Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

23 March 2012

Gran Toribio

The saint we celebrated today, Turibius (Toribio) de Mogrovejo (1538-1606), was a Spaniard who became Archbishop of Lima, Peru and did much to reform that archdiocese.  The clergy were in particular need of reform (surprise, surprise--I speak as one in such need).  They were known for attenuating Christ's teachings in order to justify (perhaps their own) way of life.  Apparently quoting Tertullian, Toribio was known to proclaim, "Christ said, 'I am the Truth'; He did not say, 'I am the custom.'"

Jesucristo dijo, 'Yo soy la Verdad'--no dijo, 'Yo soy la costumbre.'

I find it noteworthy that the words "custom" and "costume" both originate in consuetudo (Sp. costumbre) which is also rendered "habit"--ingrained pattern of action, distinctive religious apparel.  What can be donned can also be doffed; if one's interior does not change it makes no difference.

Just because X "always has been done that way" doesn't make it acceptable, or the best way to do it in these circumstances.  "Always that way"--the death knell of a parish, not necessarily to a rapid death, but death all the same.

The readings of the day providentially illustrated Toribio's dictum.  Wisdom's relecture of Isaiah's fourth  Servant Song (52:13--53:12) has "the wicked" hanging on to customary ways of looking at one who truly is "holier than thou" without presenting himself so.  "To us he is the censure of our thoughts" (2:14); especially to the thought "Let no meadow be free from our wantonness" (2:9).  Strikingly poetic lines, these are also apt descriptions of a habit that permits no outside light to shine on it and expose it for the lie it is--precisely what the Just Man naturally does.  Then the Jews stick to their customary understanding of the Messiah's origins, which enables them to dismiss Jesus' true identity and true teachings.

Jesus, Just One, have mercy on us!
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us!
Jesus, Censure of our Thoughts, have mercy on us!
Jesus, Recompense of Holiness, have mercy on us!
Jesus, Reward of Innocent Souls, have mercy on us!

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