Hubert van Zeller

JESUS: The Dying Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 12, 2017

The Roman soldiers watched our Lord die but gave him little attention; they were rolling dice at the time.  Zacharias, five hundred years earlier, had prophesied that they shall look on him whom they pierced.  Mary, John, and the holy women “looked on” the dead Christ but they had not pierced him.  Nor had Nicodemus and Joseph.  The crowds had gone, and the priests and Roman officials who were responsible for the piercing had not been present anyway.  So apart from the unimpressed guards, who would not have stayed on longer than they had to, to whom is the prophesy most applicable?  To ourselves.  We are not in the position of casual bystanders or military torturers: we know that here is the Second Person of the Holy [...]

JESUS: The Suffering Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 11, 2017

From To Be In Christ We are told in the Fioretti that, Through love and compassion Francis was wholly changed into Jesus.  This took place initially on Mount La Verna but persisted for the rest of the saint’s life.  The transformation seems to have been immediate, though clearly Francis had been preparing for it, without knowing what was to come, since he first set himself on the way to perfection.  This kind of change is something which, less dramatically, should be taking place in all of us.  The passage quoted adds: The marks of the nails began anon to appear on the hands and feet of Saint Francis.  The word “anon” and later the word “after a space” would seem to show that the significant grace was the [...]

JESUS: The Universality of Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

April 10, 2017

From To Be In Christ Our Lord makes it clear in his last discourse to his disciples that his prayer, and therefore his work of salvation, is not for them only but for all.  He prays to the Father, that the world may believe that you sent me so shall the world know that you sent me.  If our Christianity truly reflects the mind of Christ animating our minds, it must look to the whole of mankind.  If it is to be a supernatural religion and not a sectarian movement, it must be supranational: no racial, cultural, political divisions.  Jesus prayed that his followers might be one – that all may be one, as you, Father are in me and I in you– and though his followers have never yet been so united, the ideal of unity and catholicity still [...]

JESUS: The Accessibility Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 8, 2017

In spite of the uncompromising nature of his doctrine, there was nothing of the harshness about Jesus which is sometimes found in religious people.  He could be stern as we have seen, but he was never dismissive.  Love itself, love from whom all humanity springs, how could he have been unlovable?  The word, “amiable,” (admittedly a weak word to act as an adjective to Jesus, and one which describes only a manner), derives from the Latin, “amabilis.”  Critical commentators have made much of the absence of any reference in the gospels to our Lord laughing or smiling.  The implication is that his facial expression was forbidding rather than welcoming.  How, we ask, can an unsmiling man be reconciled with the [...]

JESUS: The Firmness Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 6, 2017

From To Be In Christ Following what has been said about Jesus accepting his place in the pattern of life willed for him by the Father, we should not forget how forthright he was in laying down the principles which it was his mission to teach.  Where truth, love, morality, the Father’s glory were concerned, he did not yield an inch to the prevailing pressures.  In fact he went beyond the accepted moral standards of the Law.  You have heard that it was said to them of old, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ but I say to you whosoever is angry with his brother….  You have heard that it was said to them of old, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ but I say to you whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after [...]

JESUS: The Acceptance Of Jesus, by Hubert van Zeller

April 4, 2017

From To Be In Christ That Jesus accepted the Father’s will at every moment of his life is not in question.  That he submitted to the yoke of the Roman occupation and to the authority of the Levitical priesthood is clear from a number of incidents recorded in the gospels.  What we are more concerned with here is with such everyday circumstances as we might ourselves experience.  His patience must often have been tried by the obtuseness of his disciples, by the tepid service given to the Father on the part of those who considered themselves religious, by the disappointments he met with in his work, by the legalism and exaggerated ritualism which prevailed everywhere he turned, by the want of consistency and above all by the absence [...]

JESUS: To Act In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

April 1, 2017

From To Be In Christ Man sees the appearance, the Lord told Samuel, but the Lord looks into the heart.  When we speak today of the heart we think of the emotions, and because we know that religion and spirituality are to do primarily with the will, we tend to be suspicious of references to the heart in the literature of the spirit.  But since the Bible mentions the word 176 times, we can conclude that the heart is above reproach.  As the terminus a quo the heart should be thought of as the most significant area in the human makeup.  What comes from the heart gives to human action its character.  The heart is more, even, than the launching pad: it accompanies the rocket on its flight. If there is nothing in the heart, there will be [...]

JESUS: To Speak In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

March 30, 2017

From To Be In Christ In taking on man’s human nature, Jesus took on man’s human powers and skills.  Among the powers was the power of speech, and every word he uttered was to the glory of the Father.  Among the skills was the ability to make tables and chairs, and everything he turned out was again to the glory of God.  We are here more concerned with the gift of speech than with the gift of being able to handle a carpenter’s tools perfectly. The gift of communication by word of mouth is granted in the natural order to all except the dumb, and as in the case of all other gifts, the question depends upon how it is used.  Saint James asks how the one spring can gush forth fresh water and foul; how a fig tree can produce [...]

JESUS: To Think In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

March 28, 2017

From To Be In Christ Saint Paul exhorts us to “have the mind of Christ.”  He knows that if we think as Jesus thinks we shall be living in charity, and he will be living in us.  It must follow that our works, values, decisions, and prayers will carry the seal of his spirit.  There are three things which characterize a Christian, says Saint Gregory of Nyssa in his Christian Perfection, namely action, speech, thought.  The origin of every word is thought.  After thinking comes speech, which reveals in words the idea which has been conceived in the mind.  After thought and speech comes action, which realizes the thoughts in deeds.  Later in the same treatise Saint Gregory elaborates as follows: That which is pure of every [...]

JESUS: To Pray In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

March 25, 2017

When the church concludes its official prayers with the words, Through Christ our Lord, it is not just repeating a formula or letting the faithful know that the prayer has come to an end.  The church means it – theologically.  Whether we state it explicitly or not, all our prayers are made through Christ and in him and with him.  If they are not, they are abstract prayers, and not Christian prayers at all.  Christian prayer assumes the communication between the Son and the Father, and, implicitly, at least, moves into the relationship.  Christian prayer does not tie itself down to the consideration of episodes in our Lord’s life and to the mysteries of the gospel.  Christian prayer may even, in the act of contemplation for [...]

JESUS: To Love In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

March 22, 2017

From To Be In Christ It follows logically from the foregoing that if we live Christ’s life we love with Christ’s love.  His life is all love; his spirit is all love.  It is not so much that his love “rubs off” on us but that it actually animates us and “informs” our every activity.  We breathe his spirit, and since his spirit is love we love with his love.  Our love such as it is, is nothing without grace, nothing without his spirit.  We have not invented what love there is in us; we cannot fashion charity as we can fashion a rose garden or an omelette.  The most we can do is direct it from him within us to him outside us.  Our love for others, provided it is in charity and not in worldly desire, [...]

JESUS: To Live In Christ, by Hubert van Zeller

March 20, 2017

From To Be In Christ To live in Christ is, in the widest sense, to live in a state of grace.  It is a gift but a gift which God does not deny to anyone.  What we are more particularly considering in these pages is the development of the gift.  All are invited to develop the life of Christ in the soul, and those who set themselves to do so are actively and progressively on the way to identification: identification with the divine person so far as is possible in this life, leading to the fullest identification to be enjoyed eternally in Heaven.  Christ incorporates us into his life at baptism, offers his life to us in countless ways as we mature in our religious formation, and finally crowns us with the grace of divine union. Though [...]