Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cardinal Dolan's Chrism Mass Homily

At yesterday's Chrism Mass, the Mass wherein the holy oils are blessed and priests renew their vows, Cardinal Dolan delivered a wonderful homily in which he called upon us, all of us, to "anoint the anointed," to bless the Church (the Mystical Body of Christ) as the women are described as anointing the body of Christ. In developing this theme he recited a poem by Carlo Carretto:
How much I must criticize you, my church,
and yet how much I love you!

You have made me suffer more than anyone
and yet I owe more to you than to anyone.

I should like to see you destroyed
and yet I need your presence.

You have given me much scandal
and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.

Never in this world have I seen anything
more compromised, more false,
yet never have I touched anything
more pure, more generous or more beautiful.

Countless times
I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face
-- and yet, every night,
I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!

No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you,
even if not completely.

Then too--where would I go? To build another church?
But I could not build one without the same defects,
for they are my defects.

And again, if I were to build another church,
it would be my church, not Christ's church.

No, I am old enough, I know better."
- Carlo Carretto

The most comprehensive article on the author appears in Italian Wikipedia, which I pushed through Google translator. Even though it changes his name into "Charles Wagon," it is comprehensive and readable enough to convey this man's life and accomplishments. I am so sorry that he did not come to my attention sooner. Thank you, Cardinal Dolan, for your homily and for introducing me to Carlo Carretto.

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