- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 12, 2019

Jerome Machar, OCSO

Saturday After Epiphany
Feast of St. Aelred
1 John 5:14-21; John 3:22-30

“We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1JN. 5:14).It is by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit that we have been conformed to Christ in baptism. How blessed are those to whom it is given to know Love’s embrace and to possess a heart capable of loving as we are loved. We human beings who have been made in the image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity are called to live in relationship with one another; a relationship that is strengthened by mutual dialogue, exchange, sharing and self-giving. In Christ, we are of God, and from God, and to God, and for Him.

In his Pastoral Prayer, St. Aelred (whose feast we celebrate today) embraced Christ’s self-abasement, lowliness and weakness to himself. In him who became poor, Aelred found a wealth of mercy. Laying claim to God’s infinite mercy towards himself, Aelred knew himself to be called and forgiven. In Christ he found the grace necessary to be a merciful father and a healing physician of souls. This spiritual insight enabled him to entrust all his cares and concerns to the Lord who was concerned about him. Knowing himself to be an empty vessel, he desired to be filled with every blessing and spiritual gift that would suit him for his pastoral office and the service of his brothers.

In the bond of love, we are drawn into the communion of the Blessed Trinity. As the children of God, it is not enough for us to bless God our Maker. As children of God, purchased by the blood of Christ, we have been made partakers of the New Creation and heirs of the kingdom of light. Wherever the gospel is preached, the light of life dispels all darkness. Those who keep vigil for the coming of the day rejoice when they see the first rays of the rising sun break over the horizon. The Light of the World, at its rising, will increase in honor and influence and his authority and peace will have no end. By the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, all who believe in the Son will become children of the Light.

The mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that by emptying himself, Jesus filled us with grace; by His condescension, he raised us up; and by His weakness He made us strong. The Church, as the “sign and  instrument  of communion  with  God and of the unity of the entire human race” (Lumen Gentium, 1), bears in her heart and soul the sacred mission of being a place of encounter and welcome not only for her members but for all humanity. Enlightened by the light of faith, believers can see the presence of God in the world.

Much of what is at the heart of our faith is shrouded in mystery and these must be reverently contemplated. The more time we spend contemplating the mysteries of faith, the deeper they will draw us into the light of life. In the light of life, we discover freedom, dignity and joy proper to the children of God. By our actions we demonstrate a close contact with the Lord, a radical openness to him, and a total surrender to him. In communion with him, we are to use the same language of love that Jesus spoke in his vulnerability. Only by living in communion with Him can we hope to satisfy the longing of the human heart for love.