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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

New MINI-Series on Miserentissimus Redemptor-Perfection Series VI:I

Thinking, praying, experiencing a new call to make reparation daily in my life for.....what God is calling me to do, I have decided to share with you some thoughts from Pope Pius XI from his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor.

I shall not dwell at this point on the obvious devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the central devotion concerning reparation. However, I shall return to that.

Let me start with this quotation from the encyclical:

 ...we must ever remember that the whole virtue of the expiation depends on the one bloody sacrifice of Christ, which without intermission of time is renewed on our altars in an unbloody manner, "For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different" (Council of Trent, Session XXIII, Chapter 2). Wherefore with this most august Eucharistic Sacrifice there ought to be joined an oblation both of the ministers and of all the faithful, so that they also may "present themselves living sacrifices, holy, pleasing unto God" (Romans xii, 1). Nay more, St. Cyprian does not hesitate to affirm that "the Lord's sacrifice is not celebrated with legitimate sanctification, unless our oblation and sacrifice correspond to His passion" (Ephesians 63). For this reason, the Apostle admonishes us that "bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus" (2Corinthians iv, 10), and buried together with Christ, and planted together in the likeness of His death (Cf. Romans vi, 4-5), we must not only crucify our flesh with the vices and concupiscences (Cf. Galatians v, 24), "flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world" (2 Peter i, 4), but "that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies" (2 Corinthians iv, 10) and being made partakers of His eternal priesthood we are to offer up "gifts and sacrifices for sins" (Hebrews v, 1). Nor do those only enjoy a participation in this mystic priesthood and in the office of satisfying and sacrificing, whom our Pontiff Christ Jesus uses as His ministers to offer up the clean oblation to God's Name in every place from the rising of the sun to the going down (Malachias i, 11), but the whole Christian people rightly called by the Prince of the Apostles "a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood" (1 Peter ii, 9), ought to offer for sins both for itself and for all mankind (Cf. Hebrews v, 3), in much the same manner as every priest and pontiff "taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God" (Hebrews v, 1).

The highlighted part has been a tradition ignored in preaching and teaching since the 1970s. All are called to mortification, to crucifying the flesh in some way, to accepting the purification of the senses in the Dark Night. No one can skip these calls to penance and expect to be made perfect.

Of course, the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass forms the center of worship and focus for reparation.

But, as Cyprian points out in the section above, we must bring to the Mass our own mortification and penances in order to not only join ourselves with Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass, but to be made more perfect in the union with Christ when we received Holy Communion.

Here is another section.

10. But the more perfectly that our oblation and sacrifice corresponds to the sacrifice of Our Lord, that is to say, the more perfectly we have immolated our love and our desires and have crucified our flesh by that mystic crucifixion of which the Apostle speaks, the more abundant fruits of that propitiation and expiation shall we receive for ourselves and for others. For there is a wondrous and close union of all the faithful with Christ, such as that which prevails between the head and the other members; moreover by that mystic Communion of Saints which we profess in the Catholic creed, both individual men and peoples are joined together not only with one another but also with him, "who is the head, Christ; from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity" (Ephesians iv, 15-16). It was this indeed that the Mediator of God and men, Christ Jesus, when He was near to death, asked of His Father: "I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one" (John xvii, 23)

Notice that Pius XI emphasizes the union with Christ through suffering, as well as the reparation necessary made when we engage in penance.

Love grows out of these mortifications. 

And, note, we are only made perfect through this type of denial of the self, both in the physical (purification of the senses) and in the spiritual  (purification of the spirit). Giving up things must be part of these penances, and the patient acceptance of suffering which God has ordained, forms another part.

More to come...