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?
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.
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?
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…
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.
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?
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?”
Perhaps the reality that is hardest of all to accept in life is the unalterable fact that everything that is precious to us will, in some way, eventually be taken away.
For Christians, ultimately the whole world is holy and everything in it, especially the physical, is potential material for sacrament.
In her book, Survivor, Christina Crawford writes: “Lost is a place, too.” That’s more than a clever sound bite. It’s a deep truth that’s often lost in a world within which success, achievement, and good appearance define meaning and value.
THE VERY FORM OF THE CROSS, extending out into the four winds, always told the ancient Church that the Cross means solidarity: its outstretched arms would gladly embrace the universe. According to the Didache, the Cross is semeion epektaseos, a “sign of expansion”, and only God himself can have such a wide reach
Putting proper names to what is happening inside our experience is the place where we can read the language of God.
Someone once said that the law of gravity and the law of love ultimately have the same source and are both driven by the same spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Among the deeper mysteries in life is the mystery of the Ascension. It’s not so much that we misunderstand it, we simply don’t understand it.
Everything that Jesus reveals about God assures us that God’s hands are much gentler and safer than our own.
For all of us there are times in life when we seem to lose hope, when we look at the world or at ourselves and, consciously or unconsciously, think: “It’s too late! This has gone too far! Nothing can redeem this! All the chances to change this have been used up! It’s hopeless!”
There is a Norwegian proverb that reads: Heroism consists of hanging on one minute longer.
True heroism often consists in staying the course long enough, of hanging on when it seems hopeless, of suffering cold and aloneness while waiting for a new day.
We will not get in touch with the deep source of our lives if the activities of our life are so consuming and obsessive that we can never find an identity and meaning in something beyond them.
The Rosary is a prayer for the home, and a prayer for the road. It is a prayer which builds community and also which propels us on our journey…
During the last years of his life, Thomas Merton lived in a hermitage in an attempt to find more solitude in his life. But solitude is a very illusive thing and he found that it was continually escaping him.
Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns. Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end. May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.
Karl Rahner had it right when he said that we do not have souls that get restless, but that our souls themselves are lonely caverns thirsting the infinite, deep wells of restlessness.
This is part of a beautiful article and inspiring meditation titled “Risen Time: Easter as the Source of History” by Fr. Jose Granados, where he situates the paschal mystery in relation to the historical faith of Israel and in relation to the human experience of time and matter.
Throughout the years that I’ve been writing, I have sometimes been asked “Why do you write the way you do, invariably with some kind of secular bent? Why don’t you focus more on catechesis, teaching church doctrine, explaining the creeds, defending the church’s position on moral issues, and doing apologetics for the church?”
Psychologist and author James Hillman suggests that it is our inferiorities that build up our souls. His view is that it is not our strengths that give us depth and character, but our weaknesses.
Joseph is certainly not the man portrayed by a certain iconography. Surrounded by mystery, within a family that he loved and where he felt loved, identified with his vocation of protecting the Author of Life, exercising his profession competently, he was… A HAPPY MAN, a son of his Son’s Resurrection! (Luke 20:36)
God puts us into this world with huge hearts. The human heart in itself, when not closed off by fear, wound, and paranoia, is the antithesis of pettiness. There’s nothing small about the human heart.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his martyrdom, we offer you a Way of the Cross with reflections of saint Oscar Romero.
Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence.