Friday, April 15, 2016 I was sitting in the perpetual adoration chapel at the
parish where I was assigned at the time. I was praying decades of the rosary
slowly with my eyes closed. Sometime between 7:30-8:30 am--with my eyes
closed--I had an image very clearly defined of two, bare arms and hands lifting
up a golden chalice with the continents of the world superimposed on the cup of
the chalice. Each continent was green in color and outlined with blue trim. Although
the image appeared and disappeared quickly, it was quite vivid in detail. I
wrote it down in my prayer journal. As I began to pray about the image, the
well-known scripture passage, John 3:16, came to me: "God so
loved the world that He gave His only Son". The background colors (blue,
symbolizing The Blessed Virgin Mary; black, symbolizing the sin of the
world, as well as the kingdom of darkness; and red, symbolizing The
pierced Heart of Jesus) were received in prayer while on a retreat in June of 2016.
can easily overlook the word, "so", in John 3:16. The word means, "to a
great extent". God has a superabundance of Love for humanity--might one call it
"Love stupendous". Because God Loves humanity to such a great extent, He
offered us His only Son for our salvation. The God who created us was
determined to save us. In John 3:14 Jesus says, "So must the Son
of Man be lifted up". Again, we can easily overlook the word, "must". It
means, "to be compelled; to be determined; to have fixed resolve". In Jesus we
see the passion burning in the Heart of our Holy God (the interior intensity of
God's Love), and the impelling force of faithful love! Jesus was compelled,
determined and fixed with resolve to please the Father in loving obedience. He
offered his life on the 'altar of the cross' by "that human death, in which the
world, that is to say each one of us, has been loved "to the end'"through the depth of his love (John Paul II,
"Apostolic Letter on the Mystery and Worship of the Holy Eucharist", Feb. 24,
1980, pp. 117-118). God loves humanity and the world dearly--which is to say
that God loves sinners (see Luke 15:2): "I found delight in the sons of men"
(Pros. 8:31). Ours is a world that is always on God's Heart--one might even
say, a world always in "the Chalice of his Heart".
promises, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself"
(John 12:32). Every Roman Catholic Eucharist makes present this being lifted
up, the one time sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Our faith teaches us that
"the Sacrifice of Christ and the Sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single
sacrifice" (The council of Trent, cited in CCC 1367). The Eucharist is the gift
of the loving Heart of Jesus. It is the Sacrament of love. It "is
the heart and the summit of the Church's life" (CCC 1407); "Here
is the Church's treasure, the heart of the world, the pledge of the
fulfillment for which each man and woman, even unconsciously, yearns" (John
Paul II, "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", pp. 73-74); "It is the Sacrament of
sacraments" (CCC 1330); and, it is the participation of "the whole community
in the Lord's own sacrifice" (CCC 1322) [this charism is communal,
contemplative, intercessory prayer].
mystery of salvation celebrated in every Eucharist is continued in the heart
of an intercessor: "The spiritual writers sometimes compare the heart to an
altar. Prayer internalizes and assimilates the liturgy during and after
its celebration" (CCC 2655). God never abandons His world; rather, He raises up
saints who desire what Jesus desires: To give back to the Father the world that
He so loves! An intercessor's prayer and offering--always united to the unique
and perfect offering of the Lamb of God--prolongs, continues, the 'one time,
once for all' offering of Jesus on the altar of the cross.
also "gave herself whole heartedly to [God's] loving plan for renewing all
things in Christ" (Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(missal); p. 246). Her whole life supported and centered around Jesus, the Lamb,
whose death she knew would redeem the world. Mary is the Handmaid of the
Redemption. Simeon's prophecy (Luke 2:34-35) links the destiny of Jesus and
Mary. God joined the suffering of Mary to that of Jesus. She fully supported
and participated in his offering as he was dying on the Cross.Mary's offering adds nothing to the offering
of Jesus on the cross; for, nothing is lacking in the perfect and unique
offering of the Lamb. Rather, Mary's offering is united to that of Jesus
on the cross. Mary is also 'refuge of sinners'. Her heart is fully with God, and
always opened to sinners.