Mittwoch, 9. Juni 2021

Dhruwadeepti // Religion //- Chavara- A Multidimentional Saint : Priestly holiness // Dr.Thomas Kadankavil CMI

  -Priestly holiness-  

Dr. Thomas Kadankavil CMI 

Dr.Thomas Kadankavil
The holiness of the priest is the topic of meditation in this passage. The central theme of this long spiritual colloquy is a heartfelt open dialogue of the saint with Eucharistic Lord for his tepid and careless behaviour before him. Though the composition is in the formof a self examination and self accusation, it is equally an admonish to any pious soul who is willing to follow his train of affectionate prayers. One will be naturally fired by his deep sentiments of awful adoration. The devotional sentimentreached its crescendo when he raised the question: " With what devotion are you ascending the altar day by to perform the sacred rituals?" At foot of the altar the priest has to examine the holiness with which he is supposed to come to offer the sacrifice. The eposode referred to in the text seems to have some similarity with the event described inII Samuel 6:5-7 where Uzzah was struck down and died on the spot when he extended his hands on the ark as the oxen stumbled it.

St. Chavara was a man of Eucharistic devotion, which took its nourishment from his daily Eucharistic celebration. Eucharistic devotion was a spiritual heritage he wholeheartedly accepted from the Latin tradition. The monasteries of the congregation were the early centres where 40 hours adorations were conducted with much pomp and devotion. It is to the credit of Chavara that he prepared the rituals and rubric with minute details (Thukasa) for the celebration of the Eucharist in a uniform way and a calander for its celebration in a worthy manner throughout the Syrian Churches. 

The practice of praying for priests is avery healthy and long standing tradition amoung the carmelites. St.Therese of Lisieux on her journey to Rome to visit the Holy Father was very well exposed tho the very questionable ways of priests'life and that made her convinced of the need for praying for the priests that they may lead a holy life. The following beautiful prayer she composed should form part of our daily prayer. Prayer for Priests: O Jesus, eternal priest, keep your priests within the shelter of your Sacred Heart, where no one may touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch your sacred Body. Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood. Let your holy love surround them and schield them from the world's contagion. Bless their labours with abundant fruit and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here and in heaven their beutiful and everlasting crown.Amen.

God's Boundiful Love:

Numbers 14, 15, 16, 17 form a single unit of thought offering a sublime meditation on the highly precious gift of vocation to priesthood. The opening sentence in No. 14 as explained above, literally pours out the sentiments of love, adoration, awfull remembereance of the holy and trembling veneration of the Seraphim and the angels of different orders, an imagery which calls our attention to the description found in the book of revelation (4: 1.8). In the second phase of his meditation the saint turned his attention to his own vocation and the vocation of his brethren. He ask his fellow-religious: "REmember what the Lord has done for you. He chose you from out of thousands to be at the Home of the Lord" " Yetit looks like as if you were wrestling with God choosing to go your own way"Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites (Gen:32-34) wrestked with God's messenger till the dawn to get God's blessing. The wrestling of the religious should not be to go against God but to bring down his blessing up on the wrestler.

Need of Spiritual Exercises:

All we have referred to while reflecting on Exmamination of concience is appropriate in this connection also. A pious feeling to be loving and good, though they are virtuous acts, cannot become effective unless it is made operative through regular periodic performence of spiritual exercises. Daily, monthly and yearly retreats and recollections are occations when a pious soul again and again resolves to be faithful to his spiritual duties according to the programme of life one has agreed upon in accepting the religious and priestly vocation. Chavra writes: "For a time you did it, then took to old ways". These words come along the line of St.John in his ecstatic vision. "I know you are endearing patiently and bearing up for my sake., and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first".(Rev. 2:2-4). In this context Chavara quotes in his own way from the Revelation of St.John. "If you continue this manner of blowing hot and cold, as scripture confirms, God will vomit you out of his Mouth"(Rev.3: 15,16).

The Prayer of the Priests:

In NO. 14 above mention has been made concerning the need for praying for the priests. Now Chavara is offering a prayer the priest himself should make everyday for his own perseverance in his vocation.The prayer in short is to preserve him "in great fervour and devotion every day. It is the experience of those who lead a committed life that to be always and everyday vigilant and alert is not a humanly feasible project. Besides the influence of sin weakens the confidence priests to win. If one go through the sentiments expressed in this prayer one would deeply experience the heartfelt agony of a humble , simple, weak and frightened priest who rely on God rather than on himself to perceiver him in his priestly vocation. //-

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