February 1st 2004, 10:18 PM #1
Speaking from the Heart of Christ
Daily Prayer with Regnum Christi
For all those who are most vulnerable and in need of help so that they might find a friendly hand to help them.
Speaking from the Heart of Christ
Author: Father Jeffrey Bowker, LC
February 2, 2004
Presentation of the Lord
Luke 2 : 22 - 40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord open my heart to receive the power of your Spirit flowing from your heart into mine. Help me zealously carry it as a light from my heart to my family, to my friends, to the weak and empty of heart. I want to acknowledge you, with the fire of your love in me, as true light, and as the glory and splendor of every human person. May your Holy Spirit influence my senses, move my heart and enlighten my soul so that I may be filled with a consuming love for you in my life.
Petition:Lord grant me the grace of experiencing deeply, as Simeon did, the meaning of your presence in the world.
1. Glory of the Father, Light of the Nations Contemplate this scene from the perspective of God: the Son now in human history enters the Temple for the first time. The Son enters the house of the Father. He the perfect Lamb, for whom no earthly sanctuary is holy enough, accepts to be consecrated in this place built by men, a place that was dedicated to the memory of the signs that were all in expectation of him.
The True Lamb arrives at last to the place of offering. The Temple was above all a place of sacrifice in order to gain God’s favor. It was a place of expiation to free oneself of the inheritance of sin, and a place of prayer to offer fitting honor and praise to the one true God. And here, on this day, in the arms of Mary, comes the only sacrifice that counts, for without him no other sacrifice has meaning, whether in sacred rituals or in our personal lives.
The Light is in the world, the light of the nations. If this light were to disappear, Christian civilization, and all humanity for that matter, would be plunged into an interminable darkness. He is the one waited for, yearned for, for this is the Lamb who alone has the power to “open the scroll with the seven seals”––only he can reveal the mystery of man to man himself.
This Light comes as mystery now, hidden. Only to those who have faith, and only in prayer, will the greatness of who Christ is be revealed. I take upon myself the dispositions of Anna and Simeon––ever vigilant and watchful in prayer seeking the signs of God in my life.
2. “Every male that open the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord” Contemplate this scene through the heart of Mary. The Son is going to recognize in the simple rite of consecration his belonging to the Father, but he will do it through Mary’s fidelity to the prescribed ritual. She too renews her own consecration in the temple, but like a sponsor of baptism she also must act for her Son. Yet, who can speak for this child? Who can express what is in his heart, at this moment? Can anyone dare to utter the sublime dialogue of the eternal Son with the Almighty Father? Can anyone speak for the zeal of His heart, the hunger of His heart to suffer for souls? Is anyone capable of understanding the consecration of his flesh created for a divine mission, which comprises eternal mystery and divine power? Mary’s pure and humble heart emerges as his spokesperson and speaks the language of self-giving and donation, though under the rituals prescribed by the law. “For their sake I consecrate myself.” She reflects to the world what has been communicated to her by her Son, who is flesh of her flesh.
It is in our ordinary life that we elevate the meaning of small events, but only in union with Christ, who, flesh of our flesh by grace, enables us to live a consecration to a mission in his name. Our acts are made from the power of Christ’s living presence moving our heart and will.
3. “A sword shall pierce your heart…” Now contemplate the true temple of Christ’s body on the Cross, where every consecration is made perfect. Yes, Christ gives us the privilege to speak the words that echo from his heart, and he perfects this language in us over time if we are faithful to the cross in our life. Mary’s consecration flows from her wanting to speak from what she experiences in the heart of her Son. She speaks in some sense for him, for what is in his heart. This was how she lived her own consecration everyday. “My soul magnifies the Lord:” she amplifies what she experiences in him. Day after day the language became more profound and more beautiful, up to touching the very core of his heart as Redeemer. This moment comes to her precisely at the Cross, such that she becomes the Mother of the all the Redeemed.
My own baptismal consecration is all about speaking from what is in the heart of Christ, such that his words ‘pierce my own’ replacing a heart of stone with a new heart. I am trying to speak like Christ––chaste, poor, and obedient––with a language forged and pounded into full authenticity at the Cross. My death to sin and egoism will call forth the risen life of the new man of the Kingdom––possible only through the fire of the Spirit that flows from the open side of Christ.
Dialogue with Christ: O Jesus, make my soul a temple worthy of your entry. May the walls of my heart be adorned with purity, honesty and upright intention in all I say and do. May its floors upon which you walk be sealed with modesty and sincerity, and lead you to an undivided heart. And may you and I rise to meet one another, in a deeper union, at the altar of sacrifice where the gift of yourself to me makes possible the gift of myself to you, consumed moment by moment in the fire of your divine love.
Resolution: Today I will renew my personal consecration to the Heart of Christ in a visit to the Eucharist, and I will remember in a special way all consecrated persons who renew their vows today throughout the world.
By Father Jeffrey Bowker, LC
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