Thursday, May 17, 2012

Archbishop Mark Coleridge - quotes St Bonaventure

Dear Friends
I just want to share this passage of Archbishop Mark Coleridge's homily at his intallation ceremony to the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia 11 May 2012.

It is just BEAUTIFUL............. AWESOME

Through the years, the glimpse I had then has become a dazzling vision of the truth of the Cross, which is why I have as my episcopal motto the words we have heard today from John’s Gospel, Sanguis et aqua, Blood and water:  “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came forth blood and water”.
In offering this great symbol, the evangelist looks back to the passage from the prophet Ezekiel that we have heard proclaimed.  The prophet sees a stream of water flowing from the inner sanctum of the Jerusalem Temple, the Holy of Holies; and we have echoed his words in the Vidi aquam chanted as I entered the Cathedral.  The stream becomes a great river flowing east into the Judean desert and down to the Dead Sea.  Wherever the water goes, it turns death to life.  The desert becomes a garden, and the Dead Sea teems with life.
In the Gospel of John, the Temple where the glory of God dwells is no longer the sanctuary of Ezekiel’s vision.  It is the body of the dead Christ; and from the side of that new Temple there flows another river – not just water, but now blood and water, flowing out into the cosmos, turning all death to life.  St Paul speaks the same truth in different words:  “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).  There is no weakness that cannot become strength, if we allow the power that raised Jesus from the dead to touch us at that point of weakness; and that power is the self-sacrificing love of God.
This is the vision that has come to me in deeply personal ways through the years.  But what is most personal is also most ecclesial; what is true of me is true also of the Church.  The great Christian teachers speak of the Church, the Bride of Christ, as born from the wounded side of the Lord.  St John Chrysostom says that “it was from his side that Christ formed the Church, as from the side of Adam he formed Eve.  As God took a rib from Adam’s side and formed woman, so Christ gave us blood and water from his side and formed the Church.  Just as then he took the rib while Adam was in deep sleep, so now he gave the blood and water after his death”.
According to St Bonaventure, the soldier with his spear was made to breach the wall of the new Temple “so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the Cross”.  He goes on:  “Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life eternal”.  Bonaventure concludes:  “Press your lips to the fountain, drawing water from the wells of your Saviour; for this is the spring flowing from the middle of Paradise, dividing into four rivers, inundating devout hearts, watering the whole earth and making it fertile”.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge

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