July 15, 2009
Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of the Church
Matthew 11: 25-27
At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Petition: Jesus, help me to seek you with a sincere heart.
1. You Have Hidden These Things from the Wise and the Learned
Wisdom, knowledge and understanding comprise three of seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. So in itself, being wise and learned cannot be an issue. Jesus is here speaking of those whose pride and inflated ego make them wise and learned in their own estimation and for their own purposes. The mysteries of God are thus hidden from them precisely because they have focused their hearts and minds on themselves as the supreme good: "The greater a being is, the more it wants to determine its own life. It wants to be less and less dependent and, thus, more and more itself a kind of god, needing no one else at all. This is how the desire arises to become free of all need, what we call pride" (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World, p. 125). In the end, it is they who have closed the door to God since God will never close the door on us.
2. You Have Revealed Them to the Childlike
Later in this same Gospel, Jesus will reaffirm this basic truth in another way: "Unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Even as adults we must never cease to be childlike, uncomplicated and duly dependent. Children are not naturally complicated and deceitful. Hiding behind masks and developing subterfuges is a tendency learned with time. Little by little we begin to calculate, use excuses, ration out our generosity, and stray from the simplicity and rectitude of the way God has marked out. We must strive to be sincere with our Lord and sincere with ourselves, seeking to please him above all things. Failure in our lives is due to insincerity, that absence of the total nobility and utmost loyalty needed to fulfill honorably what Our Lord asks of us.
3. …And Anyone to Whom the Son Wishes to Reveal Him
Knowledge of the Father is the ultimate good man can possess because it corresponds to the deepest longing in the human heart for happiness. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that happiness lies in knowing that we possess the good we seek. We call the full knowledge of the good possessed "heaven," which is our ultimate goal in life. To whom would Jesus not wish to reveal the Father? Has anyone ever lived for whom Jesus did not desire to know the Father and be in heaven? Jesus' actions – his preaching, his sacrifices and death on the cross – demonstrate that he wants to reveal the Father to everyone. However he also chooses to need you and me to help him achieve this goal. Do I really desire everyone to know the Father and reach heaven? My actions will answer that question for me.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, grant me the grace to possess the wisdom and knowledge that come from union with you while maintaining the childlike dispositions that you ask. Help me to depend on you as a loving child. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: Today I will reflectively read Philippians 2:5-11.
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