Thursday, March 12, 2009

Christ Our Head

One of the books which has most influenced me and helped me to understand my Christian life is St. John Eudes' The Life and Kingdom of Jesus in Christian Souls. The 1946 edition published by P.J. Kennedy and Sons, New York, includes a beautiful introduction by the Servant of God Bishop Fulton Sheen, whose cause for beatification is advancing. Bishop Sheen writes "If we were forced to summarize the spiritual teaching of St. John Eudes in one sentence, it would be this: Cease to be self-determined, begin to be Jesus-determined."

It seems to me that St. John Eudes is a masterful writer who explains the teaching of St. Paul on the Mystical Body of Christ with great power and simplicity. Here are some examples from St. John Eudes' writing:

"Jesus Christ, at the same time God and man, is all in all things, according to the inspired words of St. Paul: Omnia in omnibus Christus (Col. 3, 11). He must be in all Christians in a special manner, as the Head is in all the members and the spirit in its body; therefore your particular care and preoccupation must be to work at this formation and establishment of Christ within you, that He may live and reign there, so that He may be your life, your sanctification, your strength, your wealth, your glory and your all: or rather, that He may live in you, and in you be hallowed and glorified, and establish the Kingdom of His Spirit, of His Love and of His other virtues."

"Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, King of angels and of men, is not only your God, your Saviour and your Sovereign Lord, but is also your head and you are "members of his body," as St. Paul says: "of his flesh and of his bones" (Eph. 5,30). You are consequently united with Him in the most intimate union possible, that is, the union of members with their head. You are united with Him spiritually by faith and by the grace He gave you in Holy Baptism. You are united with Him corporally in the union of His Most Sacred Body with yours in the Blessed Eucharist. It necessarily follows that, just as the members are animated by the spirit of the head, and live the same life, so you must also be animated by the spirit of Jesus, live His life, walk in His ways, be clothed with His sentiments and inclinations, and perform all your actions in the dispositions and intentions that actuated His. In a word, you must carry on and perpetuate the life, religion and devotion which He exercised upon earth."

Isn't the Holy Face of Manoppello a tremendous sign and symbol of this teaching of Christ the Head of the Mystical Body?

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