Category Archives: Holy Spirit

40th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination

On Sunday July 17th, 2016 at 3:00 in the afternoon at Saint Benedict Parish in Richmond Virginia I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. These forty years have been laden with many more blessings of ministry than I could have ever imagined on ordination day. All are welcome to join me in thanking the Lord for the gift of Priestly Ministry and I pray the Lord will raise up many more men to serve him in his Vineyard.

“With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you.”

40th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination

On Sunday July 17th, 2016 at 3:00 in the afternoon at Saint Benedict Parish in Richmond Virginia I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. These forty years have been laden with many more blessings of ministry than I could have ever imagined on ordination day. All are welcome to join me in thanking the Lord for the gift of Priestly Ministry and I pray the Lord will raise up many more men to serve him in his Vineyard.

“With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you.”

The Power of Grace to Transform

During the of days of Paschaltide, the church offers us a rich fare of readings from the Gospel of Saint John during the weekday Mass. Whenever I proclaim the Gospel of John I am always struck by the depth of his thought expressed so beautifully with such brevity.  Like an eagle, the symbol of the Evangelist John, he soars to the heights of such profound and beautiful theological articulations of the truth.  In this text we hear a very striking formulation, “because you loved me before the foundation of the world…” (see John 17:20-26). God is eternally begetting his only begotten Son, the Eternal word. That is hard to wrap your mind around; that is, before time came to be, before the foundation of the world, God was loving his Son, so there never was a time when the Son was not; there never was a time when the Father was not begetting his Son, and loving him with that eternal love.

The love of which Jesus speaks is an eternal love, a divine love, and he says “I have made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you love me may be in them and I am in them.” That is another striking Christian formulation. The love with which the Father loves the Son is eternal love, which is eternity, eternal life… “So that eternal life may be in them and I and them.”

You cannot get any more bold in the proclamation of the fruit of our redemption in Jesus Christ. Sanctifying grace is no fiction or merely a pious thought. Sanctifying grace is a sharing in the very eternal love of God himself and it makes holy those who possess that gift, by giving us a participation in divine life. That to me is what it so uniquely stunning about the Christian proclamation.

The text is very lovely indeed as it continues to lift us up and draw us into the heart of the Gospel of Grace, and that is what is so stunning about John. He is always circling around, to bring us a point where he can lift us up to a deeper apprehension of the truth of Jesus. After all the Holy Spirit has been given to lead us into all truth and Saint John is leading us through the Holy Spirit to a more keen insight into our redemption in Christ.

He leads us to ponder that the eternal love with which God loves his only begotten Son is the very love with which he loves us, and that is the love that is placed within us. That is indeed the fruit of our redemption in Jesus Christ. “I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

The Evangeliary (Book of the Holy Gospels) at Saint Benedict Church, http://saintbenedictparish.org/church/evangeliary.php

The Evangeliary (Book of the Holy Gospels) at Saint Benedict Church, http://saintbenedictparish.org/church/evangeliary.php

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

baptisterydovThe church, as she awaits the Solemnity of Pentecost, prays with that beautiful Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus, probably composed by Stephen Langton (d 1228), Archbishop of Canterbury. In this liturgical treasure, according to scholars, the verse form and phrasing are flawless. The sentiment is so strong, the sentiment is so pure – matchless doctrinal insights that are sure and uplifting.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum,
veni, lumen cordium.Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.

 

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

During these days we may imagine ourselves gathered in the cenacle gathered around the Virgin Mary, the Queen of the Apostles, eagerly awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to embolden us with the courage to witness to the truth of the Gospel. Let us wait with simplicity, while we also enjoy the nobility and beauty of the tradition of the Latin Church. This prayer is also beautifully constructed that renders fitting praise to the Most Beautiful of all, the Triune God.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Oremus. Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.

So we turn to the Holy Spirit on this Solemnity, the 50th day of Easter tide with an earnest and humble prayer. Come Spirit of love, pour that love into our hearts. Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

The Pentecost Mosaic, in the center of which is the dove of the Holy Spirit with the twelve apostles below. This is one of the oldest mosaics in St. Mark's Basilica, in Venice, dating from 1125 AD.

The Pentecost Mosaic, in the center of which is the dove of the Holy Spirit with the twelve apostles below. This is one of the oldest mosaics in St. Mark’s Basilica, in Venice, dating from 1125 AD. More sizes of this image here, including one very large and detailed.