March 16, 2022
Drinking the Chalice
Whoever desires to be greater among you, let him be your minister. And whoever desires to be first among you will be your servant. O heavenly philosophy! O divinely marvelous teaching! Would that all men would write it deep in their hearts. Does anyone reach such a state of madness that, knowing himself to be free, he nonetheless desires to be a slave and strives with all his strength to become one? And yet there are those who strive to be over others, as the Lord implies when he says: Whoever desires to be first among you will be your servant. Chrysostom, followed by Saint Basil, says that it is good to desire a good work, but vanity to seek the first place. The same thought is implicit in the fact that our Supreme Pontiff calls himself, not lord, but servant of the servants of Christ.
Finally, in order that his disciples may better learn this serious lesson, Jesus offers Himself as a wonderful example, when he says: The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for the many. This is a brilliantly clear mirror which it befits pastors of the Church to have always and everywhere before their eyes, so that they may be humble and poor in spirit. He who certainly knew how tyrannical ambition can become and what a loss it can inflict on angels and human beings, came humbly from heaven in order to tear down the tower of Babel by the strength of His huminity. Though he was in the form of God, He did not think of equality with God as something to be snatched at, but he emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, in order to transport us to the heavenly realm above.
Beloved, I plead with you to contemplate with the whole power of your mind the humiliating death Christ died and to follow in His steps. Do not desire first place in this life, as the two apostles did, for like the grass of the field it quickly withers and disappears, as Isaiah warns us. Let us drink the Lord’s cup and freely carry His cross, while crying out with David: What return shall I make to the Lord for all that He has given to me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. For precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones. And this, according to Saint Jerome, is what it means to drink the chalice of the Lord: to be dead to our desires and the world and to lead an innocent life with Christ, who has made this promise: To the one who overcomes as I have overcome, I will give the right to sit on my throne as I sit on the throne of my Father. To Him be glory and honor through endless ages. Amen.
SAINT ALONSO DE OROZCO
Saint Alonso (+ 1591) an Augustinian friar and great preacher of the court of Spain under Charles V, was the author of many spiritual treatises.