The editorial of the month

Father Sebastian White, o.p.

by Father Sebastian White, o.p.

We start the month with that sliver of the Easter season called Ascensiontide. Of the many things that can be said and contemplated during this “season within a season,” one simple truth stands out—there is room for us in heaven. Our own human nature, which Jesus took to the cross, through the grave, and raised up to glorious life, belongs now with the Blessed Trinity. In our world, space is tight, big things push smaller things out. God’s measureless grandeur, however, has the opposite effect. It encompasses rather than excludes. Thus, the Ascension of the Lord is not an abandonment but a promise: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (Jn 14:3).

Do not let your hearts be troubled

Everything we need to receive that promise has been given to us. On the 9th, we start the usual solemn summer trifecta: Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi. The feast of Pentecost—think of it as Holy Mother Church’s own feast day—assures us each year that despite all the problems that may emerge on the human scene, the Lord himself sanctifies and animates his Church with the Spirit who guides us to all truth (cf. Jn 16:13). And on a personal level, just as the Holy Spirit formed the sacred humanity of Jesus in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Spirit’s mission is to remake each of us as copies of that great Masterpiece. We are, after all, not merely followers of Christ’s ideas, we are Christians—other Christs. We would do well to ask ourselves repeatedly that day: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16).

Trinity Sunday comes with perfect timing, right smack in the middle of the month. It’s as if the calendar bears the mark of divine revelation, for the absolute center of all of reality is the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are routinely irked by people who act like the world revolves around them. But with God, it’s actually true: Everything—from the smallest particle to the grandest angel, and all the other truths of the Faith, such as the Incarnation and the saving mysteries of Christ’s life—all flows from the free, wise, and loving initiative of God, who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. I recommend the prayer of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity that day: “O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in you, as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven.”

And that prayer is not just a pious dream, for there is a concrete way God gives us his peace and makes a heaven-haven of our souls: the Holy Eucharist. The world will never cease trying to entice us to go on a spiritual starvation diet, but the Church invites us to dine on the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Our prayer on Corpus Christi could be Saint Peter’s: To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced (Jn 6:68).

Next, when we honor the birth of the Precursor, the last of the prophets and voice of the world’s first Advent, we receive special graces to prepare us for the final coming of the Lord, to adhere to the truth even at the cost of our lives, and to keep our eyes fixed on the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. There is no better way to honor the Baptist than by repeating his own words: He must increase, I must decrease (Jn 3:30).

A few days later, we’ll bathe in the ocean of mercy flowing from the pierced side and Sacred Heart of Jesus. It’s the heart that is moved with pity for us, the heart that bore with love all the sins and brokenness of our lives, the heart that made Jesus weep at the death of his friend Lazarus, the heart that consoles us when our own hearts ache. One of my favorite prayers is the simple rhyme: Heart of Jesus, burning with love for me, inflame my heart with love for thee.

Without a moment to relax, we jump straight into the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, through whom the Lord gave the Church “the foundations of her heavenly office, so through them [he] may help her to eternal salvation” (Collect). Quite simply, we are Catholics today because of the apostolic preaching and witness of Saints Peter and Paul. They were chosen by God to spread the Faith. It worked. A good prayer for their feast would be: “Lord, you know that I love you. Your grace is sufficient for me. Your power perfects my weakness.”

You will see me, because I live and you will live

Our month-long liturgical extravaganza concludes with an “ordinary” Sunday, the weekly reminder of the Resurrection and the beatific rest that we hope to enjoy in heaven.

Long after the earth has made its last revolution and the heat of the summer sun has dwindled away, when the printed word will have long since ceased to be and our last breath has slipped through our lips, may we be there together, embraced by the Father, his eternally spoken Word, and their inexhaustible Breath of Love.