Sunday, February 24, 2013

Master, it is good that we are here...

I went to Rome today and saw the pope.

“Dear brothers and sisters…The Lord is calling me to "climb the mountain", to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this, it is so I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength”. "We will always be close in prayer!".

Dear brothers and sisters!

On the second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy always presents us with the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The evangelist Luke places particular emphasis on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as he prayed: his is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a sort of spiritual retreat that Jesus lives on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James and John , the three disciples always present in moments of divine manifestation of the Master (Luke 5:10, 8.51, 9.28).

The Lord, who shortly before had foretold his death and resurrection (9:22), offers his disciples a foretaste of his glory. And even in the Transfiguration, as in baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father, "This is my Son, the Chosen One listen to him" (9:35). The presence of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, it is highly significant: the whole history of the Alliance is focused on Him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new "exodus" (9:31) , not to the promised land as in the time of Moses, but to Heaven. Peter’s words: "Master, it is good that we are here" (9.33) represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine says: "[Peter] ... on the mountain ... had Christ as the food of the soul. Why should he come down to return to the labours and pains, while up there he was full of feelings of holy love for God that inspired in him a holy conduct? "(Sermon 78.3).

We can draw a very important lesson from meditating on this passage of the Gospel. First, the primacy of prayer, without which all the work of the apostolate and of charity is reduced to activism. In Lent we learn to give proper time to prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wanted on Tabor, instead prayer leads us back to the path, to action. "The Christian life - I wrote in my Message for Lent - consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love "(n. 3).

Dear brothers and sisters, I feel that this Word of God is particularly directed at me, at this point in my life. The Lord is calling me to "climb the mountain", to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church, indeed, if God is asking me to do this it is so that I can continue to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done thus far, but in a way that is better suited to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she always help us all to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and works of charity.

I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

If you look very closely at the photo above, you can see where I was. Start just where the Holy Father's right hand is, then go left to the first statue. Immediately above the statue's head, you can see a dark speck. That's me.

I was crying, so don't look too closely, ok?





~

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

How exciting to be there, but I couldn't find you.

-Rico S.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being there Hilary, and thank you for sharing with us. I think I can see the speck.

Tom

Jon said...

Living vicariously through you.

Except I'm not crying.

Well, okay, maybe a little.

James C. said...

I've been crying off and on for 2 weeks. I'm not ashamed to say so.

Jon said...

C'mon James. Benedict's ripped my heart out and stomped on it.

I'm just trying not to go all wobbly!

Teresa B. said...

I am just very verklempt.
Such conflicted emotions.
We have a mass on Thursday at 12noon our time at our parish and all the churches in TO for Pope Benedict XVI.
I am so grateful for such a grace-filled and humble Papa.
I wish I could go up the mountain with him though.

Teresa B. said...

You must have been there a while to get such a close spot!

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Teresa,

I've been trying to figure ways to sneak in and have tea and talk about Mozart.

Teresa B. said...

Maybe when he gets to Gandolf's Castle you could get in.
His security guards with the funky socks will be gone.

Seraphic said...

Hello, speck! Glad you went to see him.

James C. said...

I hear you, Jon. It's so hard for me, as Benedict has been the Holy Father my entire life as a Catholic. And over the last couple of weeks I've been painfully shown that he is *indeed* my father. It's a palpable sense of loss that I feel, heartbreaking. He's really been the father I never had, and I've loved him ever since he got into Peter's seat. To be honest I cannot imagine how it will feel to have two Holy Fathers at one time in the Church Militant. But it's something we will all have to deal with soon.

Anonymous said...

Hilary,
Thank you SOOO much for sharing this post. I LOVE that picture, and I see the speck you are talking about. If I was there, I'd no doubt be crying, too.
-Greg