THOUGHTS TO PONDER DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU - NICK CARDILLINO Do whatever He tells you. Do whatever He says. Everything will work out fine. Jesus will turn water into wine. Do whatever He tells you.
Mary knew that Jesus was God's Son, And she sensed His time had finally come. So to keep the wedding feast from coming to an end, She called the servants out and said to them:
“Let it be, according to your will.” Mary's words of faith inspire us still. Lowly one, she bore the Son and to the cross she stayed. She always modeled how we should obey.
Listen harder when you pray and Do whatever He tells you. It may see foolish to obey, but Do whatever He says. When the wine of life runs out, Do whatever He tells you. You'll see what grace is all about. Do whatever He says.
The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son. Then Jesus came from Galilee to John, at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. And John was for hindering him, and said, “It is I who ought to be baptized by thee, and dost thou come to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Let it be so now, for so it becomes us to fulfill all justice.” Then he permitted him. And when Jesus had been baptized, he immediately came up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon him. And behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
All men are children of God. But a child can look upon his father in many ways. We must try to be children who realize that the Lord, by loving us as his children, has taken us into his house, in the middle of the world, to be members of his family, so that what is his is ours, and what is ours is his, and to develop that familiarity and confidence which prompts us to ask him, like children, for the moon! A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile, he is not merely formal and well mannered: he is completely sincere and trusting. Men do not scandalize God. He can put up with all our infidelities. Our Father in heaven pardons any offence when his child returns to him, when he repents and asks for pardon. The Lord is such a good Father that he anticipates our desire to be pardoned and comes forward to us, opening his arms laden with grace. Christ is Passing By, 64
A Christian knows that he is grafted onto Christ through baptism. He is empowered to fight for Christ through confirmation, called to act in the world sharing the royal, prophetic and priestly role of Christ. He has become one and the same thing with Christ through the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity and love. And so, like Christ, he has to live for other men, loving each and every one around him and indeed all humanity… You cannot separate the fact that Christ is God from his role as redeemer. The Word became flesh and came into the world “to save all men.” With all our personal defects and limitations, we are other Christs, Christ himself, and we too are called to serve all men… Our Lord has come to bring peace, good news and life to all men. Not only to the rich, nor only to the poor. Not only to the wise nor only to the simple. To everyone, to the brothers, for brothers we are, children of the same Father, God. So there is only one race, the race of the children of God. There is only one color, the color of the children of God. And there is only one language, the language which speaks to the heart and to the mind, without the noise of words, making us know God and love one another. Christ is Passing By, 106
The Wedding Feast at Cana At Mary’s request, Jesus performs his first miracle.
And on the third day a marriage took place at Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now Jesus too was invited to the marriage, and also his disciples. And the wine having run short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “What wouldst thou have me do, woman? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the attendants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone water-jars were placed there, after the Jewish manner of purification each holding two or three measures. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. And Jesus said to them, “Draw out now, and take to the chief steward.” And they took it to him. Now when the chief steward had tasted the water after it had become wine, not knowing whence it was (though the attendants who had drawn the water knew), the chief steward called the bridegroom, and said to him “Every man at first sets forth the good wine, and when they have drunk freely, then that which is poorer. But thou hast kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:1-10)
Our Lady was a guest at one of those noisy country weddings attended by people from many different villages. Mary was the only one who noticed the wine was running out. Don’t these scenes from Christ’s life seem familiar to us? The greatness of God lives at the level of ordinary things. It is natural for a woman, a homemaker, to notice an oversight, to look after the little things that make life pleasant. And that is how Mary acted.
“Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)
If our faith is weak, we should turn to Mary. Because of the miracle at the marriage feast at Cana, which Christ performed at his Mother’s request, his disciples learned to believe in him (cf. John 2:11). Our Mother is always interceding with her Son so that he may attend to our needs and show himself to us, so that we can cry out, “You are the Son of God.” Grant me, dear Jesus, the faith I truly desire. My Mother, sweet Lady, Mary most holy, make me really believe! Holy Rosary–Appendix, Wedding Feast at Cana
The Christian apostolate — and I’m talking about an ordinary Christian living as just one more man or woman among equals — is a great work of teaching. Through real, personal, loyal friendship, you create in others a hunger for God and you help them to discover new horizons — naturally, simply. With the example of your faith lived to the full, with a loving word, which is full of the force of divine truth. Be daring. Count on the help of Mary, queen of apostles. Without ceasing to be a mother, Our Lady is able to get each of her children to face his own responsibilities. Mary always does the immense favor of bringing to the cross, of placing face to face with the example of the Son of God, those who come close to her and contemplate her life. It is in this confrontation that Christian life is decided. And here Mary intercedes for us so that our behavior may lead to a reconciliation of the younger brother — you and me — with the firstborn Son of the Father. Many conversions, many decisions to give oneself to the service of God have been preceded by an encounter with Mary. Our Lady has encouraged us to look for God, to desire to change, to lead a new life. And so the “Do whatever he tells you” has turned into real self-giving, into a Christian vocation, which from then on enlightens all our personal life. Christ is Passing By, 149
The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the Kingdom.
And after John had been delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” And passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the sea (for they were fishermen). And Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left the nets, and followed him. (Mark 1:14-18)
The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). And all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them (Mark 2:13). Jesus sees the boats on the shore and gets into one of them. How naturally Jesus steps into the boat of each and everyone of us! When you seek to draw close to our Lord, remember that he is always very close to you, that he is in you: regnum Dei intra vos est (Luke 17:21). The kingdom of God is within you. You will find him in your heart. Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But in order for him to reign in me, I need his abundant grace. Only in that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my King. Duc in altum. Put out into deep water! Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you. Et laxate retia vestra in capturam. And pay out your nets for a catch! Holy Rosary–Appendix, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
When Christ began to preach on earth he did not put forward a political program. He said: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).” He commissioned his disciples to proclaim this good news (cfr. Luke 10:9) and he taught them to pray for the coming of the kingdom (cfr. Matthew 6:10). The kingdom of God and his justice — a holy life: that is what we must first seek (cfr. Mt. 6:33), that is the only thing really necessary (cfr. Luke 10:42). The salvation which our Lord Jesus Christ preaches is an invitation which he addresses to every person: “A king gave a marriage feast for his son, and he sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast (Matthew 22:2-3).” Therefore, our Lord shows that “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you (Luke 17:21).” No one is excluded from salvation, if he responds freely to the loving demands of Christ: to be born again (cfr. John 3:5); to become like children, in simplicity of spirit (cfr. Mark 10:15; Matthew 18:3; 5:3); to avoid everything which separates us from God. “…with difficulty will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23).” Jesus wants deeds, not just words (cfr. Matthew 7:21). And he wants us to make a determined effort, because only those who fight will merit the eternal inheritance (cfr. Matthew 11:12). Anyone who understands the kingdom Christ proposes, realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it. It is the pearl the merchant gets by selling all his property; it is the treasure found in the field (cfr. Matthew 13:44-46). The kingdom of heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it (cfr. Matthew 21:43, 8:12), but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors. One of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus pleaded with him: “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).” Christ’s kingdom is not just a figure of speech. Christ is alive; he lives as a man, with the same body he took when he became man, when he rose after his death, the glorified body which subsists in the person of the Word together with his human heart. Christ, true God and true man, lives and reigns. He is the Lord of the universe. Everything that lives is kept in existence only through him. Christ is Passing By, 180
“The kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm (Matthew 11:12).” This violence is not directed against others. It is a violence used to fight your own weaknesses and miseries, a fortitude which prevents you from camouflaging your own infidelities, a boldness to own up to the faith even when the environment is hostile. Christ is Passing By, 82
In the middle of his daily work, when he has to overcome his selfishness, when he enjoys the cheerful friendship of other people, a Christian should rediscover God. Through Christ and in the Holy Spirit, a Christian has access to the intimacy of God the Father, and he spends his life looking for the Kingdom which is not of this world, but which is initiated and prepared in this world. Christ is Passing By, 116
As long as we are awaiting the Lord’s return, when he will come to take full possession of his kingdom, we cannot afford to relax. Spreading the kingdom of God isn’t only an official task of those members of the Church who represent Christ because they have received sacred powers from him. “You are also the body of Christ (I Corr.. 12:27),” says the Apostle, with a specific command to fulfill. Christ is Passing By, 121
Since our first conscious decision really to follow the teaching of Christ, we have no doubt made good progress along the way of faithfulness to his word. And yet isn’t it true that there is still much to be done? Isn’t it true, particularly, that there is still so much pride in us? We need, most probably, to change again, to be more loyal and humble, so that we become less selfish and let Christ grow in us, for “He must become more and more, I must become less and less (John 3:30).” We cannot stay still. We must keep going ahead toward the goal St. Paul marks out: “It is not I who live, it is Christ that lives in me (Gal. 3:20).” This is a high and very noble ambition, this identification with Christ, this holiness. But there is no other way if we are to be consistent with the divine life God has sown in our souls in baptism. To advance we must progress in holiness. Shying away from holiness implies refusing our christian life its natural growth. The fire of God’s love needs to be fed. It must grow each day, gathering strength in our soul; and a fire is maintained by burning more things... Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues? Each one of us, silently, should answer these questions, and he will see that he needs to change again if Christ is to live in him, if Jesus’ image is to be reflected clearly in his behavior. Christ is Passing By, 58
The Transfiguration of Jesus Jesus is revealed in glory to Peter, James, and John.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. And his face shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking together with him. Then Peter addressed Jesus, saying, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here. If thou wilt, let us set up three tents here, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.' As he was still speaking behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him.' And on hearing it the disciples fell on their faces and were exceedingly afraid. And Jesus came near and touched them, and said to them, 'Arise, and do not be afraid.' But lifting up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus cautioned them, saying, 'Tell the vision to no one, till the Son of Man has risen from the dead.' (Matthew 17:1-9)
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2) Jesus, we want to see you, to speak to you! We want to contemplate you, immersed in the immensity of your beauty, in a contemplation that will never cease! It must be wonderful to see you, Jesus! It must be wonderful to see you and be wounded by your love! And a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5) Lord, we are ready to heed whatever you want to tell us. Speak to us: we are attentive to your voice. May your words enkindle our will so that we launch out fervently to obey you. Vultum tuum, Domine, requiram. (Ps 26:8) Lord, I long to see your face. I like to close my eyes and think that, when God wills, the moment will come when I will be able to see him, not as in a mirror dimly, but…face to face. (cf. I Corr. 13:12) Yes, my heart yearns for God, the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God? (cf. Psalms 41:3) Holy Rosary – Appendix, The Transfiguration
I will never share the opinion – though I respect it – of those who separate prayer from active life, as if they were incompatible. We children of God have to be contemplatives: people who, in the midst of the din of the throng, know how to find silence of soul in a lasting conversation with Our Lord, people who know how to look at him as they look at a Father, as they look at a Friend, as they look at someone with whom they are madly in love. The Forge, 738
Our being children of God, I insist, leads us to have a contemplative spirit in the midst of all human activities; to be light, salt and leaven through our prayer, through our mortification, through our knowledge of religion and of our profession. We will carry out this aim: the more within the world we are, the more we must be God's. The Forge, 740
Rest assured that it is not difficult to convert work into a prayerful dialogue. As soon as you offer it up and then set to work, God is already listening and giving encouragement. We acquire the style of contemplative souls, in the midst of our daily work! Because we become certain that he is watching us, while he asks us to conquer ourselves anew: a little sacrifice here, a smile there for someone who bothers us, beginning the least pleasant but most urgent job first, carefulness in little details of order, perseverance in the fulfillment of our duty when it would be so easy to abandon it, not leaving for tomorrow what should be finished today: and all this, to please him, our Father God! On your desk or in some inconspicuous place that nobody notices, you perhaps place your crucifix to awaken in you a contemplative spirit and to act as a textbook for your mind and soul where you learn the lessons of service. If you make up your mind to follow these ways of contemplation, in the midst of your ordinary work, without doing anything odd or withdrawing from the world, you will immediately feel that you are a friend of the Master, with the God-given task of opening up the divine ways of the earth to the whole of mankind. Yes. With your work you will help to spread Christ’s kingdom in every continent. You will offer up hour after hour of work for far-off lands which are being born to the faith, for the peoples of the East who are being cruelly forbidden to profess their faith, and for the traditionally Christian nations where it seems that the light of the Gospel has grown dim and souls are struggling in the obscurity of ignorance... Then, how valuable your hour of work becomes as you persevere with the same effort a little longer, a few minutes more, until the job is finished! In a simple and practical way you are converting contemplation into apostolate, seeing it as an imperative necessity of your heart, which beats in unison with the most sweet and merciful Heart of Jesus, Our Lord. Friends of God, 67
The Institution of the Eucharist Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.
And when the hour had come, he reclined at table, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have greatly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you that I will eat of it no more, until it has been fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ And having taken a cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and share it among you; for I say to you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God comes.’ And having taken bread, he gave thanks and broke, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In like manner he took also the cup after the supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you. (Luke 22:14-20)
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (Jn 13:1).” When our Lord instituted the Eucharist during the Last Supper, night had already fallen. The world had fallen into darkness, for the old rites, the old signs of God’s infinite mercy to mankind, were going to be brought to fulfillment. The way was opening to a new dawn—the new Passover. The Eucharist was instituted during that night, preparing in advance for the morning of the resurrection. Jesus has remained in the Eucharist for love ... for you. He has remained, knowing how men would treat him ... and how you would treat him. He has remained so that you could eat him, and visit him and tell him your concerns; and so that, by your prayer beside the tabernacle and by receiving him sacramentally, you could fall more in love each day, and help other souls, many souls, to follow the same path. Good child: see how lovers on earth kiss the flowers, the letters, the mementos of those they love... Then you, how could you ever forget that you have him always at your side—yes, Him? How could you forget ... that you can eat him? Lord, may I never again flutter along close to the ground. Illumined by the rays of the divine Sun—Christ—in the Eucharist, may my flight never be interrupted until I find repose in your Heart. Holy Rosary–Appendix, The Institution of the Eucharist
Let us begin by asking the Holy Spirit, from this moment on, to give us the grace to understand every word and gesture of Christ. Because we want to live a supernatural life, because our Lord has shown his desire to give himself to us as nourishment for our soul, and because we acknowledge that only he has “words of eternal life.”
Faith makes us profess in the words of Peter that “we have come to believe and to know that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” It is this faith, together with our devotion, that leads us to emulate the daring of John, to come close to Jesus and to rest on the breast of the Master, who loved those who were with him ardently, and who was to love them, as we have just read, to the end…Think of the human experience of two people who love each other, and yet are forced to part. They would like to stay together forever, but duty — in one form or another — forces them to separate. They are unable to fulfill their desire of remaining close to each other, so man’s love — which, great as it may be, is limited — seeks a symbolic gesture. People who make their farewells exchange gifts or perhaps a photograph with a dedication so ardent that it seems almost enough to burn that piece of paper. They can do no more, because a creature’s power is not as great as its desire. What we cannot do, our Lord is able to do. Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man, leaves us, not a symbol, but a reality. He himself stays with us. He will go to the Father, but he will also remain among men. He will leave us, not simply a gift that will make us remember him, not an image that becomes blurred with time, like a photograph that soon fades and yellows, and has no meaning except for those who were contemporaries. Under the appearances of bread and wine, he is really present, with his body and blood, with his soul and divinity. Christ is Passing By, 83
The important thing is that we should love the Mass and make it the center of our day. If we attend Mass well, surely we are likely to think about our Lord during the rest of the day, wanting to be always in his presence, ready to work as he worked and love as he loved. And so we learn to thank our Lord for his kindness in not limiting his presence to the time of the sacrifice of the altar. He has decided to stay with us in the host which is reserved in the tabernacle. For me the tabernacle has always been a Bethany, a quiet and pleasant place where Christ resides. A place where we can tell him about our worries, our sufferings, our desires, our joys, with the same sort of simplicity and naturalness as Martha, Mary and Lazarus. That is why I rejoice when I stumble upon a church in town or in the country; it’s another tabernacle, another opportunity for the soul to escape and join in intention our Lord in the Sacrament. Christ is Passing By, 154