Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Think and do nothing without a purpose directed to God. For to journey without direction is wasted effort.
St. Mark the Ascetic

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Dare You...

to accept everything, yes everything today with a grateful heart. Every inconvenience, every piece of burnt toast, dirty look, every mess, every smile, every kind or unkind word, every glass of spilled milk, the smallest portion, every misunderstanding, the last place, not being heard, or even acknowledged, as it comes to you straight from the Hands of our good Father in Heaven with a grateful heart.

"Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid. All things pass away. God never changes.
Patience obtains everything. God alone is enough."-St. Theresa of Avila

The Saints have a wonderful way of giving you those little epiphany moments because they walked so closely in Christ's footsteps.

In today's "modern world," (insert oh brother moment here) we might be tempted to think of these maxims as quaint outdated little sayings! Sweet, but not exactly appropriate to the time, place, vocation or whatever else. But the saints didn't speak unless they had something worth saying now did they. We can trust that or they wouldn't have lasted very long on the path of virtue because we all know what happens when we talk too much.

So when St. Theresa says, "Never complain of the food, whether it be well or ill dressed; remembering the gall and vinegar of Jesus Christ," and I'm tempted to think what a quaint little penance, (Lord open the eyes of my soul to see Your great Beauty in everything!) I remember the Saints are always pointing towards Christ, and get the feeling that there is more to this than meets the eye. I suppose all of these little mortification (or not so little for some like me) are tethered specifically to a special grace Our Lord is just waiting to pour into our souls. We clear the path by taking advantage of each and every one of these little ways.I don't know about you but it's not so easy shoveling the muck away from years of bad habits and sin. Confession helps me clear my sight yet it still seems I do a whole lot of shoveling. Sometimes not very wholeheartedly.

I recently had a dream -be wary of these and fear God Himself- in which our pastor of the parish was going around listening to different hearts of the faithful He would lean in and listen for a moment then give them one word, just one, to live by for a certain amount of time. He came around to me and said nothing. Nothing! I supposed he couldn't hear anything or what he heard was not good. So I followed after him and asked what about a word for me? He smiled and said you already know, you tell me. I was confused and irritated. I thought and prayed when one word did come to me and it was, Grateful. I ran to father and shouted, Grateful! He smiled, nodded and then walked away. You know what was funny, even in the dream I was ungrateful for that word. I wanted something spectacular like love, or poverty or whatever else. Anything that didn't seem so little.

I think God wants us to be grateful for every "little" blessing. The dishes, legos, the smell of ketchup ugh, the heat, pain, smiles, getting up in the middle of the night for the fifth glass of water, misunderstandings, embarrassments, slow progress...everything.

Tepid and dry souls you want more devotion? Increase you prayer and good works of charity!
You want to overcome lust? Fast & and pray. Deny yourselves little pleasures, especially those which please the belly.
You want to control your temper? Pray. Bless ALL who are unkind to you. Return EVERY unkind word with some kindness. Do not defend yourselves if unjustly accused, unless it would cause scandal not to do so. But still, tread lightly there, go carefully.
You want more energy to get all of your duties done? Spend yourselves all the more for the love of God.
Are you judgmental? Remember your faults, go and adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, count your blessings!
Are you vain? Do not speak much, be simple & sincere, take the lowest place, (always a good general rule) spend the money you would spend on your vain amusements on the poor. Turn your gaze to Our Lord and contemplate His humility.

Pray, pray, pray.

Thank God for His example in the Saints. I have no doubt they possessed a very real and simple common sense. Holy Simplicity in all of it's splendor can always be found in whatever charism any saint is known for. They never dared to pretend that they could walk any other way than in holy simplicity, willfully abandoning themselves in every moment to whatever God's will was for them. Holy Simplicity is quite a thing to behold. It is so lovely and attractive because of the soul's docility. These souls become mirror images of Christ and reflect His love in everything they do. They quite literally walked in Christ's footsteps and would not dare to tread through this treacherous world otherwise.

I also suspect there wasn't a passive resignation to the will of God as if they weren't laboring, or better yet heroically fighting a hidden war. None of the battles the saints won outwardly, that God was pleased to show men, started in plain sight. They had long been fighting a tremendous and victorious war in their heart, won by grace.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!" Isaiah 6:8

There are many who say to the Lord, "I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve," but there are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it happens in conformity with Divine Providence, as well afflictions as consolations, contempt and reproaches as honor and glory. -St. Frances de Sales
Hebrews 4:14-16
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.
—1 Samuel 16:7

1 John, chapter 3


                                                               Jean Jacques Henner

Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ecclesiasticus 2:1–6

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not seek for rest;
to labor and not ask for reward, except to know
that I am doing your will.

-Saint Ignatius

Friday, July 26, 2013

 I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first... -from the Byzantine prayers of preparation to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion

“Our concern is the Church as idea, as institution, as an organization, as a teaching. Our concern is the services and the choir, the social and cultural groups and the religious instruction and church-tourism and so forth. It is not that these questions aren’t sometimes important. But there is one thing needful: the purification of the heart and the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.

This is a deviation from the essence of the matter that keeps those who are considered believers-- most pastors and flock equally-- pagans, worshiping themselves, seeking their own glory. They are only concerned with their own power and their own reputation and their own honor. They are satisfied with only the outward form of the worship of God. What is sought in any case, in the understanding of the people, is not change of heart but rather some practices and the keeping some obligations and giving lip service.

In what pertains to the exterior of the church, today, it is sometimes, but not always, gleaming by worldly standards, souls graze in their own impurities and lack of awareness. Is this not the ideal church the devil desires and lords over? A worldly church, ritualistic, like a museum, a nominal Christianity but without Christ and without holiness and without truth and without Spirit and without new life, filled with the thoughts of the world and the concerns of the world! Is this not the church that most people receive today and for which they work? The devil has succeeded in making people think that this is the true and desirable church of modernity!

This is exactly a church against Christ! And we, without our attention to holiness, are building it contentedly, persistently and continuously!"

Archimandrite Touma (Bitar), Abbot of the Monastery of St. Silouan the Athonite, Douma, Lebanon

Monday, July 08, 2013

Christ and St. Mary Magdalene by Albert Edelfelt
Lord, give me grace and strength of character to tear myself away promptly from what, if not bad, is less good, and to give myself earnestly, self-denyingly, perseveringly, to the better and the best.-Father William Doyle