05 July 2017

Neglect Not the Grace That Is in Thee

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, requiescat in pace.

The Epistle of today, the Feast of St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria, provided an excellent source of meditation for me this morning. First of all, the Epistle is St. Paul's first to Timothy, Chapter 4: 8-16. Perhaps it's simplistic but anytime I hear St. Paul speaking to Timothy I try to pay extra attention.

Reading it through and through, it speaks to the remnant Catholics who are left in this wonderful time, but also speaks to the situation of the four Cardinals. Some thoughts:

Dearly beloved: Godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. A faithful saying and worthy of all approbation. For therefore we labor and are reviled, because we hope in the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of the faithful. These things command and teach.

What struck me today is the coupling of the life to come with the life that now is. And that, true to Our Lord's warning, we will suffer persecution and the world's hatred because of this striving for Godliness. Reflecting on the passing of Cardinal Meisner, one of the four to present Francis the dubia that remain unanswered, I thought how great it would be for a bishop-- or a pope-- to have that motto on his coat of arms:

In hoc enim laboramus, et maledicimur, quia speramus in Deum vivum

For therefore we labor and are reviled, because we hope in the living God

I pray Cardinal Meisner died in this hope. No one can say what the efforts of the dubia and its (some would say very timid) follow-up was at his judgement. Would we have done differently? Of course we cannot say, and this is the judgement we are admonished to avoid, the judgement of a soul's standing before God. It is a real admonition, regardless of how some who should know better have soiled the phrase.

Continuing: Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the faithful, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity. Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine. Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

The first part is a call to us all, living our lives in grace. And overall, what better description of the duties of a priest, bishop, Cardinal or Pope could there be? Then I thought, what a great papal or episcopal motto this would be:

Noli negligere gratiam, quae in te est

Neglect not the grace that is in thee

Or rather, the motto of the life of any Christian. We must attend to the grace that is in us, always seeking to cooperate with God's plan, seeking the growth of that grace and, again, Godliness. Then the living waters will well up and overflow, and we can be of use to others.

Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all. Take heed to thyself, and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.

My prayer for Cardinal Meisner is that this last line will prove true, by taking heed of himself and doctrine, he saved himself and will save those who hear him. We don't know if he did enough, but he did something, something important and which largely earned him scorn, that only three others would do. Is it enough? Dear remaining Three Cardinals, is it? We don't know, but we pray in Hope. 

And it finally hit me that this passage also has a great episcopal, or papal, motto:

Attende tibi, et doctrinae: insta in illis.

Take heed to thyself and doctrine: be earnest in them.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.


Elizabeth R said...


JBQ said...

Amen II (as in Vatican II)