This text forms Part 1 of the book THE MASS THROUGH THE EYES OF CHRIST.
The Holy Trinity
The soul, a 'Kingdom'.
Each baptised person who is in a state of grace can say, of his own soul: "My soul is a 'Kingdom'! Here live the holy Three: the Three Divine Persons, one God, Who reign in the glory of the Divine light." Christ reigns there, in that interior universe, no matter what images or shadows might appear in our souls, in prayer, to dim our faith in His presence. (T:29)
A wonderful invitation.
God the Holy Trinity, the Creator of all that exists, is actively inviting us to share His life - and to become holy as He is holy.
The Father calls us. The Spirit 'propels' us so that we reach out to the Father. Jesus unites to Himself each loving and contrite person who has become a member of His Church and who can therefore make one offering with Him from the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Through Christ's awesome sacrifice, we can be brought into the life and light of the one and only God: the perfect and holy Trinity. ( T:37)
Our Most Holy God.
We would all be astonished, were we to see the true glory of the worship in which we take part, as we celebrate the sacraments. The infinite glory of God would blind us, were we to see it now. This all-holy God - surrounded by the vast gathering of Saints and Angels in Heaven - is the 'object' of our worship, as we celebrate the Holy Mysteries. He delights in the least movement towards Himself of a contrite soul. Yet He is so glorious in His majesty that we should tremble with awe in the midst of our joy. (T:42A) (See illustration 48)
The purpose of life.
Christ wants us to see how privileged we are to have received life and love, and a thousand gifts, from Heaven. Yet our life's purpose is not self-glorification but self-giving. The life of each of us should be a sacrifice in praise of God: in freely-offered obedience and service. (T:42B)
During our journey.
Each of the Three Divine Persons is at work to help us. Because of Their infinite love for us, They are active within our lives on earth. We cannot 'see' the end of our journey, but it is Jesus Who holds each 'child of God' throughout this pilgrimage. It is His Spirit Who fills our hearts as we move with Jesus gently towards the Father, Who is nevertheless ever-present in our lives, and ever-welcoming as we turn to Him in prayer. (T:56)
Humanity, in God's embrace.
The greater is our love for the Church, for the Sacred Scriptures, and for the Holy Eucharist, the greater is our delight in pondering the marvellous things which God has done for us. We begin to burn with the desire to share more widely and more boldly the Good News about God's love for us all and His forgiveness of our sins; and we burn with the desire to see God loved. As we grow in faith, we're glad to share what we've learned, to help to deliver other people from sin, hopelessness and isolation.
It's as though God the Father is hidden far above, in glory; yet His love for Mankind is so great that He has reached out from on high to send powerful help towards a sinful world. It's as though, through His plan of salvation - through His self-revelation - He has enfolded humanity in an 'embrace of God'.
The Word and the Holy Spirit are like two arms from God the Father. For century upon century the living God has been calling out to us all, through His Church, urging us to come out of darkness, and to enter His glorious light. (T:1439) G.H.T.
Christ awaits us.
We hear in the words of the Mass that God has "no need of our praise", since nothing we say can either cause or augment the infinite, perpetual bliss which is of the essence of the life of the Holy Trinity, in Eternity. Yet we should never doubt that our praises are worthwhile. It is our duty to honour God. Our hearts and minds were made for worship; and so we are fulfilled and helped to some degree whenever we pray. Our praise is also worthwhile because Christ our Lord is at the heart of the Godhead. He is true man as well as true God, and He is now at the heart of Heaven; and since we are His true brothers and sisters, we touch His heart very deeply by our loving praises.
Christ is made happy by our veneration, and by our praise of the Father: praise which we offer through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Christ awaits us, at the heart of Heaven's triple glory; and He longs with all His heart for us to join Him. This is His plan for Mankind. This is what would cause Him tremendous delight: to see a great crowd of the faithful loving Him and longing to meet Him. He wants to see us all pouring like a river into the Godhead, into the heart of the Most Holy Trinity. (T:1476) G.H.T.
Distinct but united.
If we picture a blazing fire, we have an image of the marvellous life and 'work' of the Holy Trinity. God is like a living fire which is composed of three great flames, each of which is distinct; yet the three make one fire, or one light, which is the Godhead.
Wherever the Holy Spirit is at work, the Father and the Son are at work. Wherever the Father is at work, He is at work with both the Son and the Holy Spirit; and we know that wherever the Son is at work, the Father and the Holy Spirit, also, are active.
We can think of God as being like a fire which is forever unchanging, calm, inextinguishable, indefinable, and un- containable: like a fire which has no source. Neither lamp, candle nor tinder caused this fire to shine. This 'fire' - these flames - exists of itself, and represents our God, Who is Three-in-One, and has neither beginning nor end. (T:1913) G.H.T.
The burning love of God.
None of us knows what Heaven looks like. None of us has seen the Father's face. We cannot imagine the 'white-hot' love we shall meet in Heaven. But there, at the heart of the Three-in-One Whom we have worshipped in our earthly 'darkness', we can find answers to some of our questions, as well as the fulfilment for which we were made.
The Divine love at the heart of the Godhead - the pure, 'white- hot,' perfect love which God is - causes Christ to come amongst us at each celebration of the Mass, and to remain amongst us through His sacramental Presence in the tabernacle. This white-hot love makes each sanctuary of our churches resemble a furnace: an area now full of the fire of love which is blazing fiercely, as it pours out graces from the Godhead. (T:2143) G.H.T.
At every second of our earthly life, we are on a journey: a spiritual journey. Though always held 'in' God, and sustained by Him, we are in some manner either moving closer towards Him or turning away from His face; so we must do all we can to remain in His love, and to show love towards our neighbour.
God the Father delights in our longing to know Him, and draws us further into His life the more generously we co-operate with His graces. The Father delights in our faith, and in our gratitude for His gifts: for life and faith and every blessing - and in our gratitude for Christ, His Son, Whom He sent down to earth to die for us.
If we give our consent, we eventually find ourselves drawn into God's heart, by God's power. We are swept towards Him as if towards the heart of a whirlpool, or as if in a whirlwind of love, or a storm of rejoicing. True friends of God who are living in God are as if soaring within His being, in everyday life and in prayer. They are at peace in His love, and are united with Him in every act, thought and intention.
God the Holy Trinity is the 'heart' from which we were born. In Him, we can dwell in friendship. He is the 'homeland' in which we can move in freedom. He is the infinite torrent of light and joy in which we can soar, in prayer. He is the goal of our yearning hearts. He is the destination at which, through our life 'in Christ' and our union with Christ, we already arrive. He is the love in which we are held, safely. He is the breath which we breathe, in His embrace. He is the 'playground' for us, His children. It's as if, in silent prayer, we search enraptured, in the vast, soaring heights of His infinite love, in safety. (T:2169) G.H.T.
Intimacy with God.
The life of the Holy Trinity is ours to share, through our Baptism, and even ours to enjoy in a known and blissful manner. If we persevere in love, and nourish our 'life in Christ' through the sacraments, and prove our love for Christ by loving our neighbour, and grow close to Christ in prayer, then we can be drawn by Christ, even in this life - in prayer - into the heart of the Godhead. Then at last we realise that the Three Who are so powerful and majestic are at the same time gentle, sweet, consoling, palpably 'present' to the soul, and infinitely kind and patient.
Through Christ we can be drawn into real intimacy with the Holy Trinity: one God, yet Three Persons, to Whom we offer our lives, in willing service. And when the 'nights' of darkness have ended, we can find the joy, glory and fulfilment for which we have been yearning. We learn that joy and glory are the 'climate' which is enjoyed by everyone who lives 'in' God, in true union. (T:2221)
In mutual love.
We can say that God is wholly 'occupied' with love. The Three Divine Persons - The Holy Trinity - are 'occupied' in a ceaseless, unbroken, and blissful mutual giving and receiving of perfect love, 'in' joy and glory. And whoever consents to God's love and action is drawn into the heart of the Godhead. It is as though, in prayer, we are leaping, joyfully - even now, in earthly life - into the bliss and glory of the Divine life of the Holy Trinity: the one eternal God Who can be our eternal delight and joy. (Also T:2221) G.H.T.
The Holy Trinity at work.
The Three Divine Persons are Three-in-One: one and active. Father, Son and Holy Spirit work as one, to draw frail creatures into Their blissful embrace, and to share Their Divine life forever. Truly, the Father is the origin of all life, light and love. His loving Son, having the same infinite love, generosity and compassion, could not have failed to come out from the Father's heart, to save us; and the Holy Spirit is the Person and the power by Whom sinful people can be transformed and lifted up to Heaven. Yet the Three Divine Persons are one, and work as one: always active in the great, holy work of love in Eternity, in the eternal 'dance' and delight of Heaven. (T:2731) G.H.T.
Three Persons: one love.
While we still remain in earthly life, we can find God, no matter where we are. We can reach Him in a deserted part of the world or on the crowded pavements, in the dark void of our wounded heart or in the sunlight of our moments of fulfilment. He is never absent from us, but is always prompting us to pray. He always gazes lovingly upon us, ready to share His life and love with us, if only we'll open the 'door' of our souls.
Perhaps we like to chatter - friend to friend - with Christ our Saviour. Perhaps we delight in offering reverent words of praise, or whispered endearments, to our Father in Heaven. Perhaps we call out, frequently, for the help of the Holy Spirit. Yet none of us, in pondering the glory of God's inner life, must forget the unity of the Godhead.
When we pray to one Divine Person we pray to the one, Triune God: whether we pray to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. There are not three Gods, but only one, in Whom are Three Divine Persons Who are distinct but united. Whenever we speak to Christ in prayer, therefore, we address at the same time the Father and the Holy Spirit. And when we speak to the Father we also address Christ and the Spirit. And when we speak to the Holy Spirit we address, at the same time, the Father, and Christ His Son. Three Persons hear us: Three Divine Persons Who are gazing upon us with infinite love and compassion. So we have good reason to be faithful to the patterns of prayer which are treasured in the Church.
Although we can pray to the Father or to the Son or to the Holy Spirit, it was Christ the Son Who taught us to pray to the Father in His (Christ's) name, in the power of the Holy Spirit. And so Christ's Church, for centuries, has formed and developed our patterns of Christian prayer in accordance with Christ's wishes. (T:4237) G.H.T.
In perpetual exaltation.
God the Holy Trinity is alive and active. The Godhead can be pictured as being like a great river of love and light and glory. It's as if it flows in a great circle in Eternity in perpetual exultation and delight. The Three Divine Persons hold within Their life and love all who have become Their children, who have persevered in love, and have been made worthy to enter Their embrace forever. Happy souls who have left behind the transient joys of earth have found, in the interior of the Godhead, a place of unending delight: a place of unmatched sweetness and unparalleled beauty.
There, at God's heart, are vistas greater and more astounding than can be seen in a thousand universes. God's love is like balm to a wounded heart. His pure light delights those who have loved truth and beauty.
Even during life on earth, however, we can enter this 'world' and this embrace, if we love God and live in a state of grace, and take part in the Holy Sacrifice. In meeting Christ, we meet the Father and the Holy Spirit. Even if nothing is seen, felt, touched or heard, we are thoroughly 'in touch' with God. (T:4315) G.H.T.
We in the Church are God's adopted children; and we can learn to approach Him with reverence and love, aware of the wondrous invitation He holds out to us as He asks us to enter the heart of the Holy Trinity.
After our necessary purifications we find that we are upheld within the life of the Three Divine Persons. It's as if we can gaze around us in awe, in our prayer, while still enveloped in the huge 'cloud' which veils the mystery and beauty of the Godhead. As we reach intimate union with God, in the heights of contemplation, however, we shall know our souls to be wholly encompassed by the presence, love and power of the Three Divine Persons; and we shall no longer be afraid, but safe, and wholly at peace, and joyful. (T:4727)
Adoration and self-offering.
This is pure worship: to be at rest with the Three Divine Persons, in and through Christ. In being held by the all-holy, some of us are content to gaze, to adore, to wait, and to offer our whole heart and self in love and adoration. Others yearn both to stay at God's heart forever, yet also to run 'outside' to make His love known.
Truly, whenever we celebrate the Sacred Mysteries of the Church, we can say: "This is pure worship." As we join in the praises offered by the Church in and through Christ, in solemn phrases and reverent gestures, we honour the Holy Trinity and also mirror the worship of the Heavenly company. (Also T:4727).
The source of all joy.
We who belong to Christ should know something about the glory and splendour of the Father from Whom Christ came, at His Incarnation. The Father is the source of all joy. He exists beyond time and space. He is free and sovereign, yet is united in love and bliss with the Word and the Holy Spirit, Who are equal to Him in majesty and holiness.
The Father is the sublime 'heart' of the Holy Trinity. He is the source of all beauty, and is glorious beyond our imaginings. He is the Father of all that is created. He holds within His embrace the Saints and holy Angels who worship and adore Him. And He also holds, in His 'heart', those faithful souls who have been 'freed', through death, to live with Him eternally, yet who are undergoing their necessary purifications. (T:55B)
The marvel of the Christian faith is that we need no longer rely on our limited observations - about the world and its creatures, and about the universe with its laws and its beauty - to know what God is 'like'. From love, He has revealed Himself to Mankind, most fully through His own Son, Jesus Christ, in Whom is found 'the fullness of Divinity'. In this way, we have been given overwhelming confirmation that the Father's love is warm, overflowing, generous and tender. He is always longing to pour out His gifts upon His children on earth.
From His perpetual newness and youth and beauty the Father gives us good things, good news, and spiritual joy: gifts which delight us. The greatest gift has been our renewed friendship with Him, through Christ our Redeemer who was given to us through His Holy Mother Mary. (T:1244) G.H.T.
A precious child.
We are sometimes tempted to imagine that God is 'absent', when the truth is that He is very close indeed, and is lovingly holding us in existence. And if we have been made adopted children of God, through Christ, we have a sure hope of Heaven, if we remain faithful to the end. Throughout our journey towards the Kingdom we should remain confident in prayer.
Every sincere prayer which we offer through Christ to the Father, in the Spirit, is greeted with delight. The Father delights in the humility with which we approach Him, and in the trust which we demonstrate by our prayers. His love for us can be pictured as being like the tender embrace of a good father for his little child. Whenever we pray with real trust and humility we are very close to Heaven's 'border'. It's as though Heaven lies just above our heads: a place of light and sweetness and love.
It's as though our Heavenly Father, Who is one with the Son and the Spirit, is always waiting at the edge of Heaven: waiting to listen to our prayers. The littlest prayer, and the briefest whisper to God, is welcomed, heard, valued and rewarded. It's as though the Father is lovingly and tenderly stroking the neck of His own dear child, as He reaches out to caress a precious supplicant who trusts in Him and confides every need.
As God's children, we have the sure knowledge that He loves us at every moment. We can turn to Him whenever we please, in trusting prayer: certain of being heard and answered. (T:1396) G.H.T. (See illustration 16)
His full attention.
Some people wonder - "See how many people exist! How can I be important to God? How can He hear me?" But if we think about the perpetual 'now' in which He lives we can realise that each of us - created by our loving God - remains wholly within His loving gaze at every moment of our existence.
We who live in time find it necessary to 'move' our attention from one person to another; but God neither 'moves' from moment to moment nor moves His attention from one person to another, since He is not imprisoned in time. He is the Creator of all that exists. He lives in the eternal 'now'; and He sees, therefore, all that He has ever made or ever shall make. He sees everything and everyone in the 'now' of His being; and He sees it all-at-once, by which we mean that He doesn't see or 'learn' anything little by little, as we do in our everyday life.
Our Father knows all things. He knows all people. He knows them wholly. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Seeing and knowing are like a single perpetual act in the perpetual 'now' of His Divine and holy existence; and therefore He sees, knows and loves everyone who is praying to Him, during every single moment of each person's prayer. That is why, whenever we turn to Him, we can be certain of having His full, loving attention. (T:1766)
Something to offer.
What a wonderful thing it is, that we who are members of Christ's Church no longer have 'empty' hands in prayer, when we long to offer something good to our Heavenly Father from within our poor lives. Jesus Christ is the Father's gift to us; yet we who pray in Christ's name and offer His Holy Sacrifice have the joy of knowing that Christ's perfect sacrifice is our gift to the Father! (T:2152).
The refiner's fire.
There is no love to match the Father's love: no tenderness or sweetness on earth as tender and sweet as His love towards us. Yet we can say that His pure love is like a raging fire: like the 'refiner's fire' of Holy Scripture. It is so radiantly pure and powerful that to meet Him unprepared would be to be frightened and harmed by such contact. Only after our purification and transformation do we 'taste' and enjoy Divine sweetness.
If we bear in mind God's immense glory, and the frailty of sinful human beings, we can see that God revealed Himself to His Chosen People in the only possible way. He revealed Himself little by little, through gentle words and invitations, then also through signs and wonders and warnings. Thus, He taught us all about the astonishing juxtaposition, in Himself, of tenderness and majesty.
At last, God wonderfully chose to come amongst us, to teach us about Himself. He did so 'when the appointed time came', at a particular place, through Christ His Son, Who is true God: the Son of the Father. Christ is God-made-man. He is love incarnate: love embodied and so made visible, for our joy and our salvation. (T:3319) G.H.T.
Glorious and majestic.
Whenever we pray: "Glory to God in the highest," we are praying to the Father Who is glorious and majestic. It's as if He is 'on high' in the fiery radiance of Heaven, surrounded by the Saints and holy Angels - in their thousands. It's to this glorious Father - the only God - that our worship is directed at Mass.
Some of us have been slow to realise that great reverence is appropriate as we join the assembly to take part in the Sacred Mysteries. Yet it pleases God when we make new efforts to honour Him, and when we encourage other people to be reverent before Him (T:4562)
The Holy Spirit
The Spirit at work.
We should realise that the Holy Spirit is doing powerful and glorious work as Christ offers his Holy Sacrifice to the Father.
During the Mass, the Three Divine Persons are 'at work' - joyful, loving and active. Our Saviour is Present - by His Spirit's power - in the Blessed Sacrament; and as Christ makes His eternal offering from the altar, the Holy Spirit is present, accepting the offering in the love of the Father. (T:1481)
Through the Holy Spirit.
God is the powerful and majestic Lord of all things; and He is also love. Love is His nature. To share love is His eternal purpose; and so the Father cannot fail to reward His friends for their struggles to please Him and to be fit for Heaven. He loves to reach out to a contrite heart, from Heaven's splendour, after that soul's fierce purification. Then God reveals how great is the height and depth of the loving union which has been brought about between Himself and the soul, through Christ, and through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is through the loving 'touch' of the Holy Spirit - as if by an outstretched hand - that the Father brings light and joy to a soul in prayer He demonstrates His love, shares His life to a greater degree, teaches that soul about His nature, and invites her to rest more frequently with Him, in contemplation: to rest with God, within her own soul, as if within a tabernacle or a tent.
Whoever meets God in such a true union and communion has been brought by the Holy Spirit close to the furnace of love which is shining at the heart of Divine life. That soul begins to fathom God's nature: to glimpse Divine love in its beauty and perfection. And that Divine love consists of gentleness and peace as well as power and glory. (T:1941) G.H.T. (See illustration 9)
Warm and effective love.
The Holy Spirit is alive and active; and He yearns for us all to realise that Divine love is the source of all true love, and the cause of true spiritual joy. Divine love is the light which illumines the souls of God's children. It is the blissful burning which wounds the heart of all who love truth, goodness and beauty. It is the sweet love which binds together all true friends. Divine love is unchanging yet alive, warm and effective. It is the treasure which is found by all who enjoy true Christian married love in earthly life, yet also the eternal prize of all who deny themselves to remain celibate and faithful in God's service. It is also the fire at the heart of every sort of true, loving communion, whether between frail people in earthly life, or between an individual soul and her Creator. (Also T:1941) G.H.T.
The Spirit: true God, almighty and tender.
Truly, God lives within our souls, in His purity and dazzling splendour, if we are living in a 'state of grace'. Here are Three Persons yet one God; so we must believe not only in Christ's power, and in the Father's power, but also in the almighty power of the Holy Spirit.
The Father loves to hear the prayers we offer in Jesus' name; and Christ loves to hear our trusting prayers; yet we're wise also to turn to the Holy Spirit for help in difficult times. He is true God; and therefore He is holy, adorable, majestic and infinitely kind. He is equal to Christ and the Father, in His perfection. By His power, the Holy Spirit can give us what we ask of Him. He can give us purity, courage and peace, as we surrender our lives to Christ once more, in order to reach the Father: as we yearn to be brought 'safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy'. (T:1978) G.H.T.
In His purity and fervour.
The Holy Spirit is infinite love: one of Three Divine Persons Who eternally love and are loved in Heaven. The Holy Spirit is like a burning fire in His purity and fervour: always longing to give joy. The Spirit Who was given to the infant Church at Pentecost is a love so generous and tender that He reaches 'outwards' from the Godhead in a ceaseless mission of love, to embrace, guide, console and teach all who will open their hearts at His touch. The Holy Spirit is always gathering in, purifying, and setting souls alight with His love. Yet He is always one with the source of all love, the Father, and with His Son, the eternal Word. (T:3899) G.H.T.
The gifts of the Spirit.
We should have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. He can do so much in our lives, if we believe that He is at work guiding the Church and enlightening us, God's children. We should believe in His gifts and ask Him for them. We can ask for an increase, even praying every day for greater faith, hope and love, as well as for other gifts. We can be certain that whenever we call out for help, He helps us.
We should act as though we really believe in the Divinity of the Holy Spirit: praising and adoring Him as one of Three Divine Persons. He is equal in wisdom and majesty to the Father and the Son.
We can show our love for the Holy Spirit by trying to follow His inspirations, by speaking to Him and about Him with reverence, by telling Him of our love, by adoring Him, and by loving and adoring the Father and the Son Who are one with Him in the unity of the Godhead (T:4531)
The Spirit, in our hearts.
Truly, the Holy Spirit praises the Father, within us, in our individual prayers at home. He acts powerfully within and through our souls to send, as it were, a great breath of praise and joy Heavenwards, when our hearts are weak and exhausted.
This is what happens, also, at the Mass. It is 'in Christ' and through His Spirit that we reach out to the Father at every Mass. And so we are right to trust that the Spirit is powerfully at work in all our prayers, all because of our union with Christ, through our incorporation in Him and in His Church through Baptism. (T:4737)
Beautiful and holy.
Jesus Christ is God-made-man, Who once lived and died on earth, then rose from the grave in triumph, and ascended to Heaven's glory. He is awesome and powerful, yet also beautiful and holy. He is alive, today; and He longs to bring us peace and perpetual joy. His Divine radiance pours upon us all, from Heaven, though we would be dazzled by it, were we to see it while we still live in the 'twilight' of our present sinfulness. Yet if we pray with sincerity and contrition, we allow Him to shine that light within our souls, so that we can see ourselves as we really are, and repent, and allow Him to change us. He is not distant, but close-by; and His love for us is inexhaustible, and very tender. (T:10)
In every sort of grief.
Christ loves us, each one of us; and He wants us to put our trust in Him. He is 'waiting' for us in every circumstance, longing for us to turn to Him. He is waiting to touch us in every sort of grief, remorse or loneliness - whether we have brought them upon ourselves or have suffered at the hands of other people. Yet He asks us to fulfil our duties towards Him before anything else. We must love Him and our neighbour, and keep His Commandments, no matter what the cost. (T:18)
Christ loves each one of us just as we are now, even before we are perfect. He loves us in our weakness; yet He longs to see us delivered from sin, and made happy and at peace. (T:43)
Our need of Christ.
We should be grateful that we are no longer struggling to make a spiritual journey on our own. We need Christ, Who is our wise guide, our sure 'way,' and our powerful Intercessor. (T:56)
Christ, amongst us.
We should never doubt that Christ is Really Present during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He is Present on the altar at every Mass, even when we are half-hearted in prayer, or the priest is rushing through the celebration. Yet Christ loves to be amongst people who love Him. And as we prepare to receive Christ in Holy Communion, thousands of Saints and holy Angels bow low in reverence for Christ's Precious Blood which is here on the altar. They are awed by Christ's astounding love. (T:613)
Aware of Christ's Presence.
Although the altar is the focal point, as we worship, we should always glance towards the tabernacle as we enter the church. Christ is Really Present there. His holy Angels surround Him, standing silently in adoration. (T:928)
Eternally our High Priest.
Christ is God-made-man. He really died on the Cross then rose up from the grave to a new and glorious life. He can never die again. He is now in Heaven, ready to welcome us. He endured torment on earth because of His longing to save us. He is eternally the High Priest and Mediator for His earthly brothers and sisters; and we are very precious to Him. In the depth of our prayer, and even in the apparent tragedy of the moment of our death, Christ is ready to welcome us, His true friends, to the heart of the Holy Trinity. (T:1039C) G.H.T.
Out from the Father's 'heart'.
The joys of Heaven are no fantasy held out as a means of pacifying weary or rebellious people. They are a continuation and an 'expansion', to an astonishing degree, of the joys which have already been tasted on earth by those who have surrendered their lives to God, not in fear but in love. No earthly joys can compare with the joy, peace and bliss which are found in Heaven. The Father is infinitely good. He is also powerful and majestic and beautiful. He is like a vast and infinitely-holy fire of love into which we can be led, by the Spirit, through our life in Christ, to experience the love and fulfilment for which we have been yearning.
Christ shares the Father's Divine nature; and Christ is so loving and generous that He longs to save us. It's as if He came out, at His Incarnation, from the 'heart' of the Father, to bring us hope and salvation, rather as a man might soar out from the brilliance of a huge planet in order to rescue small creatures who are lost in space. We can picture Christ as having come 'outwards' from the Father in order to reach us, and to reach many other people who are far away, and in danger. At our consent Christ takes hold of us, and draws us back into the Divine embrace. (T:1197) (See illustration 6)
True God and true man.
It's because Christ is both God and man that He can reconcile us - men, women and children - with our Creator. Our hearts should be ever-thankful that we are being drawn into Eternal Life and joy through our Baptism, and through many wonderful actions of the Holy Spirit, much of Whose work is secret.
The grace of Christ flows vigorously into our hearts through our trust in Him, and through our moments of sincere and reverent prayer. Through our reception of the Sacred Host - Christ Himself - in Holy Communion we allow our souls to be drawn into Christ's own communion with the Father in the bliss of the Spirit. Christ's grace is then at work in our souls in power and glory. (Also T:1197) G.H.T.
Divine Light, embodied.
Christ can be pictured as being like an 'image' beamed down to earth from a window in Heaven. The unseen, almighty Father is pure, mysterious and powerful, a furnace of inextinguishable love. And Christ our Lord came out from the Father's glory, sharing the same glorious Divine nature. By the power of the Holy Spirit, two thousand years ago, Christ took flesh from Mary. Sharing our human nature, Christ has given 'shape' to Divine light.
No impurity exists in Christ, Who is true God, on fire with Divine love. When we hear Christ speak, we are listening to the eternal Word of the Father. When we see Christ touch and console and heal, we see the Father's love for us all, poured out from the heart of the Godhead. And if we picture the glory of Christ, after His death and Resurrection, we picture the Father's glory. And we shall share it one day if we have been changed through Christ's transforming love, and if we have remained faithful to the end. (T:1244) G.H.T.
Here in our world.
Christ is Really Present in our churches, in a sacramental manner. He truly enters our world, from Heaven, in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood, at the Consecration; and He is truly with us, from Heaven, in His continued Presence, after Mass, in the tabernacle. (T:1304)
Stripped of all glory.
Every blessing we receive through the Church today, and every sacrament and every word of wisdom, comes to us because Christ our God once lived on earth and died for us because He loves us. It was as if He was once carried on a wave of Divine grace and power - the power of the Holy Spirit - as He came out from the Father's 'heart', leaped through the 'bars of Heaven', and left behind His glory to live on earth amongst people like ourselves.
Christ is a Divine Person of immense majesty, now united with frail humanity by the extraordinary union of His Divine and human natures. Since the time when He became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He has possessed a real human nature whilst possessing, as ever, the fullness of Divinity. As He grew to maturity in Nazareth, He wasn't someone partly Divine and partly human; nor was He a Divine Person merely disguised as a man; nor was He simply the greatest of the prophets, a man wholly 'open' to Divine influence.
Christ is true God and also true man, and shall ever remain so, in Heaven, where He has lived in His glorified body since His Resurrection and Ascension. So we must humble ourselves before Christ, the Divine Person Who has come down to us in such intimacy. He was made the same as us in fragile flesh, and - like each one of us - born of a woman! What a weight and a burden Christ bore in His humanity. What amazing love: that made Him come down to earth so that He might call out to the Father on our behalf, praying for help and for salvation. He is side by side with us in our intercessions and supremely during the Holy Mass. (T:1320) G.H.T.
Ascension to glory.
Truly, our faith is a wondrous gift. Through it, we know that by the Father's Will, foreknowledge, plan, consent and justice, Christ suffered and died on the Cross, for our sakes. Then He leapt up to His Father in glory by the power and light of the Holy Spirit; and it's as if Christ now draws in His wake those of us who are willing to recognise Him, to thank Him for what He has endured because of our sins, and to follow in His way to Heaven. He wants to banish, in the end, all our darkness and suffering, and to bring us up high to the glory of Heaven: to the Father's embrace. (T:1351) G.H.T.
Christ's powerful help.
Whatever sort of life we lead, Christ's powerful help is ours. He cannot leave us alone, even if we sometimes imagine that He is far away from us. Only the thinnest of 'veils' hides Him from our sight.
Christ's whole desire is to reach out to us, to draw us into His light, and to lead us towards the invisible Father. The Holy Spirit guides us in the freely-made acts and efforts by which we reach out to Christ in daily life.
The Holy Trinity is powerfully at work in our lives: at work in our souls, and in our everyday life, when we love God wholeheartedly, and share His life, and co-operate with His Will and actions. As we pray to the Father, we can be sure that Jesus Christ is drawing us up to the heart of the Father; and the Holy Spirit 'presents' us to the Father as a holy offering.
This pattern of co-operation with the work of the Holy Trinity should be the pattern of our whole life's work and our whole life's prayer. This 'pattern' can be woven by everyone who lives in and for God. It consists of the 'interweaving' of all our prayers, thoughts and actions with God's Divine and unending work of love! (T:1469) G.H.T.
At Heaven's 'door'.
Even now, day by day, with thousands of our spiritual brothers and sisters upon earth, we are being drawn closer to Heaven. Yet it's only through the work of salvation which Christ accomplished on earth long ago that we can live in hope of reaching Heaven. So the Church thanks Him for what He has done for us all through His Passion, Death and Resurrection, and also for His Ascension into Heaven.
Christ's work on earth was successful. Only because of Him has the 'door' to Heaven opened; and if we are Christ's true followers today, He has a message for us to share. He is longing to save us all. He is longing to see us, His real brothers and sisters, enter the glory which He now enjoys.
Only because of His return to the Father - making a Way, opening a pathway - has Christ given hope to us who love Him and who follow Him on the pathway to Heaven. This pathway was made ready through His Passion and His triumph. (T:1588) G.H.T.
Christ's act of self-surrender.
If we open our hearts, we can let Christ lead us to the heart of the mystery which is the Mass. The Holy Sacrifice which is offered from the altar before us is the same offering - or sacrifice - as that which Christ offered, long ago, on the Cross. It is the same, although it is not now being offered in pain, and in fleshly blood-loss and dying. It is the same, in that it 'consists' of the very Christ Who surrendered Himself to the Father's Will on Calvary, being Present here, now, and making that same perfect act of self-surrender to the Father. The Redeemer Who died for us on Calvary is now glorious and unchanging. He therefore remains, always, the spotless Victim and High Priest through Whose perfect offering we can be saved! (T:1740A)
Christ's great love for us all.
We cannot deny how great is Christ's love for us all, when we realise that He has gone to such lengths to reach out to us. We, today, are not denied Redemption just because we couldn't live in Christ's earthly life-time, or because we couldn't stand on Calvary and associate ourselves with Christ's sacrifice then. How marvellous it is that we can unite ourselves with Christ and with His once-for-all sacrifice, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We unite ourselves with a perfect offering. It's because He, the Divine Son, is perfect, that we can rely on the prayers which He offers on our behalf. (Also T:1740A)
Our holy Saviour.
We should recognise how fortunate we are to have the consolation of knowing that Christ is Really Present with us in the Blessed Sacrament. We are right to genuflect before the tabernacle, where He awaits us. Two holy Angels - like spears of light - are guarding the tabernacle, so greatly do they venerate Christ, as they stand in silent adoration. So holy is Christ, and so precious is the sanctuary, that His holy Angels never leave Him. (T:1874)
From His infinite love.
We make great progress in the spiritual life when we really know, believe and delight in the knowledge that God is love. From love, God created us. From love, He gradually revealed Himself to His Chosen People. From love, He revealed Himself most fully in Him Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us: "In his body lives the fullness of divinity" (Col 2:9). From love, Christ founded a Church for us to join, giving us the sacraments in which we receive a great out-pouring of His graces, for our transformation. From love, Christ is Really Present in the Blessed Sacrament of His Sacred Body and Blood, and gives Himself to us in Holy Communion. Christ is true God: the same God Who in Old Testament times spoke with Elijah and with Moses and the Prophets. That's why we are sometimes so powerfully affected by our union with Christ in Holy Communion. (T:1978) G.H.T.
Reparation for our sins.
God our Father loves us all dearly, whatever our state; yet when we have given our lives to Him He is utterly delighted by our longing to serve Him well. He is ever-loving: ever-willing to make us worthy of His service and, by the merits of Christ His Son, to make us worthy of entering Heaven. Yet only by Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, and through His Divine power, has a way been made in which we can follow. This way had been closed, because of Mankind's sinful disobedience soon after the dawn of man's life on earth. By Christ's perfect obedience to the Father's Will, reparation has been made for Mankind's sins. We are all in Christ's debt, therefore, even people who don't yet know about Him, or who refuse to believe in Him.
Christ the God-man was born on earth for this: to love, to heal, to teach and to set an example, but supremely to die. He knew that after His death He would rise from the dead, and thus would rise up from the darkness of a sinful world to pierce Heaven's light - and He succeeded. He has made it possible for us to follow Him: to soar swiftly through the narrow way which opens out into the breadth of Heaven's light, and so to reach the Father. (T:2003) G.H.T.
No other way.
Christ has told us that there is no other way into Heaven but His way: a way made by Him at His Resurrection when He returned in glory to the Father. Christ's way is now open to all who believe in Him and have been baptised into His life. These believers feed on Him in the Holy Eucharist in order to live a new life in Him and to keep His commandments. They welcome the presence of His Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives. It's through Christ's merits, therefore, that we speak with confidence to our Heavenly Father, rely on Christ's help in intercession, stand beside Christ in prayer, and offer Christ's Precious Blood as our gift. We must live in the hope that since we love Christ we'll rise upwards, one day, like Him. We should yearn to be clothed in white, as if in the 'wedding garment' which Christ described as being the suitable clothing for the King's banquet. (Also T:2003) G.H.T.
A hearth for the homesick.
In our dark times we wonder: "What is God's love really like?" And it's at such times that Christ wants us to remember that we can trust in Him. We can discover that the love of God, known in and through Jesus Christ, can satisfy every human need. That has been the message given through the Saints in every age.
Divine love, for the weary soul, is like a birth into joy, or a gift from father to child, or a reward for devotion, or warmth for a bruised heart, or peace for the mind. It is like a loaf for the hungry, a hearth for the homesick, a warm coat for the exile, soft arms for the lonely, an endearment amidst pain, a whisper of kindness - and a promise of Heaven, where that love in its fullness brings both healing and bliss. (T:2006)
Christ here, in glory.
Through Christ's sacramental Presence in our church, each trusting soul can be sure of receiving courage and comfort. We can think about His Real Presence in the following way. Just as people will stand by a bonfire at a special celebration, to delight in its beauty and to warm themselves by its glow, in the same way we can all draw near to the tabernacle, to believe in Christ's love, and to delight in Christ's glory, even when we can't yet see it. (T:2479)
A 'Mount Tabor' experience.
If we pay a visit to our church for a time of private prayer, we can be content to kneel or sit silently in Christ's Presence. This isn't idleness, but true prayer. We should rejoice that we can spend a quiet time with Christ, with no interruptions. If we love Him we like to be close to Him, just like Saint Peter, who was so thrilled to be with Christ during the Transfiguration that he wanted to stay there on the mountainside.
We can look upon our closeness to Christ in our private prayer, or in our thanksgiving at Mass, as being a 'Mount Tabor' experience of our own. We can stay with Christ joyfully for a little while; and then we can picture ourselves as 'descending' obediently to the 'valley' below: to our everyday work and conversations. (Also T:2479)
An astounding privilege.
Christ's sacramental Presence is so astounding a privilege that it would not be wrong of us to fall prostrate before Him, in gratitude and joy, if it were appropriate to do so. (T:2741)
An everlasting union.
It is through Christ and His Church that each of us can enter a true and everlasting union with the Father, by the Spirit's transforming power, and so become a friend of God. (T:2957)
Worthy of our reverence.
Christ is infinitely loving and tender towards us all; yet none of us should forget that He is worthy of immense reverence, love, devotion and worship. He wants everyone to understand such things about worship; and so He wants to see these things taught, if people don't yet know about them.
It's only right that we genuflect to the tabernacle, as we take our places in church, or when we enter the building. And genuflexions to Christ should not be rushed, but reverent. The Sign of the Cross should be made with dignity, and should be used reverently and unselfconsciously on every appropriate occasion. (T:3064)
Touched by our gratitude.
Christ is man, as well as God; and He loves to see evidence of our love for Him. He is deeply touched by our gratitude for His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. (T:3076)
Delighted by our greeting.
Christ delights in seeing us greet Him. He loves to see us turn towards the tabernacle with a bow, or a genuflection. And when people choose to make the sign of the Cross Christ is honoured by such devotion. (T:3355)
In the tabernacle.
Christ's sacramental Presence is as 'real' as if He were walking amongst us, just as He walked amongst the Apostles in Galilee, though He is Present with us in a different manner. (T:3810)
In His Presence.
Christ delights in the love shown by all who come before Him in admiration and trust. He knows that His true friends recognise and welcome His Presence in church. They never treat a church as if it were a worldly place. They know that in stepping over the threshold, they have arrived at the 'edge' of Heaven.
We don't usually see Christ in prayer, or see His glory shine out from the tabernacle, but we know that He is now the triumphant Redeemer Who reigns in Heaven in glory, which is the glory, also, of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. So although it's true that we are adopted children of God - temples of the Holy Spirit - and don't need to take off our shoes in God's presence, as Moses did, we should nevertheless approach Christ with profound love and reverence. Whenever we honour the sacramental Presence of Christ - the living God Who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit - we can be joyful and at peace. We can shake off, for a while, some of the turmoil of everyday life in the world. By our glad yet reverent bearing in God's 'house of prayer' we can encourage other people to be reverent and so to practice the ways of Heaven. If we love God, we long to enter the 'City' of the living God, to be close to Him eternally. By adoring Christ in church, as if in Heaven's ante-chamber, we can prepare for the moment of death. (T:3915) G.H.T.
In a house of prayer.
Those who welcome and acknowledge the sacramental Presence of Christ our God in the tabernacle are made joyful by the knowledge; yet they recognise that they owe reverence and worship to Him. They do essential tasks in church, talk quietly where necessary, but generally act as if in a house of prayer. They return to prayer as quickly as possible - unless they are leaving the building; and by their example they encourage other people to be reverent and prayerful. (T:3916)
Straight after Mass.
If we really believed in Christ's Real Presence we would never sit chatting loudly in church straight after Mass as if in a cinema or café, ignoring the presence of Christ - and His holy Angels.
We must never forget that Christ now lives in majesty and glory - which is the glory, also, of the Father and of the Holy Spirit; and Christ is Really Present in the tabernacle that we see before us.
We cannot see Christ; but it is Christ our God - the living God, Who is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit - Who is Present in the tabernacle. It is plain, therefore, that someone who routinely chatters loudly in church must be grossly ignorant of the Presence of Christ, or does not believe in it, or is spiritually so blind or insensitive that he barely remembers that Presence, and remains oblivious to those who are praying. (Also T:3916)
Christ's love for us.
Christ's Presence is Real. This means that our living Saviour is very close to us. It's as though Christ is calling out from the tabernacle, to say to each person present: "I love you!" And so He deserves a greeting or some other loving response. (T:3952)
A King, in His palace.
When we enter the church, or turn our attention to Christ, it's as if He leans from the tabernacle like a King leaning from His palace window, His arms open wide, to give a lovely greeting. He is pleased by our devotion. He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit: one God, always kind, just, tranquil and reliable; and we should try to imitate Him - by relying on His graces. (T:4456)
A worthy place.
It is Christ our God Who has told us, of Himself, that He is Really Present amongst us in the Blessed Sacrament. It 'follows', therefore, that where Christ is sacramentally Present, we must provide a fitting place for the Sacred Species, we must honour and adore Him Who is Present, and we must teach others to offer praise worthy of our God. We must ensure that we all act with love and reverence in His Presence, and make a fitting preparation to receive Him in Holy Communion. (T:4538)
Through an open heart.
Whoever spends a lot of time close to Christ and His Mother begins to resemble them. Christ wants us to realise that if we persevere in prayer and draw closer to Him and to His holy Mother, and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, we are able to absorb something of Christ's peace, charity, sweetness, beauty and radiance. It's as if this peace passes through an 'open heart'. (T:4583)
The peace of Christ.
There are times and occasions in everyday life when we need not use words, when we speak to Christ in prayer. It is enough simply to be there with Him, where He is Present in the Blessed Sacrament, and where He 'radiates' towards us His pure holy love and His incomparable peace. (Also T:4583)