Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mystery of Grace

"I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Creating God in Our Image

"You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." ~Anne Lamott 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unanswerable Questions

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. ~C. S. Lewis

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Man Cannot Diminish God's Glory

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell. ~ C.S. Lewis

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Last Judgement

"Always remember that at the Last Judgement we are judged for loving Him, or failing to love Him, in the least person." ~Archbishop Anastasios of Albania

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We Are His Body

Christ has no body now but yours; no hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world; yours are the feet with which he walks to do good; yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. ~St. Teresa of Avila

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adoration & Service

Jesus would reject a relationship in which we merely gazed at him in silent adoration. His own prayer strengthened him for service and ministry, for bringing about the reign of God on earth, and he calls us to follow that lead. Christ’s body is not only on the table, but at the table. Christ is to be worshiped, but Christ is also to be received, broken and shared for the salvation of the world. A Christian who is intensely concerned that the consecrated host not be left alone in the chapel must, therefore, also be concerned about the homeless people left alone in the streets. Those who reverence Christ’s presence in the host must also reverence Christ’s presence in human bodies. Eucharistic adoration must flow out of and back into the community Eucharist, at which we are sent to bring about the reign of God in the world and to which we return for the strength to carry out this mission.  Private prayer and adoration of God is in constant dialogue with the community of love and justice that such prayer intends. ~Amy Florian  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feast of St. Anthony of the Desert

 "The contemplative life. . .makes you living and vital members in the heart of the Lord's mystical body which is the Church. And just as the heart causes the blood to circulate and keeps the entire body alive, so your hidden lives with Christ, imbued with work and prayer, contribute to maintaining the Church, the instrument of salvation for all mankind whom the Lord redeemed with His Blood". ~Pope Benedict XVI

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Longer Servants, Friends

The after life in the biblical vision is being invited to the table of God. And that means that now you are no longer servants of God, you are friends. The covenant is manifested because we eat together. L’Arche is about sharing the food; it means companionship, company, it means accompanying people. The vision of friendship is eating together. There is a very deep link between food and love; our culture has lost sight of that. ~Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poverty of Spirit

 Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there  can be no abundance of God.  ~Archbishop Oscar Romero

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On the Eucharist (III)

The Eucharist commits us to the poor.  To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brothers and sisters. ~Catechism of the Catholic Church #1397

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On the Eucharist (II)

Do you wish to honor the Body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked.  Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad.  He who said:  “This is my Body” is the same who said:  “You saw me hungry and you gave me no food,” and “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also for me.”  What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with gold chalices when your brother is dying of hunger?  Start satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well. ~St. John Chrysostom 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On the Eucharist

The bread is Christ’s body, the cup is Christ’s blood.  If you, therefore, are Christ’s body and members, it is your own mystery that is placed on the Lord ’s table!  It is your own mystery that you are receiving!  Be a member of Christ’s body, then, so that your Amen may ring true!  Be what you see; receive what you are.  All who fail to keep the bond of peace after entering this mystery receive not a sacrament that benefits them, but an indictment that condemns them. ~St. Augustine

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Today my brother and his wife have been married 35 years. They have two adult children and are the proud grandparents of two granddaughters and one grandson.
In 2009 the United States Confernce of Catholic Bishops published the asptoral letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. In it they wrote:

God established marriage so that man and woman could participate in his love and thus selflessly give themselves to each other in love. A man and a woman who by their act of consent are no longer two but one flesh (see Mt 19:6ff.) render mutual help and service to each other  through an intimate union of their persons and of their actions.

“My lover belongs to me and I to him” (Song 2:16; see Song 6:3). With all the dignity and simplicity of poetry, the Bride in the Song of Songs sings of the unitive meaning of married  love.

“You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride. . . . How beautiful is your love!” (Song 4:9-10). So responds the Bridegroom of the Song, overcome with the wonder of conjugal love that is extended to him by the Bride. This is the love that is strong as death (see Song  8:6b).

Just as beautifully, Tobiah prays with his wife, Sarah, on their wedding night, awestruck at the mercy of the God of their fathers, that is, the God of the covenant, in bringing them together in a union of true conjugal love:

“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.

Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;

and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust, but for a noble purpose.

Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” (Tb 8:5-7)

The love that is as strong as death is the love that prays and praises, caught up into divine love.

Congratulations Pat & Holly! May God grant you many more years! And may God bless you for your fidelity to one another and to the sacrament of marriage. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Therefore, dearly beloved, may you too always rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4). And may neither bitterness nor a cloud overwhelm you, O dearly beloved Lady in Christ, joy of the angels and crown of your sisters! 

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! 
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! 
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance! 
And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation! 
So that you too may feel what His friends feel 
as they taste the hidden sweetness 
which God has reserved from the beginning 
for those who love Him.

Since you have cast aside all things which, in this deceitful and turbulent world, ensnare their blind lovers, love Him totally Who gave Himself totally for your love. His beauty the sun and moon admire, and of His gifts there is no limit in abundance, preciousness, and magnitude. ~St. Clare of Assisi, from her third letter to Agnes of Prague

Friday, January 7, 2011

Last Friday of Christmas

May God shelter you from disturbance in the hidden recesses of his love, until he brings you at last into that place of fullness where you will repose forever in the vision of peace. ~St. Raymond of Penafort

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The 12th Day of Christmas

Memorial of St. John Neumann

John Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 20, 1811. Since he had a great desire to dedicate himself to the American missions, he came to the United States as a cleric and was ordained in New York in 1836 by Bishop Dubois.
In 1840, John Neumann entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He labored in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1852, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia. There he worked hard for the establishment of parish schools and for the erection of many parishes for the numerous immigrants. Bishop Neumann died on January 5, 1860; he was beatified in 1963.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, a prominent New York aristocrat, had five children with her husband, William, a shipping merchant. Before she turned 30, the Setons went bankrupt and William died. Within five years of his death, Elizabeth had converted to Catholicism, formed New York city’s first charity (the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children), established the first Catholic school and the founded the first religious community of women in the United States of America.

Let us pray:

Saint Elizabeth Seton,
you knew the beauty of all human life
when you carried a child in your womb
and when, as a young widow,
a teacher, and founder of the Sisters of Charity,
you sought to live the Gospel of Life.
Inspire us, intercede for us, and be with us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

You know the sacrament of Holy Matrimony;
Teach us to support all families with faith and truth.

You know the love of a good spouse;
Intercede for all newly married couples.

You know the stirring of the child in your womb;
Intercede for every unborn child.

You know the miracle of giving birth;
Pray for mothers tempted by abortion.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory to the Father …

Monday, January 3, 2011

The New Year


I keep thinking and meditating on the New Year, and thinking about the world in general; it kind of haunts me.

God hands us a shiny beautiful New Year. That is to say, he gives us time. I wondered: what are we going to do with this time? To each one of us God has given time—time to love him. It’s strange that in the Christian countries the New Year comes at the time right after Christ’s birth.

Stop and think of the Incarnation (Christ; God becoming man), which leads to his crucifixion, which leads to his resurrection, all wrapped up in a little package of this Child—a crib in a stable. And then, as if the Child himself handed it over, he turns to me and to you and he says, “Here is a new year, shiny, coming from my hands. What are you going to do with it?”

The greatest thing we can do is to love. There is nothing else that matters, really. So why don’t we begin? Many of us already love our neighbour, love ourselves and our neighbour, but we have to extend that love.

Time really does not exist. I come from the mind of God—he had me there from all eternity, and I go to the Way (who is Christ) to the heart of God; and the Holy Spirit helps me to keep on the narrow path, the Way that Christ says he himself is.

When we talk Christianity or Christ to one another, whoever we are, wherever we are on the threshold of the New Year, something has to break into our hearts. Our Lord enlarges our heart, if we desire to enlarge it, to love more and more and more.

Will our love end in crucifixion? It’s obvious that when you and I totally forget the pronoun ‘I’, then we are crucified; and those who are crucified are free. This is a strange and mysterious thing. It’s one of the mysteries that God puts into our hearts.

If we agree to go to Golgotha, a little hill on which he was crucified, there is another side to the crucifix. Immediately the crucifix ceases to really be a crucifix as we understand it—that is to say, pain and all the rest of it—and it becomes a joy. In a sense, we can wish everyone a joyful New Year—provided we have opened our heart to Joy; we have mounted Golgotha; we have agreed to be crucified with Christ; and by doing so we have entered into his Resurrection.

By entering into his Resurrection, we have suddenly found ourselves totally free—free from all the things that affected us only yesterday. Free to love everyone, including our enemies. Free to lay down our lives for our fellowman.

This all sounds highfaluting, big ideas, but in everyday life, it is simplicity itself. Never think of yourself, day in and day out. You have to do an unpleasant job, but you do it joyfully, because whatever you do, you do for God. Joy lifts us up and makes us run toward whatever task is given to us; to what we call “the duty of the moment”.

The mother gets up, and the father, to nurse the baby and quieten it at night, but it goes a little further. It may go to a little neighboring child who cries. I lived in Chicago, on West Walton Place, which had been cut up into little apartments; we had a little apartment and one was above us. You could hear what happened. One evening, lying there and not sleeping very well, I kept hearing the patter of young feet and I knew that only a mother with her child lived up there. The child was about eleven or twelve. I met her going to school. Something worried me about this patter of feet. I got up and went upstairs and knocked at the door and said, “It’s the lady from downstairs”. “Oh,” she said, “I’m so glad it’s you”, and she opened the door. “I don’t know what’s happened to my mother. I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t wake up.” Well, her mother was dead!

Love is a strange thing. The patter of little feet. The cry of a child. The cough of an old person or a young one can disturb us, and should disturb us, and we should say, “Oh, I am responsible for everyone.” Dorothy Day, one of the great American saints-to-be, wrote in her Catholic Worker why we should not buy grapefruits (this was in the Depression) because the people who gathered grapefruits received such a small salary that they could not live on it. I am responsible. Do you realize that this beautiful New Year that God has put into your hands means that you are your brother’s keeper, and so am I?

It’s deep stuff; it’s bottomless, because it means that God is saying, “Enter my heart. It is in this heart of mine that you will know how to live out this beautiful year that I have given you ‘to have and to hold’”.

So let us be our brother’s keeper; and let us not forget that Christ is our Brother too. Not only in everyone, but in himself. And if we really want to learn how to love, we should go into his heart this year.

— from a spiritual reading, Dec. 29, 1976.

Adapted from the writings of Catherine Doherty

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Epiphany of the Lord

"…[W]e are like the 3 Wise Men who journeyed to Jesus. Now, like those Wise Men, we return to the world from which we came, to the everyday life where we will witness to what we have seen.

…"indeed it compels us to start out afresh on a new stage of the journey on which we become proclaimers and heralds.…The Wise Men were in a sense the first missionaries. Their encounter with Christ did not keep them in Bethlehem, but made them set out anew on the paths of the world.

"We need to ‘set out anew from Christ,’ with the zeal of Pentecost, with renewed enthusiasm. To set out from him above all in a daily commitment to holiness, with an attitude of prayer and of listening to his word. To set out from him in order to testify to his Love by living a Christian life marked by communion, charity, and witness before the world."  ~Pope John Paul II (Epiphany homily, 2001)