Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Santa Prisca

Hello Lenten People,

With Holy Week, we find ourselves yet again climbing the Aventine Hill. It seems it is no coincidence that we began our Lenten Pilgrims in the same manner, as we made our first pilgrimage to Santa Sabina which is located about half way up the Aventine. By now, we have visited so many holy sites, encountered so many saints and martyrs, reflected upon the lives of so many who shed their blood for their faith in Christ that, as a buddy commented today after Mass, "everything is starting to blur together." But perhaps that is just the point....

Today's Church is Santa Prisca. Again we visit a site named after a New Testament figure--"Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles" (Romans 16:3-4)

St. Prisca is believed to have encountered St. Paul in Rome. She then left with him to help teach the Christian faith all around Greece, before returning back to Rome to likely be martyred for her faith. Too, tradition holds that St. Peter stayed at this site for a time. Thus, the main fresco above the altar portrays St. Prisca being baptized by St. Peter...the washing that would prepare her for eternal life. So St. Prisca, along with her great witness, connects us readily to the two greatest saints of Rome--Peter and Paul--those great apostles who too shed their blood. It is their blood, united with that of all the martyrs, that has consecrated Rome in a special way to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is their witness that proclaims Christ and Christ crucified. It is their witness that confounds us...astonishes us...and makes us look deeper within and without.

Here are some shots of those at Mass today, taking this deeper look....

You can see St. Prisca being baptized by St. Peter in the fresco beyond the altar

Some Seminarians before Mass

A Nun, some Seminarians, and some College Students before Mass

Priests before Mass

Number of Priests lining up to consume and be absorbed by the Body and Blood of our Lord

A Picture of St. Prisca in prison...I wonder what kind of a "deeper look" she may have took during this time of testing

I'd like to conclude with some thoughts of St. Paul which I encountered today in prayer. They helped me to express much of what we have been experiencing through the many saints and martyrs we have encountered throughout Lent

[T]o you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,

so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus (Christ).

God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe's people, that there are rivalries among you.

I mean that each of you is saying, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ."


Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside."

Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish? For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,

but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.

It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord."

(1 Corinthians 1:2-13, 18-31)

So back to my buddies comment--"everything is starting to blur together." As we gaze upon the authentic Christian life--that life given totally in Love for the Other--it seems our gaze is pointed necessarily to the One who is Love in Human Form---Jesus Christ. As we gaze upon those who have adopted John the Baptist's mission statement--"He must increase, I must decrease"--grace seems to "blur" our vision...so that we see only Christ.

With all this in mind, I offer a prayer written by Mother Theresa. This prayer is prayed every morning by every Missionary of Charity (the Religious Order she founded) in every Mission House around the world:

d.gifEAR JESUS, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole
Return to "Paying Tribute to Mother Teresa of Calcutta"being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.

Peace ya'll.

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