1. Baptism: Means of Salvation (44)
2. First Sunday in Advent
3. Saint Saturninus
4. Christ in the Home (19)
5. Articles and notices
Advent begins a new liturgical year. There will be the lighting of the Advent candles for the four ages of the Old Testament, the wreaths to remind of Our Eternal invisible God becoming visible in time, the Las Posadas and making room for Mary and Joseph so Christ can be with us, the setting up of the Manger Scene—introduced by Saint Francis—to place our focus on the Word Incarnate, the Christmas Tree—a Germanic custom—decorated to celebrate the everlasting life God now gives us through redemption but more splendid as we join our good works with His work, etc. This Advent can be a time for us to unite ourselves and our families with the true Spirit of Christmas—a life of Grace—or it can be once more following the evil spirit of the world in the frenzy of consumerism and greed and covetousness propped up by a lie of a Santa Claus that lives in the North Pole ready to fulfill every fantasy if one just believes in him and not Christ. How is it that Catholics prefer to already follow the customs of a world devoid of God and empty the faith of their children through deception rather than rejoice in the beautiful and rapturous overtures of the Spirit of Christmas that reverberates in the Christmas carols (like Silent Night, What Child is this, O Tannenbaum, Good King Wenceslaus, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, etc—with the Messiah of Handel? To me it would seem there is a Devil that actually takes away the true Christmas Spirit and fills the heart with all the seven capital sins: Pride by not wanting to put Christ in Christmas and attend Mass on Christmas Day; Lust with all the obscene sought in Picture and Music that replaces traditional dramas and carols about Christ’s birth; Anger with having to spend money one does not have and still not getting what one wants; Envy because someone else got the bargain or what one wanted; Covetousness because all one wants is more and more; Gluttony as moderation goes out the window at parties; and Sloth in spiritual duties as everything about the season (Christ and Mary) is neglected—Mass, prayer—because now one feels too tired. May that Devil not enter you.—
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit.—The Editor
Means of Salvation
Sacrament of Baptism
The Church Defines her Teachings on Baptism
Before continuing with the Church in Her teaching about Baptism, there ought to be attention given to another side of Baptism that is a propos to a modern error proposed by a few holding the same spirit as the Donatists toward the Catholic Church and who, despite having their error pointed out in patience and charity—which patience and charity they pervert as a sign of triumph of their error—and obstinately rejecting even Catholics as having the faith, not realizing they have themselves cut themselves off from the Catholic Faith.
Saint Augustine had to also contend with Donatists leaders who said they held the apostolic Faith but could not prove, except by another interpretation from the common teaching, and that from which came from a source itself rejected as of Catholic teaching.
But as regards his saying, “Nor let any one affirm that what they have received from the apostles, that they follow; for the apostles handed down only one Church and one baptism, and that appointed only in the same Church:” [Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 13] this does not so much move me to venture to condemn the baptism of Christ when found among heretics (just as it is necessary to recognize the gospel itself when I find it with them, though I abominate their error), as it warns me that there were some even in the times of the holy Cyprian who traced to the authority of the apostles that custom against which the African Councils were held, and in respect of which he himself said a little above, “In vain do those who are beaten by reason oppose to us the authority of custom.” . . .
. . . Wherefore, if they had something to say for themselves to whom Cyprian, wishing to persuade them of the truth of his own view, says, “Let no one say, What we have received from the apostles, that we follow,” with how much more force we now say, What the custom of the Church has always held, what this argument has failed to prove false, and what a plenary Council has confirmed, this we follow! To this we may add that it may also be said, after a careful inquiry into the reasoning on both sides of the discussion, and into the evidence of Scripture, What truth has declared, that we follow. (De baptism contra Donat., lib. 4, c. 6, 9, 10)
In regards to Baptism in blood and Baptism in desire, Augustine provides a commentary that is provided in full. It is here presented so all may see that this Doctor of the Church, to whom the Church places after Saint Paul as having the most influence on the understanding of Catholic teaching—be it sin, grace or baptism—taught a correct understanding which is still held today. Here is his commentary:
With regard to the objection brought against Cyprian, that the catechumens who were seized in martyrdom, and slain for Christ’s name’s sake, received a crown even without baptism, I do not quite see what it has to do with the matter, unless, indeed, they urged that heretics could much more be admitted with baptism to Christ’s kingdom, to which catechumens were admitted without it, since He Himself has said, “Unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5 Now, in this matter I do not hesitate for a moment to place the Catholic catechumen, who is burning with love for God, before the baptized heretic; nor yet do we thereby do dishonor to the sacrament of baptism which the latter has already received, the former not as yet; nor do we consider that the sacrament of the catechumen is to be preferred to the sacrament of baptism, when we acknowledge that some catechumens are better and more faithful than some baptized persons. For the centurion Cornelius, before baptism, was better than Simon, who had been baptized. For Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled with the Holy Spirit; Acts 10:44 Simon, even after baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit. Cornelius, however, would have been convicted of contempt for so holy a sacrament, if, even after he had received the Holy Ghost, he had refused to be baptized. But when he was baptized, he received in no wise a better sacrament than Simon; but the different merits of the men were made manifest under the equal holiness of the same sacrament— so true is it that the good or ill deserving of the recipient does not increase or diminish the holiness of baptism. But as baptism is wanting to a good catechumen to his receiving the kingdom of heaven, so true conversion is wanting to a bad man though baptized. For He who said, “Unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” said also Himself, “unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20 For that the righteousness of the catechumens might not feel secure, it is written, “Unless a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And again, that the unrighteousness of the baptized might not feel secure because they had received baptism, it is written, “Unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The one were too little without the other; the two make perfect the heir of that inheritance. As, then, we ought not to depreciate a man’s righteousness, which begins to exist before he is joined to the Church, as the righteousness of Cornelius began to exist before he was in the body of Christian men,— which righteousness was not thought worthless, or the angel would not have said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up as a memorial before God;” nor did it yet suffice for his obtaining the kingdom of heaven, or he would not have been told to send to Peter, Acts 10:4-5 — so neither ought we to depreciate the sacrament of baptism, even though it has been received outside the Church. But since it is of no avail for salvation unless he who has baptism indeed in full perfection be incorporated into the Church, correcting also his own depravity, let us therefore correct the error of the heretics, that we may recognize what in them is not their own but Christ’s.
That the place of baptism is sometimes supplied by martyrdom is supported by an argument by no means trivial, which the blessed Cyprian adduces from the thief, to whom, though he was not baptized, it was yet said, “Today shall you be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 On considering which, again and again, I find that not only martyrdom for the sake of Christ may supply what was wanting of baptism, but also faith and conversion of heart, if recourse may not be had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism for want of time. For neither was that thief crucified for the name of Christ, but as the reward of his own deeds; nor did he suffer because he believed, but he believed while suffering. It was shown, therefore, in the case of that thief, how great is the power, even without the visible sacrament of baptism, of what the apostle says, “With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10 But the want is supplied invisibly only when the administration of baptism is prevented, not by contempt for religion, but by the necessity of the moment. For much more in the case of Cornelius and his friends, than in the case of that robber, might it seem superfluous that they should also be baptized with water, seeing that in them the gift of the Holy Spirit, which, according to the testimony of holy Scripture, was received by other men only after baptism, had made itself manifest by every unmistakable sign appropriate to those times when they spoke with tongues. Yet they were baptized, and for this action we have the authority of an apostle as the warrant. So far ought all of us to be from being induced by any imperfection in the inner man, if it so happen that before baptism a person has advanced, through the workings of a pious heart, to spiritual understanding, to despise a sacrament which is applied to the body by the hands of the minister, but which is God’s own means for working spiritually a man’s dedication to Himself. Nor do I conceive that the function of baptizing was assigned to John, so that it should be called John’s baptism, for any other reason except that the Lord Himself, who had appointed it, in not disdaining to receive the baptism of His servant, Matthew 3:6, 13 might consecrate the path of humility, and show most plainly by such an action how high a value was to be placed on His own baptism, with which He Himself was afterwards to baptize. For He saw, like an excellent physician of eternal salvation, that overweening pride would be found in some, who, having made such progress in the understanding of the truth and in uprightness of character that they would not hesitate to place themselves, both in life and knowledge, above many that were baptized, would think it was unnecessary for them to be baptized, since they felt that they had attained a frame of mind to which many that were baptized were still only endeavoring to raise themselves.
But what is the precise value of the sanctification of the sacrament (which that thief did not receive, not from any want of will on his part, but because it was unavoidably omitted) and what is the effect on a man of its material application, it is not easy to say. Still, had it not been of the greatest value, the Lord would not have received the baptism of a servant. But since we must look at it in itself, without entering upon the question of the salvation of the recipient, which it is intended to work, it shows clearly enough that both in the bad, and in those who renounce the world in word and not in deed, it is itself complete, though they cannot receive salvation unless they amend their lives. But as in the thief, to whom the material administration of the sacrament was necessarily wanting, the salvation was complete, because it was spiritually present through his piety, so, when the sacrament itself is present, salvation is complete, if what the thief possessed be unavoidably wanting. And this is the firm tradition of the universal Church, in respect of the baptism of infants, who certainly are as yet unable “with the heart to believe unto righteousness, and with the mouth to make confession unto salvation,” as the thief could do; nay, who even, by crying and moaning when the mystery is performed upon them, raise their voices in opposition to the mysterious words, and yet no Christian will say that they are baptized to no purpose.
And if any one seek for divine authority in this matter, though what is held by the whole Church, and that not as instituted by Councils, but as a matter of invariable custom, is rightly held to have been handed down by authority, still we can form a true conjecture of the value of the sacrament of baptism in the case of infants, from the parallel of circumcision, which was received by God’s earlier people, and before receiving which Abraham was justified, as Cornelius also was enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. Yet the apostle says of Abraham himself, that “he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith,” having already believed in his heart, so that “it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Why, therefore, was it commanded him that he should circumcise every male child in order on the eighth day, Genesis 17:9-14 though it could not yet believe with the heart, that it should be counted unto it for righteousness, because the sacrament in itself was of great avail? And this was made manifest by the message of an angel in the case of Moses’ son; for when he was carried by his mother, being yet uncircumcised, it was required, by manifest present peril, that he should be circumcised, Exodus 4:24-26 and when this was done, the danger of death was removed. As therefore in Abraham the justification of faith came first, and circumcision was added afterwards as the seal of faith; so in Cornelius the spiritual sanctification came first in the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the sacrament of regeneration was added afterwards in the laver of baptism. And as in Isaac, who was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, the seal of this righteousness of faith was given first, and afterwards, as he imitated the faith of his father, the righteousness itself followed as he grew up, of which the seal had been given before when he was an infant; so in infants, who are baptized, the sacrament of regeneration is given first, and if they maintain a Christian piety, conversion also in the heart will follow, of which the mysterious sign had gone before in the outward body. And as in the thief the gracious goodness of the Almighty supplied what had been wanting in the sacrament of baptism, because it had been missing not from pride or contempt, but from want of opportunity; so in infants who die baptized, we must believe that the same grace of the Almighty supplies the want, that, not from perversity of will, but from insufficiency of age, they can neither believe with the heart unto righteousness, nor make confession with the mouth unto salvation. Therefore, when others take the vows for them, that the celebration of the sacrament may be complete in their behalf, it is unquestionably of avail for their dedication to God, because they cannot answer for themselves. But if another were to answer for one who could answer for himself, it would not be of the same avail. In accordance with which rule, we find in the gospel what strikes every one as natural when he reads it, “He is of age, he shall speak for himself.” John 9:21
By all these considerations it is proved that the sacrament of baptism is one thing, the conversion of the heart another; but that man’s salvation is made complete through the two together. Nor are we to suppose that, if one of these be wanting, it necessarily follows that the other is wanting also; because the sacrament may exist in the infant without the conversion of the heart; and this was found to be possible without the sacrament in the case of the thief, God in either case filling up what was involuntarily wanting. But when either of these requisites is wanting intentionally, then the man is responsible for the omission. And baptism may exist when the conversion of the heart is wanting; but, with respect to such conversion, it may indeed be found when baptism has not been received, but never when it has been despised. Nor can there be said in any way to be a turning of the heart to God when the sacrament of God is treated with contempt. Therefore we are right in censuring, anathematizing, abhorring, and abominating the perversity of heart shown by heretics; yet it does not follow that they have not the sacrament of the gospel, because they have not what makes it of avail. Wherefore, when they come to the true faith, and by penitence seek remission of their sins, we are not flattering or deceiving them, when we instruct them by heavenly discipline for the kingdom of heaven, correcting and reforming in them their errors and perverseness, to the intent that we may by no means do violence to what is sound in them, nor, because of man’s fault, declare that anything which he may have in him from God is either valueless or faulty. (De baptism contra Donat. cap. 21-25)
The matter of Baptism in Blood and Baptism in desire will be considered separately and more fully in its own place, but delivering Augustine’s teaching on Baptism would not be complete if this part were omitted while speaking of the Donatists. (To be continued)
First Sunday in Advent
Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!”
- “Brethren, it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep.…Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!”
- “It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep.” The time has come. The Apostle admonishes not merely the heathens and the unbelievers but us also who have been baptized and who have received the faith. Even for those who practice daily meditation, who attend Mass regularly, who receive Holy Communion frequently, and who engage in other pious practices, this admonition is timely. In spite of all these good works, we are still asleep. Perhaps our sleep is not that of grievous sin, but we are retarded in our spiritual progress by tepidity, by the routine of our daily life, and by our negligence. We lack zeal for the interests of God, we are slothful in our search for union with Him. We must strive to purify our intentions and perfect our prayer. By the judicious practice of penance we must strive to make satisfaction for our own sins and for those of our brethren. Our lives ought to be characterized by a burning zeal for the salvation of all men. Truly, our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII was all too right when he complained about the lassitude of Christians in performing good works. Truly, now is the acceptable time for us to arise from sleep, now at the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year, now during the season of Advent.
We must put off the old man and put on the new. This new man must share the life of Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth. Christ did not intend to be merely an exemplar and a model for us. No, He wishes to be much more than that. He is the vine giving life to the branches and making it possible for them to bloom and to bring forth fruit.
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We understand this as meaning that we are to live His life, that we are to love what He loved, that we are to cherish poverty, self-denial, the cross, and intimate union with the Father. We are to fashion our life after His. We are to seek the will of the Father in all things, to strive ceaselessly to promote His honor, and to work continually for the salvation of souls. We should imitate His virtues, especially His humility and His modesty, and should copy His goodness and mildness toward all men. We should reproduce in ourselves His love for His enemies and His horror for sin and for all that may displease the heavenly Father.
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let us understand that He wishes us to be real members of His body, living branches of the vine, in order that His holiness, even His very thoughts, may become ours and live in us. This is the true message that Advent brings to us. “Today if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps. 94:8). It is time for us now to rise from sleep and be renewed in Christ Jesus.
- To “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” is an ambitious program, but it is my task for the coming year. Everything I encounter during the coming year should be used to advance my perfect union with Christ. During the coming ecclesiastical year I shall share in the grace and the redemption of Christ to the extent to which I incorporate myself in Christ and live in union with Him. My progress in the spiritual life will be measured by the degree of my incorporation in the life of Christ, by my success in my attempts to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” The liturgy of the Church year will help me to accomplish this program. It will place in my hands the means necessary for this purpose; foremost among these means are the Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion. We understand clearly the magnitude of the task that lies before us, but we see also the efficacy of the means placed at our disposal: “The Lord will give goodness,” that is, Christ in the Holy Eucharist, “and our earth [our soul] shall yield her fruit” (Communion). Why, then, should I shrink before the magnitude of the task? “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me” (Phil 4: 13). I shall draw near to the Church and her holy liturgy, and she will unite me more closely to Christ, and open to me the fountains of His grace.
Protect us, O Lord, who devote ourselves to Thy holy mysteries, that we may give ourselves up entirely to the things of God, and serve Thee with our whole body and soul. Amen.
I beseech Thee, O Lord, send Him Whom Thou hast promised. See the great need of Thy people. Come and redeem us as Thou hast promised. (Responsory at Matins.)
- The station for the Mass during the first week of Advent is the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome. Entering into the holy shrine, the house of the Mother of God, we recall with her the holy mystery of the Incarnation. “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Ghost.” Salvation is brought to us by the Church through Mary.
- “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.” In Mary, the Mother of God, in whose house we are now assembled, we shall find Christ, and with Him salvation. The Virgin believes; she speaks her fiat with complete resignation to the message of the angel; and the Word was made flesh in the womb of the Virgin. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among women.” Mary is the Mother of God, the bridge by means of which Christ brings us salvation. He who desires salvation and the forgiveness of his sins, he who seeks the truth and the grace of eternal life, will find it in the Virgin Mary. “He that shall find me shall find life” (Prov. 8:35). “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and the Holy that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Responsory at Matins).
In the liturgy, Mary is not merely an eminent personality of the past; she is also a type and a symbol of the Church; she is a present reality and enjoys a mysterious life in the Church today. In the person of Mary, the Church prepares for the feast of Christmas. Through her the Church has conceived salvation. By means of her the Word was made flesh in the Church and has taken up His abode among us.
Of the Church it may be said, as it was said of the Virgin Mother, “The Lord is with thee:” The Church is the Mother of God during the season of Advent. He who wishes to find Christ and the truth, he who desires to obtain grace and share the life of God, will find these things in the Church.
- Today we abide in the house of Mary and await in the quiet of Nazareth the approach of the Son of God. The angel, in the person of the priest, comes and brings us the message: “Behold, the Virgin, the Church, will conceive in this hour.” He bends low over the bread and the chalice. “This is My body; this is My blood.” The Holy Spirit overshadows the bread and the chalice. The Church believes and prays and acknowledges gratefully: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” What a blessed advent! What a blessed appearance of the Lord in the house of Mary, the holy Church! Soon He will enter our souls in Holy Communion and take up His abode in our hearts as He once did in the bosom of Mary at Nazareth. “The Lord is with thee.”
You and I are united, not so much by the fact of salvation, grace, and redemption, as by the fact that we enjoy membership in the communion of the Church. So intimately are we united by reason of the supernatural life and calling that we could not be more closely united in desire and feeling even if we were bound together by chains. So complete is our solidarity as a group in our life, our virtues, and even in our sins, that we think of salvation principally as it applies to the whole Christian community. We share Christ and His redemption in the measure in which we are united to Mary and the Church. Only by praying, believing, and hoping with the Church can we find an escape from the narrowness and isolation of ourselves as individuals. Only by our membership in the Church and through our association with her may we hope to grow to our true stature and enlarge our capacity for grace at the coming of Christmas. “He that shall find me shall find life, Indeed, we should submit ourselves entirely to the Church.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and send us Thy salvation. Through Mary and through Thy holy Church manifest Thyself, and we shall be saved. Amen.
29: ST SATURNINUS, MARTYR (c. A.D. 309)
THE Western church makes a commemoration of this martyr in today’s liturgy, but particulars of him are known only from the unauthentic passio of Pope St Marcellus I. The Roman Martyrology says: “At Rome on the Salarian Way the birthday of the holy martyrs, the aged Saturninus and Sisinnius, the deacon, under the Emperor Maximian. After they had been weakened by a long imprisonment the prefect of the city ordered them to be put on the rack and stretched, beaten with rods and scourges, scorched with fire, and then taken down from the rack and beheaded.” St Saturninus is said in an epitaph by Pope St Damasus to have been a priest who came to Rome from Carthage; he was certainly buried in the cemetery of Thraso on the Via Salaria Nova.
ST SATURNINUS, OR SERNIN, BISHOP OF TOULOUSE, MARTYR
ST SATURNINUS is venerated as a missionary who was the first bishop of Toulouse, and Fortunatus tells us that he converted a great number of idolaters by his preaching and miracles. He is supposed to have preached on both sides of the Pyrenees. The author of his passio, who wrote before the seventh century, relates that he assembled his flock in a small church in Toulouse, and that the chief temple in the city stood between that church and the saint’s house. In this temple oracles were given, but they had been long silent, which was attributed to the presence of the Christian bishop. Accordingly the priests seized him one day going by and dragged him into the temple, declaring that he should either appease the offended deities by offering sacrifice to them or propitiate them with his blood. Saturninus replied, ” I worship one only God and to Him I am ready to offer a sacrifice of praise. Your gods are evil and are more pleased with the sacrifice of your souls than with those of your bullocks. How can I fear them who, as you acknowledge, tremble before a Christian? “The infidels, enraged at this reply, tied his feet to a bull, which was brought thither to be sacrificed, and the beast was goaded to run violently down the hill, so that the martyr’s skull was broken and his brains dashed out. The bull continued to drag the body until, the cord breaking, what remained of it was left outside the gates of the city till it was taken up by two women and hidden in a ditch. Later the relics were enshrined in what is now the great church of St Sernin. A church built at the place where the bull stopped is still called theTaur.
Butler’s Lives of the Saints
CHRIST IN THE HOME
BY RAOUL PLUS, S.J.
RESPECT IN LOVE
COMPLETE fidelity in marriage is essential. It is however only a minimum. To treat each other as living tabernacles of God—that is what marriage between two baptized persons demands.
Know you that the sacrament of Christian initiation transforms a person into a living temple of the Most High?
Well then, behind this more or less attractive human silhouette which is the person of the marriage partner, body and soul, there is God dwelling within and living His Divine life in the depths of the soul. Consequently when poor health or advancing age cause husband or wife to grow less attractive exteriorly, that is not a reason for love to wane.
How many know that when husband and wife in the state of grace embrace each other by conjugal privilege, they clasp the Holy Trinity, who unites them even more closely than their human embrace? Far from coming between them, what supernatural intimacy and what magnificent dignity does it give to their union! How it elevates, and idealizes what in itself is good though still carnal and therefore capable of easily becoming earthy and, for some, difficult to consider as something noble.
It is rare to find Christians who truly have faith at least faith in the fundamental mystery of the life of the baptized. Father Charles de Foucauld wrote to his married sister who was the mother of a family:
“God is in us, in the depths of our soul . . . always, always, always there, listening to us and asking us to chat a bit with Him. And that is, as much as my weakness will permit, my very life, my darling. Try, that more and more it may become yours; that will not isolate you, nor draw you away from your other occupations. It only requires a minute; then, instead of being alone, there will be two of you to fulfill your tasks. From time to time lower your eyes toward your heart, recollect yourself for a mere quarter of a minute and say: “You are there, my God. I love You.” It will take you no more time than that and all that you do will be much better done
having such a help. And what help it is! Little by little, you will acquire the habit and you will finally be always aware of this sweet companion within yourself, this God of our hearts. . . Let us pray for each other that we may both keep this dear Guest of our souls loving company.”
If husband and wife were equally convinced of the living splendor their souls actually present, how the marital act, so holy to begin with, would become for them an act of divine faith, an act penetrated by the highest supernatural spirit.
I want to meditate often on my baptism, and the mystery of the divine life in me. I want to become accustomed to treat myself as a living tabernacle of my Lord, to regard the companion of my life as the thrice holy shrine of the Divinity, for I know this to be a reality.
The just live by faith. I want to live by faith.
MARRIAGE AND THE MYSTICAL BODY
CHRIST came to restore the divine life lost to us by sin. But how? He did not save us only by some act external to Himself as one might lay down a sum of money to ransom a slave but by incorporating us in Himself, by making all of us with Him a single organism. “I am the Vine, you are the branches.” Christ is the Head, we the members and together we are the whole body, Christ. The aggregate of all the members, all the branches united constitutes the Church joined by an unbreakable bond to Christ, its Leader and Head.
And Christian marriage will be . . . and will only be . . . but the symbol of this union of Christ with His Church, of the Church with its Head Saint. Paul at the end of his Epistle to the Christians at Ephesus gives no other rule of love and of security in their union to the married than the counsel to copy this union in their life. He says to wives. “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord: because the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the Church being Himself Savior of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.”
Then addressing himself to husbands, he continues: “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and delivered Himself up for her.” This is the way husbands ought to love their wives and recalling the words of Genesis. “They shall be two in one flesh,” Saint Paul concludes, “This is a great mystery…. I mean in reference to Christ and to the Church.”
Is it possible to imagine a divorce between Christ and the Church, between the Church and Christ? By the same token, it should be impossible to conceive of a divorce between a man and woman in Christian marriage, the man being but a double, an image of Christ; the woman a double, an image of the Church.
This is but a negative aspect . . . not to be disunited. The union of Christ with the Church which baptism symbolizes invites the married to have for each other the most profound and entire consecration to each other. It is this entire consecration to each other which Saint Paul demands. It is not without reason that the liturgy of the nuptial mass contains this particular epistle of Saint Paul. Unfortunately how few understand something of the significance of these texts!
How much more fitting would it be, at the time of the marriage, to profit by the marriage discourse to explain to those concerned the sublime meaning of the ceremony and the obligations which will ensue instead of handing out just so much twaddle and bestowing so many compliments!
The whole difficulty is that it would necessitate touching u