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06 August 2012

Transfiguration

Prayer after Communion:
May the heavenly nourishment we have received, O Lord, we pray, transform us into the likeness of your Son, whose radiant splendor you willed to make manifest in his glorious Transfiguration.  Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. 
 As readers of the blog now, the Feast of the Transfiguration bears special meaning for me.  I find the image of the Transfiguration to be particularly poignant for the work that I've done both before becoming a friar and now part of my ministry as a friar: Confirmation preparation.  The symbol of Transfiguration provides a key of sorts for a renewed understanding of Confirmation (file that away as an essay to write in the future!).

What's more, August 6 marks the death of Servant of God Paul VI, for whose intercession I pray often, especially during these turbulent times.

What better way to celebrate this man's passing, but to recall a fine moment in his ministry and a fine moment for the American Church.  Here follows an excerpt from Paul's October 4, 1965 homily at Yankee Stadium:


This is this day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad today! This is the day which We have desired for centuries! The day which, for the first time, sees the Pope setting foot on this young and glorious continent! An historic day, for it recalls and crowns the long years of the evangelization of America, and the magnificent development of the Church in the United States! All honour to you, Brothers and sons! Peace and joy in Christ to you, whom We wish We could individually receive and embrace! A paternal and brotherly greeting to you, Bishops and Pastors, to you, Priests, Men and Women Religious of America! To the Shepherd of this most flourishing Archdiocese, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, who is, here beside Us, Our greeting and blessing,. as a token of Our veneration and Our affection, of Our gratitude to him and Our esteem; especially today, on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Our best wishes on his name day; and together with him We greet and salute the entire Catholic community of New York and of all the United States of America. We know your pastoral work and your faithfulness; We know the splendid organization and spiritual vitality of your parishes, of your seminaries, of your universities, of your schools, of your hospitals, of your works of charity! We know too your love for Christ and His Church. We affirm of you what Saint Paul wrote to the Romans: «Your faith is proclaimed all over, the world» (Rom. 1, 8). And it is from Rome that We bring you that message of faith and love which unites us all in Christ; together with the blessing of Saints Peter and Paul.

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First of all, you must love peace. Here We can use the words of Christ: «Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the son of God» (Matth. 5, 9). If we truly wish to be Christians, we must love peace, we must make our own the cause of peace, we must meditate on the real meaning of peace, we must conform our minds to the thought of peace. In the past, it was not always so in the education of minds and the training of citizens; but today it must be so; we must love peace, because its dwelling is first in men’s hearts, and only afterwards in the external condition of society. Peace must live and reign in men’s consciences, as Holy Scripture teaches us: «May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts» (Col. 3, 15). Peace is order, in relation to God and in relation to men; it is wisdom, it is justice, it is civilization. Whoever loves peace loves mankind, without distinction of race or of colour.

Second thought: You must serve the cause of peace. Serve it, and not make use of it for aims other than the true aims of peace. Serve it, and not use this noble standard as a cover for cowardice or selfishness, which refuses to make sacrifices for the common good; not debilitate and pervert the spirit, by evading the call of duty and seeking one’s own interests and pleasure. Peace is not a state which can be acquired and made permanent. Peace must be built; it must be built up every day by works of peace. These works of peace are, first of all, social order; then, aid to the poor, who still make up an immense multitude of the world population, aid to the needy, the weak, the sick, the ignorant. Peace must be like a garden, in which public and private beneficence cultivates the choicest flowers of friendship, of solidarity, of charity and love.

Third thought: Peace must be based on moral and religious principles, which will make it sincere and stable. Politics do not suffice to sustain a durable peace. The absence of conflict does not suffice to make of peace a source of happiness and of true human progress. Peace must have its roots anchored in wisdom, and this wisdom must draw nourishment from the true concept of life, that is the Christian concept. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: «Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you» (Io. 14, 27). Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Is. 9, 6), has His own original and characteristic peace, which can regulate every human relationship because, in the very first place, it regulates the relationship with God.


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