This homily was given at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA on the memorial of St. Scholastica, February 10, 2023. The audio is available here.
Father Mark often warns us about the masculine tendency towards disintegration.
“After Eden,” after the Fall, we have to fight against this tendency to live a compartmentalized, disintegrated life.
And a particular danger for us men “after Eden” is that we might keep our supernatural love for God separate, compartmentalized away, from our “natural, human love” for others: our family, friends, parishioners.
By drawing a sharp line down the middle of our hearts—love for God, love for others—we might think that we’re giving God His rightful priority.
But this disintegration of our hearts gives rise to conflicts and wounds.
We hear in today’s Office of Readings how St. Benedict’s love for God causes a little conflict with his sister, St. Scholastica.
She begs him to stay; he says he can’t.
But St. Scholastica prays to God, and a storm rolls in that’s so intense, St. Benedict has to stay the night!
We hear that St. Scholastica received more from her prayers … because she loved more.
In the words of Pope Benedict, of happy memory, to love is to give an unconditional yes to the beloved: “Yes, it is good that you are here; I am for you; I love you; I am all yours.”
Scholastica loved with a more integrated, whole-hearted love, unconditional, unreserved: yes to God, yes to her brother! And God heard her prayer.
Today, in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gives His unconditional yes to us, as He gave it to Adam in the beginning: “Yes, you are very good. I love you. I am yours.”
And this yes of Jesus Christ transforms and integrates us, making our hearts whole.
Having received the yes of Jesus deeply into our hearts, we are made capable of true, integrated love, which is not only natural or supernatural, but the fruit of divinized humanity: transformed from within by the love of God.
Our hearts are no longer divided, but whole.
Our love is one God’s love, His love becomes ours, and we can begin to love God and others with God’s own love, which is ours, now, as well.
Today, at this Holy Mass, ask Jesus to open our hearts, as He opened the ears of the deaf man, to hear His unconditional yes to you.
Ask Jesus for the grace to share in His yes to others, by affirming them through love: “Yes, it is good that you exist. I am for you. This is my Body, my heart, my life, given up for you.”
This is what our people long for.
This is the very heart of spiritual fatherhood in Christ.
And like St. Scholastica, we who have received the yes of Jesus Christ and who share it with others will receive whatever we ask from the Lord, because our hearts are one with His in the communion of love.