Father’s Messages

Thoughts on the Holy Spirit and the Oil

Reflection from the ‘Soul Institute’ Teaching on oil of Chrism, Oil of Gladness St Cyril of Jerusalem

“When we were baptized into Christ and clothed ourselves in him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God. Having destined us to be his adopted sons, God gave us a likeness to Christ in his glory, and living as we do in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones”. When he said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us.

We became “the anointed ones” when we received the sign of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, everything took place in us by means of images, because we ourselves are images of Christ. Christ bathed in the river Jordan, imparting to its waters the fragrance of his divinity, and when he came up from them the Holy Spirit descended upon him, like resting upon like. So we also, after coming up from the sacred waters of baptism, were anointed with chrism, which signifies the Holy Spirit, by whom Christ was anointed and of whom blessed Isaiah prophesied in the name of the Lord: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor.

Christ’s anointing was not by human hands, nor was it with ordinary oil. On the contrary, having destined him to be the Savior of the whole world, the Father himself anointed him with the Holy Spirit. The words of Peter bear witness to this: Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit. And David the prophet proclaimed: Your throne, O God, shall endure for ever; your royal sceptre is a sceptre of justice. You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above all your fellows.

The Holy Spirit, Confirmation, St Cyril of Jerusalem
The oil of gladness with which Christ was anointed was a spiritual oil; it was in fact the Holy Spirit himself, who is called the oil of gladness because he is the source of spiritual joy. But we too have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life. Beware of thinking that this holy oil is simply ordinary oil and nothing else. After the invocation of the Spirit it is no longer ordinary oil but the gift of Christ, and by the presence of his divinity it becomes the instrument through which we receive the Holy Spirit. While symbolically, on our foreheads and senses, our bodies are anointed with this oil that we see, our souls are sanctified by the holy and life-giving Spirit.”

Saint Cyril in another sermon on the theology of the oil chrism writes, ” For as the Bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation, but it is Christ’s gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature.” The Church venerates the holy oils especially chrism because they possess the sacredness of God. In a real way the charism is similar to the Eucharist.

The catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “Anointing, in Biblical and in other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy. It cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds; it makes radiant with beauty, health and strength.”(CCC 1293)

Some scripture to reflect on. In Psalm 22 we read, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil my cup overflows.” In Psalm 105 we read, “Wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine.”

The oil of the Holy Spirit makes us smell good. St Paul writes, “For we are the aroma of Christ…to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”(2 Cor 2:15) Raniero Cantalamessa in his book ‘The Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus’ writes, “We are those disciples sent throughout the world to spread the ‘sweet smell of Christ!’ To succeed, we too must ‘shatter’ the alabaster vessel of our human nature: we must mortify the works of the flesh, the old Adam which acts as an inner barrier to the rays of the Spirit. The perfume of Christ is given off by ‘the fruits of the Spirit’ (according to St Paul, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self control’ (Gal 5;22) if these are in us, then, without realizing (and of course while we by contrast only smell ourselves giving off the stink of our sins), someone around us may get a whiff of the fragrance of the Spirit of Christ. The world has a great need to smell the perfume of Christ.”

Prayer for the day by Father Stefan

Jesus pour out on me the Oil of the Holy Spirit

As a mother pour oil on her child to make her child smell good

Jesus pour the sweet smelling oil of roses on me today

May this oil of the Holy Spirit make me have the aroma of Christ.

Reflection for the day reading ‘the Call of Abraham’ from Pope Francis

“A Church which goes forth. The word of God constantly shows us how God challenges those who believe in him ‘to go forth.’ Abraham received the call to set out for a new land. (Gen 12:1-3) Moses heard God’s call: ‘Go, I send you’ (Ex 3:10) and led the people towards the promised land. (Ex 3:17) To Jeremiah, God says” ‘To all whom I send you, you shall go.’ (Jer 1:7) In our day Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples’ echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization, and all of us are called to take part in this new missionary ‘going forth.’ Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zones in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.” (20)

Thoughts for the day: are we like Abraham, and willing to set out for a new land? Where is God calling me to go? Are we willing to go forth from our own comfort zones?

Evangelization flows from the ‘Heart of Jesus’ Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart

Pope Francis writes in ‘Joy of the Gospel’ ” The Church never fails to be amazed at “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom 11:33). Saint John of the Cross says that “the thicket of God’s wisdom and knowledge is so deep and so broad that the soul, however much it has come to know of it, can always penetrate deeper within it”.[7] Or as Saint Irenaeus writes: “By his coming, Christ brought with him all newness”.[8] With this newness he is always able to renew our lives and our communities, and even if the Christian message has known periods of darkness and ecclesial weakness, it will never grow old. Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.

12. Though it is true that this mission demands great generosity on our part, it would be wrong to see it as a heroic individual undertaking, for it is first and foremost the Lord’s work, surpassing anything which we can see and understand. Jesus is “the first and greatest evangelizer”.[9] In every activity of evangelization, the primacy always belongs to God, who has called us to cooperate with him and who leads us on by the power of his Spirit. The real newness is the newness which God himself mysteriously brings about and inspires, provokes, guides and accompanies in a thousand ways. The life of the Church should always reveal clearly that God takes the initiative, that “he has loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19) and that he alone “gives the growth” (1 Cor 3:7). This conviction enables us to maintain a spirit of joy in the midst of a task so demanding and challenging that it engages our entire life. God asks everything of us, yet at the same time he offers everything to us.”

The love of the Heart of Jesus is the source of all evangelization. The most important thing is not how much we love God, but how much he has loved us. If we love God it is because he has first loved us. God takes the initiative by first loving us.

Jesus brings an eternal newness. Jesus makes the church youthful. The Holy Spirit makes all things new. The Holy Spirit doesn’t create anything new. The Holy Spirit makes the old things shine with an eternal newness. As Pope Francis wrote, ” Jesus can also break through the dull categories with which we would enclose him and he constantly amazes us by his divine creativity. Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world. Every form of authentic evangelization is always “new”.

We need this eternal newness given to us by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like a breath of fresh air that cools us off in the hot afternoon. The Church is a ship that was meant to sail the 7 seas. Over time this ship has been covered with barnacles that have slowed it down. The Holy Spirit removes the barnacles on this ship so that she can sail effortlessly through the oceans of the world proclaiming the Gospel.

‘Look to Mary’ in Your Suffering News letter for hospital on Christian Meaning of Human Suffering ‘

Simeon said to Mary, “… and a sword will pierce your heart so that thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” As the sword pierce the Heart of Jesus and Water and Blood flowed Out. The Sword the Pierced Jesus Heart also Pierced Mary’s Heart.

Many of us have seen the beautiful Michelangelo statue, The Pieta. How beautiful to see Mary holding the dead the Body of Jesus. Mary is holding His Body so tenderly. As Mary Held the Dead Body of Jesus taken from the cross, Mary still holds the wounded Body of Christ today. Where there is Suffering Mary is holding the Wounded Body of Christ. That is why Mary is connected to so many places of healing like Lourdes and Guadalupe.

Mary comes to us when we are wounded and hurting. As the song says, “When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me.” As Our Mother of Sorrows she holds us kisses and dresses our wounds. Mary holds our body like she held the Body of Jesus taken from the cross. As Mary holds our Body, she presents us to Jesus, showing Him our wounds so that He might place His Wounded Hands on our wounds and heal us.

Where there is Suffering and Pain there is Mary. One of the things that we all have in common is that all people suffer. A woman on Park Avenue and a homeless woman who both lose a baby, both suffer in body and spirit. Mary is close to all who suffer. When we are suffering Mary is holding our hand and showing our wounds to Jesus.

John Paul II writes in his letter on ‘The Meaning of Human Suffering’ Together with Mary, Mother of Christ, who stood beneath the cross, we pause besides all the crosses that we all face. We invoke all the saints, who down the centuries in a special way shared in the suffering of Christ. We ask them to support us. And we ask all of you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity.’

Working On News letter for Hospital ‘Redemptive Suffering’ Thoughts from Mary Healy Book ‘Healing’

‘I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s affliction for the sake of his body, that is, the Church’

Mary Healy in her book ‘Healing’ writes ‘Some people call her the Mother Teresa of Mexico. Madre Ines Valdivia Gonzalez in in her late eighties but still runs an orphanage for children with mental and physical disabilities, Casa Hogar La Divina Providencia, near Mexico City. Despite the poverty and suffering within its walls, the Casa is a place of joy, laughter and peace. Among the many miracle that have taken place there is in the following, which Madre Ines recounted to a missionary friend of mine who often visits the orphanage. A man visited the Casa who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He shared with Madre that since he did not have much time left on earth, he realized he had better get right with God. He decided to visit the orphanage as a way of doing a good deed…As the visitor walked through the room, the limp hand of one boy brushed against him, so he sat down and held the boy’s hand for a few minutes as the child gazed intently into his eyes. The next day he woke up feeling better than he had in some time. The next day he felt even better, and the next day better still. He went back to the doctor, and after some tests was informed that his body was completely cancer-free.’

‘This story illustrates the profound spiritual interconnection that exists among the members of the body of Christ. Did that handicapped boy in some way offer up his suffering for the man with cancer?’

We read in the prophet Isiah ‘He had no form that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrow; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.’

John Paul II in ‘On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering’ ‘The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every person has his own share in the Redemption. Every one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each person, in their suffering can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.’

Reflection on The Holy Spirit “Soul Institute” from Blessed Columba Marmion ‘Christ The Life of the Soul”

Source: Reflection on The Holy Spirit “Soul Institute” from Blessed Columba Marmion ‘Christ The Life of the Soul”