Sunday, July 20, 2014


Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer: the official title of the Order  and the Congregation.

Being a visual person, I immediately got sidetracked by the various depictions of the Holy Redeemer.   In the pre-Vatican days, the sisters wore hand-painted disks which were tucked into a frame sewn over the heart of their habit as a reminder that she was to wear, as it were, all the divine virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ engraved on her heart as a seal as “a visible witness and ‘living memory’ of the Paschal Mystery of redemption in today’s world.”  Const. 1   Everyday, we Redemptoristines continue this practice when we put on a pin or necklace with the portrait of the Redeemer. 

In her autobiography, Ven. M. Celeste tells us she was about five years old when Jesus first spoke to her heart.   Years later, when she was in the Novitiate, Celeste received a vision of Jesus who made her understand that a new Institute should be founded in the world by means of her, and that all the rules and laws which should be observed in it would be an imitation of Him.  Two days later she had another vision of Jesus dressed in the colors of what was to be the habit of the new institute: a joyful dark red tunic that would remind the world of

God’s deep and infinite love for all humankind and a sky blue mantle to remind us our goal: heaven.   Jesus spoke to Celeste with these words, “I call you, dear soul, because I want you to be clothed with all the things that make Me beautiful, thus you will be the image of Me and I shall live a life of love in the world by dwelling in your heart.” Autobiography

What makes Jesus beautiful?  Looking at the traditional painting of the Holy Redeemer we see a blond, blue-eyed Jesus.  Perhaps to a dark-haired and eyed Neapolitan like Celeste, this appearance of Jesus was ethereal.   The contemporary depiction of the Holy Redeemer, to me, looks like Pierce Bronson.   Mighty attractive.  But...

But what makes a person beautiful?  It is their inner qualities.    Jesus told Celeste he was ‘Pure Love.’  That is who we are called to follow, Pure Love. 

How can we do this?  Your Constitution 5 states: “The more we strive to live the love of Christ, the more the thoughts and feelings of Christ will fill our spirit and our heart, the more we will become His faithful images and the more also will we be able to be true witnesses of the love of Him who is our beginning and our End, our Way and our Life, our Shepherd and our Master.” 

“Our response is to follow the path of the Redeemer. Our ideal is to make His purity, His simplicity, His obedience to the will of His Father, all His attitudes and all His choices truly our own.  The more we progress in this transformation of ourselves in Him, the more we will be able to be a living witness of His charity.  It is through the revelation of this charity that our brothers and sisters will discover in Jesus Christ the one Truth and the one Hope.”  Const. 14 

We are to be a living image of Christ’s redemptive presence in this world. Our whole life is to be that of Christ’s so with St. Paul we can say, “Life for me is Christ.”  Phil. 1:21 

How do we achieve this?   To follow the Redeemer is not easy.  We are called to share in the Paschal Mystery.  “Love of the cross is essentially love and imitation of Jesus Christ.” Const. 29   But, “We learn from Him the true way of humility and self-denial.” Const. 27   By taking time to “contemplate Him who is Pure Love itself, all our being becomes transparent in the light of Christ who is our all.” see Const. 16    “We find light and strength in the Word of God, and in the Eucharist so that we can, following the example of Christ, make of our whole life a sacrifice of praise to the glory of the Father.” see Const. 21

Today’s Gospel for Holy Redeemer Sunday comes from John and ends with, “Those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” Jn 3:21  

Our deeds are to be done in God.  That is our call to transformation into the Redeemer, “We strive to become a clear and radiant witness of God’s mysterious and utterly gratuitous love for us.  Const. 1   It is through Christ in fact, that we have known and received this love which is directed towards all but in a very special way towards the poorest in order that our brothers and sisters may be fully aware of the love by which they are eternally loved by Him.” Const. 4    

What makes Jesus, the Redeemer, beautiful to me?
Celeste says Jesus is like a Crystal I the Sun with facets reflecting the innumerable qualities of God      Unconditional Love, Mercy, Prince of Peace, Counsel, Lord of the Harvest, Son of Justice, Savior… 

How do I witness to God’s love for me?
When I share my story of God’s love and miracles in my life
Reaching out to others

How do I image Christ’s redemptive presence in the world?
What Would Jesus Do?
There is nothing created that has not been redeemed. Gorge Colon, CSsR
The Biblical definition of redeemed is when the closest relative gets back what was lost.  Jesus became our closest relative when he became man.

Are ‘my deeds’ done in God?
Do I do things for God or to be noticed?

Recommended book:
The Naked Now by Richard Rohr 

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