May 26, 2009
Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.
Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my love for the Father and for souls.
1. A Prayer for the Ages
The supreme hour of Jesus has come. As he anticipates his agony of self-giving love to the extreme, Christ has no thought for himself. His heart turns to its one and only love, the one for whose glory he has carried out every act of his earthly existence: his Father. But at the same time, that invincible love for his Father embraces all those whom the Father has entrusted to him. Christ leaves his followers a legacy that will remain their greatest source of confidence throughout the ages: his priestly prayer. In this, Christ teaches us how to pray. Christ prays first that his Father may be glorified by glorifying the Son. What is the supreme glory with which the life of the only Son of God will culminate? The answer is in his bloody immolation upon the cross.
2. The Glory of the Cross
“The word ‘glory’ refers to the splendor, honor and power which belong to God” (The Navarre Bible: St. John, pg. 202). How can Christ’s humiliating death on the cross and his abandonment by his closest followers give honor to God and reveal his splendor and power? How can the cross be Christ’s supreme glory? First, it reveals a love without limits, a love that does not say, “I will go this far and no farther.” Christ’s words, “Father, forgive them,” bear witness to a love that is stronger than sin. The Resurrection, which follows the cross, testifies to a love that is stronger than death itself. Second, the cross is the fulfillment of Christ’s mission. His obedience to the Father, even to death, redeems all of mankind. Have I embraced the cross in my own life as the one way to follow Christ? Embracing the cross is the only sure path to love Christ and glorify the Father.
3. Unshakeable Trust in the Mission
Throughout this Gospel passage, Christ’s words ring with an unshakeable confidence. Even though he will die, abandoned by his disciples, in agony and humiliating failure, Christ continues to trust. He trusts both in his Father and in those very disciples who will soon desert him. Our Lord’s trust in us as his followers must inspire within us a similar unwavering confidence in our mission to save souls, to bring others to Christ, and to transform society itself. By ourselves we can achieve nothing. But we have the assurance of Christ’s own prayers and the promise of his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will speak in the hearts of all those who Christ calls to bring closer to him. Let us pray often to our great advocate: “Holy Spirit, inspire in me what I should think, what I should say, and what I should leave unsaid, so that I may achieve the good of all my brothers and sisters, fulfill my mission, and make Christ’s kingdom triumph.”
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for loving me to the extreme of dying in unspeakable agony upon the cross. Thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit so that I can follow your path of self-giving love.
will speak with the Holy Spirit throughout the day and offer to the Father and for souls each
concrete cross Christ sends me.
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