Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Halloween! What a wonderful day to begin St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, a letter full of joy, tenderness, generosity, thanksgiving and solicitude for the betterment of all. And Halloween, the night when laughing children dress up in costumes and play trick-o’-treat in preparation to share the sweet things they have gathered. It is a 3000-year-old festival the Church has baptized, making it the prelude to tomorrow’s feast, the wedding reception prepared for Christ, the Messiah, to which we all are invited.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us what is essential for taking our place at that event. One must become like a child, not putting on a mask of false humility or a costume of compliance but following the example our Savior has left us.
He, the Son of God, put on the mask of man, the costume of the Suffering Servant. This way, having the nature of God and man, he entered into his glory and saved the world. To wish to be a collaborator in his work means to follow the same road that he followed in playing the same kind of trick-o’-treat in preparation for the glorious sharing of the treasures we have collected in our adventures.
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.