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NEW Acts of Spiritual Communion

Posted by livingchrist on December 28, 2014 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I thought I would share with you a spiritual practice which I developed during Advent. Years ago when I was in the convent, we had a huge grandfather clock in the hall which chimed the quarter hour and struck the Westminster chimes on the hour. I've been thinking about that clock throughout the year, remembering that when it struck the hour, we prayed an "hour prayer"--but what that prayer was, I no longer remember. As absent-minded as I can be, sometimes hours go by without my thinking about God or even saying a short prayer. Therefore, I determined to buy myself a Christmas present early, a chiming mantal clock with that same Westminster chime. I determined to say a little ejaculation or short prayer on the quarter hour and to pray an act of Spiritual Communion when I heard the clock striking the hour.

***

I read some time ago about St. Catherine of Siena. She asked Christ at some point about Communion, which pleased Him more: her sacramental communions or her acts of spiritual communion. He showed her a scale. On one side were her sacramental communions shining pure gold. On the other side, equally beautiful were her spiritual communions shining, pure silver. his reply, "Don't you see that both are precious to Me?

***

Preparing for my new adventure in prayer, I looked for varied acts of spiritual communion and found the well known: My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You. [St. Alphonsus Liguori]

***

Wikipedia has a rather good article, showing additional acts of communion. http [:/] /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_Communion

***

On another website I found these words of Christ to Blessed Consolata Betrone: "Make as many Spiritual Communions as possible, to supply for the many Sacramental Communions which are not made. One every quarter of an hour is not enough. Make them shorter, but more numerous."

***

I wanted my acts of spiritual communion to be more personal, more in line with my own spirituality, so I determined to write my own. I have been using these 10 NEW acts of Spiritual Communion and would like to share them with you:

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CHIMING AT MY DOOR

I hear You chiming at the door of my heart,

My Beloved.

You, I adore in the Eucharist,

You, Eternal Presence,

You, Sacred Heart--always my food.

Come, let us have our Communion, Sweet Christ,

You in my heart, Me in Your Heart.

Never leave me, God of my heart.

***

24/7

I belong to You, 24/7— Lord of my life,

My Eucharistic King and Savior.

Your Sacrament is my greatest desire—

But alas, I am far from You.

Come with your precious Self,

my Bread, my Cup.

Let me eat & drink with You in sweet Communion.

Never leave me. Never let me leave You.

***

YOUR WOUNDED HEART

In spirit, I am always kneeling in wonder,

in adoration before the Tabernacle.

Your Sacred Heart, wounded by sin,

alone and neglected, martyred by love,

Draws from me immense sorrow—

In sweet communion with your Body and Blood,

Let me suffer all with You, no longer two,

but one, in Your sacrifice of love.

***

SACRAMENT OF EVERY MOMENT

Here You are to feed me once again.

I long to be filled with your Sacramental Presence,

But I find myself far from You.

I turn to Your tabernacle in whatever direction it lies,

In longing, in desire, in hunger, in thirst for your Grace.

You know everything, Jesus;

You know that You alone in all the earth delight me.

Let us be one in spiritual Communion,

In the sacrament of every moment.

***

ADVENT & CHRISTMAS

I abandon myself in the fire of the Holy Spirit,

to the Father’s Sovereign will.

There, I have eternal access to You,

tender child of Bethlehem—

I devour Your very sweetness,

Wanting nothing to come between us, Blessed Child.

Let us have our little communion in the straw,

with our loving Mother smiling at us.

Let our Communion never end, my Lord.

***

MY DELIGHT

What a delight You are to me, my Lord.

I can turn to You at any hour of the day or night,

breathe a sigh of love and desire from my heart,

And You fill me with Your sweet Communion.

Come into my heart,

Love of my Life,

And never leave me.

***

JESUS’ THIRST

You come to me, Jesus, hungry and thirsty?

So am I, my Lord!

Drink from my heart,

Eat from my substance,

And I will do the same,

feasting on Your Love--

One mind, one heart, one will,

My divine Victim and Priest of the Father’s Will.

***

AT THE CROSS

“My food is to do the Will of Him who sent me—

“ I know, my sweet Christ.

And my own food is to enter

completely into that Love,

into a full, spiritual Communion

by feeding on Your precious Body & Blood—

spiritually through Grace, if not sacramentally.

I want to suffer all with You,

No longer two but one in Your sacrifice of Love.

***

GETHSEMANE

How exhausted You are, My Lord,

Left alone with Your unbelievable destiny.

I am weak and poor,

but I want to be with You, for You,

to receive your bleeding,

frightened flesh in Communion.

How I cherish it.

All of You in all of me, for time and eternity.

How we both cherish it.

You have known from the foundations of the world

that I would be here now.

Let me never betray or leave You

and the souls You so love.

***

IN MY DISTRACTION

In my distraction,

I sometimes find it hard to focus.

Pierce me with desire, My Lord.

Set my heart ablaze with desire

For Your sweetness, Your holiness, Your Purity—

O God, my All in All.

Feed me. I’m Yours.

Never let me get away from You,

Heart of my heart.

***

 

 

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM

Posted by livingchrist on December 27, 2014 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The Institute of Catholic Culture online contain hundreds of free lectures on great topics, including several on Islam. The full library: http/www.instituteofcatholicculture.org/complete-library/

I especially recommend these talks which will help you to understand Islam: http/www.instituteofcatholicculture.org/the-closing-of-the-muslim-mind-how-intellectual-suicide-created-the-modern-islamist/

Kathy AE

 

SOUL FOOD Talk #20 - Spiritual Motherhood & Prayer in the Eternal Mode

Posted by livingchrist on December 14, 2014 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk #20 – Spiritual Motherhood & Prayer in the Eternal Mode

1. Following the vimeo of Maria Hickein's talk on Spiritual Motherhood

[ http [:/] /lovecrucified.com/articles_formation/formation/video.html#sm ] , I thought it would be good to see some of that in writing. I can't begin to duplicate her talk which is so much more profound than what I produce for you here, but it would be good to review some of it.

From The Simple Path To Union with God ((9-27-2014))

p. 144 - CHAPTER SIX- SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD FOR PRIESTS

GOD’S PLAN FOR RESTORATION

2. On the occasion of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI wrote a prophetic letter to women: “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel, can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.”

***

3. What the Pope foresaw for women is coming about through their motherhood. All women, impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel, are called to aid mankind as mothers. As Pope Francis said, motherhood “is not simply a biological matter, but carries a wealth of implications.” One of these implications is spiritual motherhood for priests. This amazing gift is integral to Christ’s plan for our salvation. As He purifies hearts in the Fire of His Sacred Heart, He restores the ability between men and women to truly love and complement each other in the service of the Kingdom. In our brokenness we may find it hard to believe that a mother-son relationship is possible or even desirable between women and priests. We tend to think only of the dangers and fail to see that Christ at Calvary established spiritual motherhood when He joined the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John as mother and son.

***

4. When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home -John 19:26-27

***

5. The Mother of God received from Jesus on the Cross another vocation: to be also our mother. She was entrusted with forming us as she formed Him. As mother of the Apostles, she prayed with them at Pentecost and remained united with them as they went forth in their mission. All during her life, she offered her hidden sorrows and solitude for them. Her maternal care has never ceased and, in these difficult times, it is more powerful than ever.

December 8, 1965

ALL WOMEN ARE CALLED TO SHARE MARY’S SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD

***

6. It is often believed that the maternal role of Mary is exclusive to her. It is true that no woman can make herself into another Mary, nor can a man make himself into another Christ. It is the Lord who calls them, women to extend the presence of Mary as spiritual mothers, and men to extend the presence of Christ as priests. Both need to humbly open their hearts to be transformed by grace in order to receive their vocation. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher wrote: “Only men can be priests, but the wisdom of God has kept for women, an even higher task in a certain sense, which the world does not understand and thus rejects with disdain: that of forming priests and of contributing to raising the quality, not the quantity, of Catholic priesthood.”

***

7. By being chosen “Among women”, Mary is not separated from her sisters; she becomes the channel of grace for all to be blessed by sharing in her vocation. When Elizabeth said to Mary: “Blessed are you” (Lk1:42), she was recognizing that Mary is the chosen one of God; when she added “among women”, she was prophesying that all women are called to partake in Mary’s blessedness. Since the beginning of the Church, women and men have served together. They were close to Jesus and St. Paul. Cardinal Ratzinger told bishops: “The women were never in fact bishops or priests, but they were among those who carried forward the apostolic life and its universal task”.

***

8. The greatest gift of women, the one that frames all the others, is their maternity, which is able to extend with Mary’s beyond natural child bearing. Everywhere the need exists for maternal sympathy and help, and thus we are able to recapitulate in the one word motherliness that which we have developed as the characteristic value of woman. Only, the motherliness must be that which does not remain within the narrow circle of blood relations or of personal friends; but in accordance with the model of the Mother of Mercy, it must have its root in universal divine love for all who are there, belabored and burdened. –St. Theresa Benedicta.

***

9. Spiritual maternity is tenderness and nurturing but also includes gifts such as teaching, forming and correcting. The Lord chooses women who are intimately united with Mary, to extend her spiritual maternity to others, including to priests. Mary has a particular maternal care for priests, since they are the presence of her Son on earth. It is, therefore, essential that those called to be spiritual mothers for priests, go with Mary to the foot of the Cross to give their Fiat. It is there, with their hearts pierced as one with Mary’s, sharing the passion of Jesus crucified, that they offer their lives for the sanctification of priests.

***

10. The vocation of spiritual mothers for priests is to live in the heart of Mary, imitating her virtues, specially purity, humility and sacrifice, so that, with her, they can draw the graces of Jesus at the Cross for their spiritual son-priest. Inspired by Venerable Conchita, a Mother of the Cross gave us this prayer:

My Lord and my God, give me a loving and humble heart,

a courageous heart full of zeal and boldness,

a tender heart, a meek and docile heart that will be willing to take,

one by one, the thorns that pierce Your most tender Heart,

and pierce with them my heart with no other desire

but to be Your consolation in every moment of my life.

I wound my heart for love of You, my Lord,

and moved with profound compassion, together with Mary,

our Venerable Conchita, and all the Holy Women that have walked in the path

of Spiritual Motherhood from the beginning of time,

I offer myself completely as a victim united with the Victim,

for the sanctification of every priest and the salvation of every man in every walk of life!

Jesus, my Savior and my God! Save them! Save them!

THE CHURCH TEACHES THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD

***

11. In the words of cardinal Hummes, the objective of spiritual motherhood for priests is that "from every corner of the earth, prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, praise, petition and reparation will always be lifted to God -- an incessant prayer in order to raise up a sufficient number of holy vocations to the priesthood, and together with this, to accompany themspiritually."

***

12. The Congregation for the Clergy, in a 2007 letter to all bishops, recognized spiritual motherhood for priests as something of “fundamental and vital importance” and asked them to promote it: “We are asking, therefore, all diocesan Ordinaries who apprehend in a particular way the specificity and irreplaceability of the ordained ministry in the life of the Church, together with the urgency of a common action in support of the ministerial priesthood, to take an active role and promote – in the different portions of the People of God entrusted to them - true and proper cenacles in which clerics, religious and lay people - united among themselves in the spirit of true communion – may devote themselves to prayer, in the form of continuous Eucharistic adoration in a spirit of genuine and authentic reparation and purification.”

The document laments that: “The vocation to be a spiritual mother for priests is largely unknown, scarcely understood and, consequently, rarely lived, not withstanding its fundamental and vital importance. It is a vocation that is frequently hidden, invisible to the naked eye, but meant to transmit spiritual life.”

ALL PRIESTS NEED A SPIRITUAL MOTHER

***

13. In light of the urgent need for renewal of the priesthood, once we know that spiritual mothers for priest are “meant to transmit spiritual life” to them, we realize why the Congregation for the Clergy has declared that we cannot do without them. We cannot do without a spiritual motherhood for our priestly life... It has always silently accompanied the chosen ranks of priests in the course of the Church's history. It is the concrete entrustment of our ministry to a specific face, to a consecrated soul who has been called by Christ and therefore chooses to offer herself, with the necessary suffering and the inevitable struggles of life, to intercede for our priestly existence, thereby dwelling in Christ's sweet presence.

Priests Need to Correspond to the Gift of Spiritual Motherhood***

14. There are different levels in which spiritual motherhood may be lived. Most spiritual mothers are unknown to their sons; others simply inform their sons that they are praying for them. A few are blessed with a personal mother-son relationship. This requires that each has already begun to live the interior martyrdom, as explained in this Path. It is also necessary that the priest-son open his heart to spiritual motherhood. St. John writes: “And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:27). This implies that, at the foot of the Cross, both their hearts were pierced and were able to enter, free from attachments, into the Heart of Jesus. This Cross of Christ is the only possible locus for their intimate union of hearts.

***

15. Priests find it very difficult to open their hearts to a spiritual mother. They are afraid for three main reasons, some valid, some not. The first is the concern that spiritual motherhood may be a cover for an improper relationship. This could be true. We need good discernment and much prudence. The second is impurity. Until the heart is free from the bondage of lust, men are incapable of relating to women with purity, much less as a spiritual mother. The third is pride.

***

URGENCY OF SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD

16. The Church recognizes that it is more urgent than ever to raise an army of spiritual mothers for priests and seminarians. This work of true support, which has always been essential to the life of the Church, today seems more urgent that ever, especially in the secularized West, which awaits and stands in need of a new and radical proclamation of Christ. Mothers of priests and seminarians thus represent a true and veritable "army", which from earth offers prayers and sacrifice to heaven, and from heaven intercedes in even greater number so that every grace and blessing may be poured out upon the lives of the Church’s sacred ministers.

***

WHO CAN BE A SPIRITUAL MOTHER FOR PRIESTS

17. Cardinal Hummes wrote: “regardless of age and marital status, all women can become spiritual mothers for a priest.” They may be married, religious, widowed, single, young or old. It is a gift from God, not a right. Cardinal Piacenza wrote to them: "The entire Church looks with admiration and deep gratitude upon all mothers of priests." Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa confirms this: “ The Lord today is calling the faithful in ever-growing numbers to pray, to offer sacrifice, in order to have holy priests. A concern, a passion, for holy priests has spread as a sign of the times throughout today’s Church. The royal and universal priesthood of believers has found a new way of expressing itself: contributing to the sanctification of the ministerial priesthood. Such vocations are extending out more and more beyond the walls of the cloistered monasteries, where they have been hidden, and are reaching the faithful. This vocation is becoming widespread, a call that God addresses to many.”

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18. Fr. Raniero, who is one of the most powerful and well known evangelists in the Church today, humbly recognizes that his ministry is possible thanks to the hidden force of those who pray and offer sacrifice for him: “I share with you my time, my study, and the understanding that I acquired from the treasure house of the Church, but others, who are unknown, have contributed the most precious thing: prayer and suffering. Therefore, I cannot boast about myself, and if I do I am a thief and a usurper.”

Spiritual Mothers for Priests are organized in different ways.

***

19. They may be associated through the auspices of a diocese; they may organize in groups or communities. 228 Some live integrated in their parish or movement but are not associated with others regarding their vocation as spiritual mothers.

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A Life Given For Priests

20. While it is laudable to pray for priests, spiritual mother, in various ways, are called to also give their lives.

1- To unite their daily chores with Jesus and Mary, offering themselves in reparation, intercession and thanksgiving for the restoration of their families, priests and all. Cardinal Piacenza writes: “With all my heart I wish to encourage and offer special thanks to all mothers of priests and seminarians - and along with them to all consecrated and lay women who have received... the gift of spiritual motherhood towards those who are called to priestly ministry. By offering their lives, their prayers, their sufferings and their hardships as well as their joys for the fidelity and sanctification of God’s ministers, they have come to share in a special way in the motherhood of Holy Church, whose model and fulfillment is found in the divine maternity of Mary Most Holy.”

***

21. 2- To encourage their sons, like Mary did, to embrace the Cross. They do not spoil their sons. They do not try to make things easy for them. Mary went to Calvary with St. John and wants to take every priest to her Crucified Son. The mother of (2Maccabees 7) encouraged each of her sons to become a martyr: "Although she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord.". St. Rita asked God for the death of her sons if that would prevent them from becoming murderers.

***

22. 3- To pray that priests may radiate Christ in everything. Spiritual mothers pray for those priests who seldom pray; for those who have fallen into sin and vices; for the deliverance of priests who are oppressed, depressed, in despair; for those who have lost their love for the Lord; for the perseverance of all. She also prays for those who have been hurt, alienated or scandalized by priests; for the sheep who do not have a good shepherd. Prayer includes adoration for those who do not adore. She pleads with Mary that priests may "worship in spirit and truth" (Jn 4:24) and therefore be pure priest-victims united to Christ.

***

23. They also do reparation to console the wounded heart of Jesus who grieves over the coldness, offenses and betrayals of his priests and waits for them to return to His merciful embrace. The prayer that the angel of Fatima taught the children can be used for intercession for priests: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”

****

24. Here are a few exemplars. Pope Benedict wrote about St. Veronica Giuliani’s intercession as a spiritual mother: “She offered her prayers and sacrifices for the Pope, her bishop, priests and for all needy persons, including the souls in Purgatory. She summarized her contemplative mission in these words: 'We cannot go preaching around the world to convert souls, but we are obliged to pray continually for all those souls who are offending God ... particularly with our sufferings, that is with a principle of crucified life.' Our saint conceived this mission as a 'being in the middle' between men and God, between sinners and Christ Crucified.”

***

25. Jesus told Conchita: “I want souls who are dedicated with fervor, with determination and without looking for rest, to plead day and night for My priests. Offer yourself as a victim for My priests. Unite yourself to My sacrifice to gain them graces… It is Christ, ever crucified in the members of His Mystical Body, who saves the world.”

***

26. Jesus told St. Faustina: “I place in your care two pearls very precious to My Heart: these are the souls of priests and religious. You will pray particularly for them; their power will come from your diminishment. You will join prayers, fasts, mortifications, labors and all sufferings to My prayer, fasting, mortifications, labors and sufferings and then they will have power before My Father. “

***

27. To confound the arrogance of men, Jesus told St. Catherine that He would raise up woman. Who would have thought that God’s way of renewing the priesthood would  be through spiritual mothers! But for the priest to benefit from this grace they have to humbly receive the grace of spiritual motherhood and recognize when the Lord works through them.

Jesus told St. Catherine of Siena: “I will raise up women ignorant and frail by nature but endowed with strength and divine wisdom. Then, if they (proud men) will come to their senses and humble themselves, I will behave with the utmost mercy towards them, that is to say, towards those who, according to the grace given them, receive my doctrine, offered them in fragile but specially chosen vessels, and follow it reverently… For indeed it is only just that those who try to exalt themselves should be humbled.”

***

THE MOTHERS OF THE CROSS

28. The Mothers of the Cross are spiritual mothers for priests who have embraced this Path to Union as their way of life. Their spiritual motherhood is not only offering up prayers. It is a vocation to give their lives for priests living, unperceived, in the ordinary lives of their domestic church. With their sufferings, sorrows they atone for priests. A Mother of the Cross, as one with Mary, receives her mission at the cross. Mary has a thorn in her Heart for each priest that is not holy. Mothers of the Cross allow their hearts to be pierced like Mary’s to become a fountain of living grace for them. Conchita wrote: “This will truly be a solace to My heart, giving Me holy priests. Tell Me you accept, that you will belong with Me to priests always, since your mission on behalf of them will continue in heaven. Yet here you have another Martyrdom. What priests will do against Me, you will feel, since it is in this that basically associating yourselves to My priesthood consists, in that you feel and you suffer because of their unfaithfulness and wretchedness. In this way you glorify the Trinity. We will have the same reasons for suffering. The power of an ordinary life as a mother, lived in love, in deep interior silence, in prayer, sacrifice, suffering, and tears is a hidden force that will raise God’s army of holy priests that will usher a new Pentecost”.

***

MY COMMENTS: SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD IN GENERAL

29. Whether or not you feel yourself called to be a spiritual mother to priests, whether mother or not, single, widowed, married—if we live as one with our Mother at the foot of the cross, like her, we stand in prayer and sorrow, in sacrifice and as victims of love for all our loved ones. Whether children or adults, our loved ones become our spiritual children. Consider the Pieta. I read in Love Crucified's The Simple Path to Union: “Through this practice of living our sorrows in silence, we receive the crucified Body of our Lord in our arms as Mary did in the Pieta; when she received the crucified Body of her Son, she embraced the brokenness and woundedness of all humanity.” [p. 39] Living in Mary, receiving our broken and wounded loved ones into our arms, we also receive the Body of Jesus. This is Spiritual Motherhood.

“The Lord taught that this union of sorrows leads to a more perfect love in which we receive the brokenness of other souls and suffer for them through Jesus, with Him and in Him. In this way, we live the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in our ordinary lives...My little one, this union of sorrows, must move your heart to love all, by suffering with silence, peace and abandonment for all your brothers and sisters” (The Path, p. 39.)

***

30. On August 4, 2014 I reflected: “To be a victim of love is to suffer through, with, and for others, our loved ones. This is our priestly function—to offer not only ourselves in union with Jesus, but our suffering territory lodged in our hearts. We enter into the love of Jesus for the Father by entering into the wounds and woundings of others. To enter their sufferings, to carry them in our hearts, is to enter the wounds of Jesus. This, too, is spiritual motherhood.

***

31. “The helplessness and pain we feel is the hidden life of martyrdom of the heart—the same martyrdom of the Sacred Heart and of the sorrowful heart of the Immaculata—His interior passion which He endured from the moment of his Incarnation, His grief for all mankind. In Matthew, 23,37 we see Jesus weeping over God's holy city: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ' ”

***

32. The intense love of spiritual motherhood which we assume in our union with Mary comes from her perfect union with Jesus in the fullness of the Holy Spirit—the fiery heart of the Blessed Trinity. The hidden power that fuels our motherhood lies in our hidden, daily life, all the little things—as in St. Theresa, the “little way” of little things done with great love. This is the hidden force which exerts such power in the lives of many, priests and seminarians, our families, and others for whom we pray and sacrifice.

***

33. Talking with Maria, I discovered that the teachings on Spiritual Motherhood in Love Crucified have not yet been completely assimilated or explained in text. When I mentioned something about the Pieta being the “final image” of Spiritual Motherhood, she corrected me—no, it's not. The Final image is the image of the Assumption—Mary assumed into heaven supported by the prayers and holy lives of her spiritual sons, the apostles (including St. John). We too will follow Mary in our own assumption into heaven. We'll learn more about this aspect later.

***

THE ETERNAL MODE OF PRAYER

34. In New and Divine: the Holiness of the Third Christian Millennium, by Hugh Owen, we learn from Venerable Luis Martinez, Blessed Dina Belanger, St. Theresa, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Blessed Conchita, St. Maximillian Kolbe and others of a new and divine level of holiness available to us, a way to live and pray “in the eternal mode.”

***

35. Let me cite some quotations here to make this idea more clear. Owen tells us, “In the lives and writings of the exemplars, Jesus shows his willingness to open his Heart completely to all who abandon themselves to the reign of the Father's Will through the Holy Spirit....On several occasions, Our Lord told the exemplars of the 'new holiness' that He had given them, the ability to do God's will as He did it, in time and in eternity--'on earth as in Heaven.'” [pp. 28, 31]

***

36. Owen: “Jesus told Blessed Dina Belanger that by abandoning herself to the Father's Will through the Holy Spirit, she would allow Him to operate freely in her and with her, in eternity. In the “eternal mode,” she [and others] would be able to do those acts perfectly that Jesus had prepared for her with the Father and the Spirit before the creation of the world. Thus, they would be present to all souls, past, present, and future in all of their acts. Their smallest actions, performed together for the glory of the Father and for the good of all creatures, would influence all souls for good. [p.36-37]

***

37. “Jesus told Blessed Dina: 'I am letting you see the whole multitude of consecrated souls to the end of time, so that you will understand how even one soul completely given over to me can radiate on all the other souls. You can see that, through it, my rays reach out into the distance, far into the distance, to the furthest end, meaning that I am doing good until the end of time....If all consecrated souls refused me nothing, if they allowed me to act freely in them all the time, all other souls would be saved. Yes, all other souls would be saved.' [p. 37]

***

38. “Blessed Dina explained that when He spoke of all souls Jesus usually showed her 'all created souls, without distinction between the past, the present and the future, just as the Heart of Jesus saw them, since everything is present to Him.' Through Blessed Dina's writings, Jesus invites all souls to allow Him to act in and through them, universally.” [p.38]

***

39. Jesus also told Blessed Dina, “In consecrated souls in whom my hands are bound by threads, in whom consequently my Heart is wounded, my rays reach only some souls living in the world at the same time. In consecrated souls who refuse me only small things, you can see that my rays reach many other souls in the world and extend further. In consecrated souls that have abandoned themselves totally to me, in whom I can act freely, see how my rays reach all souls, even to the end of time.” [p.49]

***

40. The varied blesseds refer to a person living this state of life and prayer as a “living host”:

“When a soul abandons herself to the Will of the Father through the Holy Spirit and shares in the eternally-present sufferings of Jesus, she becomes a 'living host.' Moreover, when she performs with Jesus the good acts He has prepared for her to walk in- in eternity, with the same universal intention that He had—that soul becomes a 'living host,' a 'walking Eucharist.' [another Christ].” [p. 38] Venerable Conchita and Venerable Luis Martinez described this state as ”mystical incarnation.” Blessed Dina referred to it as “divine substitution.” [Another definition: “United with Jesus in the Eucharist, the soul in the Divine Substitution becomes a 'living host' whose thoughts, words, and actions are offered to the Father together with those of Jesus, for the good of all souls, past, present, and future. As a 'living host,' the soul acts 'in eternity' so as to be able to enter into the actual sufferings of Jesus (rather than the pious remembrance or imitation of them), thus influencing souls at any point in time or space.” [p. 48]

***

41. Hugh Owen explains it this way, “Just as the Divine Will reigns in the consecrated Host—which nevertheless retains the accidental properties of bread--, in a similar way, the Divine Will reigns in the soul who has received the Gift of the Mystical Incarnation or Divine Substitution, although the soul preserves her own human faculties. In the Eucharistic Host, the Divine Will and the human will of Jesus coexist. Through the Gift of the Mystical Incarnation or Divine Substitution, the Divine Will cooperates with the human will in the soul of a human being, in the same kind of way that it did in the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “ [p. 46]

***

42. Hugh Owens comments that this level of union is probably “the fruitful stage” of the Mystical Marriage, where the bride-soul enters in the activity of the Bridegroom, Jesus, through a permanent union of wills.

***

43. The prayer of oblation to the Divine Will in the Holy Spirit of Venerable [Bishop] Luis Martinez:

“'Oh Holy Father, oh Adorable Father,

through the immaculate hands of Mary, the Most Holy Virgin, my Mother,

under the impulse of the Holy Spirit,

and intimately united to Jesus, Your Son, Immortal Victim,

I give to You today the total gift, and the absolute oblation of myself,

abandoning all to Your sovereign Will,

in order that this Divine Will, without asking my opinion,

without taking me into account,

might do with me and with all that is mine, whatever it pleases...

My only support in making this oblation is Your strength,

upon which my nothingness rests....

I give You that which I can now give You:

my will, sincere and complete,

and I cast myself into Your sovereign Will.'

***

44. I experienced something most profound, most strange, as if for my soul there began a new stage; as if in those moments I was given to the Holy Spirit, that He might ravish my soul and give it to Jesus. I understood that by this union, the Holy Spirit, as an impetuous wind, was to carry away my soul, stripping it of everything and plunging it into the bosom of God.” [p.28]

***

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF SPIRITUAL MOTHERHOOD AND PRAYER IN THE “ETERNAL MODE”?

45. Our spiritual lives have much deeper and more extensive power and influence than we ever dreamed. If we enter more deeply into our Spiritual Motherhood, we become a part of the HIDDEN FORCE which will raise up a new generation of sanctified priests and usher in a new Pentecost and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in these latter times.

***

46. Through the writings of Blessed Dina, we know that if we abandon ourselves fully in the Holy Spirit to the Divine Will, we can actually transcend time and space, living, sacrificing, and praying in the eternal mode in which we can touch and radiate all souls, past, present, and future. Because Jesus lives in the Eternal Now, united to His Sacred Heart, we live and work in Him in the Eternal Now. Jesus told Venerable Conchita: “Know that in God there is no succession of acts. He operates eternally in one only act of His Will which covers all times and eternity, and all creations, all things in one only instant, the eternal instant of Unity in which is reflected and exists always present, past, and future....You must live in this essential Unity, in this Unique God, bringing together your spiritual life in one only Love: Him; in one only Will: His. In this capital point of unity of wills consists the perfection of this Unity.“ [p. 32]

***

47. The least thread of attachment lessens the effectiveness of our prayers and sacrifices.

***

48. Living our daily, ordinary lives with complete love and abandonment to God's Will can make us holy beyond our wildest hopes. We can save thousands of souls for Christ without leaving our homes and families.

***

49. Finally, as Hugh Owens explains, “In the lives and writings of the exemplars, Jesus invites us to renounce the independent use of our human will and to ask the Holy Spirit to consecrate us into living hosts. Then the Holy Spirit will inspire us to do those acts of perfect love that Jesus has prepared for us in the secret recesses of his Heart. And if we allow Him a free reign, He may bring us to the point where we will always be doing the perfects acts of love that Jesus has prepared for us. Thus, we may become a 'real presence' of Jesus in the world, a 'living Eucharist.'” [p.166]

SACERDOTE DEL FUTURO [Music and lyrics: Maria V Hickein.

Maria sings this song at the end of her vimeo,“Spiritual Motherhood”]

PRIEST OF THE FUTURE

Priest of the future, you live in my heart

My heartbeats give you life, you are nourished with

my love... You are nourished with my love.

Priest of tomorrow, I carry your future in me,

Conceived with the blood I have shed for you... I have

shed for you.

Our love begun at three o'clock on Holy Friday

That's where His Sacred Heart chose to conceive us...

A new Adam and new Eve renewed at the Cross

New salt and new life in Mary and Jesus...

Priest vested with purity and humility

That's how are those who are chosen by our Heavenly

Mother... By our Heavenly Mother.

Priest of the future, you live in my heart

My heartbeats give you life, you are nourished with

my love... You are nourished with my love.

Together we are living hosts for a world without light

Hidden force and new life

Embracing the Cross

New lineage of soldiers with their mothers of the cross

Love has overflowed, from that love you were born...

From that love you were born.

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 19 - Penitence & Humility

Posted by livingchrist on October 15, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk # 19 – Penitence and Humility

1. The Greek word penthos means” to mourn.” The Old Testament used the Greek word penthos 120 times to indicate the grief experienced by those who mourn in private or public settings. But to the earliest Church fathers, this penthos meant “sorrow at the prospect of losing eternal salvation on the part of ourselves or of others.” From penthos comes our modern usage of penitence, penance, and repentence.

***

penitence --the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentance.

penance --voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.

repentance--the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.

***

2. These words we have heard all of our lives, associating them with the sacrament of healing: Confession or reconciliation. The Catholic Catechism devotes several pages to the theology of the sacrament. Yet many Catholics today are confused by this sacrament. Believing it generally unnecessary, great numbers never avail themselves of the sacrament, unless it is at Christmas or Easter, as they “make their Easter duty” as I remember some of the older members of my family used to refer to it. We were all taught that if we committed a mortal sin, we could not receive the Eucharist unless we had first repented in the sacrament of Confession. Today we see hundreds receiving communion every Sunday without benefit of Confession. I fear great sacrileges are being perpetrated in our churches. When I was a child, our family went to Confession at least once a month on Saturdays in preparation for Sunday’s Eucharist. What has changed?

***

3. On EWTN, Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. tells us: “For a while, things were very bad. In many huge parishes, thousands of people went to Communion every week, while almost none went to Confession. There were serious reasons to wonder if many anxious and unhappy people were going to Communion, and even that there were too many unworthy and sacrilegious Communions. Many more were communicating without the peace and deep friendship with Christ they really desired. For many, Communion no longer seemed to bring growth in faith and friendship with the Lord, because they ceased to have repentant hearts. They ceased to have that peaceful friendship with Christ, that we sinners can have only when we have tasted personally and deeply of his forgiving mercy.”

***

4. When we lose sight of who God is, His purity, power, holiness, and majesty, we lose sight of how unworthy we are in his sight. Without fear of the Lord, awe in His presence, we take Him for granted and begin to act as though any behavior on our part is” good enough.” If we haven’t committed murder or adultery, we feel we are “good enough” in God’s eyes. We have totally forgotten that the least imperfection or stain is unacceptable to our all-Holy God. It’s not just the adulterers and murderers who are purged of all uncleanness in purgatory. Upon our death, even venial sin makes us unclean to enter His presence.

***

5. In his book, Prayer of the Heart, Father George Maloney, S.J., reveals: "For the desert Fathers cultivating a lively sense of compunction [sorrow for sin] was an absolute necessity for every Christian. It fostered the conditions of brokenness and the insights into the sinfulness and precariousness of human existence. They saw, therefore, that any neglect of spiritual exercises such as frequent examination of conscience [recommended daily], serious meditation on the words and life of Christ along with his stress of man’s end and judgment unto eternal reward or punishment would cause a corresponding insensitivity in the human heart and open it to a spirit of dissipation. Pride would dominate such a ‘worldly life’, while compunction would foster the growth of humility, which would bring knowledge of God’s allness and …sheer gift [to man] of God’s goodness.”

***

6. Those who feel, “I can just confess my sins directly to God,” bypass this sacramental source of humility and a corresponding sense and acknowledgment of the inviolable holiness of God. The sacrament of Confession forces us to say aloud through the medium of another human being, the priest, who here represents the merciful Christ, what we have done most to offend the purity of the Trinity. To confess is humiliating—because of our egotism and pride, we hate acknowledging our sins aloud to another. It is precisely in this bowing down, denying ourselves human respect, that the grace of humility becomes most available to us.

***

7. Fr. Michael Shanbour of the Antiochian Orthodox Church shares these insights into Confession: “There are other, often very common-sensical reasons that the Church has always had a "public" form of Confession. (In the early Church, sins were confessed publicly to the whole church gathering before the Eucharist began).

“a. God already knows our sins...Confession to God is not really Confession properly speaking. We should however confess our sins to God daily...this is part of repentance.

*

“b. Telling our sin to another person makes it "real." How many times have we only finally gotten relief for a guilty conscience after confess out loud? Most of us realize that when we have a problem we need to talk to someone, we need to get things "off our chest."

*

“c. We often need help and encouragement to confess and face our sins. Most of us recognize the value of going to a psychologist or counselor in order to figure out our attitudes and behaviors.

*

“d. Confession makes us accountable. If we confess to God privately, but have not declared our sin to someone else, there is much less sense of accountability. It’s much easier to repeat our sin. For this reason it has been "popular" off and on in Protestant circles to have "accountability partners"...people with which you confess and who encourage you to remain faithful.

*

8. “e. God ACTS in Confession. Confession is a Sacrament by which GOD acts. In every Sacrament of the Church GOD acts. (In the prayer of absolution the Priest says: "May that same God forgive you...through me, a sinner..."). He does so "through" the Priest, the successor of the Apostles who has the responsibility to guard the Faith, to preserve the integrity of the Church and the souls of Christians. Jesus Christ acts through His Church, and through those ordained by the Church. Remember after His Resurrection He said to the Apostles: "Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted, and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained." He says in another place, "Whatever sins ye remit they are remitted in heaven."

*

“f. The Grace of God is given in Confession. There is an incredible and undeniable power and grace in Confession. The Sacrament is more than what we might see with our eyes. A drinking fountain that is not being used does not look refreshing. But turn the knob and water gushes forth. It is the same with Confession. Great Grace is imparted to those who take advantage of this Sacrament. Some remarkable and extraordinary "miracles" have been known to happen in Confession...miracles of release from burdens, ephiphanies, something said which pierces the heart and effects change, etc. It is not so much that God gives the "authority" to the Priest. Rather, He works in His Church through the Priests. His grace and power are available and accessible in and through the Church, Her prayers, Her teachings, Her whole life and atmosphere.” [http://www.peterandpaul.net/art-confession]

***

9. Even Wikipedia has this to say: “ Frequent Confession is the spiritual practice among some Roman Catholics of going to the sacrament of reconciliation often and regularly in order to grow in holiness. It is a practice that has been recommended by Catholic leaders and saints as a powerful means of growing in love with God, in humility, and having sorrow for sins, since it is considered a personal encounter with Jesus who is the source of God's grace, help, and forgiveness.”

***

“A recommended frequency, based on the teachings of the Pope and Catholic Church law, is between once a month and once a week. This practice ‘was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,’ according to Pius XII. Confession of everyday faults is ‘strongly recommended by the Church,’ according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1458. Pope Paul VI said that frequent Confession is ‘of great value.’.

***

St. Pope John Paul II went to Confession every week.

Pius XII, who went to Confession daily, explained that by frequent Confession:

• genuine self-knowledge is increased,

• Christian humility grows,

• bad habits are corrected,

• spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, [tepidity is lukewarmness]

• the conscience is purified,

• the will is strengthened,

• a salutary self-control is attained,

• grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself.

He then warned those ‘who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent Confession know what they are doing. What they are doing is alien to the spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of Christ.’ "

***

10. If the saints went to Confession weekly or daily, who can presume to say it’s not necessary more than once or twice a year? We are insensitive and have such poor understanding of what it is we do when we sin, whether serious or venial sin. The saints who live in close union with God have tender, sensitive hearts and regret the least motion, feeling, or thought which moves them away from God. A sensitive heart in love with God will feel instantly even a fault which tends to move him away from God! To sin, even in the slightest way, or to commit a fault against grace brings sorrow, even tears, to a heart in love with God. This is the level of sensitivity to which we should all aspire. God calls us all to union with Him.

***

11. St. Pius XII told us that through Confession “the conscience is purified.” What does he mean? The more frequently we access this sacrament, the more we hone or refine our conscience. For example, if you go to Confession only once a year, you will forget most of your sins, except for major or mortal sins which you may have committed. Without practice, our conscience grows coarse and rough, a crude instrument of spirituality. For those who reject Confession, their consciences often become nonfunctioning. What is it that “pricks” the sensitive heart when we are tempted or presented with a bad choice—a sensitive conscience. That “pricking conscience” is the prompting of grace, our guardian angel or the movement of the Holy Spirit. But if we get into the habit of disregarding that prompt, it will fade away and eventually die completely. Result? Hardness of heart.

***

12. In 1961, at age 80, Pope John XXIII wrote: “First of all: 'I confess to Almighty God.' During my whole life I have kept faithful to my practice of weekly Confession. Several times during my life I have renewed my general Confession. So now I content myself with a more general examination, without precise details, but in the words of the offertory prayer of my daily Mass: thinking of my 'countless sins, offenses and negligences,' all of which have already been confessed in their turn but are still mourned and detested . . . The vivid memory of the failings of my life, eighty years long, and of my 'countless sins, offenses and negligences' was the general matter for the holy Confession which I renewed this morning to my spiritual director.”

***

13. Our Catholic Catechism teaches us: [CC 1431] “Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).”

***

14. [CC 1432] “ The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: ‘Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!’ God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced: ‘Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.’”

***

15. In the waters of baptism we are converted to Christ, cleansed, and made new creatures. But it is not just the unbaptized who are called to conversion: [CC 1426] “ Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us ’holy and without blemish,’ just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is ‘holy and without blemish.’ Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us.” [See Soul Food Talk # 13 – Acceptance. In that talk we covered in great depth the effects of original sin and personal sin: darkening of the intellect, weakening of the will, and diminished unity of body and soul.]

***

16. Why did St. Piux XII, St. John XXIII, and St. John Paul II go to Confession so frequently? What did they know that we, apparently, do not? The sacrament of reconciliation gives grace which helps us, as often as we seek it, in the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us. “In all our imperfection and weakness, we are constantly called to turn our hearts to God, to “be perfect.”

***

17. Hear what other saints have to say of this sacrament:

"A soul does not benefit from the sacrament of Confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery."

--Saint Faustina

***

18. “My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your Confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in Confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.” (1725)

--St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul

***

19. “Daughter, when you go to Confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to Confession, immerse yourself in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.”

--St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul

***

20. As we grow in holiness and close union with Christ, it may sometimes happen, to our horror, that we commit what seems to us, an unpardonable or frivolous sin—a sin which we knew all too well to avoid. We may be in a state of unbelief, unable to comprehend what possessed us to do this thing. Sometimes God permits us to fall to remind us that we are truly weak without Him, that we must always lean on His strength and grace. Also, the penitence and tears He gets from us when we fall as we lovingly repent and promise Him our undying love, delight His Heart. Through our fall, we grow in humility, we become more constant in guarding our hearts, and become more patient with the weaknesses of those around us. For example, if I commit the sin of gluttony by overeating some cake or ice cream, I recognize that just as I could not resist, others cannot resist alcohol, drugs, or sex. In a way, I am no better than the worst alcoholic. I have the same darkened intellect and weakened will. This condition in us is caused by original sin, and we will live in this state till we die. The struggle to convert and become holy is a daily, hourly, minute by minute, second by second struggle. The stronger our spiritual life through prayer and the sacraments, the easier it actually becomes, but it takes only a moment of carelessness to throw us down like the most low-down sinner!

***

21. As we examine our consciences, and a good examination book is a great help—it’s remarkable how easily we forget the many ways we fail—we need to rouse sorrow in hearts, to make ourselves realize how we have failed our good God. It is sometimes salutary to go back and remember a failing of the past [as St. John XXIII did]—to help ourselves realize from how far we have come, and where we would be without grace. At the same time, priests will sometimes discourage this for fear that we may become scrupulous.

***

What Is Scrupulosity?

22. In Catholic moral teaching, scrupulosity defines the spiritual and psychological state of a person who erroneously believes he is guilty of mortal sin and is therefore seldom in a state of grace. A scrupulous person has difficulty making choices and decisions even though he desires above all else to please God and to follow God's law. For a scrupulous person, it isn't that he doesn't "carefully attend to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church" (as the Catechism teaches), but that he becomes overwhelmed with the details and nuances that may be present in the decision.

***

23. An example of the "crooked thinking" of a scrupulous conscience may be helpful. All of us are aware of the need to abstain from all food and beverages for one hour before the reception of Communion at Mass. We are aware that this is one of the conditions the Church expects us to fulfill for the worthy reception of the sacrament. We are also aware that this is nowhere as demanding as the previous prescription for a three-hour fast — or the even older fast from midnight of the night before — that was once part of our spiritual practice. Most of us do not become preoccupied with the prescription because it is so easily followed.

***

24. This is not the case for a scrupulous person. One hour is sixty minutes fraught with the possibility of making a mistake. There is confusion over what constitutes breaking the fast. For example, does lipstick break the fast? Or say a piece of food is dislodged from your teeth, despite your best efforts at brushing and flossing, and you inadvertedly swallow it. Does this action break the fast? Or perhaps the celebrant is a little quicker today than normal and you are not sure you've fasted for the entire sixty-minute period. What to do? To receive Communion may well be to risk sacrilege, the deliberate and unworthy reception of the Body of Christ.

Imagine how a person might feel consumed in this way by the doubt, fear, and anxiety of scrupulosity. One author described the experience of scrupulosity as "a thousand frightening fantasies" and yet another author as the "doubting disease." Despite a person's best efforts, despite his absolute commitment to the moral teaching of the Church, and despite his desire to serve the Lord, he is unable to arrive at a point of peace, confident that he's done as much as can reasonably be required.

***

25. I don’t think scrupulosity afflicts many Catholics today, but if you have a tendency to this disorder—and even the great saint, St. Theresa of Lisieux, suffered from this tendency for several years—it would be best not to revisit previous failings, and not to dwell too long on present failings, but instead to focus on God’s everlasting mercy and readiness to forgive. Above all, despite sincere compunction and grief at our failures, faults, and sins, we should always remember, believe, and depend utterly on the great mercy of God. I love this line from the Miserere, Psalm 50: “In the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my offense.”

***

26. As regards venial sin and faults, while it is wholesome to confess them and repent them, remember that they are entirely blotted out by the worthy reception of the Eucharist. In the presence of such great Purity and Holiness which floods your whole being, no little sin or stain can remain—you are made as white as snow!

***

27. [Catholic Catechism:] 1393 “Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins: For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.”

***

28. 1394 “As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him: Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.”

***

29. 1395 “By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.”

***

HELPFUL TIPS & REMINDERS

30. + The Daily Examination of Conscience is usually included with Night Prayer and covers only the events of the current day.

***

31. + Little booklets with a rather complete Examination of Conscience useful for the sacrament of Confession are available over the internet or at Catholic gift stores. Here are some helpful sites:

http://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholic-examination-of-conscience.html

http://www.ncregister.com/info/Confession_guide_for_adults/

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm

*

32. + At the conclusion of Confession, before I recite the Act of Contrition, I find it comforting and helpful to conclude, “For these sins and for all the sins and faults of my entire life, even those I may have forgotten, I am heartily sorrow.” In our nervousness, we do sometimes forget a venial sin we meant to confess.

***

33. + What if you forgot to confess a mortal sin? Full Question - I recently went to confession, received absolution, and did my penance. Subsequently I remembered something I did years ago that I never confessed. Am I absolved of that one as well? If the sin was mortal, does that need to be addressed specifically?

Answer

So long as you intended to confess all your mortal sins and otherwise make a good confession, then the sacrament was valid, and you were forgiven all your mortal sins. The fact that afterward you remembered another one does not mean that you are in a state of mortal sin.

The Code of Canon Law states, "A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and in number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience" (CIC 988:1). Since you remembered this grave sin, you should mention it in your next confession. Catholic Staff

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34. + What 3 conditions are necessary for a sin to be called mortal sin?

There are three conditions that make an act a mortal sin: An act of grave matter that is... Committed with full knowledge and... Deliberate consent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 18 - The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Posted by livingchrist on September 24, 2014 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk #18 – The Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

A SHORT HISTORY

1. Most of us are well acquainted with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We probably remember especially something of the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), a Visitation nun; she had a personal revelation through a series of visions of Christ as she prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote, "He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart." Christ emphasized to her His love -- and His woundedness caused by Man's indifference to this love. [We may not remember the great promises attached to this devotion or the requirements of this devotion:

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2. He promised that, in response to those who consecrate themselves and make reparations to His Sacred Heart:

He will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.

He will establish peace in their homes.

He will comfort them in all their afflictions.

He will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.

He will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.

Sinners will find in His Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.

He will bless every place in which an image of His Heart is exposed and honored.

He will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.

Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in His Heart.

In the excessive mercy of His Heart that His all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in His disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. His divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

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3. Devotion to the Sacred Heart has two elements: consecration and reparation: We consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart by acknowledging Him as Creator and Redeemer and as having full rights over us as King of Kings, by repenting, and by resolving to serve Him. We make reparations for the indifference and ingratitude with which He is treated and for leaving Him abandoned by humanity. The devotions attached to these promises are:

Receiving Communion frequently

First Fridays: going to Confession and receiving the Eucharist on the first Friday of each month for nine consecutive months. Many parishes will offer public First Friday devotions; if they do, you must perform First Fridays publicly. If it isn't so offered in your parish, you can do this privately, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist, and offering your prayers for the intention of the Holy Father.

Holy Hour: Eucharistic Adoration for one hour on Thursdays ("Could you not watch one hour with me?"). Holy Hour can be made alone or as part of a group with formal prayers.

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4. EARLIER DEVOTION: From the earliest days of the Church, "Christ's open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side, the wounded Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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5. St. John Chrysostom (b. ca. 347) in his 85th Homily on the Gospel of St. John wrote: For "there came forth water and blood." Not without a purpose, or by chance, did those founts come forth, but because by means of these two together the Church consisteth. And the initiated know it, being by water indeed regenerated, and nourished by the Blood and the Flesh. Hence the Mysteries take their beginning; that when thou approachest to that awe-ful cup, thou mayest so approach, as drinking from the very side.

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6. St. Bonaventure, 1221-1274 --An excerpt from his work is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus celebrated each year on the second Friday after the Feast of Pentecost. Here Bonaventure reflects on the meaning of the blood and water flowing from the side of Christ crucified, the living water of sacramental grace coming from the loving heart of the Savior. His comments are in part a commentary on several lines of Psalm 36, which is used in the office of the feast: "Your love, Lord, reaches to heaven, your truth to the skies . . . In you is the source of life and in your light we see light."

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7. “Take thought now, redeemed man, and consider how great and worthy is he who hangs on the cross for you. His death brings the dead to life, but at his passing heaven and earth are plunged into mourning and hard rocks are split asunder.

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8. It was a divine decree that permitted one of the soldiers to open his sacred side with a lance. This was done so that the Church might be formed from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death on the cross, and so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’. The blood and water which poured out at that moment were the price of our salvation. Flowing from the secret abyss of our Lord’s heart as from a fountain, this stream gave the sacraments of the Church the power to confer the life of grace, while for those already living in Christ it became a spring of living water welling up to life everlasting.

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9. “Arise, then, beloved of Christ! Imitate the dove ‘that nests in a hole in the cliff’, keeping watch at the entrance ‘like the sparrow that finds a home’. There like the turtledove hide your little ones, the fruit of your chaste love. Press your lips to the fountain, ‘draw water from the wells of your Savior; for this is the spring flowing out of the middle of paradise, dividing into four rivers’, inundating devout hearts, watering the whole earth and making it fertile.

***

10. “Run with eager desire to this source of life and light, all you who are vowed to God’s service. Come, whoever you may be, and cry out to him with all the strength of your heart. “O indescribable beauty of the most high God and purest radiance of eternal light! Life that gives all life, light that is the source of every other light, preserving in everlasting splendor the myriad flames that have shone before the throne of your divinity from the dawn of time! Eternal and inaccessible fountain, clear and sweet stream flowing from a hidden spring, unseen by mortal eye! None can fathom your depths nor survey your boundaries, none can measure your breadth, nothing can sully your purity. From you flows ‘the river which gladdens the city of God’ and makes us cry out with joy and thanksgiving in hymns of praise to you, for we know by our own experience that ‘with you is the source of life, and in your light we see light’.

***

11. St. Gertrude the Great, b. 1256 --General devotion to the Sacred Heart, the birthplace of the Church and the font of Love, was popular in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, especially in response to the devotion of St. Gertrude. Saint Gertrude had a vision on the feast of John the Evangelist. She was resting her head near the wound in the Savior's side and hearing the beating of the Divine Heart. She asked Saint John if on the night of the Last Supper, he had felt these pulsations, why he had never spoken of the fact. Saint John replied that this revelation had been reserved for subsequent ages when the world, having grown cold, would have need of it to rekindle its love.

***

12. 1353 Pope Innocent VI instituted a Mass honoring the mystery of the Sacred Heart.

The Catholic Encyclopedia further explains: “Devotion to the Sacred Heart may be defined as devotion to the adorable Heart of Jesus Christ in so far as this Heart represents and recalls His love; or, what amounts to the same thing, devotion to the love of Jesus Christ in so far as this love is recalled and symbolically represented to us by His Heart of flesh. Hence the devotion is based entirely upon the symbolism of the heart. It is this symbolism that imparts to its meaning and its unity, and this symbolism is admirably completed by the representation of the Heart as wounded.”

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13. COMMENTARY: I think it necessary to get some historical perspective on this devotion because while public knowledge and perception of devotion to the Sacred Heart has diminished in recent decades, our bases for devotion have, if anything, increased. I think we also need to keep in mind that the actual physical heart of Christ, because of its presence in the form of the Eucharist, should not be considered only as a “symbol”. It is not like any other symbol that we have because the physical heart of Christ is alive and present among us in a way unlike any other physical symbol. I would like to refer now to an experience, a Eucharistic miracle, which our present Pope Francis had as Cardinal in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I present here the entire incident:

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14. THE PHYSICAL HEART OF CHRIST: A consecrated Host becomes flesh and blood At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.

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15. On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio [now Pope Francis], who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.

***

 

16. On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of its provenance. One of these scientists was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. It should be borne in mind that the left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”

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17. Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and lawyer Ron Tesoriero, witnessed these tests. Knowing where sample had come from, they were dumbfounded by Dr. Zugiba’s testimony. Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells would have remained alive if they had come from a piece of human tissue, which had been kept in water. They would have ceased to exist in a matter of minutes, Dr. Zugiba replied. The journalist then told the doctor that the source of the sample had first been kept in ordinary water for a month and then for another three years in a container of distilled water; only then had the sample been taken for analysis. Dr. Zugiba’s was at a loss to account for this fact. There was no way of explaining it scientifically, he stated. Only then did Mike Willesee inform Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated Host (white, unleavened bread) that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information, Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science—a mystery totally beyond her competence.” http://www.loamagazine.org/nr/the_main_topic/eucharistic_miracle_in_buenos.html

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18. Comparison with Lanciano and the Shroud of Turin

The results of the analysis of the New York Institute were finally compared with those of another Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano that, the earliest known of its kind in Lanciano, both the remains of a bloody Host and preserved human heart, which was transformed from a consecrated Host. The Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano is already 1300 years old, and yet there still remains a Host and part of the heart muscle can be seen and is exhibited in the local Franciscan Church. The miracle occurred in the first half of the 8th Century, when the area of Lanciano in southern Italy was Lombard. From Byzantium many monks fled West due to the iconoclast controversy under Emperor Leo III. (717-741). One of them, a Greek Basilian, doubted while he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence of Christ. He doubted that the bread and wine would actually convert into flesh and remain the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. During the consecration, the bread turned in his hands and under his eyes actually into flesh and blood. Recent scientific studies have also confirmed it has been a revered relic for almost 1,300 years as human blood and human heart tissue. There were no preservatives found that could explain such a long preservation.

***

19. None of the scientists were informed about the origin of the two samples from Italy and Argentina when comparing the studies of Lanciano and Buenos Aires. The comparison showed that the studied samples come from the same person in both cases. The blood type is AB + for each, which occurs in about five percent of all people worldwide. The DNA is the same in the both cases. In addition, there are features that the man came from the Middle East. Further comparisons showed the same agreement with the grave cloth of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo [Spain--The Sudarium (Latin for sweat cloth) is claimed by some to be the cloth wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after he died, as mentioned in the Gospel of John (20:6-7)]. http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2013/07/eucharistic-miracle-of-buenos-aires.html

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20. COMMENTARY: I was struck when I read recently from Pope Pius XII’s 1956 encyclical, Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart): Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to Jesus Christ Himself, but in the particular ways of meditating on his interior life and on His threefold love -- His divine love, His burning love that fed His human will, and His sensible love that affects His interior life.… Likewise we ought to meditate most lovingly on the beating of His Sacred Heart by which He seemed, as it were, to measure the time of His sojourn on earth until that final moment when, as the Evangelists testify, "crying out with a loud voice 'It is finished.', and bowing His Head, He yielded up the ghost." Then it was that His heart ceased to beat and His sensible love was interrupted until the time when, triumphing over death, He rose from the tomb. But after His glorified body had been re-united to the soul of the divine Redeemer, conqueror of death, His most Sacred Heart never ceased, and never will cease, to beat with calm and imperturbable pulsations. Likewise, it will never cease to symbolize the threefold love with which He is bound to His heavenly Father and the entire human race, of which He has every claim to be the mystical Head.

***

21. What seems so extraordinary to me, though we have known all of our lives that Jesus actually and physically comes to us in the Eucharist every time we receive Holy Communion, is that it is literally His physical Heart that He gives to each one of us. His living, pulsing Heart, symbolic of His love, but so very much alive, a human heart, a glorified Heart which becomes one with our own little humanity, our own hearts of flesh. [Remember also that Jesus gives His entire glorified self to us, not just his physical heart, in the Eucharist.]

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22. I was not satisfied to find out only this information, the origins of the devotion, about the actual physical heart of Jesus; I went to Bishop Luis Martinez because I wanted to enter into the deepest aspects of His heart, his emotional life, his feelings as God and man. I didn’t even have a name for what I was searching for, but I wanted to go as deep as I could into understanding this precious Heart which is sacred, divine, yet human. I wanted to be like St. Gertrude, resting on that chest, hearing that unimaginable Heart, pulsing, speaking Life.

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23. I found in Bishop Martinez’ book [he is the bishop who directed Conchita] ONLY JESUS,

part 3: The Interior of the Heart of Jesus. Of the many pages full of beautiful reflections, I can share only a few, but meaningful parts. Here are the first, basic parts: Plenitude of Purity, Abyss of Divine Virtues, Fount of Holiness—do these sound familiar? I thought immediately of the Litany of the Sacred Heart! We should go back to it and meditate on it. But Bishop Luis gives us hints of what depths these phrases contain. For example, Jesus’ heart is a Plenitude of Purity. We humans tend to see purity as the absence of dirt, stain or sin. But we can hardly understand Purity in reference to itself, Purity as Purity for itself alone: “Divine purity is unfathomable in its simplicity; it contains all perfection, all beauty; it is the infinite being of God…In that Heart there is nothing that is not divine—divine looks, divine feelings, divine throbbings. Consequently, everything in that Heart is purity of the highest order. Even the purity of Mary grows pale before the purity of Jesus’ heart.” [p. 157]

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24. Abyss of Divine Virtues: Purity positively considered is the divinization of the soul. The soul of Jesus was divinized, first, by the hypostatic union—the ineffable communication of divine purity with the Word of God; secondly, by the most bountiful effusion of sanctifying grace with its cortege of virtues and gifts; and lastly, by a third grace distinguished by theologians as belonging to Jesus in His office as Head of regenerated humanity. He received graces in order to infuse them into souls.” Remember the host which became the heart muscle—the very muscle which pumps blood throughout the body?

Bishop Luis continues, “It is this harmonious and inexpressible union of the divine and the human in the Heart of Jesus that attracts us so powerfully. If He were not human, or rather, if He did not become man, this purity would not be so adapted to us. If He were not divine, it would neither draw us, nor satisfy us, nor divinize us.” [p161] Further, “In God all the virtues are one single reality and they are infinite…the Heart of Jesus possesses the virtues that accompany sanctifying grace, though most perfect in degree, admirable in plenitude, and harmonious in their unity—veritable depths forming a single profound immensity.”

***

25. Fount of Holiness: “’the Church, all spotless and fair,’ adorned with the purity of Jesus is so beautiful; its center, the Divine Heart, spreads purity throughout the entire mystical body, as the heart in a living organism pumps the life-giving blood throughout the system.” [p. 167]. Just think of this when you receive Holy Communion, the heart muscle of Christ is pumping love, purity, and divinity throughout your soul and your body! “Wherever purity appears, there is the hand of Jesus. There is the influence of His heart, since each of the stages of our spiritual life is an enrichment of innocence. In each step there is a new contact with Jesus, a new outpouring of love from His most Sacred Heart to our poor heart.” [p. 169] Speaking of baptism: “That kiss of love is not the only one nor is that effusion of purity the last one.”

***

26. Bishop Luis speaks also of the “Delights of Divine Love,” in the Heart of Jesus. How beautifully he describes divine love in His heart: “Touched by this love, our soul languishes with admiration and tenderness; wounded with love, it feels a burning thirst….One dreams about it, sighs for it, but without being able to express its sweetness, its ardor, its purity, its delicacy. ‘He passed through here,’ speaks the soul who has felt it, ‘I saw His sacred shadow projected against my smallness; but I could not catch a glimpse of His divine countenance. At His step the flowers bloomed in the desert of my spirit; the night of my mind was illumined with midday splendor; my heart burned as Sinai when the voice of the Lord sounded, and my whole being, stirred even to the depths, melted like wax when Love passed by.”

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27. Then Bishop Martinez interprets for us: “The charm of the divine is to feel it without understanding it, to relish it without defining it precisely, to embrace it without encompassing it. The soul smitten by that divine love experiences a joy in a continuous spiritual development, though the soul never becomes adequate for the love that has touched it. There is no joy comparable to this unspeakable dilation….” [p. 187-188] But he adds a detail which should open our heart to what Jesus felt in his own very human heart: “This divine love which can be neither defined nor expressed, this love whose charm consists in being enjoyed without being understood, has been lavished upon the Heart of Jesus in its divine fullness in the hypostatic union….If it were not for Jesus, God would not kiss our souls, nor could our souls support the divine kiss without dying. But Jesus enclosed what is divine in love in the sheer, transparent cloth of human love. Across this love—similar to our own—which is adapted to our weakness, we catch a glimpse of eternal love, so that without dying, we experience its inexpressible sweetness. ” [187]

***

28. In his chapter on Christ’s love for priests, we find this line, “…this love is a singular love, because each soul is for God ‘one beyond compare’…No two loves are the same, for each soul has its own special character…God created each soul precisely that way in order that each soul might love Him with a love which is never duplicated.” [194] From this reflection we will later gain a much deeper insight and appreciation for the incalculable suffering of the Heart of Christ.

***

29. When I reached chapter 24, “Love’s Suffering” I was immensely moved as I grew in understanding of the Sacred Heart. First, Bishop Martinez explained that sin is the cause of all of Jesus’ suffering. The reaction of the Divine to this evil [sin] is infinite rage and hated—God is infinite Purity and sin is utter pollution. Upon reacting against the evil of sin, the love of the Sacred Heart was changed into unutterable pain. In the bosom of the Divinity, sin cannot be experienced as pain; in the Heart of Jesus, sin is experienced as pain. Bishop Martinez explains: “In God this hatred [of sin] is sanctity and Justice; in the souls of the reprobate, it produces hell; in the Heart of Jesus it elicited …the sorrows of hell.’

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30. Because He is man, Jesus can suffer. Because He is God, He can suffer to the infinite: unmitigated, bitter, intense, deep, unutterable pain. “Gather together in thought, in imagination all the sorrows suffered by men since the beginning of the world and all that they will suffer until the end of time. What a variety of martyrdoms! What intensity of pain! What an accumulation of sufferings! The sufferings of Jesus far surpass this inconceivable mass of pain…” [202] We all know sorrow. Nothing is more human. But we cannot begin to understand human sorrow extended to the infinite. Bishop Martinez laments: “O Jesus, how could You have lived thirty-three years, bearing in your heart that immense sorrow? How could You smile with your heart lacerated? How did your serenity conceal your unspeakable interior martyrdom?” And all of this suffering permeated Him before and during his physical passion…. “ Jesus always had the beatific vision in the superior part of His soul, while at the same time the lower part was plunged into an abyss of suffering. How to explain that strange combination? …it is certain that the sorrow of Jesus is intense, cruel, incomprehensible, unmitigated, not only on account of its source, because love alone caused it; not only on account of its fruit—the sinlessness of souls and the glory of God—but also because it is most pure in itself. It admits neither alleviation nor comfort. It is pure as the infinite is pure. It is pure as all that reflects the infinite is pure, even though it may be sorrow.” [205]

***

31. What sends us reeling here is the dimension of pain. We have all meditated on the Passion of Christ, but we tend to see it as horrible, primarily physical sufferings which He endured 2000 years ago. We should not forget that the drama of the Redemption is ongoing. When will it end? Only the Father knows. We do know this, the vicious spiritual warfare is even more intense today than it has been throughout the last 2000 years. Sin is more grievous and torrid than it has ever been. Abortion alone is unspeakable. And we know this too, the Heart of Christ is living, pulsing in our Tabernacles, contending with the hearts of all the men alive today. And will be till this whole drama is over once and for all.

***

32. As I read and reread what Bishop Martinez had to say of the Heart of Jesus, I wrote this in my prayer journal: 9/2/14-- Today the Lord let me enter the sorrow of His Sacred Heart. He let me see how sin translates into rage by Divine Justice and intense sorrow by the Sacred Heart of Jesus who is human that He may suffer, and who is Divine that He may suffer unmitigated sorrow. Then He gave me a vision of what He has held in His Heart since the Incarnation: the face of every child since the beginning of time, the innocent child of His Heart, every one, till assaulted by personal sin or the assaults of other sinners—what a barrage of pain, His sense of loss and suffering for each little one, for the aborted, for those lost to Satan. Not only is the sinner a victim of his own sin, but his sin victimizes other souls, like a Ponzi scheme, like ripples on a lake which spread indefinitely when a pebble is tossed in….

I wept for two hours. Jesus, never let me lose this vision of souls, and when we pray for souls, these, your babies, are what we pray for.

***

33. We are constantly praying for souls, intensely, sometimes very emotionally when the objects of our prayer are loved ones, living or deceased; but it is the vision of all these little faces which struck me with such power because for just a short time He made me see all of these souls, every human being who has ever lived or will live, as He sees them. The innocence and potential purity of each one. Remember Bishop Martinez’ remark: ““…this love is a singular love, because each soul is for God ‘one beyond compare’…No two loves are the same, for each soul has its own special character…God created each soul precisely that way in order that each soul might love Him with a love which is never duplicated.” [194]

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34. For the Heart of Jesus, that little face, “one beyond compare” is His whole focus, the infinite delight of His Heart or the unmitigated sorrow of His Heart. It is as though that one little face is the only one that has ever existed or will ever exist and the fullness of His Heart rests on that little one. Now reflect on all the people who have died. So many have been lost to perdition. Can you imagine His grief? His sorrow both in the Garden of Eden and right now as He looks at our century, our country, our family?

***

35. Don’t just reflect on the lost souls, but on the barrage of pain inflicted on victim souls, on the abused, for example. His Heart has felt every pain of every hurt or frightened child—and it is His child’s face that Jesus sees in every confused, broken adult. The loss of innocence and purity everywhere drowned, killed, mutilated, in the clutches of the evil one. The Sacred Heart of Jesus takes personally every hurt to every child of His Heart. Can we ever again “pray for souls” without seeing with Him all those innocent faces in harm’s way?

***

36. Let us continue to meditate and throw ourselves into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to lean in those loving arms against His side, to listen to that mighty Heart. Enter his Purity and Love, enter His sorrows with Him. Revisit the Litany of the Sacred Heart:

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LITANY OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the World, have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the Word of God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,

Lamb of God who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.

R.

Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 17 - DIVINA LECTIO, Divine Reading

Posted by livingchrist on September 24, 2014 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk #17 - Divine Reading (Lectio Divina) & Prayer

 

1. Prayer, the lifeblood of anyone who follows Christ, is such an intimate, personal, unique Christian/Catholic experience for each of us. What works for one may feel totally alien to someone else. Yet through the last 2000 years, several basic practices have developed which truly work for many people, practices which have led ordinary people to become saints abiding in deep, daily union with the Blessed Trinity. Whether we know it or not, this wonderful union, realized on earth, is the goal and end of all prayer. Despite heresy and division throughout Christianity, we do enjoy one common love, the Word of God—the Bible, Old and New Testaments. Our approach to God’s Word may differ, but we all reverence and cherish the Bible.

 

2. Prayer based on the Bible is a given for all Christians and Catholics. For a basic understanding of the types of prayer and the stages of spirituality leading to Union, see Soul Food Talk #1. What we will do today is to contemplate from the perspective of Catholic teaching, the magisterium of the Church, and ancient traditions of monastic life, how the word of God in Sacred Scripture can enrich our prayer-life, leading us into contemplation and union with God.

 

Article 1: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops –

 

3. "When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his word, proclaims the Gospel."

 

These words from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM, P. 29) set before us a profound truth that we need to ponder and make our own. The words of Sacred Scripture are unlike any other texts we will ever hear, for they not only give us information, they are the vehicle God uses to reveal himself to us, the means by which we come to know the depth of God's love for us, and the responsibilities entailed by being Christ's followers, members of his Body. What is more, this Word of God proclaimed in the liturgy possesses a special sacramental power to bring about in us what it proclaims. The Word of God proclaimed at Mass is 'efficacious' that is, it not only tells us of God and God's will for us, it also helps us to put that will of God into practice in our own lives. How, then, do we respond to this wonderful gift of God's Word? We respond in word and song, in posture and gesture, in silent meditation and, most important of all, by listening attentively to that Word as it is proclaimed.

 

http [:/] /www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/order-of-mass/liturgy-of-the-word/hearing-the-word-of-god.cfm

 

4. St. Augustine of Hippo’s phrase “ever ancient, ever new” describes the renewed interest in praying with Scripture that has re-emerged in today’s Church. Around the country, parish Bible study groups, small Christian communities, and other faith sharers have rediscovered a simple, insightful way to hear and experience the Word of God with one another through an ancient prayer form, lectio divina..

 

5. “The reading from the Word of God at each Hour [in Liturgy of the Hours]. . . and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours, reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the psalms, and prepare for silent prayer. The lectio divina, where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration.”

 

6. “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., nos. 1177, 2708 (Washington, DC: Libreria Editrice Vaticana–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000)

 

7. Lectio divina is a form of meditation rooted in liturgical celebration that dates back to early monastic communities. It was a method practiced by monks in their daily encounter with Scripture, both as they prepared for the Eucharist and as they prayed the Liturgy of the Hours. Its use continued in the Middle Ages in religious orders, such as the Benedictines and Carmelites, that not only practiced lectio divina daily but passed this treasure from the past on to the next generations. The practice of lectio divina is resurfacing today as a wonderful way to meditate on God’s Word.

 

What Does the Latin Name Mean?

 

8. The Latin phrase “lectio divina” may be translated as “divine reading.” Lectio divina is a method for praying with the Scriptures. As one reads and invites the Word to become a transforming lens that brings the events of daily living into focus, one can come to live more deeply and find the presence of God more readily in the events of each day. The method of lectio divina follows four steps: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), contemplatio (contemplation), and oratio (prayer).

 

9. “Lectio,” or “reading,” is the first step in the prayer process. The early monks understood that the fruitfulness of a monk’s prayer depends upon the simplicity, reverence, and openness to the Spirit with which the “reader” approaches the Word of God. The goal of this reading is not to rush through several chapters of Scripture. The reader, rather than trying to take in large sections of Scripture, adopts a reflective stance towards a short Scripture passage, pausing on a single word or phrase that resonates with the mind and heart.

 

10. This “reading” leads to the second step, known as “meditatio”—Latin for “meditation”—which invites one to reflect upon what was read. Ancient monks explained this process as a deep, unhurried thinking about the Word one has read—a rumination, somewhat like the way a cow chews the cud. As the Word is read in this step, the process of ruminating gradually draws the meditator’s focus from concerns of the mind to concerns of the heart.

 

11. The Word moves a person more deeply with the third step, which the ancients called “contemplatio” or “contemplation.” Contemplation is characterized by an openness of the heart, by which the reader experiences God as the One who prays within, who allows the person in contemplation to know the Word wordlessly and without image. By God’s grace, contemplation gives one a unique ability to connect one’s newly discovered insights to daily life experiences, with the inspiration that comes from the Word of God and that has the gracious capacity to refresh the heart and mind.

 

12. The fourth and final step, “oratio,” meaning “oration” or “prayer,” invites one’s personal response to God. This response is dialogical and can be understood as “a conversation between friends,” as St. Teresa of Avila defined prayer. One takes the time to talk to God about what was read, heard, or experienced, or about the questions that have arisen in the depth of one’s being. This response can become transformative when one accepts the promptings of the Word toward an embrace of all that life now holds. One can find God in the ups and downs of life, in times of joy and pain, as well as in ordinary, everyday moments.

 

Copyright © 2009, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C.

 

Article 2: BELIEFNET - How to Practice Lectio divina

 

13. Choose a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. Many Christians use in their daily lectio divina one of the readings from the eucharistic liturgy for the day; others prefer to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as one has no set goal of "covering" a certain amount of text. The amount of text covered is in God's hands, not yours.

 

14. Place yourself in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a beloved "prayer word" or "prayer phrase" they gently recite. [The Jesus Prayer can be useful here.] Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.

 

15. Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the "still, small voice" of a word or phrase that somehow says, "I am for you today." Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In lectio divina, God is teaching us to listen to him, to seek him in silence. He does not reach out and grab us; rather, he gently invites us ever more deeply into his presence.

 

16. Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.

 

17. Speak to God. Whether you use words, ideas, or images--or all three--is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. And give to him what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Experience God by using the word or phrase he has given you as a means of blessing and of transforming the ideas and memories that your reflection on his word has awakened. Give to God what you have found within your heart.

 

18. Rest in God's embrace. And when he invites you to return to your contemplation of his word or to your inner dialogue with him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.

 

19. Sometimes in lectio divina, you may return several times to the printed text, either to savor the literary context of the word or phrase that God has given or to seek a new word or phrase to ponder. At other times, only a single word or phrase will fill the whole time set aside for lectio divina. It is not necessary to assess anxiously the quality of your lectio divina, as if you were "performing" or seeking some goal. Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures. http [:/] /www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Catholic/2000/08/How-To-Practice-Lectio-Divina.aspx

 

Article 3: “Meditating Day and Night on the Law of the Lord and Keeping Vigil in Prayer” --Carmelite reflections on Lectio divina

 

Carlos Mesters, O.Carm.translated by Míceál O ’Neill, O.Carm.

 

20. Ten words of advice

 

When you begin a Lectio divina of the Bible you are not concerned with study; you are not going to read the Bible in order either to increase your knowledge or to prepare for some apostolate. You are not reading the Bible in order to have some extraordinary experience. You are going to read the Word of God in order to listen to what God has to say to you, to know his will and thus ‘to live more deeply in allegiance to Jesus Christ.’ (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 2). There must be poverty in you; you must also have the disposition which the old man Eli recommended to Samuel: ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:10).

 

21. Listening to God does not depend on you or on the effort you make. It depends entirely on God, on God’s freely-made decision to come into dialogue with you and to allow you to listen to the voice to God. Thus you need to prepare yourself by asking him to send his Spirit, since without the Spirit of God it is impossible to discover the meaning of the Word which God has prepared for us today (cf. John 14:26; 16:13; Lk 11:13).

 

22. It is important to create the right surroundings which will facilitate recollection and an attentive listening to the Word of God. For this, you must build your cell within you and around you and you must stay in it (Carmelite Rule: Chapters 6 & 10), all the time of your Lectio divina. Putting one’s body in the right position helps recollection in the mind.

 

23. When you open the Bible, you have to be conscious that you are opening a Book which is not yours. It belongs to the community . In your Lectio divina you are setting foot in the great Tradition of the Church which has come down through the centuries. Your prayerful reading is like the ship which carries down the winding river to the sea. The light shining from the sea has already enlightened the dark night of many generations. In having your own experience of Lectio divina you are alone. You are united to brothers and sisters who before you succeeded in ‘meditating day and night upon the Law of the Lord and keeping vigil in prayer’ (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 10).

 

24. An attentive and fruitful reading of the Bible involves three steps. It has to be marked from beginning to end, by three attitudes:

 

First Step/Attitude –Reading (Lectio): First of all, you have to ask,

 

What does the text say as text? This requires you to be silent. Everything in you must be silent so that nothing stands in the way of your gleaning what the texts say to you (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 21) and so that you do not make the text say what you would like to hear.

 

25. Second Step/Attitude–Meditation (Meditatio): You must ask, What does the text say to me or to us? In this second step we enter into dialogue with the text so that its meaning comes across with freshness and penetrates the life of the Carmelite today. Like Mary you will ponder what you have heard and ‘meditate on the Law of the Lord’ (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 10). In this way ‘the Word of God will dwell abundantly on your lips and in your heart (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 19).

 

Third Step/Attitude–Prayer (Oratio): Furthermore, you have to try to discover what does the text lead me to say to God? This is the moment of prayer, the moment of keeping watch in prayer’ (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 10).

 

26. The result, the fourth step, the destination of Lectio divina, is contemplation (contemplatio). Contemplation means having in one’s eyes something of the ‘wisdom which leads to salvation’ (2 Timothy 3:15). We begin to see the world and life through the eyes of the poor, through the eyes of God. We assume our own poverty and eliminate from our way of thinking all that smacks of the powerful. We recognize all the many things which we thought were fidelity to God, to the Gospel, and to the Tradition; in reality they were nothing more than fidelity to ourselves and our own interests. We get a taste, even now, of the love of God which is above all things. We come to see that in our lives true love of God is revealed in love of our neighbour (Carmelite Rule: Chapters 15 & 19). It is like saying always ‘let it be done according to your Word’ (Luke 1:3 [8)] . Thus‘ all you do will have the Lord’s word for accompaniment’ ( Carmelite Rule: Chapter 19).

 

27. `So that your Lectio divina does not end up being the conclusions of your own feelings, thoughts and caprices, but has the deepest roots, it is important to take account of three demands:

 

First Demand: Check the result of your reading with the community to which you belong (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 15), with the faith of the living Church. Otherwise it could happen that your effort might lead you nowhere (cf. Galatians 2:2).

 

28. Second Demand: Check what you read in the Bible with what is going on in life around you. It was in confronting their faith with the situation existing around them that the people of God created the traditions which up to today are visible in the Bible. The desire to embody the contemplative ideal of the Carmelite Order within the reality of ‘minores’ (the poor of each age) brought the first Carmelite hermits to become mendicants among the people. When the

 

Lectio divina does not reach its goal in our life, the reason is not always our failure to pray, our lack of attention to the faith of the Church, or our lack of serious study of the text. Oftentimes it is simply our failure to pay attention to the crude and naked reality which surrounds us. The early Christian writer Cassian tells us that anyone who lives superficially –without seeking to go deeper–will not be able to reach the source where the Psalms were born.

 

29. Third Demand: Check the conclusions of your reading with the results of biblical studies which have shown the literal meaning of the words. Lectio divina, it has to be said, cannot remain chained to the letter. The Spirit’s meaning has to be sought (2Corinthians 3:6). However, any effort to identify the Spirit’s meaning without basing it in the written word would be like trying to build a castle on sand (St. Augustine). That would be a way of falling into the trap of fundamentalism. In this day and age, when so many ideas are flying about, common sense is a most important quality. Common sense will be nourished by critical study of the written word. So that we will not go astray on this point, the Carmelite Rule tells us to follow the example of the Apostle Paul (Carmelite Rule: Chapter 24).

 

30. The Apostle Paul gives various bits of advice on how to read the Bible. He himself was an excellent interpreter. Here are some of the norms and attitudes which he taught and followed: When you set yourself to read the Bible...

 

(a) Look upon yourself as the one to whom the word is addressed, since everything was written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11; Roman 15:4). The Bible is OUR book. (b) Keep faith in Jesus Christ in your eyes, since it is only through faith in Jesus Christ that the veil is removed and the Scripture reveals its meaning and tells of that wisdom which leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 3:16;2 Timothy 3:15; Romans 15:4).

 

(c) Remember how Paul spoke of ‘Jesus Christ Crucified’ (2 Corinthians 2:2), a ‘stumbling block for some and foolishness for others’. It was this Jesus who opened Paul’s eyes to see how, among the poor on the outskirts of Corinth, the foolishness and the stumbling block of the cross was confounding the wise, the strong, and those who believed themselves to be something in this world (1 Corinthians 1:21-31).

 

(d) Unite ‘I’ and ‘We’: It is never a question of ‘I’ alone or ‘We’ alone. The Apostle Paul also united the two. He received his mission from the community of Antioch and spoke from that background (Acts 13:1-3).

 

(e) Keep life’s problems in mind, that is, all that is happening in the Carmelite Family, in the communities, in the Church, and among the people to which you belong and whom you serve. Paul began from what was going on in the communities which he founded (1Corinthians 10:1-13).

 

31. When you read the Bible, be always aware that the text of the Bible is not only a fact. It is also a symbol (Hebrews 11:19). It is both a window through which you see what happened to others in the past and a mirror in which you can see what is happening to you today (1 Corinthians 10:6-10). A prayerful reading is like a gentle flood which, little by little, waters the earth and makes it fruitful (Isaiah 55:10-11). In beginning to dialogue with God in Lectio divina, you grow like a tree planted near streams of water (Psalm 1:3). You cannot see the growth but you can see its results in your encounter with yourself, with God, and with others. The song says: ‘Like a flood that washes clean, like a fire that devours, so is your Word, leaving its mark upon me each time it passes’.

 

32. One final point to be born in mind: When you do a Lectio divina, the principal object is not to interpret the Bible, nor to get to know its content, nor to increase your knowledge of the history of the people of God, nor to experience extraordinary things, but rather to discover, with the help of the written Word, the living Word which God speaks to you today, in your life, in our lives, in the life of the people, in the world in which we live (Psalm 97:5). The purpose is to grow in faith, like the prophet Elijah, and to experience more and more that ‘the Lord lives, and I stand in his presence’(1 Kings 17:1; 18:15).

 

33. Ancient and ever-new lectio divina will produce rich fruits for us if we take the time to practice it. What I have discovered to my delight, is that when the Holy Spirit “cracks open” a passage for me and the light pours out and into my heart, that passage remains forever special to me. I have accumulated so many little passages; and I find myself reading them so often that I have them memorized and can use them in spontaneous prayer. Those phrases which strike my heart with most intensity I will always cherish as a special word from God spoken especially to me! I keep a prayer journal in which I have recorded all these passages, the special words that He has ever given me, even recording the date! When I pray, I have this journal handy. And I continuously add to it even articles (such as parts of our Soul Food articles).

 

34. Not only does lectio divina enable me to enter into Holly Scripture, but I also use lectio divina to draw from spiritual books and other intense sources. For example, many sections of Conchita’s writings yield rich understanding and lead me to contemplative prayer. I read one part today, falling in love with the Word. Tomorrow I may very well return to the same passage, drawing water from that source till I have exhausted it. Then several days, weeks, or months later, I return and am refreshed yet again. Keep a record of these wonderful visitations of the Holy Spirit—He is never finished with you, pouring His grace over you each time you visit that passage.

 

35. I look everywhere for His words: the Liturgy of the Hours, all kinds of spiritual books, songs—all is fodder for lectio divina. St. Teresa of Avila once said that she never went to prayer without a book. She became easily distracted; she needed the book or scripture to ground her and keep her focused. If she needed it, how much more so do we!

 

36. What is so exciting about lectio divina is that a passage which you have read and seen a hundred times will suddenly burst into flame, piercing you to the quick—how? Why? The Holy Spirit. Sometimes you will feel as though you are merely plodding along, no lift, no inspiration. But persevere. God brings comfort and exhilaration where and when you need it for growth, and God always wants us to grow. We can never grow too much or fast enough to appreciate and adore His eternal Majesty. More important than anything else is to pray from the heart. With complete sincerity. Whether in silence, in our own simple words, or in scriptural words—if it pours from our heart, it is what God longs to hear from us.

 

FAVORITE PASSAGES TO READ USING LECTIO DIVINA: OLD TESTAMENT –

 

Psalm 40, 8-10; Psalm 84; Psalm 39,8; Psalm 74, 25-26;

 

Psalm 119 NUN, 105-112;

 

Psalm 22 [the Passion of Christ,

 

“Why oh why have you abandoned me?]

 

Psalm 23 [Good Shepherd];

 

Psalm 27 [The Lord is my Light & My Salvation

 

Psalm 42 [ longing for the Lord]

 

Psalm 51 [ the Miserere or prayer of repentence]

 

Psalm 62 [Trust in God alone]

 

Psalm 63 [Ardent longing for God]

 

Psalm 84 [“How lovely your dwelling…”]

 

Psalm 131 [Like a little child…]

 

Psalm 139 [God is All-knowing and All-present]

 

Canticles 6,2-3; 5,16; 1,2-4

 

Book of Wisdom, ch 7: 22-30

 

Jeremiah 20: 7-9 [the power of God’s word]

 

Isaiah 9: 1-6 [Unto us a child is born, Christmas]

 

Isaiah 35: 1-10 [Israel’s deliverance]

 

NEW TESTAMENT-

 

Matthew 11: 25-30

 

1 John 4:7-16

 

Ephesians 1: 3-14; 6:10-17 [battle against evil, the armor of God]

 

Colossians 1: 15-20

 

Phillipians 2: 5-11; [though He was in the form of God, He emptied Himself]

 

3: 7-11 [I have accepted the loss of all things…]

 

Luke 1: 45-55 [Magnificat]

 

John – the entire Gospel! Especially John 6:27-69 [Bread of Life]

 

John 14: 1-31; John 17: 1-26 Letters of John: I & II

 

Romans 8: 9-39

 

1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 [Hymn to Charity]

 

Galatians 2: 19-21 [I have been crucified with Christ…]; 4: 3-7 [adoption]

 

5: 22-26 [fruits of the Spirit]

 

1 Peter 3: 13-22 [Christian suffering]

 

Revelation 7: 1-17 [Triumph of the Elect]; Revelation Chapters 19-end.

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 15 -- USING POETRY IN PRAYER

Posted by livingchrist on August 19, 2014 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk #15 - Using Poetry in Prayer

 

1. Being a poet, years ago when I began experiencing contemplation, I made an observation. Entering into a somewhat inspired state, given an insight from reading or from an experience, I often felt deeply impelled to write it down, or to try to do so. Yet, especially when the insight was a spiritual one, if I resisted the urge to write, but instead turned to God in prayer, especially in quiet of heart, and followed the inspirational impulse, thinking about it, musing on it, turning it over and over in my spirit, I found that I often entered into contemplative prayer. I had to forego the poem, but enjoyed prayer instead. Thus, it seemed to me that this “inspired” state was an early stage in contemplative prayer, a stage in which the heart is opened to the mystery of life and God, a stage of wonder, love, and tenderness, though perhaps not even yet directed at God. If the inner, spiritual compulsion to write poetry, to “capture” the vision of a poem, was a stage which could lead to contemplation, could the reading of poetry or other inspired words also lead to prayer? Absolutely!

 

***

 

2. Poems can often suggest spiritual states better than prose can because they are intense expressions which use unusual combinations of words, images, and metaphors which jolt us out of our everyday experience of divine realities, even the experience of a flower, a cup of coffee, a simple act of a child. In the nineties when I was unchurched, but longed to have faith, I wrote the following reflection after reading a short poem.

 

***

 

3. REFLECTION ON FAITH - T. K. Andre-Eames

 

FAITH is such an abstract. How strange we are, or at least how strange I am. I often question what it is I believe, yet I never question that I believe. Is it because Faith is a posture of the spirit, an attitude, an openness? Let me share with you a short poem I found by the noted native American writer, N. Scott Momoday, a Kiowa Indian born in 1934. He writes:

 

***

 

4. "To a Child Running with Outstretched Arms in Canyon de Chelly"

 

You are small and intense In your excitement, whole,

 

Embodied in delight.

 

The background is immense;

 

The sanddrifts break and roll

 

Through cleavages of light

 

And shadow.

 

You embrace

 

The spirit of this place.

 

***

 

5. “You can see it, can't you? A little child running into the endless expanse of the great Southwest--black hair streaming, arms wide, running wide open, holding nothing back? This vision is Faith. It's the color and grain of Faith the way a child wears it: close to the skin and in between the toes.

 

***

 

6. “This kind of Faith I can go for: believing with all my heart though I too am small against the immense background of all the people who confuse me with controversy or politics, policy or violence, or the contortions of love that never work out quite the way I have come to expect.

 

***

 

7. “This is my kind of Faith: belief with its hair down, an intense, running, outstretched human being flung open in innocence, vulnerable in delight.

 

***

 

8. “I want this kind of Faith to be the stuff of my life, to believe with all my heart although the world will not stay still, and the spirit (even my own) won't stay put either, but blows like the canyon winds through the wild places. I want to believe although sand shifts, rocks crack, hearts break, heroes fail, friends fall.

 

***

 

9. “I want to believe through all of this and more, through sifting shadows and doubt, through light flickering in ragged ribbons across the garment of my life. I want to wear Faith the way a child wears it: close to the skin and in between my toes.”

 

***

 

10. *****You can see how far I have come in Christ since the 1990’s! Yet this image of the child running in the Canyon de Chelly [pronounced Shay] presents a wonderful picture of openness, innocence, and abandonment. After rereading this recently, I find myself praying: “O My God, I’m running to You in the Canyon de Chelly!”

 

11. The poem or piece doesn’t even have to overtly spiritual. I remember being moved and meditating on this simple line:

 

BRETON FISHERMAN’S PRAYER

 

“ O God, your sea is so great, and my boat is so small.”

 

***

 

12. Another piece which moved me deeply also describes our human condition and attitude toward God—how we tend to blow problems out of proportion.

 

***

 

INUIT SONG [Eskimo]

 

“And I thought over again

 

My small adventures

 

As with a shore-wind I drifted out

 

In my kayak And thought I was in danger

 

My fears,

 

Those small ones

 

That I thought so big

 

For all the vital things

 

I had to get and to reach

 

And yet, there is only

 

One great thing,

 

The only thing--

 

To live to see in huts and on journeys

 

The great day that dawns

 

And the light that fills the world.”

 

***

 

13. As I read the poem, I always changed one word, “the Light that fills the world.” And what of the “Great Day that dawns” ? Doesn’t the poem also make you think of Jesus’ words to Martha, “Mary has chosen the best part, and it will not be taken away from her—“One great thing, The only thing….”

 

***

 

14. Our Christian tradition is also filled with overtly spiritual poems. Take this classic of the 17th century by an Anglican priest:

 

***

 

DISCIPLINE by GEORGE HERBERT

 

“Throw away thy rod,

 

Throw away thy wrath:

 

O my God,

 

Take the gentle path.

 

For my heart's desire

 

Unto thine is bent: I aspire

 

To a full consent.

 

Not a word or look

 

I affect to own,

 

But by book,

 

And thy book alone.

 

Though I fail, I weep;

 

Though I halt in pace,

 

Yet I creep

 

To the throne of grace.

 

Then let wrath remove;

 

Love will do the deed:

 

For with love

 

Stony hearts will bleed.

 

Love is swift of foot;

 

Love's a man of war,

 

And can shoot,

 

And can hit from far.

 

Who can 'scape his bow?

 

That which wrought on thee,

 

Brought thee low,

 

Needs must work on me.

 

Throw away the rod;

 

Though man frailties hath,

 

Thou art God,

 

Throw away thy wrath.”

 

***

 

14. What an attitude of humility and pleading fills this poem, a spiritual stance we all need in approaching our God as we also beg that He reach us through Love, not through wrath!

 

***

 

15. For several years, especially when I had left the church, I read the poetry of a Muslim poet and mystic, Hafiz. So down to earth, he has such a sense of humor and wonder, a love of the Beloved, that he often moved me greatly. Take this little poem:

 

***

 

REMOVING THE SHOE FROM THE TEMPLE - Hafiz, a Muslim poet & mystic, 1320-1389

 

"Once someone asked me,

 

'Why do saints seek divine annihilation

 

And are often humble

 

And like to spend their free time Upon their knees?'

 

I replied, 'It is a simple matter of etiquette.'

 

Then they said, 'What do you mean, Hafiz?'

 

‘Well,' I continued,

 

‘When one goes into a mosque or temple is it not common to remove what

 

Covers your feet?

 

So too does it happen

 

With this whole mind and body--

 

That is something like a shoe sole.

 

When one begins to realize

 

Upon Whom you are really standing,

 

One begins

 

To remove the 'shoe' from the Temple."

 

***

 

16. What about this next little poem? How much is expressed with so few words! Do you want to remain in the environs or move deep into the heart of God?

 

THE SUBURBS by Hafiz

 

Complaint

 

is only possible

 

when living in the suburbs

 

of God

 

***

 

17. This prayer/poem by a Jewish rabbi has been a favorite for many years, especially for the line which I highlighted for you:

 

Rebbe Nachman’s Prayer for Nature, written in the 1800s:

 

“Master of the Universe:

 

Grant me the ability to be alone.

 

May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grass,

 

among all growing things.

 

And there may I be alone to enter into prayer,

 

talking to the One to whom I belong.

 

May I express there everything in my heart,

 

and may all the foliage of the field awake at my coming

 

to send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer

 

And so that my speech is made whole

 

through the life and spirit of all growing things,

 

which are made as one by their transcendent Source,

 

through this, may my heart open.”

 

***

 

18. Years ago, I was struck by the clear, pure sounds of a little bird, and entered into a deep meditation on it, impelled to write it down. Comparing the urgency of the bird’s song, I felt it described so well the scripture that I attached to it:

 

THE SOULS OF BIRDS - T. K. Andre-Eames

 

       "Let my tongue be silent

 

              if ever I forget You.” Psalm 137, 5-6

 

“The souls of birds fill their hollow bones,

 

lighter than the bright side of thistles.

 

Their clear cries sweep through the mist

 

till morning breathes green and fresh again,

 

and paradise seems more than possible.

 

The milk of kindness gathers to a quill.

 

God is rich in mercy. So are the birds

 

who rise to innocence from heavy dark,

 

their chaste choir as pure as a lark.

 

The Weird* of God, remotest mystery,

 

distills then to the single breaking key

 

of a bird at prayer, impaled on a note.

 

What round eye is this that sees born

 

the folded leaf, the whole world of the thorn?”

 

______________________________

 

[The word weird refers to something uncanny, supernatural, unearthly, otherworldly, mysterious—I even had in mind St. Paul’s use of the Greek word mysterion—mystery].

 

***

 

19. Poems are cries of the spirit, cries of wonder, mystery, awe, love, sorrow, desolation, abandonment. I love this poem which expresses so well the desolation of the soul which yet hopes in Christ [:(]

 

A Better Resurrection -- Christina Rossetti

 

“I have no wit, no words, no tears;

 

My heart within me like a stone

 

Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;

 

Look right, look left, I dwell alone;

 

I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief

 

No everlasting hills I see;

 

My life is in the falling leaf:

 

O Jesus, quicken me.

 

***

 

My life is like a faded leaf,

 

My harvest dwindled to a husk:

 

Truly my life is void and brief

 

And tedious in the barren dusk;

 

My life is like a frozen thing,

 

No bud nor greenness can I see:

 

Yet rise it shall–the sap of Spring;

 

O Jesus, rise in me.

 

***

 

My life is like a broken bowl,

 

A broken bowl that cannot hold

 

One drop of water for my soul

 

Or cordial in the searching cold;

 

Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;

 

Melt and remould it, till it be

 

A royal cup for Him, my King:

 

O Jesus, drink of me.”

 

***

 

20. Is today driving you crazy? This prayer below, known as St. Teresa's Bookmark, can help you calm down. Is your stomach all tied up in knots with worries? Is your mind racing like a hamster in a cage going around and around on a wheel? Give yourself a break! Take a deep breath. St. Teresa of Avila, 16th century, can give you some much needed perspective on things!

 

***

 

St. Teresa’s Bookmark

 

“Let nothing disturb you,

 

Let nothing frighten you,

 

All things are passing;

 

God only is changeless.

 

Patience gains all things.

 

Who has God wants nothing.

 

God alone suffices. “

 

***

 

21. As well as express desolation, a poem can offer consolation. When George was in prison, I sent him this little poem written as a prayer. He put it into his bible and read it everyday:

 

***

 

A PRAYER by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

 

“Refuse to fall down.

 

If you cannot refuse to fall down,

 

refuse to stay down.

 

If you cannot refuse to stay down,

 

lift your heart toward heaven,

 

and like a hungry beggar,

 

ask that it be filled,

 

and it will be filled.

 

You may be pushed down.

 

You may be kept from rising.

 

But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven— only you.

 

It is in the midst of misery

 

that so much becomes clear.

 

The one who says nothing good came of this,

 

is not yet listening.”

 

***

 

22. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of a spiritual insight into Christ; for example, see how much self-control and restraint Jesus had to practice.

 

***

Christ's Restraint -- by Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886)

 

“He might have reared a palace at a word,

 

Who sometimes had not where to lay his head:

 

Time was, and He who nourished crowds with bread

 

Would not one meal unto Himself afford:

 

Twelve legions girded with angelic sword

 

Were at his beck, the scorned and buffeted:

 

He healed another's scratch, his own side bled,

 

Side, feet, and hands, with cruel piercings gored.

 

Oh wonderful the wonders left undone!

 

And scarce less wonderful than those He wrought;

 

Oh self-restraint, passing all human thought,

 

To have all power, and be as having none;

 

Oh self-denying Love, which felt alone

 

For needs of others, never for its own!”

 

***

 

23. I know most of you remember reading John Donne, an Anglican priest in the 16th century, in high school English, and as a teen-ager, had little interest or understanding. Try reading this now as an adult:

 

***

 

Holy Sonnets V: Batter my heart, three-person'd God By John Donne

 

“Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you

 

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

 

That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend

 

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

 

I, like an usurp'd town to another due,

 

Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;

 

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

 

But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.

 

Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain*, [*with pleasure]

 

But am betroth'd unto your enemy;

 

Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,

 

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

 

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

 

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.”

 

***

 

24. In the above poem you should recognize the cry of St. Paul in Romans 7, as he agonizes over his weakness of will and flesh, his inability to free himself from doing those things he does not want to do!

 

***

 

25. As far back as the 4th century of Christianity in Syria, we have a saint who was a deacon and poet who was famous for preaching in the form of poetry.

 

***

 

By St. Ephrem of Edessa, Syria [Also spelled Ephraim, 4th century]

 

“From God Christ's deity came forth,

 

His manhood from humanity;

 

his priesthood from Melchizedek,

 

his royalty from David's tree:

 

praised be his Oneness.

 

He joined with guests at wedding feast,

 

Yet in the wilderness did fast;

 

he taught within the temple's gates;

 

his people saw him die at last:

 

praised be his teaching.

 

The dissolute he did not scorn,

 

Nor turn from those who were in sin;

 

he for the righteous did rejoice

 

but bade the fallen to come in:

 

praised be his mercy.

 

He did not disregard the sick;

 

To simple ones his word was given

 

and he descended to the earth and,

 

his work done, went up to heaven:

 

praised be his coming.

 

Who then, my Lord, compares to you?

 

The Watcher slept, the Great was small,

 

the Pure baptized, the Life who died,

 

the King abased to honor all:

 

praised be your glory.”

 

***

 

26. Some of our greatest saints and mystics expressed insights into the spiritual life in the form of poetry. Just as St. Paul explained in 2 Cor. 5:8, St. John of the Cross expresses in a poem how he would much rather be with the Lord than remain among the living:

 

***

 

ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS: “I die because I do not die”

 

“1. I no longer live within myself

 

and I cannot live without God,

 

for having neither him nor myself

 

what will life be?

 

It will be a thousand deaths,

 

longing for my true life

 

and dying because I do not die.

 

2. This life that I live

 

is no life at all,

 

and so I die continually

 

until I live with you;

 

hear me, my God [:(]

 

I do not desire this life,

 

I am dying because I do not die.

 

3. When I am away from you

 

what life can I have

 

except to endure

 

the bitterest death known?

 

I pity myself,

 

for I go on and on living,

 

dying because I do not die.

 

4. A fish that leaves the water

 

has this relief [:(]

 

the dying it endures

 

ends at last in death.

 

What death can equal my pitiable life?

 

For the longer I live, the more drawn out is my dying.

 

5. When I try to find relief

 

seeing you in the Sacrament,

 

I find this greater sorrow:

 

I cannot enjoy you wholly.

 

All things are affliction

 

I do not see you as I desire,

 

and I die because I do not die.

 

6. And if I rejoice, Lord,

 

in the hope of seeing you,

 

yet seeing I can lose you

 

doubles my sorrow.

 

Living in such fear

 

and hoping as I hope,

 

I die because I do not die.

 

7. Lift me from this death,

 

my God, and give me life;

 

do not hold me bound

 

with these bonds so strong;

 

see how I long to see you;

 

my wretchedness is so complete

 

that I die because I do not die.

 

8. I will cry out for death

 

and mourn my living

 

while I am held here

 

for my sins.

 

O my God, when will it be

 

that I can truly say:

 

now I live because I do not die.”

 

***

 

27. St. Teresa of Avila expresses much the same hunger for God as that expressed by St. John of the Cross:

 

ST. TERESA OF AVILA

 

“If, Lord, Thy love for me is strong

 

As this which binds me unto thee,

 

What holds me from thee Lord so long,

 

What holds thee Lord so long from me?

 

O soul, what then desirest thou?

 

Lord I would see thee, who thus choose thee.

 

What fears can yet assail me now?

 

All that I fear is but lose thee.

 

Love’s whole possession I entreat,

 

Lord make my soul thine own abode,

 

And I will build a nest so sweet

 

It may not be too poor for God.

 

A soul in God hidden from sin,

 

What more desires for me remain,

 

Save but to love again,

 

And all on flame with love within,

 

Love on, and turn to love again.”

 

***

 

28. The Bible itself is full of beautiful, inspiring poetry, of course: The Psalms, the Canticle of Canticles [Song of Songs], and so many other books of the bible. The Church’s hymns and spiritual songs are often the most beautiful poems accompanied by music that move us to tears again and again. Write down the sources of what most moves and inspires you, whatever lifts your heart to God. Write down the book, chapter, and verse on the inside covers of your Bible, or copy your favorite scriptures, copy your favorite poems, put these into a prayer journal, and have this wonderful resource at your fingertips when you enter into prayer. What you find fruitful one time, may often move you again and again. God wants our hearts soft and pliable. He loves our tears and cries.

 

***

 

29. Finally, I recently found this beautiful poem by the contemplative monk which contains so much hope and joy. Let this be our finale:

 

***

 

THOMAS MERTON --1944

The Holy Child's Song -

 

When midnight occupied the porches of the Poet's reason

 

Sweeter than any bird

 

He heard the Holy Child.

 

Song

 

"When My kind Father, kinder than the sun,

 

With looks and smiles bends down

 

And utters My bodily life,

 

My flesh, obeying, praises Heaven like a smiling cloud.

 

Then I become the laughter of the watercourses.

 

I am the gay wheat fields, the serious hills:

 

I fill the sky with words of light, and My incarnate songs

 

Fly in and out the branches of My childish voice

 

Like thrushes in a tree.

 

"And when My Mother, pretty as a church,

 

Takes Me upon her lap, I laugh with love,

 

Loving to live in her flesh, which is My house and full of light!

 

(Because the sky My Spirit enters in at all the windows)

 

O, then what songs and what incarnate joys

 

Dance in the brightest rays of My childish voice!

 

"In winter when the birds put down their flutes

 

And wind plays sharper than a fife upon the icy rain,

 

I sit in this crib,

 

And laugh like fire, and clap My golden hands:

 

To view my friends the timid beasts-

 

Their great brown flanks, muzzles and milky breath!

 

"Therefore come, shepherds, from your rocky hill,

 

And bend about My crib in wonder and adore My joy.

 

My glances are as good as wine.

 

The little rivers of My smile

 

Will wash away all ruins from your eyes,

 

As I lift up My hands,

 

As white as blackthorn blossoms,

 

And charm and kiss you with My seven sacraments.

 

"This seeming winter is your spring

 

When skies put off their armor:

 

Because My Heart already holds

 

The secret mortal wound,

 

By which I shall transform all deserts into garden-ground:

 

And there the peaceful trees,

 

All day say credos, being full of leaves -

 

And I will come and be your noon-day sun,

 

And make your shadows palaces of moving light:

 

And you will show Me your flowers."

 

When the midnight occupied the porches of the Poet's reason

 

Sweeter than any bird

 

He heard the Holy Child.

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL FOOD Talk #14 - A PLAN TO PRAISE HIS GLORY

Posted by livingchrist on July 23, 2014 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

 

SOUL FOOD Talk # 14 – A PLAN TO PRAISE HIS GLORY

1. I read recently in Under the Gaze of the Father [Conchita’s retreat in 1935] this paragraph which touched me deeply: “The love of Jesus is very pure. His Heart contains all of us, yet He loves but [only] His Father. He walked the earth doing good, pouring out graces, giving life with generous abundance, setting the earth on fire with fire from heaven, but in reality, He did not seek anything other than the glory of God, nor did He accomplish other work than of simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart in order to plunge the universe into the pure bosom of God.” [p. 83]

***

2. This phrase, “simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart” reminds me of similar phrases which come up in many places, especially in St. Paul. For ex. in Colossians 1:15-20 “…in Him all things hold together….For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace through the blood of His Cross….” Through the years I have spent many hours contemplating the meaning of these words. “In Him all things hold together” I took to be related to the earlier lines in Colossians 1:16: “For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers [the angels]; all things were created through Him and for Him.” Thus those things created through and for Him also hold together in Him. God the Father created the universe of planets, stars, men, and angels for Christ. Was the Father’s purpose to gift this to his human born son, Jesus? That all these things be gathered in Him? I began to think that this was a part of the Divine design or plan from all eternity, not only that Jesus would redeem fallen mankind, but restore to its original unity and pristine condition all of creation in His beloved son.

***

3. I revisited my old Jerusalem Bible and read there from a footnote on Colossians 1:19 “’Because God wanted the pleroma to be found in Him.’ The exact meaning of the word pleroma (i.e. the thing that fills up a gap or hole, like a patch, cf Mt. 9:16) is not certain here. [My theology teacher, a priest, told us that pleroma meant fullness.] Some writers thought it must mean the same as in 2:9 (the fullness of divinity that filled Jesus), but since vv. 15-18 have already dealt with the divinity of Jesus, it seems likely that the reference here is to the biblical concept of the entire cosmos as filled with the creative presence of God….Paul teaches that the incarnation and resurrection make Christ head not only of the entire human race, but of the entire created cosmos, so that everything that was involved in the fall is equally involved in the salvation.”

***

4. I found especially meaningful Rom 8:19-22 – “For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.

***

5. It seems to me that St. Paul is saying that all of creation is to be restored in Christ, not just man, but the whole physical creation as well. Since all were damaged, all will be brought to wholeness, fullness once again, in Christ.

***

6. Now read Ephesians 3:9-10 – “He has made known to us the mystery of His will in accord with His favor that He set forth in Him as a plan for the fullness of times to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” We have another reference to this “plan” which was set in place “before the foundations of the world”—perhaps even before the creation of the angels, a creation which preceded that of earth and man.

***

7. We know that Jesus was made flesh in the Incarnation in Mary, emptying Himself of His Glory in order to redeem us from sin, but this, our redemption, is set by St. Paul into a much grander frame, scale, or plan, summarized as we saw earlier: “ He did not seek anything other than the glory of God, nor did He accomplish other work than of simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart in order to plunge the universe into the pure bosom of God.”

***

8. In Under the Gaze of the Father, Bishop Luis Martinez explains to us: “The perfect glory of God will be accomplished when the Mystical Body of Jesus is brought to completion, all enemies defeated, even death itself, and everything subjected to Him; then according to St. Paul, ‘The Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all. [1 Cor 15:28]

***

9. “The final words are the supreme formula of the glory of God, because they express the full divinization of the entire universe in Jesus, to whom the Father handed over everything.”

***

10. Caught up in Christ, ALL inflamed with the Holy Spirit, ALL enthralled with the love of the Father, ALL will be plunged into the bosom of the Blessed Trinity. Bishop Luis Martinez repeated to Conchita, “God should be all in all. For the eyes of your soul, God has to be all in all.” Thus the Glory of God is All, the End-All, the Be-All of existence.

***

TENDERNESS & PASSION

11. We have seen that it is the passionate intensity of His love for the Father and His Father’s will that drive Jesus—it’s just that we happen to be caught up in that passion of love and fire. [Yet at the same time, just as Jesus told Phillip: “Phillip, whoever sees me, sees the Father”; the entire Holy Trinity plans, intends, and is involved in our salvation and in the redemption of creation.]

***

12. Bishop Martinez paints such a picture for us here of a Christ ecstatic with the fiery light of passion and love: “Let us approach the intimate sanctuary of Jesus. His profound gaze, filled with light, penetrates the abyss of God and He knows the Father as no one else has ever known Him. His [the Father’s] royal beauty enraptures Him [Jesus]. He walks in that divine heaven in which all perfections shine in marvelous harmony like splendid suns, in ineffable unity.

***

13. “His Father, who loves Him with infinite tenderness, who is infinitely pleased with Him, is this boundless treasure of beauty, goodness, and happiness beyond understanding. How would Jesus’ very noble, delicate, great Heart, made for Divine Love, cast itself into the bosom of the Father with uncontainable strength, with superhuman ardor? How would Jesus consecrate Himself to the Father with total, irrevocable, eternal consecration, from the first instant of His life?

***

14. “Neither the gigantic waterfalls which cascade thundering into the void, nor the great meteorite which rends space with vertiginous greed, leaving light in its wake, nor the worlds which roll in the firmament with fantastic speed, nor the most zealous souls that accomplish heroic deeds and run to martyrdom, driven by a strange passion, give a remote idea of divine love, of the incomprehensible force with which the soul of Jesus casts itself into the arms of the Father, with a love more powerful than death, overwhelmed by the splendid, ineffable vision of the infinite goodness.” [p.175]

***

15. It is into this awesome, powerful, unlimited exchange of passion and tenderness, into the inexpressible richness of Divine Love, that we are caught up if we are in Christ. As we learned earlier from Bishop Martinez: “If our souls become Jesus by sharing in His life, the Father looks on us with His gaze of light, love, and satisfaction, just as He gazes on His Son.” [p. 44] Not only that, but we gaze on the Father with the eyes of Jesus, inflamed by the Holy Spirit, with the same power and intensity, entering into the very life of the Trinity.

***

16. Bishop Martinez tells us: “When the Father gazes, He engenders the Word out of Love….There where the Father contemplates His Word in the soul, communicated by the Holy Spirit, there He rests His gaze, He empties Himself and rejoices in Himself, along with the Divine Persons who are joined to Him; that is to say, in His Divine Son and in the Holy Spirit. The Father sees only His Word, through the eyes of Love, and in His Word, He sees all things [us].”

***

THE GLORY OF GOD

17. Sitting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, as I reflected more on the Glory of God, that the Glory of God is All, the End-All, the Be-All of existence, the Holy Spirit poured such grace into my intellect and imagination, so as to overwhelm them, even my senses. In a daze of joy, I felt drawn up as into a cloud as He taught me about the Glory of God, not only teaching me ideas, but giving me an experience of it. This mystical experience lasted a couple of hours including the duration of the entire Mass. All I could think was “In His Temple all cry Glory!” a phrase which I repeated endless times.

[Psalm 29:1-9]

Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and might;

2 Give to the LORD the glory due his name. Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is power; the voice of the LORD is splendor.

5 The voice of the LORD cracks the cedars; the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon,

6 Makes Lebanon leap like a calf, and Sirion like a young bull.

7 The voice of the LORD strikes with fiery flame;

8 the voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD rends the oak and strips the forests bare.

             All in his Temple cry, “Glory!”

***

18. I don’t begin to have the words to describe this experience for you beyond what I have said, but certain ideas I can share, though the words are inadequate.

***

19. We tend to see the Glory of God as a static thing, brilliant Light, radiance, etc. such as Peter, James, and John saw to envelop Christ during the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Yet we should realize that His Glory is intensely alive with Divine Energy, ecstatic and personal, throbbing with incomprehensible Love, deeply shared, pouring out from Divine Person to Divine Person eternally. His Glory is Delight, enthralling, enrapturing. To catch but a glimpse of it (as I did briefly) is to taste Heaven on earth!

***

20. One thing we had best understand is that Glory is not extrinsic to God, but intrinsic—essentially His from all eternity. We cannot give Glory to God; He IS Glory. When we say “Glorify God” or “Give glory to God” we are talking about the praise of His Glory, giving Him what is extrinsic to Him, incidental, nonessential. If we are pure and acceptable to Him in Christ, it is as though we are holding up a spotless mirror to reflect His Glory--we don’t increase it, but merely reflect it. What a wonderful picture this presents to us. Imagine millions of mirrors of all sizes reflecting the splendor of His Light—each mirror reflecting His Light and the reflected light of all the other mirrors!

***

21. Our prayer of the Church’s doxology: “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit….” would not be prayed in a routine, humdrum way if we realized what we were saying!

***

PRAISE OF HIS GLORY

22. When I was a novice in the late sixties, I came upon a book about Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, a young Carmelite nun, who, like St. Theresa the Little Flower, died in her twenties. She was devoted to the spirituality of St. Paul, and delighted when she found in his letters what she believed was her calling. Talking with the other nuns about the “new name” which the Book of Revelations says each of the redeemed will receive in heaven, Sister Elizabeth declared that she had found hers in St. Paul. “I have found my vocation there,” she declared. “I am to be the ’praise of His glory’ eternally. I wish to be laudem gloriae here on earth.”

***

23. If we turn to Ephesians 3:3-14, we find this remarkable phrase repeated three times. Verse 5-6: “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.” Here St. Paul declares that our destiny lies in the praise of His glory.

***

24. Ephesians 3:11-12 – “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory….”

***

25. And lastly, in Ephesians 3:13-14 – “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed* with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment* of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”

***

26. Enchanted with this young Carmelite, I tried that name on myself for some time, entering into St. Paul’s cherished teachings. The question is why did St. Paul repeat this phrase three times? For emphasis. He did not want us to miss the point. All Glory is due to God, and it is our destiny, our calling, our ultimate vocation to praise His Glory now and for all eternity. When I read about her so many years ago, she was just an obscure young nun, someone like me, someone I could emulate. When I returned to the church in 2009, I looked her up on the internet, and to my joy I found this:

***

27. “On November 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II beatified Elizabeth of the Trinity. In his homily at the beatification, the Pope presented Elizabeth of the Trinity to the Church as one "who led a life 'hidden with Christ in God' (Col 3,3)," and as "a brilliant witness to the joy of being 'rooted and grounded in love' (Eph 3,17)." We can turn to Elizabeth of the Trinity today as a witness to the impact that the presence of the loving God within the soul can have in a human life. She proclaims to us with St. Paul the great dignity of the Christian Vocation: the call to be conformed to Christ -- crucified, risen, and present in the Eucharist - to become "temples of the Spirit," all to the praise of the Father's glory. She reminds us that the Trinity is "our home," that God has created us in order to be united to Christ, to live as his adopted sons and daughters, dwelling in his love and remaining there always in this life and in the next. “ [ http [:/] /www.helpfellowship.org/Blessed_Elizabeth_of_the_Trinity.htm]

***

SUPPLEMENT: “The Glory of the Lord” by FR. KENNETH BAKER, S.J.

28. The Nicene Creed says not only that Jesus “will come again” at the end of world history, but it also gives a biblical description of his coming by adding that he will come “in glory”. The idea of "glory" and the "glory of God" occurs throughout the Bible, so we might do well to reflect on this datum of revelation for a few moments.

***

29. In the Hebrew Bible the word for "glory" (kabod) originally meant heavy in weight. If something was heavy and large it was important, like a mountain, and so it inspired respect. The basis of glory could be riches. Abraham was said to be "very glorious" because he possessed cattle, silver and gold (Gen 13:2).

***

30. The Expression "the glory of the Lord" means God himself insofar as he is revealed in his majesty, his power and his holiness. He manifests himself in two ways: in his lofty deeds and by his appearances to Abraham, Moses and the prophets. God showed his glory especially in the miracle of the Red Sea (Ex 14:1 [8)] and also the manna and the quail (Ex 16:7). The divine appearances are normally accompanied with disturbances of nature, such as thunder, lightning, fire, earthquakes, clouds. These phenomena manifest the glory of God; the cloud that surrounds the glory is there for the protection of man, for no man can see God and still live (Ex 33:20).

***

31. The glory of God, in the form of a cloud, filled the Tent of Meeting where Moses spoke with the Lord (Ex 33:9). It also filled "the house of the Lord" that Solomon built (1 Kings 8:10-11). As time went on the idea of God's glory developed in the prophets from clouds and fire to the notion of illumination. We find this in Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah 60.

***

32. After the Exile (537 B.C.), the Jews came more and more to realize that the power of the Lord extended over the whole world. Thus his glory is shown in his dominion over all nations and all creatures. The Psalms often called upon all creatures to praise the glory of the Lord (cf. PS 57; 97; 145-50). But the one passage in the Old Testament to which the "coming in glory" of the Creed refers, more than to all others, is the description of the "son of man" in the prophet Daniel (7:13-14): "I saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.… He received dominion, glory and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him." This passage is commonly interpreted as referring to Jesus Christ who will "come in glory to judge the living and the dead".

33. Glory in the sense of majesty, power, dominion, illumination, holiness belongs primarily to God. Men like Moses or the saints can share in the glory of God by doing his will and by growing in virtue.

***

34. Isaiah says that "all the earth is filled with his glory" (Is 6:3). The glory of God in this sense can mean: 1) the divine protection, and 2) the praise that creatures give to God because of his glory. The sense of this text from Isaiah is that all creatures reflect the wisdom and perfection of God. And by their very existence, as a reflection of God's perfection, they give praise to their Creator. Man alone among all creatures on earth gives praise to the glory of God not only by his physical existence, but also by consciously acknowledging the goodness and the love of God.

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35. The motto of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, was Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam — "For the Greater Glory of God". The phrase came so spontaneously to his lips that it appears on almost every page he ever wrote. Ignatius was so captivated by the love and goodness of God that he would spare no effort to give recognition to God and to praise him by a life of virtue and sacrifice.

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36. Christian painters surround their images of Christ and the saints with reds and yellows and white to indicate their glory. This is an attempt, through the impression of illumination, to indicate their glory. By faith, we know that Jesus Christ will come again in glory — the blazing light, clouds and fire are symbolic of his definitive triumph over evil and death and his everlasting dominion.

[Kenneth Baker, S.J. "The Glory of the Lord." In Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1 Chapter 27 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 82-84. ] Also: http [:/] /catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0761.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 13 - ACCEPTANCE

Posted by livingchrist on July 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

SOUL FOOD Talk #13 - ACCEPTANCE

 

1. When I entered the convent over 40 years ago, I was required to bring two books with me: Sacred Scripture and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. I soon became enamoured of the Bible, but though I used the Imitation for a couple of years, I soon put it down as too archaic. I could not identify with much of the book.

 

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2. I have been moved by the Spirit to locate many of the texts that I used long ago, among them the Imitation of Christ. Though the text is still archaic, the content is right on the beam. In chapter XX tonight I read: "Wonderfully small sometimes is the matter whence a grievous temptation cometh, and whilst I imagine myself safe for a little space; when I am not considering, I find myself often almost overcome by a little puff of wind. Behold, therefore, O Lord, my humility and my frailty, which is altogether known to Thee."

 

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3. That “little puff of wind” is what caught my attention. Let me paraphrase for you: "A grievous temptation sometimes comes in a tiny matter, and while I am thinking myself safe for a little while, when I am not paying attention, I find myself often almost overcome by a little puff of wind. My humility and my frailty, O Lord, is obviously known to You. My weakness You know utterly."

 

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4. The emphasis is on how the least little thing throws me off my goal of purifying my heart and seeking perfect Union--not even a sin necessarily, but a fault, a flaw, a weakness which shows the frailty of our flawed natures which we just cannot keep straight without copious grace and strength from Christ and his pure mother, Mary. When Adam fell, he skewed all of nature, wreaking havoc in the order of the whole universe. We did not obey God, our bodies do not obey us, Mother Nature goes off on its own tangents, etc. The harmony between heaven and earth was grievously damaged by original sin. We find war has broken out between the "angels of our better nature" (as Abraham Lincoln put it) with our desires, our thoughts, our inclinations, our appetites, etc. Who can rescue us from this quagmire of dissolution and distress? Only Jesus Christ! Help me, Lord, for I cannot help myself.

 

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5. What I have pondered much in the last few years is the effect of original sin on individuals, the society of man, and on creation itself. Not one element of our world is free. Of course, with baptism, we enter sanctifying grace—the presence of the Holy Spirit—and enjoy the freedom of the children of God. But realize that we will never be totally free of the effects of original sin: “There are three debilitating effects of Original Sin: a darkening of the intellect, a weakening of the will, and a diminished unity of body and soul.” [http:/www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2012/the-flesh-and-the-spirit.html].

 

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6. Provided we cooperate with grace and remain free of mortal sin, we will have the opportunity to “work out our salvation in fear and trembling!” [Philippians 2, 12] Emphasis is on the “cooperate with grace” and “work out”. Here it is explained to us:

 

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7. “The sense in which we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling is twofold. First, the Greek verb rendered “work out” means "to continually work to bring something to completion or fruition." We do this by actively pursuing obedience in the process of sanctification, which Paul explains further in the next chapter of Philippians. He describes himself as “straining” and “pressing on” toward the goal of Christlikeness (Philippians 3:13-14). The “trembling” he experiences is the attitude Christians are to have in pursuing this goal—a healthy fear of offending God through disobedience and an awe and respect for His majesty and holiness. "Trembling" can also refer to a shaking due to weakness, but this is a weakness of higher purpose, one which brings us to a state of dependency on God. Obedience and submission to the God we revere and respect is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1-2) and brings great joy. Psalm 2:11 sums it up perfectly: “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.” We work out our salvation by going to the very source of our salvation—the Word of God—wherein we renew our hearts and minds (Romans 12:1-2), coming into His presence with a spirit of reverence and awe.”

 

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8. Now, with all this in mind, consider our world today. Considering the flaws in human nature effected by original sin, “a darkening of the intellect, a weakening of the will, and a diminished unity of body and soul, ” how many people are actually cooperating with grace and working out their salvation with fear and trembling? A remnant. How many actually seek to be holy? A remnant of the remnant. Is it any wonder the world is in meltdown? Beginning with flawed and weakened natures, denying the effects of grace, human nature can do one thing only, deteriorate into deeper and deeper evil. This includes individuals, communities, whole societies, and governments. And man is not alone in these effects; remember this line: “When Adam fell, he skewed all of nature, wreaking havoc in the order of the whole universe. We did not obey God, our bodies do not obey us, Mother Nature goes off on its own tangents, etc.

 

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9. Remember that these effects describe the world into which each human child is born. [http:www.theologynetwork.org/the-fall-and-sin/an-introduction-to-the-fall-and-sin.htm]

 

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10. “So sin results in our living under condemnation. This is both the greatest effect of sin but also the one most hidden from us. While God’s wrath against us is revealed now (Romans 1:18ff), the full expression of that wrath and condemnation is reserved until the Day of Judgment (Romans 2:5-6).

 

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11. “Second there is the effect on the relationship between human beings. Rather than being characterized by loving community our relationships now involve discord, hatred, lies, jealousy and so on. It is salient to note that in the first chapter after the fall comes the first murder. In addition descriptions of sin are commonly characterized by ways in which our horizontal relationships have become disordered as well as how the vertical relationship with God has been shattered (e.g. Mark 7:21-22; Galatians 5:19-21).

 

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12. “Third there is the effect on the creation itself which no longer cooperates with human endeavour to rule and subdue it. The harmonious picture of Genesis 1:28 (reflected in Psalm 8 is not seen, but rather the thorns and thistles of Genesis 3:18 and the groaning of creation of Romans 8:22. [Romans 8: 19-22 “For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now….]

 

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13. “Lastly there is the effect of sin on us as individuals. Jesus can describe us as ‘evil’ (Matthew 7:11). He can say that our hearts now produce such things as evil thoughts, sexual immorality, murder, theft, adultery, greed, malice, arrogance, etc (Mark 7:21-23). We think we are free but actually we are only free to sin – we are slaves to sin (John 8:34) and are unable to obey God (Romans 8:7-8 )

 

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14. We can very well say that we have all, all, been born into a dysfunctional family! How grateful we should be to be born Catholic, baptized and encouraged to participate and cooperate with grace, with the Holy Spirit! St. Paul tells us we are predestined for salvation—Read and meditate on Ephesians 1:2-14:

 

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15. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,* 4 as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5 he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6 for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

 

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16. 7 “ In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace 8 that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight 9 he has made known to us the mystery* of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him 10 as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

 

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17. 11 “ In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, 12 so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped* in Christ. 13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed* with the promised holy Spirit, 14 which is the first installment* of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”

 

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18. We know quite well that we are born into Christ. But in the order of nature, what is it that we are actually born into? A world in which the effects of unredeemed original sin are complicated by repeated, serious, unrepented personal sin. I recently read a chapter of a book, Learning the Virtues, by the famous theologian, ROMANO GUARDINI—who, by the way, has had a tremendous impact on the last three popes. “Acceptance” is one of the virtues which he explains so well. What is it that we should accept? “It is the acceptance of what is, the acceptance of reality, your own and that of the people around you and of the time in which you live.” An animal accepts his reality, himself. He is naturally adapted to his environment and is absorbed in it. He suffers no inner conflict the way that man does. We, on the other hand, can think about ourselves and our circumstances. We compare, imagine, and lift ourselves to other circumstances. Thus arises a tension between what is and what we seek, our actual being and our desires. This conflict may lead to growth; but it may also lead to a harmful split, a flight from reality.

 

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19. Health means acceptance. First of all, acceptance of myself. Guardini explains: “I am not a man in general, but this particular person. I have a certain character and no other, a certain temperament among all of the various ones that exist, certain strong and weak points, definite possibilities and limitations. All this I should accept and build upon as the fundamental basis of my life.”

 

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20. “This is by no means self-evident. For there is—and this throws a glaring light on the finiteness of our existence—a disgust with our own being, a protest against ourself….This does not mean that we should approve of everything and leave everything unchanged. Certainly not….First, however, I must admit the existing facts; otherwise everything becomes false.” [Guardini, pp. 27-28]

 

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21. So I must accept, first of all, myself, then the situation and circumstances of life as they have been allotted to us—in this broken, unrepentant world. Another step is the acceptance of our destiny. Here is where our thoughts get most interesting—“Destiny is not an accident. It possesses a logical consistency which is determined externally by the connection of events but also internally by the nature and character of the person involved [29].” Finally, acceptance of self means that I consent simply to be. Here is the rub: “I did not confront the possibility of my own existence and decide that I wished to be, but I was cast into being. I came forth from the lives of my parents, of my ancestors, out of the conditions of the age,” an age which, we have seen, is filled with the effects of unredeemed original sin…complicated by repeated, serious, unrepented personal sin.”

 

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22. We cannot construct our own existence, but have to accept it. If we receive it, then from whom? Not from fate or some intermediary, or from our parents or the age in which we live, or from the evil one—but from God. Now Guardini asks, but did God know what He was doing—just casting me forth like that, with no choice of my circumstances, parentage, ancestors, or the age or times? How can He call that “fair”? What follows is what most blew me away—

 

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23. “Through the Incarnation, He stepped into the space which forms a single chain of destiny for him who lives in it. God stepped into history. When the eternal Son became man, He did so in reality, without protection or exception, vulnerable by word and act; woven, like us, into the stifling web of effects that proceed from the confused hearts of men….He does this prepared for all that would happen to Him, without reservation, without evasion, without resorting to resistance or craft. Men, who have really no power over Him to whom is given ‘all power in Heaven and on earth,’ inflict a bitter destiny upon Him. But this is the form of His Father’s will for Him. This will is His own will; to accomplish it is the ‘food’ of His life.”

 

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24. At the point we “step into history” wherever it happens to be on the “grid,” we step like Him, “without protection or exception, vulnerable by word and act; woven…into the stifling web of effects that proceed from the confused hearts of men.” Like Christ, we step into or are born into a fallen world of fallen men and nature, and like Him, we step into a unique, sometimes bitter, destiny. Because we live in this fallen world, our destiny is inevitably one of suffering, to lesser or greater degrees; and it is a lesser or greater destiny according to the level of suffering we accept.

 

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25. How does Jesus cope with His situation? “Men… inflict a bitter destiny upon Him. But this is the form of His Father’s will for Him. This will is His own will; to accomplish it is the ‘food’ of His life.” One’s destiny is simply the will of God. To accomplish it is the “food” of our life. We are fed at every moment from the hand of God.

 

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26. Remember what we learned about ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE, by Father de Caussade? “Embrace the present moment as an ever-flowing source of holiness.” [p. 36]

 

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27. “From where does holiness come? He explains that the mysterious growth of Christ in our souls is the fruit of his grace and his holy will, and that this fruit is produced, grows and is fed by the stream of duties put before us by God. [28] Actually, His Will is this stream of duties given us one moment at a time. “What makes us holy is the Blessed Trinity in the depths of our hearts when we give them up to God's Will.” [p. 30]

 

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28. “The love of God comes to us through all creatures but hidden as it is in the Blessed Sacrament. So every moment of our lives can be a kind of communion with his love.” [p. 48] If we can begin to think of each moment as “the sacrament of the moment” we will not waste one precious moment of time. “If we open our mouths they will be filled.... [Our bread] is the ready acceptance of all that comes to us at each moment of our lives.” [p. 25]

 

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29. One day 2000 years ago, when Jesus and his disciples reached a Samaritan town, they were hungry and thirsty. His followers went off in search of food while Jesus began talking at Jacob’s well, to a Samaritan woman who was living in sin. He asked her for water and, thus began His famous teaching of “living water.” Shortly thereafter his disciples returned and urged him, “’Rabbi, eat.’ 32 But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’ 33 So the disciples said to one another, ‘Could someone have brought him something to eat?’ 34 Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.’” [John 4:31-34]

 

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30. As I reflected on Guardini’s words and the teachings of de Caussade, I wrote in my prayer journal, “To have a destiny means to suffer. To have a great destiny means to suffer greatly. “One heart, one will, one Victim—I too have food for my life. This food is for me as Jesus’ food was for Him, my destiny. It is there before me, my communion, my sacrament of the moment. The only food that can satisfy; yet as I eat it, I hunger more. Lord, give us this food always—our daily bread.”

 

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31. Now, perhaps, we can understand the hunger of Jesus’ soul as He cried out, ““I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” [Luke 12:49-50] He was longing for the Father’s bread, the food of His soul, the Will of His Father. Not only is this our “daily bread”—it is our sacrament of the moment.

 

Prayer of Consecration to the Holy Divine Will [Luisa Picarretta]

 

O adorable and Divine Will, here I am, before the immensity of Your Light, that Your eternal Goodness may open to me the doors, and make me enter into It, to form my life all in You, Divine Will.

 

Therefore, prostrate before Your Light, I, the littlest among all creatures, come, O adorable Will, into the little group of the first children of Your Supreme Fiat. Prostrate in my nothingness, I beseech and implore Your endless Light, that It may want to invest me and eclipse everything that does not belong to You, in such a way that I may do nothing other than look, comprehend, and live in You, Divine Will.

 

It will be my life, the center of my intelligence, the enrapturer of my heart and of my whole being. In this heart the human will will no longer have life; I will banish it forever, and will form the new Eden of peace, of happiness, and of love. With It I shall always be happy; I shall have a unique strength, and a sanctity that sanctifies everything and brings everything to God.

 

Here prostrate, I invoke the help of the Sacrosanct Trinity, that They admit me to live in the cloister of the Divine Will, so as to restore in me the original order of Creation, just as the creature was created.

 

Celestial Mother, Sovereign Queen of the Divine Fiat, take me by the hand and enclose me in the Light of the Divine Will. You will be my guide, my tender Mother; you will guard your child, and will teach me to live and to maintain myself in the order and in the bounds of the Divine Will. Celestial Sovereign, to your Heart I entrust my whole being; I will be the tiny little child of the Divine Will. You will teach me the Divine Will, and I will be attentive in listening to you. You will lay your blue mantle over me, so that the infernal serpent may not dare to penetrate into this Sacred Eden to entice me and make me fall into the maze of the human will.

 

Heart of my highest Good, Jesus, You will give me Your flames, that they may burn me, consume me, and nourish me, to form in me the Life of the Supreme Will.

 

Saint Joseph, You will be my Protector, the Custodian of my heart, and will keep the keys of my will in your hands. You will keep my heart jealously, and will never give it to me again, that I may be sure never to go out of the Will of God.

 

Guardian Angel, guard me, defend me, help me in everything, so that my Eden may grow flourishing and be the call of the whole world into the Will of God.

 

Celestial Court, come to my help, and I promise You to live always in the Divine Will. Amen.

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 12: IMMOLATION & DIVINIZATION

Posted by livingchrist on June 19, 2014 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

[June 24, 2014]

SOUL FOOD Talk 12 - IMMOLATION & DIVINIZATION

1. By now we all know of Venerable Conchita (Conception Cabrera de Armida) of Mexico, the wife, mother, grandmother who brought to us the Spirituality of the Cross with over 55,000 pages of exceptional mystical theology, a woman whose depth and dimension rivals that of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Siena. Her cause for canonization is in Rome, and I personally believe that she will be proclaimed one day as a great Doctor of the Church. For now, I would like for us to consider her spirituality in greater depth, especially the concepts to which I refer in my PRAYER OF IMMOLATION.

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2. For a couple of years now I have been drawn to her prayerful heart, the many concepts introduced to her by Jesus, according to what she tells us in Conchita, A Mother’s Spiritual Diary, and other books published after her death from her voluminous writings. One of the Commission in Rome who began examining her work in 1913 said of her, “She is the extraordinary of the extraordinary!” To follow her is to follow a beautiful and intense though simple path to union with God, the Holy Trinity. As I have prayed over these ideas, I have realized that all of the great touchstones of her spirituality [revealed to her by Jesus] resonate deeply with my own developing spirituality. I find myself wanting more and more of what she has to give. That I would like to share with you now.

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PRAYER OF IMMOLATION

Eternal Father, my beloved Abba,                      A

through the Immaculate Heart

of my sorrowful mother, Mary,

and in the Holy Spirit,


I offer my body and blood,                                             B

all that I have and all that I am,

as a living host on all the altars of the world,

in union with my crucified Love, Jesus.


I offer myself as a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, C

as a victim of love, “one heart, one will, one Victim”

of the Divine Will


For the salvation of souls,                                            D

the sanctification of priests,

and the glory of the Blessed Trinity.


In Him and with Him, let me live                                      E

the hidden life of martyrdom of the heart,

one with the soledad* of my Blessed Mother Mary.


Let me live as a spouse of your Holy Will                         F

in communion with You

in the sacrament of each moment,

adoring your Divine Will with each beat of my heart,

with every drop of my blood, and with each breath.

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3. *soledad – [Diary, 172] Mary’s solitude, loneliness, desolation, feelings of abandonment & sorrow in the apparent absence of God and of her Son after the Ascension—this was her interior martyrdom of the heart. Out of this martyrdom of the heart and the intensity of her suffering love in the Holy Spirit, graces poured on the new Church.

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4. SECTION A - Conchita loves the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her spirituality begins with Mary at the foot of the Cross, and if you would enter that spirituality, you must place yourself at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ Mother, consecrate yourself to her. She is the gate, while Jesus is the way. It is especially the sorrowful heart of Mary which we must emulate as she freely says her Fiat (Let it be done), offering with her breaking heart, her suffering Son to the Father in the Holy Spirit. As the spouse of the Holy Spirit which she became with the Incarnation, Mary is filled with the Spirit and prays and loves always in the Holy Spirit. Immolation begins in union with Mary in the Holy Spirit as we also offer Christ to the Father in reparation for sin.

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When Christ said, “I thirst” Mary knew well it was for souls that He thirsted, and the greatest longing of her motherly heart is to bring all souls to him to console and fill that terrible thirst which He knew since the moment of his conception in her virginal womb. Conchita tells us [Diary 139] “On my part, I became aware of the worth of a soul and, rightly, how the Heart of God breaks and suffers on seeing them irremediably lost,” and on p. 123, Christ tells her: “I wish that above all, there be honored the interior sufferings of My Heart, sufferings undergone from My Incarnation to the Cross and which are mystically prolonged in my Eucharist. These sufferings are still unsuspected by the world. Nonetheless, I declare to you that, from the first moment of my Incarnation, the Cross already planted in My Heart, overburdened Me and the thorns penetrated it.”

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5. SECTION B – As we live in the Holy Spirit and He lives in us, as He formed Christ in the womb of Mary in the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit progressively forms Christ in us and we become Christ, His body and His blood. Jesus urges Conchita: “I want you to be My host and have the intention, renewed as often as possible day and night, of offering yourself with Me on all the patens on earth. I want you, transformed in Me by suffering, by love and by the practice of all the virtues, to raise heavenward this cry of your soul in union with Me: ‘This is My Body, This is My Blood.’ Thus by making yourself but one with the Incarnate Word out of love and suffering, with the same intentions of love, you will obtain graces for the whole world. You will offer Me Myself and yourself also, with the Holy Spirit and through Mary, to the eternal Father.” [Diary 161]

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6. SECTION C – “A sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise” recalls to mind the Eucharist. If we are one with the Body and Blood of Jesus, laying ourselves on all the altars of the world, we are also one with the sacrifice of Eucharist, not only physically in the act of receiving His Body , but continually on the mystical or spiritual level. The more often we receive the Eucharist, the greater and deeper grows our life in the Holy Spirit, in Christ, and in the heart of the Trinity itself. We are gradually being transformed into Christ. It is in our union with Jesus, in becoming one with Him that we can be effective in this immolation: [Diary 162] “…one only Host, one only Victim, one only Priest immolating Himself and immolating Me in your heart on behalf of the whole world. The Father pleased, will receive this offering presented through the Holy Spirit, and the graces of heaven will descend on the earth….What does the Holy Spirit intend in My Church save to form in Me the unity of wills, of sufferings and of hearts in My Heart? What was the desire of My Heart throughout my life, but to bring about unity in Me by charity, by love? [This immolation,] this offering of love is the continual exercise of the royal priesthood of the People of God.” [Remember that Conchita was writing these words of Christ long before Vatican II. See also Soul Food Talk #7: The Christian- Priest & Victim.] “The Church is one, one only Altar, one only Victim….All souls, victims, should offer themselves in union with this great Victim” (Diary, June 20, 189 [8)] . “Here is the true priesthood: to be a victim with the Victim” (Diary, July 17, 1906)

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7. SECTION D – The whole purpose of the Spirituality of the Cross is, of course, for the salvation of all souls and for the glory of the Trinity, but also in a special way for the sanctification of priests. This was a charge laid by Christ on Conchita’s heart. Through the sanctification of His priests, a new Pentecost will cover the face of the earth, renewing His church. [Remember again, all of this was going on the late 1800’s-1935 or so, long before Vatican II and the charismatic renewal.] Jesus pleads with Conchita "...I want souls who are dedicated with fervor, with determination and without looking for rest, to plead day and night for My priests."

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8.      Jesus speaks to Conchita in great detail about the sufferings which tear His Heart, sufferings caused by His priests: "My Heart is saddened because My ministers are sleeping. On many occasions, they are the first to conform themselves to superficial piety. They do not make the Cross enter souls, and still less do they reveal to them the Holy Spirit. I tell you again in greatest confidence that routine has deeply penetrated the sanctuary. This devotion in spirit and in truth is completely extinguished in numerous communities. May My ministers react through the Holy Spirit, may they appreciate to the full the interior life! May they possess it themselves and communicate it through the Holy Spirit! Then the Church will reflourish in her prime vigor. There is lacking in My Church the stamina of the Holy Spirit, it is wanting in seminarians and in members of the clergy. Consequently it is wanting in souls who live and are nourished by this vital essential, called to communicate to them the life of grace.”

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9.    "I want to love in My priests. I want interior life. I want these consecrated souls to live most closely to Me. "I want to banish apathy from their hearts and make them burn with zeal for My glory. I want to activate the divine life of so many souls who belong to Me and who are failing. I want to destroy the indifference which paralyzes God's action and which deprives priests of My graces. "The fire must be rekindled and this will be done only by the Holy Spirit, by the divine medium of the Word, offering Him to the Father and asking for mercy" (Diary, Sept. 23, 1927).

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10.      The Holy Spirit alone sanctifies: "I want a living, palpitating, clear and powerful reaction of the clergy through the Holy Spirit. A priest no longer belongs to himself. He is another Me and he must be all to all, but first of all by sanctifying himself, for no one can give what he does not have and only the Sanctifier can sanctify. So then, if he wants to be holy - as it is imperious he must - he must be possessed, impregnated by the Holy Spirit, since if the Holy Spirit is indispensable for the life of any soul whatsoever, for the soul of priests He must be their breath and very life. "If priests are Jesus, should they not have the Spirit of Jesus? And this Spirit, is He not the Holy Spirit?" (Diary, Oct. 9, 1927). [This whole section on priests found here: http [:/] /www.lovecrucified.com/sacraments/priesthood/wake_up_call_conchita.html ]

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11. SECTION E –     Our path to union with the Trinity in Conchita’s Spirituality of the Cross, as I mentioned earlier, means being one with our sorrowful mother; here we learn more about the depth of her spiritual martyrdom. Just as Jesus suffered an interior martyrdom of the heart, which He tells Conchita was so much greater than the physical sufferings which He endured in his passion, so does Mary suffer an interior, HIDDEN, martyrdom of the heart. [Diary, pp 167-16] “ Mary's participation in our redemption through the Cross was one of the familiar themes of Conchita's contemplation: ‘I have better understood the inexpressible pains felt in the purest Heart of Mary, the sole creature who read and understood the interior sorrows, the sufferings of Her Divine Son, just as she was the only one to be able to measure His pains, to grasp His purity and His innocence, to bear, too, the infinite weight of human ingratitude which crushed Him. Without being culpable, she lived an existence of suffering in union with her most holy Jesus and obtained graces for culpable sinners. Once Mary had consented to the Incarnation of the Word, never was the divine plan erased from her spirit. Her mother's heart, broken, contemplated the Innocent and Divine Martyr.’

***

12.     ‘The life of this Virgin-Mother was, after that of Jesus, the most crucified. Her constant meditation of the future ever kept her soul torn while in her little home in Nazareth. Who could have dreamed on seeing these two pure beings living the very same kind of life, that actually they bore within them the cruelest martyrdom for the sake of mankind! Yes, Mary held an immense place in the Redemption of man. How great Mary is and how much we owe her’” (Diary, Sept. 1, 189).

****

13.      Jesus clarifies to Conchita more about the “soledad”, the hidden suffering of her heart after the Ascension: [Diary 177] “You had for long pondered the first solitude of Mary, that is, the exterior solitude, but you had not thought about the cruelest and the bitterest, the interior solitude which tore her to pieces and in which her spirit felt an agony on account of being abandoned. "The martyrdom of Mary after My Ascension was not caused solely by My material absence. She suffered terrible tests of abandonment like to that I Myself underwent on the Cross. My Father united her to Mine which gained so many graces. "As co-redemptrix, Mary heard in her soul so wholly pure the echo of all My agonies, humiliations, outrages and tortures, felt the weight of the sins of the world which made My Heart bleed, and the moving sorrow of the abandonment of heaven which obtains graces. "The Heart of Mary obtained these graces in the martyrdom of a solitude in which she was left, not by men (she had St. John and the Apostles and many souls who fervently loved her), not by Me in My Body (she consoled herself with the Eucharist and with her living and perfect faith), but by the Trinity, which hid itself from her, leaving her in a spiritual and divine abandonment.

***

14.     "Mary suffered more than all abandoned souls, since she suffered a reflection of My own abandonment on the Cross, one the worth of which cannot be estimated and which is wholly inexpressible. "This abandonment of Mary, this vivid and palpitating martyrdom of her solitude, the desolating martyrdom of divine abandonment, which she suffered heroically with loving resignation and sublime surrender to My will, is not honored.”

***

15.     In Christ, we unite ourselves with Mary in her suffering solitude, accepting whatever God sends us, desolation or consolation, all for souls, for priests, for the Church. This HIDDEN martyrdom of the heart, which includes every day aggravations, emotional, mental, or physical pain, as well as our compassionate acceptance of the wounds & woundings of those around us, is a tremendous force drawing grace upon grace upon humanity, just as the solitude and sorrow of Mary blessed the early Church.

***

16. SECTION F – The final part of the prayer speaks to a deep desire of my heart to be wholly united with the Divine Will, but it is a sentiment which Conchita understood completely. In the previous section, Jesus speaks of his mother, “Her adherence to my adorable Will….” He adds: “An adherence, a most elevated and most close union of our wills, of My wishes in her martyrdoms, a submission and a perfect conformity to My desires to immolate her, such was then the manner of Mary’s life.” [ Diary 176] Conchita herself says, “This total and perfect submission to the most holy will of God and Lord is the greatest of all the virtues a soul can possess….This self-surrender leads to the highest summit of perfection: It is the supreme stage of all virtue.” [Diary 154-155] “One heart, one will, one Victim” is all Conchita; but remember also de Caussade’s ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE—His Holy Will comes to us one moment at a time. At each moment we enter communion with the Holy Will of God, as He is present to us in the “sacrament of the moment.” [ This sacrament of the moment as it brings the Will of God to us is so precious to me, I couldn’t resist adding it to my Prayer of Immolation! See our SOUL FOOD Talk #5: ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE].

***

17.     In one of her last retreats in 1935, Jesus tells Conchita: “The Word took flesh from Mary; He clothed Himself in humanity out of love for the Father and humankind in order to realize one will of love on earth.” [Under the Gaze of the Father, 18] She offers her reflection on this statement: “I never want to have my own will any more; and every day, at each moment, I will lose myself in His adorable Will and love it. To love the divine will is to love Jesus, to be united to Him, to enter His Heart, to live His life.” [Under the Gaze of the Father” 20]

***

18.     Conchita’s spiritual director, Bishop Luis Martinez, who was giving her this private retreat, told her: “Have you thought deeply what the will of the Father means? This will is wisdom, beauty, and love. If we understood it, we would never want anything else. For the blessed, doing God’s will means happiness always and everywhere. They offer themselves to it in an ecstasy of love, wonder and pleasure. During His earthly life, it was Jesus’ delight to accomplish His Father’s Will. ‘I always do what is pleasing to Him,’ Jesus said with profound satisfaction. The essence of holiness, love and wisdom is to offer oneself to the divine will; to become holy means to live and die surrendered—without resistance, with firm commitment, loving self-giving—to this adorable will; to love is to lose one’s own will and to project oneself into the will of the Beloved.”

***

DIVINIZATION

19.     Long years ago when I was a novice and spending much quiet and intimate time with God, I came across a book of mystical theology which introduced me to this term, “divinization”. [The word “deification” means virtually the same thing.] I was shocked. I thought then that divinization referred somehow to the act of becoming divine, meaning me, or us. Was Catholic theology teaching that we become divine, God? I was astounded then, and am in total delight now. But this has been God’s plan from before the foundations of the world. We perhaps, have never thought of it in this way. But what is Eternal Life but us sharing, participating in the life of God Himself, caught up in the ecstasy of the Holy Trinity, all that divine fire of love dancing in energy for all eternity? What we most need to understand about divinization is that the Holy Trinity is divine by nature, whereas, if we are baptized, in the state of sanctifying grace, living in the Holy Spirit, we are gifted with Divine Life—we have no right to it. For us, it is all grace. Jesus is the consubstantial son [one substance with the Father]; we are adopted.

***

20.     On Father Robert Barron’s blog we read, “St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the Church's preeminent theologians, maintained that "God became man so that man might become God." The Catechism agrees, quoting Augustine and other saints on this point. But what does the teaching mean? Father Barron then answers his own question: St. John says in 1 John 3:1-3,

***

21. "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure."

***

22. " That's pretty blatant: we will be like God . And John suggests that this is necessary. If we don't partake of the Divine nature, we can't see God in His fulness. St Peter promises the same thing in 2 Peter 1:3-4:

***

23. "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature."

**

24. " That's just as brazen as what John says. St. Paul describes this process of divinization as beginning now, as we become more and more Christlike (2 Corinthians 3:17).

***

25.    "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."

***

26.    " Paul excitedly describes this glorification in Romans 8:15-25, describing how “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

***

27.    If you want to read more, the article continues with the teaching of the Church fathers on divinization. [http [:/] /www.wordonfire.org/WoF-Blog/WoF-Blog/June-2014/What-Eye-Has-Not-Seen--Divinization-and-the-Saints.aspx]

***

28.    Under the Father’s Gaze is a book about Conchita’s retreat with Bishop Luis Martinez in 1935. In the introduction written by Sr. Elzbieta Sadowska, RCSCJ and Msgr. Arthus Burton Calkins, we read: On June 8, 1901, Jesus tells Conchita, “The Father is here looking at you.” She is thrown into confusion, being overwhelmed and inflamed. She prostrates herself before that gaze. Then our authors explain: “She became ever more aware of the gaze of the Father as a fundamental dynamism in her life. Since ‘to live under the gaze of the Father is to receive His gift constantly, it is to possess Jesus, the end and precious fruit of this gaze’; it is to live a fruitful life in divine light and eternal love. This gaze is constant even if it is not always perceived by the recipient in a conscious way. “The transformation into Jesus and the gaze of the Father are two aspects of the same incomparable grace.” The gaze of God becomes “the outpouring of divine love.” “It is not a simple gaze of love, but a gaze which transforms and divinizes, which fuses the soul with God.” It is not sufficient to receive the Father’s gaze in a merely passive way; rather, one must be open to the divine gaze, which has the power to “inflame in our eyes the fire of our intimate gaze.” “Both gazes, the one that comes from heaven and the other that ascends from earth meet, join and are fused.” The fruitful gaze of the Father introduces the soul into the bosom of the Trinity. The soul receives the capacity of looking at the Father as Jesus looks at Him and looks at Jesus as the Father looks at Him. The soul acquires a priestly gaze like that of Jesus: “the gaze of the One who loves and offers Himself for the Glory of the Father, of the One who implores graces for souls. “

            “The Father is here looking at you.”

Live in the Holy Spirit and be transformed into Christ, our Love Crucified- Your sister, Kathy AE

SOUL FOOD Talk 11: The Theological Virtues - Faith, Hope, and Charity

Posted by livingchrist on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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SOUL FOOD Talk #11:  Faith, Hope, and Charity – The Theological Virtues

[All three of the theological virtues have several components:  spiritual assent/response of our whole being to the whole being, Trinity & Unity, of God; intellectual; and emotional—which may even elicit a physical response, for example, in the gift of tears.]  The sources below are quoted, with minor changes or omissions, almost verbatim. 

FAITH  by Peter Kreeft   [http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0017.html]


 

1. Faith, hope, and charity are, quite simply, the three greatest things in the world:  the three legs of a single tripod that supports the whole Christian life.  We cannot possibly overemphasize their importance.  Together they make up the “one thing necessary”.  We must speak of them in the same imperious and imperative terms Jesus used when he said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”  Nothing is more important than faith, hope, and charity because they make the difference between heaven and hell, eternal life and eternal death, and there is no difference as great as that.

2.  They are called the three theological virtues because they have God (theos) as their object.  They are the glue that attaches us to God.  They are the three-doored entrance to heaven.  It is not that God refuses entrance at heaven's gate to anyone; these are heaven's gate.  Anyone who has no faith in God, no hope in God, and no love of God cannot go to heaven because heaven would be hell to him.  He could not endure or enjoy the presence of God after death anymore than he did before death.

3.  Faith, hope, and charity are the three legs of a single tripod that supports the whole Christian life.  Each leg depends on the others.  Faith without the works of love is dead, according to Scripture, and false — not real faith at all.  Love not motivated by faith is not agape but mere feeling and sentimentality (often masked by the code word compassion), dependent on the whims and winds of human change.  Hope without faith is mere wishful thinking, “the power of positive thinking”, optimism.  Hope is not the same as optimism; some of the great hopers are pessimists by temperament.  Hope's opposite is despair, which is a deadly sin, not pessimism, which is a psychological trait.  Love without hope is desperation.  Hope without love is isolating and selfish; it is the Phariseeism and self-righteousness of every tyrant.  Faith without hope is simply impossible, for the God we believe has given us an astonishing bag of promises.

4.  This tripod is the foundation of all other virtues.  The other virtues all depend on these three because these are the key to the very life of God within our souls, and all other virtues are characteristics of that life, not self-improvement programs that we whip up within ourselves.  Honesty, justice, patience, chastity, self-control, even love of neighbor, all come from the prior presence of God in us, which in turn comes only through faith, hope, and charity.  We do not practice the virtues in order to get to heaven; we practice the virtues because heaven has already gotten to us.  Love of God, for instance, will always send us to love of neighbor, while love of neighbor will not always send us to love of God, for God always sends you to your neighbor, but your neighbor does not always send you to God.  Both commandments are absolutely necessary, but there is an order — not of importance, for love of God without love of neighbor is just as worthless and false as love of neighbor without love of God — but an order of priority, of precedence.  First things first.  Foundations first.  Back to basics.

5.  It is appropriate for us to turn back to these basics of the Christian life now because the society we live in does not understand them.  We live in a post-Christian world, and many of us are not sufficiently aware of that fact.  Our modern world is in fact a clear countersign to these three virtues.  Doubt, despair, and selfishness are the pillars of modern life, not faith, hope, and charity.  Our world sees faith as naivete, hope as Pollyanna-style wishful thinking, and charity as weakness.  We see around us a growing materialism, which is unbelief in practice; a rising suicide rate and depression, which is despair in practice; and a rising respectability for the me-first philosophy for which charity is a totally unintelligible alternative, a radical foolishness.  It is therefore high time for us to go back to our spiritual basics, lest we sink into the dark waters that surround us and disappear into me-tooism, lest our salt lose its saltiness and deserve only to be trodden under foot, like rock salt thrown on snow or ice.

6.  Kant said that there are only three absolutely necessary questions that everyone must answer, implicitly or explicitly: What can I know?  What should I do?  What may I hope?  The three theological virtues are God's answer to these three most important human questions.  We can know God and all that is necessary for our salvation by faith in what God has revealed to us; we can know our essential moral obligation as charity to God and neighbor; and we can know what to hope in by what God has promised us.

7.  These three virtues are also called the supernatural virtues to distinguish them from the natural virtues, the virtues that do not require the saving presence of God's own life in the soul for their existence (though they do require that for their perfection).  The four cardinal, or “hinge”, virtues in the natural order are prudence (practical wisdom), fortitude (courage), temperance (moderation), and justice (fairness and harmony within and without).

8.  Without the supernatural virtues, the natural virtues cannot flourish.  It is very difficult to be courageous without hope of heaven.  Why risk your life if there is no hope that your story ends in anything other than worms, decay, and forgetting?  Also, no one can be truly wise without faith, for faith sees higher and farther and deeper than reason or experience can.  It sees “through a glass, darkly”, but it sees truly.  And no one can practice temperance or self-control without God's grace, for we are all addicted to sin and self-indulgence, and it is very difficult to break an addiction by just trying a little harder without help from without.

9.  The point is simply that without God's grace, which comes only through faith, hope, and charity, no one can be very good.  Without love, justice turns to cruelty.  Without hope, courage turns to blind despair and rage.  

10.  Faith first, because it is first.  Faith in the biblical sense of saving faith is the act by which we receive God's own eternal life (or “sanctifying grace”, in technical theological terms).  It is our fundamental option of saying Yes instead of No to God with our heart, our will, our personal center.  To believe in this sense is to receive (Jn 1: 12 parallels the two terms), to receive God himself.

11.  Saint Paul argues in Romans that faith (in this sense) was even in Old Testament times the condition for salvation, for our justification with God.  Abraham was justified by his faith.  Go back even farther: the fall was first of all a fall of faith.  Faith is the root of obedience; the lack of faith is the root of disobedience.  If we totally believed that obedience always worked to our blessedness, we would not disobey.  Only because we must pray “Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief” do we sin.

12.  Saint Paul contrasts faith with sin when he says, “Whatever is not of faith is sin."  We usually think of sin as the opposite of virtue, and faith as the opposite of doubt.  But virtue is a moral term, and doubt is an intellectual term.  The opposite of moral virtue is moral vice, and the opposite of intellectual doubt is intellectual belief.  Faith is deeper than either moral virtue or intellectual belief.  Sin is deeper than either moral vice or intellectual doubt.  Faith is a fundamental Yes to God with the center of our being, and sin — the state of sin as distinct from particular acts of sin — is the fundamental No to God with the center of our being.  Faith is the opposite of sin.  Faith is to sin what light is to darkness.

13.  Belief is an intellectual matter.  I believe the sun will shine tomorrow: I believe I am in good health, I believe my textbooks.  This is mere opinion.  Faith is not mere opinion.  Opinions do not save us.  Trust is an emotional matter.  I trust my surgeon or my psychiatrist or my children.  This is a precious feeling, but it is a feeling.  Faith is not feeling.  Feelings do not save us.  Faith, however, results in or expresses itself in both belief and trust, for the prefunctional root that is the very essence of the self expresses itself in the two branches or functions of the intellectual (belief) and the emotional (trust).  But faith is deeper.  That is why even some people who seem on an intellectual level to be unbelievers may on this deeper level be believers, and we may be surprised to see some famous so-called atheists in heaven.  And it is why some people who seem to have very little emotional faith — little trust, serenity, consolation — may nevertheless be people of great, even heroic, faith.  Only God sees hearts.

14.  The most specific, most technical sense of faith is the sense we learned from the Baltimore Catechism.  Faith is the act of the intellect, prompted by the will, by which we believe the truth of all that God has revealed on the basis of the authority of the one who has revealed it.  This is essentially the definition used by Saint Thomas Aquinas and medieval scholastic theology.

15.  At the time of the Protestant Reformation, each side used a different language system, and the most important and tragic split in the Church's history resulted.  Protestant reformers, using faith in the biblical sense, as saving faith, insisted that the Bible clearly taught that faith alone was sufficient for salvation.  They formulated their slogan sola fides (faith alone), on the basis of Romans and Galatians.  They thought that the Catholic Church's insistence that good works were also necessary for salvation was a pagan doctrine, a compromise of the very essence of the gospel.  Most evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants to this day justify their disagreement with the Catholic Church more fundamentally on this basis than on any other.  They sincerely believe that Catholicism is another gospel, as Paul called Galatian legalism, and many wonder whether Catholics are even Christians.

16.  But James clearly says in his epistle that faith without works is dead and that we are justified by works (good works, the works of love) as well as faith, working together with faith.  James and the Catholic scholastic theologians were using faith in its narrowest sense: as just one of the three theological virtues.  In this sense, hope and charity must be added to faith for salvation.  Paul and the Protestants were using faith in its broader sense: as the root or center of all three theological virtues, not as an act of the intellect (as in the Baltimore Catechism definition) but as an act of the heart (in the biblical sense) or spirit or personal center.  Both sides were (and are) right, as Pope John Paul II made quite clear to the Lutheran bishops of Germany on his visit there in 1983.  In other words, the essence of the Protestant Reformation was a misunderstanding.  What hope for reunion lies in that fact!

17.  To clarify the different meanings of faith in another way, remember that we exist on three levels.  Saint Paul in two places in his letters refers to them as “spirit, soul, and body”.  Body is our relationship with the physical world, the level of reality that is less than ourselves.  Soul is our relationship with ourselves (self-consciousness) and with others, our equals.  Spirit is our relationship with God, the reality that is greater than ourselves.  There is a form of faith on each of the three levels.  Faith in the bodily sphere is the works of love and obedience without which, according to James, faith is dead and false.  This is the aspect emphasized by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews in the classic chapter on faith, chapter 11.  The faith of each of the Old Testament heroes was defined or manifested in what they did.  Faith in the sphere of the soul includes both intellectual belief and emotional trust.  Finally, faith in the spirit, where faith begins, is the basic Yes to God that is the condition for salvation.  This is an act of the will, but it is not always consciously rational and intellectual.

18.

SOUL FOOD Talk 10: Supplement: Biblical Justice

Posted by livingchrist on June 11, 2014 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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WHAT IS BIBLICAL JUSTICE?  By Tim Keller  [http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/what-biblical-justice]

1.  .Justice is Care for the Vulnerable  The Hebrew word for “justice,” mishpat, occurs in its various forms more than 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Its most basic meaning is to treat people equitably. It means acquitting or punishing every person on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty.

2.  Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.  But mishpat means more than just the punishment of wrongdoing. It also means giving people their rights. Deuteronomy 18 directs that the priests of the tabernacle should be supported by a certain percentage of the people’s income. This support is described as “the priests’ mishpat,” which means their due or their right. Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.

3.  This is why, if you look at every place the word is used in the Old Testament, several classes of persons continually come up. Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”  In premodern, agrarian societies, these four groups had no social power. They lived at subsistence level and were only days from starvation if there was any famine, invasion or even minor social unrest. Today, this quartet would be expanded to include the refugee, the migrant worker, the homeless and many single parents and elderly people.

4.  The mishpat, or justness, of a society, according to the Bible, is evaluated by how it treats these groups. Any neglect shown to the needs of the members of this quartet is not called merely a lack of mercy or charity but a violation of justice, of mishpat. God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice.”

5.  Justice Reflects the Character of God  Why should we be concerned about the vulnerable ones? It is because God is concerned about them. It is striking to see how often God is introduced as the defender of these vulnerable groups.  Realize, then, how significant it is that the biblical writers introduce God as “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:4-5). This is one of the main things He does in the world. He identifies with the powerless. He takes up their cause.

6.  Justice is Right Relationships  We must have a strong concern for the poor, but there is more to the biblical idea of justice than that. We get more insight when we consider a second Hebrew word that can be translated as “being just,” though it usually translated as “being righteous.” The word is tzadeqah, and it refers to a life of right relationships.

7.  When most modern people see the word “righteousness” in the Bible, they tend to think of it in terms of private morality, such as sexual chastity or diligence in prayer and Bible study. But in the Bible, tzadeqah refers to day-to-day living in which a person conducts all relationships in family and society with fairness, generosity and equity. It is not surprising, then, to discover that tzadeqah and mishpat are brought together scores of times in the Bible.

8.  These two words roughly correspond to what some have called “primary” and “rectifying justice.” Rectifying justice is mishpat. It means punishing wrongdoers and caring for the victims of unjust treatment. Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else. Therefore, though tzadeqah is primarily about being in a right relationship with God, the righteous life that results is profoundly social.

9.  Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else.


10.  Rectifying justice, or mishpat, in our world could mean prosecuting the men who batter, exploit and rob poor women. It could also mean respectfully putting pressure on a local police department until they respond to calls and crimes as quickly in the poor part of town as in the prosperous part. Another example would be to form an organization that both prosecutes and seeks justice against loan companies that prey on the poor and the elderly with dishonest and exploitive practices.

11.  Primary justice, or tzadeqah, may mean taking the time personally to meet the needs of the handicapped, the elderly or the hungry in our neighborhoods. Or it could mean the establishment of new nonprofits to serve the interests of these classes of persons. It could also mean a group of families from the more prosperous side of town adopting the public school in a poor community and making generous donations of money and pro bono work in order to improve the quality of education there.

12.  When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is “social justice.”

13.  Justice includes Generosity  Many readers may be asking at this point why we are calling private giving to the poor “justice.” Some Christians believe that justice is strictly mishpat—the punishment of wrongdoing, period. This does not mean they think believers should be indifferent to the plight of the poor, but they would insist that helping the needy through generous giving should be called mercy, compassion or charity—not justice.  In English, however, the word “charity” conveys a good but optional activity. Charity cannot be a requirement, for then it would not be charity. But this view does not fit in with the strength or balance of the biblical teaching.

14.  In the Scripture, gifts to the poor are called “acts of righteousness,” as in Matthew 6:1-2. Not giving generously, then, is not stinginess but unrighteousness, a violation of God’s law. In the book of Job, we see Job call every failure to help the poor a sin, offensive to God’s splendor (Job 31:23) and deserving of judgment and punishment (v. 28). Remarkably, Job is asserting that it would be a sin against God to think of his goods as belonging to himself alone. To not “share his bread” and his assets with the poor would be unrighteous, a sin against God, and therefore by definition a violation of God’s justice.

15.  Despite the effort to draw a line between “justice” as legal fairness and sharing as “charity,” numerous Scripture passages make radical generosity one of the marks of living justly. The just person lives a life of honesty, equity and generosity in every aspect of his or her life.  If you are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable. We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.

 

 JUSTIFICATION  [Catechism of the Catholic Church

1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39

1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.

1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40

1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.42

1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:

Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.45

 

 

SOUL FOOD Talk 10: SALVATION HISTORY, Beatitudes & the MagnificatSOUL FOOD TALK #10 -- SALVATION HISTORY ??? BEATITUDES & MAGNIFICAT Salvation History, Covenants [http://www.salvationhistory.com/studies/lesson/genesis_how_a_catholic_starts_to_read_the_

Posted by livingchrist on June 11, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

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SOUL FOOD TALK #10 -- SALVATION HISTORY – BEATITUDES & MAGNIFICAT

Salvation History, Covenants   [http://www.salvationhistory.com/studies/lesson/genesis_how_a_catholic_starts_to_read_the_bible#History]

1.   The Bible gives us history from God’s perspective. It shows us that all throughout time, God is working to bring us salvation.   That’s why we say that the Bible gives us "salvation history."  This salvation history, in turn, hinges upon the "covenants" that God makes with his people throughout the Bible.      What is a covenant? Let’s start with what it’s not. A covenant is not a contract. Contracts are deals where two parties make a promise that involves some exchange of goods or services or property. Usually they seal their contract by giving their "word" - their name - in the form of their signature.

2.  When parties make a covenant, they swear oaths. Oaths are more than promises. Instead of swearing by their own name, they swear by the highest name, by the name of God. Covenants involve, not an exchange of property, but an exchange of persons. You don’t give somebody your services or goods when you swear a covenant oath - you swear to give them yourself.    Marriage is a good example.  It’s a covenant because in the exchange of vows, the woman gives herself to the man and the man gives himself to the woman.

3.  When God says to Israel, "You will be my people and I will be your God," that’s a covenant.  What’s happening is that Israel is swearing an oath to God - to live according to God’s law as His people, His children.  In turn, God is swearing to be Israel’s God, its divine parent.  There are blessings for keeping the covenant and curses for breaking it.           In the ancient world, covenants made families. Even ancient treaty documents between nations used "father-son" imagery.  Outsiders were "adopted" into a tribe through covenant oaths.  So, when we study the Bible we need to see how the meaning of "covenant" is steeped in that ancient idea of family-making.          The whole Bible can be outlined as a series of family-making covenants.

4.  That’s the "point" of the whole Bible story - how God, through these covenants, reveals more and more of Himself to his creatures and asks them to enter into a family relationship with Him. St. Paul sums up God’s intentions, this way: "As God said: ‘I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.’....‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty." (see
2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

5.  Throughout the salvation history told in the Bible God acts through His covenants to extend the Family of God. He starts small with just two people, Adam and Eve, and proceeds - through Noah, Abraham, Moses, David - until finally all nations are brought into the covenant through Jesus Christ.   [See the readings of Holy Saturday Vigil Mass:
the wonderful works of God for his people since the beginning of time. The readings are:   1.the story of creation, Gen 1:1-2; 2;      2.  Abraham and Isaac, Gen 22:1-18;     3.  Crossing of the Red Sea, Exodus 14:15–15:1;      4. Isaiah: 54: 5-14  ;   “For He who has become your husband is your Maker;  His Name is the LORD of hosts”     5. Isaiah 55: 1-11  “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.  You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat.”    6.  Baruch 4:4  “Blessed are we, O Israel; for what pleases God is known to us.”    7.  Ezekiel 36: 16-17, 18-28      8. Romans 6:3-11;      9. Gospel reading Mark 16:1-7.

6.  The plan from the beginning was to make all men and women into His sons and daughters through the covenants, which are all summed up in Jesus’ New Covenant, where God sends us "a Spirit of adoption, through which we can cry, Abba, ‘Father!’" (see Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5).

7.  The Beatitudes – [ Here we begin to see the difference between “the law” governing  behavior in the old covenant/testament and the Sermon on the Mount containing the beatitudes, the new “law” or guidelines of Jesus in the new covenant/testament.  The law of justice is not done away with, but fulfilled in mercy and love.]

8.  The solemn blessings (beatitudines, benedictiones) mark the opening of the Sermon on the Mount, the very first of Our Lord's sermons in the Gospel of St. Matthew (5:3-10).

9.  Four of the beatitudes occur again in a slightly different form in the Gospel of St. Luke (6:22), likewise at the beginning of a sermon, and running parallel to Matthew 5-7, if not another version of the same.  And here they are illustrated by the opposition of the four curses (24-26).

10.  St. Luke--   20 Then he lifted up his eyes towards his disciples, and said; Blessed are you who are poor; the kingdom of God is yours.         21 Blessed are you who are hungry now; you will have your fill.       Blessed are you who weep now; you will laugh for joy.       22 Blessed are you, when men hate you and cast you off and revile you, when they reject your name as something evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.        23 When that day comes, rejoice and exult over it; for behold, a rich reward awaits you in heaven; their fathers treated the prophets no better.

11.   24 But woe upon you who are rich; you have your comfort already.     25 Woe upon you who are filled full; you shall be hungry.  Woe upon you who laugh now; you shall mourn and weep.  26 Woe upon you, when all men speak well of you; their fathers treated the false prophets no worse.

12.  The text of St. Matthew runs as follows:

  • 1)  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)
  • 2)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. (Verse 4)
  • 3)   Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)
  • 4)   Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)
  • 5)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)
  • 6)  Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)
  • 7)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)
  • 8)  Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)

13.  First beatitude    [Blessed are the

SOUL FOOD Talk 9 - THE HOLY SPIRIT & HIS SEVEN GIFTS

Posted by livingchrist on March 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (0)


1.    Revelations by Christ on the Second Pentecost nd Era of the Holy Spirit made to Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, affectionately known as Conchita.   Born December 1862 in Mexico.  At 21 yeqars, she married and had nine children.  Manuel, one of her sons, became a Jesuit priest and Maria, her first daughter, entered the convent of the Sisters of the Cross (which Conchita herself founded).  When she was 39 years old, her husband died and she had to care for her children, the youngest only 2 years old.  Conchita's religious writings and meditations total over 60,000 handwritten pages.  In her writings she revealed a deep mysticism which rivels that of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila.  One of the missions entrusted to Conchita was to bring to the Church "the Spirituality of the Cross" which seeks to awaken the faithful to the inner sufferings Jesus endured while undergoing His Passion.  The Spirituality of the Cross is a means that calls the People of God to share in the inner life of Jesus as Priest and Victim. 

SOURCE:  Conchita – A Mother’s Spiritual Diary, edited by Marie-Michel Philipon, O.P.

 

2. ACTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN SOULS & IN GRACE


         [JESUS:]  'He is the source of divine grace and He never remains inactive. Day and night, He labors in souls who give themselves to Me, and these souls constantly advance in virtues. But when souls resist or are indifferent, then I withdraw since My graces are of too great a price to be wasted on them. The work of the Holy Spirit in souls is most delicate, and the soul who despises it is quite culpable… If it does not respond to My inspirations, to what I demand of it, I withdraw. There are some souls which it is necessary to push along at each step, others which run and fly. According to the measure of their correspondence with grace, they advance constantly rising to the degree I have destined for them. Be vigilant, hear My voice. You know quite well that for hearing me it is necessary to keep your ears open… A total renunciation of yourself and a constant spirit of sacrifice.


3-  THE HOLY SPIRIT STAYS CLOSE TO SOULS 
      [ Conchita:]   The Holy Spirit dwells in the very depths of the souls. "He remains with you and will be within you" (Jn 14:17). The whole Trinity dwells in us. "Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him" (Jn 14:23). All the baptized who possess grace, are "temples of the of the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 6:19).

4 -     [Jesus:]   "Some souls think that the Holy Spirit is very far away, far, far up above. Actually, He is, we might say, the divine Person who is most closely present to the creature. He accompanies him everywhere. He penetrates him with Himself, He calls him, He protects him. He makes of him His living temple. He defends him. He helps him. He guards him from all his enemies. He is closer to him than his own soul. All the good a soul accomplishes, it carries out under His inspiration, in His light, by His grace and His help. And yet He is not invoked, He is not thanked for His direct and intimate action in each soul. If you invoke the Father, if you love Him, it is through the Holy Spirit. If you love Me ardently, if you know Me, if you serve Me, if you imitate Me, if you make yourself but one with My wishes and with My heart, it is through the Holy Spirit.

5 -    
[Jesus:]   "He is considered inaccessible and He actually is but there is nothing that exists nearer, more helpful to the creature in his misery than this Being of a supreme transcendence, this most Holy Spirit who reflects and who constitutes one and the same holiness with the Father and the Son.  Centuries have passed and He remains ever the Principle of all things. He engraves His mark on souls and His sign on the priest. He communicates the light of faith and all the virtues. He irrigates and fertilizes the whole field of the Church. Despite this, He is not appreciated, He is not known, He is not thanked for His perpetually sanctifying action. If the world is ungrateful to Me, how much more so toward the Holy Spirit!

6 -      [Jesus:]   "Here is why I want His glory to be shown to the end of time… One of the cruelest interior sufferings for My Heart was this ingratitude of all times, this worship of idols of other times, and today man's self-worship, forgetful of the Holy Spirit. In these latter days sensuality has set up its reign in the world. This sensual life obscures and extinguishes the light of faith in souls. That is why more than ever, it is necessary that the Holy Spirit come to destroy and annihilate Satan who under this form penetrates even the Church" (Diary, Jan. 26, 1915).

THE SOUL OF CHRIST MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

7 --      [Conchita:]  Christ is the masterpiece of the Holy Spirit. As Word, He is with the Father, His eternal Principle. The Holy Spirit received all from the Son: His Being in its infinite perfections. He is Love in a Person who proceeds indivisibly from the Father and from the Son in the Oneness of the Trinity. But, as man, Jesus has received all from the Holy Spirit: His incarnation, His being, His life, His action on all the members of His Mystical Body.

8  -    
[Jesus:]  "Every movement of My soul has been inspired and carried out under the movement of the Holy Spirit. He is who animates My faculties, My senses, My will, holding them in His possession for the glory of the Father to whom I return everything… The Holy Spirit loves My humanity with an incomparable predilection… If you only know with what delicacy, with what tenderness, and with what splendor the Holy Spirit adorns My soul, My faculties, My feelings, My body and My heart! Even more than a mother He is all love. He displayed all His might, all His riches to form Me in Mary's womb, as a perfect model of all that is beautiful, pure and holy. All the riches and treasures which adorn My Heart, I owe to the Holy Spirit. I do not like devotion to My Heart, to be regarded as an end, but only as a means of being raised up to My Divinity, as a step for reaching the Holy Spirit since it is He who created, formed and enriched My human heart, who poured on it all the delights of His love as well as all the interior sufferings and the manner of undergoing universal expiation for the pardon of culpable mankind. The heart of man and his body had sinned. There was need of another heart and another body united to the power of a God to give satisfaction to this Other who is God. This plan, this action, this salvific purpose, glorifying my humanity and for the salvation of the world, are owed to the Holy Spirit" (Diary, Jan. 29, 1915).

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH  SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

9  - [694]  Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism… our birth into the divine life given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit… the living water welling up from Christ crucified28 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.29

 

10  -695 Anointing. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation.  Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving.34 Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.35 Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ":36 "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.


11 -  696 Fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions-- the fire of the Holy Spirit transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,"proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."38 In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself40


12 - 697 Cloud and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai,43 at the tent of meeting,44 and during the wandering in the desert,45 and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple.46 In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus.47 On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'"48 Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.49

13 - 698 The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him.50


14 -  699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.51 In his name the apostles will do the same.52 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.53 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching.54 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.


15 - 700 The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons."55 If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."56 The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."57



16 - 701 The dove. At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable.58 When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him.59 The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized.


SOURCE:  CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

17 -  The Holy Spirit – God’s Gift   733 "God is Love"124 and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."125


18 - 734 Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. The communion of the Holy Spirit126 in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin.


19 - 735 He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God [has] loved us."127 This love (the "charity" of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit.128


20 - 736 By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."129 "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."130


21 - The Holy Spirit and the Church   737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."132


22 - 739 Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members [through the sacraments]  to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his intercession for the whole world.

SOURCE:  THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT According to St. Thomas Aquinas, by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.  published by the Knights of Columbus, 2002. 



 For the pamphlet on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, see this link:  http://www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/cis/cis360.pdf

TALKS ON CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

Posted by livingchrist on February 24, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Click on this website to locate numerous podcasts on prayer, especially contemplative prayer,

by Dr. Anthony Lilles based on the prayer life of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, a young Carmelite saint. 

A wonderful site: 

http://www.discerninghearts.com/?page_id=6684

ST. PADRE PIO

Posted by livingchrist on February 3, 2014 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

If you love Padre Pio, you will love this website--http://caccioppoli.com/Padre%20Pio%20time%20line,%20words,%20facts.pdf

Story of his life, many of his experiences from infancy, his words. Be sure to get to chapter 2 and beyond.   A wonder!

SOUL FOOD Talk 4: TERRITORY OF SOULS

Posted by livingchrist on February 3, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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TERRITORY OF SOULS

     In the Creed we profess our belief in the “communion of saints.”  What does this mean?  The Catholic Catechism tells us “Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others....We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church.  As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund.” [947] 

***

      What are the goods that we share?   Faith itself.  The fruits of all the sacraments.  Charisms.  Material goods –as we assist the needy.  Charity.

***

THE THREE STATES OF THE CHURCH

     “...at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth.  Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory....” [954]  Thus we have the CHURCH MILITANT, CHURCH SUFFERING, CHURCH GLORIFIED.  And what a marvelous exchange passes between these three.  The glorified take intense interest in their brothers and sisters who are fighting the good fight, assisting us wherever they can, especially those who are in their TERRITORY OF SOULS.  We pray for our beloved dead who are in Purgatory, remembering especially those in our TERRITORY OF SOULS.  And they pray for us as well.  Every time we pray for a soul in Purgatory, they are raised higher to glory, and so are we!   “Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective.”  [958]

***

       Maria Simma, a Croatian woman who has been seeing, praying for, and communicating with the holy souls for decades, has much to tell us about them.  For example, “They watch their own funerals, as I mentioned yesterday.  They can tell who is praying for them and who is only there for the sake of appearance.  They hear what we say about them.  Tears do nothing for them.  Tears are for our necessary healing process, but not for theirs.  Funerals should remain simple and be done with much heartfelt love.  They do not like hearing falsehoods spoken about them, even if the truth was not always attractive....Every smallest gesture helps them, and in turn, helps us because they then are more likely to step in for us when we need protection or assistance.  Even if we choose to wash the windows out of love for them, this will do so much good!” [ Maria Simma speaks with Nicky Eltz, Get us Out of Here!, The Medjugorje Web, 2002, pp. 149-151]   “Not asking them for their protection every day is a great loss.”  [p. 105]

***

      After my husband died, I found so much comfort in this book.  For example,  when asked by Nicky, “How much do they know about their families?” she answers,  “I would say almost everything.  They see us all the time.  They hear every word that we speak about them and they know what our sufferings are. But they do not know our thoughts.” [ p. 10]  She explains further on,  “They cannot read our minds, but they do know our suffering and in knowing our suffering they also know many of our true needs and therefore they'll step in for us.   Saying it aloud guarantees that they hear us, but be assured that a whisper is enough.  They are always around us, but I would not advise you to start talking to them in public.  And, of course, Jesus knows our thoughts, so thinking a request of them silently will also be conveyed to them by the Mother of Mercy.”  [p. 23]      Many other little points are beautiful and revealing,  “...every time that someone looks at the tabernacle with love, Jesus then elevates his place in Heaven.”

***

   On my personal website,  LIVING CHRIST, I posted this statement a couple of years ago,       I, too, feel pretty helpless defending the faith. Like most of you, I hope I am giving WITNESS, by living a life devoted to God’s will, praying, seeking holiness. I found in one of Marino Restrepo’s talks his explanation of our TERRITORY OF SOULS:    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XaTnjt_6KU&feature=related ]

***
“This little segment of a major talk called RADICAL CHANGE  (3/6) includes a wonderful explanation of how we become powerful by living sincerely in God’s will. He speaks of the “territory of souls” that belongs to each of us, those souls whose lives touch ours. No one else has the same territory. No one else can speak to those souls in quite the same way that we can. And it is in our daily living, our “duty of the moment” that we can be most effective. Furthermore, when we die and “go up into the light”–our power in our territory increases–and we become even more effective with all those souls we left behind on earth. This is a comfort to me. About those closest to us, our stray children and such, remember St. Monica and St. Augustine, and the words that “a child of so much prayer [St Monica's "territory"] certainly will not be lost.” How can our Blessed Mother overlook a mother’s tears, she who suffered so much with her Son?

  ***

  I also read this note on a blog:  “Hi, I just returned from a talk by Marino Restrepo.  I thought of your situation Ellie, and thought I should pass this on -
(He had a mystical conversion experience.) He was speaking on Divine Mercy in particular, and the efficacy of the Eucharist. He mentioned that those who are Catholic or become catholic (even if they are 60!) have been chosen to be so from all eternity. He said that we have a ” territory of souls” to care for. This includes our families.  He said that when we receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, we are the source of grace for others as we go home from church, God’s grace radiates out to the people around. He said we may never see the results of this until we are in heaven; God blesses those around us through His Eucharistic presence within us.  He wasn’t belittling those not of the Catholic faith, but was re-iterating the will of God, regarding those who are meant to be Catholic from the perspective of eternity.” 

***

    Marino Restrepo has a book called,  Catholics, Awake!   I have tried ordering it, but it is out of print and is available only through Ebooks.  Nevertheless, I have read sections of it online.  It is worthwhile to see what Marino has sto say about this topic.

***                                                                  

"WE ARE THE ARMY OF GOD. Being Christian is being part of an army. It is being enlisted in it 24 hours a day until the day we are called back before the tribunal of the Lord Jesus. There we will have to render an account of the military mission that was entrusted to us, an account of the territory of souls that was assigned to us to protect and guard at all times. From the moment of our baptism, we are given the spiritual garment of a soldier of God. By the time we take first Communion, we begin to be fed with the BOdy and Blood of our Lord Jesus, strengthening our soul, preparing us to be sent out to the battlefields of exile. Entering the sacra ment of Confirmation, as the bishop places his hands on us, we receive the Holy Spirit in a manner that is a command to go and fight the good fight of the Gospel for the rest of our lives, a command that tells us that we are ready and perfectly armed to defend souls from the grip of the devil and his evil army. We have just received the Holy Spirit in a double portion, we are filled with the Spirit of the Lord, we have been given a territory of souls to defend: every soul that crosses our path during our entire life.

***

Our military tife begins right there; no age groups are assigned to specific positions. From the moment of Confirmation, one is a full-blown soldier able to defeat the most ferocious battalion of Satan. One faithful Catholic soldier aged 15 will have no lesser or greater capacity for assaulting the enemies territory than another aged 70; both have all it takes to do it. It is spiritual warfare. Souls have no age and the fight is against fallen angels that are ageless as well. "

***

The true meaning of what the mystical body of Christ signifies is beyond human comprehension. We are to abandon ourselves in the mystery and trust in God .... Being alert, humble, and obedient to God's will places us in a very effective territory. It makes us adhere strongly to the rules of the militia and shapes us up as lethal weapons against the enemy of the soul. There is no greater joy in heaven than the sight of a faithful soldier of God on earth, who in spite of his blindness to the spiritual world is faithfully fighting an invisible enemy with invisible weapons and on the side of invisible friendly forces that support him. There couldn't possibly be a greater mission on earth than that of the salvation of souls. "

***

So what is my uniform? ... my baptismal vows. What are the weapons and what are they made of? Theyare the sacraments ... the gift of the Holy Spirit created by Jesus by dying on the cross.... Every Catholic soldier has a territory of souls to defend. Our whole life as Catholics is precisely to do with souls. Not only our own, but the millions and millions of human beings who could be nourished by the short time we expend on this earthly pilgrimage. '

***

On my personal website, LIVING CHRIST, I posted this statement on Nov. 2, 2011, All Souls' Day: "I came across this quotation in St. Teresa of Avila - INTERIOR CASTLE, 7TH CASTLE "I told you elsewhere that the devil sometimes puts ambitious desires into our hearts, so that, instead of setting our hand to the work which lles nearest to us, and thus serving Our Lord in ways within our power, we may rest content with having desired the impossible. Apart from praying for people, by which you can do a great deal for them, do not try to help everybody, but limit yourselves to your own companions; your work will then be all the more effective because you have the greater obligation to do it." (254 OR 255).

 ***

It seems that God most wants us to sacrifice and pray for those closest to us, "DO NOT TRY TO HELP EVERYBODY, BUf LIMIT YOURSELVES TO YOUR OWN COMPANIONS; YOUR WORK WILL THEN BE ALL THE MORE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE GREATER OBLIGATION TO DO IT."

***

What gives me such sorrow today is all the members of my territory of souls who, due to my weaknesses and unfaithfulness to the Church in the past, may today be suffering in purgatory, at least partly beca use I was unkind to them, or led them astray in some way, or did not permit Christ to reach them through me. Truly I will be judged one day for every single time llet down one of my precious souls whom I could have led closer to God and did not. It is an awesome thing to be responsible for; yet we hardly ever think of our role in people's lives and salvation histories.

***

As I reflected on these things, I wept for some situations in my llfe where l let down people whom I should have loved better and for the God whom I failed.

***

     But we should not despair over these things-we can pray and sacrifice for them still, the living and the dead. Psalm 116 says: "Gracious is the Lord and just; ves, our God is merciful. The Lord keeps the little ones; I was brought low, and he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your tranquility, for the Lord has been good to you. For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." Today and everyday I pray faithfully for all my territory of souls, living and dead. I will place every one of my loved souls into the hands of Mother Mary for her to help them for me."

***

MORE WEAPONS TO USE TO DEFEND OUR TERRITORY OF SOULS

***

ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT   was a Benedictine nun and mystic who lived in the 13th century. St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.

***

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

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ST. ANTONY OF THE DESERT - FIRST MONK & FATHER OF THE CHURCH

Posted by livingchrist on January 13, 2014 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The feast day of St. Antony is on January 17.  This tremendous saint of God lived from 251-356 AD and established the first hermitages and monasteries in the first centuries of Christianity.  St. Anthanasius, one of his companions, a beloved follower, later became a bishop and wrote Antony's biography.  The section on discerning spirits, the wiles of the demons,  and how to deal with the evil spirits, is wonderful.  Enjoy this great teaching which is so appropriate for our times:  [enlarge the print for easier reading!]  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2811.htm

SOUL FOOD Talk 8: Mortification

Posted by livingchrist on December 6, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (1)

SOUL FOOD Talk 8: TRAINING BROTHER ASS – MORTIFICATION

1. Mortification refers to the Christian ideal of dying to self through deliberate restraint of our unruly passions and appetites. It refers to our struggle against evil inclinations. It distinguishes between external mortification for example, fasting, controlling one's tongue and internal mortification "the discipline of the heart," overcoming aversions, resentments, dangerous attachments. While both kinds of mortification are important, St. Alphonsus views the internal as both more demanding and more fruitful for spiritual growth. Thanks to redemptorists.com

2. CARDINAL MERCIER: The aim of Christian mortification is to counteract the evil influences which original sin continues to exert on our souls, even after Baptism has regenerated them. Our regeneration in Christ, while completely wiping out sin in us, leaves us, none the less, very far indeed from original rectitude and peace. It was recognised by the Council of Trent that concupiscence, which is to say the triple covetousness of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life, makes itself felt in us even after Baptism, in order to rouse us to the glorious struggles of the Christian life*. It is this triple covetousness which Scripture calls sometimes the old man, as opposed to the new man who is Jesus living in us and ourselves living in Jesus; and sometimes the flesh or fallen nature, as opposed to the spirit or to nature regenerated by supernatural grace. It is this old man or this flesh, that is to say the whole man with his twofold, moral and physical life, that one must, I do not say annihilate, because that is an impossibility so long as our present life continues, but mortify, which means to cause it to die, to reduce it almost to the powerless, inactive and barren state of a corpse; one must prevent it from yielding its fruit, which is sin, and nullify its action in all our moral life.

3. [livingchrist.webs.com] St. Francis of Assisi used to refer to his body as "Brother Ass." This was common knowledge and practice among the Franciscans. At the moment St. Anthony of Padua (a Franciscan priest) died, he appeared to a beloved brother, Abbot Gallo, and told him, "I have come to say goodbye, for I have left the ass at Arcella, and am now hastening to my fatherland." Not thinking anything had happened out of the ordinary, Abbot Gallo looked for Anthony to talk with him, not even realizing that St. Anthony had died.

4. Brother Ass has no mind, only a comfort zone which he hates to leave. What is sweet to the taste, to the touch, to the smell, to the hearing, and to the sight is his only focus. To let Brother Ass have his way is to feed the body at the expense of the soul and spirit. If we give Brother Ass his way in all things, he will do nothing hard, will have his way with us, (like an unruly and hard to control beast), will be spoiled and greedy, and will always take the easy way out. Without Brother Ass, we cannot function as human beings. We do not have a body. We are a body. Our growth and perfection as good Christians depends on a balance between the flesh and the spirit, with the spirit always having the upper hand.

5. Therefore, Brother Ass needs some serious training. Insofar as we deny Brother Ass, we strengthen our moral strength, our will. And it is our will that God wants. A strong will that seeks perfect union with His Will. Giving in to Brother Ass will prolong our struggle to reach perfection, deter us, and may completely stop us in our tracks. Mortification is taken from two root words: mors -- death, and facio -- to make. So mortification means literally to make to die, or to kill. What are we expected to kill? The inordinate love of all things material or self-serving--everything that pleases Brother Ass.

6. As you read the lives of the saints you see that they practiced mortification on a heroic level, living sometimes on bread and water for days at a time, or little more; staying awake for hours to pray at night; wearing a hair-shirt--which itched Brother Ass to death! They lowered their eyes so as not to give Brother Ass the pleasure of unrestricted vision and distractions; they retreated into lonely places, restricting even pleasant socializing with friends and other people; they kept silent, mortifying the hearing. It is not likely that we are called to such extreme practices, but it is advisable to do small things to train Brother Ass.

7. Failure to deny the flesh has grave consequences. Our personal health crises are often the ultimate result of failure to control Brother Ass, letting him have all the sweet, fatty pleasant tasting foods he wants, instead of making him eat what is good for him! Our marriages often break up because neither husband or wife is willing to give in or concede to the other foolish things for the sake of the union. We give in to our children and spoil them for themselves and for society. Our lack of mortification has resulted in a polluted or weakened society, planet, and a weakened Church. Brother Ass is all about the flesh, what the body wants, convenience, ease, and pleasure. Mortification will help prepare us for times of temptation and trials. We will be stronger, will have the spiritual stamina to endure for Christ. Yes, we are called to this--all of us--not just the saints on the holy pictures. We are the body of Christ; we are the saints!

8.  http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/Handbook/Mortif.htm][ ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT echoes this attitude when he writes: "Never give your body all it demands. With permission, refuse it even some lawful satisfaction." Montfort led a life of rigorous mortification. He willingly gave up the comforts of life because he firmly believed that "wisdom is not found in the hearts of those who live in comfort." Mortification of the body, according to Montfort, is indispensable in our efforts to possess Wisdom. Speaking of bodily mortifications, he says that accepting our life as it is and living it patiently everyday by enduring our bodily ailments, the inconveniences of the weather, and the difficulties arising from other people’s actions is mortification enough. To this we may add some voluntary penances and mortifications, such as fasts, vigils, and other austerities practiced by holy penitents.

9. Montfort points out that interior mortifications are more important than exterior ones, even though the latter are not to be disregarded. The conquest of selfishness, or self-will, is the greatest challenge. De Montfort also teaches that little mortifications are often more meritorious than great ones because they are less apt to give rise to vanity. Small interior acts of mortification made for God, for example, repressing useless words and glances or checking a movement of anger or impatience, etc., could turn out to be great victories In this connection, he specifically asks—in his down-to-earth language—to mortify "1) a certain natural activity that inclines you to hurry and to accomplish much; 2) changing moods that rule you and displease your neighbor; 3) your tongue, which always wishes to talk, laugh, mock etc.; 4) a tendency to lack religious modesty in your bearing, which makes you act like a child, laugh like a fool, jump around like a juggler, and eat and drink like an animal."

10. SUFFERING THAT HAPPENS TO US IS KNOWN AS PASSIVE MORTIFICATION. SUFFERING WE ALLOW TO HAPPEN IS KNOWN AS ACTIVE MORTIFICATION. [http://www.mariancatechist.com/spiritual_reading/seeking_sanctification.html]

Passive mortifications come in various forms, but they are not the sufferings we experience from having sinned, e.g., suffering a hangover after being intoxicated. Rather, they come to us unsolicited, the consequence of living in a world that has fallen from the grace of God. Passive mortifications can be grave, for example, sickness or injury, the death of a loved one, losing one’s employment. For the most part, passive mortifications come to us in smaller and less severe versions such as a difficult boss or co-worker, a spouse who from time to time is insensitive and uncaring or children who are demanding and unappreciative.

11. St. Jose Marie Escriva, the founder of the Opus Dei Prelature often pointed out that our daily life and work provide significant opportunities to experience passive mortifications, primarily through petty annoyances like an unexpected change in plans, instruments or tools that fail us, the discomfort caused us by the weather being to hot or cold. When these small crosses are embraced generously and courageously they help us to grow in holiness. Pope Paul VI spoke eloquently about carrying these kinds of daily crosses in his March 24, 1967 Address: “To carry one’s cross is something great. Great….It means facing up to life courageously, without weakness or meanness. It means that we turn into moral energy those difficulties which will never be lacking in our existence; it means understanding human sorrow; and finally, it means knowing really how to love.”

12. For the most part active mortifications that are not severe can be exercised repeatedly throughout the day. Examples would be: punctuality—to arise from bed immediately in the morning, to be on time for work and returning punctually after a break, to not leave a task undone because it is difficult to bring to completion. Most importantly concerning punctuality is to maintain definite times for prayer throughout the day. We must avoid praying only “when we feel like it” or “when we have time for it.” We should set times for prayer within our day and keep to them. To deny oneself sleep in order to maintain a vigil of prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, is a laudatory practice of active mortification.

13. Other examples would be to smile and be joyful even though your day or situation has been and continues to be difficult, to remain silent and charitable when you are being criticized without a good reason, to participate in conversation with those who are boring or overbearing, overlooking those irritating details of the people with whom we live and giving up some comfort that we have come to cherish.

14. “…Mortification of the imagination—avoiding that interior monologue in which fantasy runs wild, by trying to turn it into a dialogue with God, present in our soul in grace. We try to put a restraining check on that tendency of ours to go over and over some little happening in the course of which we have come off badly. No doubt we have felt slighted, and have made much of an injury to our self-esteem, caused to us quite unintentionally. If we don’t apply thebrake in time, our conceit and pride will cause us to overbalance until we lose our peace and presence of God.

15. “Mortification of the memory—avoiding useless recollections which make us waste time and which could lead us into more serious temptations.

16. “Mortification of the intelligence—so as to put it squarely to the business of concentrating on our own duty at this moment and, also, on many occasions of surrendering our own judgment so as to live humility and charity with others in a better way.”

17. Finally, it needs to be pointed out that to realize the spiritual growth and benefit that results from active and passive mortifications does not require that we carry them out with a conscious intention of uniting each one to Christ’s redemptive suffering at the time they are done. To do so, would be continually distracting and make our daily work almost impossible. Our daily mortifications will be united to Christ’s redemptive work by virtue our having made our Morning Offering, “… I offer to you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings …”

18. Those mortifications that are most pleasing to God are those that involve being more charitable to our neighbor, more dedicated to the work of the Church, and those that help us to be more faithful in carrying out the obligations that are necessary to our state in life.

http://www.religious-vocation.com/penance_and_mortification.html

19. Saint Jean Marie Vianney: Oh, how I like those little mortifications that are seen by nobody, such as rising a quarter of an hour sooner, rising for a little while in the night to pray! but some people think of nothing but sleeping. There was once a solitary who had built himself a royal palace in the trunk of an oak tree; he had placed thorns inside of it, and he had fastened three stones over his head, so that when he raised himself or turned over he might feel the stones or the thorns. And we, we think of nothing but finding good beds, that we may sleep at our ease. We may refrain from warming ourselves; if we are sitting uncomfortably, we need not try to place ourselves better; if we are walking in our garden, we may deprive ourselves of some fruit that we should like; in preparing the food, we need not eat the little bits that offer themselves; we may deprive ourselves of seeing something pretty, which attracts our eyes, especially in the streets of great towns."

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1551293/posts

Practice Of Christian Mortification -Cardinal Desire Mercier (1851-1926)

20. Mortification of the body - Mortification of the senses, of the imagination and the passions

1 - Close your eyes always and above all to every dangerous sight, and even - have the courage to do it - to every frivolous and useless sight. See without looking; do not gaze at anybody to judge of their beauty or ugliness.

2 Keep your ears closed to flattering remarks, to praise, to persuasion, to bad advice, to slander, to uncharitable mocking, to indiscretions, to ill ¬disposed criticism, to suspicions voiced, to every word capable of causing the very smallest coolness between two souls.

3 - If the sense of smell has something to suffer due to your neighbor's infirmity or illness, far be it from you ever to complain of it; draw from it a holy joy.

4 - In what concerns the quality of food, have great respect for Our Lord's counsel: "Eat such things as are set before you." "Eat what is good without delighting in it, what is bad without expressing aversion to it, and show yourself equally indifferent to the one as to the other. There," says St. Francis de Sales, "is a real mortification."

5 - Offer your meals to God; at table impose on yourself a tiny penance: for example, refuse a sprinkling of salt a glass of wine, a sweet, etc.; your companions will not notice it, but God will keep account of it.

6 - Bear with everything which naturally grieves the flesh, especially the cold of winter, the heat of summer, a hard bed and every inconvenience of that kind. Whatever the weather, put on a good face; smile at all temperatures. Say with the prophet: "Cold, heat, rain, bless ye the Lord."

7 - If you feel within you the need to day dream, mortify it without mercy.

8 - Mortify yourself with the greatest care in the matter of impatience, of irritation or of anger.

9 - Examine your desires thoroughly; submit them to the control of reason and of faith: do you ever desire a long life rather than a holy life, wish for pleasure and well-being without trouble or sadness, victory without battle, success without setbacks, praise without criticism, a comfortable, peaceful life without a cross of any sort, that is to say a life quite opposite to that of Our Divine Lord?

10 - Seek to discover your predominant failing and, as soon as you have recognized it, pursue it all the way to its last retreat. To that purpose, submit with good will to whatever could be monotonous or boring in the practice of the examination of conscience.

21. Mortification of the mind and the will

1 - Mortify your mind by denying it all fruitless imaginings, all ineffectual or wandering thoughts which waste time, dissipate the soul, and render work and serious things distasteful.

2 - Every gloomy and anxious thought should be banished from your mind. Concern about all that could happen to you later on should not worry you at all. As for the bad thoughts which bother you in spite of yourself, you should, in dismissing them, make of them a subject for patience. Being involuntary, they will simply be for you an occasion of merit.

3 - Avoid obstinacy in your ideas, stubbornness in your sentiments. You should willingly let the judgments of others prevail, unless there is a question of matters on which you have a duty to give you opinion and speak out.

4 - Mortify the natural organ of your mind, which is to say the tongue. Practice silence gladly, whether your rule prescribes it for you or whether you impose it on yourself of your own accord.

5 - Prefer to listen to others rather than to speak yourself; and yet speak appropriately, avoiding as extremes both speaking too much, which prevents others from telling their thoughts, and speaking too little, which suggests a hurtful lack of interest in what they say.

6 - Never interrupt somebody who is speaking and do not forestall, by answering too swiftly, a question he would put to you.

7 - Always have a moderate tone of voice, never abrupt or sharp. Avoid very, extremely, horribly; all exaggeration.

8 - Love simplicity and straightforwardness. The pretenses, evasions, deliberate equivocations which certain pious people indulge in without scruple greatly discredit piety.

9- Carefully refrain from using any coarse, vulgar or even idle word, because Our Lord warns us that He will ask an account of them from us on the Day of Judgment.

10 - Above all, mortify your will; that is the decisive point. Bend it constantly to what you know is God's good pleasure and the rule of Providence, without taking any account either of your likes or your dislikes.

22. Mortifications to practice in our exterior actions

1 - Never give one moment over to sloth: from morning until night keep busy without respite.

2 - Devote yourself solely to your present occupation, without looking back on what went before or anticipating in thought what will follow. Say with Saint Francis: "While I am doing this I am not obliged to do anything else"; "let us make haste very calmly; all in good time."

3 - Be modest in your bearing. Nothing was so perfect as Saint Francis's deportment; he always kept his head straight, avoiding alike the inconstancy which turns it in all directions, the negligence which lets it droop forward and the proud and haughty disposition which throws it back. His countenance was always peaceful, free from all annoyance, always cheerful, serene and open; without however any merriment or indiscreet humor, without loud, immoderate or too frequent laughter.

4 - He was as composed when alone as in a large gathering. He did not cross his legs, never supported his head on his elbow. When he prayed he was motionless as a statue. When nature suggested to him he should relax, he did not listen.

5 - Regard cleanliness and order as a virtue, uncleanness and untidiness as a vice; do not have dirty, stained or torn clothes. On the other hand, regard luxury and worldliness as a greater vice still . Make sure that, on seeing your way of dressing, nobody calls it "slovenly" or "elegant", but that everybody is bound to think it "decent."

23. Mortifications to practice in our relations with our neighbor

1 - Bear with your neighbor's defects; defects of education, of mind, of character. Bear with everything about him which irritates you: his gait, his posture, tone of voice, accent, or whatever.

2 - Bear with everything in everybody and endure it to the end and in a Christian spirit. Never with that proud patience which makes one say: "What have I to do with so and so? How does what he says affect me? What need have I for the affection, the kindness or even the politeness of any creature at all and of that person in particular?" Nothing accords less with the will of God than this haughty unconcern, this scornful indifference; it is worse, indeed, than impatience.

3 - Are you tempted to be angry? For the love of Jesus, be meek.

To avenge yourself? Return good for evil; it is said the great secret of touching Saint Teresa's heart was to do her a bad turn. To look sourly at someone? Smile at him with good nature. To avoid meeting him? Seek him out willingly. To talk badly of him? Talk well of him. To speak harshly to him? Speak very gently, warmly, to him.

4 - Do not be witty at the expense of charity.

5 - If somebody in your presence should take the liberty of making remarks which are rather improper, or if someone should hold conversations likely to injure his neighbor's reputation, you may sometimes rebuke the speaker gently, but more often it will be better to divert the conversation skillfully or indicate by a gesture of sorrow or of deliberate inattention that what is said displeases you.

6 - It costs you an effort to render a small service: offer to do it. You will have twice the merit.

7 - Avoid with horror posing as a victim in your own eyes or those of others. Far be it from you to exaggerate your burdens; strive to find them light; they are so, in reality, much more often than it seems; they would be so always if you were more virtuous.

24. Conclusion: Would to God we had the right to apply to ourselves these beautiful words of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: "In all things we suffer tribulation ... Always bearing about in our body the death of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies." (II Cor. 4:8-10)

SUMMARY: Mortification can be ACTIVE or PASSIVE, EXTERNAL or INTERNAL. We should daily mortify the BODY, IMAGINATION, MIND or INTELLIGENCE, MEMORY, WILL, OUR EXTERIOR ACTIONS, OUR RELATIONS WITH OUR NEIGHBOR.

 

SOUL FOOD TALKS

Posted by livingchrist on November 14, 2013 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

A couple of months ago I began a new ministry at St. Paul the Apostle Church, presenting true SOUL FOOD, an indepth presentation and sharing with clear orthodox sources.  Though I can't include all the explanations and commentary which were included in these talks, I thought I might present the basis for each one.  The Holy Spirit has truly been active in all of the sessions.  All of the participants feel that they are truly growing their spiritual lives.  May you be similarly blessed.  The talks will continue with one in December, and going back to two each month in 2014.       Your sister in Christ,  Kathy AE


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