Holy Thursday, Day of Light

by Marie-Benoîte ANGOT

“On our journey that leads us towards Easter, we enter into the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week.

However, right in the middle of these holy days there is one, in particular, which is known as the day of Light, and to reference it, Pope John Paul II made it a Mystery of Light of the Holy Rosary: It is Holy Thursday (cf. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae).

With the grace we receive on this day, our desire is intense to live it more fully. The Love of the Eucharist which is at the heart of the Houses of Adoration, invites us especially.

In fact, the institution of the Holy Eucharist is effected on this day:

  • The Joy of His Birth : the Eucharistic Christ’s Birth.
  • The Light of a New Gift : the Body and Blood of Christ given to man as a seal of the New and Eternal Covenant.
  • The suffering of the Passion: the Agony and the Death of the Son of God.
  • The glory of Easter: the Christ and the Resurrection, and, in hope, ourselves with Him, awaiting His Return.
  • Joy, Light Sorrow and Glory: all the Mysteries of the Life of Christ are Present in the Supper of Our Lord.

These are also the mysteries of the life of every disciple of Christ that bears the beautiful name of Christian. They offer the joy, light, suffering along the way, and glory besides, as well as hope. Holy Thursday is an intense day.

It is a moment in time where the heart of the whole Church beats more strongly. It is a moment where the heart of every Christian, attached to Christ, is more united to Him. Each House of Adoration is therefore at the cenacle, surrounding Jesus, and more so, with its head inclined on His Breast, like Saint John, listening to the Beat of His Heart. Each of us has a more active awareness of this precious gift, in our celebration and adoration of the Eucharist.

The Holy Thursday liturgy offers us the experience to live what is proposed in the apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis,” in the intrinsic relationship between celebration and adoration (cf. n66). The celebration of the Last Supper is in fact followed by a long period of adoration at the Altar of Repose.

It is in the “wonder of worship” (Sacramentum Caritatis n.95) that we can receive fully the gift of the Eucharist. We are replenished by the Source of Love, immersed in the Living Water, with our brothers, and we follow our path accompanied by Mary, “Woman of the Eucharist”, in the ardent hope of the approaching Encounter.

  • Good and Holyday of the Lord’s Supper.
  • Good and Holy Feast of Easter, in the worship of the Living Christ!
  • Let the love of the Eucharist always be at the heart of the life of the Houses of Adoration.”
The Climb to Bethlehem

by Marie-Benoîte Angot

On this holy day of Christmas, we especially turn our eyes towards the Holy Family, to understand how to live in our homes. It is the most beautiful model offered to us.

“Joseph, he also left the town of Nazareth in Galilee to travel to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem.”

Leaving the house, to journey to meet Jesus, specifically to Bethlehem, to the house of “Bread,” this is the approach each one of us is called to make.

The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem already foreshadows the gift of Bread, the Living Bread.

And it is this small living being, flesh and blood, Who was born in Bethlehem.

This was necessary so that each of us can welcome Him, His Whole Being, His Flesh and Blood, the Word Incarnate.

Not only Mary and Joseph,

not only the shepherds,

but each of us, for the rest of time, is called to journey to Bethlehem to discover the Living Bread and to receive Him in a state of wonder and worship.

But once the event of Christmas has passed, it is necessary to return to Nazareth, to discover the hidden life of Jesus. It foreshadows the hidden Life of the Eucharist, until His return in glory. The little House of Nazareth is our home. It is our model. It is the home of our hearts, where we hide in its depths, the mystery of the Presence of Jesus, in us. It is at the same time, the home, built with materials, where we live and where we ought to have a strong desire, to make it a place of holiness.

To help us with this, the following text written by Cardinal Ratzinger, in deep affinity with the Houses of Adoration, will root us in this way:

In thanksgiving for all that we have received throughout the year, may you have a happy and holy Christmas.

The little House of Nazareth, root of the Church

by Cardinal Joseph RATZINGER
« Our God, Jesus-Christ »

French edition (translated) Fayard 1977

A way that is too sentimental to evoke the life of Jesus Christ is misleading, because it reduces its mystery. We need to look elsewhere for the origin of venerating the Holy Family.

It was Cardinal Laval of Canada in the 18th century who nurtured this, making an appeal to the laity to take ownership for it. The cardinal acknowledged the need to give the colonial populace, a solid and social structure, to prevent it, from failing, from the faults of their heritage and traditions. He did not have sufficient priests to form Eucharistic communities constitutionally…. He therefore transferred all his attention towards the family. The life of prayer was entrusted to the father of the family.

1) The home and the family are a Church

It is in Nazareth where we discover that the home and the family are a church and we take account of the priestly responsibility of the head of the family.

In the “Galilee of the gentiles” Jesus receives a Jewish education.

Without going to school, he learns about the scriptures, in the home, where we find the hearth of the Word of God.

2) The roots of the Great Church are hidden in the atmosphere of Nazareth

The meagre hints in the Gospel of Luke are enough to give us an idea of the spirit of responsibility and openness, as well as fervour, and the righteousness, that characterises this community, and that made it a reality of the True Israel.

But we also recognise, before everything, in Jesus’ behaviour, He Who read the scriptures, and knew them with an understanding of a master – in a way that dominates the rabbinical traditions, how much communal life, lived in Nazareth, was fruitful, as a result of this apprenticeship.

And all this should not concern us in anyway, should it? Because we also live in an era where the majority of Christians, are forced to live in a “pagan Galilee.” ?

Our Great Church can neither prosper, nor grow, if we leave it by ignoring its roots that are found hidden in the atmosphere of Nazareth.

3) The Last Place

The real mystery of Nazareth has been discovered in a new way, in its deepest context, without his contemporaries even perceiving it. It was Charles de Fourcauld, who found Nazareth “at the last place”, after searching for it. During his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, it was the place that moved him the most. He somehow did not feel called to follow the footsteps of Jesus, in His public life. It was Nazareth instead that seized his heart most deeply. (M. Carraiges, Charles de Foucauld, mystical explorer. Cerf 1958).

  • He wanted to follow the silent, poor, hardworking Jesus.
  • He wanted to accomplish to the letter of the Word of Jesus “when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place at the table” Luke 14,10.
  • He knew that Jesus Himself had given the explanation of the Word, by first of all, living it.
  • He knew that, even before dying on the Cross, naked and without the least good, Jesus chose Nazareth as the last place.

4) The New Covenant begins in the little home of the Virgin

By entering into the experience of Nazareth in the powerful meditation of Jesus, Charles de Foucauld opened a new way for the Church. It was a point of departure, to rediscover its poverty, both in idea, as well as in reality.

Nazareth has a permanent message for the Church. The New Covenant did not begin in the Temple, neither on the Mount, but in the little home of the Virgin, in the house of the worker, in one of the forgotten places of “pagan Galilee,” where no one expected anything good to happen.

It was from there, that the Church could make a fresh start, and to heal. The Church could not ever provide the True answer to the revolt of our century, against the power of wealth, if, even among its members, Nazareth was not a living reality.