31 May 2006

Hearing the Word spoken

7th Week of Easter 2006/Visitation of Mary: Romans 12.9-16 & Luke 1.39-56
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St Albert the Great Priory

Carrying the Word in her body, Mary speaks the Word, praising the work of her Lord in human history, preaching, if you will, the greatness of our God, our Savior who favors the lowliest of His servants by choosing her to be His mother. She is the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus in the flesh and our Mother in the spirit—growing the Christ Child in her womb, giving him birth, and at the foot of the cross, accepting from her crucified Son the commission of mothering his Church to maturity.

Because she heard the Word spoken by the angel, Mary is filled with the Holy Spirit. Because they heard the Word spoken by Mary, Elizabeth and John are filled with the Holy Spirit. And because we have heard the Word spoken by John, Christ’s herald, and by Christ’s apostles and disciples and his prophets and witnesses, we too are filled with Holy Spirit. Blessed are we who believe that what is spoken to us by the Lord will be fulfilled.

Our Blessed Mother’s soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord because she surrendered her life to the Father’s will, surrendered not only her service and her affection but her flesh and blood, giving back to Him everything that He has given to her. She herself is a gift from the Lord who is given the Lord as a gift to give to us. And because of her surrender, because she heard the Word and gave herself to Him, we are free.

If we are to mature spiritually as individuals and as a Body we must hear the Word! Hear the Word spoken in our history, in our tradition, in our worship; hear the Word spoken by those given to us as leaders, teachers, and saints; and hear the Word spoken to us as His children, as His preachers, and as His friends. His Word to us, Christ Himself, is His greatness, His mercy, His strength, His abundance and His generosity. And Mary is how He chose to come to us. When we look to her, we see the Church grown up. When we look to her, we see His Word to us fulfilled, His promise of salvation kept.

All of this, however, is fairy tale and fable if we will not hear the Word spoken, surrender ourselves flesh, blood, and spirit, and bear His Word of Good News, giving birth to his greatness, his mercy, his strength, his abundance and his generosity, giving his gift to those who have not heard, those who have not been spoken to.

All of this is fairy tale and fable if we will not do as his mother did: hear His Word, surrender to His will, bear Him to the world, and, in the end, give Him to the crowd, give Him to the multitudes for their salvation.

30 May 2006

Last will and testament

7th Week of Easter 2006: Acts 20.17-27 & John 17.1-11
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St Albert the Great Priory

Paul tells the priests of the Ephesian church that he cannot consider his life of any importance until he finishes his course, the ministry he received from the Lord Jesus: to bear witness to the good news that God has asked us all to share in His divine life. To share in His divine life means to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom He sent, Jesus Christ. Know Jesus, know the Father, know eternal life. And knowledge of eternal life, truly knowing in the Spirit, is what reels us in; it is what draws us across our years, through our troubles, around the devil’s obstacles, over the temptations of despair, and to the Father in glory. Jesus’ prayer for us is his bequeathal of our inheritance as children of God: now he will no longer be in the world, but we are in the world and he leaves to us everything he said and did, everything that needs to be said and done again. Can you count your life as important until you finish your ministry—given to you and accepted by you—your vow as His child to witness without ceasing to His love?