THOUGHTS ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH NO 5 (Fr. J. O’Neill, P.P., S.T.B) If we are going to see Catholic Church members reunified, then we must give God a chance to go to work. No one else has the power to achieve unity. Notice it is not a case of reunifying the Church - she has never been disunified, nor can be in her nature as founded by Christ; it is a case of reunifying the members, and they are in disunity because they and/or those who lead their factions, place obstacles in the way of the Holy Spirit who wants to make us, as Our Lord put it: “...one, as you Father are in Me and I in You.” (John) God builds into His people, and into each individually, the means of being brought - not bringing ourselves - into the very Divine Unity Itself. He does this through coming Himself among us and making life in and with the Trinity available to us. He does this by His life, death and resurrection.
This life (grace) here on earth is communicated through the Sacrifice of the Mass and by the Sacraments to those who are properly disposed. He also provides the gifts necessary so that believers can be properly disposed: these are the gifts of faith, hope and charity given in Baptism, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit given in Confirmation. If these gifts are allowed to work in the individual, then his mind is open to receiving revealed Truth, his will empowered to choose Divine Law (which is what love really is) and his desire attracted by the hope of Heaven.
Certainty that the mind is receiving Truth and the will choosing the good contained in God’s Law can be had through assent to the Church’s magisterium, which continues to “speak with authority” as Christ did, because it has that Advocate Whom Christ sent, Who “will bring all things to your minds whatsoever I have taught you. (John)
Surely the best means of having those prerequisites for receiving all these wondrous gifts is that we be personal friends with Our Lord, as was John, the beloved disciple. So taken was he with Jesus of Nazareth that his whole mind and will (his power to think and desire) were open to Jesus’ influence. John was lost in Jesus, that is, his mind was filled by the Truth revealed, his will taken over by what Jesus wanted: nothing of self remained in him. Such is friendship with Jesus Christ.
And the fruit of it? See John at the empty tomb: humbly he waits for his leader, Peter, to enter. Then John goes in. He tells us himself what happened to him then: “He saw and he believed.” What did he see? Nothing, except the cloths strangely arranged. He had taken more notice of Jesus’ predictions of His resurrection, and believed it when he saw the tomb empty - “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe.”
Such faith came through intimacy: John was lost in Jesus as the drop of water is in the wine at the Offertory. After Mary and Joseph, whoever had such intimacy? And we have the fruits of it in the gospel which that very disciple “whom Jesus loved” wrote for us; and the very heart of that gospel is in the words of Christ at the Last Supper (John 13-17). Here we find the inspired Word of God at its very best and highest, the Everest of the Scriptures.
Now we come to that means by which we can be shown the way to the very heart of things. Here we find God the Son made man striving to describe the Trinity’s love for each of us, and even the Word is struggling for words! He has to use human words, and so we have to realise that Christ’s words are as beautiful wrappings around His Divine thoughts. Only the action of the Holy Spirit “who will bring all things to your minds...”can unwrap those thoughts for us, and show us God. Thus, meditation! Now we are at the heart of things, we are one in Him, and there are no words to describe the joy.
Read Archbishop Goodier’s books on the Life and Passion of Our Lord
Father John O'Neill
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