with their Master in his agony.

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For the First Saturday of the Month

I am your Mother,
the Mother given you by my Son Jesus, from the Cross,
in the solemn hour of His Sacrifice.
And you are my son, dear to my Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart,
precious to me, and ever under the mantle of my protection.

Let me live with you
as I lived with John,
the second son of my Heart
and the model for all my priest sons down through the ages.
Speak to me simply
and with complete trust in the compassion of my maternal Heart
and in the power given to my maternal intercession.

There is nothing
that you cannot bring to me,
nothing that you cannot present to me,
nothing that you cannot offer me,
even to your very sins.
Anything given to me by My sons, I press to my Heart;
all that is impure, every vestige of sin
is consumed in the flame of love
that burns in my Immaculate Heart,
in the fire of love that is the Holy Spirit in me,
the very Fire of the Divinity.
Give to me, then, all that you would offer to my Son and to His Father.
It will be purified as gold in the furnace
because I will press it to my Heart.
Nothing impure can endure the flame of love
that burns in my Heart. Only love remains.

Give me your weaknesses,
your past sins, your daily faults,
and I will present to my Son only the love with which,
in spite of all your weaknesses,
you desire to love Him, and with Him, love the Father.

I am your Mother.
I am the Mother from whom you need hide nothing.
Even those things that you think are hidden
appear clearly to me in the pure light of the Godhead.
When I see a priest son of mine disfigured or polluted by sin,
I am moved, not to judge him but, to show him mercy
and to employ all the means at my disposal
for his full recovery from the vestiges of sin.
So many of those who struggle
against inveterate habits of sin and pernicious vices
would find themselves quickly set free from them
if they would only approach me with filial confidence
and allow me to do for them
what my maternal and merciful Heart moves me to do.

There are no limits to my intercessory power
because the Father has so ordained it.
One can never go wrong in turning to me.
No matter how complex the problem,
no matter how sordid the sin,
I am the Handmaid of the Divine Mercy,
the Refuge of Sinners,
and the Mother of all who struggle against the forces of darkness.
Come to me, then.
I can even say those comforting words
first spoken by my beloved Son:
"Come to me, and I will give you rest."

It is not enough to have some practices in my honour
in the course of the day:
I desire more, and you are called to more.
You are called to reproduce
the life of Saint John with me in the Cenacle
and at Ephesus.
If only you knew the bonds of love for Jesus,
and of obedience to the Father,
and of joy in the Holy Spirit that united John's soul to Mine.
We were the nucleus of a family of souls
that has grown wondrously through the ages:
the family of all those who, like John,
lived with me, learned from me, and allowed me
so to love them
that love for my Jesus blazed in their hearts
like a great fire,
the fire that my Son came to cast upon the earth.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of a Priest

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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