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Vigils Reading – 3rd Sun Lent
What it Means to be “in Christ Jesus”1
by Fr. Raymond
What is in your mind as you set out for Mass?… If Christ was forced, as it were, to say to the woman at Jacob’s well with whom He had had but a few words: “If you understood God’s gift and knew who he is that speaks to you…” what can He not say to us who should understand and who should know that in Mass he not only speaks to us, but gives us God’s Only Word – Himself?
What would your existence be like had Christ at His Last Supper decreed that only once in your lifetime could a priest do what He had done there in the Cenacle? Or to make it more concrete, suppose that on that same momentous night, this same Jesus Christ had decided that Mass should be offered only once every fifty years, and then only at Gethsemani, Kentucky. How would you spend your years, your days, all your hours? Would not this monastery become the focal point of your universe? Would not your days, weeks, months, all your years be spent preparing for that one morning when you could come here and meet your God in an intimacy that baffles description?…
Faced with such a supposition, we are forced to admit that we do not appreciate God and His goodness. We do not realize that Mass is not only alive with God but is meant to set us alive with the same life. Why is it that we have not come to this appreciation and realization? The answer is simple: we do not reflect sufficiently; we do not probe; we are too easily satisfied with what lies on the surface. Let us be honest: We have not understood this “gift of God.”…
…Just think again on that supposition about Mass being offered once in your lifetime, and then only here at Gethsemani. Would not your life have a center, you a very definite goal, and every passing hour a very specific meaning?
You would be awaiting that one definite moment when you could meet your loving God in person, not only to pay Him homage as His creature, but to love Him and be loved by Him as His child. More than likely Mass would then be for you what Mass was meant to be when Christ said: “Do this as my memorial”. It would be agape – a “love feast”.
…Realize that in Mass you meet God not as your Maker, certainly not as your Judge, in one sense not even as your Redeemer, but only as your Lover. For this is He who said: “I have loved thee with an everlasting love…“Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the child of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee in my hands”? Yes, in those hands which hold Calvary’s nail prints… Here is He who repeats by His love-radiating presence what He once put into words in the parables of Solomon: “My child, give me thy heart”. You meet Him as that One who said, and still says: “O come to me all you who are weary and overburdened, and I will refresh you”. That is the God you are to meet, and that is the guise in which you are to see Him. He who once “loved you to death” is waiting in every Mass to love you to life
1 Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O. This Is Love. Milwaukee, WI: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964. 13-20.