Jubilee Interior

The Golden Jubilee Year --- beginning on Christmas Eve, when Pope John Paul II officially opens the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican --- is an unusual year of superabundant graces. In response to the Pope's call, we are doing what we can to help with the celebration. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing!" (1Thess 5: 17-18) The following spiritual tips are based on the common unceasing three-step-cycle of spiritual growth ---- i.e., unceasing illumination, unceasing purification and unceasing union with God in love. As our soul lives on unceasingly, this unceasing practice is therefore possible, at least in our attitude, desire and intention. At the same time, it has to be balanced at all times with our unceasing confidence, hope and rest in the boundless love of God, the most loving, most merciful and most forgiving Most Holy Trinity. The latter, in fact, is an reaffirming sign of our constant union with God in love.

Naturally, the true fruit of a healthy balance between the two above should produce for us greater, indeed even in some manner unceasing fruit of the Holy Spirit --- i.e., "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal 5:22-23) in the Most Holy Trinity. Alleluia! Is this fruit of the Spirit not what we really desire? Is it not what the Most Holy Trinity really desires to give each of us?

Unceasing Illumination/ God does not cease to illuminate us. God the Father, the Son and/or the Holy Spirit can be speaking to us at any moment. Let us be completely open to God's unceasing illumination everywhere. Whenever we attend Mass, for example, let us be attentive to the illumination given by the sacred readings, the sermon, the liturgy itself and any personal message coming from God. If we cannot attend Mass every day, let us at least spend sufficient time daily to listen and talk to our all-knowing and all-loving God. We will be surprised of the amount of blessings we are given, as well as the number of temptations we are being guarded against.

Unceasing Purification or Repentance/ This is best exemplified, for example, by many Eastern Christian monks who pray the Jesus Prayer daily, repeating: "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner!" Frankly speaking, whenever we no longer need any more purification or repentance, we will have a) entered Heaven, b) become a great saint, or c) we are simply deceived by the depths of our unexamined pride and sins.

As we all know, God gives great graces to the humble. St Augustine once said that the three secrets of spiritual growth are: "Humility, humility and humility". He also said if the same question were to be asked a hundred times, the answer would exactly be the same.

Unceasing Union with God in Love/ Without exaggeration, one of the best ways for a deep illumination, purification and union with God is weekly Confession. We will be surprised of the speedy growth. If it is indeed impossible, go to Confession at least once a month.

At the same time, let us spend a God-pleasing amount of time daily in loving union with the Most Holy Trinity in the Holy Eucharist! There is absolutely no better way other than receiving the Holy Eucharist daily during the Holy Celebration and Sacrifice of the Mass. When we receive the Lord, are we not receiving the whole of Uncreated Heaven? Human speaking --- unless God puts us in a spiritual desert --- receiving God once daily is at least a tiny, little taste of Heaven, and twice is definitely a double bonus.

There are of course countless other ways to practice constant loving union with God outside of daily Mass, such as saying our morning offering prayer with the intention of doing everything for the love of God.

God is "fire" (Heb 12:29), "light" (1Jn 1:5) and "love" (1Jn 4:8). By all appearances, when we pray fervently and sufficiently a day (say, four hours or so), it would be impossible not to begin being inflamed in varying degrees with God's radiant fire, light and love, for both God and others (cf. George A. Maloney, S.J., Why Not Become Totally Fire? The Power of Fiery Prayer, 1989). Countless examples can be given by those who have prayed fervently during a truly Spirit-filled retreat, conference or all-night adoration, etc. In the proper sense, "Christians should be the greatest lovers on earth" (ibid, p. 91)! There may be, then, a lot of home work for us to do.

Let us continue to allow God to bless us more and more with this three-step-cycle of spiritual growth. It appears to be a substantial part of the Interior Jubilee which Rev. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pope's Preacher, has spoken of. Alleluia!

Last update: January 25, 2000