Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Facing the Silence

On the spiritual journey it takes more energy to be still than to run. [M]ost people spend so much of their waking hours rushing from one thing to another that they are afraid of stillness and of silence. A certain existential panic can overtake us when we first face the stillness. . . .But if we can find the courage to face this silence, we enter into the peace that is beyond all understanding.
No doubt it is easier to learn this in a balanced and stable society. In a turbulent and confused world there are so many more deceptive voices, so many calls for our attention. But the Christian vision is uncompromising in its sanity, its rejection of extremism, in its invitation to each of us to have the courage to become ourselves and not merely to respond to some image of ourselves that is imposed upon us from outside. [. . . .]
What each of us must learn in the experience of meditation is that the power for the pilgrimage is in fact inexhaustibly present. It takes only one step of faith for us to know that from our own experience. [And] the important thing to remember is that one faltering but actual step is more valuable than any number of journeys performed in the imagination.
~Fr. John Main, OSB

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Religion of Grace

I need to make one point clear. Every religion or religious philosophy begins by telling people what they must do to be saved, be it ascetic renunciations or intellectual speculations. Christianity doesn't begin by telling people what they must do, but what God has done for them. Gift comes before duty.

This principle applies, first of all, to the domain of charity. To love God with all your strength and your neighbor as yourself is certainly the first and most important commandment, but the order of the commandments is not the first order; before it comes the order of the gift: We love because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19). Christianity is the religion of grace. ~ Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Purpose of Christianity

The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes.  It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life. ~ James Christensen

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Heart As Wide As the Wirkd

The awareness of being part of the communion of saints makes our hearts as wide as the world. The love with which we love is not just our love; it is the love of Jesus and his saints living in us. When the Spirit of Jesus lives in our hearts, all who have lived their lives in that Spirit live there too. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; our teachers and their teachers; our pastors and their pastors; our spiritual guides and theirs - all the holy men and women who form that long line of love through history - are part of our hearts, where the Spirit of Jesus chooses to dwell.

The communion of saints is not just a network of connections between people. It is first and foremost the community of our hearts. ~Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen

Friday, May 27, 2011

Prayer requires trust...

"Prayer requires trust, closeness, an almost symbolic struggle, not with an adversarial God, but with a Lord who is full of blessing and who always remains mysterious, always seems unattainable. … And if the object of desire is the relationship with God, His blessing and His love, then the fight can only culminate in the gift of oneself to God, recognizing our own weakness, which we defeat at the very moment we surrender ourselves to God's merciful love.'' Pope Benedict XVI, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

When the Lord Calls

When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer.  The Lord takes what ordinary people like us can offer and uses it for greatness in the Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding Solitude

All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.

Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love. ~ Fr. Henri J. M. Nouwen

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eucharist and Mission

We cannot keep for ourselves the love that we celebrate in the Sacrament [of the Eucharist]. By its nature, it exacts that it be communicated to all. What the world needs is the love of God, to encounter Christ and to grow in Him. A genuinely Eucharistic life is a missionary life.  ~Pope Benedict XVI

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Having the faith to take life one piece at a time -- to live it in the knowledge that there is something of God in this for me now, here, at this moment -- is of the essence of happiness. It is not that God is a black box full of tests and trials and treats.  It is that life is a step on the way to a God who goes the way with us. However far, however perilous.
~ Sr. Joan Chittister, osb

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Sometimes, when we speak of conversion we think solely of its demanding aspect of detachment and renunciation. Christian conversion, on the contrary, is also and above all about joy, hope and love. It is always the work of the Risen Christ, the Lord of life who has obtained this grace for us through his Passion and communicates it to us by virtue of his Resurrection. ~Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Communion of Saints

Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.

Whatever we know about God and God's love; whatever we know about Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints. ~Henri J. M. Nouwen

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nurturing the Eternal Life Within Us

The knowledge that Jesus came to dress our mortal bodies with immortality must help us develop an inner desire to be born to a new eternal life with him and encourage us to find ways to prepare for it.

It is important to nurture constantly the life of the Spirit of Jesus - which is the eternal life - that is already in us. Baptism gave us this life, the Eucharist maintains it, and our many spiritual practices - such as prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, and spiritual guidance - can help us to deepen and solidify it. The sacramental life and life with the Word of God gradually make us ready to let go of our mortal bodies and receive the mantle of immortality. Thus death is not the enemy who puts an end to everything but the friend who takes us by the hand and leads us into the Kingdom of eternal love. ~Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen

Monday, May 16, 2011

It All Begin With Baptism

Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, we ascend to the kingdom of heaven, and we are reinstated as adopted [children]. Thanks to the Spirit we obtain the right to call God our Father, we become sharers in the grace of Christ, we are called children of light, blessing is showered upon us, both in this world and in the world to come. As we contemplate them even now, like a reflection in a mirror, it is as though we already possessed the good things our faith tells us that we shall one day enjoy. If this is the pledge, what will the perfection be? If these are the firstfruits, what will the full harvest be? ~St. Basil the Great

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Live and Love and Simply Be

"...prayer is the realization that what matters most is not the success or the achievement or the productivity encouraged by society. Prayer is acceptance of frailty and failure---first in ourselves, and then in the world around us. When we are able to accept our brokenness, without any pretense and without any pretexts, then we are also able to embrace the brokenness of others, valuing everyone else without exception. Prayer is learning to live, without expecting to see result; it is learning to love, without hoping to see return; it is learning to be, without demanding to have. We cannot live and love and simply be, unless we are consumed by a total commitment to detachment." ~John Chryssavgis

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Matter Of The Heart

"Man is made in the image of God; a desire for God is present in every heart and man in some way knows that he is capable of speaking to God in prayer.  Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that prayer is the expression of our desire for God, a desire which is itself God’s gift.  Prayer is first and foremost a matter of the heart, where we experience God’s call and our dependence on his help to transcend our limitations and sinfulness." ~Benedict XVI, May 12, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Feast of God's Presence

We go to work, prepare lunches, have the car repaired, mow the lawn […] mend cut fingers, argue with adolescents, care for our parents […] we make little decisions and big ones, decide where to live, what to buy, what to save, who to elect president. […] In all of this, we should find no impediments to the inner, contemplative life, rather we should find opportunities, not disruptions, but invitations […] to a feast of God’s presence among us. ~James Warnke

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Christ We Live Forever

It was the poet Goethe who once wrote that "not to know this, to die and so to rise, is to always be a troubled guest on the dark earth." Jesus invites us into his paschal meal, into his dying and rising, so that we might be good stewards on this long pilgrimage. Our lives are not essentially about a process (even the process of dying/rising) but rather about a person, about putting on the mind and heart of our Lord. It is the Father who draws us and instructs us as to the mystery of Jesus. Our belief in him leads to eternal life beyond death and a meaningful life here on earth." ~Bishop Robert F. Morneau

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Holiness = Openness to Holy Spirit

It is necessary to make the term 'holiness' an ordinary -- not exceptional -- word, which does not designate only heroic states of Christian life, but which indicates in the reality of every day, a decisive answer and an openness to the action of the Holy Spirit. ~Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Like Me

Just Like Me

Dear Lord, forgive our yielding to temptation;
Forgive our pride, our love of worldly things.
Have mercy on our love of sensual pleasure,
Compassion on the sins that self love brings.

It must be hard to understand us sometimes;
So very different is your heart and mind.
But wait, I just remembered that you do know
What it’s like to be a part of humankind.

You suffered just like we do, and you were tempted.
You lived with us so you could comprehend
The things that we go through each trying day,
So you could give us mercy, and be our friend.

Thank you for compassion and forgiveness;
Thank you for your love and empathy.
Thank you, Lord, for coming down from heaven
To experience life’s trials, just like me.

By Joanna Fuchs

Monday, May 9, 2011

Becoming Everything in Christ

The process of coming to the truth about ourselves is sometimes painful. We see our sins, our passionate attachments with numbing clarity. We see their entrenched, habitual nature. This can be discouraging, if we think that our spirituality is all about making ourselves into a better person. It is even more discouraging if we think that detachment is the purposeful effort to “let go” of all those things that we do not like about ourselves.

Things are decidedly different, however, if we see faith as the process of coming to awareness about the false self, humbly standing before God in truth, and allowing divine grace to slowly subtract all that is not real from our beings, so that we can become nothing in ourselves and everything in Christ. ~ from Becoming Christby Brian C. Taylor

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life Is A Gift

This life of ours (it is here we must begin) is a gift from God. It is not of our choosing. It comes to us by his choice. Since it is of his choosing, it is of his designing. We neither made ourselves nor can we manage ourselves as we would like, nor manage the life that comes to us. For that very reason we can take a most hopeful view of life. If life lay under our own domination, we might well lose courage, seeing the whole burden lying on our shoulders. But the thought that it is his gift and after his design, gives us courage. If to this remembrance of God's creatorship we add the mystery of the Resurrection, we shall take even larger draughts of hope; for not life only but life's triumph lies entirely in the hands of God. Success is not the result of man's power but of divine power. ~Fr. Bede Jarrett, O.P.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Salvation In Surrender

Something we were withholding

made us weak –

Until we learned

It was ourselves we were withholding

From this land of living –

and henceforth

found salvation

In surrender.

--Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Christ Transform You

Christ is the splendor of eternal glory, the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud. ... Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Let Christ transform your entire being into the image of the Trinity Itself through contemplation. ~St. Clare of Assisi

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We Have a Choice

“We always have a choice to live the moment as a cause of resentment or as a cause for joy.” -from Here and Now, by Fr. Henri J.M.Nouwen