Friday, 4 September 2015

Jesus King of Love Series - Jesus The Heart of the Home

I repeat, these scenes are not met with in the Gospel, but is it not true that something similar and still more beautiful must have taken place in that favoured household? Is it not true that you better understand now the beauty of the Enthronement? What is there strange in the fact that the King of Bethany, ever constant in tenderness, should daily ratify by wonders and prodigies, that which we have just asserted concerning the confidence of the true lovers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Happy the home which says when welcoming Him: Mane nobiscum, Stay with us, (Luke xxiv, 29) while the doors are, as it were, locked on Jesus, Who finds Himself bound forever with the bonds of love.

The great need of modern days is, then, the reconstruction of Nazareth, or if you prefer, the reproduction of the holy Family of Bethany, the home of the true friends of Jesus. I say "Bethany" because Nazareth, in its sublimity, will be unique throughout all ages, whereas in Bethany are creatures of our own condition, cast in our mould of clay, and therefore this home is wholly and perfectly imitable. And how many homes have, as Bethany had, what we can never conceive in Nazareth, souls like Magdalen's, and prodigal sons. Call to the Master, hearken to Him, treat Him as an intimate Friend, and you will witness resurrections even more marvellous than that of Lazarus, and hymn conversions as wonderful and touching as that of Magdalen. Unfortunately Jesus is too often refused admittance even in houses which make profession of Christianity, and you will find Him, the King of kings, seeking a shelter and begging for love and compassion on the threshold of a house which so sorely needs Him! And if, here and there, He is occasionally admitted, there is more formality than love in receiving Him; He is not a friend, but merely a passing guest, a stranger to whom a formal courtesy must needs be paid. In such homes - and they are many - Jesus has to content Himself with empty forms and, so to speak, crumbs of love, He Whose Heart is aflame with infinite Charity.

The moments we can devote to God in church are few, for our duties compel us to live our daily life at home. Unfortunately most of our religion is limited to these rare moments, and when we return to our houses, we find them untenanted by Him Who should be other centre of our lives, the Lord and Friend of our homes. This is a very grave error, for we neither live, nor struggle for existence, nor suffer, nor in all probability do we die in church. We live, struggle, suffer, and most likely die in our own homes. In them, therefore, we ought to live in close fellowship with Him, our Cyrenean and the companion of our exile, so that, on the last day, He may be, not the inexorable Judge, but the King of Love and the devoted Friend. Indeed the very pagans had some sort of glimpse of such a need and that is why they invented their Household Gods, - "Lares et penates." For a long period, also, the early Church allowed fervent Christians to keep the Blessed Sacrament in the bosom of their homes.

We are reviving and realising something, now, of this most beautiful and consoling presence of Our Lord the "Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home." We certainly do not pretend to compare the symbol of love with His real and substantial Presence in the Consecrated Host. However, by means of the Enthronement, Jesus really enters the home to have a part in and guide the whole life for the family, His love becoming the soul of both parents and children and His Heart their shrine.

Excerpt from Jesus The King of Love - by Father Mateo

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Jesus King of Love Series - Bethany

Call to mind a scene which I venture to term a Gospel one, though we do not find it textually in the Gospel. Let us call it the first four visits of Jesus to Bethany. If you read with your heart, you will surely say: The frame may be adorned, but the picture is a happy reality. Something of the kind, and still more touching, must have happened in Bethany.

The first time Jesus came as a visitor, Mary was as yet a wandering and erring sheep and He was received by Lazarus and Martha with a certain reserve not exempt from a legitimate curiosity. Close to them there was the famous Nazarene, whose miraculous deeds were being talked about everywhere. They kissed His hand listened to Him. Who could He be? A Rabbi? A Prophet? Lazarus and Martha certainly felt flattered by such an honour and their interest was roused by so great a personage. Something mysterious which emanated from His whole person had secretly touched and conquered the inmost fibres of their hearts, and so it came about that when bidding Jesus goodbye at the threshold of their home they were carried away by an emotion they had never felt as yet and said: "Master, come back to Bethany. Do not forget us." And Jesus, with a smile which gave them a glimpse of heaven, promised to return.

See Him on His second visit. There were flowers, there was expectancy as for a feast. Lazarus and Martha could scarcely control their joy. The Nazarene was approaching; with loving impatience they went out to watch for His arrival. The respect they now felt was much greater than on His first visit, for love was beginning to dawn in their hearts. This time they were not merely content with listening to Him, they had sufficient confidence to ask Him questions, so the conversation was almost familiar. How simple-hearted and good the Master is, they said to themselves! How sweet and yet impressive is His Majesty! His look refreshes and enlightens, His words transfigure and His Heart enraptures. This time, when He went away, Lazarus and Martha could scarcely restrain their tears, and both with one accord implored Him with simplicity and humility to return again, saying: "From now on, it will be difficult for us to live without Thee; come back to us, Lord; this home is Thine, look on us as Thy Friends!" And Jesus was touched and said to them: "I will gladly be your Friend, and, since you love Me, Bethany will be the oasis of My Heart."

What an outburst of joy and feast of love there was when Jesus returned for the third time! We may call this the loving welcome of the Enthronement. Lazarus and Martha had counted the hours to His return. Since the day when Jesus had said to them: "I will return, and as a friend," their life had been one of unbearable loneliness and longing. Nothing could calm their anxiety, nothing could make them smile. The one golden dream, or rather the one reality was Himself. Jesus had taken  them by storm. At last, He for whom they had longed approached; they ran to meet Him; they fell at His feet and kissed His Sacred Hands. In a real ovation of love and tenderness, they called Him with holy audacity "Friend," and talked to Him with the holy familiarity of disciples who knew themselves to be favoured, understood and loved.

Suddenly when the dialogue was at its warmest, there was a hush; Lazarus drew yet closer to the Master, and throwing himself at the Feet of his divine Friend, broke out into sobs.

"Why weepest thou?" Jesus asked him.
"Thou knowest all things," answered Lazarus.
"Yes," replied Jesus, "I know all things; but since we are true friends, speak, confide to me they whole soul."

And while Martha hid her flushed face in her hands and wept in silence, Lazarus explained: "master, we are two, but we were three in this house. Mary, our Sister, covers us with grief and shame, they call her the Magdalen. We love her so much and she is now the dishonour of Bethany. Jesus, if thou art our Friend, restore her to us cured, saved, and purified." And Jesus, mingling His tears with theirs, replied: "Your Sister shall return, she shall live and Bethany shall be happy!" When he took leave of them that evening, at the threshold of their home, Jesus blessed His two friends and repeated: "Mary will return to the fold for My Father's glory and Mine."

The Gospel narrates the rest: the resurrection of the Magdalen, how she broke at the Saviour's Feet the alabaster box - symbol of her repentant heart - and anointed her Redeemer's Head and Feet with precious perfumes. And when the Lord returned for the fourth time to the house of His friends, the first to come out to greet Him, singing Hosanna, was Mary Magdalen, and from that time on, in that sanctuary restored by the Prince of Peace and King of Love, the three lived for many years inseparable, as they had been before. But now the Heart of Jesus has strengthened the bond between the Brother and Sisters.

The Lord well knew the bitter grief which weighed upon this home, nevertheless to relieve it He waited till the afflicted Brother and Sister wept upon His Heart, and confided their tribulation to Him. He waited till He was the King-Friend of Bethany, and only then did He work the miracle as a reward for their love, their friendship and their trust.

I repeat these scenes are not met with in the Gospel, but is it not true that something similar and still more beautiful must have taken place in that favoured household? Is it not true that you better understand now the beauty of the Enthronement? What is there strange in the fact that the King of Bethany, ever constant in tenderness, should daily ratify by wonders and prodigies, that which we have just asserted concerning the confidence of the true lovers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Happy the home which says when welcoming Him: Mane nobiscum, Stay with us. (Luke xxiv, 29) while the doors are, as it were, locked on Jesus, Who finds Himself bound forever with the bonds of love.

Excerpt from Jesus The King of Love - by Father Mateo

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Jesus King of Love Series - Love is Not Loved!

Respect is a manifestation of love, and not a matter of etiquette, at any rate with Jesus. By His explicit will, respect is not a keeping at a distance, since He annihilated distance by His Incarnation and in the Eucharist. But in so doing He exacted, nevertheless, an adoration more complete and more perfect than that which the Jews rendered him trembling at a distance. How many Christians there are whose baptism is but skin-deep, who in their souls are Jews, and live in a state of exaggerated fear: who if Jesus should speak and say to them "Filioli," "My little children," or "Amici mei," "My friends, would die not of emotion and love but of terror! As for me, I can but say over and over again: "Let Moses and all the prophets be silent; let them hold their peace, however sweet sounding their voices they do not impress me, for my soul yearns to hear but Thee, Jesus, Who hast the words of eternal life and of love. Let me hear Thy voice, that I may preach Thee, the true Jesus, the Love of loves, the Son of God and the Son of Mary."

I remember a gentleman who considered himself to be a good Catholic saying to me: "What! expose in my room an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Never, Father! What a want of respect! It would be the height of absurdity!" What would that bright specimen of a Catholic have done if he had seen with his own eyes the King of Kings conversing with sinners, seeking the confidence and intimacy of publicans and of so many other people by no means respectable or distinguished? This is but disguised human respect and hidden pride. As if the Jesus, whom the bride and bridegroom of Cana invited to preside at their wedding feast, could not feel Himself honoured, and in His place, in the drawing room of a Christian family. Is He not the King of Kings? (Apoc. xvii, 14; xix, 16) How sad and true it is to say that after twenty centuries of Christianity this "Love is not loved"! We do not sufficiently preach the love Jesus Christ, and yet this charity is not weak sentimentality. It is a love full of fire and life.

And all this comes, in part at least, from people not reading, still less meditating on the Gospel, in every page of which Our Lord's desire for familiar intimacy with man is clearly expressed. Do you think they were afraid of Jesus, those little ones of Galilee who threw themselves into His arms, were fascinated by His look and rested on His Heart? When they were dragged from Him by force how quickly they returned to Him, attracted as by a magnet to the bosom of the Master. He can never be known, and loved with divine passion, if our faith and piety do not lead us to live in close intimacy with Him. How can we love Him with a holy and delicious rapture when we see but a distant and distorted image of Him. On the contrary, who is there who having once seen His beauty will not hold all else as dull and miserable?

Excerpt from Jesus The King of Love - by Father Mateo

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Quote from St Therese of Lisieux

"I know that Jesus could not wish useless suffering for us, and He would not inspire me with the desires I feel, were He not willing to fulfill them."

St Therese of Lisieux

Jesus King of Love Series - Respect vs Intimacy

The Enthronement, then, properly understood, is, to put it briefly, Jesus King of Love, coming to the threshold of the home and asking for His place in it; one which belongs to Him by divine right, the same which He was offered in the villa of Bethany. And it is a place of honour because He is King (John xviii, 37) Who, at no distant time and by His loving conquest of the families, will reign over the whole world. It is also a place of intimacy because He wants to be in very truth the Friend (Cant. v. 16) In a word, the Enthronement teaches us how to dwell with Jesus in our homes.

Alas! How little Jesus is known! and consequently how little He is loved!.... The majority of those who call themselves Christians fear Him, and keep far from Him.... If not with their lips then by their works they say to Him: "Remain in your Tabernacle, O Lord, that we may live our family life as we wish, without your intruding too intimately upon it. Do not come too close to us, do not speak to us, lest we die of fear." (Exod. xx, 19)

Thus did the Jews speak to Jehovah, thus do His children go on speaking to their Father and Pastor! We persist in not seeing in Jesus our Saviour, Who is so sweet, so accessible, so gentle and so simple, the King of Love, whose "delights are to be with the children of men" (Prov. viii, 31), Who in His mortal life rejoiced to lodge in the house of sinners (Matt. ix, 11), or to preside at the Marriage in Cana (John ii, 2), showing us in a thousand enchanting and marvellous ways that the delight of His Heart was to share our life with all its difficulties and joys.

We plead our unworthiness! What an absurdity! As if Zaccheus was worthy, who out of curiosity and for no other reason, put himself in the path of his Saviour. As if such persons as the Woman of Canaan, the Woman of Samaria, Simon the Pharisee, and so many other sharers in our moral leprosy and fallen state were worthy. No, not one of them was worthy; but they believed in the merciful love of the Master and accepted in all simplicity of heart His divine condescension. Happy those unfortunates whose afflictions attracted and moved the Heart of the Redeemer! For, with Him, salvation, peace and conversion entered those houses and those souls. "This day is salvation come to this house." (Luke xix, 9) And what a Pharisaical pretext is respect! It is indeed effrontery and insolence, when the God of all Majesty strips Himself of His kingly robes, calls us, holds out His arms, and offers His hand, that we should presume to read Him a lesson by maintaining our distance, as if we would say: "Remember that Thou art God and King, withdraw Thyself apart." There are thousands and thousands of pseudo Christians, who in spite of the Redemption, pretend to serve their Redeemer by establishing between Him and them valleys, mountains, abysses, and all of this out of respect!

Excerpt from Jesus The King of Love - by Father Mateo

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Jesus King of Love Series - Family is the Source of Life

"Every nation is worth what the family life is worth, for a nation has ever been either in holiness or corruption, that which the home is. There has never been any exception whatever to this rule." Fr Mateo.

In this connection, I remember what a great convert once said to me: "Father, you cannot exaggerate the transcendent importance of the crusade which you are preaching. I know what I am speaking about: the Freemasons, of whom I was one for so many years, have but one single aim, and that is the de-christianising of the family. Once this object is attained, in whole or in part, they may safely leave in the possession of Catholics all the Cathedrals, churches and chapels. Of what importance are these buildings of stone when they have taken possession of the sanctuary of the home? In the measure in which this sectarian strategy is successful, the victory of Hell will be secure. It was thus I reasoned, and for this I worked, Father, when I was in the ranks of Freemasonry." Alas, what the Gospel says will always be true, that "the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. (Luke xvi,)

The great evil, the evil of evils, in our society today is that the sense of the supernatural, of the Divine is lost. But there is assuredly a remedy for it, and that is to take again the road of the Gospel, and return to Nazareth. The Eternal Wisdom willed to found the redemption of the world on the corner stone of the Holy Family. In it the Word, Jesus, our Brother, commenced His work of redemption. By no other way than this ought we to try to save the modern world; we must mould it after the pattern, so simple, yet so sublime, of Nazareth.

How eloquently men have described and illustrated by photographs the hideous destruction of churches and shrines in what was the immense field of battle in the Great War! Cathedrals, monasteries, chapels were razed to the ground in the inevitable swaying back and fore of armies. How much more appalling is the moral ruin of this thrice holy sanctuary which is the home. Basilicas and Cathedrals, however magnificent and venerable they be, will not redeem the world, but holy families will do so. This is logical, for the family is the source of life and the first school of the child. Hence, if the fount is poisoned, the nation will perish. Our purpose then, in this campaign, is to inoculate the home, and the principle of education in the home, with Jesus Christ and the sap of His Divine Love in such a way that the tree may finally be Jesus Christ Himself in the blossom and fruits it bears.

Excerpt from Jesus The King of Love by Fr Mateo Crawley-Boevey

Friday, 12 September 2014

Mary Mother of Divine Hope

The statue of Mary Mother of Divine Hope is venerated in the Basilica of San Silvestro in Capite, Rome.

Prayer to the Mother of Divine Hope

O Mary, Mother of Divine Hope, guide and strengthen your children who are struggling with the difficulties and disappointments of life. Help us to keep our trust in God and never despair of His help, no matter how great our suffering may be.

You who stood by the Cross of Jesus, be with us in our times of sorrow, and through your motherly intercession, give us the hope and courage to struggle on in the face of all life's sorrows, failures and betrayals.

Save us from the sin of despair, and grant your protection especially to those who are depressed or suicidal, to those who are frightened, and to all those who are overburdened by the problems and sorrows of life.

Hail Mary...

Mother of Divine Hope, pray for us.