Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"What a treasure!"

O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.
~Psalm 139(138):7-8

O my God, You are in everything!  What a treasure!  Grant that I may live in this truth as in my center and my place of rest, where nothing can affect me or distract me from You, if I remain well hidden there.  ~Bl. M. Therese Soubiran

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Easter

I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  ~John 10:11

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” For the sake of his flock the shepherd was sacrificed as though he were a sheep. He did not refuse death; he did not destroy his executioners as he had the power to do, for his passion was not forced upon him. He laid down his life for his sheep of his own free will.

“I have the power to lay it down,” he said, “and I have the power to take it up again.”

By his passion he made atonement for our evil passions, by his death he cured our death, by his tomb he robbed the tomb, by the nails that pierced his flesh he destroyed the foundations of hell.

Death held sway until Christ died. The grave was bitter, our prison was indestructible, until the shepherd went down and brought to his sheep, confined there, the good news of their release.

His appearance among them gave them a pledge of their resurrection and called them to a new life beyond the grave. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep and so seeks to win their love.

Now to love Christ means to obey his commands. The shepherd knows how to separate goats from sheep. The gospel says that “all nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people from one another, as the Good Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left, and he will say to those on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

What had they done to earn this invitation? “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me.” What you give to those who are mine, you will receive back from me. Because they are naked, strangers, homeless, and poor, so am I, and in supplying their needs you show kindness to me. It is I who am afflicted when they cry out.

Win the judge over by gifts before you come to trial. Provide him with grounds for showing clemency, give him some reason to acquit you. Otherwise you will be among those on his left hand who hear the terrible sentence: “Depart from me with your curse upon you to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

What are the sins for which we would be condemned with the devil? I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not welcome me; naked and you did not clothe me.

Who could turn away from his own shepherd when he was hungry, or fail to notice when his future judge lacked necessary clothing? Who could condemn the judge of the whole world to suffer thirst?

Christ will accept even the gift of the poor and for a small gift grant remission of long punishment.

Let us put out the fire with mercy and avert the sentence that hangs over us by showing love for one another. Let us be compassionate toward one another and forgiving, as God has forgiven us in Christ.

To him be glory and power for ever. Amen.

~St. Basil of Seleucia, c. 459

Shepherd me, O Lord, in Your ways of mercy and love!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Feast of St. Mark

Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
~Mark 16:15

We Christians are called to go out of ourselves
to bring the mercy and tenderness of God to all.
~Pope Francis, 4/25/15 Tweet

Friday, April 24, 2015

Letter to a Friend

My dear sister Annie (on the Web here and here), emailed me the following beautiful greeting the other day, which she discovered on a favorite Web site of ours called Gratefulness.  I admit that I've seen it before, but that was well over 25 some years ago, so I am absolutely delighted that she brought it to my attention.  Thank you, my sweet Annie!

I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy! 
There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see - and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel's hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty -- beneath its covering -- that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.
And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.
~Fra Giovanni Giocondo, c.1435–1515

FYI, Fra Giovanni was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar. He wrote the above letter to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on Christmas Eve, 1513. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What wondrous love!

How blessed are those who love you! 
They will rejoice in your peace.  
~Tobit 13:14

Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.  
~1 John 4:19

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Clothe me, O God, with the green garment of hope. ~St. John of the Cross

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
~1 Peter 1:3-5

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Friday

But now the power of Easter has burst upon us with the resurrection of Christ. Now we find in ourselves a strength which is not our own, and which is freely given to us whenever we need it, raising us above the Law, giving us a new law which is hidden in Christ: the law of his merciful love for us. Now we no longer strive to be good because we have to, because it is a duty, but because our joy is to please him who has given all his love to us! Now our life is full of meaning!  ~Thomas Merton, Seasons of  Celebration

This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
~Psalm 118:24

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Thursday

Blessed indeed are “those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe!” Blessed are they who ask for no miracles, demand nothing out of the ordinary, but who find God’s message in everyday life.…Blessed are they who are quick to hear, humble, free-spirited -- that is, free from daily anxieties. Blessed are they who are able to find God’s message in the gospel reading for the day, even if they have heard it a thousand times, or in a sermon with no message in particular, or in phrases with no charismatic power about them. Yes, blessed are those who can find God in the rhythm of the mundane: in work and rest, success, joy, in encounters that gladden the heart, but also in occasions for disappointment or sorrow. Blessed are those who can see the Lord in all things!  ~Rev. Romano Guardini

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.
~2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Wednesday

We must plunge into the Paschal joy, a joy that rests on an absolutely sure foundation:  Christ is really reborn and because of Him we have hope for everything...

...let's understand what the Lord has promised:  He tells us:  "Seek the things of heaven, because I am reborn.  Do not look for me among the dead.  Do not return mournfully to the tomb to see that it is empty and that it contains only the shroud.  Do  not wait for the end of your trials; only wait until you conquer them victoriously.  Do not seek Me among your regrets, among the ruins of your human hopes; do not seek Me in the debris.  I will precede you.  I am before you, and where I have passed you too will pass, for I have asked My Father, who always grants Me what I ask, that wherever I am you too may be.  Have confidence.  I have conquered the world; and by your faith you too will conquer it; but do not expect to master it; do not expect what I have not promised:  honors and an easy life.  No, I have promised you My help, My very Life, to sanctify you.  Life on earth is merely transitory.  Without doubt, you should try to make it easier for your fellow man.  I Myself will uphold you in all your trials, and at every moment I am aware of what I am doing for you.  I ask you not to tarry in this passageway; place your hopes higher." 

~Mother Marie des Douleurs in Joy Out of Sorrow

Yea, Christ my hope is arisen!  Alleluia!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday

"Woman, why are your weeping?  Whom do you seek?" ~John 20:15

"Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
~John 20:15

"Love knows no limits, bur 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."  
~Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chapter 5

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. 
Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid.
~Matthew 28:6

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

My one companion is darkness.  ~Psalm 88:19

 We hurry on to Easter. 
But we will not know what to do with Easter’s light 
if we shun the friendship of the darkness that is wisdom’s way to light.
~Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

If thou didst know the gift of God!  ~John 4:10

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”. Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen. ~Pope Benedict XVI, Holy Thursday Homily, 4/21/2011

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday of Holy Week

During the final trial of his life, Jesus prays in solitude.  "And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed."

The context of the prayer is filial, extended into Jesus' inner agony to accept the will of the Father, faithful even in anguish for what is about to happen:  "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

And Jesus begins to suffer in a way that dramatically involves his whole person: "His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

But his prayer became "more fervent."

Brothers and sisters, we contemplate Jesus in physical pain, in harrowing psychological and moral pain, in his abandonment and solitude, but in prayer, in the effort to adhere to the Father in total faithfulness.

~St. John Paul II

O Suffering Jesus, by Your agony in the garden, teach me to adhere to the Father in total faithfulness and to pray ever more fervently that His adorable will be done.  Amen.