Monday, February 28, 2011

Do not worry about tomorrow!

Do not worry about tomorrow. ~Matthew 6:34

Wishing to lead his disciples to perfect faith, the Lord said in the gospel: Whoever is unbelieving in a small matter will be unbelieving also when it comes to something important; and whoever believes in a small matter will believe also when it comes to something important. What are the small matters, and what the important ones?

The small matters are things offered by this world, which the Lord has promised to provide for those who believe in him—things such as food, clothing, and whatever else is necessary for the body’s well-being, health, and the like. About these he commanded us not to have the slightest anxiety but confidently to trust him, for he will supply all the needs of those who make him their refuge.

On the other hand, the important matters are the gifts pertaining to the eternal and incorruptible world, which he has promised to provide for those who believe in him, and who are ceaselessly concerned about these things and ask him for them as he commanded.

The Lord said: Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well. Thus each person is to be tested by these trivial and transitory things to see whether he or she believes that God will supply them. We are to have no anxiety about such things, but are to be concerned solely with the eternal blessings to come.

It will then be obvious that one believes in the incorruptible things and really does seek the eternal blessings, if one preserves a strong faith concerning the things we have spoken of.

All who submit to the word of truth should test and examine themselves, or else be tested and examined by spiritual counselors, as to the way they live out their belief and surrender themselves to God. Are they really living by God’s word, or only by an imaginary belief based on a false notion of righteousness and faith?

It is regarding his faith in small matters, that is to say, in temporal matters, that each person is examined and tested. Hear how this is done.

Do you say you believe that you have been deemed worthy of the kingdom of heaven, that you have been born from above as a child of God, that you are a co-heir with Christ, and that you will reign with him for ever, rejoicing like God in light brilliant beyond description throughout the untold ages of eternity?

No doubt you will answer, “Yes, that is the very reason why I left the world and gave myself to the Lord.”

Examine yourself, then, to see whether worldly cares may still have a hold on you; whether you are very preoccupied with feeding and clothing your body, and with your other pursuits and your recreation, as though your own power kept you alive, and you were obliged to make provision for yourself, when you have been commanded to have no anxiety whatever concerning yourself.

If you believe that you will receive everlasting, eternal, abiding, and bounteous blessings, how much more should you not believe that God will provide you with these transitory, earthly benefits, which he has given even to impious people and to beasts and birds?

You who have become a stranger to the world ought to possess a faith, an outlook, and a manner of life which has about it something unusual, something different from that of all worldly people. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

~Attributed to Macarius of Egypt

Dear Jesus, in the shadow of Your wings I taker refuge and rejoice! Grant me the wisdom to discern between the small and the important matters of life and the faith to believe in Your everlasting love. Amen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Best Friend Ever!

Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. ~Isaiah 49:14-15

Jesus, you are my only true and real friend. You share all my sorrows and take them upon yourself, knowing how to turn them to my good. You listen to me kindly when I tell you of my difficulties, and you never fail to lighten them. Wherever I go I always find you; you never leave me, and if I am obliged to go away, I find you waiting for me.

You are never weary of listening to me, and you never cease to do me good. I am sure of being loved if I love you. You have no need of me or of my goods, and you do not deprive yourself by giving me of your riches. However wretched I am, no one nobler or more clever or even more holy can rob me of your friendship; and death which separates us from all other friends will only unite me to you. All the accidents of age or of fortune will never detach you from me; on the contrary, I shall never enjoy you more fully and you will never be so close to me as when everything goes against me. You bear with my defects with tender patience; even my infidelities and ingratitude do not wound you in such a way that you are not always ready to return to me when I call upon you.

~Saint Claude de la Colombière

Thank you, dear Jesus, for always being
my truest, my realest, my best friend ever!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pray for our priests!

Prayer for Priests by St. Thérèse of Lisieux

O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests, who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.

May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.

Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.

Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love.


Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ,
our true and everlasting High Priest,
and mother of all priests,
pray for our priests!

Friday, February 25, 2011

His Cross must be ours...

O Crux, ave spes unica!
Hail, O Cross, our only hope!

His Cross must be our Cross. We all fit onto it. The same nails fasten us to the tree of life, the same thorns crown us, the same lance pierces our heart. And when we have touched all the peaks and arrive finally upon the divine Calvary and consent to be lifted on the Cross and immolate ourselves with the holy victim in His unique sacrifice, our souls, trembling with pain and happiness, find in the arms of the Cross the supreme secret of human life, the secret of perfect joy. ~Most Rev. Luis M. Martinez, The Sanctifier
Dear Jesus,
our Crucified Lord and Savior,
may Your cross be our only cross.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Have salt...

Have salt in yourselves. ~Mark 9:50

For salt is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was able to preserve the whole earth, and made many to be salt in the earth. ~from Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels

The biblical images of the salt of the earth, of the light of the world, suggest something of the fact that the Church has a representative function. Salt of the earth presupposes that not the whole earth is salt. The Church has as Church a function for the whole, in the whole, and is not simply a copy of something else; she is not even a state. All of this must be present in her life. She must be aware of her quite specific mission: to be the world's escape from itself into the light of God and to keep open this possibility so that the air we breathe can penetrate into the world. ~Pope Benedict XVI in Salt of the Earth

O Jesus, be our salt!
Purify and preserve us as only You can.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Despise no one

Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, “firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,” helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no one. ~St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, 2nd century

Ave Maria! The above from St. Polycarp, whose feast we celebrate today, is today's "Quiet Moment" from Catholic Digest (scroll halfway down the page to see where you can sign up to receive these gems of beauty and inspiration daily). What tugged at my heart were the last three words admonishing us to despise no one. "Oh, I don't do that," I immediately thought. Oh really? Think again, my girl! How about when I disdainfully judge and then dismiss individuals as being thoughtless, self-absorbed, or insensitive ... or shallow, boring, or clueless ... or uncaring, unhelpful, or uninterested? The word despise comes from the Latin despicere, which means "to look down. " Oh yes, I am guilty as charged! I can and sometimes do despise individuals whom our Father has made in His image and likeness, especially when I focus only on what annoys or perplexes me.

Today's first reading from Sirach 4:11-19 is a song of praise for Wisdom, who "exalts her sons and gives help to those who seek her," who gladdens those who serve her well and reveals to them her secrets. "Whoever holds her fast will obtain glory, and the Lord will bless the place she enters. Those who serve her will minister to the Holy One; the Lord loves those who love her." Today I humbly beg for the gift of Wisdom, that I may despise no one and love everyone "with the mildness of the Lord."

Mary, Our Lady of Wisdom, pray for us!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

O present moment!

O My God, when I look into the future, I am frightened, but why plunge into the future? Only the present moment is precious to me, as the future may never enter my soul at all. It is no longer in my power to change, correct or add to the past; for neither sages nor prophets could do that. And so what the past has embraced I must entrust to God. O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire. I desire to use you as best I can. And although I am weak and small, you grant me the grace of Your omnipotence. And so, trusting in Your mercy, I walk through life like a little child, offering You each day this heart burning with love for Your greater Glory. ~St. Maria Faustina
Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. A weaned child on its mother's breast, even so is my soul. ~Psalm 131:2

Monday, February 21, 2011

True Lovers of Jesus

Love your enemies. Matthew 5:34

When love acts in the soul it does so wisely and gently, for it has great power to kill anger and envy, and all the passions of wrath and melancholy, and it brings into the soul the virtues of patience, gentleness, peaceableness, and friendliness to one's neighbor.

People guided only by their own reason find it very hard to be patient, peaceful, sweet-tempered and charitable to their neighbors when they treat them badly and wrong them. But true lovers of Jesus have no great difficulty in enduring all this, because love fights for them and kills such movements of wrath and melancholy with amazing ease.

Through the spiritual sight of Jesus it makes the souls of such people so much at ease and so peaceful, so ready to endure and so conformed to God, that if they are despised and disregarded by others, or suffer injustice or injury, shame or ill-treatment, they pay no attention.

They are not greatly disturbed by these things and will not allow themselves to be, for then they would lose the comfort they feel in their souls, and that they are unwilling to do. They can more easily forget all the wrong that is done them than others can forgive it even when asked for forgiveness. They would rather forget than forgive, for that seems easier to them.

And it is love that does all this, for love opens the eye of the soul to the sight of Jesus, and confirms it in the pleasure and contentment of the love that comes from that sight. It comforts the soul so much that it is quite indifferent to what others do against it. The greatest harm that could befall such people would be to lose the spiritual sight of Jesus, and they would therefore suffer all other injuries than that one alone.

When true lovers of Jesus suffer harm from their neighbors, they are so strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit and are made so truly humble, so patient, and so peaceable, that they retain their humility no matter what harm or injury is inflicted on them.

They do not despise their neighbors or judge them, but they pray for them in their hearts, and feel more pity and compassion for them than for others who never harmed them, and in fact they love them better, and more fervently desire their salvation, because they see that they will have so much spiritual profit from their neighbors' deeds, though this was never their intention.

But this love and this humility, which are beyond human nature, come only from the Holy Spirit to those whom he makes true lovers of Jesus.

~Walter Hilton (+1396) in The Scale of Perfection

Enlarge my heart with love, that I may learn to see how sweet it is to love and to be consumed by love, and to revel in love. Let me be possessed by love, let me rise above myself in an ecstasy of love. Let me sing the song of love, "I will follow Thee, my beloved, upon high." ~Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book 3, Chapter 5)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Litany of the Love of God

Litany of the Love of God
Pope Pius VI)

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Thou Who art Infinite Love, Have mercy on us.

Thou Who didst first love me, Have mercy on us.

Thou Who commandest me to love Thee, Have mercy on us.

With all my heart, I Love Thee, O My God

With all my soul, I Love Thee, O My God

With all my mind, I Love Thee, O My God

With all my strength, I Love Thee, O My God

Above all possessions and honors, I Love Thee, O My God

Above all pleasures and enjoyments, I Love Thee, O My God

More than myself, and everything belonging to me, I Love Thee, O My God

More than all my relatives and friends, I Love Thee, O My God

More than all men and angels, I Love Thee, O My God

Above all created things in heaven or on earth, I Love Thee, O My God

Only for Thyself, I Love Thee, O My God

Because Thou art the sovereign Good, I Love Thee, O My God

Because Thou art infinitely worthy of being loved, I Love Thee, O My God

Because Thou art infinitely perfect, I Love Thee, O My God

Even hadst Thou not promised me heaven, I Love Thee, O My God

Even hadst Thou not menaced me with hell, I Love Thee, O My God

Even shouldst Thou try me by want and misfortune, I Love Thee, O My God

In wealth and in poverty, I Love Thee, O My God

In prosperity and in adversity, I Love Thee, O My God

In health and in sickness, I Love Thee, O My God

In life and in death, I Love Thee, O My God

In time and in eternity, I Love Thee, O My God

In union with that love wherewith all the saints and all the angels love Thee in heaven, I Love Thee, O My God

In union with that love wherewith the Blessed Virgin Mary loveth Thee, I Love Thee, O My God

In union with that infinite love wherewith Thou lovest Thyself eternally, I Love Thee, O My God

Let us pray: My God, Who dost possess in incomprehensible abundance all that is perfect and worthy of love, annihilate in me all guilty, sensual, and undue love for creatures. Kindle in my heart the pure fire of Thy love, so that I may love nothing but Thee or in Thee, until being so entirely consumed by holy love of Thee, I may go to love Thee eternally with the elect in heaven, the country of pure love. Amen.

Ave Maria! Ever since I was a child, I've been fond of litanies. I found them to be such treasures, plus they were easy for me to memorize so I could draw upon them when my own words failed me. I still pray three of them daily, using Mummie's old prayerbook which my sister Annie recently had rebound for me, so tattered had it become over the years: the Holy Name of Jesus in the morning, the Sacred Heart of Jesus at bedtime, and the Blessed Virgin Mary (aka the Litany of Loreto) in the evening. The Catholic Church has wisely approved only five litanies for public worship -- Sacred Heart Of Jesus, Litany Of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Litany Of The Saints, Most Precious Blood of Jesus, Litany Of Saint Joseph -- but many more are available for private devotions, such as the 225 litanies provided here. One of these days I'll have to check them all out.

The above litany of the Love of God was written by
Pope Pius VI, who was born in 1717 and died in 1798. I find this particular prayer an excellent one for me to reflect upon when I prepare to go to Confession. It's a wonderful reminder of God's love for me and for all of us. As I pray one line after another, I realize anew how He alone can satisfy me and how He alone is worthy of all my love. This litany also works on me in another way, as an examination of conscience. Do I really love You, O my God, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Above all possessions and pleasures? More than myself? In sickness, adversity and poverty?

O my God! Incomprehensible Love, Infinite Love, Enduring Love! O may I love Thee more and more! Amen.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our Lady

Your name is Our Lady.
You alone are Mother of God
and raised high over all the earth.
O Spouse of God,
we celebrate you with faith,
we honor you with longing,
we venerate you with awe;
at every moment we exalt you
and reverently proclaim you blessed.
~St. Germanus of Constantinople

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wings of Love, continued

Love flies, runs, and leaps for joy; it is free and unrestrained. Love gives all for all, resting in One who is highest above all things, from whom every good flows and proceeds. Love does not regard the gifts, but turns to the Giver of all good gifts. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength; love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. Love therefore does great things; it is strange and effective; while he who lacks love faints and fails.

Love is watchful, and while resting, never sleeps; weary, it is never exhausted; imprisoned, it is never in bonds; alarmed, it is never afraid; like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle. Whoever loves God knows well the sound of His voice. A loud cry in the ears of God is that burning love of the soul which exclaims, "My God and my love, You are all mine, and I am Yours."

~Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book 3, Chapter 5)

Give me Thy love and thy grace,
for this is sufficient for me.
P.S. Ave Maria! As many of you know, after the Bible and the Liturgy of the Hours, my most favorite spiritual book is The Imitation of Christ. Daddy gave me a copy of this when I was a high school sophomore, and Thomas à Kempis has been a treasured inner companion and a wise spiritual guide for me ever since. There are a few different translations of the Imitation available in various bookstores. I have several of them that I refer to now and then, but I pretty much stick with the translation by Leo Sherley-Price, which is the one Daddy gave me in 1966. Unlike most translations, this particular one provides references for all the Scripture verses that à Kempis incorporates into his book. Translations of the Imitation can be found and read online, such as this one by Rev. William Benham (includes Scripture references) and another by A. Croft and H. Bolton.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wings of Love

If a man has a great love within him, it's as if this love gives him wings, and he endures life's problems more easily, because he has in himself that light, which is faith: to be loved by God and to let oneself be loved by God in Christ Jesus. This act of allowing oneself to be loved is the light that helps us to carry our daily burden. And holiness is not our work, our difficult work, but rather it is precisely this "openness": Open the windows of the soul so that the light of God can enter, do not forget God because it is precisely in opening oneself to his light that strength is found, as well as the joy of the redeemed. Let us pray to the Lord so that he will help us to find this sanctity, to allow ourselves to be loved by God, which is the vocation of us all, as well as being true redemption. ~Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience of 2/17/11

Dear Lord, today I rejoice anew that Your love has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. Amen! Alleluia! (cf. Romans 5:5)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grow and bear fruit all such who are shooting forth into the fair Lily in the kingdom of God, who are in the process of birth, are these lines written; that each one may be strengthened, and bud in the life of God, and grow, and bear fruit in the Tree of paradise; . . . that each branch and twig in this fair Tree may contribute, help and shelter all the other branches and twigs, that this Tree may become a great Tree! . . . Then shall we all rejoice, one with another, with joy unspeakable and full of glory! ~Jakob Boehme
Dear Lord, may we always abide in You and You in us that we may bear much fruit. Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reconciliation with others

Such was said to your ancestors, but I am speaking to you. ~Matthew 5:21, 22

Christ gave his life for you, and do you hold a grudge against your fellow servant? How then can you approach the table of peace? Your Master did not refuse to undergo every kind of suffering for you, and will you not even forgo your anger? Why is this, when love is the root, the wellspring and the mother of every blessing?

He has offered me an outrageous insult, you say. He has wronged me times without number, he has endangered my life. Well, what is that? He has not yet crucified you as the Jewish elders crucified the Lord. If you refuse to forgive your neighbor's offense your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins either. What does your conscience say when you repeat the words: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, and the rest?

Christ went so far as to offer his blood for the salvation of those who shed it. What could you do that would equal that? If you refuse to forgive your enemy you harm not him but yourself. You have indeed harmed him frequently in this present life, but you have earned for yourself eternal punishment on the day of judgment. There is no one God detests and repudiates more than the person who bears a grudge, whose heart is filled with anger, whose soul is seething with rage.

Listen to the Lord's words: If you are bringing your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and first go and be reconciled. Then come and offer your gift.

What do you mean? Am I really to leave my gift, my offering there? Yes, he says, because this sacrifice is offered in order that you may live in peace with your neighbor. If then the attainment of peace with your neighbor is the object of the sacrifice and you fail to make peace, even if you share in the sacrifice your lack of peace will make this sharing fruitless. Before all else therefore make peace, for the sake of which the sacrifice is offered. Then you will really benefit from it.

The reason the Son of God came into the world was to reconcile the human race with the Father. As Paul says: Now he has reconciled all things to himself, destroying enmity in himself by the cross. Consequently, as well as coming himself to make peace he also calls us blessed if we do the same, and shares his title with us. Blessed are the peacemakers, he says, for they shall be called children of God.

So as far as a human being can, you must do what Christ the Son of God did, and become a promoter of peace both for yourself and for your neighbor. Christ calls the peacemaker a child of God. The only good deed he mentions as essential at the time of sacrifice is reconciliation with one's brother or sister. This shows that of all the virtues the most important is love.

~St. John Chrysostom

Dear Lord, make us grow in love. Amen.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Historic Marian Feastdays

Ave Maria! Elizabeth Scalia, whose blog The Anchoress always stimulates my mind and stretches my heart, even if I don't totally agree with her, provided in her post of February 11 "a partial list of recent historical events that have occurred on days set aside to honor the Theotokos, the God-bearer, who delivered unto the world, a savior." How right it is that we hail Our Lady as "Virgin most powerful ... most merciful ... most faithful!"

Mother most wonderful,
pray for us, your children,
who love and honor you.
And keep us close to your Beloved Son, Jesus,
who is forever the light of the world.

Friday, February 11, 2011

19th World Day of the Sick

By his wounds you have been healed. ~1 Pt 2:24

Ave Maria! Today, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Church celebrates the 19th World Day of the Sick. This is, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Angelus message of February 6, "a favorable opportunity on which to reflect, to pray and to increase the sensitivity that the ecclesial communities and civil society show to our sick brothers and sisters." It is also a time to contemplate our Lord Jesus Christ in His passion and death, who "took upon himself the passion of man, of every time and place, even our sufferings, our difficulties, our sins, (and)… whose wounds (have) become the sign of our redemption, of forgiveness and reconciliation with the Father."

And if we tremble before our suffering Lord – and who of us doesn't? -- we can find strength and hope in Christ risen from the dead. As the Holy Father reminds us in his message for the 19th World Day of the Sick, "Often the Passion, the Cross of Jesus, generate fear because they seem to be the negation of life. In reality, it is exactly the contrary! The Cross is God’s 'yes' to mankind, the highest and most intense expression of his love and the source from which flows eternal life. From the pierced heart of Jesus this divine life flowed. He alone is capable of liberating the world from evil and making his Kingdom of justice, peace and love, to which we all aspire, grow."

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tenacity in Prayer

Ave Maria! St. Jane de Chantal, that wise and holy woman of tremendous faith and deep prayer, has much practical advice to offer us about prayer, a few of which can be found here. I find her comments on today's gospel about the Syrophoenician woman's faith (Mark 7:24-30) most refreshing:

"In prayer one must hold fast and never let go, because the one who gives up loses all. If it seems that no one is listening to you, then cry out even louder. If you are driven out of one door, go back in by the other. If you are told, as was the Canaanite woman, that you do not deserve the grace for which you are asking, then reply like her that you are not seeking unusual favors, but are hoping only to eat the crumbs which fall from the divine table. "

Perhaps St. Jane might seem overly bold, but to me, she exhibits a tenacity in prayer that is grounded in love -- God's enduring love for her. Her intimacy with the Lord of her life is so great that she can and does speak freely to Him from the depths of her heart. Like the Shulamite woman in the Song of Songs (3:4), St. Jane exults: 'Tenui nec dimittam! I have laid hold of you and I will not let you go!" She knows that God has laid hold of her, and so she rests forever secure in His loving embrace.

St. Jane de Chantal, teach us the intimacy of love that will lead us to tenacity in prayer. Amen.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oldie but goodie!


May be dialed direct!!! Your Bible is not a toll call!!!

When in sorrow, call John 14
When men fail you, call Psalm 27
If you want to be fruitful, call John 15
When you have sinned, call Psalm 51
When you worry, call Matthew 6: 19-34
When you are in danger, call Psalm 91
When God seems far away, call Psalm 139
When your faith needs stirring, call Hebrews 11
When you are lonely and fearful, call Psalm 23
When you grow bitter and critical, call I Corinthians 13
For Paul's secret to happiness, call Colossians 3:12-17
For understanding of Christianity, call II Corinthians 5:15-19
When you feel down and out, call Romans 8:31
When you want peace and rest, call Matthew 11:25-30
When the world seems bigger than God, call Psalm 90
When you want Christian assurance, call Romans 8:1-30
When you leave home for labor or travel, call Psalm 121
When your prayers grow narrow or selfish, call Psalm 67
For a great invention or opportunity, call Isaiah 5
When you want courage for a task, .call Joshua 1
For how to get along with fellow men, call Romans 12
When you think of investments and returns, call Mark 10
If you are depressed, call Psalm 27
If your pocketbook is empty, call Psalm 37
If you are losing confidence in people, call I Corinthians 13
If people seem unkind, call John 15
If discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126
If you find the world growing small and yourself great, call Psalm 19
For dealing with fear, call Psalm 34:7
For security, call Psalm 121:3
For assurance, call Mark 8:35
For reassurance, call Psalm 145:18

REMEMBER: All lines to Heaven are open 24 hours a day!

Your word, O Lord,
is purest gold.
I stand in awe of your word.
I count on your word.
I trust in your word.
I hope in your word.
You, whose word I praise,
are faithful in all Your words.
O bless the Lord, my soul!
from the Psalter

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Look into your own heart...

Ave Maria! Last fall -- September 18, 2010, to be exact -- Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the young people at Westminster Cathedral. He invited them to look into their hearts "to find the source of all true love" -- Jesus, who "is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. " As the Holy Father noted, we must do this every day, which requires discipline. And we must "make space for silence" throughout our day, lest we become overwhelmed with "the 'busy-ness' and the stress of our daily lives. " It is in silence that we find God and discover our true selves, Pope Benedict added. Such knowledge is a truly wonderful and precious gift, for which I thank God daily. Below is an excerpt from the Holy Father's greeting.

I ask each of you, first and foremost, to look into your own heart. Think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and all the love it is meant to give. After all, we were made for love. This is what the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image and likeness of God: we were made to know the God of love, the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to find our supreme fulfilment in that divine love that knows no beginning or end.

We were made to receive love, and we have. Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known, for the love that has made us who we are, the love that has shown us what is truly important in life. We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realize how precious we are, in their eyes and in the eyes of God.

We were also made to give love, to make love it the inspiration for all we do and the most enduring thing in our lives. At times this seems so natural, especially when we feel the exhilaration of love, when our hearts brim over with generosity, idealism, the desire to help others, to build a better world. But at other times we realize that it is difficult to love; our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the great Missionary of Charity, reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision. Every day we have to choose to love, and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestows on us in the sacraments of his Church.

This is the message I want to share with you today. I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love. Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer. But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak. Even amid the “busy-ness” and the stress of our daily lives, we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self. And in discovering our true self, we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for the building up of his Church and the redemption of our world.

Dear Lord, let me never fear to look into my heart for You are there. Amen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Cross

But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~Galatians 6:14

Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God’s “yes” to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus’ heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God’s love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire. ~Pope Benedict XVI

I lay my lips upon thy wounds --
Lord, I lay my soul upon thy cross.
~Gertrude von Le Fort

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let your light shine before all!

Let your light shine before all.

We who have once for all clothed ourselves in Christ, and been made worthy to have him dwelling within us, may show everyone, if we choose, simply by the strict discipline of our life and without saying a word, the power of him who dwells in us.

Therefore Christ said: Let your light so shine before all, that people may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven.

This is a light that reaches not only the bodily senses, but illuminates also the beholder’s mind and soul. It disperses the darkness of evil, and invites those who encounter it to let their own light shine forth, and to follow the example of virtue.
Let your light shine before all, Christ said; and he used the words before all advisedly. He meant, “Let your light be so bright that it illuminates not only yourself, but shines also before those needing its help.” As the light our senses perceive puts darkness to flight, and enables those travelling along a road perceptible to the senses to follow a straight course, so also the spiritual light which shines from blameless conduct illuminates those who cannot see clearly how to live a virtuous life, because their spiritual eyesight has been blurred by the darkness of error. It purifies their inward vision, leads them to live upright lives, and makes them walk henceforward in the path of virtue.

That people may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven. Christ means: Let your virtue, the perfection of your life, and the performance of good works inspire those who see you to praise the common Master of us all. And so I beg each of you to strive to live so perfectly that the Lord may be praised by all who see you.

By the perfection of your lives attract to yourselves the grace of the Spirit so that the Lord of all creation may be glorified, and so that we may all be found worthy of the kingdom of heaven by the grace, mercy, and goodness of God’s only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, might, and honor now and for ever and for endless ages. Amen.

~St. John Chrysostom

Dear Mary, crowned with living light, keep me close me to your Beloved Son Jesus, who is forever the Light of the World. Amen.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rest a while...

"Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." ~Mark 6:31

Birds have nests in trees and can retire to them when need arises and stags have bushes and thickets where they take cover, hide, and enjoy the cool shade during the summer. So also, Philothea, our hearts should each day pick and choose some place, either on Mount Calvary or within our Lord's wounds or in some other place near him, as a retreat where they can retire at various times to refresh and restore themselves during their exterior occupation. There, as in a stronghold, they can defend themselves against temptation. Blessed will be the soul that can truly say to our Lord: "You are my strength and my stronghold to give me safety, my roof against the rain, my shade against the heat" (see Psalm 31:3-5). ~St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life (Bk 2, Ch 12)

You are my hiding place, O Lord. ~Psalm 32:7
Within Thy wounds, hide me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The true light has come!

In honour of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendour of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendour, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendour.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honour.

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop

Ave Maria! The above is the second reading from the Office of Readings that we prayed yesterday on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It's a powerful reminder for us to rejoice in the True Light that the darkness has never been able to extinguish (John 1:5). The darkness of sin and evil is terribly deep and frightfully pervasive, but the True Light is infinitely greater and immeasurably stronger. This Light is given to us in the Sacrament of Baptism: "Receive this burning light and safeguard your Baptism by a blameless life; keep God's commandments so that when Our Lord comes to the marriage feast you may be worthy to greet Him with all the Saints in the heavenly court, and live forever and ever." As Mary, Mother of God and Light-Bearer, carried the Divine Child in her womb "with love beyond all telling," so may we carry His light for all to see and reflect the radiance of His eternal splendor throughout our world so enveloped in shadows.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Presentation of the Lord

"And you yourself a sword will pierce." Luke 2:35

Simeon's Prophecy
by Sr. St. Francis, S.S.J.

How still she stood that day,
As one apart,
Hearing the jagged words
That tore her heart.
But when the Child was still,
And Joseph slept,
She turned her face away,
And wept, and wept.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What about today?

"Friends, I again ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. The Saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today." ~Pope Benedict XVI, 4/19/08

Show me, Lord, your way
so that I may walk in your truth.
I will praise you, Lord, my God,
with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever.
~Psalm 86:11, 12