Author Topic: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?  (Read 458 times)

Offline Xavier

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Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« on: July 28, 2018, 05:40:25 AM »
Melchizedech has to be one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible. Every Catholic Priest knows the words of Psa 109:3 "The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.", spoken first of Christ. Melchizedech had offered a Sacrifice to God under the form of Bread and Wine and blessed the Patriarch Abraham. He therefore foreshadows and typifies the Christian Priesthood.

He seems to have come out of nowhere, and all of a sudden, without any recorded geneaology(the Prophet Moses gives us the genealogy of almost everybody going back to Adam in Genesis!), in Gen 14, has been ordained Priest and appointed King (genealogies were specifically required for Priests and Kings!), seemingly by God Himself! Abraham treats him with utmost reverence, highly unusual behavior toward an apparently non-Hebrew Priest and King. What can explain this?

Although both opinions are found in the commentaries, it seems "Melchizedek" was a Theophany of the pre-Incarnate Christ, and is a Messianic title, and a proof of His Pre-existence and Divinity (the Lord adduces the Psalm as proof of the Messiah's Divinity), and for that reason was as yet "without father, without mother", as the Apostle says. The other interpretation is relatively weaker. Also, by this interpretation, the Priesthood first came to the line of Abraham only through Christ.

St. Paul says in Hebrews 7:1 "For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him:
7:2  To whom also Abraham divided the tithes of all: who first indeed by interpretation is king of justice: and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace:
7:3  Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever."

St. Ambrose comments: "Melchisedech, who is introduced without father, without mother, having neither beginning of days, nor ending, but like the Son of God, of Whom Paul says to the Hebrews: “that He remaineth a priest for ever,” Who in the Latin version is called King of righteousness and King of peace.
46. Do you recognize Who that is? Can a man be king of righteousness, when himself he can hardly be righteous? Can he be king of peace, when he can hardly be peaceable? He it is Who is without mother according to His Godhead, for He was begotten of God the Father, of one substance with the Father; without a father according to His Incarnation, for He was born of a Virgin; having neither beginning nor end, for He is the beginning and end of all things, the first and the last. The sacrament, then, which you received is the gift not of man but of God, brought forth by Him Who blessed Abraham the father of faith, whose grace and deeds we admire.
47. We have proved the sacraments of the Church to be the more ancient, now recognize that they are superior."

From: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/210/2100283.htm

Thoughts?
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 
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Offline An aspiring Thomist

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 10:36:03 AM »
I think many say he is Shem or something; that he was Abraham’s great great... grandfather. I forget the evidence and name but Shem just comes to mind.
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 10:46:07 AM »
I think many say he is Shem or something; that he was Abraham’s great great... grandfather. I forget the evidence and name but Shem just comes to mind.

This is the Rabbinic understanding. St. Ephraim of Syria shared the belief. Some argue that it doesn't work with the Septuagint chronology, but only with the Masoretic.
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2018, 04:03:09 PM »
I dislike the idea that Melchizedech was a theophany, because then he wouldn't be a true type, because (as I understand it) a type symbolises or foreshadows something which is greater than itself.

St. Paul talks about priests according to the "order of Melchizedech" are such according to spirit and not according to blood, meaning that they are priest "forever"; whereas the Levitical priesthood was passed on by blood inheritance and presumably has no lasting status beyond this life.

My guess is this. In the ancient world, there were those who kept alive the worship of the true God according to the primitive revelation given to mankind in the person of Adam. Abraham was only one such man, until he was given a special revelation by God and became the "father of all believers", the father of Abrahamic revelation/religion. I imagine that Melchizedech was also a man of this sort. He did not gain his priesthood through genealogy, but by the fact that he was a righteous man who worshiped the true God (in fact, every man who believes in God and offers Him suitable sacrifice can be called "priest" in the widest sense), and was king. It was common in the ancient world for emperors / kings to also function as the high priest of their society, which makes sense seeing as the priest's role is to act as intercessor between God and man, and the king as the father of the people would naturally take on a priestly role so as to draw down God's blessing on his people (in China, the emperor was expected every year to offer the "border sacrifice" to "Shangdi" [The Most High God], even up to modern times). The reason that Abraham payed him such respect was, (1) he recognised he was a righteous man and a worshiper of the true God like himself, (2) he was a king, (3) it was expected to pay respect to your host when received by them. Therefore, the specific identity of Melchezidech is not that important, though the Shem hypothesis is interesting - the essential thing is that Melchezidech represents the most ancient and primitive worship of Almighty God, he represents the righteous man in his natural state, prior to the special revelation given to Abraham and completed in Christ. Melchizedech is the natural man, the man who worships God according to natural reason and according to the most ancient tradition passed down from Adam through Noah. His priesthood is not some special & supernatural priesthood ordained by God like the Levictical priesthood or the Christian priesthood, but is the priesthood which belongs to all men in their natural state. In this sense he foreshadows Christ and the Christian priesthood, because what the Christian priesthood does is take this natural priesthood and raise it to a supernatural level in Christ. Both the natural priesthood of men and the Christian priesthood are states of being which are "forever", whereas the Levitical priesthood was merely a temporary ministry.

edit: "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever." I do not think that St. Paul is saying that Melchizedech was literally without father or mother, but rather that in the Old Testament scripture he is introduced without any reference to his genealogy. This is because, I think, the scriptures are representing him not as a mere specific man (who had a specific father and mother), but as a type representing the (natural) Just Man in general. Abraham is a foreshadow of the Supernatural Man who would one day be conceived in Our Lady's womb; he goes to Melchizedech for a blessing, as in a way it represents Natural Mankind giving the nod and passing on the torch to Supernatural Mankind. You might ask why Melchizedech gave the blessing to Abraham and not Abraham to Melchizedech, seeing as the supernatural is greater than the natural - the answer is that Abraham is not yet the supernatural man (who is Christ) but is a mere prototype and precursor, whereas Melchizedech is the natural man in his full glory.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 04:15:21 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 05:37:34 PM »
.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 05:41:28 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 04:08:55 AM »
Men can be “naturally” righteous after the Fall? What?
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 04:36:37 AM »
Men can be “naturally” righteous after the Fall? What?

Natural virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude.
Yes, supernatural grace is needed to have these natural virtues after the fall, became man's nature was corrupted (healing grace). Still, a man with these natural virtues, even if obtained with the help of supernatural grace, is not a Supernatural Man (who has the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, charity).
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 

Offline Xavier

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 05:45:14 AM »
Interesting theory, John. Do you have any patristic witnesses to support it? :)

Just the other day, I came across another text in St. Proclus of Constantinople, saying the "without father, without mother" of the King of Righteousness, King of Peace is to be understood as "Without Father in His Humanity, without Mother in His Divinity" of Jesus Christ. If we read the later prophesies in Isaiah of the Prince of Peace, it is plain that King of Peace is a Messianic Title.

In the later Prophets, the fact of the Divinity of the Messiah to come also becomes more and more explicit. Yet, it is plain in some of the "theophanies" of old as well that the Lord God walked with the ancient Patriarchs under an Image, i.e. as Jesus Christ.

Why I love viewing this as more than a mere typology is not only because, against Judaism and Islamism, Arianism and JWism etc, it is a proof of the Divinity and Pre-Existence of the Messiah; but further and even more, it confirms what Christ Our Lord, Great High Priest, plainly told the Pharisees,

Jn 8: [56] "Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. [57] The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM"

The Pharisees cannot believe that whom they thought to be a Man - "not yet 50 years old" - walked and spoke with Abraham.

We know the Lord Himself cited Psa 109 which is the next place where Melchizedech is mentioned as proof of Christ's Divinity.

Finally, it is also an argument against Protestantism, as it shows all who offer sacrifice under the form of Bread and Wine are true Priests, of the order of Christ, which Protestants deny. Taken together with the prophesy in Malachias, that this sacrifice will be offered universally in Messianic times, from the rising of its sun to its setting, it is an argument for the Greek (and Syrian) Orthodox Church's non-universality. Fr. Lasance wrote an article on these two prophesies about a 100 years ago.

Thus, it is a very powerful text that, together with other Scriptures, makes for useful demonstrations against error.

There is also a pre-Christian Tradition that it is the ancient King of Righteousness that will judge the world in the latter days.

Aspiring Thomist, but Shem was not without father, without mother, was he? I believe that is a rabbinic theory. Was it after Christ that they first held to it? Also, for the argument that "without father" means "of unknown parentage" is it likely that the Prophet Moses, who almost saw God face to face as much as that was possible on earth before Christ, had things related to God "unknown" to him? Wouldn't God have made these things known to him, as He did so many others? And so much more does the same apply to St. Paul the Apostle, who after his blindness was lifted up to heaven to have a vision of glory, and heard things not uttered among men (2 Cor 12:4)? Certainly, St. Paul, to whom the Holy Spirit revealed all the mysteries of God, would have known the parentage if there had been any. So I think St. Ambrose's interpretation is well justified and solid.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 05:53:45 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 12:08:35 PM »
Is the first reference to Jerusalem from the Salem of Melchizedech?  It appears to be.  What I couldn't help but notice is that this whole occasion involves not only the king of Salem, but also the king of Sodom.  And, that would be the same Sodom as Sodom and Gomorah, a wicked land/people.  Abraham's response to the king of Sodom would indicate that such land was wicked at that time.  So, it seems to me to be an occasion where Abraham, who is a representative of Gods people, it taking sides.  And, we should not be surprised.  Abraham has chosen the good, and the good is to be found in the king of Jeru(Salem).  And, it is only a few chapters later that God destroys Sodom and Gomorah.  So, I see it as a type of end times.  Abraham must choose between a type of heaven(Salem) for his descendants, or a type of hell(Sodom).

Also, the king of Sodom's response to Abraham saying, give me people/bodies, and keep/take the goods, reminds me a little bit of satan.  Satan wants to be the true owner of humanity like a slave driver, when humankind instead belongs to God, and only through God can we have access, similar to how we believe in the communion of saints. The king of Salem also wants people, but he wants it through God, manifested in the sacrifice of bread and wine.  When Christ is lifted up, he will draw all men unto himself.  By offering such sacrifice, Christ is being lifted up.  So, both of these kings want to increase their kingdoms.  One for evil(Sodom), one for good(Salem).  These are both kings(one a true king, the other a tyrant).  They are likely both priests(one in an evil sense, the other in a good sense).  But, they need a prophet.  Christ is priest, prophet, and king.  So, these two kings need Abraham, who was childless, to fill that office.  Abraham chooses the good, which we should not be surprised to find is located in the land of Salem, which is the ideal land, the holy land.  Figs are not gathered from thistles.  God has no desire for the barren desert land of Sodom, or for a wicked leader replacement to take over his role in the influencing of mankind. 

« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 12:11:30 PM by Philip G. »
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 04:30:24 AM »
Max posted a very interesting video in another thread that elaborates on what Gardener mentioned above. Only in the Masoretic text (corrupted in many very places, as shown there) is it even possible that Shem was alive in the time of Abraham, neither in the Septuagint nor in the Vulgate is it possible. And it is fascinating that the Jewish Masoretes, the scholars who revised the translation, seem to have made the change deliberately. The video argues this was done precisely to introduce the false idea that Shem=Melchizedech. Since Shem's genealogy is fully known, that cannot be the case.

But why go through such an elaborate deception and to what purpose? One possible answer is that they felt the Divinity of Christ, as well His Nature as Great High Priest Forever and King of All Ages shine out clearly in the text, and therefore felt they had to corrupt it somehow.

St. Ambrose and St. Proclus take for granted and repeat that "without father, without mother" means that Jesus was born without Mother in His Divinity, and without needing a Father in His Humanity. Therefore, it shows His Divinity, His Virgin Birth, His Royal Priesthood etc.

And thus, Christ is the Great High Priest of the order of Melchizedech, the King of Righteousness Who blessed Abraham. In the flesh, when the fullness of time had come, He descended of Judah, and His cousin (on His Mother's side, as St. Luke relates of the Blessed Mother's relation to St. Elizabeth) was St. John the Baptist of the tribe of Levi, whose father was the high Priest St. Zecharias.

In the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, handed down by the 12 sons of Jacob that pre-date the Incarnation by centuries, some of these things about Christ are further explained, "the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, shall appear upon earth as Man, and saved by Him Adam. Then shall all the spirits of deceit be given to be trampled under foot, and men shall rule over the wicked spirits. Then will I arise in joy, and will bless the Most High because of His marvellous works, because God has taken a body and eaten with men and saved men. 7. And now, my children, obey Levi, and in Judah shall you be redeemed: and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for from them shall arise to you the salvation of God. For the Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a Priest, and from Judah as it were a King, God and man. So shall He save all the Gentiles and the race of Israel." (Testament of Simeon, p.6-7 see also Testament of Reuben, p.7 - "Therefore I command you to hearken to Levi, because he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances for judgment and sacrifice for all Israel until the completion of the times of Christ, the High Priest whom the Lord has declared. I adjure you by the God of heaven to work truth each one with his neighbour; and draw near to Levi in humbleness of heart, that you may receive a blessing from his mouth. For he shall bless Israel; and specially Judah, because him has the Lord chosen to rule over all the peoples. And worship we his Seed, because He shall die for us in wars visible and invisible, and shall be among you an everlasting king." etc) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0801.htm
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 
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Offline Josephine87

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Re: Melchizedech? Type of Christ or Actual Theophany?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 02:03:54 PM »
What a fascinating discussion, especially from Xavier and John Lamb.  All I can say is, I can't wait to know the whole truth once I die! 
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