I must live out the daily drudge and the day that is yours as one reality. As I turn outward to the world, I must turn inward toward you, and possess you, the only One, in everything. But how does my daily drudge become the day that is yours? My God, only through you. Only through you can I be an ‘inward’ person.
Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Here then is Judas, the balancer of the books, the “hander over” of Christ to his Passion, the tragic man of despair. Look on him. For this is Judas’s night. And so it is also our night, the night of misplaced desire for control, the night of misguided despair of mercy, which only God’s Son can cure and heal.
As we start to follow the gospels into the heart of this unfolding story, that question of costliness and loss of control becomes our first focus in the most striking fashion, and it comes in the form of an excessive and “costly” gift by a woman: a whole jar of expensive ointment wasted, and an exuberant expression of human love and gratitude.
There is, in a sense, only one thing that matters as we stand at beginning of Holy Week: it is a question of invitation. Think of it first, perhaps, as an invitation to a drama. Shall I this year attend this drama of love and betrayal? Shall I bring to it all the anguish and ecstasy of my own loves and betrayals, or shall I stand at a distance…
We need to ask ourselves a serious question: what is Jesus for me? Is he a person or a character? There is a big difference between the two. The character – such as Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon – is someone you can write and talk about as much as you like, but it is impossible to talk to. Unfortunately, for the great majority of Christians, Jesus is a character, not a person.
Karl Rahner’s thoughts on a theology of sleeping, which includes prayer, letting go, and dreaming.
We sleep away a good third of our lives. Hence, sleep belongs very much to our everyday life. Sleep is an act of trusting one’s deepest inner conviction, one’s own certainty, and the goodness of the human world.
O Lord God, I don’t wonder that my prayers fall so short of you – even I myself often fail to pay the least attention to what I’m praying about. So often I consder my prayer as just a job I have to do, a duty to be performed.
I should like to speak with you, my God, yet what else can I speak of but you?
Could anything exist unless present with you eternally, finding its true home and most intimate explanation
in your mind and heart?
Just as a sample of hair or saliva is enough to reconstruct a person’s DNA, so too only one line of the Gospel, if it is read without biases, is enough to reconstruct the DNA of Jesus, to discover what he thought of himself. Every page of the Gospel literally exudes the divine transcendence of Christ.
The Church runs the lethal risk of living “etsi Christus non daretur”, as if Christ did not exist. It is the assumption on which the world and its media talk about the Church all the time. Jesus as a person is mentioned once in a while if at all.
In the New Testament, conversion is mentioned in three different moments and contexts, each highlighting a new component of the process. They give us a complete idea of what the Gospel metanoia is about… A different kind of conversion is provided for in each season of life. It is important for each of us to identify the one that suits them right now.
He was a “just” man. He was chosen to educate a man who was true man, but who was also God. Only a man-God could have educated such a person, but there wasn’t someone like that. The Lord chose a just man, a man of faith, a man who was capable of being a man, and also capable of speaking with God, of entering into God’s mystery.
Jesus told us: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). The lives of the saints too are examples to be imitated. Saint Paul explicitly says this: “Be imitators of me!” (1 Cor 4:16). By his eloquent silence, Saint Joseph says the same.
We ask you, God of grace and eternal life, to increase and strengthen hope in us. Give us this virtue of the strong, this power of the confident, this courage of the unshakable. Make us always have a longing for you, the infinite plenitude of being.
O God, whenever I think of Your Infinity, I am racked with anxiety, wondering how You are disposed to me. You must adapt Your word to my smallness, so that it can enter into this tiny dwelling of my finiteness—the only dwelling in which I can live—without destroying it.
Can people really recognize You in me? Or can they at least grasp the fact that You have sent me as the ambassador of Your truth, the bearer of Your mercy? When this question occurs to me, it seems that Your Gospel of joy and for my brethren is to me, the messenger, only a crushing burden.
Oscar Romero (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980), archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated by gunshot while consecrating the Eucharist during mass. His death provoked international outcry for human rights reform in El Salvador. He was canonized by Pope Francis on the 14th of October 2018.
You breathe on my attempts to be a person of kindness.
You touch my soiled efforts to reach out in forgiveness.
You hold carefully my desire to offer comfort and care.
Before You, all multiplicity becomes one; in You, all that has been scattered is reunited; in Your Love all that has been merely external is made again true and genuine.
I must learn to have both “everyday” and Your day in the same exercise. In devoting myself to the works of the world, I must learn to give myself to You, to possess You, the One and Only Thing, in everything. But how? Only through You, O God.
God comes to us continually, both directly and indirectly. He demands of us both work and pleasure, and wills that each should not be hindered, but rather strengthened, by the other. Thus the interior man possesses his life in both these ways, in activity and in rest
If You have given me no single place to which I can flee and be sure of finding You, if anything I do can mean the loss of You, then I must be able to find You in every place, in each and every thing I do. Otherwise I couldn’t find You at all, and this cannot be since I can’t possibly exist without You.
Is a tired and disillusioned heart any closer to You than a young and happy one? Where can we ever hope to find You, if neither our simple joys nor ordinary sorrows succeed in revealing You to us?
I now see clearly that, if there is any path at all on which I can approach You, it must lead through the very middle of my ordinary daily life. If I should try to flee to You by any other way, I’d actually be leaving myself behind, and that, aside from being quite impossible, would accomplish nothing at all.
Even if I should try to escape from my routine by becoming a Carthusian, so that I’d have nothing more to do but spend my days in silent adoration of Your holy presence, would that solve my problem? Would that really lift me out of my rut?
How can I turn myself toward the one thing necessary, toward You? How can I escape from the prison of this routine? Haven’t You Yourself committed me to it? And didn’t I find myself already in exile, from the very first moment I began to realize that my true life must be directed toward You?
Woe to my sinful soul,
for I have angered my creator.
Woe to this son of perdition,
for I have forgotten the gift of life.
Woe to this debtor of untold thousands of talents,
for I haven’t the means to repay.
Woe to this porter heavy laden with vile sins,
for I cannot lay down my burden to rest.
Woe to this debtor of the Lord,
for I cannot face the Almighty.
Woe to this heap of dried up reeds,
for I am consumed in Gehenna.
For although small things mount up
as sands on the shore,
nevertheless, they are unique and distinct in their
origin and increase,
and like my transgressions, so countless that
they are impossible to comprehend:
one with its kith,
the other with its kin,
And what will I myself be at that hour, when I am only myself and nothing else? But when the heavy weight of death one day presses down upon my life and squeezes the true and lasting content out of all those many days and long years, what will be the final yield?
Prayer (5 B-C)
B You made me in your glorious image,1
favoring a weak being like me
with your sublime likeness,
adorning me with speech,
and burnishing me with your breath,
enriching me with thought,
cultivating me with wisdom…
Prayer 3 (A)
Lord, my Lord, grantor of gifts, root of goodness,
ruler of all equally, creator of all from nothing,
glorified, awesome, awe inspiring,
dreadful, mighty, stern…
Prayer 2 – Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart.
Will you, I wonder:
Forget to be charitable, my expectation?
Neglect to be compassionate, caring Lord?
Regret your charity toward humankind, constant Lord?
My soul has become a huge warehouse where day after day the trucks unload their crates without any plan or discrimination, to be piled helterskelter in every available corner and cranny, until it is crammed full from top to bottom with the trite, the commonplace, the insignificant, the routine.
I have not checked the entire list, but I am sure this is the Sunday with the shortest Gospel in the whole Lectionary, just four verses. And although it is traditionally known as the “Sunday of Jesus’ Temptations,” the subject is dealt with in just two verses! T
Lent opens with a piercing sound, that of a trumpet that does not please the ears, but instead proclaims a fast. It is a loud sound that seeks to slow down our life, which is so fast-paced, yet often directionless. It is a summons to stop – a “halt!” –, to focus on what is essential. It is a wake-up call for the soul.
Contrary to what many think or feel, Lent is a time of joy. It is a time when we come back to life. It is a time when we shake off what is bad and dead in us in order to become able to live, to live with all the vastness, all the depth, and all the intensity to which we are called. Unless we understand this quality of joy in Lent, we will make of it a monstrous caricature, a time when in God’s own name we make our life a misery.
Prayer 2 – Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart.
Grant me life, compassionate Lord.
Hear me, merciful Lord.
Be charitable to me, forgiving Lord.
Save me, long-suffering Lord.
Protect me, defender Lord.
Be generous, all-giving Lord.
Free me, all-powerful Lord.
Revive me, restoring Lord.
Raise me again, awe-inspiring Lord.
Enlighten me, heavenly Lord.
Cure me, omnipotent Lord.
Grant pardon, inscrutable Lord.
Bestow gifts, bountiful Lord.
Adorn me with grace, generous Lord.
Let us be reconciled, healing Lord.
Be accepting, unvengeful Lord.
Prayer 1 – Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart.
The voice of a sighing heart, its sobs and mournful cries,
I offer up to you, O Seer of Secrets…
When it stands before You and Your infallible Truthfulness, doesn’t my soul look just like a market place where the second-hand dealers from all comers of the globe have assembled to sell the shabby riches of this world? Isn’t it just like a noisy bazaar, where I and the rest of mankind display our cheap trinkets to the restless, milling crowds?
A man asked abbot Antony, “What shall I keep, that I may please God?” Anthony said: “Wherever you go, have God ever before your eyes. In whatever you do, hold by the example of the holy Scriptures; and in whatever place you abide, don’t be swift to leave [out of restlessness]. These three things keep, and you will be saved.”
The remarkable, unusual, but obvious thing about my spiritual life was that all the new situations somehow revealed and brought home the one same ancient and genuine future—by pointing ever and again toward God and His life
All spiritualities worthy of the name stress the need to make a certain ascent, to grow beyond our immaturities, our laziness, our wounds, and the perennial hedonism and shallowness of … Continua a leggere
One day, Jesus also appeared among the sinners. He came from Galilee, the region inhabited by Israelites believed to be semi-pagans by the religious aristocracy of Jerusalem. He went down into the water along with the sinners to show his desire to share their condition. He was beside them accompanying them in their exodus from slavery to freedom.
May the joy of the angels, the humility of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wisemen, and the love of the Christ child be among God’s gifts to you this Christmas.
God is love and hence humility! Love creates dependence on the person you love, and that kind of dependence does not humiliate but uplifts. The two claims ‘God is love’ and ‘God is humility’ are like two sides of the same coin.
With her “fiat” (yes), Mary conceived Jesus under her heart. With our fiat we conceive Him in our hearts. Mary teaches us to say the great word “Yes, fiat, O Lord, thy will be done.”
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated each year on December 12. This feast commemorates the great events that took place from December 9-12, 1531, when Juan Diego, a 55 year-old native Mexican, received four apparitions from the Blessed Virgin Mary
Faith in eternal life is one of the conditions that make evangelization possible. As saint Paul the Apostle writes: ‘If Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. […] If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.’
The Preacher to the Papal Household, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, delivers his first Advent Sermon to Pope Francis and the Roman Curia, and reflects on the meaning of death, which forms a bridge to eternal life
“I feel like a millionaire who has lost ten pounds”. These words, spoken by a Spanish journalist in an interview after becoming tetraplegic owing to a traffic accident, made a deep impact on me and raised questions in my mind.
November, when the sun is losing its strength, the luminosity is fading, the nights are growing, Nature is losing its vitality… it is the right time to look up to Heaven with Hope!
Let’s not mistake God’s patience for inactivity. And let’s remember, in the words of Peter’s friend the Apostle Paul, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). Even if it takes 70 challenging years.
I once attended a series of lectures given by a prominent Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, who had written a number of books around a concept he called “positive disintegration”.
“One can love Jesus, love him in himself, in true, genuine, immediate love.” “You’re actually only really dealing with Jesus when you throw your arms around him and realize right down to the bottom of your being that this is something you can still do today.”
I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud.
So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow,
its tones mellower, its colors richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow.
There is a little-known letter written by this diminutive powerhouse that I want to share with you. It’s timely not just because of her approaching feast day, but also because this month marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of its writing.
We are overscheduled, tense, addicted to hurry, frantic, preoccupied, and starved for time. Cramming as much as possible into our Blackberries and to-do lists, we battle to make the best use of every spare minute we have.
A providential suspension in our daily routine is a valid occasion to relax physically and to nurture the spirit. It can be also an opportune time to cultivate the inalienable demands of spirituality…
Shahbaz Bhatti was the Pakistani federal minister for minority affairs. He was shot dead driving from his mother’s Islamabad home. His assassins have never been brought to justice. He was a committed Catholic.
Henri Nouwen, in his writings, frequently asked this question: “How can we live inside a world marked by fear, hatred, and violence and not be destroyed by it?”