Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

(Missale Romanum 1970) 

O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world, illuminate our hearts, we pray, with the splendor of Your grace, that we may always ponder what is worthy and pleasing to Your majesty and love You in all sincerity. Through Christ our Lord.

The ascription clause in this Post-Communion Collect quotes St. John’s Prologue: “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (Jn. 1:9, RSV). This true light to whom St. John refers is Christ Himself, whom he calls the “Word.” He calls Jesus by this title, because he knows Him to be the perfect expression and articulation of God the Father, and therefore, the one who conveys divine grace and truth in a preeminent way, because He Himself is One with the Father (Jn. 1:1, 17 and 10:30).

Today’s Gospel of the healing of the blind man is utilized by St. John precisely to indicate this reality which he forecasts in the Prologue, as commentators note. Even as Jesus heals a blind man and draws him to the light of faith, the Pharisees (who can plainly see the effect of the miracle) nevertheless are blinded by pride and refuse to come to faith in Jesus, who is “the Light of the world” (Jn. 8:12, 9:39-41).  

As followers of Christ, we want to be like the man who was born blind and subsequently healed by Christ. We want to progress more deeply in our knowledge of and love for Jesus, not to regress into the darkness of willful ignorance and sin, as the self-righteous and overconfident Pharisees did. This is the sense of our Post-Communion Collect, and so, we can see how it dovetails nicely with our Gospel.

We, who have received Christ the Light in Holy Communion ask Him for an increase in the grace and truth St. John tells us He came to bring. More specifically, the petition clause - “ponder what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty and love you in all sincerity”- is a request for an increase in the gifts of faith and charity. Sincere love for Jesus is what is characteristic of the blind man. He pondered over what had been done to him (this is faith), and when called upon to witness and manifest this faith, did so fearlessly, and ultimately, came to adore Christ (charity) when He revealed His divine identity. In a very real sense, it was his progressive deepening in faith that led him to adore and love Jesus to the highest degree. By analogy, this is what we pray for in our Post-Communion.

Faith allows us also penetrate into the mysteries of Christ’s revelation of the Father, pondering them prayerfully in our minds like the man born blind. This is what baptismal catechesis is all about for adult converts who make a public profession of faith. Such catechesis is nevertheless still integral for all the baptized, no matter how well-catechized we might already be. Why? The faith is as deep and broad as God Himself, its object, and so, growth in the wisdom and knowledge of revelation is an ongoing project. Likewise, “pondering what is worthy and pleasing to Christ’s majesty” is about recognizing His utterly benevolent lordship, and how everything else in life must yield first place to Him, who is supremely worthy of our sincere adoration and love. May our communion in Christ the light-giver, enable us to participate in the celebration of His Passion and Resurrection with deeper faith and love. 


(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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