Tuesday, April 21, 2015

make us an eternal sacrifice to Thyself

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

The Sacrifice of the Altar must be the center of your lives and the place where you unite yourselves to the Lord as an immolation of love; uniting yourselves in this character as victim.  The way you do this is by yielding yourselves to "the entire accomplishment of the divine good pleasure."  Offer yourselves with the same dispositions that animated the Sacred Heart upon the Cross - intense love of others, the desire for the salvation of souls and full abandonment to all that is willed from on high.  You must be victims in the Victim, lambs in the Lamb of Sacrifice.

We must be united to Christ in His immolation and offer ourselves with Him; then lie takes us with Him, He immolates us with Him, He bears us before His Father, in odorem suavitatis. It is ourselves we must offer with Jesus Christ. If the faithful share, through baptism, in the priesthood of Christ, it is, says St. Peter, that they may “offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”: Sacerdotium sanctum, offerre spirituales hostias acceptabiles Deo per Jesum Christum. This is so true that in more than one prayer following the offering about to be made to God, the Church, while awaiting the moment of the consecration, lays stress on this union of our sacrifice with that of her Bridegroom. “Vouchsafe, O Lord,” she says, “to sanctify these gifts, and receiving the oblation of this spiritual victim, make us an eternal sacrifice to Thyself”: Propitius, Domine, quaesumus, haec dona sanctifica, et hostiae spiritualis oblatione suscepta, NOSMETIPSOS tibi perfice munus aeternum.

But in order for us to be thus accepted by God, the offering of ourselves must be united to the offering Christ made of Himself upon the Cross and renews upon the altar. Our Lord substituted “Himself for us in His immolation, He took the place of us all, and that is why when He died we, in principle, died with Him: Si unus pro omnibus mortuus est, ergo omnes mortui sunt. For this mystical death to take place effectually in each one of us, we must unite ourselves to His sacrifice on the altar. And how are we to unite ourselves to Christ Jesus in this character of victim? By yielding ourselves, like Him, to the entire accomplishment of the divine good pleasure.

It is for God to fully dispose of the victim offered to Him; we must be in this essential attitude of giving all to God, of making our acts of self-renunciation and mortification, of accepting the sufferings and trials of each day for love of Him, so that we may be able to say, like Jesus Christ at the moment of His Passion: Ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem, sic facio. That is to offer ourselves with Jesus. Let us offer the Divine Son to His Eternal Father and offer ourselves with this “holy Host” in the same dispositions that animated the Sacred Heart of Christ upon the Cross: intense
 love of His Father and of our brethren, ardent desire for the salvation of souls, and full abandonment to all that is willed from on high, above all, if it contains what is painful and vexatious for our nature. When we do this, we offer God the most acceptable homage He can receive from us.

“It is then only,” as St. Gregory so well says, “that Christ is our Victim, when we offer ourselves, in order to share, by our generosity and sacrifice, in His life of immolation”: Tunc ergo vere pro nobis hostia erit Deo, cum nos ipsos hostiam fecerimus.

Blessed Columba Marmion