"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
I've been away, somewhere "over the rainbow", enjoying an indescribably beautiful Sacred Triduum, Pascha, and Easter Monday.
So, as I process my spiritual retreat, I will post the following, which I meant to post last week, but forgot to press the "publish" button! (Ah, yes, age...)
Although this "Vortex" episode was aired last Wednesday, April 4, the message is timeless:
Here's the script:
As we approach Holy Thursday – and the three holiest days of the year – the Church invites us to turn our thoughts to the physical suffering of Our Blessed Lord… in the body.
And as we reflect on those sufferings – and quietly cringe when we think heavily on them – we can’t help but think that Our Blessed Lord’s motivation was love: to back up his words with actions, to prove that He meant what He said.
Now this raises a curious point. He said He loves us with no limit. And that he made this especially and abundantly clear to His disciples at the Last Supper underscores a deep truth for us.
The Catholic Church has held from its first moment that Our Blessed Lord is present – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, really truly and substantially – under the appearance of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist.
For a God who loves with an infinite love, the truth of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist almost becomes, you could say, a NECESSITY. It falls into the category of HAVING to be true. It MUST be true.
Why? Because it’s opposite would be unthinkable. IMPOSSIBLE. How could God claim to love us with an infinite love – and have it within His power to be present physically among us – body, blood, soul, and divinity – and then choose NOT to be present?
The Divine Lover deliberately and willfully choosing to NOT be with His beloved when He has it in His power to easily do so would be a God who did not love completely. Mankind could stand at the Last Judgment and accuse its God of not loving to the absolute full measure and last inexhaustible ounce He could muster. And mankind would be right.
The Catholic Church’s teaching on the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist is not a proposition to be debated – yea or nay – for to reject it is to reject the idea that God loves completely, which is to make a liar out of God.
It is to be accepted in all its mystery, because at the end of the day, that’s what love proposes and love in turn embraces. It’s just that simple; and love’s most mysterious aspect is its simplicity.