LIVING CHRIST


God's Mercy Now

JOURNAL  2010

  (After Nov. 2010, you may find my journey and sharing continued on my BLOG which offers better opportunities for anyone to respond.  Also, the BLOG has a search engine so you can locate topics in which you may be interested.) 

I've added this page because I feel the need to continue to share with you "My Story" as I grow in the Lord, whether through insights in my reading or discoveries made in prayer.  I promise I will never trivialize the content on this page.    You'll find the latest entry at the top and the oldest at the bottom of the page.  NOTE: YOU CAN FIND JOURNAL ENTRIES STARTING JUNE 22 ON THE BLOG PAGE WHERE YOU CAN COMMENT AND RESPOND!

I've been following Pelianito's Journal [see my Recommended Links, the third one].  Be sure to read the comments as this is where the spiritual conversation takes place.  Find some of the comments which I made on my blog. [Next page.]

MONDAY, AUG. 9, 2010:  KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Reading spiritdaily.com I came upon this quotation:  "As a budding theologian my favorite definition of a theologian was offered by a monk of the fourth century, Evagrius of Pontus. He wrote in his reflections entitled "Mirror for Monks": "The Knowledge of God is the breast of Christ and whoever rests on it will be a theologian". The Image evokes

 the beloved disciple John, the author of the fourth Gospel, depicted at the Institution of the Eucharist, the "Last Supper", with his head on the chest of Jesus the Christ.

Surely, this is the best way to learn our theology, in prayer, taught by the Holy Spirit.  Resting on the heart of Jesus teaches us all we need to know.  What we read and study to get there makes theologians of us all.  Then, as I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, some of my favorite verses came up and confirmed the thought for me.  The antiphon for the third pslm reads:  "I want a loving heart more than sacrifice,

knowledge of my ways more than holocausts."  I hear in that verse that Jesus wants to be loved, thirsts more than anything else for someone to understand Him.  How human, and how divine.  I don't have great sacrifices to give; I don't have holocausts, but I do have a loving heart.  I long to know you, Jesus, to see your precious face.  He says in psalm 50 that He owns the whole world, all the beasts of fields, all the birds of the air, etc.  "Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?  Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God."   I read somewhere else recently that we cannot imagine the corresponding enjoyment and glory of heaven for the chosen soul who has gained one degree more of knowledge of God.  Our God longs to be known and loved!  We cannot study and pray enough to satisfy the Divine Heart.  God so loved the world...the depth, the height of the Father's longing to be not only reconciled with man, Adam's children, but to be One with us, filling us with the utter fullness of God, the pleroma! 

WED., AUGUST 4, 2010:  IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY

How exceptional yesterday and today were.  I had a chance to go to the Catholic gift shop on Florida Blvd. yesterday and saw there a beautiful little statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I felt impelled to purchase it.  Then, my readings in the Catechism  were about Mary and the Immaculate Conception.  Having bought the statue, I decided to look up Immaculate Heart on the internet and found a wonderful video [ now posted on the top of my Marian page] about the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus--how close they are--indeed!  Today I found on another website that August is the month dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!  How beautifully God has spoken to me of His mother.  There are no coincidences in the supernatural order.  God plans every microsecond of our lives.  He wants us to honor and fly to the purity and protection of that most loving heart.  And to be in the heart of Mary is also to be in the  Sacred Heart of Jesus.  This is our refuge in times of trouble, our protection against the evils of our own times, our cloister and temple.  Jesus and Mary, I love you, save souls.

 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2010:  SHARING THE FAITH

 As a rule, my husband and I have to get up pretty early for me to get to 10:30 Mass and for him to get to his Baptist service at 11:00--about 7:00.  For a long time he resisted getting up before 7:30 or 7:45, and we had to rush, with my getting to Mass late.  I hated that, and hated being so distracted and uncollected for this most important morning of prayer; but without his cooperation, I was powerless to change the situation .  We started getting up at 6:50 when a series of wounds necessitated more time for cleansing andd dressing the wounds.  As I organized this activity, we found we had more time before leaving for church.  Not much, 10 minutes or so, but enough to get to Mass on time, much less agitated.  It meant so much to me.  This morning I had 30 minutes and he had an hour since his service starts much later than mine.  I suggested two weeks ago, that since he had so much free time before service on Sunday morning, he might enjoy reading and reflecting on the book which he started several weeks ago, a book by Mother Angelica [PRIVATE AND PITHY LESSONS FROM THE SCRIPTURES].  I suggested that he read it, and he likes her; she is so down to earth!  I had time to pray the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayer before leaving for Mass this morning.  I asked him this evening if he enjoyed the quiet time and reading Mother Angelica's book before going to his Sunday service.  He was so positive about how he felt--how recollected and peaceful, how good he felt.  He said he wanted to continue to get up at 7:00 on Sunday mornings so that we would continue to have 30-60 minutes of quiet time on Sunday morning.  Thank you, Lord! 

 SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010:  THE RIGHT PRAYER FOR THESE END TIMES

How helpless I feel knowing the depth of sin that is throttling the world, destroying the innocent! How can I begin to pray and sacrifice enough? Take hope, dear friends in Christ. How true a path Therese the Little Flower chose with her little way, doing small things well. All I need to do to be holy in the special way that the Trinity has planned for me from all eternity is to accept each moment of my life as his precious will, discerning as best I can in humility what He wants of me at that moment. It doesn’t matter if the moment is a trifle or an earth-shaker; it is my embracing of that moment that sanctifies and divinizes it. I am the living Gospel of Jesus written by the Holy Spirit on one human heart which He has purposed from all eternity. He knows my name. He planned me for the praise of his Glory and His Mercy, as he planned everything in my life, no matter how trifling the moment. De Caussade in his classic ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE tells us: “Faith sees that Jesus Christ lives in everything and works through all history to the end of time, that every fraction of a second, every atom of matter, contains a fragment of His hidden life and His secret activity….Everything is part of that completeness which is Jesus Christ, and all that happens, every event, is a stone toward the building of that heavenly Jerusalem….” His teaching of the “sacrament of the moment” or abandonment to the Divine Will each moment, is the perfect offering to the Father and can accomplish everything that Jesus asks of us. Every atom, every microsecond containing a fragment of His hidden life and His secret activity IN US as I accept and adore God’s Will is a tiny stone building the heavenly Jerusalem. I have only to trust perfectly in this tiny moment. Only one moment at a time. de Causssade also says: “To be satisfied with the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will moving through all we have to do and suffer as events crowd in upon us.” Jesus, Mary, Joseph –I love you, save souls!

THURSDAY, JULY 29, 2010: RENEWAL OF PROFESSION

Today is a bittersweet day for me.  44 years ago today I professed my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a School Sister of Notre Dame--for three years.  At the end of that time, as I was free to renew or leave, I left the order.  I know all of this is in the Will of God.  I am, today, where and how He wants me to me, but I can't help but feel no small sorrow that I wasn't able to remain faithful as a religious.  What looms largest in my mind is 44 years of daily Eucharists and Mass, the hours of prayer and contemplation lost to me forever, lost to the Church as well.  I prayed again the prayer of the Little Flower as she consecrated herself to be a victim of Divine Love.  She says, "Time is nothing in Your eyes, and a single day is like a thousand years.  You can, then, in one instant prepare me to appear before You."  God alone is almighty and able to repair any damage that I in my human weakness has done to the Church and to those around me.  As I did on the Feast of Mary Magdalene, I consecrate myself to Him again, as I did 44 years ago, repeating my  words of longing:  "So it is, Jesus, that I thirst, as I have from the beginning.l  Let me belong totally to you through your pure Mother, Mary.  Seal me within Your Heart.  Let this be my cloister.  Clothe me with your Love as with a religious garment and I will live, always, only, all for You.  Jesus, Mary, I love you, save souls."

TUES., JULY 27, 2010:  WORKING ON FAULTS AND WEAKNESSES

Reading Pelianito's blog today, regarding faults and imperfections, moral weaknesses and our duty as Christians to try to eliminate or lessen them, I remembered a practice which I learned when I was in high school with the School Sisters of Notre Dame.  We were taught to select one fault or virtue that we wanted to work on, to decide how long we wanted to work on it (like one week or one month), and a specific act that we might do to accomplish this, an act we might perform in the morning and at night, or throughout the day at certain times, etc.  At night, during our evening prayer, we would examine our conscience and take a look at how we had done in this practice, promising to work hard at this again, expressing sorrow for our failures and thanking God for any successes.  A greatly detailed explanation of the practice [called "the particular examen" --credited to St. Ignatius of Loyala] may be found on this website:  http://www.archive.org/stream/atreatiseonthepa00palmuoft/atreatiseonthepa00palmuoft_djvu.txt

THURS., JULY 22, 2010:  FEAST OF MARY MAGDALENE

I spent some time tonight watching some videos of the Carmelites (see RELIGIOUS LIFE on my music videos).  I remembered my own time in the convent.  I remembered how as a very young girl, I aspired to a contemplative order, and how Mama discouraged me because she did not want to lose me to the cloister.  I wonder what would have happened had she let me follow my first inclinations.  Then in the Liturgy of the Hours, in the Readings, I read this passage from St. Paul and thought how much this passage seems a rule of life for me, and how my only cloister possibility today is a cloister of the heart.  In the reading, one part of the passage cites a verse used in ceremonies dedicated to investitures of young religious or vow ceremonies, etc.: 

First reading
From the letter of Paul to the Colossians
Your life is hidden with Christ in God

Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God’s right hand. Be intent on things above rather than on things of earth. After all, you have died! Your life is hidden now with Christ in God. When Christ our life appears, then you shall appear with Him in glory....

Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.

Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect. Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your heart in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.

Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through Him." 

 In the second reading for Mary Madgalene, I find St. Ambrose describing Mary's search for Christ when He rose from the dead and she could not find His body:

    "At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love."

So it is, Jesus, that I thirst, as I have from the beginning. Let me belong totally to you through your pure Mother, Mary.  Seal me within your Heart.  Let this be my cloister.  Clothe me with your Love as with a religious garment and I will live, always, only for You.  Jesus, Mary, I love you; save souls.

MON., JULY 19, 2010: " I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth..."

How we tend to take these precious words for granted, as we say them in the Creed every Sunday.  How reading slowly and in a meditative way, savoring every word, reading some of the references to the side and at the bottom of each page, has blasted open my mind and heart, filling me with wonder and gratitude!  How wise and loving the fathers of the Church whose great work this is—I don’t know when I have been so moved and when I have grown so much!  Every conceivable aspect of my faith is lovingly explained and developed in detail, in worshipful detail.  I am learning so much and loving so much in the process.  What a profound blessing this book is to me.  I can’t think of any Catholic or Christian, no matter his background, length of years in the Lord, or educational level, who would not find so much spiritual food here.  Jesus feeds us—yes, this extends the power of His word in Scripture.  Indeed, the text is full of His Word and loving explanation of it.  To read and study is to rest in the Lord, to be filled with the fire of the Spirit with Whom we are sealed, our teacher and Advocate.  To read and study is to yearn for the Father of our salvation, to identify with Mary whose humility drew to her womb such a beloved Redeemer.  I am speechless, for these words cannot convey what I am feeling now—how my body and my heart and my mind all share in this rich feast of love and teaching.  What a comfort for the coming days.  What a powerful tool to enable me to cling to Mother Church and all that is True and Good.  What a comfort to know this extraordinary repository of faith is available every day, any time I need it.  It is here for all of us.  Praise God, the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ,  His eternal Son, and the Holy Spirit, our comforter and teacher!

THURS., JULY 8, 2010:  CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

  I know, I know--sounds dry and boring, right?   Wrong!    I found a copy of a second edition in a secular bookstore (Borders).  You have to remember, I had been away from the church for 25 years till last November, and I'm so conscious of how easy it was to lose  my way.  I pray daily to remain faithful to Christ.  I realized also that I have missed so much in the life of the Church in those 25 intervening years, so I decided that the Catechism would be important for me to read.  How delighted I am to find this such a rich, spiritual source.  I can't begin to express how wonderful this book is, and what a great resource it is to any Catholic, old or new!  Find it in the REFERENCE section of my RECOMMEND SITES page.  Like me, you may want your own copy for meditation and prayer.

MON., JULY 5, 2010:  LITURGY OF THE HOURS 

I've been faithful to the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) several months now, and I have to say, it's really helped me to progress in my spiritual life.  I usually read and pray after 10:00 at night, my main quiet time.  So often I'm praying LOTH at 12:00 midnight.  I start my new day with the READINGS.  I feel more connected to the Liturgy of the Church, especially since I rarely can get to daily mass.  (My husband is handicapped and needs me most of the morning.)  So often a scriptual verse from LOTH jumps out at me and helps me to spend some contemplative time with the Lord.  I've been feeling so strongly about the LOTH that I purchased the whole 4 volume set in large print.  Since I've begun physical preparations for uncertain times ahead (see the PROPHECY section in my RECOMMENDED LINKS, especially Mark Mallet and Pelianito), I feel the need to prepare for my future spiritual needs as well.  I don't think we will always have the internet in the future, and many of us, lacking the ability to connect with a meaningful spiritual community, will face difficult days spiritually as well as physically.  Keep this in mind when you pray the Lord's Prayer:  "Give us this day our daily bread" means more than bread to feed our bodies; to me it means my spiritual sustenance. 

     I recently commented on a blog that the psalms seem to have been written for our times, especially.  As we see the dark clouds gather and the momentum of events occurring in the next few months, turn to the Psalms or to LOTH for comfort and encouragement.  You will find everything you need there.  If you can, enjoy the Eucharist frequently, and be fed Jesus Himself, filling yourself with hope and joy that His Truth alone will be victorious, whatever we have to go through to get there.  TRUST, TRUST, TRUST!

Yesterday I discovered a site with hundreds of Catholic homilies on dogma, tradition, etc.  You can play any one of them and get a boost in the middle of the week or anytime you need spiritual teaching or refreshment.  They are archived by year and by topic.  I listened to a homily in a section called APOCALYPSE, to the homily on Saint Vincent Ferrer "Angel of the Apocalypse"--wonderful!  Here is the site:   http://www.audiosancto.org/

WED., JUNE 23, 2010:   JESUS' WARNING--"IT IS FINISHED"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the last two journals on PELIANITO'S blog--and read the comments following them.  IT HAS STARTED AND EVENTS WILL FOLLOW IN RAPIT SUCCESSION!

TUES., JUNE 22, 2010:  PREPARING PHYSICALLY FOR THE COMING TIMES

I haven't done much with my journal in the last three weeks, but I've praying and thinking and reading much.  Be sure to see Mark Mallet's latest webcast:  http://www.markmallett.com/embracinghopetv/archives/591

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 What he is saying about the need to store food, water, etc. has been on my mind in the last few weeks.  I've actually started getting things together as best I can.  I can feel the truth of his message.  I also have a sense of urgency.  This message is coming from many directions.  See PELIANITO'S blog (on my recommended links page under PROPHECY).  Her latest message tells us that Jesus said to her in an elocution: 

"The degree to which souls cooperate with evil is directly proportional to the degree of suffering that will befall humanity, and not just humanity, but all of nature as well. This is why, my child, my mother has been calling the world to fast and pray for conversions. Too few have responded, my child. Lamentation and woe!”

These are ominously strong words if Jesus himself says "Lamentation and woe!"  Time is truly running out.  I have shared with many of you the prophecies that indicate terrible events occuring like the falling of dominoes during the second half of 2010.  ( http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1020787/pg1No

I'm not saying this is a map of what is to come.  But with what has happened in the recent past, much of this is plausible, indeed.  No one knows what, exactly, or the day or the hour, Jesus tells us in the New Testament, but you would have to be blind and deaf not to read the handwriting on the wall. 

Let me repeat Mark's message:  "The safest place to be is in the will of God."  Stay close to Christ and Mary, trust, pray, and use common sense.

WED., JUNE 2, 2010:  CONVERSIONS OF THE MUSLIMS

Jesus has put this great burden on my heart for the many Muslims in the world.  I am moved to pray and sacrifice for their conversion.  The latest webcast by Mark Mallet commented on a record number of Muslims in Africa and elsewhere who are having visions and dreams of Christ and are being converted in recorded numbers, so I began researching this last night.  What I found humbled and amazed me!  Please see the new page that I am creating.  Your faith will grow as you see what God is doing right now all over the world.  It seems that many muslims are hungering to know more about God in an intimate and sincere way.  Surrounded as they are by family and Muslim believers, Jesus is coming to them directly through dreams and visions, telling them,  "I am the Way,,."  "I am the one for whom you search, " etc.  Now I understand better how it is that persecution of Christians is higher than ever before in history--these former muslim Christians are beseiged by family and communities for their new faith, in danger of great harm, even death for Christ.  After putting together a page of references to the internet on this topic, I read the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalm 18, and my heart was touched to see these words:  "He brought me forth into freedom, he saved me because he loved me."  Also, "He rewarded me because I was just, repaid me, for my hands were clean, for I have kept the way of the Lord and have not fallen away from my God...With the sincere you show yourself sincere...  You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness. "   How fittingly these words of the psalmist fit these sincere muslims who long to know the true God!

If no one is there to show the way, Jesus himself reaches out to the sincere, for He wants them for his own!

TUES., MAY 25, 2010:  LATE HAVE I LOVED THEE

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop
All my hope lies in your great mercy

Where did I find you, that I came to know you? You were not within my memory before I learned of you. Where, then, did I find you before I came to know you, if not within yourself, far above me? We come to you and go from you, but no place is involved in this process. In every place, O Truth, you are present to those who seek your help, and at one and the same time you answer all, though they seek your counsel on different matters.

You respond clearly, but not everyone hears clearly. All ask what they wish, but do not always hear the answer they wish. Your best servant is he who is intent not so much on hearing his petition answered, as rather on willing whatever he hears from you.

Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you; now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

When once I shall be united to you with my whole being, I shall at last be free of sorrow and toil. Then my life will be alive, filled entirely with you. When you fill someone, you relieve him of his burden, but because I am not yet filled with you, I am a burden to myself. My joy when I should be weeping struggles with my sorrows when I should be rejoicing. I know not where victory lies. Woe is me! Lord, have mercy on me! My evil sorrows and good joys are at war with one another. I know not where victory lies. Woe is me! Lord, have mercy! Woe is me! I make no effort to conceal my wounds. You are my physician, I your patient. you are merciful; I stand in need of mercy.

Is not the life of man upon earth a trial? Who would want troubles and difficulties? You command us to endure them, not to love them. No person loves what he endures, though he may love the act of enduring. For even if he is happy to endure his own burden, he would still prefer that the burden not exist. I long for prosperity in times of adversity, and I fear adversity when times are good. Yet what middle ground is there between these two extremes where the life of man would be other than trial? Pity the prosperity of this world, pity it once and again, for it corrupts joy and brings the fear of adversity. Pity the adversity of this world, pity it again, then a third time; for it fills men with a longing for prosperity, and because adversity itself is hard for them to bear and can even break their endurance. Is not the life of man upon earth a trial, a continuous trial?

All my hope lies only in your great mercy.

 

SUN., MAY 16, 2010  NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

The PELIANITO blog is presenting daily a novena in honor of the Holy Spirit.  Each day contains a reflection on one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as these prayers:

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

On my knees I before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds, and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak Lord for Your servant heareth.” Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love. Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal, the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the Spirit on Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You  and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation, the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints, the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him. Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples, and animate me in all things with Your Spirit. Amen.

We offer these prayers with Jesus, in the name of everyone–from Adam to the last one yet to be born–for the sanctification of the whole world.

 

I found these wonderful prayers of protection at this website:  http://pelianito.stblogs.com/files/2010/03/protection.pdf

THUR., MAY 13, 2010:  FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

I regret that the entire day passed without my realizing that it was the Feastday--and I missed Mass.  So much was going on, I know I would have had a difficult time gettting there.  Maybe the Lord kept me in ignorance on purpose.  I am so sorry. 

In the Liturgy of Readings today, I found the sermon by St. Leo the Great illuminating: 

At Easter, beloved brethren, it was the Lord’s resurrection which was the cause of our joy; our present rejoicing is on account of his ascension into heaven. With all due solemnity we are commemorating that day on which our poor human nature was carried up, in Christ, above all the hosts of heaven, above all the ranks of angels, beyond the highest heavenly powers to the very throne of God the Father. It is upon this ordered structure of divine acts that we have been firmly established, so that the grace of God may show itself still more marvellous when, in spite of the withdrawal from men’s sight of everything that is rightly felt to command their reverence, faith does not fail, hope is not shaken, charity does not grow cold.

For such is the power of great minds, such is the light of truly believing souls, that they put unhesitating faith in what is not seen with the bodily eye; they fix their desires on what is beyond sight. Such fidelity could never be born in our hearts, nor could anyone be justified by faith, if our salvation lay only in what was visible.

And so our Redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments. Our faith is nobler and stronger because sight has been replaced by a doctrine whose authority is accepted by believing hearts, enlightened from on high. This faith was increased by the Lord’s ascension and strengthened by the gift of the Spirit; it would remain unshaken by fetters and imprisonment, exile and hunger, fire and ravening beasts, and the most refined tortures ever devised by brutal persecutors. Throughout the world women no less than men, tender girls as well as boys, have given their life’s blood in the struggle for this faith. It is a faith that has driven out devils, healed the sick and raised the dead.

Even the blessed apostles, though they had been strengthened by so many miracles and instructed by so much teaching, took fright at the cruel suffering of the Lord’s passion and could not accept his resurrection without hesitation. Yet they made such progress through his ascension that they now found joy in what had terrified them before. They were able to fix their minds on Christ’s divinity as he sat at the right hand of his Father, since what was presented to their bodily eyes no longer hindered them from turning all their attention to the realisation that he had not left his Father when he came down to earth, nor had he abandoned his disciples when he ascended into heaven.

The truth is that the Son of Man was revealed as Son of God in a more perfect and transcendent way once he had entered into his Father’s glory; he now began to be indescribably more present in his divinity to those from whom he was further removed in his humanity. A more mature faith enabled their minds to stretch upward to the Son in his equality with the Father; it no longer needed contact with Christ’s tangible body, in which as man he is inferior to the Father. For while his glorified body retained the same nature, the faith of those who believed in him was now summoned to heights where, as the Father’s equal, the only-begotten Son is reached not by physical handling but by spiritual discernment.

This sermon reveals so much about the nature of faith.  Because the object of our faith is NOT seen, our faith can grow stronger and stronger if we persist.  Furthermore, our ability to spiritually discern grows stronger with our faith, because we have no physical access to Christ (except for those rare moments with the Eucharist); the only way we know we are with Him is through spiritual discernment.

 

WED., MAY 12, 2010:  WHAT IS THERE TO WAIT FOR?

In the Office of Readings for today, I find in the second psalm:       Psalm 39--

And now, Lord, what is there to wait for?
In you rests all my hope.

I have been reading in the blogs some current
 Catholic prophecy. Pelianito's blog speaks about waiting, etc.  This psalm verse says it all.  Earlier in the readings, as the office covered the entire book of Revelation,  Rev. 22,10-12:  The angel says to St. John:  "Do not keep the prophecies in this book a secret, because the Time is close.  Meanwhile let the sinner go on sinning, and the unclean continue to be unclean; let those who do good go on doing good, and those who are holy continue to be holy.  Very soon now, I shall be with you again."  

This relates well to today's psalm:  "And now, Lord, what is there to wait for?  In you rests all my hope."

Whatever we are doing, we should continue to do.  True, the Lord is coming soon, but even today, we rest only in Him.  In Christ rests all my hope.  As he was hoeing in the garden,when St. Francis was asked what he would do if the Lord he knew the Lord was coming tomorrow, he replied,  " I would keep hoeing the garden."  What we should be doing is following the will of the Lord, moment by moment, now and always, whatever the time or place. 

Indeed, what is there to wait for?  Christ is here with me in every moment.

THURS., APRIL 29, 2010:  ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA -- THIRST FOR GOD

From the dialogue On Divine Providence by Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor
(Cap. 167, Gratiarum actio ad Trinitatem: ed. lat., Ingolstadii 1583, f. 290v-291)
I tasted and I saw

Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what
I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.

I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.

You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!

TUES., APRIL 27, 2010:  THE CHRISTIAN--PRIEST & VICTIM

The second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours today was so beautiful that I want to reflect on it at length:

 "From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop
(Sermo 108: PL 52, 499-500)
Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest

I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.

Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.

Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.

How marvellous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.

The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.

Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will."

This reading reminds me so much of the sacrament of the moment:  the offering of my will moment by moment as a communion with Christ.  This is the reality given to me by my baptism:  I offer my body, my entire essence, the victim and the priest, to God moment by moment.  I am a living sacrifice pleasing to God.  As St. Paul says:  "Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  TUES., APRIL 20, 2020:  SQUANDERING MY SOUL 

In some of my reading this week, I came across MAXIMS by St. John of the Cross, Maxim 45 :  " How sweet your presence will be to me, You Who are the Supreme Good!  I must draw near You in silence ...that You may be pleased to unite me to You in marriage (Ruth 3:7), and I will not rest until I rejoice in Your arms.  Now I ask you Lord, not to abandon me at any time in my recollection, for I am a squanderer of my soul." 

How that last sentence reverberated with me!  I know exactly how St. John of the Cross felt, for I too am a "squanderer of my soul."  What does he mean?  We all know what it means to squander time--waste it.  I spend hours each day in spiritual reading, praying the Liturgy of the Hours--nothing really wrong there, except that these things eat up time that I should be in prayer.  I know God is calling me to contemplation, and prayer time can be painful sometimes, so I keep putting it off, reading a little more, hoping to run across a passage that will kick my spiritual butt into gear.  I am squandering my soul.  I find myself telling the Lord that I am sorry I didn't pray as long as I should, but I do it again.   How can feeding the mind compare with resting in the Lord's arms, responding to his call to spiritual marriage, burning with the unquenchable fire of the Spirit--whether in consolations or in dryness--how can I keep squandering His love? 

Yet it seems St. John of the Cross had similar experiences--so there's hope for me yet!  I pray with all my heart, Jesus,  " How sweet your presence will be to me, You Who are the Supreme Good!  I must draw near You in silence... that You may be pleased to unite me to You in marriage (Ruth 3:7), and I will not rest until I rejoice in Your arms.  Now I ask you Lord, not to abandon me at any time in my recollection, for I am a squanderer of my soul." 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

WED., APRIL 7, 2010:  DARKNESS & DESPONDENCY

 I've gone back to Father George A. Maloney's wonderful book, PRAYER OF THE HEART, and found a passage that really spoke to me.  Speaking of the parallel of St. John of Cross' "dark night of the soul" found in the writings of the fathers of the desert, he cites types of despondency and pride which test and purify the soul, quoting a passage from St. Isaac the Cyprian :

"Trials to the soul, which come from the rod of the spirit and serve progress and growth, trials through which the soul is taught, tested, and brought to spiritual endeavor are the following:  laziness, heaviness in the body, infirmity of the members, despondency, confusion of thoughts, apprehensiveness caused by bodily exhaustion, temporary desertion of hope, darkening of thoughts, lack of human help, scarcity of the bodily necessities of life and  other similar things."

Having read descriptions of both, I decided that I probably fall into the ravages of despondency more than I do pride.  So many of these conditions I have to fight in order to pray.  "Heaviness of the body"--sometimes I feel like I'm carrying around a load of bricks in my body and in my mind as I struggle to pray, weighed down, pressed to the ground.    A remarkable part of the passage for me was "darkening of thoughts, lack of human help, scarcity of the bodily necessities of life and  other similar things" in as much as these provide purification and a kind of dark night to the soul. 

I also came across this passage in my reading last night from St. Alphonsus Liguori.  He is explaining that we should ask for great graces from God, not just little things, because God wants to give us freely from his inexhaustible riches: 

"Not that we mean to say that it is any defect to pray to God for the necessaries of this present life, so far as they are not inconsistent with our eternal salvation, as the Wise man said: "Give me only the necessaries of life." [Prov. 30: 8] Nor is it a defect, says St. Thomas, [2. 2. q. 83, a. 6] to have an anxiety about such goods, if it is not inordinate.

The defect consists in desiring and seeking these temporal goods, and in having an inordinate anxiety about them, as if they were our highest good."

How consoling to know that St. Thomas Aquinas found no fault in the poor Christian who is apprehensive about the necessities of life, provided his anxiety is not "inordinate."  Those of us who worry about money, but constantly struggle to trust God and rely on His Will are not sinning, but undergoing progressive purification and darkness for the strengthening of our souls--this is spiritual weight-training! 

I also came across this wonderful passage from St. Alphonsus de Liguori as he cites St. Philip Neri:  "We must always live in despair of doing anything by our own strength; and in so doing we shall imitate St. Philip, who used to say to God the first moment he woke in the morning,   'Lord, keep Thy hands over Philip this day; for if not, Philip will betray Thee.' "   (ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI CHP. 3, PRAYER – HUMILITY)


Continue to live in the Will of God with great humility, trusting in His mercy and generosity in all things, expecting great gifts of grace and the necessities of life. 

How suitable it is during this period of the novena to the Divine Mercy, we find in the final prayer of the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy these words:  "Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself." 

 TUES., MAR. 30, 2010  -- "IT MAKES US CRY OUT" 

What is the Holy Spirit?  "The Spirit which He has sent to live in us wants us for Himself alone...."  James 4,5 and from Romans 8, 14-15:  "Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God...and it makes us cry out 'Abba'" --

The yearning cry of the Spirit is our prayer.  It is the fire that burns between the Father and the Son in which we are caught up and cannot help ourselves--IT MAKES US CRY OUT.  The love with which He loves us is the self-same love with which we love Him back.  It's a mighty whirlwind spinning us together, Three in One and we are caught up in its vortex.   It pours in and overwhelms our poor little hearts with the message:  THIS you are!  By the grace of God.  It is for THIS that Jesus died and rose again.

It makes us cry out!  The Holy Spirit is irrepressible, bursts all bounds, like a mighty flood of love, a conflagration springing up higher and deeper and wider –and this from a fragile, limited vessel like ourselves.  Like molten steel or gold,  our gross substance is transformed in his precious Being.  Everywhere we are, there is God.  Everywhere God is, we are not. 

Let me burn, Lord, with this unquenchable fire—This exchange of blissful Being which never ends, but overflows, expands, looking everywhere in creation for some poor creature to transform.  Transform me, O Holy One, O Holy Three in One.

WED., MAR. 24, 2010:  SIMPLIFY YOUR HEART

Having spent some time reading varied texts, my spirit became vexed, troubled by some of what I read; for example, the extreme opposition to the health care package, possible federal funds being used to support abortion, perceptions about Obama being seriously questioned by the Catholic bishops-- etc.  I felt unclean, confused, dark. 

I returned to a quotation which I love by St. Albert the Great:  "Simplify your heart with all care."  This is the one thing necessary.  Put away all this speculation, and return to your hidden self, hidden in Christ.  I returned to the Jesus Prayer:  "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner."  Like medicine to the spirit, this prayer, repeated, cleanses the heart and soul.  Empty yourself in humility before your God; let his cleansing Mercy fill you again.  All you need concern yourself with is accepting His will moment by moment, His love, moment by moment.  Everything else is vain.  This prayer is a sacrament for each moment.  You don't need to figure out anything else or worry about anything else but accepting yourself in union with Him.  This is your peace. 

Whenever you are troubled; when life become too complicated for you; when you don't understand issues, etc., return to this simplicity.  Focus on one thing only--His Mercy and Will in that single moment.  Don't try to see past that.  Jesus himself said, "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof."  One thing at a time, and all will be well.  Nothing can occur outside of the will of God.  How simple can it get?  The safest place to be at all times, particularly at times of insanity, violence, moral confusion, is in the will of God.  Remain humble and receptive, and He will make himself known.  Pray:  "Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread." 

SAT., MAR. 20, 2010  -- SPIRITUAL AFFLICTION, SUFFERING

Some of the most beautiful words about suffering and spiritual affliction come near the end of ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE:

"Souls who walk in light sing the hymns of light; those who walk in the shadows chant the hymns of darkness.  Each must be allowed to sing through to the end the words and melody which God has given him.  Nothing must be changed in what he has composed.  Every drop of distress, bitter as gall though it may be, must be allowed to flow, no matter what its effect on us.  It was the same for Jeremiah and Ezekiel, whose every utterance was broken by sighs and tears.  They found consolation only in continuing their laments.  Had their tears been halted, we should have lost the loveliest passages in Scripture.  The spirit which makes us suffer is the only one which can comfort us.  These different waters flow from the same source.  If God seems angry, we tremble; if he threatens us, we are terrified.  But we can only let the divine project develop, for within itself is contains both the disease and its cure.  So, beloved souls, weep and tremble.  Remain in torment.  Make no attempt to erscape from these divinely inspired terrors.  Receive in the depths of your hearts the little streams which flow from the sea of sorrow which filled the most holy soul of Jesus. ...Once these souls are fully awake, have come to, and are at last able to use their own judgment, they will never tire of admiring the adroitness, the subtlety, the finesse and the loving deceptions of the bridegroom.  And they will understand that they can never comprehend his methods, never solve his puzzles, never penetrate his disguises...."

SUNDAY, MAR. 14, 2010:  SACRAMENT OF THE MOMENT

In ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE, Ch. 2, part 7, de Caussade explains that "The love of God comes to us through all creatures but hidden as it is in the Blessed Sacrament."  To make it clearer, he says, " So every moment of our lives can be a kind of communion with his love...."  When we receive the Eucharist, the priest says,  "The Body of Christ," and we answer, "Amen."  In our life, in each moment, we should imagine we hear,  "The Will of Christ,"  and we should respond "Amen"

THURS., MAR. 11, 2010 – MOMENT BY MOMENT

 Jean-Pierre de Caussade, in part 4 of chapter II says:  “God reveals himself to us through the most common-place happenings in a way just as mysterious and just as truly and as worthy of adoration as in the great occurrences of history and the Scriptures.”  He explains that the activities of Jesus are for the most part unrevealed, dark or hidden from us, and mysterious.  “Holy Scripture is the mysterious utterance of a still more mysterious God, and the events of history are the incomprehensible words of this same hidden and unknown God.  They are dark drops from an ocean of darkness and shadows….From all the vast ocean of his activity he allows only a trickle of water to escape….”  Think how little we know and understand of Jesus, how much we have to receive and live by faith! 

 What strikes me is that the sequence of events of my personal life is the sequence of words of God spelling out one of many Gospels being written.  His hidden mysteries and purpose are being written in my life as I live it moment by moment.  De Caussade says:  “You speak to every individual through what happens to them moment by moment.” 

 To disrespect Sacred Scriptures is, to all of us who cherish God’s word, a desecration and a sacrilege.  But consider how we respond to the sequence of moments and events He creates when he creates our individual lives:  “Instead of hearing the voice of God in all these things and revering the mysterious obscurity of his word, however, men see in them only material happenings, the effects of chance or purely human activities.  They find fault with everything, want to change this continual expression of God’s word and give themselves absolute freedom….  But when God speaks to us at every moment, not with words of ink on paper but by what we suffer and do from moment to moment, should we not give equal attention to him?  Why do we not venerate his truth and goodness in all this?  But we are pleased by nothing and critical of everything.  For we are judging by our senses and our reason that which can only be measured by faith.”

Our very lives are the continuation of the Gospel, the workings of the Holy Spirit and the hidden purposes of the Trinity.  In our own day “The Holy Spirit writes no more gospels except in our hearts.  All we do from moment to moment is live this new gospel of the Holy Spirit.  We, if we are holy, are the paper;  our sufferings and our actions are the ink.”

Knowing this, de Caussade shames us:  "You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are.  You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies—though that never occurs to you.  Nothing happens to you except by the will of God.”  How could it ever be otherwise?

How true a path Therese the Little Flower chose with her little way, doing small things well.  All I need to do to be holy in the special way that the Trinity has planned for me from all eternity is to accept each moment of my life as his precious will, discerning as best I can in humility what He wants of me at that moment.  It doesn't matter if the moment is a trifle or an earth-shaker; it is my embracing of that moment that sanctifies and divinizes it.  I am the living Gospel of Jesus written by the Holy Spirit on one human heart which He has purposed from all eternity.  He knows my name.   He planned me for the praise of his Glory and His Mercy, as he planned everything in my life, no matter how trifling the moment.  

 

TUES., MAR. 9, 2010:  ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE

I've been thinking of reading again the old classic ABANDONMENT TO DIVINE PROVIDENCE by de Caussade.  I think my main fault is lack of trust in Providence.  Not having much money scares me.  Retirement has limited my income, and I just don't have the income I once had--thus the anxiety.  Yet I know I need to trust God for this.  I pray the Our Father everyday, and I read:  "Give us this day our daily bread."  My abandonment is far from perfect. When I get short on grocery money, I get concerned; and giving what I should to the Church is a hardship because I usually have to take it out of grocery money.  Many families are strapped now, with these economic times.  My lack of trust just shows my lack of faith.  I can certainly understand the poor and their anxieties.  Some of them probably trust God to provide better than I trust.

Earlier in the year I was reflecting on St. Albert's words:  "God provides for everything without intermediary right down to the last detail. So nothing, from the greatest to the smallest things, can escape God's eternal providence, or fall away from it, whether in matters of the will, of causal events, or even of accidental circumstances outside of one's control."

de Caussade says on p. 36:  "Faith sees that Jesus Christ lives in everything and works through all history to the end of time, that every fraction of a second, every atom of matter, contains a fragment of his hidden life and his secret activity."  de Caussade explains:  "Everything is part of that completeness which is Jesus Christ, and all that happens, every event, is a stone toward the building of that heavenly Jerusalem...."   

His teaching of the "sacrament of the moment" or abandonment  to the Divine Will each moment,  is the perfect way to trust and holiness.  Every atom, every microsecond [containing a fragment of His hidden life and His secret activity] that I accept as God's Will is a tiny stone building the heavenly Jerusalem.  I have to trust perfectly only in this tiny moment.  Only one moment at a time.

I remember well the instructions that God gave Moses when he fed his people in the desert:  the manna would be given in the morning, and the people were to gather only what was needed for that day;  He would provide quail in the evening. 

In the Our Father, Jesus taught us to pray,  "Give us this day our daily bread."  My faith is not strong enough to trust for a month, or a year, perhaps; He asks me to trust only for this moment,  this day.  One day at a time.  The past is past, and the future is not yet here.

The Father knows what we need.  Whatever comes in the moment is what He wants for me in that moment, nothing more, nothing less.  de Caussade says also:  "To be satisfied with the present moment is to relish and adore the divine will moving through all we have to do and suffer as events crowd in upon us."

Let me pray with Psalm 119, nun:  "Your will is my heritage forever, the joy of my heart.  I set myself to carry out your will, in fullness, forever!"

 

TUES., MAR. 2, 2010  -- OUR OLD NATURE NAILED TO THE CROSS,  THE NEW CREATION

In the office of readings for today, the Holy Spirit made something much clearer to me, made me realize what baptism and being a part of the new creation means.  St. Augustine wrote:

"When day was fading into evening, the Lord laid down his life on the cross, to take it up again; he did not lose his life against his will. Here, too, we are symbolized. What part of him hung on the cross if not the part he had received from us? How could God the Father ever cast off and abandon his only Son, who is indeed one God with him? Yet Christ, nailing our weakness to the cross (where, as the Apostle says: Our old nature was nailed to the cross with him), cried out with the very voice of humanity: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust acceptable to God. "

Our human nature made dark and disordered by original sin had to be nailed to the cross and killed in order to be created anew.  The human nature of Jesus had to be nailed to the cross, killed, and resurrected new and whole again, glorified as a new creation.  This is why Jesus is the "first-born of all creation" and why we must be baptized and be in Christ our Head, to be a part of His Body and part of the new creation.  If we are not in Christ, we are dead.

The offense against the Father had to have been extreme to require the oblation of the Son--unimaginable to our feeble minds.  Unimaginable that Jesus would consent and plan from all eternity to take on that sacrifice for us, mere creatures, playthings of God made of the dust of the earth! 

And Mary agreed to let the Holy Spirit form that human Body for the God-man in her own spotless body, the Body she would see cruelly nailed to the cross.  Just as she cooperated with the Trinity in the plan to form Christ's human body for immolation, so she is cooperating today with the Holy Spirit to form the new creation, His body, the Church--and she is by right, the Mother of the body just as she was and is the Mother of the Head. 

Yes, there is enmity between this Woman and Lucifer--the Accuser who set mankind at odds with God--and that enmity has never ended because her yes to the Angel Gabriel, her will to bring forth the whole body of her Son in the new creation, has never ended, and will not end until the final confrontation.  No wonder she weeps tears and blood in her travail that we be born again!

SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2010 -DISCOVER UNION WITH GOD

I've discovered a most wonderful little book on contemplation in our parish library:  INTO THE SILENT LAND by Martin Laird, OSA.  Chapter One, "Parting the Veil" struck me  this evening.

 p. 16, "When the mind is brought to stillness, and all our strategies of acquisition have dropped, a deeper truth presents itself:  we are and have always been one with God and we are all one in God (Jn 17:21).  The marvelous world of thoughts, sensation, emotions, and inspiration, the spectacular world of creation around us, are all patterns of stunning weather on the holy mountain of God.  But we are not the weather.  We are the mountain.  Weather is happening--delightful sunshine, dull sky, or destructive storm--this is undeniable.  But if we think we are the weather happening on Mount Zion (and most of us do precisely this with our attention riveted to the video), then the fundamental truth of our union with God remains obscured and our sense of painful alienation heightened ...

For a lifetime we have taken this weather--our thoughts and feelings--to be ourselves....Stillness reveals that we are the silent, vast awareness in which the video [of the weather] is playing."

In prayer, don't let the distractions lead you away from the truth:  we are in Him and He is in us.  Our deepest self is the "hidden self"  that St. Paul speaks of, as we are hidden in the "self-emptying of God in Christ.''

On p. 14:  "One need not have journeyed too far into this silent land to realize that the so-called psychological self, our personality...is a cognitive construct pasted up out of thoughts and feelings.  ...But our deepest identity, in which thoughts and feelings appear like patterns of weather on Mout Zion (Ps 125), remains forever immersed in the silence of God."...in Him we live and move and have our being," in whom our very self is immersed."

p. 15:  "Because God is the ground of our being, the relationship between creature and Creator is such that, by sheer grace, separation is not possible.  God does not know how to be absent.... This illusion of separation is generated by the mind and is sustained by the riveting of our attention to the interior soap opera, the constant chatter of the cocktail party going on in our heads."

We do not, therefore, "acquire" Union with the God we love; we discover it, enter into it in the silence of our hidden selves.  He is always there, waiting in love and desire.

Tues., Feb. 23, 2010  --   Praise Mercy

It seems everywhere I turn my eyes in the Liturgy of the Hours, Sacred Scripture, I see MERCY.  I have been reading some of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity's writings.  She saw her earthly and heavenly role to be that of "laudem gloriae"--and saw that as her name,  the little Praise Glory of the Trinity.  If that is her name, then my new name which will be written on the white stone in the New Jerusalem is "Praise Mercy"--and my whole life is one praise of His Mercy.  Jesus is pure Mercy; the Trinity is pure Mercy for giving Jesus to us. [Rev. 3, 17:  "To the victor I will give the hidden manna; I will also give him a white stone upon which is inscribed a new name to be known only by him who receives it.]

Mary's Magnificat prays "He has MERCY on those who fear him in every generation."  Not a servile fear, but awe, wonder, and the fear and trembling that come upon us knowing that we are in the presence of Holiness and Divinity!  Mercy is for us who fear Him--let every movement of our bodies praise his Mercy.  Let my every thought praise Mercy.  Let every thing I see praise Mercy.  Let every beat of my heart praise Mercy.  O Blessed Trinity, let me praise Your sweet Mercy now and for all ages!

In his prayer, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist declared:  "He promised to show MERCY to our fathers and to remember his holy covenent."  Truly God the Father sent His MERCY into the world in the form of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of his Beloved Son, Jesus.  Jesus and the Father send Mercy to us as their Holy Spirit who sets us on fire with all love, wisdom and courage!

Praise and adore the Divine Mercy everyday in all that we do, say, think, suffer, enjoy.  Sweet Mercy of Christ, fill me more and more!  His Mercy is always on the lowly ones, the humbled ones, the poor, the hungry--they are the bottomless, empty ones who are ready to be filled with Mercy.  Pray to be emptied of self in order to be filled with MERCY!  As a little one, throw yourself into MERCY'S ARMS!  In my music videos find Gladys Knight singing "MERCY'S ARMS"

The mighty fortress walls

I have built around my foolish heart

How they crumble and they fall

As I surrender all

To mercy's arms

Bathed in holy rain

Cleansed from sinner's bitter stains

Only love remains

And I'm forever changed

By mercy's arms

[Chorus:]

Sweet the surrender

Sweet the embrace

Sweet the forgiveness

To one forever undeserving of his grace

Safely encircled

Rested and warmed

Sweet is the taste

Of love that awaits in mercy's arms

In the light, the life, the way

Is the key unlocking every chain

Sin is lost and freedom gained

The price was paid

By mercy's arms

[Chorus]

When I reach my journey's end

How I hope that He will call me friend

And reach out for me again

Forever spend

In mercy's arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

SATURDAY, FEB. 13, 2010  -- GROANING FOR HARMONY AND FREEDOM IN JESUS

I just read an excellent blog article:  "Did God Punish the Haitians?"  ( http://catholicpathways.com/blog/?p=466)  If this issue bothers you, I recommend that you read it. I came upon the consequences of original sin in another piece by St. Albert or some other writer recently, and what especially interested me is what the blog article  described about the effects of original sin on the world.  Here is the passage: 

Man is the highest creature, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26). Man is both a material and spiritual being. But inasmuch as a part of man is material, he is linked to the material universe, thus the sin of Adam introduced a disorder into all of created material reality. It was man who brought evil and disaster into the universe, it was man who damaged what God had made.

“The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subjectto its bondage to decay’. Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will ‘return to the ground’, for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history” (CCC No. 400).

This is so illuminating.  When we were children, we learned that Adam's sin left a "blot" or "stain" on the soul.  That baptism "washed" it away.  I don't think any of us understood that.  What Adam did was break the order of the universe.  And since all of us are born into the universe, we are born into that disorder--our orientation, and the orientation of every created thing is out of kilter.  What a mess.  We are up to our eyeballs every day in the results of original sin!

Baptism reorients us to God, and as we work with grace we are restored to greater and greater harmony with God, union with Him.  That doesn't fix our universe however.  St. Paul tells us in Romans 8: 20-23 that creation groans, hoping to be set free from this bondage to disorder:  "It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose....but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God.  From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation , but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free."

Lent begins next week.  I know full well that I have only the "first fruits of the Spirit."  My freedom is not complete.  My struggles tell me that.  As I struggle to decide what form of fasting and penance I must undergo, I am only too aware that my body is not in accord with my soul and the Spirit!  We have to work so hard to have a little harmony--what a battle we have interiorly!   We struggle with sleep as we fight to pray at night; we struggle with food as we fight to eat what is best for our health; we struggle with the temptations of watching too much television and idle entertainments when we should be reading for the nourishment of our souls.  We struggle to yield to others when we want our own way--that terrible will which is selfish and self-righteous!  Every step of the way is a fight! 

Lord, give us grace to fight.  Keep us in Your Holy Will.  Bring Your harmony to our souls and bodies.  Holy Spirit, activate your gifts within us.  Mother Mary, set yourself as a seal upon our hearts that we may be ever faithful to our great Healer, your beloved Son, Jesus.

WEDNESAY, FEB. 10, 2010 -- Human weakness..."a puff of wind"

When I entered the convent 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. 

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.   I am reading a chapter or two at a time, and the way I do it is mentally to "translate" it to modern English as I go. 

In chapter XX tonight I read:  "Wonderfully small sometimes is the matter whence a grievous temptation cometh, and whilst I imagine myswelf 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. " 

That little puff of wind is what caught my attention.  I translated the passage:  "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."    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.  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. 

MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2010 -- His Desire for us

For the last two nights I have been reading and rereading James 4, 5-10:  "Don't you realize that making the world your friend is making God your enemy?  ...surely you don't think scripture is wrong when it says:  the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for himself alone?   But he has been even more generous to us, as scripture says:  God opposes the proud but he gives generously to the humbleGive in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you.  The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you....Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up."

He opposes the proud--as Lucifer was proud.  We must strive to remain little, poor, humble in His sight--it makes Him desire us more, to fill us with Himself.  How can God fill us with Himself if we are full of ourselves?  We must empty ourselves completely and surrender to his desire and love. 

What I am hearing is that God does not want to share us with the world--He wants us for himself alone!  He is a jealous God.  He is in love with us, and wants us to love only Him.  "Give in to God."  Surrender!  Resist the devil, but GIVE IN TO GOD.  These are such tender words that tell us how much God wants us for Himself.  They make me hungry for closeness, perfect Union with Him. 

I surrender, my beloved Christ.  I don't want the world, I want only You.  Mother Mary, teach me your humility, that I may be desireable in His eyes.  Show me how to empty myself and be filled with the utter fulness of God, as you were, pregnant, giving birth to the Son of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRI., FEB. 5, 2010   

If you have never heard of her, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich was the most extraordinary visionary in the history of the Church.  She saw in vivid detail the lives of Jesus and Mary, the passion.  I am citing a website here which contains the PASSION OF CHRIST for reading during Lent which is coming up in a couple of weeks. 

ABOUT ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH & THE DOLOROUS PASSION OF CHRIST

You can also visit THE JESUS PRAYER page on this website.  Click on the ETHEREAL LIBRARY link, and search Anne Catherine Emmerich.  You'll find there her extradinary life of Christ and her life of Mary. 

TUES., FEB. 2, 2010   --LOVE THE EUCHARIST

   began this evening by adding the audio and video meditations on the rosary, then proeeded to pray the Joyous and Luminous mysteries.  I wept the entire time.  The Holy Spirit touches my heart deeply quite often and I find myself enjoying the healing gift of tears.  Near the conclusion of my prayers, I was moved to ask Mary to take my heart and bring it before one of the loneliest, most neglected tabernacles of the world so that I could love Jesus there in the Eucharist and atone for the sins that most offend God.  I think I will make this a practice as I pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  eucharist1yz.png

Let us unite our prayers for Mercy on the world with our love for the Eucharist, the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ.  This is one of the most awesome devotions that anyone can develop, so central to the Church, and to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In these last days of Mercy, and in the ensuing struggles of the Church with the world, it is to the Mass and to the Eucharist we must turn for nourishment, strength, and comfort.  Always united with the pure heart of Mary. 

Visit the MUSIC VIDEOS page and go the the EUCHARIST channel.

TUES., FEB. 2, 2010     CATCHING UP,           PROVIDENCE

I've been away from the Church for so long, I find myself reading incessantly to catch up on what's new, to immerse myself in spirituality and grow as fast as possible.  I found Mark Mallett's Catholic blog which is so rich and informative--especially in prophecy, understanding what is happening on earth now.  He cites scripture, Church fathers, and the Popes in recent decades. 

I also use my own website to locate good reading and inspiration.  What is hard to know is where to focus.  There's so much good here.  Only so many hours in the day--how much time should I spend reading, actually praying?  I usually read about two hours and pray from 1-1/2 hours and I don't feel it's enough.  25 years is a lot to make up for!  Right now, I have to let the Holy Spirit lead me.  I jump around a lot.  Sometimes the Bible.  Sometimes a book.  And by the way, I have a pretty good little library.  To my joy, although I discarded dozens of books over the years, I find that I kept almost all of my Catholic spiritual books except for TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY which I had had since about age 14.  I regret throwing away that one, but I've since purchased a new one.  I know that I consecrated myself as a young girl in a serious way, and I feel that I have to be faithful to that consecration.  I discern this to be true---True Devotion keeps popping up in so much of  the reading that I've been doing.  So does St. Faustina's picture of the Mercy of Jesus, the picture with the rays of blood and water.   As I mentioned before,  when I came back into the sacraments, Christ poured into me all the graces I once enjoyed.  I keep thinking that He blessed me because I once loved Him and Mary so much--He would not let me be lost.  I could so easily have been one of those who, having lost faith, refused the little steps of grace which led me back.  Mark Mallett emphasizes all the things which God has put on my heart.  It amazes me to see the Holy Spirit at work in this world, revealing His Salvation to so many of us, independently of one another.  Yet we are one Body, and I guess we should not be so surprised that anyone who is deeply in love with the Lord knows what everyone else deeply in love with the Lord knows!  This, also,  is what the Communion of Saints means. 

Whatever and however you pray, pray for the Church who is destined to share the passion of Christ in the near future, pray for the many who have not yet returned to Christ and His Mercy, pray for the Holy Father, the Pope, who will have much to suffer, pray for the fidelity of the priests, bishops, and cardinals of the Church.  When I think of what is to come, I am frightened--my fear is a weakness of being human.  But perfect love casts out fear!  We need to pray for TRUST, TRUST, TRUST in Christ and Mary.  They can protect and care for us.  I have been doing much reflecting on the PROVIDENCE of God, on these words from St. Albert's Treatise: 

For so far as the nature of the order of things is concerned, God provides for everything without intermediary right down to the last detail. So nothing, from the greatest to the smallest things, can escape God's eternal providence, or fall away from it, whether in matters of the will, of causal events, or even of accidental circumstances outside of one's control.

 This all-powerful and all-knowing Providence applies to the end days as well.  In one of Mark Mallett's writings he explained that a group of priests or brothers were in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell.  All the buildings around them were destroyed, except for the house where they were located.  Neither were any of them affected by radioactivity.  They were checked periodically, but none of them suffered radiation sickness. 

It doesn't matter WHAT happens;  the safest place to be is in the Will of God!  I need to work on this, my trust, my abandonment to God's Will.  In tiny things, like finding the money to pay a certain bill, or in future collossal events which we dread to think about.  We need to live in the present moment only, to live in His Will in the present moment, casting ourselves into the Arms of Mercy!

FRI., JAN. 29, 2010 - ST. AUGUSTINE 

In his little book, TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN, St. Louis de Montfort cites one of St. Augustine's prayers.  It touches me deeply each time I use it to pray because I regret deeply the many years I lost when I lost my faith:

 Prayer of Saint Augustine

O Jesus Christ, you are my Father, my merciful God, my great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best helper, my beloved friend of overwhelming beauty, my living Bread, my eternal priest. You are my guide to my heavenly home, my one true light, my holy joy, my true way, my shining wisdom, my unfeigned simplicity, the peace and harmony of my soul, my perfect safeguard, my bounteous inheritance, my everlasting salvation. 
My loving Lord, Jesus Christ, why have I ever loved or desired anything else in my life but you, my God? Where was I when I was not in communion with you? From now on, I direct all my desires to be inspired by you and centred on you. I direct them to press forward for they have tarried long enough, to hasten towards their goal, to seek the one they yearn for.
O Jesus, let him who does not love you be accursed, and filled with bitterness. O gentle Jesus, let every worthy feeling of mine show you love, take delight in you and admire you. O God of my heart and my inheritance, Christ Jesus, may my heart mellow before the influence of your spirit and may you live in me. May the flame of your love burn in my soul. May it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart. May it glow in my innermost being. May it spread its heat into the hidden recesses of my soul and on the day of my consummation may I appear before you consumed in your love. Amen.

Another famous prayer of his:  "Late Have I loved Thee"

            EVER ANCIENT, EVER NEW

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

 Tues., JAN. 26, 2010  PURITY OF HEART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   I've been giving a lot of thought to purity of heart and humility.  I came across this passage from the writings of the fathers in the Orthodox church: 

"The Old Testament is an ikon of the outward bodily asceticism. The Holy Gospel, or New Testament, is an ikon of attentiveness, that is, of purity of heart. For the Old Testament did not perfect or fulfil the relationship of the inner self to God -- "the law made no one perfect," as the Apostle says (cf. Heb. 7:19) -- it simply forbade bodily sins. But to cut off evil thoughts from the heart, as the Gospel commands, contributes much more to purity of soul than an injunction (of the Mosaic law- or bodily discipline or ascetic practice in Christian times) ... these things are also good ... guard(ing) against the passions) ... but ... do not prevent mental sins ... ." "If we preserve ... that purity of heart or watch and guard of the intellect whose image is the New Testament, this will not only uproot all passions and evils from our hearts; it will also introduce joy, hopefulness, compunction, sorrow, tears, an understanding of ourselves and of our sins, mindfulness of death, and true humility, unlimited love of God and man, and an intense and heartfelt longing for the divine (p.181) "

Exterior mortification or ascetism begins the process, but the greatest mortificaton of all is interior.  The struggle will invariably condense down to our determination to be one with God's will as opposed to our own.  To the extent that we serve our own will, we enjoy less union with Christ.  There is no way I or anyone else can draw close to God in union unless we resolve to watch our minds, to discriminate between what is good or evil, and what is just plain useless to our goal.  Once you begin this interior struggle, you will find yourself learning humility because this is such a hard practice.  You need not commit a single sin to fail and fall hard, repeatedly.  I find myself praying through the day to Mary, whose purity of heart and humility was flawless:  "Set yourself, faithful Virgin, purest Virgin, as a seal upon my heart.  Let nothing enter it that will keep me from Union with Jesus." 

I've also come to understand that purity of heart means being "one-hearted"--being of one mind only, not that of the flesh but of the Spirit.  Looking at everything with the mind of Christ, in the Spirit.  David summed it up with these words from Psalm 27:4, "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple" (Psa. 27:4). It is precisely for this reason that the pure in heart will see God. God is the sole object of their search in life. He is their aim, their goal, and their delight.

 PURITY OF HEART -- ST. ALBERT THE GREAT 

In the passage above, I found a simple phrase:  "Simplify your heart with all care."  It is so expressive of what we must do.  I must continue to pray to and with Mary to guard my heart, to set herself as a seal on my heart, and to help me simplify my heart.  For every kind of foolishness, entertainment, useless things I must let go in order to follow the one thing necessary to see God.

 SUN., JAN. 17, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

    Today, I created the page BROTHER ASS, devoted to reflection on spiritual discipline, mortification. 

TUES., JAN. 12, 2010 --PROVIDENCE

 Tonight news has come of a devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, particularly the capital, Port-Au-Prince.  About two million people were in the capital city alone.    How many of them lie perilously injured or dead?   The amount of human suffering is staggering.  We often wonder how God permits these things to happen.  We wonder with Job.  But let us remember:   WHO IS LIKE UNTO GOD?   These are the words of St. Michael responding to Lucifer and the fallen angels. 

Last night I was reading near the end of St. Albert's Treatise  and began to meditate on the PROVIDENCE of God and the necessity of abandoning ourselves to Divine Providence.  I was especially moved by these statements; 

For so far as the nature of the order of things is concerned, God provides for everything without intermediary right down to the last detail. So nothing, from the greatest to the smallest things, can escape God's eternal providence, or fall away from it, whether in matters of the will, of causal events, or even of accidental circumstances outside of one's control.

The operation of nature presupposes the work of God, creating, sustaining, ordering and administering it, for to him alone belong infinite power, wisdom, goodness and inherent mercy, justice, truth, love, and unchanging timelessness and omnipresence."

What especially struck me was that His providence extends to the least detail.  There is not one detail in the destruction of Haiti that God has not permitted for the working of good--how and why we may never understand; but it is in His infinite wisdom, goodness, inherent mercy, justice, and love that Haiti has been struck.  What will happen as a result of this natural disaster?  Many compassionate offerings from other countries and people will flock to Haiti; wonders and miracles of human kindness will be shown; the suffering of many may turn their thoughts and hearts to God; those whose lives have been caught up in evil may be severely chastised, and may even meet Divine Justice in this unfathomable event.  All we may do is to pray for the relief of the people as God wills it, reach out to the poor as He constantly reminds us in Holy Scripture and through the teaching Church, and pray about it. 

SUN., JAN. 10, 2010   NEVER GIVE UP

If it is union with Christ which you seek, never give up.  Tonight, in the CATHOLIC TREASURY, I read some of the writings of St. Albert the Great. I quote him here: 

"It is therefore right and necessary for the mind to raise itself above itself and everything created by the abandonment of everything, with humble reverence and great trust, and to say within itself, He whom I seek, love, thirst for and desire from everything and more than anything is not a thing of the senses or the imagination, but is above everything that can be experienced by the senses and the intellect. He cannot be experienced by any of the senses, but is completely desirable to my will. He is moreover not discernable, but is perfectly desirable to my inner affections. He cannot be comprehended, but can be loved in his fullness with a pure heart, for he is above all lovable and desirable, and of infinite goodness and perfection. And then a darkness comes over the mind and it is raised up into itself and penetrates even deeper.

And the more inward-looking the desire for it, the more powerful this means of ascent to the mysterious contemplation of the holy Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity in Jesus Christ is, and the more interior the yearning, the more productive it is. Certainly in matters spiritual the more inward they are the greater they are as spiritual experiences.

For this reason, never give up, never stop until you have tasted some pledge, as I might say, or foretaste of the future full experience, and until you have obtained the satisfaction of however small a first fruits of the divine joy. And do not give up pursuing it and following its scent until you have seen the God of gods in Sion. Do not stop or turn back in your spiritual journey and your union and adherence to God within you until you have achieved what you have been seeking.
 "

You understand what this means, don't you?  St. Albert is assuring us that if we are utterly sincere in our yearning for Christ, and seeking Him with a pure heart, committed to our deep interior journey, He will not disappoint us.  So "do not give up pursuing it and following its scent until you have seen the God of gods in Sion."  Don't you know that this search and yearning is what Jesus most thirsts for?  A single heart gives Him so much comfort although He has wept over the foolishness of the whole world.  Remember the passage where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, saying,  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...how often I wanted to gather your children together as a mother bird collects her young under her wings, and you refused me!"

Be gathered into Christ's arms, and do not refuse Him.  Seek Him, and never stop seeking Him. Love Him for all those who will not.

 

SAT., JAN. 9, 2010  --  THE MERCY OF JESUS

Tonight as I prayed the Divine Office, I came upon a scripture from Matthew who is quoting the prophet Isaiah:  12, 18-20:  "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my loved one in whom I delight....He will not contend or cry out, nor will his voice be heard in the streets.  The bruised reed he will not crush; the smoldering wick he will not quench."  What the Father proclaims through the words of Isaiah is the quiet gentleness of Jesus. 

What particularly caught my attention was the intense delicacy of the gentleness painted by the words,  "the bruised reed he will not crush."  Such carefulness.  You can almost picture Jesus in His many walks throughout Galilee or Judea passing through grasses, moving tender stalks aside so as not to step on them.  We are the bruised reeds, handled roughly by life.  His eyes are full of compassion for even so small a creature as a bruised reed.  "...the smoldering wick he will not quench."  How careful one has to be not even to breathe on a tiny flame struggling to burn, lest it go out completely.  Our faith, hope, and love are often like that weak little flame, on the verge of going out.  How delicately Jesus nurtures us to feed the fire to greater and greater brightness.  Even as Jesus burns with the mighty Fire of the Holy Spirit, He cares for the tiny, weak flame which, through His Mercy, Love, and Power, may break forth into the immense fiery conflagration of the Holy Spirit.  Lord,  I am a bruised reed, a smoldering wick--fill me with your Mercy and Spirit of Love till I am one great flame, united to your Divine Fire! 

 

THURS., JAN. 7, 2010 -- THE INTERIOR STRUGGLE

Today I want to talk a little about interior struggle.  Most Americans at least think about making a New Year’s resolution or resolutions, so I’ve been giving this some thought.  I’m really at the beginning of a brand new year in the Lord, especially since I returned to the church. The church year begins with Advent, and I resisted doing anything special for Advent.  I was disappointed with myself, but I knew that I ought to give up sugar, and I just didn’t want to.  I “cut back” on sugar instead, but that really wasn’t what I would have wanted to do.  Now I’m thinking about this issue again.  I’ve worked hard on a healthy lifestyle.  I actually exercise pretty well usually, but the one thing I don’t do well is resist refined sugar.  I have a little recurring rash that I think is a symptom of inflammation in my system, and sugar increases inflammation—so, I need to get rid of sugar, right? 

 Now, there’s nothing inherently spiritual or sinful about eating or not eating sugar, unless one has diabetes.  We have a moral obligation to care for our bodies which are temples of the Holy Spirit.  Also, a good Christian or Catholic should practice some mortification.  The root of “mortify” is “mort”-death, and “facio”- make.  To mortify oneself is to kill the “old man” that is not in Christ, to empty oneself in order to be filled more with the Spirit.  I know this.  This is my interior struggle.  I don’t do the things that I know I must, and I do the things that I know I shouldn’t! 

As I continue to struggle, I am comforted by St. Paul, himself, who had the same problem.  See Romans 7, 14-25: (I quote some parts here) “I cannot even understand my own actions.  I do not do what I want to do but what I hate.  When I act against my own will, by that very fact I agree that the law is good.   This indicates that it is not I who do it but sin which resides in me.  I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; the desire to do right is there but not the power.  What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend.  But if I do what is against my will, it is not I who do it, but sin which dwells in me.  This means that even though I want to do what is right, a law that leads to wrongdoing is always ready at hand.  My inner self agrees with the law of God, but I see in my body’s members another law at war with the law of my mind; this makes me the prisoner of the law of sin in my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who can free me from this body under the power of death?  All praise to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So with my mind I serve the law of God but with my flesh the law of sin. “

Continue to read chapter 8: “ If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the spirit you put to death the evil deeds of the body, you will live.”   Paul doesn’t free us from the struggle.  He shows no easy way out.  He just tells us that Jesus can free us from this slavery.  This is what Christ has always been about.   He saves us from our sins, but not from the struggle.  We have to continue to fight, but trust in Him to strengthen us; and every time we fall, we have to get back up and continue to struggle.  Continuing in the struggle, we will begin to develop a habit of the practice, and from a habit of doing good comes virtue. 

According to Father Grou (See THE JESUS PRAYER, Catholic Treasury) "Virtues are the gift of God, and He almost always bestows them as a reward for some signal effort. Then what was formerly difficult becomes easy. Any number of proofs of this are to be seen in the lives of the saints. "

Our own struggle to do what is right should give us compassion for those like us, often fall, in their struggle with addictions and serious sins against the commandments.  Indeed, this is our first struggle, to leave behind forever all serious (mortal or deadly) offenses against God, and to seek seriously to be freed even from less serious offenses (venial).  Faults are not sins at all,but we can all strive to improve. 

In summary,  I will make a resolution with some mitigations:  to avoid sugar except on Sunday or if I am eating out.  Since I tend to get caught up on the computer during the late hours, I’ve also made a resolution to leave the computer alone (unless I’m praying or reading spiritual tracts) and save the hours after 10:00 for the Lord.  In that way, I can pray before I get too tired and sleepy.  Bless your efforts to please Him and grow in the Spirit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    SUN., JAN.3, 2010 -- KENOSIS & THE TRUE SELF

In Father Maloney’s book,  PRAYER OF THE HEART, he explains:  “If we are desirous of experiencing God, we must resolutely journey inwardly, away from the worldly and vain cares that keep us centered exclusively upon ourselves, our 'false self.'  Our true self lies deep within us, as a seed hidden in the earth.   Our true identity … has from all eternity been linked together in the mind of the heavenly Father with his Logos-made-flesh, Jesus  Christ."  I’ve also noted St. Paul’s use of kenosis as he explains that Jesus did not think of his divine status as a thing to be grasped at, but He “emptied Himself” (kenosis) to take on our humanity. (Phil. 2,6-8).  How ironic that we have to empty ourselves of our false selves, full of worldly, vain cares in order to take on His Divinity in a shared Union, just as Jesus emptied himself of his Divine glory to take on our pitiful humanity.  What a meeting in time!  What a bond!  What is breath-taking is that “ our true identity … has from all eternity been linked together in the mind of the heavenly Father with his Logos-made-flesh, Jesus Christ.” 

God the Father sees us in Jesus.  When someone tells you just to “be yourself,” he doesn’t realize what he is saying—but God knows it is the truth!  Just be your true self.  When you pray,  “not what I will, but Your will be done” you take on the will of Christ in a union which has been in the mind of the Father from all eternity.   To the extent that we can leave our worldly, vain will behind and abandon ourselves to the will of Christ, we are in Christ and are a “new creation”—the true self we are called to be from all eternity.  This is how St. Paul was able to exclaim,  “I live, now, not I, but Christ lives in me,” (Gal. 2, 19-20)  and “in Him I live, move, and have my being”  (Acts. 17,28).   If you find it difficult to think of living in His will, try thinking of it as throwing yourself into the arms of Mercy.  It’s the same thing.  By the way, listen to Gladys Knight sing “Mercy’s Arms” on my MUSIC VIDEOS page. 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 JANUARY 2, 1010  -- LIVING IN MERCY

Something keeps coming back to me,  "God does not call us to be good, but to be holy."  There is a difference.  For example,  before I returned to Christ, I was a good person.  I was kind, thoughtful, a devoted wife, a committed teacher who sacrificed much for her students, etc.  But God wants more of us than goodness.  He wants holiness.  He wants us to struggle for union with Him in Christ, to pray for more faith, hope, charity--all three of which are gifts, which I learned the hard way.  If you lose your faith, you can't just "pick" it back up again.  You have to wait on God to give it to you.  Careless years are costly.

But I learned this too in recent weeks.  All the struggle and work I did to keep being a good, decent person, whatever sincerity I had as I continued to search spiritually, God has honored by deepening my character and my soul.  When I returned to Him, He restored the very depth of the faith and love I had years ago with more appreciation and humility, as I now know what it means to lose what is so precious.  He has restored everything as though I had never been away.  A great depth of prayer He has ignited in me, bringing back the understanding and the teachings of the Holy Spirit in which I once exalted.  He puts before me daily constant reminders of Divine Mercy, even the word itself, "Mercy, " I find constantly  before me in readings, scripture, images, etc.  He also has rushed into my hands all the readings and review of theology that I once knew years ago, the best of the teachings on the Love of God, Union, and the ways and means to come much closer to Him.  I can see that He has never departed from me, though I departed from Him.  He has relentlessly pursued me, waiting to rush in the moment I opened a little space, with the fullness of His Grace and Love.  With God there is no coincidence; there is only Providence.

I also appreciate the fact that grace builds on nature.  If we work on ourselves, improving our habits of character, learning patience--all of this on a human or natural level--He will infuse these merely human good characteristics with His grace, raising them to the level of virtue as soon as we permit Him to do so.

Whatever you have been, abandon yourself to His Mercy.  To the extent that you empty yourself out before him and abandon the self-filled person you have been, He will fill you, making you a new creature  beyond your wildest expectations.  

 

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