The Chain of Love and Living the Mass (Part V of V Lenten Series)
Editor’s note: In the first part of this series, we introduced the concept of the Chain of Love, from Venerable Concepción Cabrera’s Spirituality of the Cross. Part II examined how we are to live our baptismal priesthood and briefly looked at the concept of the fourteen rules of the Chain of Love. In part III, we explored the idea of seeing with the eyes of Jesus and we went into greater detail on the rules of the Chain of Love. The fourth part, looked at how the Chain helps us learn to be tempered to love through suffering. Today’s post connects the Chain of Love with living out the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in our daily lives.
Just before beginning this last post on the Chain of Love my family went to the KC [Knights of Columbus] fish fry. After finishing a workout, which made us arrive late to the KC Hall, I was hungry. Good news, there was no line at all, but more: there was no pie, no Texas toast or baked potatoes. In truth however, what really was missing was my virtue. I was pouting and wanted to say, “Just give us our money back: no pie; and I don’t like French fries.” I didn’t say anything and just ate in the interior rub. To live the “Chain of Love,” hits close to home to bring to the surface areas where we are immature and selfish. Jesus wants to clean our crannies and equip us to be offered with Him for others. He wants us to learn to “Love and imitate Mary in her obedience to God and man,” rule 8 of the Chain of love.
Father Luis Ruiz Vazquez in Priestly Oblation of Christ and Priestly Dimension of Baptism in Concepción Cabrera de Armida directs us further to “Let the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Priesthood, be our model to understand Jesus, our standard.”[i] She helps us empathize with Jesus, to understand His Heart that was tattered by the multitude of small acts of selfishness He saw in the people around Him. From the beginning, Jesus felt a passion to be offered, to redeem us from original sin. The Chain of Love and Mary show us a systematic plan to untwist our hearts and fuse to Jesus in His mission. Mary shows us each how to distinctively make our lives a “living Mass”.
Mary guides us to progress through stages in living the Mass. She teaches us how to be moved by the plight of others, from the heart, so our offering of self will be real and not simply a rule that we follow. Manuel Ruiz, M.Sp.S. says in Cadena de Amor, “In fact, the Eucharist expresses a relationship of profound identification with the immolation on Calvary.”[ii] Manuel encourages us to participate in the action of the Mass in the liturgy and in the points of interior rub of our days. Offer everything, the good, the struggle, the joys and the pains. Our life line is to follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit like Mary at the foot of the Cross, and learn to “prolong and continue the priestly oblation of Jesus.”
Father Luis Ruiz tells us that each of us must undergo an “evolution in the experience of the Chain of Love to learn to habitually offer oneself with Jesus, to prolong the attitudes of Christ in our own souls, to participate in His internal Cross, which is progressive and simultaneous.” We must be impelled by the Holy Spirit, like Mary was, to continually unite our life to the life of Jesus, to “a constant prolongation of the acts and intentions of Jesus and a continual grieving for sin.” We do this according to our capacity. The Chain of Love addresses the lifestyle of the virtues where Jesus can be birthed in us to live and to offer the Mass through us, like he did in Venerable Concepciόn Cabrera.
Jesus told Venerable Concepciόn: “I would want that there be given a powerful impulse to this expiatory act, uniting victim to the Great Victim…and those united offer me and are offered in union with me.”[iii] As Ruiz suggests, “All those who live the Chain of Love will have their life, one continual Mass for the glory of the Father, consoling the Heart of Jesus and reigning under the Holy Spirit.”[iv]
Father Luis Ruiz encourages us to undertake this integrated pattern of intentional holiness through the virtues in the Chain of Love by degree. He shares, “It is clear that according to the degree of the spiritual life of each soul, a more or less permanent profile of something of these forms (lifestyle of self offering) will appear.” Our task in implementing the Chain is to pray with each of the rules to see which one the Holy Spirit hits us with and moves us to implement first. In a thirty day process in a retreat center in Jesus Maria, Mexico, Father Luis Ruiz, directs each person to notice each rule of the Chain but personally focus on the one link of the fourteen rules, that the Holy Spirit directs them to. Each of us has a linchpin or key issue in the spiritual life that we must address in order to emulate and be transformed to Jesus.
While there are consistent stages in living the Mass that we progress through that we can explore in a future series, start small by examining your day each evening Where was Jesus and when did you forget Him. I suppose Mary would not have been violated because she didn’t get her pie!
[i] Father Luis Ruiz Vazquez in Priestly Oblation of Christ and Priestly Dimension of Baptism in Concepción Cabrera de Armida, p 48 unpublished English translation.
[ii] Manuel Ruiz, Cadena de Amor, Ediciones Cimiento, Second Edition, p. 30, Spanish edition.
[iii] Father Luis Ruiz Vazquez in Priestly Oblation of Christ and Priestly Dimension of Baptism in Concepción Cabrera de Armida, p 48 unpublished English translation
[iv] Father Luis Ruiz Vazquez in Priestly Oblation of Christ and Priestly Dimension of Baptism in Concepción Cabrera de Armida, p 48 unpublished English translation.
Art: Detail from Crucifixion, Evgraf Semenovich Sorokin, 1873, PD-US copyright expired, Wikimedia Commons. Venerable Concepción Cabrera de Armida, used with permission.
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