Wednesday, February 29, 2012

 “Desires for other things”—there’s the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.” Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.

What is at stake here is not just the good of our souls, but also the glory of God. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The fight of faith is a fight to feast on all that God is for us in Christ. What we hunger for most, we worship. ~John Piper, excerpted from A Hunger for God

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"'Convert and believe in the Gospel' is not just the beginning of the Christian life, but the accompaniment of all our steps, renewing and penetrating all aspects of our lives. Each day is a moment of favor and grace...." ~Pope Benedict XVI 

Monday, February 27, 2012

God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. ~C.S. Lewis

Sunday, February 26, 2012

And eventually, the choosing becomes easier, the darkness lifts, and walking in Jesus' way is not quite such a struggle for a while. But the darkness will always return, often unexpectedly. That is why I need Lent, because it bears witness to the reality of darkness, of doubt, of fear, of pain. And it carries me through those real places, real experiences into one that is more fully and truly Real: the Reality of Resurrection, of Light, of Life. ~Kimberlee Conway Ireton

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What to give up for Lent....

Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.

Give up pessimism——become an optimist.

Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.

Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.

Give up discouragement——be full of hope.

Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.

Give up hatred——return good for evil.

Give up negativism——be positive.

Give up anger——be more patient.

Give up pettiness——become mature.

Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.

Give up jealousy——pray for trust.

Give up gossiping——control your tongue.

Give up sin——turn to virtue.

Give up giving up——hang in there!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end; submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. ~C.S. Lewis

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)

Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24). What is this "self"? It is our thoughts, feelings, self-image, and world view. Jesus added, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25). That is, he will find eternal life, the Christ-life, welling up within.

Faith is not just the acceptance of abstract propositions about God; it is the total surrender of ourselves to God. In baptism, our false self is put to death and the victory won by Christ is placed at our disposal. The dynamic set off in baptism is meant to increase continuously during our chronological lives and lead to the experience of the risen life of Christ within us. In the Christian view, death is thus an integral part of living. Dying to the false self is the movement from a lower form of life to a higher one; from a lower state of consciousness to a higher state of consciousness; from a weak faith to a faith that is strong, penetrating, and unifying.

Participation in the life of Christ means coming to know and love the person of Jesus. The humanity of Christ is our starting point and the door into his divinity. Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheepfold. If anyone enters by me, he shall go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:7-9). We enter through the knowledge and love of Christ's humanity into the sheepfold of his divinity, where he invites us to rest in oneness of spirit. The new person that comes to birth in that deep interior rest manifests Christ in the place and time in which he or she lives. ~Excerpted from the book The Heart of the World, by Fr. Thomas Keating, OCSO

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Denying material food, which nourishes our body, nurtures an interior disposition to listen to Christ and be fed by His saving word. Through fasting and praying, we allow Him to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God... Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person." ~ Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A man walks into a neighborhood bar in Chicago and promptly orders three beers.

The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.

An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more.

This happens yet again.

The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire neighborhood is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject of the three beers. "I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?"

It is odd, isn't it?" the man replies, "You see, I have two brothers, one moved to California, and the other to Florida. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond."

The bartender was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became something of a celebrity and source of pride to the neighborhood.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening - he orders only two beers.

The rumors fly. Maybe one of his brother’s is dead? Prayers are offered.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know-the two beers and all..."

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well.

It's just that I, myself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent."


Monday, February 20, 2012

It is not repentance that saves me; repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. ~ Oswald Chambers

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hours before receiving the red hat, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, offered his soon-to-be brothers in the College of Cardinals a seven-point reflection on evangelization.

Cardinal-designate Dolan was chosen by the Pope to address the group for today's Day of Reflection and Prayer on the vigil of the consistory.

The New York archbishop recommended the following seven pointers:

1) Remembering that even those who boast of their secularism have an innate longing for the divine; the first step of evangelization must be to keep the quest for God alive

2) "Be not afraid" -- confident, without being triumphalist, since it is the power of God who sends his people to evangelize

3) Knowing that the new evangelization is not about presenting a doctrine or belief-system, but a Person, whose name is Jesus

4) Nevertheless, this Jesus is the Truth. Hence, evangelization is linked to catechesis

5) An evangelist must be a person of joy -- someone who smiles

6) The new evangelization is about love -- the love of God made concrete in service

7) Finally, martyrdom. A reminder that the Church is now peopled by those who are suffering persecution for their faith, and that these martyrs give impetus to the new evangelization 

~From Zenit, Feb 18, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jesus who in the final moment of death entrusts Himself entirely into the hands of God the Father, communicates to us the certainty that, however difficult our trials may be, however difficult our problems, however burdensome our suffering, we shall never fall outside the hands of God, those hands that created us, that sustain us and that accompany us on the path of life, for they are guided by an infinite and faithful love. ~Pope Benedict XVI, 2/15/2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

But if a man will not trust God nor abandon himself to him, if he insists on striving and straining and worrying, God often permits him to fall into deep misery and want. This is to show him how far he can go under self-guidance. But if a man sincerely turns all care over to God, then does God better manage his affairs than could all creatures together. ~Fr. John Tauler, O.P.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Being in the world without being of it involves hard work. It requires a clear vision of what I want to do and how to do it. It requires a discipline of the eyes, the mind, and the heart. It requires a deep desire, as well as a strong commitment to live without interruptions in the name of Jesus. ~ Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled. (Mt 23:12)

Pride sets subtle snares. Whenever we imagine that we are in control of life --- our own or someone else's --- we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: "You shall be like gods." Mortality is the enduring reminder that we become like God not by our own power but by the power of the cross. ~Magnificat

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

~When I am among the trees, by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For, I am sure that you know that the kingdom of heaven is promised and given by the Lord only to the poor, because as long as something temporal is the object of love, the fruit of charity is lost.
~St. Clare of Assisi, First Letter to Agnes of Prague

Saturday, February 4, 2012

But here on earth, while the troubles of the Church last, Christ is the light shining in the darkness. Night is not ended, but hangs over us, heavy, somber and full of lurking dangers. But one thing Christ does---and this is His supreme claim when He says that he is the Light of the world---He makes possible every holy venture and activity by the help of His gracious light. Wherever you go, whatever you do in this world, you can walk and work by the light that is Christ. We are sure of our road, even though it be not broad daylight; if He is our guide we have always sufficient light for our journey. ~ from Christianus:The Christian Life, by Abbot Vonier