Preacher’s Sketchbook: Second Sunday in Lent

March 12, 2014

Preacher’s Sketchbook:

Sketchbook_Logo6Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory Board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa

Man does not merely have an inclination to evil…. But in truth the finest aspect of our mutability is the possibility of growth in good; and this capacity for improvement transforms the soul, as it changes, more and more into the divine. And so what appears so terrifying (I mean the mutability of our nature) can really be as a pinion in our flight towards higher things, and indeed it would be a hardship if we were not susceptible of the sort of change which is towards the better. One ought not then to be distressed when one considers this tendency in our nature; rather let us change in such a way that we may constantly evolve towards what is better, being “transformed from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18), and thus always improving and ever becoming more perfect by daily growth, and never arriving at any limit of perfection. For that perfection consists in our never stopping in our growth in good, never circumscribing our perfection by any limitation.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Now, it is proper to friendship that a man reveals his secrets to his friend: because friendship unites their affections, and of two hearts makes one…. The same union requires that he should share his belongings with him; because, since a man regards his friend as his other self, it follows that he will succor him as he would succor himself, by sharing his goods with him…. By loving God a man glows to gaze on his beauty.

Venerable Louis of Granada

Consider the remarkable stratagem which the Savior used to draw us to himself. He knows that men are more moved by the enjoyment of present goods than by the promise of those which are to come. Therefore, after he had preached to them,…he gave them a foretaste of that reward…. Jesus revealed to them a part of the accidental glory, namely, the clarity and beauty of a glorified body, and he did this for a good reason. The flesh is our greatest impediment in the journey of life. It most frequently leads us away from the imitation of Christ and prevents us from carrying the cross. Therefore, in order to encourage us, it was fitting that Christ reveal the splendor of the glorified body so that we would more readily apply ourselves to the struggle of the Christian life…. Consequently, even while God is bestowing his favors and consolations on the just soul, that soul should be thinking of the sufferings to be endured for him, for gifts such as these demand a return.

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar

In the experiences of extraordinary beauty…we are able to grasp a phenomenon in its distinctiveness that otherwise remains veiled. What we encounter in such an experience is as overwhelming as a miracle, something we will never get over. And yet it possesses its intelligibility precisely as a miracle; it is something that binds and frees at the same time… God interprets himself to man as love in the same way: God radiates love, which kindles the light of love in the heart of man, and it is precisely this light that allows man to perceive this, the absolute Love….

Servant of God Luigi Giussani

In our seeking, we must adhere first of all to our own natures and be mindful that the outcome of our search could well demand a radical change, a breaking through and beyond the limits of our own natures.



Second Sunday of Lent

Additional Preaching Resources

Image: Matthias Grünewald, An Apostle from the Transfiguration