Ave Maria Meditations
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
This whole matter of making our lives a ‘Mass’ can be simplified (with anything but an oversimplification”) by the one word: obedience.
Jesus Christ did not redeem mankind by suffering. Jesus Christ did not repair the shattered fabric of creation by dying. Jesus Christ did not reconcile sinful man with the all-holy God by thorns, scourge, nails, or lance. Jesus Christ re-created the universe by obedience; or, better still, by love – for what is obedience in root, stem, and flower but love for the one commanding?
“The Father loves me,” said Christ, “because I lay down my life, and he wills that I should take it back again. No one can rob me of it. No, I lay it down of my own will. I have the power to lay it down, and power to take it back again. Such is the charge I have received from my Father” (Jn.10:18). Love, then, expressed in obedience, is fullest explanation of Christ’s-Mass – and of yours.
You obey God best when you perform every duty of your state in life simply because it is God’s will for you. So the mother at the washing machine or at the ironing board; the wife at the sink over the dishes or at the stove over the meat for the table; the husband and father at his desk, bench, or wherever he works; the single person tidying his or her room: all are obeying God; for each is performing some duty of his or her state in life. Each, then, has all that is required to make their lives Mass – and thus bring themselves to holiness. For as Lacordaire said: “Duty done spells sanctity.”
Who could doubt it when he realizes that obedience is love; love a union of wills; and sanctity a share in the life of God which Christ won for us by so loving the Father as to do His Will? Hence, love is shown best by “doing always the things that please Him” – the duties of one’s state in life. This simplification not only clarifies Christ’s Mass for you, but shows you your position in life most clearly.
(For a priest) this simplification not only clarifies Christ’s Mass for you, but shows you your position in life most clearly: you are mediator Dei et hominum (1 Tim 2: 5) – a priest, a mediator between God and men – at every hour of the day and night so long as you live on earth. “Every priest is chosen from among men and appointed to serve men in what concerns the worship of God. He is to offer gifts and sacrifices in expiation of sins” (Heb 5: 1). That is St. Paul’s description of the high-priestly office. It can be, and should be, applied by you to your office as participator in the priesthood of Christ.
The “gifts and sacrifices” you are to offer are the duties of your state in life. Once you come to understand just what the word “sacrifice” means, you will come to see that anything and everything that comprises your life and its duties is matter for Sacrifice.
Fr. Raymond O.C.S.O. from This is Love (on making Mass our life and our lives lived as a Mass)
So often people will say that they do not have to follow ‘rules’ to be spiritual because they love God and they know He loves them and that He will not condemn them. They maintain that they are ‘spiritual’ but on their own terms. Yet proof of love is shown in obedience: obedience to God’s laws and to the laws of the Holy Catholic Church and to the responsibilities and duties of our state in life. In the Gospel Jesus Himself tells us that if we do truly love Him, we will keep His commands. And He left His authority on earth in His Church through His Vicar, the Pope. The ‘keys’ He granted to St Peter, the first Pope, are a sign of that authority. And throughout these many centuries, the lives of saints have shown us that holiness is only lived in obedience.
What our Holy Father has to say now is for our most serious consideration and for our obedience.