Memorial of the Interior Life of Jesus

Sulpician Calendar, 19 January
Monday 6 February 2012
by  Ronald Witherup
popularity : 15%

In 1996 the Holy See gave permission to the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice to establish certain celebrations throughout the liturgical year to commemorate feast days and memorials that were important to our founder, Father Jean-Jacques OLIER, or to the Society in its history. (Press here for the Sulpician liturgical calendar.) One such commemoration is the memorial of “The Interior Life of the Lord,” celebrated on January 19.

Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Church of Saint Sulpice

This year the Superior General presided at Eucharistic liturgies commemorating this special day at the Generalate residence, 6 rue du Regard in Paris, and at the French Province retirement home, Le Foyer de la Solitude, in Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Father Olier’s devotion to the interior life of the Lord is based upon his strong desire to have priests firmly shaped by the Lord’s own attitudes and interior dispositions. A citation from Olier’s spiritual classic, Pietas Seminarii, expresses this desire well:

The first and last goal of this institute will be to live supremely for God in Christ Jesus Our Lord, in such a way that the interior life of His Son will penetrate the intimacy of our heart and that each one will be able to say what Saint Paul, for his part, affirmed with confidence: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

At first glance from a modern point of view, this notion that we can comprehend the interior dispositions of the Lord may seem exaggerated or an act of hubris, but Saint Paul again comes to mind. Elsewhere Paul himself, in fact, affirms that all disciples are given the privilege of access to the interior life of the Lord precisely so that we can be transformed more and more into His likeness. We are thus challenged to adopt the Lord’s interior dispositions! Citing a passage from the prophet Isaiah, Paul writes,

“For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)
At right, a window from the Church of Saint Sulpice

Paul’s bold assertion that “we have the mind of Christ” is essentially what Father Olier tried to express in the choice of a celebration devoted to the interior life of the Lord. It is a day to reflect on the dispositions, attitudes, and intense spiritual orientation of the Lord Jesus Himself, who shows us the proper way to think, and act, and be in God’s presence (cf. Phil 2:5).

We conclude with the opening prayer of this day’s Eucharist:

Lord God, in your beloved Son you have given us
all the treasures of your wisdom
and fullness of your life,
Grant that,
renewed and transformed interiorly by your Spirit
we may more closely resemble Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing Christ by Raphael