Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
O Jesus Christ, you are my Father, my merciful God, my great King, my good Shepherd, my only Master, my best helper, my beloved friend of overwhelming beauty, my living Bread, my eternal priest. You are my guide to my heavenly home, my one true light, my holy joy, my true way, my shining wisdom, my unfeigned simplicity, the peace and harmony of my soul, my perfect safeguard, my bounteous inheritance, my everlasting salvation.
My loving Lord, Jesus Christ, why have I ever loved or desired anything else in my life but you, my God? Where was I when I was not in communion with you? From now on, I direct all my desires to be inspired by you and centred on you. I direct them to press forward for they have tarried long enough, to hasten towards their goal, to seek the one they yearn for.
O Jesus, let him who does not love you be accursed, and filled with bitterness. O gentle Jesus, let every worthy feeling of mine show you love, take delight in you and admire you. O God of my heart and my inheritance, Christ Jesus, may my heart mellow before the influence of your spirit and may you live in me. May the flame of your love burn in my soul. May it burn incessantly on the altar of my heart. May it glow in my innermost being. May it spread its heat into the hidden recesses of my soul and on the day of my consummation may I appear before you consumed in your love. Amen.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This is the true meaning and value of suffering, of the pain which is physical, moral and spiritual. This is the Good News which I wish to pass on to you. To our human questioning, the Lord responds with a call, with a special vocation which is grounded in love. Christ comes to us not with explanations and reasons which might either anaesthetize or alienate us. Instead, he comes to us saying: "Come with me. Follow me on the way of the Cross. The Cross is suffering". "Whoever wants to be a follower of mine, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me" (Lk 9:29). Jesus Christ has taken the lead on the way of the Cross. He has suffered first. He does not drive us towards suffering but shares it with us, wanting us to have life and to have it in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Mom: "You have a beautiful heart, Miriam."
Miriam: "Thanks, mom."
Miriam: "Girls' hearts have roses in them."
Mom: to self "Oh, gag me!"
another long pause
Miriam: "And boys' hearts are full of thorns."
Mom: wonders to self "Huh. A Sacred Heart reference?"
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts;
he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Consecration: Week One, Day SevenExamination of Conscience
(I like this examination of conscience from Totus Tuus ministries, but feel free to use another if you find it more fruitful!)
Set aside a time to reflect on your most common sins and faults. What are the behaviors that you frequently confess? Seek to discover the root of these sins and shortcomings. Reflect on the major sins of your past life and then examine them to discover their root. A pattern will occur. It is important to understand that the inclination to sin is not a sin until one consents to the sinful tendency.
You will find in this analysis that the obstacles or negative manifestations are chiefly the result of one of three dominant inclinations: PRIDE, VANITY, and SENSUALITY.
To aid you to better recognize these three root sins, some of their most common manifestations are listed below.
PRIDE: The decision to base my security and self-esteem on MYSELF.
HAUGHTINESS includes: having an elevated concept of myself; annoyance with those who contradict me; easily judging others negatively, and hence easily gossiping about them; difficulty in recognizing my own failing or acknowledging when I've hurt someone; obstinacy to ask, seek or render forgiveness; insincerity in order to hide my faults; hypocrisy; fury when others fail to thank me for favors; unwillingness to serve; impatience, keeping others at a distance, brusqueness in my daily contact with others; thinking that I'm the only one who knows how to do things right; unwillingness to let others help me; over-rationalism so that I judge anything I don't agree with to be in error; being too opinionated; and in practice not believing that I need God, even though I may pray.
SELF-LOVE manifests itself in the following: permitting nobody to contradict me; growing annoyed if I don't get my way or if I'm not considered or consulted; refusing to assent unless everything is explained to me; nursing grudges a long time, not letting go of minor annoyances; rebelling against what I don't like or what seems mistaken to me; unwilling to take directions from anyone; acting authoritarian; inflexibility; thinking of myself first; my agenda, ideas or interest takes priority over everyone else's; being indifferent to others and their needs, tastes and viewpoint; stubbornness in disrupting my plans when someone asks me for something; great calculation in my relations with others and with God; liking to be heard, always thinking my conversation is the most important; centering games, entertainment and activity around myself; easily take offense.
VANITY: The choice to place my security in OTHERS, in what they think of me.
Wanting others to admire me; thinking that I'm good, successful or valued only when others recognize my talents; being dominated by concern for what others think; shyness because I'm afraid others won't like me; becoming easily discouraged at my failures; two-facedness or hypocrisy in the attempt to make myself accepted; abandoning or silencing my principles in order to "fit in"; easily judging others when they don't like me; and speaking openly of their "errors" when I have an appreciative audience; desiring to have exclusive friendships or being possessive toward my friends; joining the "in group" in order to appear popular and valued; breaking confidences; stretching the truth, or lying outright, in order to make myself noticed or appreciated; always talking about myself and my accomplishments.
Seeking to be the center of attention; severe disappointment when others don't appreciate my views, personality, home, etc.; seeking to be accepted even if I have to compromise my principles; being haunted by fear of rejection; rejoicing in failures of others and an inability to genuinely rejoice in their successes - I'm too jealous or envious.
SENSUALITY: Placing my security and self-esteem in THINGS and FEELINGS.
I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT: Giving primacy to my feelings; my daily activity depends upon my emotional state – whether I feel like it, whether I like the person I'm dealing with, or if I like my task. Avoiding responsibilities when I don't feel good; accomplishing my responsibilities at the last minute just to finish them, without concern for perfection in what I do; wasting time easily; when I'm not under a deadline I only do what I like most; fleeing anything which exacts bodily mortification; complaining about everything; if I'm a little under the weather, everyone knows about it.
MATERIALISM: Always wanting what is the newest or the most up to date; never wanting to throw anything out; being attached to personal possessions; excessive worry about things and about money. I need things to feel good about myself. I spend excessive time shopping or waste money on things I don't really need.
LIFE OF PLEASURE: Passing easily from friendship to animosity in relating to others, as if people were disposable objects like a paper cup; the need to be liked and to feel the affection of others is a high priority. Always looking for the most comfortable, that which requires least effort, the easiest for me, and the most comfortable situations. Daydreaming, not controlling my thoughts; constructing castles in the air in which generally I play hero(ine) or the center of attention. At meals, eating only what I like, rejecting everything else even if it hurts another or wastes food. Having to see everything, experience everything; excessive curiosity; seeking pleasures, even to the point of endangering my purity with thought or actions.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
As the pregnancy enters the "heavy days," it strengthens me to remember that our suffering, even such a natural suffering as birth or death or loss, can become--in the world of the spirit--another great battle won for God.
Here she is:
"What we are trying to do is realize that, while we are on earth, faith places us in the heat of battle, a permanent struggle, a constant choice between Jesus Christ and that which in the world remains hostile to God; to do so is to accomplish within ourselves the Church’s own vocation.
On the earth, the Church is made for fighting; by vocation, she wages war against evil; by mission, she stands on the front lines of evil; by office, she delivers from evil.
The Church’s combat will never cease to be bloody: the frontiers she defends will never cease being attacked and the liberation she fights for is always violent. A realistic love for the Church necessarily entails taking your blows and living with bruises. Now, what gives the Church’s combat meaning, what outlines the meaning of her history is hope.
To march ahead, to multiply, to liberate, the Church must fight, with her eyes and her heart set on God’s promises. Locally -or we could say physically- the frontier of the Church passes directly through each one of us. This is the line that divides good and evil; it is the line that separates the “with God” from the “without God,” the “for God” from the “against God.”
The place that Christian hope assigns to us is that narrow ridge, that borderline, at which our vocation requires that we choose, every day and every hour, to be faithful to God’s faithfulness to us. While we are on earth, this choice cannot help but tear us in two. But hope never allows us therefore to fall to self-pitying. It is the suffering of the woman who is bringing a child into the world. Each time we are thus torn apart, we become as it were breaches in the world’s resistance. We open up space for God’s life to pass through. Nothing can carry us more deeply into the inner reality of the Church."
Monday, March 8, 2010
Week One, Day Five
St. Teresa of Avila , Interior Castle 1.2
The soul in the states of sin and grace
In a state of grace the soul is like a well of limpid water, from which flow only streams of clearest crystal. Its works are pleasing both to God and man, rising from the River of Life, beside which it is rooted like a tree. Otherwise it would produce neither leaves nor fruit, for the waters of grace nourish it, keep it from withering from drought, and cause it to bring forth good fruit.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Week One, Day Four
St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle 1.1
On the beauty and dignity of the soul
"I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. Now if we think carefully over this, sisters, the soul of the righteous man is nothing but a paradise, in which, as God tells us, He takes His delight. For what do you think a room will be like which is the delight of a King so mighty, so wise, so pure and so full of all that is good? I can find nothing with which to compare the great beauty of a soul and its great capacity. In fact, however acute our intellects may be, they will no more be able to attain to a comprehension of this than to an understanding of God; for, as He Himself says, He created us in His image and likeness. Now if this is so – and it is – there is no point in our fatiguing ourselves by attempting to comprehend the beauty of this castle; for, though it is His creature, and there is therefore as much difference between it and God as between creature and Creator, the very fact that His Majesty says it is made in His image means that we can hardly form any conception of the soul's great dignity and beauty.
"It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame, that, through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance, my daughters, if a person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea who his father or his mother was, or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our own is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we possess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells within them, or how precious they are – those are things which we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty. All our interest is centred in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle – that is to say, in these bodies of ours."
Saturday, March 6, 2010
John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis 2.10
The human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption
"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself." If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly – and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being – he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer," and if God "gave his only Son" in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life.""In reality, the name for that deep amazement at man's worth and dignity is the Gospel, that is to say: the Good News. It is also called Christianity."
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Check it out.
"If unconditional readiness to change and true penitence constitute the first foundations of our progress toward the goal which God's mercy has assigned to us -- our transformation in Christ -- the next decisive step along that road is the acquisition of self-knowledge. So long as a man is ignorant of his defects and of their real nature, all his endeavor (be it ever so laudable) to overcome those defects will end in failure. Not infrequently we meet persons who, while sincerely bent on reforming, direct all their attention to merely imaginary faults of theirs, thus fighting against windmills and leaving their real defects untouched. In monastic life this danger is prevented by the discipline specific to a religious order. By his superior to whom he owes obedience, the monk's attention is directed to his real shortcomings and imperfections (including potential dangers) even before he is clearly aware of them himself. . . . Nevertheless, the final accomplishment of our transformation -- the total uprooting of our vices, the levelling of hills and filling up of valleys -- requires a thorough knowledge of our defects. We must beware of neglecting the basic part played by intelligence in our psychic life. For all voluntary acts are conditioned by knowledge. The radical uprooting of a defect of character requires an interior knowledge of that defect.
True self-knowledge is a necessity for him who desires to be transformed in Christ. He must be filled with a real thirst for securing, in the light of God, an accurate notion of himself, such as he is; he must endeavor to get rid of all illusions of complacency, and to detect his particular vices and weaknesses. He must conform to the summons of St. Catherine of Siena, "Let us enter into the cell of our self-knowledge." But he must not believe that self-knowledge is easy of attainment, nor that -- once he forms the desire for self-knowledge -- all his defects will reveal themselves to him in due course. With a healthy distrust of himself, he should continue supposing that he is still entangled in a mesh of illusions, and pray: "Cleanse me of my hidden weaknesses."