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Posted on January 4, 2014 by Padre
It turned a few heads at Mass on Christmas Day when in my homily, among other things, I reiterated a line of Christology dating back to the Fathers of the Church, often formulated as: “God became man, that man might become God.”
Man becoming God? Really? To many ears in the congregation, it probably sounded like a throwback to the New Age movement.
That just goes to show that this truth is as startling today as it was back in the day of Irenaeus, or Athanasius or Leo the Great.
At First Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God on January 1st, the Church prays this antiphon that dates back to the fifth century A.D.:
O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.
O marvelous exchange! In Latin, it’s O Admirabile Commercium, which in later centuries was beautifully transformed into a five-part motet by Palestrina.
The late theologian Franz Josef van Beeck observes that the antiphon “alludes to the condemnation, at the first Council of Constantinople (AD 381) of Apollinarius’ denial of Christs’ human soul…[and] the strong emphasis on Mary and her virginity strengthens the impression that the Latin text goes back to a Greek original composed shortly after the Council of Ephesus” (God Encountered, Vol. 1, 87).
The antiphon is echoed in the prayer which the priest says quietly as he prepares the gifts at the altar at the offertory of the Mass: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
The “marvelous exchange” here referred to is something that would send the Fathers of the Church practically into ecstasy—and it should have the same effect on us.
It’s a truth that made St. Leo the Great famously exclaim, “O, Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition.” And says the great St. Athanasius:
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.
Yes, but not in some New Age sense. The truth, rather, is that in Jesus, divine nature and human nature have been intimately brought together; and this has cosmic consequences for us: it means we can come to share in God’s own divinity.
And ‘O Marvelous Exchange’ has been a way of expressing our excitement about that for nearly sixteen hundred years. It’s an expression that historically emerges from a context in which goods were exchanged by means of a bartering system; ‘commercium’ is the root of our English word ‘commerce.’ Today, we might say, in more earthy language, “O What a Deal!” God becomes man, so that we can become God-like!
As Catechism 460 puts it quoting both Irenaeus and Athanasius:
The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature” (Cf. II Peter 1:4): “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God” (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 3.19.1). “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God” (Athanasius, De Incarnatione, 54.3).
And even St. Thomas Aquinas does not shrink from an audacious formulation: “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” He goes on to teach that the foretaste of this divinization in our present state is the experience of sanctifying grace in our lives which is itself, he explains, “nothing other than a kind of shared impression of the divine nature” upon us.
The incarnation of the Son of God does not only mean that God becomes humanly present, in the flesh, in Jesus of Nazareth, but that he gives us a divine calling at our own creation, and a capacitation through Baptism, one day, to attain a destiny that far exceeds the possibilities of human nature considered in itself. In heaven, we will be fully who we were meant to be from all eternity, daughters and sons of God living in intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and in the joyful company of all the elect in the bliss of heavenly union for all eternity—that is our “divinization.” And that is at the heart of the Good News about Jesus, and Christmas. O, what a deal!
Imagine what 2014 could be like… if we really let this truth sink in.
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Saint Joseph’s Day
March 19, Saint Joseph’s Day, has been the principal feast day of Saint Joseph in Western Christianity, since the tenth century, and is celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and other denominations. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the feast day of Saint Joseph is celebrated on the First Sunday after the Nativity of Christ.
In 1870, Pope Pius IX declared Joseph patron of the universal Church and instituted another feast, with an octave, to be held in his honour on Wednesday in the second week after Easter. This was abolished by Pope Pius XII, when in 1955 he established the Feast of “St. Joseph the Worker”, to be celebrated on 1 May. This date counteracts May Day, a union, workers and socialists holiday and reflects Joseph’s status as what many Catholics and other Christians consider the “patron of workers” and “model of workers.” Catholic and other Christian teachings and stories about or relating to Joseph and the Holy Family frequently stress his patience, persistence, and hard work as admirable qualities which believers should adopt.
Pope John XXIII added the name of Joseph to the Canon of the Mass. The 19 March feast is a solemnity and is transferred to another date if impeded (for instance, if it falls on a Sunday within Lent). The 1 May celebration is an optional memorial, and so is omitted if impeded. (However, the 1 May celebration is 1st class in the Tridentine calendar, so in it St. Joseph the Worker was celebrated on 2 May in 2008 because 1 May was Ascension Thursday.)
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Luisa Piccarreta and the Divine Will
Who is the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta,
and is it important to know her?
This web-site is available to all, especially to all who love Our Lord and Our Lady; and is consecrated to the Divine Will in the Name of Jesus, under the Mantle of Mary and through the intercession of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. Information is provided for the sake of knowing this victim soul, favored by the Two Hearts, as They found in the soul of Luisa, safe-dwelling for the deposit of all that They wish to give to all Their children. The Cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is presently at the Vatican and all are awaiting the authorized edition of her writings. While references to the writings are provided, the information at this time reflects the person of Luisa. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recently stated, in human beings’ desire for God:
“…The Image of the Creator is engraved on human beings, who feel the need to find a light to answer the questions regarding the profound meaning of reality…we need to open ourselves to something else, to someone or something that can give us what is missing. We must go out of ourselves and go toward the One who is capable of satisfying the width and breath of our desire.”
The following is intended to aid the journey to opening ever more to “the One who is capable”. With that, know that the long story of God’s Will is the beginning, the means and the end of human purpose, and little Luisa, whom Jesus calls the little daughter of the Divine Will, is necessary to this story. Luisa is known best without attachment to other causes.
The other websites have stated:
The writings of The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta are the exclusive property of the Archdiocese of Trani (letter to Bishops of October 14, 2006) and because of the delicacy of the current phase of the proceedings of the Sacred Congregation of the Causes of the Saints, and to be in complete obedience to Archbishop Pichierri (November 1, 2012), the writings of The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta will temporarily be suspended on this website until further notice.
The writings of The Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta are not against any moral or dogmatic truths of the Church. This web site is in obedience to Archbishop Pichierri and joyfully awaits Holy Mother Church to proclaim The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Venerable. This web site began out of a fervent zeal for The Servant of God, her spirituality and holiness.
Please enjoy the rest of the site.
From the Postulation for the Cause:
Luisa Piccarreta was born in Corato, province of Bari, Italy on April 23, 1865. She was baptized in the Mother Church and there received the first Sacraments in 1874. When she was 11 she became a “Daughter of Mary” and as a teenager a third-order Dominican. She received only a first grade education, and was called to serve our Lord as a victim soul at the tender age of 16.
On February 2, 1899, she was given the obedience by her spiritual director to begin a diary of her spiritual experiences, which she continued until 1938: 36 notebooks which detail her intimate rapport with heaven.
In 1926 she wrote her autobiography under obedience to her extraordinary spiritual director and Censor of her Writings, Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia. Her bed was her cell, her room her chapel, and her bed her Cross. The word which gave her life was God’s own creative Word: Fiat!
When she spoke, it was only briefly, but very wisely; the example and counsel she gave was always illuminating. Carrying invisibly the wounds of our Lord in her own crucified body made her a rare victim of intercession for mankind for more than 60 years, and any physical illness. Her nourishment for the most part of her life consisted of God’s Most Holy Will and the Eucharist.
Luisa, Precursor of the Sanctifying Third Fiat, chosen by God for the holy mission of proclaiming God’s Kingdom: “His Will now done on earth as it is in heaven”, was called into the fullness of that Kingdom on March 4, 1947.
On November 20, 1994 in the Mother Church of Corato, Mons. Carmelo Cassati, Archbishop of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie, having received the “non obstare” from the Holy See, blessed the opening of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, secular third order Dominican.
With the Archbishop himself as president of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal, joined by enthusiastic faithful from southern Italy and from around the world, Luisa began her triumphal journey toward the Honors of the Altar.
Whoever has received particular graces attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is requested to wrote to:
Postulation for the Cause of Beatification Luisa Piccarreta
70059 Trani (BA) Italy
“Dawn of a Mystery”
This video on the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Little daughter of the Divine Will, was published by the “Pia Associazione Luisa Piccarreta P.F.D.V.” and offers an insight into the life and times of Luisa, the little daughter of the Divine Will. It was filmed in the places she lived including her last home and includes images of her funeral. Through interviews you can learn about the important events in her life, and hear excerpts from some of the 14 thousand pages of her inspired words. We pray that this video can bring back some hope to a world that needs it, a hope that we can all live in the Divine Will. (from “Pia Associazione Luisa Piccarreta P.F.D.V. , Corato (Bari) – Italy – copyright 2005 – all rights reserved).
To view the video go to http://vimeo.com/60233555
Notice from Trani – November 1, 2012:
From Giovanni Battista Pichierri, Archbishop – concerning the Cause of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta (Spanish and Italian can be found on subsequent pages).
Please read the letter from Archbishop Pichierri and please e-mail back to the “Associazione Luisa Piccarreta” or “email@example.com” with your “humble and obedient Fiat!”
Please continue “to pray for the Beatification of the Servant of God, that the Most Holy Trinity might be glorified and the Kingdom of the Divine Will be diffused on earth.”
Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity
For the glorification of the Servant of God, LUISA PICCARRETA
Oh Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we praise and thank You for the gift of holiness You granted to Your faithful servant LUISA PICCARRETA.
She lived, dear Father, in Your Divine Will and became, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, similar to Your Son, who died on the cross due to His obedience.
She was a victim and a host welcome to You, thus contributing to the Redemption of mankind.
Her virtues of obedience, humility, love of Christ and to the Church urge us to ask You for the gift of her glorification on earth, so that Your glory may shine, and Your kingdom of truth, justice and love may spread all over the world in the particular charisma of:
“Fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra.”
We appeal to her merits to obtain from You, Holy Trinity, the particular grace for which we pray to You in Your Divine Will. Amen.
Three Glory be’s …
Our Father …
Our Lady, Queen of Saints, pray for us.
Trani, Italy October 29th 2005
+Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri
Prayer to Obtain the Beatification of the Servant of God, LUISA PICCARRETA
O Most Holy Trinity, Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us that as we pray, we should ask that our Father’s Name be always glorified, that His Will be done on earth, and that His Kingdom should come to reign among us.
In our great desire to make known this Kingdom of love, justice, and peace, we humbly ask that You glorify Your Servant, LUISA PICCARRETA, the little daughter of the Divine Will, who, with her constant prayer and suffering, deeply yearned for the salvation of souls and the coming of God’s Kingdom in the world.
Following her example, we pray to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to help us joyously embrace the crosses of this world, so that we may also glorify Your Name and enter into the Kingdom of Your Will. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Curia of the Archdiocese Solemnity of Christ the King 20 November, 1994
II. O Divine Heart of my Jesus who gave to your humble Servant LUISA as a victim of your Love the strength to suffer all her life the spasms of your painful Passion, grant that for your greatest glory the halo of the blesseds may shine around her head. And through her intercession grant me the grace that I humbly implore of you… Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
III. O Merciful Heart of my Jesus who, for the salvation and sanctification of so many souls, deigned to preserve for long years on earth your humble Servant LUISA, your little Daughter of the Divine Will, hear my prayer: that she may be glorified by your holy Church without delay. And through her intercession, grant me the grace that I humbly beseech of you… Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
Nulla osta: Trani, 27 November 1948
+ ARCHBISHOP REGINALDO ADDAZI, O.P.
Prayer on the holy picture (with relic) printed immediately after Luisa Piccarreta’s death with the authorization of Archbishop Reginaldo Addazi O.P.
Luisa Piccarreta Association
We inform all those who are interested in supporting the Cause of Beatification of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta that the credit card service on – line is operating on the web site of the cause of beatification:
Sure that Our Lord reward you with His spiritual graces we thank you for your generosity.
Association Luisa Piccarreta
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