Saturday, March 31, 2012

This question is the answer to all my problems today:
If I keep the above question at the forefront
of my life on a daily basis,
I might actually have a shot at becoming a saint.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sacrifice is always the raw material God uses to convert man to love. ~Fr. Brian Bransfield

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve Him. Serving Him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving Him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create. ~Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We live in a society in which it seems that every space, every moment must be filled with initiatives, activity, sound; often there is not even time to listen and dialogue... Let us not be afraid to be silent outside and inside ourselves, so that we are able not only to perceive God's voice, but also the voice of the person next to us, the voices of others. ~Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To pray does not mean to think about God in contrast to thinking about other things, to spend time with God instead of spending time with other people. Rather it means to think and live in the presence of God. As soon as we begin to divide our thoughts into thoughts about God and thoughts about people and events, we remove God from our daily life and put him in a pious little niche where we can think pious thoughts and experience pious feelings.

Prayer can only become unceasing prayer when all thoughts---beautiful and ugly, high and low, proud and shameful, sorrowful and joyful---can be thought in the presence of God. The main question is not so much what we think, but to whom we present our thoughts. ~Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen

Monday, March 26, 2012

There is one and only one possible road to joy: selfless love. - Peter Kreeft

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The letter below was sent by me to a benefactor. We have spoken about finding one's vocation on previous occasions. This letter is something of a continuation if those conversations. The name of the person to whom the letter was sent has been removed out of respect for his (or is it a her?) privacy. I am posting this with the full knowledge and permission of the person to whom it was originally addressed.


Hello _______. 

The Lord give you peace! Thank you so much for the gift that arrived in today's mail. With your help I am better able to embrace this little adventure in Gospel living to which our Lord has called me. By your gift and prayers you join me on this journey. Your companionship is much appreciated.

Be assured of my prayers for you as you continue to discern your own calling. To be Catholic is to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said that everyone would know that we are His disciples if we love one another (John 13:34-35). I do not know where our Blessed Lord is calling you to love at some point in future. What I do know is that He is calling you to love right now, at this moment, the people around you in the places and situations you find yourself. If you do this, if you keep saying “yes” to Jesus by loving the people around you in this present moment, He will lead you where He wants you to be.

The cost of discipleship is high. One need only contemplate a crucifix, to recall that He Who hung upon the cross for love of us calls us to embrace our cross for love of Him. To be a disciple means dying to oneself and living for Christ, not tomorrow or at some point in the future, but today. "If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart," the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 95). My prayer for you, ______, is that you will hear our Lord Who beckons you to come die to self and live for Him. The cost of discipleship is high and few are willing to pay the price. But those who do, I can assure you, experience a life second to none.

Again, know that I pray for you daily before our Blessed Lord in His Eucharistic Presence. He is enthroned, as it were, in His majestic glory in the tabernacle in the hermitage chapel. Please pray for me, a sinner, that I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Pax et Bonum!
(Peace and all Good)!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth... ~JRR Tolkien

Friday, March 23, 2012

If a tiny spark of God's love already burns within you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out.... Stay quiet with God. Do not spend your time in useless chatter.... Do not give yourself to others so completely that you have nothing left for yourself. ~St. Charles Borromeo

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The disciple simply burns his boats and goes ahead. He is called out... The old life is left behind, and completely surrendered. The disciple is dragged out of his relative security into a life of absolute insecurity... out of the realm of the finite...into the realm of infinite possibilities. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God.... not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything, to dwell lovingly in God's presence - silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. ~Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent is like a long 'retreat' during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual 'combat' which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism.
~ Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, March 19, 2012

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart! Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being sought after,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humbled,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebuffs,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being injured,
From the fear of being suspected,

Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase,
and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others be preferred to me in everything, 
That others may be more holy than I,
provided I may become as holy as I should.

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
+ Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val +

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A tongue filled with laughter and praise is a reflection of a heart filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord. What a joy it is just to be with someone whose heart is full. A soothing tongue, a tongue that can say "I accept you where you are," or "I appreciate your questions" without offence or bitterness, is a secure place someone can go for help without fear of judgment, condemnation or censure. ~Mike Hoskins

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
+ St. Patrick +

Friday, March 16, 2012

Now is the time to drop all desire for approval, by our peers or by our seniors or by our juniors, because the God we follow had no approval. There he is, crucified. This is the consequence of the disapproval of man! That's what man did to his God. Are we going to repeat this crucifixion by our picayune little worries about being approved by somebody? This is the moment to drop such things. Who wants to be approved? The ones who do not want to follow Christ. The ones who want to sit in corners and hug themselves with the approval of some unimportant people.

This is the hour of renewal. Lent is renewal and repentance. Lent is a time of change. Is it the time to have a wrong image of yourself? You are the image of God and if you have a poor image of yourself, then you are desecrating his image. That's not how one wants to enter Lent. ~Catherine Doherty

Thursday, March 15, 2012

If you would like to know God …
Look at the crucifix.
If you would like to love God …
Look at the crucifix.
If you want to serve God …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder what you are worth …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder how much God loves you …
Look at the crucifix.
If you want to know the need for self-denial and sacrifice …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder how much you should forgive others …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder how much you should do for others …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder how much your faith demands of you in
humility, poverty, charity in every virtue …
Look at the crucifix.
If you want to know what unselfishness and generosity are … Look at the crucifix.
If you wonder how far your own unselfishness should
go to bring others to Christ …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wish to live well …
Look at the crucifix.
If you wish to die well …
Look at the crucifix.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The purpose of every true devotional practice and method of prayer is to bring us to a person-to-person, being-to-being relationship with Christ. This involves relating not just to the words of Jesus or to the details of his physical presence, but to the person of Jesus, the eternal Word in human form. ~Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choosing hope and the future in the last analysis implies choosing God ... It means choosing Christ, the hope of every human being. ~Bl John Paul II

Monday, March 12, 2012

It is almost impossible to overestimate the value of true humility and its power in the spiritual life. For the beginning of humility is the beginning of blessedness and the consummation of humility is the perfection of all joy. Humility contains in itself the answer to all the great problems of the life of the soul. It is the only key to faith, with which the spiritual life begins: for faith and humility are inseparable. In perfect humility all selfishness disappears and your soul no longer lives for itself or in itself for God: and it is lost and submerged in Him and transformed into Him. ~ Thomas Merton

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We must insist upon the positiveness of the divine life in us. The Christian spirit is a positive and aggressive force in the world. It is not on the defensive. It is not a mere shrinking from evil and abstinence from wrong-doing. It is the shedding of a new light into the world. It is a triumphant marching onward in the Name and faith of Christ. It is a confident, joyful challenge to the armies of unrighteousness. It expels bad passion by introducing true love. It conquers the disease of sin by increasing the amount and improving the quality of vigorous righteousness. It overcomes evil with good. ~Thomas F. Gaylor; from his article, Lent: Not Negative, but Positive

Saturday, March 10, 2012

People do not mortify themselves during Lent out of a sick desire to suffer. God did not make us for suffering. If we fast or do penances or pray, it is for a very positive goal: by overcoming self one achieves the Easter resurrection. We do not just celebrate a risen Christ, distinct from us, but during Lent we prepare ourselves to rise with him to a new life and to become the new persons that are what the country needs right now. Let us not just shout slogans about new structures; new structures will be worthless without new persons to administer the new structures the country needs and live them out in their lives. ~Archbishop Oscar Romero

Friday, March 9, 2012

The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace—all things are there. ~ St. Macarius

Love is a fire. It must spend itself in service. Service is the dry wood for the fire of love that makes it burst into a bonfire that reaches into eternity and burns there. We must be a flame in the darkness, a lamp to our neighbor’s feet, a place where he can warm himself, a place where he can see the face of God. It is to love, to burn, that we have come together! Our life is senseless if we are here for any other reason than loving---utterly, passionately, completely. The very word “love” implies sacrifice and surrender. ~Catherine Doherty, from her book, The People of the Towel and the Water

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Paschal Mystery is above all the mystery of life in which the Church, by celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ, enters into the Kingdom of Life which He has established once for all by His definitive victory over sin and death. We must remember the original meaning of Lent, as the ver sacrum, the Church's "holy spring" in which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism, and public penitents were made ready by penance for their restoration to the sacramental life in a communion with the rest of the Church. Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing. ~Thomas Merton, from Seasons of Celebration

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members....

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man's home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.
~Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, excerpted from his book Faith and the Future.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dear brothers and sisters! From Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Lenten journey leads us to Golgotha, the mountain of supreme sacrifice of love of the one Priest of the new and eternal covenant. In that sacrifice is contained the greatest force for transformation in human history. Taking upon himself every consequence of evil and sin, Jesus rose on the third day as conqueror of death and the Evil One. Lent prepares us to personally participate in this great mystery of faith, which we will celebrate in the Triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. Let us entrust our Lenten journey and that of the whole Church to the Virgin Mary. May she who followed her Son Jesus to the cross, help us to be faithful disciples of Christ, mature Christians, to be able to participate together with her in the fullness of Easter joy. Amen! ~Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, March 4, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that can to some extent repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble -- because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (in some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out. ~C.S. Lewis

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The essential difference between Christian and Pagan asceticism lies in the fact that Paganism in renouncing pleasure gives up something which it does not think desirable; whereas Christianity in giving up pleasure gives up something it thinks very desirable indeed. Thus there is frenzy in Christian asceticism; its follies and renunciations are like those of first love. ~G. F. WATT

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive, as we had during Word War II [or September 11, 2001]. And then, to mention the subject at all is to be greeted by howls of anger. It is not that people think too high and difficult a virtue; it is that they think it hateful and contemptible. "That sort of talk makes me sick," they say. And half of you already want to ask me, "I wonder how you'd feel about forgiving the Gestapo [or a Muslim terrorists] if you were a Pole or a Jew [or the person who lost a loved one when the World Trade Centers were destroyed]?
 So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder very much what I should do when it came to that point. I am not trying to tell you in this book what I could do---I can do precious little---I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And there, right in the middle of it, I find, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. It is made perfectly clear that if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven. There are no two ways about it. ~C. S. Lewis, excerpt from Mere Christianity

Friday, March 2, 2012

The time of Lent is precious, a time to slow down, restrain ourselves, and prepare our hearts for Good Friday and the remembrance of Jesus' death. It is a time to return to the desert where Jesus spent forty trying days readying for his ministry. He allowed himself to be tested, and if we are serious about following him, we will do the same.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus' thirst...'Repent and believe' Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart.  What are we to believe?  Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor. ... He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you."  ~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta