The Paraclete, the Life of the Church

posted in: Meditations | 0
St Peter
O Lord, you have founded the Church; you have established and maintained it. J. H. Newman

I adore you, O my Lord, the third person of the all-blessed Trinity, that you have set up in this world of sin a great light upon a hill. You have founded the Church; you have established and maintained it. You fill it continually with your gifts, that men may see, and draw near, and take, and live. You have in this way brought down heaven upon earth. For you have set up a great company which an­gels visit by that ladder which the patriarch saw in vision (cf. Gen. 28:10-12). You have by your presence restored the communion between God above and man below. You have given him that light of grace which is one with and the commencement of the light of glory. I adore and praise you for your infinite mercy toward us, O my Lord and God.

I adore you, almighty Lord, the Paraclete, because you in your infinite compassion have brought me into this Church, the work of your supernatural power. I had no claim on you for so wonderful a favor over anyone else in the whole world. There were many men far better than I by nature, gifted with more pleasing natural gifts, and less stained with sin. Yet you, in your inscrutable love for me, have chosen me and brought me into your fold. You have a reason for everything you do. I know there must have been an all-wise reason, as we speak in human lan­guage, for your choosing me and not another, but I know that that reason was something external to myself. I did nothing toward it—I did everything against it. I did ev­erything to thwart your purpose. And thus I owe all to your grace. I would have lived and died in darkness and sin; I would have become worse and worse the longer I lived; I would have grown more to hate and abjure you, O source of my bliss; I would have become yearly more fit for hell, and at length I would have gone there, but for your incomprehensible love for me. O my God, that overpowering love took me captive. Was any boyhood so impious as some years of mine! Did I not in fact dare you to do your worst? Ah, how I struggled to get free from you; but you are stronger than I and have prevailed. I have not a word to say, but to bow down in awe before the depths of your love.

 And then, in course of time, slowly but infallibly did your grace bring me on into your Church. Now then give me this further grace, Lord, to use all this grace well and to turn it to my salvation. Teach me, make me, to come to the fountains of mercy continually with an awakened, ea­ger mind and with lively devotion. Give me a love of your sacraments and ordinances. Teach me to value as I ought, to prize as the inestimable pearl, that pardon which again and again you give me, and the great and heavenly gift of the presence of him whose Spirit you are, upon the altar. Without you I can do nothing, and you are there where your Church is and your sacraments. Give me grace to rest in them forever, until they are lost in the glory of your manifestation in the world to come.

 Meditations and Devotions, taken from Everyday Meditations, Sophia Institute Press 2013, 124-126.