Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
On May 29, five friars of the Province of St. Joseph were ordained to the priesthood. The Most Reverend Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, celebrated the Ordination Mass in St. Dominic’s Church in Washington, DC. Click below for a short video summary of the ceremony.
In your kindness, please keep Fathers Thomas Petri, Bruno Shah, Jonah Pollock, Anthony Giambrone, and Gregory Schnakenberg in your prayers as they begin their lives of priestly service to Christ and his Church.
The Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph gathered recently at Providence College for a provincial assembly, during which we prayed, recreated, and surveyed together the current needs of the life and the apostolate.
Click below for a slideshow of photos taken during the assembly.
Please keep these five brothers in your prayers as they prepare for their ordination this Friday.
You may remember one of them. Br. Anthony Giambrone, OP, was assigned to the parish last summer.
Holy Mary, Mother of Christ, hear your humble servants, alleluia, alleluia.
As an Order of the Church dedicated in its very constitution to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Order of Preachers sets aside one day a year to renew its filial devotion to her. According to the Dominican calendar, that day is today, May 8.
We ask, therefore, that you join us in honoring Our Lady today, and that you remember to her in a special way the Dominican Order worldwide, which owes the graces of its 800-year history to her maternal care and protection.
From the Dominican Ordo:
It has been customary for the Church to invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary under titles such as Mediatrix, thereby indicating the continuing saving role of her maternity in the order of grace, for “by her many acts of intercession she continues to gain for us gifts of eternal salvation” (Lumen Gentium, 62).
Blessed Humbert of Romans declares that “the Blessed Virgin was of great help in beginning the Order . . . and it is to be hoped that she will bring it to a good end” (Opera II, 70-71). From its foundation the Order has not hesitated to acknowledge the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin, to continuously experience it and to commend it to the hearts of the brothers and sisters, so that encouraged by this maternal help they might adhere more closely to their Mediator and Redeemer as they labor to carry out their mission of salvation in the world (see Lumen Gentium, 62).
Until the recent restoration of the liturgical calendar, the Order celebrated the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 22, the anniversary of the approval of the Order by Pope Honorius III (December 22, 1216). Keeping in mind the special character of the weekdays of Advent which take precedence over all other memorials, it is suggested that the commemoration of this Patronage be celebrated on May 8 — during the month which is specially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin mary and on the day when she is honored under similar titles in other proper liturgical calendars.
you willed that the Order of Preachers
be instituted for the salvation of souls
under the special patronage
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
and that it be filled with her unceasing favors.
Hear our prayers and bring us to the glory of heaven,
protected by her whose feast we celebrate today.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER DEDICATING THE ORDER OF PREACHERS
TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Virgin Mother Mary, with trust we approach you. We, your preachers, fly to you who believed in the words sent from heaven and pondered them in your heart. We stand close around you, who are always present to the gathering of apostles.
In you the Word was made flesh, that same Word which we receive, contemplate, praise together and preach. Therefore, under your guidance we today devote ourselves anew to the ministry of the Word. Furthermore, we declare to you that, hearing with you the Word within ourselves and anointed by the Spirit, whose sacred vessel you preeminently are, we are consecrated in the name of Jesus Christ to the evangelization of the world.
With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you understood the mystery of the Word. Through you we, too, are able to perceive the presence of that same Word in the history of our time, so that we may finally contemplate him face to face.
Through you the Father sent his Son into the world that he might save it. Through you we will be powerful in the sight of your people, becoming witnesses of that truth which frees and of that love which unites.
To this place we have brought our needs and here we ponder them. Do you, Mother, give us strength and preserve the harmony of our family, so that what was begun by our profession may be brought to completion by our love for one another, for the salvation of the world and to the praise and glory of God.
An interview with Fr. Stephen Boguslawski, O.P.
Father Steven Boguslawski, O.P. is President of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies. As such, he is one of the principal architects of the formidable intellectual project that formally gets underway April 18-19, 2009.
What is the mission of the ‘new’ Dominican House of Studies (DHS)?
More aptly said, there is a renewed mission of the faculty which focuses upon an “open-Thomism,” a dialogue with contemporary as well as historical theology. We are building upon the sure foundations entrusted to us—what we develop now is inextricably linked to our past. The brilliance of St. Thomas Aquinas was to appropriate the truth by critical engagement with philosophy, Sacred Scripture, as well as theological and patristic sources. The renewed challenge is to similarly appropriate his methodology in a contemporary frame of reference. That is the “niche” or the branding we want to accomplish in the academic marketplace. However, it must also be said that Dominicans were founded for service to the Church—especially her mission to evangelize through preaching and teaching. That remains our primary focus: service to the Word in the midst of the world. And, of course, vocations are the life blood of this mission.
What is the significance of the new Academic Center and Theological Library?
The expansion to new facilities has been paralleled by a dramatic expansion of credentialed Dominican and non-Dominican professors. These professors received their training at an array of prestigious universities: Oxford, École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris), Drew University, Fribourg, the Australian Catholic University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome), just to name a few. More Dominicans are scheduled to arrive in the years ahead, being specially trained for service in Washington, D.C.
The building expansion and the increase in full-time faculty are aimed at serving the academic and ecclesial communities of metro-Washington, as well as the Dominican Order and Province at-large. Our renewed emphasis upon Thomism, evangelization and the dialogue between faith and contemporary culture sets us apart.
What does the project offer the broader Church community? Can it help change the tone, the substance of the dialogue between the Church and contemporary secular culture?
The Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the DHS is convinced that training in a solid Thomistic core produces competent clerics and laity in service of the Church by instilling an intellectual rigor that critically appraises competing truth claims in society. The ability to engage cultural trends and legitimate questions arising from ministerial experience requires a suppleness of mind which appropriates the truth wherever it is to be found—always given norms, however, by Sacred Scripture, tradition, and magisterial teachings.
That is not always an easy task—indeed, it is rarely an easy task! Evangelization and re-evangelization depend upon individuals being conversant with those who have been predominantly formed by the culture-at-large—unafraid to bring the fullness of the Gospel to them, because good evangelizers or preachers are able to articulate the internal intelligibility of the faith here and now, and with a good measure of joy. More simply put, our students can explain the reasons for their hope. Dominicans do not subscribe to the modern artificial divide between doctrine and pastoral practice.
The new academic center and theological library mark an “inflection point” in the history of ‘487’ (Michigan Avenue) and I see the Providence of God at work presenting us with new opportunities and new responsibilities. If we do what the Lord asks us to do, we will thrive.
Our French-speaking friends may be interested to learn that the Dominican friars of the Province of France have been offering a Lenten retreat through the internet. Though about to end, “Retraite dans la Ville” remains timely and accessible. All of the meditations “preached” by the friars are archived and easy to retrieve.
Click here for “Retraite dans la Ville.”
The Storm Theatre and
Blackfriars Repertory Theatre present
THE PAUL CLAUDEL PROJECT
THE TIDINGS BROUGHT TO MARY
directed by Peter Dobbins
March 13th to April 4th
Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 PM
Additional Performances: Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18, at 7:30
THE STORM THEATRE
at the Paradise Factory, 64 E. 4th Street (between 2nd Ave. & Bowery)
Ticket Price: $20
For tickets, call SmartTix at 212-868-4444, or visit www.smarttix.com
Or visit the Storm Theatre: www.stormtheatre.com
Click here for a review of the play published in The Village Voice.
Also, the Cultural Crossroads Center recently hosted a public forum on Claudel’s work. Click here for a transcript.
Just in time for Lent, Magnificat has released Fr. Romanus Cessario’s The Seven Last Words of Jesus. A rich examination of Christ’s final utterances from the cross, this collection gathers the meditations Fr. Cessario preached last Good Friday in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Using the Church’s theological, spiritual, and artistic tradition to unlock the secret of each “word,” Fr. Cessario makes plain the good news Our Lord revealed even to his dying breath–he has a divine and insatiable love for sinners.
In his foreward to the book, Edward Cardinal Egan writes:
“In the name of the thousands who heard Father Cessario on Good Friday 2008 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the thousands more who will have an opportunity to read and meditate on these pages, and in my own name was well, I express my admiration and heartfelt gratitude to this extraordinary theologian and preacher.”
Click here for ordering information.
A Dominican priest of the Province of St. Joseph, Fr. Cessario teaches theology at St. John’s Seminary in Boston.
Last Friday’s edition of The New York Times carried a short piece on Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP, and Blackfriars Repertory Theatre that celebrated the debut of their new production, “In Charge of the Fire.” Having completed its initial run in New Haven, this play on the life of St. Paul will travel to New York City and other locations around the country. Stay tuned for its Manhattan dates and venues.
Blackfriars’ Play Presents St. Paul as the Man He Was
By CYNTHIA WOLFE BOYNTON
LIKE the ancient Dominican friars who traveled from village to village to preach the word of God, the Rev. Peter John Cameron plans to take the Blackfriars Repertory Theater troupe and their play about Saint Paul on the road.
The play, “In Charge of the Fire,” premiered early this month to full houses at downtown’s Little Theater. Dana Sachs of New Haven and Tom Perretta of Stamford starred in the two-man show, which tells the Bible story of how Paul came to believe in God while on the road to Damascus in 36 A.D.
Like all shows produced by this long-running Catholic theater group, “Fire” was more about realizations than religion – something that surprised Nancy Goldstein of Branford, who attended a performance.
“We never think of saints as real people,” said Mrs. Goldstein. “They’re more like celestial beings. So to see how human Saint Paul was – how he had conflicts and was disliked and really struggled – was something that really stuck with me. As a man, he experienced many of the same questions as you and me.”
This photograph was taken last week at the House of Studies in Washington. The novices from Cincinnati were there for a few days to visit with the student brothers. Therefore, all of the men currently in formation for the Province of St. Joseph are depicted above. As you can see, God has been very good to the province. Please keep all of our student brothers in your prayers.
And here’s another prayer intention . . . this weekend 35 men from around the country are gathered at the House of Studies for a “vocation weekend.” They sense a call to priesthood and the religious life, and in response they are looking closely at the Order of Preachers. I’m told that this is the largest group for the February weekend in many years. Because of a lack of room, half of the men are bunking in sleeping bags on the floor. Now that’s dedication! Let us assist their prayers with our own.
From the Dominican Ordo:
In this celebration we remember our parents who have preceded us with the sign of faith and rest in peace. The Dominian Family joins together to honor our deceased parents with the same affection we showed them in life, for in Christ they gave us birth and from the crib they showed us what it means to be followers of Christ.
In today’s Office of Readings, we ponder these words from a letter St. Catherine of Siena wrote to her mother.
In the name of Jesus Christ crucified and sweet Mary.
My dearest mother in Christ, sweet Jesus! Your unworthy and abject daughter Catherine consoles you in the precious blood of the Son of God. I have greatly desired to consider you the true mother, not only of my body but also of my soul. For you know that, if you have loved my soul more than my body, all untoward love in you will die and my bodily absence will be no great burden for you. Rather it will be a joy and you will wish to bear all difficulties for the honor of God, with the intention that God may be honored. The honor of God is the increase of grace and virtue in my soul. Thus you, my sweetest mother, who love my soul more than my body, may be filled with joy and not be left desolate.
In 1963, Mr. Michael Kalush wrote and filmed a televised documentary on our province’s mission to Pakistan. The documentary was made for WJRT-12 TV in Flint, Michigan. The mission to Pakistan was begun in the mid-1950s, following the expulsion of our missionaries from China. In 1970, the Pakistani government ceased granting new visas to our missionaries. Since then, however, the mission has flourished, and Pakistan now has its own Dominican province.
Click below for the documentary.
For more information on our Pakistani mission, click here for a news article published in 2006 that covered the 50th anniversary celebration of the mission.
This news clip is a couple of years old, but it covers the yearly celebration of the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in Toulouse, the southern French city where the Angelic Doctor’s relics are enshrined. Toulouse’s old Jacobins (Dominican) church and priory are now state owned (thank you French Revolution!), but the Dominicans there are allowed access to the church once a year to celebrate Aquinas’s feast and venerate his relics. As you can see, they do it well.
Time magazine recently posted a photo essay on the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Summit, NJ. Click here to watch the five-minute video.
Each year, a special collection is taken up around the province for the support of our House of Studies in Washington. Currently, we have over thirty student brothers there preparing for final vows and ordination. The Lord has been good to us.
This past weekend, Br. Peter Totleben, OP, traveled from Washington to make this appeal at all of our Sunday Masses. Click below for Br. Peter’s moving witness. If you would like to contribute to this annual “Poor Boys” collection, please contact the Dominican Foundation at (212) 535-3664. Thank you for your generosity.
Last Saturday, January 10, in Washington DC, four Dominican student brothers were ordained to the transitional diaconate in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They were: Br. James Dominic Brent, OP, and Br. John Chrysostom Kozlowski, OP, both of the St. Joseph Province; Br. Isaiah Molano, OP, of the Holy Name Province; and Br. John Baptist Nguyen, OP, of the Vietnamese Vicariate. The Most Reverend Martin Holley, auxiliary bishop of Washington, was the ordaining prelate.
Please pray for these four new deacons as they enter their final preparations for priestly ordination.
Click below for video of the Ordination Mass.
Br. Austin Litke, O.P., recently interviewed George Weigel, the Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. A frequent television and newspaper commentator, Weigel is best known for his 1999 authorized biography of the late Karol Wojtyla—Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (Harper Collins). Weigel is the author of numerous other books, including God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (HarperCollins, 2005); Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism (Doubleday, 2007); and Against the Grain: Christianity and Democracy, War and Peace (Crossroad, 2008).
On this day 792 years ago, Pope Honorius III gave official ecclesiastical recognition to the Order of Preachers. In his bull of confirmation, the pope expressed the great hope he put in the new friars: “Expecting the brethren of your Order to be the champions of the Faith and the true lights of the world, we confirm your Order.” A firm supporter of St. Dominic’s project, Honorius would issue in the subsequent five years over 60 bulls, letters, and documents further recognizing certain privileges of the Order, which helped it to spread quickly all over Europe.
Click below for a brief description of the Order’s approval by Fr. Augustine DiNoia, OP, a member of this province and the current Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Before the recent liturgical reforms, the Order celebrated today the Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady. We now observe the usual Advent weekday, the Marian feast being transferred to May 8. Still, Dominicans around the world today thank God, Our Lady, and St. Dominic for providing the Church such a sure and certain way of living close to and serving the Grace of the Word. Please join us today in offering this prayer of gratitude.
who for the salvation of souls
didst place the Order of Preachers
under the special protection of the most Blessed Virgin Mary,
and wast please to pour out upon it her constant benefits:
grant unto thy suppliants
that we may be led unto the joy of heaven
through the aid of that same protectress
whose memory we revere today.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Br. Austin Litke, O.P., recently interviewed Robert Royal, president of the Institute for Faith & Reason, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. A columnist for leading publications, he is the author of numerous books, including The Virgin and the Dynamo: The Use and Abuse of Religion in the Environment Debate (1999, Eerdmans) and The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: A Comprehensive Global History (2000, Crossroad). His latest bestseller is entitled The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West (2006, Encounter).
Our student brothers in Washington invite you to join them in offering a novena for vocations December 17-25. During this holy days before Christmas, please offer your prayers and sacrfices for the men and women God is calling to the Order of Preachers.
The Lord has been very good to the Province of St. Joseph in recent years. We owe him our gratitude and continued trust.
Perhaps you remember Br. Jerome Zeiler, OP. He was assigned here to St. Vincent’s this past summer.
On October 31, Br. Jerome offered the reflection at the Dominican House of Studies’ annual All Saints Vigil. It was excellent. Br. Jerome focused on the story of the love each of the saints has for Christ, a love story for which we were made to be not simply bystanders, but participants.
Watch Br. Jerome below, or click here for the full text of his reflection.
On Saturday, November 8, four of the province’s student brothers professed their solemn vows, making permanent their consecration to God in the Order of Preachers. The four brothers were: Br. James Brent, OP; Br. Hyacinth Cordell, OP; Br. John Chrysostom Kozlowski, OP; and Br. Ignatius Schweitzer, OP. All four will be ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in the near future. Please continue to keep them and their studies in your prayers.
Click below to view the Profession Mass, which took place at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.
A Spanish daily recently published the conversion story of Communist Serbia’s chief abortionist, Stojan Adasevic. Since its appearance last week, the report has caught the attention of pro-lifers, and the Dominicans. Why? It seems that St. Thomas Aquinas played a prominent role—literally—in Dr. Adasevic’s conversion. The Catholic News Agency covers the incredible story.
- Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.“The medical textbooks of the Communist regime said abortion was simply the removal of a blob of tissue,” the newspaper reported. “Ultrasounds allowing the fetus to be seen did not arrive until the 80s, but they did not change his opinion. Nevertheless, he began to have nightmares.”
In describing his conversion, Adasevic “dreamed about a beautiful field full of children and young people who were playing and laughing, from 4 to 24 years of age, but who ran away from him in fear. A man dressed in a black and white habit stared at him in silence. The dream was repeated each night and he would wake up in a cold sweat. One night he asked the man in black and white who he was. ‘My name is Thomas Aquinas,’ the man in his dream responded. Adasevic, educated in communist schools, had never heard of the Dominican genius saint. He didn’t recognize the name.”
“Why don’t you ask me who these children are?” St. Thomas asked Adasevic in his dream.
“They are the ones you killed with your abortions,’ St. Thomas told him.
“Adasevic awoke in amazement and decided not to perform any more abortions,” the article stated.
Now I have to go back and read what Aquinas taught about the apparitions of saints . . .
Click here for the entire story.
I am the gate, says the Lord;
whoever enters by me will be saved and will find pleasure, alleluia.
A day after celebrating all Dominican saints, the Order prays and offers sacrifice for all Dominican souls.
Continuous commemoration of the dead constitutes a integral feature of Dominican piety. In our priories, death anniversaries of the brethren are recalled daily, and the De profundis psalm is recited for those being remembered. In this spiritual work of mercy, imploring the graces of the Paschal Mystery for the deceased sons and daughters of St. Dominic, Dominicans are constantly reminded of their own mortality and eventual participation in this same mystery. In this way, daily prayer for the dead prompts the Dominican to greater care for his own salvation as well as that of his brothers.
Join us in prayer to day as we commend the souls of all the deceased of the Order to the love and mercy of the Father.
Out of the depths I cray to you O Lord;
Lord hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication:
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word:
My soul waits for the Lord;
More than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn,
let Israel wait for the Lord.
For with the Lord is kindness
and with Him is plenteous redemption:
And He will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
and let perpetual light shine upon the.
V. From the Gates of Hell
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
Let us pray:
O God, creator and redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of your servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins, that they may obtain by our loving prayers the forgiveness which they have always desired. Who live and reign forever. Amen.
V. May they rest in peace.
Holy Mother and Immaculate Virgin, you are the glorious Queen of the world; may all who celebrate your feast know the help of your prayers.
We owe the origins of today’s Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary to the two saints depicted above.
St. Dominic, seen receiving the Rosary from Mary, images the generations of Dominican friars who have preached devotion to Our Lady and her Rosary. Early on in its history, the Order of Preachers was charged with promoting this particular form of prayer, teaching the faithful to contemplate the face of Christ through the attentive eyes of his mother. In response to this mandate, Dominicans established Confraternities of the Holy Rosary all over the world. As an outward sign of its devotion and mission to Mary, the Rosary eventually became a part of the Dominican habit. It is worn on the left side of the body, where soldiers once carried their swords.
Pope St. Pius V brought this Dominican mission to the apostolic palace. In 1571, St. Pius implored all of Europe to pray the Rosary for its delivery from invading Turkish armies. At the Battle of Lepanto, the Christian navy miraculously defeated a larger Islamic fleet. In thanksgiving, Pius established the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. It later became the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and Pope Clement XI extended its celebration to the entire Church in 1716.
In 1757, Fr. Augustine Ricchini composed the following hymn to be sung on today’s feast. It praises Our Lady by summarizing the mysteries of the Rosary. The following translation of the Te gestientem gaudiis was prepared by Abbot Oswald Hunter-Blair of Fort Augustus Abbey in Scotland. It can be sung to any long meter tune.
The gladness of thy motherhood,
The anguish of they suffering,
The glory now that crowns thy brow,
O virgin mother, we would sing.
Hail, blessed mother, full of joy
In thy consent, thy visit too;
Joy in the birth of Christ on earth,
Joy in him lost and found anew.
Hail, sorrowing in his agony–
The blows, the thorns that pierced his brow;
The heavy wood, the shameful Rood–
True queen and chief of martyrs thou!
Hail in the triumph of thy Son,
The quick’ning flames of Pentecost;
Shining a queen in light serene,
When all the world is tempest-tossed.
O come, you nations, roses bring
Culled from these myst’ries all divine,
And for the mother of your King
with loving hearts your chaplets twine.
We lay our homage at thy feet,
Lord Jesus, thou the virgin’s Son,
With Father and with Paraclete
Reigning while endless ages run.
Below you’ll find video of the homily I gave this past weekend at Mother of God Monastery in West Springfield, MA. The Dominican nuns invited me to preach their annual Rosary Sunday celebration. Recalling several points made by Pope John Paul II in his 2002 Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, I spoke of the Rosary as our means of imitating Mary’s perfect prayer.
O God, whose only-begotten Son, by his life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech you, that in meditating on these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Many Dominican parishes and monasteries still observe the first Sunday of October as “Rosary Sunday,” a feast of the old calendar not carried over into the new. By maintaining this feast the sons and daughters of St. Dominic continue their centuries-long tradition of promoting devotion to Christ through the daily recitation of the Rosary.
Six years ago, Pope John Paul II reminded the Church of the privileged place the Rosary enjoys in Western spirituality. He wrote in Rosarium Virginis Mariae that the Rosary’s uniqueness is rooted in Mary’s singular relationship with Christ. Modeled on the perfect contemplative gaze she maintained on the mysteries of her Son, the Rosary perpetuates Mary’s prayer and enables our participation in it, thus making the Rosary, when prayed well, one of the quickest and surest ways to union with God.
From paragraph 10 of Rosarium Virginis Mariae:
The contemplation of Christ has an incomparable model in Mary. In a unique way the face of the Son belongs to Mary. It was in her womb that Christ was formed, receiving from her a human resemblance which points to an even greater spiritual closeness. No one has ever devoted himself to the contemplation of the face of Christ as faithfully as Mary. The eyes of her heart already turned to him at the Annunciation, when she conceived him by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the months that followed she began to sense his presence and to picture his features. When at last she gave birth to him in Bethlehem, her eyes were able to gaze tenderly on the face of her Son, as she “wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger” (Lk2:7).
Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of a mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14).
A parishioner alerted me to this video of Fr. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, OP, a professor of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, giving a lecture on the life of St. Paul. About an hour in length, the lecture unfolds the biography of St. Paul, highlighting the key dates and events of the Apostle’s extraordinary life.
Fr. Murphy-O’Connor is a Pauline expert, as the titles of his many books reveal: Paul: His Story; Paul: A Critical Life; Jesus and Paul: Parallel Lives; and Paul the Letter Writer: His World, His Options, His Skills.
Like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, MI, the “Nashvilles” have been getting a lot of good press lately. Enjoy the video.
Two years ago, the same program highlighted the increasingly famous “Vigil of All Saints” held each October 31 at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. Click here for the report and video.