Saturday, January 30, 2010
Dom John Eudes Bamberger, Abbey of the Genesee, NY
Dear Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate, write your Son's name on my heart. Amen.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Let him take up his cross, the one that is his. Let this man or this woman, rarely to be found and worth more than the entire world (Prov. 31, 10-31), take up with joy, fervently clasp in his arms and bravely set upon his shoulders this cross that is his own and not that of another; his own cross, the one that My Wisdom designed for him in every detail of number, weight and measurement; his own cross whose four dimensions, its length, breadth, thickness and height (Eph. 3, 18), I very accurately gauged with My own hands; his own cross which all out of love for him I carved from a section of the very Cross I bore on Calvary; his cross, the grandest of all the gifts I have for My chosen ones on earth; his cross, made up in its thickness of temporal loss, humiliation, disdain, sorrow, illness and spiritual trial which My Providence will not fail to supply him with every day of his life; his cross, made up in its length of a definite period of days or months when he will have to bear with slander or be helplessly stretched out on a bed of pain, or forced to beg, or else a prey to temptation, dryness, desolation and many another mental anguish; his cross, made up in its breadth of hard and bitter situations stirred up for him by his relatives, friends or servants; his cross, finally, made up in its depth of secret sufferings which I will have him endure nor will I allow him any comfort from created beings, for by My order they will turn from him too and even join Me in making him suffer.
Let him carry it, and not drag it, not shoulder it off, not tighten it, nor hide it. Let him hold it high in hand, without impatience or peevishness, without voluntary complaint or grumbling, without dividing or softening, without shame or human respect. Let him place it on his forehead and say with St. Paul: "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6, 14) Let him carry it on his shoulders, after the example of Jesus Christ, and make it his weapon to victory and the scepter of his empire (Is. 9, 16). Let him root it in his heart and there change it into a fiery bush, burning day and night with the pure love of God, without being consumed.
The cross: it is the cross he must carry for there is nothing more necessary, more useful, more agreeable and more glorious than suffering for Jesus Christ.
~St. Louis de Montfort in The Friends of the Cross
Dear Lord, with all my heart I thank you for my cross, "the grandest of all the gifts" you have for me on earth. Help me to embrace it lovingly and carry it gladly with you and for you, my King and my God. Amen.
Note: Above picture is of the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I found more wisdom in prayer at the foot of the crucified than in all the books I have ever read. ~St. Thomas Aquinas
The above quote was my introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas when I first came across it as a high school student in the mid-60's. I was on a quest for knowledge -- and I still am, though now in a more balanced way, thanks be to God -- and I wanted to know everything, especially about God and my Catholic faith. I was an avid reader, thanks to my beloved parents, and when I entered first grade, I was light years ahead of my classmates. In fact, my initial experience of reading within the school system filled me with dismay. Dick and Jane? Who were they? What about Emma and Rebecca? Spot? What about Moby Dick? OK, I'm exaggerating slightly, I wasn't quite at that reading level, but I was bored out of my mind with Dick, Jane and Spot, which, through Mummie and Daddy's example and influence, became a lesson in patience and humility for me. But back to St. Thomas Aquinas, who led me to seriously question the prodigious reading program I was busy planning for my life. He taught me two invaluable lessons that continue to bear fruit in my life -- one, that wisdom is more important than knowledge, and, two, that the school of wisdom par excellence is found at the foot of the cross. And that's it, that's everything.
Thank you, St. Thomas, for helping to set me on the path of wisdom so early in my life. Amen!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
But that night the Lord spoke to Nathan and said: "Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in?'" 2 Sam 7:4-5Dear Lord, about this house that am I building for You out of the raw material of my life… Is it one for Your name? Are You its foundation? Am I careful how I build upon it? Does it please You? Is it a sanctuary of honor and glory? A haven of peace and loveliness? Are its courts filled with songs of praise? Does peace reign in its walls? Am I a careful master builder, a wise gatekeeper, a diligent housekeeper, a gracious host? Help me, please, my King and my God, so that the house I am building and keeping for You may be a happy home where love abides and You are welcome. Amen.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Shelter us from war, hatred and oppression.
Teach us to live in peace, to educate ourselves for peace.
Inspire us to act justly, to revere all God has made.
Root peace firmly in our hearts and in our world.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
My novice mistress gave me this quote of Rilke when I was a first-year novice in 1967 and was discovering what a complicated person I was. I was rather vexed over my inability to understand myself, not to mention everyone else and the whole world besides. Living the questions gave me a different approach. I began to learn that I didn't have to know and understand everything then and there. I could be at peace in my desire and search for self-knowledge and self-understanding because faith told me that God would give me whatever answers He deemed best for me according to His plan. I didn't have to be anxious and impatient, only faithful to God and His will for me in the present moment. I only need do my part and rest assured that He will do His.
Now, 43 years later, I continue to come across locked rooms here and there. Some of them I may never be able to open while on this earth. At times I get a bit frustrated with it all, but now I can more easily calm my soul with a quiet murmur, "Be still, my child, be still...love the questions and have faith in God." I know the One in whom I've placed my trust -- and He is all goodness, all love.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
It is hard to accept peacefully what happens around us in a day of work and struggle. The things we had put so much hope in betray us. People to whom we wish to be kind resist us. And those from whom we seek help try to take advantage of us.
This is why I come to you, Mother, because deep inside me lives an insecure child. But close to you I feel strong and full of confidence. Only the thought of having a mother such as you gives me courage. I feel that your arm supports me and that your hand guides me. I can thus continue on my way undisturbed.
Renew me entirely, so that I may see the beauty of life. Lift me so that I may walk without fear. Give me your hand so that I may always find my way. Bless me so that my presence in the world may be a sign of your blessing.
Friday, January 22, 2010
for in you my soul has taken refuge.
In the shadow of your wings I take refuge
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I call to God the Most High,
to God who has always been my help.
May God send his truth and his love.
O God, arise above the heavens;
may your glory shine on earth!
I will sing, I will sing your praise.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I am espoused to him whom the angels serve; sun and moon stand in wonder at his beauty.
Rejoice with me, and be glad, for I have taken my place with all the saints in the kingdom of light.
What I have longed for, I now see; what I hoped for, I now possess; in heaven I am espoused to him whom on earth I loved with all my heart.
St. Agnes, whose feast we celebrate today, is dear to the heart of every consecrated woman. The above antiphons are from Morning Prayer for today. The second antiphon is one I sing with gratitude and joy every single day. It is sung by the newly consecrated virgin at the very end of the Rite of Consecration for a Virgin Living in the World, which was bestowed upon me by Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza on May 8, 2004. Every day I marvel anew that, through our dear Lord's grace and glory, I am espoused to Him whom the angels serve. I kneel in wonder that my Lord and my King desires my beauty (Ps 45:12), which is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to His. Truly, my cup runneth over! Dear St. Agnes, pray for me that I may always be Christ's faithful virgin bride! Amen.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Moses reminded the Israelites that the Lord brought them water out of the flinty rock when he led them through the wilderness where there was no water (Deut 8:15). Without water, we cannot live. We need look only to our brothers and sisters in Haiti to see how desperately we need water to survive. Later, Moses himself was hidden in a cleft of the rock by the Lord, who covered him with his sheltering hand (Ex 33:22). Without God's protection, we are easy prey for our adversary the devil, who "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour" (1 Pet 5:8). His name is "legion" for he is many.
Soul of my Saviour, sanctify my breast;
Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest;
Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide,
Wash me with water flowing from thy side.
Strength and protection may thy Passion be;
O blessed Jesus, hear and answer me;
Deep in thy wounds, Lord, hide and shelter me;
So shall I never, never part from thee.
Guard and defend me from the foe malign;
In death's dread moments make me only thine;
Call me and bid me come to thee on high,
Where I may praise thee with thy saints for aye.
My Lord Jesus Christ is truly my rock. The life-giving water flowing from His side is my salvation. His sacred wounds are my hiding place. His Body and Blood are my food and drink. His life and death are my comfort and joy. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Today, January 18, begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which continues through Sunday, January 24. This week is an invitation for Christians throughout the world to pray with our Lord Jesus that we all may be one as He and the Father were one (Jn 17:21). Father Paul Wattson, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, developed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was first observed at Graymoor from January 18-25, 1908. This year's theme is "You are witnesses of these things" (Lk 24:48). The Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute provides a wealth of spiritual resources for this annual event, including an excellent daily Scripture and prayer guide.
All-holy Father, fountain of unity and wellspring of harmony, grant that all the families of nations, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of the human race,may be gathered together to form the one people of the New Covenant…pour out upon us the Spirit of gentleness and peace,that we may work together in harmony and so hasten the coming of your kingdom.We ask this through Christ our Lord. ~from the Mass of Holy Mary, Mother of Unity
Dear Mary, Mother of Christ, pray for us to be one in your Son! Amen.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope ... to thee do we cry ... Mother of the poor, the afflicted, the abandoned ... Mother of the orphan and the widow ... Mother of the helpless, the hungry, the homeless ... Mother of the wounded, the sick, the dying ... Mother of the lonely and the alone ... Mother of the fearful, the anxious, the bereft ... Mother of the suffering, the desolate, the hopeless ... Mother of the living and the dead ... remember, O Mother who loves us so dearly, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided ... Mother who feels our every pain and knows our every sorrow ... Mother of consolation, Mother of hope, Mother of love ... Mother, remember us, for to thee do we cry!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.
For your name's sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not. Among the nations' idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O Lord, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.
~Jeremiah 14:8-9, 19, 21-22
Friday, January 15, 2010
This week, January 10-16, is National Vocation Awareness Week. While the emphasis is on vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, we do well to remember other vocations as well. The simple but profound fact is that without the vocation to marriage, we would have no priests, no consecrated men and women. The sacrament of marriage is a magnificent one, and every day I pray for married couples, especially among my own family and friends. I ask our dear Lord, who worked his first miracle at the wedding at Cana, to give them all the strength and the courage they need to be faithful to their vocation, to God and to each other. And I thank God for their deep, abiding love that "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7). In them and through them, Christ makes all things new. Hallelujah!
It was to a married woman that St. Francis de Sales wrote this practical advice: "We must love all that God loves, and he loves our vocation; so let us love it too and not waste our energy hankering after a different sort of life, but get on with our job (St. Francis de Sales, Selected Letters Translated by Elisabeth Stopp). This is excellent counsel for all, and so this week I've been praying that each one of us will indeed love our God-given vocation and throw ourselves into it with boundless enthusiasm and great faith, confident that the Lord who calls us wants nothing less than our total cooperation and our absolute joy. Even if we are in the midst of discerning our vocation in life, we are still at this precise moment within a vocation to which God has called us, and that alone is reason to rejoice.
Thank you, dear Lord, for our respective vocations. Help us to bloom where we're planted and thus give glory to you. Amen.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, is accepting donations by phone at (800) 736-3467; online at http://www.crs.org/; or by mail to CRS, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.
The Salesians are accepting donations by phone at (914) 633-8344; online at http://www.salesianmissions.org/; or by mail to Salesian Disaster Relief, Salesian Missions, P.O. Box 30, New Rochelle, NY 10802-0030.
The Archdiocese of Miami, which has a large Haitian population, has set up a place to donate online at http://www.newmiamiarch.org/. (This link isn't working as of 5am today, but perhaps later today it will.)
Caritas Internationalis is accepting donations for Haiti at http://www.caritas.org/.
Food for the Poor is also accepting donations at http://www.foodforthepoor.org/.
Catholic Medical Mission Board is accepting monetary donations by mail to CMMB, 10 West 17th St., New York, New York 10011; by phone at (800) 678-5659; or online at http://support.cmmb.org/Haiti. Medicines and medical supplies may be donated by calling CMMB's Kathy Tebbett at (212) 242 7757.
Jesuit Refugee Service is accepting donations at http://www.jrsusa.org/; click on "Donate Now" box on right of page.
Lord my God, I call for help by day;
I cry at night before you.
Let my prayer come into your presence.
O turn your ear to my cry.
For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb;
I have reached the end of my strength,
like one among among the dead;
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand.
~from Psalm 87
Dear God, Father of the Poor, have mercy on our brothers and sisters in Haiti who are suffering such devastation and desolation. Please help them! Help those who are helping them, and help us to help them all in whatever ways we can. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord, who alone can make all things new. Amen.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
RESOLUTIONS OF ST. FAUSTINA
from her Dairy of Divine Mercy, #226-227
1. The duty of the moment that I most often fail to obey, I will do my very best to improve.
2. I will keep silent before others who grumble.
3. I must take no heed of the opinion of others.
4. I must do everything and act in all matter now as I would like to do at the hour of my death.
5. In every action I must be mindful of God.
6. I must be faithful in my spiritual exercises.
7. I must have great appreciation for even the most minute task.
8. I must not let myself become absorbed in the whirl of work, but take a break to look up to Heaven.
9. I must speak little with people, but a good deal with God.
10. I must pay little attention to who is for me and who is against me.
11. I must not tell others about those things I have had to put up with.
12. I must maintain peace and equanimity during times of suffering.
13. In difficult moments I must take refuge in the wounds of Jesus; I must seek consolation, comfort, light and affirmation in them.
14. In the midst of trails I will try to see the loving hand of God.
Dear Saint Faustina, please pray for me to be at peace in Divine Mercy. Amen!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
THE DAILY DECALOGUE OF POPE JOHN XXIII
1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.
Dear Pope John XXIII, please pray for me and instill in my heart some of your goodness and joy. Amen!
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
How small God made Himself when He became flesh in the womb of His Virgin Mother! How low He bowed down when He became one like us in all things but sin! The feeding trough for a cradle ... the hidden years in Nazareth ... the humble trade of carpentry ... the submission to John's baptism yet having no need to repent ... the motley crew of twelve disciples who bickered among themselves and failed to grasp his teachings ... the wanderings through the countryside with no place to lay His head ... the scandalous cross and a criminal's death for living the truth in love ... the stranger's tomb hastily found at the last minute ... the entire life of Our Lord Jesus was but one lowliness after another, and through each lowering of Himself, He raised us higher and higher with Him to the Father. O Christ ever greater, increase our faith in Thee!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
This is my little town,
And here, if anywhere,
My Christ Child
Will be born.
I must begin
To go about my day ~
Sweep out the inn,
Get fresh hay for the manger
And be sure
To leave my heart ajar
In case there may be travelers
"Housekeeper," by Elizabeth Rooney
Dear Mary, Mother of Our Lord, your Holy Child has made His Home within me. Through His divine indwelling, my soul is a little Bethlehem. Help me to keep my Bethlehem fresh and clean for Him. In your spirit of of gratitude and praise, may I always welcome whoever comes here looking for Him. Amen.
Friday, January 8, 2010
The Child we seek doesn't need our gold.
On love, on love alone he will build his kingdom.
His piercéd hand will hold no scepter,
his haloed head will wear no crown;
his might will not be built on your toil.
Swifter than lightning he will soon walk among us.
He will bring us new life and receive our death,
and the keys to his city belong to the poor.
Gian Carlo Menotti, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Dear Mary, Loving Mother of Our Savior, lead us to the Child we seek, your Son Jesus, the King of Love. Amen.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Light looked down and beheld Darkness.
"Thither will I go," said Light.
Peace looked down and beheld War.
"Thither will I go," said Peace.
Love looked down and beheld Hatred.
"Thither will I go," said Love.
So came Light and shone.
So came Peace and gave rest.
So came Love and brought Life.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
T.S. Eliot, from "Choruses from 'The Rock'"
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for making Your home with us. "Let my soul, like Mary, be thine earthly sanctuary." Amen.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans and all that lives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit -- and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused. And to save us from our own foolishnesses and from all our sins He came down to Earth and gave Himself. Venite adoremus Dominum. ~Sigrid Undset
Dear Mary, Mother of the Divine Child, thank you for giving yourself to Him so that He could give Himself to us. Amen.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
There was a star in the sky, a star on earth and the Sun in the manger. The star in the sky was that bright heavenly body; the star on earth, the Virgin Mary; the Sun in the manger, Christ our Lord...Mary means "star of the sea"...And she is rightly named 'star of the sea', for she shines on the world like an incomparable star, and her brightness makes the world ight, and she has sent forth from herself that ray "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"...A star shines in the night, and the Virgin shines in the night of this world with an incomparable light...Such is our star, brethren, such is the Virgin Mary, the star of the sea, and because she has left us an example, that we should follow her steps, of such kind should our souls be. ~St. Peter Damian, Sermon for the Feast of the Epiphany
Dear Mary, Morning Star, pray for us! Lead us to your Son, Jesus, who is forever the Light of the World. Amen.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our glory is to stand before the world as your own sons and daughters. May the simple beauty of Jesus' birth summon us always to love what is most deeply human, and to see your Word made flesh reflected in those whose lives we touch. Amen. ~from the Roman Missal
The incident of the Magi teaches us that hardship, anxiety, pain and harsh circumstances must always prepare the way for the discovery of the Child in its mother's arm. We do not find the herald of God or God himself in easy circumstances. The Child of Mary, many years later, warned his hearers of this, saying: "But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings." (Lk 7:25) ~Father Edward Leen in The Likeness of Christ
Dear Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, in all circumstances, easy or not, let us draw strength from you and rejoice with you in God our Savior. Amen.
O Father, the first rule of Our dear Savior's life was to do Your Will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for its most full and complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing what You wish we will be pleasing to You. Amen. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us to be devoted to God's will in the present moment as fully and lovingly as you were. Amen!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Magi's fidelity to the inspiration of grace is wonderful. Doubt takes no hold upon their minds; without staying to reason, they immediately begin to carry out their design. Neither the indifference nor the skepticism of those who surround them, nor the disappearance of the star, nor the difficulties inherent to an expedition of this kind, nor the length and dangers of the way stop them. They obey the divine call without delay or hesitation. "We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage" (Mt 2:2).
In this the Magi are our models, whether it concerns the vocation to the faith, or whether it be a question of the call to perfection. There is indeed for every faithful soul a vocation to holiness: "Be holy because I am holy" (Lev 11:44). The apostle St. Paul assures us that from all eternity there exists for us a divine decree full of love containing this call: "He chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him" (Eph 1:4).
And for those whom He calls to holiness God makes all things work together unto good (Rom 8:28). The manifestation of this vocation is for each of us his or her star. It takes different forms, according to God's designs, our character, the circumstances wherein we live, the events that befall us; but it shines in the soul of each one.
And what is the end and object of this call ? For us as for the Magi, it is to lead us to Jesus. The Heavenly Father causes the star to shine in us; for, says Christ Himself, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him" (Jn 6:44).
If with fidelity we listen to the divine call, if we generously press onward with our gaze fixed upon the star, we shall come to Christ Who is the life of our souls. And whatever be our sins, our failings, our miseries, Jesus will welcome us with kindness. He has promised to do so: "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me" (Jn 6:37).
Thus, whether it concerns the call to faith or holiness, we shall only find Christ and the life whereof He is the source on condition that we are attentive to grace and perseveringly faithful in seeking after divine union.
The Heavenly Father calls us to His Son by the inspiration of His grace. Like the Magi, as soon as the star shines in our hearts, we should instantly leave all: our sins, the occasions of sin, evil habits, infidelities, imperfections, attachment to creatures. Taking no account of criticism nor the opinion of men, nor the difficulties of the work to be done, we should set out at once to seek Jesus. He wills this whether we have lost Him by mortal sin, or whether, already possessing Him by sanctifying grace, He calls us to a closer and more intimate union with Himself.
Lord, I have seen Thy star, and I come to Thee: what wilt Thou have me to do ?
Dom Columba Marmion, O.S.B., "Epiphany," Christ In His Mysteries
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Take our flesh and blood,
and give us Your humanity;
Take our eyes,
and give us Your vision;
Take our minds,
and give us your pure thought;
Take our feet,
and set them in your path.
Take our hands,
and fold them in Your prayer;
Take our hearts,
and give them Your will to love.
Dear Mary, Mother of Our Lord and Savior, bring Incarnate Love to birth within us this day so that all the ends of the earth may see the saving power of Your Son in and through us. Amen.