Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter
After reflecting on the 1st reading of today’s mass, how consoling it is to pray the Responsorial Psalm. The universal mission of the Church has never ceased since the Lord directed the apostles to go out and preach the Gospel to all the nations. Nor will it cease until the Second Coming. Today, as we witness the evolution of the Church, we can look back twenty centuries of her history. We thank the Lord for extending his kingdom among the nations.
During the centuries the Lord has accomplished his work of salvation. Why? As Jesus tells us in the Gospel he loves each one of us in the same way that the Father loves him. Reflect on that!
Fidelity in keeping the commandments cannot be lived apart from love. The commandments then are not a series of laws imposed upon us, but they become the invitation to joy. It is the joy that Christ wishes to share with us so that we can bring it to those closest to us and to those we encounter each day. It is the joy of the Resurrected Christ, the joy that has been given to the Church to bring to the world today.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.