Monday, August 11, 2008

Wisdom from…

THOMAS OF VILLANOVA (1529–1582): God likens himself to a mother

Take the example of a mother who loves her child very much, and she takes care of him with the greatest concern when she sees that he is sick. She does not leave the house, she makes food for him with her own hands, and she administers medicines, although they are bitter. Tell me, does this mother love her child, or does she wish to punish him, when she causes him sorrow with medicines? Who can doubt that it is love and not harshness? She is helping, not punishing. But, O good God, who is a better mother of her children than you?

Behold how much God loves you, O soul. He not only likens himself to a mother, but since it can happen that some mother may forget her child, he adds that he is unable to forget us, whom he loves more than a mother. Therefore if you fall into the sickness of sin, he looks down from heaven in mercy; he is with us, and that we might recover our health, he gives us hunger, persecution, and disgrace to drink as suitable medicine. Thus what you believe to be a whip in your ignorance, is only something like a whip and is actually a sign of his genuine love.
(Monday after the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Sermon 1, 2: Opera Omnia II, 87-88.)

Thomas of Jesus, an Augustinian friar, while in prison in Africa and ministering to his fellow prisoners, wrote the book The Sufferings of Jesus, a work which has guided many people on the path to holiness, particularly Saint Elizabeth Ann Seaton of the United States who was greatly influenced by the work.

ST AUGUSTINE: Death Starts with Life

Rest assured that the possibility of death starts with the beginning of life. In this world of ours, only those who are not yet born can claim not to be as yet due to die. That is why the uncertain day of death becomes a daily contingence for you and me alike.
-- Sermon 9, 2

Prayer. Eternal Truth, true Love, beloved Trinity--all this, my God, you are, and it is to you that I sigh by night and by day.
-- Confessions 7, 10


After the soul of the blessed virgin had left its most pure body, her body was laid in the tomb and restored to the earth. The same thing happened to the body of her Son. It was reasonable and just that the mother should not enjoy more privileges than the Son, but as Our Lord rose after three days, so she was restored to life, but in a different manner. The Savior rose by His own power, the Virgin Mary rose by the power of her Son, Who commanded her soul to be reunited with her body. It was right that her most holy body should not be subject to corruption. From that body Our Lord Jesus Christ has taken His bodily existence, remaining in her most chaste womb for the space of nine months.
(Sermons 21; O. IX, p. 184)
In this light, I think a very helpful, and perhaps revolutionary, way to "make sense of" the Assumption, is to see Mary as a relic of the Incarnation. Literally, her entire body is a relic of the power and life which she bore. Of course, this analogy will only help those already comfortable with the Church's theology of material sanctification and relics.


IT cannot be too often repeated that all real democracy is an attempt (like that of a jolly hostess) to bring shy people out. For every practical purpose of a political state, for every practical purpose of a tea-party, he that abaseth himself must be exalted. At a tea-party it is equally obvious that he that exalteth himself must be abased, if possible without bodily violence.
('Tremendous Trifles.')

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