Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Unto Me

Teach us to give and not to count the cost.---St. Ignatius of Loyola
 
I hope our New Year's resolutions are not about us this year. I hope they are about losing our lives for His sake, instead of losing weight. I hope we can make them about the Theo-Drama and not the ego-drama. What if we make this new year the year of giving? What if we decide, by grace, to make it our goal to have less stuff and money by this time next year than we have today? What if we try the impossible, to outgive God in the new year? It would be scary at times. It would require courage, a little recklessness, and Holy reason; and, it would require a faith we may not truly understand at the moment. Money and stuff hits home. Jesus said we cannot serve God and mammon, for we "would hate one and love the other." Which one do we love today? This could be the greatest and most exciting year of our little lives if we surrender them to Jesus and to those around us with need. He said, "When you do it to the least of these, you do it unto Me." What if we made this new year the year of "Unto Me"?
 
wkm
 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Upside Down

If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity.--- Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)
 
Heavy. This is a heavy thought. How incredible it must be, to be so dead to self, that one rejoices in suffering! That one finds great joy in being humiliated or broken, or considers one's self favored highly by God when life becomes a trial. This is a bizarre way to live. It is upside down, foreign to our culture, and to our modern Christianity of sweet blessings, and God fixing everything for us when we want it fixed. In fact, when we truly study the words of our Lord they sound very much like St. Ignatius of Loyola, "If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps." (Matt 16:24)" This also sounds like the apostle Paul, " I rejoice in my sufferings.." Weird. God's Kingdom is so upside down to our thinking. Someone asked Thomas Merton one day what he wanted to be now that he was Catholic. He said, "I guess I want to be a good catholic", to which his friend replied, "no, you should want to be a saint." This changed Merton's life. It should challenge ours as well.
 
wkm
 
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Monday, December 29, 2008

Deeper Prayer...

"How important it is for us to try to grow with Jesus and increase our knowledge and love of Him. This book is meant to do exactly that. These prayers will help you understand how Christians throughout the ages have lifted their hearts and minds to Jesus Christ." — Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.
 
I encourage you to read this book of prayer put together by Fr. Groeschel, to keep it on your desk, or by your bed. One of the great treasures of our faith are the prayers of those who have loved and followed Jesus throughout the centuries. It is so encouraging to understand that we are never alone in this journey. We have so "great a cloud of witnesses", and in this book by Fr. Groeschel, we have some of their thoughts and prayers. These kind of collections bring such depth to our walk, why in the world would we not want to read and meditate on anything that exists only to bring us closer to Jesus, our Beloved? In this moment, think of your favorite Saint, now ask him or her to help you be more devoted to Jesus, as they were while they walked through this valley of tears. You my be surprised by the results of their prayers for you.
 
wkm

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Joy of Easter

The joy of loving Jesus comes from the joy of sharing in His sufferings. So do not allow yourself to be troubled or distressed, but believe in the joy of the Resurrection. In all of our lives, as in the life of Jesus, the Resurrection has to come, the joy of Easter has to dawn.----Mother Teresa
 
We are about to begin a new year. We do not have a clue what this year will hold, but we who believe that our Father in Heaven holds everything have an indescribable peace. We may have to remind ourselves often of this, but through faith, peace is ours if we dare. The more I read Mother Teresa's collection of letters in "Come be my Light", the more I realize the reality of our calling by a Father Who truly cares about our sanctification and detachment from this world's distractions. He cares so much that He mercifully allows us to suffer with His Son. He wants to kill our foolish pride, our ego driven dreams, our affections for anything other that His nearness. This is why we must take up our cross daily and follow after Him. This is joy inexpressible, words are pointless, this is where silence and groans overcome us from some deep mysterious place in our souls.
 
wkm
 
Mother Teresa

Saturday, December 27, 2008

St. Paul, the poet..

In Him we live and move and have our being.--St. Paul, Acts 17:28
 
St. Paul had a way with words. He was truly a poet and loved poetry. He was well acquainted with Plato and Socrates. He was also either an athlete or a fan of athletics. He often compared this life with God to a race. He would probably be a fan of ESPN were he walking the earth today. St. Paul wrote most of the New Testament. His letters were often used in the Mass by the early Church. This played a huge role in them being included in the New Testament canon at the Synod of Hippo in 393 A.D. His words were always reliable to the Apostles teaching, and inspiring beyond compare. Isn't it something that he appears in scripture first as a killer of Christians? He was the authority who approved the stoning of Stephen. Now, he and St. Stephen are gazing upon the Trinity together. St. Paul, please pray for us as we hopefully learn to give ourselves even a little like you did. Pray for us that we would give everything we are and have to Jesus. And St. Paul, please praise Him for us in this moment.
 
wkm
 
http://www.ulcseminary.org/oscommerce/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=172

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yesterday

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of His soldier.---St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop 5th and 6th century
 
The 26th of December is the feast day of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the faith (Acts 6 & 7). Yesterday we remembered our Lord, "clothed in His robe of flesh, left His place in the Virgin's womb and graciously visited the world. Today His soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven."--St. Fulgentius   Isn't our Tradition in the Church exhilarating!? We rejoice in our Lord coming to save us one day, and the next we see the firstfruits of His work in Deacon St. Stephen. St. Stephen followed the lead of Jesus and forgave his executioners as they hurled stones at his head. Jesus began the journey and we get to live in it. Our faith is alive!!! We have a constant reminder in the Liturgy of the work of God throughout history. We don't have time to be complacent in our journey! We have the Saints and our Mother Mary praying for us, the Sacraments, the writings of the early Father's, The Holy Scripture, and the Holy Spirit, working in and through the Church. Hallelujah! Christmas has come, onward and upward we go! St. Stephen, pray for us that we would love like you loved. Pray for us St. Fulgentius, that we would dig deeper and deeper into this endless treasure that is ours in Jesus our Lord!
 
wkm
 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jesus

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.---St. John, from the first chapter of his gospel.
 
This is why we have faith. This is why we have hope. This is why we have love. Christmas is about the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. In the Eucharist, He is still among us in His Flesh at every Mass and in every Tabernacle around the world! Glory to His Name! One of the early Church fathers said that when God spoke the Word, Jesus, He said everything He has to say. There is nothing to add to this Word. The little baby lying in a feeding trough for sheep, born in Bethlehem, which means, "House of Bread", worshipped by Angels, shepherds, and kings; adored by His Virgin Mother, this is God's Word. He came as a helpless baby. For nine months He grew in Mary's sinless womb; thus, He is the King of the unborn, for He Himself was once an Unborn. He lies in this manger, born to be our Food. He said, "Take and eat, this is My Body..Take and drink, this is My Blood.." This Word is the Bread of Angels. He became human so that we might become Divine. This is Christmas! This is the personal relationship He has in mind for each of His sheep, a deeply intimate and mysterious relationship, unlike anything we can imagine. Merry Christmas!
 
wkm
 
http://jonasfamilyblog.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Wonderful Christmas!

Today God loves the world so much that He gives you, He gives me, to love the world, to be His love, His compassion. It is such a beautiful thought for us---a conviction---that you and I can be that love and compassion.---Mother Teresa, from "Come Be My Light"
 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son...John 3:16
 
This is Christmas! Why is it that we rejoice and feel something different about this time upon us? Because God gave us proof that He loves us, He gave us His Son! The devil has tried so hard to drown the Truth of Christmas. He tries to bury the truth behind the gluttonous materialism of getting, and sadly, we disciples of the King often buy in to diablo's plan. What if next Christmas we sat down with our families, and together, we decided to take some, or all, of the money we would spend on one another and give it to a family in need? What light this would bring! What compassion it would spread! In doing this, we parents would teach our children something eternal. We would teach them what sacrifice looks and feels like. Imagine waking up Christmas morning and having fewer, or maybe even, no gifts for ourselves under the tree, what a wonderful Christmas this would be! To sit together as a family and drink hot chocolate, giving glory to God for the Gift of Himself in the Incarnation, thanking Him for allowing us to help someone else in His name, on His birthday, wouldn't that be a wonderful Christmas?!
 
wkm
 
 http://wordincarnate.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/the-wrung-heart/

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Help us Lord!

The God in his heart and the God on his lips were one and the same God.---Pope Clement 13, speaking of Saint John of Kanty
 
Let us pray that this can be said of all of us who call upon Jesus. We must never forget, or take for granted, Who it is we present to the world around us. And when we do forget, let us fall on our knees and repent. We have so much to rejoice in this Christmas. Even though we may not understand all that is going on in our lives, we know He understands and loves us madly. Lord Jesus, help us to be faithful to Your humility, and to Your Sacred Heart of mercy and love. And Lord, give us passion for Truth in our hearts, and may this Truth always be upon our lips. 
 
wkm
 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Favor

His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.---Mary, from her Magnificat, Luke 1:50
 
Here was this little Jewish Nazarene girl, some say around the age of 14, chosen to bring Christmas to the world. Gabriel called her the "Favored one". What did this "favor" bring her? It brought her joy. Her joy was like that of Moses and the children of Israel after they had crossed the Red Sea. They sang of God's deliverance, and now this little girl who had been dedicated from birth to serving Yahweh was singing too. This "favor" also brought her great purpose and responsibility. Gabriel told her about her cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. The scripture says that Mary "made haste" to get to Elizabeth. Her desire to be with her cousin was two-fold; she wanted to be with someone who had also been visited by the Angel and given great purpose, and, she wanted to help Elizabeth in her pregnancy. Elizabeth was very old. Mary's servant heart directed her always. What else did "Favor" bring her? Simeon, the priest who was waiting to see the Messiah, told Mary that a "sword would pierce her heart." Favor was going to bring this little girl much sorrow and grief. This Child in her womb would be the target of hell itself! The demons always knew who He was. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt, a place with no family or friends. A place Moses and Israel had fled from. The favor meant displacement and loneliness. Mary never left His side as He suffered and carried the cross to Golgotha. She stood at the foot of the cross as He writhed in pain and died. We must remember that God's "favor" is a deep and mysterious thing, never quite what we expect.
 
wkm 
 
Mary and Elizibeth by Carl Bloch
Mary visits ELizabeth

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Behold the Man

I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.--Jesus
 
He is the Prince of Peace. He said to the disciples, "Peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give...." The peace of this world is a great spiritual enemy to us. To be lulled into complacency is the land mine we must watch for on our narrow road. When we lie asleep in the light we do not dream for God. In this false peace, we dream for ourselves, and these dreams are nightmares in disguise. Dreams that are not for God are nightmares. The peace of Jesus is hidden somewhere deep. It comes through trial, and suffering, and then it sticks with us through trial and suffering. Those who are resting in His peace know how to endure. Jesus brings a sword to our world. He cuts away our ego and bent toward sin. He does this with His cross, and with the crosses He gives us. We cannot for a moment stop meditating on the Passion of our Lord. We must not think for an instant that we understand His birth to the Virgin, His life among men, or His suffering, death and resurrection. This is one reason why the Rosary is such a wonderful gift to us. It is the greatest weapon in our battle, for when we pray the Rosary, we are contemplating the life of Jesus. This is when His peace has a chance to break through and become our peace.
 
wkm
 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eat you up.

You must let the people eat you up.----Mother Teresa
 
Humility is the strongest virtue. It is the one virtue that creates immediate response. People either love or hate humility. It either gets on our nerves or it lifts us up. It either inspires or repels. Jesus showed the ultimate humility. He emptied Himself of Heaven's joy to come here and be one of us. We can't even begin to imagine what He gave up. His mother Mary called herself the "handmaid of the Lord." She knew she would be ridiculed and would have to embrace the unknown. She and Joseph had to flee their homeland, travel hard roads and long distances. She had to give birth to the Savior of her people in a cave with smelly animals.  Jesus let people "eat Him up" then, and He still does.  Mary let people "eat her up." St. Paul let people "eat him up." Paul was ready for whatever came his way in the spreading of the gospel. The key to this is detachment from the things of this world. Today, we often find ourselves in the presence of those who disdain our outlook and faith. Let them. Let's love them, pray for them, and smile at them. And while we're at it, let's smile at our ever silent Savior Who knows and walks with us every mundane and challenging mile. This will do more for their souls, and ours, than we can comprehend.
 
wkm
 
http://navtejkohli123.wordpress.com/

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reason and Faith

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild
For if Mary had been filled with reason.
There'd have been no room for the Child.

Madeline L'Engel
 
My friend from Vancouver sent this quote to me yesterday.  This reminds me what Christmas really is. His love for us is beyond anything we understand or ever will understand. Mary became a participant of that love by faith. She reasoned to Gabriel for a moment when she expressed her commitment to virginity by saying, "how can this be?" Gabriel's answer was not a very reasonable answer, "The Holy Spirit will overshadow you.." Her response was, 'Fiat, or, "Let it be done unto me.."  This is when, "Love bloomed bright and wild."  God made us with the ability to reason, but then He gives us faith as a gift. They must walk hand in hand, but then comes those times when faith is all we have. Faith is all that gets us through the impossible, like it did Mother Mary. Reason is a good thing, it is a part of everything, but faith is the garden where "love blooms bright and wild."
 
wkm
 
 http://www.artchive.com/artchive/T/tanner/annunciation.jpg.html
The Annunciation by Henry Tanner

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Joy is coming!

Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure there to reap in joy.-----St. Elizabeth Ann Seton ( first American born person to be canonozed, she died in 1821)
 
Joy is what we all hope for. This is what Advent is all about. The world is waiting for Joy. But why was Joy born in a cave and laid in a feeding trough for the lesser animals? Why does Joy come to us only through the cross?  This joy we hope for is still to come. We do not have it yet. We are still in an Advent to see His face. We hope for the eternal joy of His Presence without interruption. Here on this earth we will be tempted to settle for lesser joys, good things that make us happy, but they pale in comparison to what awaits those who "persevere to the end.", to quote Jesus. But some days seem too dang hard for us. We cry out to Jesus for mercy and the relentless frustrations mount. The struggle deepens instead of getting easier. Nothing makes sense, all seems lost. So what do we do? We pray and we wait. We ask for wisdom and faith. We ask for grace to have faith. We will it as best we can and then we wait for Him to come. What else can we do? We could become angry and bitter, but this is the fruit of the devil. Jesus could have become angry and bitter in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He said, "Not My will, but Thine." Once again, this is not easy, this narrow road, but joy is coming!
 
wkm
 
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where else can we go....

Truly truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you can have no life in you.---Jesus
 
When Jesus said this to His followers as recorded in John 6, they were astonished and appalled. These were his disciples, not some obscure crowd just hanging out in the synagogue at Capernaum. His 12 apostles were there too. After He spoke these strange words, the disciples, not the 12, murmured. This should remind us of another story where Israel murmured. They murmured when Moses fed them with manna in the wilderness. But this was different, it wasn't Moses telling them about bread come down from heaven, this was Jesus, this was God Himself. And it wasn't manna He was going to give, it was His flesh, which He told them was "real food and real drink.". Jesus didn't mince words , and these words were something different. He had called Himself a gate and none had murmured. He had called Himself the Light of the World and none had murmured. Why did this cause such upheaval? After they murmured He made it even harder for them. He said, " Unless you "gnaw" the flesh of the son of man and drink His blood you have no life within you." Gnaw was the original Greek for the word "eat" that He used the second time He said it. He made it clear that He was not being symbolic, and they knew it. Now turn to your bible, John 6:66, and we see one of the most pivotal points in His ministry. This was the only place in scripture where His followers left Him over a teaching. It was too much for them then, and it is still too much for many today. But He said it, and He did not stop them from leaving Him. He did not run after them and say, " I was only using this as a metaphor, it is only meant as a symbol." No, He did not say this. And today, He calls all of us to the same mysterious Meal, for apart from His Body and Blood, we "do not have eternal life." He said, "If you do not eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life within you." The 12 apostles stayed, and Peter, who always speaks for the Church in scripture, gave their very childlike faith reason, "Where else can we go, You hold the words of eternal life."
 
wkm
 
 http://www.religion-cults.com/eucharist/

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Humility

I am at His disposal, He can do with me just as it pleaseth Him, without even a thought of consulting me. I just want to be His own little one---if He so wants, otherwise I will to be just nothing & He everything. Pray for me.----Mother Teresa, from "Come Be My Light"
 
How I wish I were like this!! How I wish my ego was so swallowed up in Him that I could pray this prayer and mean it as Mother Teresa did! This is why God places these Saints among us, and calls all of us to be like them as they are like Jesus. Isn't this exactly what St. Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ!" We fail one another often and we hurt one another daily. We get mad when someone tells us something we don't want to hear, whether it is true or not, we are offended, 'how dare they?!!' We must fight this impulse! We must be stronger by being weaker. We must allow Jesus to give us His humility, so that we can always be about the other's soul, and not our own prideful opinion. This isn't easy of course, but neither was it easy when those nails were pounded into God's human hands.
 
wkm
 
http://www.saintsgallery.com/products.html

Monday, December 15, 2008

DIG!

We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures; however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.----St. John of the Cross
 
St. Paul wrote of Jesus, "In Him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Our faith is an eternal treasure hunt! Knowing Jesus is never stagnant or complete. Paul says this is a "hidden" treasure. Why is it hidden? Why is Jesus so allusive and mysterious. BECAUSE HE IS GOD! He is the Incarnation! He is the Creator taking on a flesh and soul of us humans so that we can take on His Divinity! No matter how long we are given to live on this plane, we can never extinguish the search. Therefore, we must DIG daily into the Scriptures, especially the gospels, the Catechism, doctrines, dogmas, the Traditions of the Church, the Rosary,  the prayers of the Saints, the lives of the Saints, meditating on these things over and over. Our finite minds can only discover the richness by gazing intently upon these Truths, pleading  for the Spirit to open our hearts and minds to understand. We must not forget, Jesus said, "Seek and you shall find." St. John of the Cross sought, and the more he sought, the more madly in love he fell with Jesus. Let us pray for this kind of love, then the search for Treasures will intensify! Here is one example of some of the Treasure I have found over the past four years, Glory to God! It is by grace that we are saved, so let us ask Mary to pray for us, for, she is "full of grace", and the Queen of all graces. Her example of obedience and love for Jesus is a very important part of the Treasure of our faith we have been given. It honors the Son to honor His mother. The closer one stands to Mary, the closer one will be to Jesus. She lives to bring people to her Son. No human knows Jesus better than His mom. And this part of the treasure brings her humility to our prideful lives. Glory to Jesus! 
 
wkm
 
  http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-4/dali_christ_of_st_john_of_the_cross.htm

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You know all things ( With Image)

"It is more serious to lose hope than to sin. The traitor Judas was a defeatist, inexperienced in spiritual warfare; as a result he was reduced to despair by the enemy's onslaught, and he went and hanged himself. Peter, on the other hand, was a firm rock: although brought down by a terrible fall, yet because of his experience in spiritual warfare he was not broken by despair, but leaping up he shed bitter tears from a contrite and humiliated heart. And as soon as our enemy saw them, he recoiled as if his eyes had been burnt by searing flames, and he took to flight howling and lamenting." -----St. John of Karpathos.
 
Fr. Ron Hatton sent me this quote. It struck a nerve of truth! How incredible and intricate is our tradition. We must dig deeply as St. John Karpathos did in understanding our journey. He didn't just read the story of Judas and Peter and think, "one betrayed him and killed himself and one betrayed him and found forgiveness." St. John knew there was something going on within each man that mattered. Peter and Judas both walked with Jesus.. We walk with Jesus. And like both disciples, we will betray our Beloved. But we must learn from both, and that both will teach us what is eternal. The Tradition of the Church is vital to our understanding scripture. Without it, we are like sheep without a shepherd. We must be like Peter, no matter how many times we fall, we must weep and repent, and then we must tell the risen Lord, "You know I love You Lord, You know all things."
 
wkm
Oxford
 
Caravaggio. The Crucifixion of St. Peter.
 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Divine Love

Divine Love takes a sword to the hidden recesses of our inmost soul and divides us from ourselves.---St. Jane Frances De Chantal (16th Century widow)

Rejoice! The more we dive in and dig in to this faith, the more intense the love becomes! It becomes so riveting that we begin to disappear, and hallelujah!, we begin to abandon ourselves almost ridiculously to Jesus. It looks odd not only to those around us, but even to ourselves. We start to crave His nearness in ways that do not make sense. We find ourselves hating our sin and mediocrity with ferocious aggression. Then pride comes and we fall again. We wander through doubt again, we stagger like drunks trying to trust even for the smallest things. Then grace overwhelms us again, out of nowhere, and we dig some more. All of this is His sword, dividing us from ourselves so that we may know ourselves the way He knows us. St. Augustine said, " O lord, You know me better than I know myself." Why do we need this knowledge? So that when we are tempted to sin, or to think we are doing fine, or feel as if we have made it, or when we are faced with frustration, fear, doubt, anger, etc...we will recognize our fallen tendencies and turn to Jesus crying out for Mercy. The more we turn to Him instead of brewing in our minds the same old ways we always have, the more we can trust Him in the struggles and dark nights. This brings about a love for Jesus for Who He is, not for what He can do for us. Lord, let this be so!

wkm
Vancouver BC



Francis de Sales meets Jane Frances de Chantal, cutout from a window in the cathedral of Annecy




Friday, December 12, 2008

God Alone Suffices

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

---St. Teresa of Avila

Beloved Jesus, how can we love You better? When will our every waking breath be for You and Your purposes? When O Lord can we see Your Beautiful face? While we are down here on our soujourn keep us close to Your Sacred Heart. There are wolves Lord. Within every disturbance and horror that sometimes walks beside us on these paths, we need You; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You don't just walk with us, You are within us. Jesus, You said You would make Your home within our very hearts. The Kingdom is within. The unseen in our lives is more real than the seen, than the horrors, the frustrations, and the annoyances. God, You are more real than anything we can see, for You are unseen. Help us see this.

wkm
Vancouver BC

http://www.domestic-church.com/CONTENT.DCC/19980901/SAINTS/ST_THERESA.HTM


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where He Leads Us

My love for Jesus keeps growing more simple and more, I think, personal.---Like our Poor, I try to accept my poverty of being small, helpless, incapable of great love. But I want to love Jesus with Mary's love, and His Father with Jesus' love.---Mother Teresa from "Come Be My Light"

How is it that we could ever imagine our days without Jesus? How could we breath? How could we find beauty and sincerity without His nearness? Without Him, our beauty and sincerity are covered in the filth of ego and blindness. Just look at the news, and the media's passion for the twisted and the base aspects in every one of us. There is a frenzied glee when someone is found to be doing wrong. But the real sadness is that they know we will watch it! This is the world without Jesus, without His mercy. He calls us to be His mercy, like Mother Teresa. She shared in the darkness of the poor. She was an oddity in our times. She embraced poverty as if it were the pinnacle of success. It is where she found Jesus, and where He told her to go. We are all called to this detachment, to this heart. The little ways are where we start. Kindness, humility, honesty, and trust are some of the foundational virtues of our journey. What a difference it would make in how we live and in our decisions if we truly believed that God will take care of us no matter where He leads us! How much we miss because of our fear to persevere in faith through seemingly impossible situations. There is so much joy we forfeit. Most of us would shrink back from what Mother Teresa ran to embrace, all because she loved Jesus with a simple love. Lord, help us die.

wkm
Vancouver

   http://sincerelykristin.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/inner-beauty/


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Storms

The actual Christian task involves…

"accepting ourselves as we are in our confusion, infidelity, disruption, ferment, and even desperation."
–Thomas Merton

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.

These dark nights of the soul bring a different light to our eyes of faith. The light is not a blinding light, it is the warm glow of love. We are being emptied by these nights. It is painful to go through this. Mother Teresa spoke often of this emptying as the true path to being filled with God. How can He fill us with Himself if we are full of oursleves and other things? Jesus emptied Himself, are we not to follow Him in every way? The Father in His mercy helps us as much as we let Him. If we raise our hand in prayer and say, 'I volunteer for this part of the journey.', we bring a smile to our Lord. He is greatly pleased with our desire. We are His little children, we are being transformed, sanctified, and set free to love. We are being emptied. Lord Jesus, our Beloved, please be patient with us in these storms, and please Lord, understand when we cry out and wake you, hoping once again You will calm the waves.
wkm
Vancouver

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Merton's Prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.----Thomas Merton

"I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost...." writes Merton. It often seems the things we hope are God's will in our own personal lives end up lying before us in a heap. We are not sure if what we are doing is the right thing. The fight to have faith in the unseen is so obscured by "reality" of the bills we can't pay or by sickness, or self doubt. This causes the desire to make Jesus the center of everything we are and do a constant battle. The battle to be His friend and rest in Him no matter what is relentless. This prayer by Merton touches something deep within us. Our faith, and the grace to trust, are the gifts we have been given. Many times, this is all we have to work with. Lord, increase our faith, and help us know that we are not alone today. wkm

http://justanapprentice.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/decomposition/


Monday, December 8, 2008

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

The body we present on the alter was born of the Virgin...St. Ambrose, 4th century

The Virgin Mary is celebrated today as we remember her Immaculate Conception. She was made by God the Father to be the New Ark of the New Covenant. She is the Mother of God. She was full of grace from the very moment she was conceived. This is so vital to understanding the doctrine of our faith that is the Incarnation of Jesus. In Genesis 3 God tells Satan He will put enmity between her seed and Satan's seed. "Her Seed", the woman is never the one with the seed, but Her Seed is the Seed of God that she has been foreshadowed to carry since before the world began. She would be the one to give God's Son His Flesh and Blood. This is the Body and Blood we present at the alter. Mary had to be pure and free from sin, otherwise, she could not be the New Eve that says YES. The first Eve said no, the second said Yes, and the new Adam is our Savior. God did not have to do it this way, but He did. He is mysterious and He is in love with us.

wkm



Sunday, December 7, 2008

Self-Knowledge

 Without self-knowledge you have no root in yourselves personally; you may endure for a time, but under affliction or persecution your faith will not last......They endure not, because they have never tasted that the Lord is gracious; and they have never had experience of His power and love, because they have never known their own weakness and need.---Cardinal John Henry Newman (Famous Anglican convert to the Catholic Church in October 1845, England)

The better we know our own weaknesses the better we will be able to endure when we are tested. I know that when I am tested and want to give up because of the pressure, confusion, or fear I may be dealing with, that I still do not know myself well enough. If we know that we are capable of any sin, false humility, pride, spiritual laziness, etc.. then we can recognize it when the test comes and plead for mercy and grace to persevere. In this pleading, we are now asking for strength to endure the affliction, not for the affliction to end. There is a huge difference. The affliction, or cross, is a gift to help us grow closer to the Lord Who carried His cross and had to endure. He is giving us these crosses to make us like Him in all things. When we plead with Him to take away the gift, we are basically saying, I don't want to grow. But, when we know ourselves and realize why we want the cross taken away, we can then adjust it a bit or maybe move it to the other shoulder and carry on. Of course, this sounds much simpler than it really is. This is why we cry often for mercy.

wkm


John Henry Newman

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Persevere

Dear brethren, we must endure and persevere if we are to attain the truth and freedom we have been allowed to hope for; faith and hope are the very meaning of our being Christians, but if faith and hope are to bear their fruit, patience is necessary.---St. Cyprian, bishop and martyr (4th century)

Some days are harder than others. When we feel at our weakest, this is when we must look up with hope for Paul said, "When I am weak He is strong in me." Perseverance is not positive thinking, it is carrying a cross on a bruised and beaten shoulder up a hill while the world around you laughs or ignores you. Perseverance is not "just hanging in there", it is fighting to keep holy and pure in the face of temptation to despair and turn away from God. We must pray for one another.

wkm





Friday, December 5, 2008

Real Loss

Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts. Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about tasks and labors. Make a little time for God  and rest a while in Him.----St. Anselem, bishop, 12th century

The idea that we are able to handle whatever comes our way is at best naive.  Bob Dylan wrote, "If you think you've lost it all, there's always more that you can lose."  But there is one thing that should bother us if we lose more than any other loss, the presence of God. This is why we should hate our sin with the utmost passion. The willful decision to go against what we know God wants separates us from His nearness. He doesn't leave us, we leave Him. He said He would never forsake us. He does at times withdraw from us when we are seeking Him to make us want Him more, that is an entirely different thing than losing His presence due to sinfulness. We must make time in our day to go inside and look upon His Sacred Heart. This is why the rosary is so important. Just touching it or seeing it can instantly take us into one of the mysteries of our Beloved Jesus. Let us not be naive in our daily toil, thinking we can handle it all alone, we can't.

wkm


   http://blog.theologika.net/2008/04/23/st-anselm-of-canterbury-faith-seeking-understanding/

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Wait

Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left....Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with Your will, now until the end.----St. John Damascene (4th century)

We are a few days into Advent and it dawns on us that we are never out of "Advent." We are waiting all of the time and in every season! We are waiting most of all for Jesus to return and then we shall see Him as He is, and thus we shall be changed. We are also waiting for the Lord in every aspect of this journey. We hope to be good participants in His work in our daily lives. This is where we grow in faith and patience, always, "waiting upon the Lord". We pray and wait. We seek and wait. We hope and wait. We act and we wait. We wonder and we wait. We cry out and we wait. We are waiting to see His face and love Him as He truly deserves to be loved. St. John Damascene's words are intriguing, "Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze with me." We all should hope to know Him in this way. But it may take some waiting.

wkm


St. John Damascene

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Reality of the Spiritual Life

Jesus Christ is not a myth, He is the Mystery of God.---Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Mystery is a reality we can perceive but not penetrate with the human mind---Albert Einstein


We walk a narrow road. The reality of the spiritual life is not some whimsical happiness, or even a confidence that we have it all figured out. We know only a few things for sure; Jesus was God incarnate. He was fully God and fully man. We know He came to save us by defeating death. He did this by dying. He brought light where there was no light. We now have hope, and though death is still an unknown occurrence to anyone reading this, we have hope that death is simply a door. His Blood washes us clean from sin. He rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven, and now sits at God's right hand. We know that He is coming again. He gave us His Church, through the descent of the Holy Spirit Who helps us. He does this through the Sacraments and prayer. We have Christ With us in the Holy Eucharist. We know that the bread becomes His Body and the wine His Blood. He told us this. We know His Mother, who is now our Mother as well. We know that the Saints are cheering us on. We know that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We know these things. By faith we live in these truths. By grace we walk in them. Let us be detached today from the things that make us forget or ignore this mysterious and beautiful Way. Let us open our hearts in humility and cry out to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Lord, do with us what You will!

wkm


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent

Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God. ---St. Padre Pio
 
This is the third day of Advent. We are three days into the waiting. We are waiting on God. Happy the man whose hope is in the Lord! What should we do while we wait? We should pray. We are in a fight as we wait. The devil hates it when we wait upon the Lord. The devil hates Mary more than any human because she waited in prayer. She said yes to the waiting and she obeyed every time she and Joseph had to deal with her calling. They fled to Egypt! Why didn't God just put a hedge around His Mother? Why did even she have to hide from harms way? If I were God I would have made it though she and Joseph could have stayed home without a care in the world. But God still acts this way in our lives. He allows things that we find uncomfortable and irritating. Is it that He is trying to birth Himself in each of us anew? We must look to Mary for guidance, she is our example of obedience and trust. Our best weapon as we wait is prayer, let us pray that we will be like Mary.
 
wkm
Vancouver BC

   http://jesusshaped.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/crucifix/

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Never-Ending Call

When you do it to the least of these, you do it unto me.---Jesus

There is a never-ending call upon each of us to love the unloved. Who are they? A friend at school who is always alone. A homeless man who needs a cup of coffee on a cold day. A friend who needs a phone call. An enemy who needs to be shown forgiveness. This ain't easy! This is grueling work, and some days it seems impossible. Do not think for a moment that Jesus doesn't know this. He dealt with every single human condition we can imagine, and then some. We just have to take a breath and move forward in what we know is right to do, and pray! It will feel awkward at times, uncomfortable, and irritating; kind of like learning to swing a golf club correctly, but, it will change us, and we will learn how to die to self. Mother Teresa can teach us a great deal about this. If you think you know her, you don't. Read her life story in the book "Come be my Light." She told someone once, " I want to love Jesus like He has never been loved." Every sick and dying person she cared for was Jesus. Lord, help us love You by loving those in and around our lives like Mother Teresa did. It would be something if we even tried this.

wkm
Vancouver BC

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Simple

Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.---St. Therese of Lisieux
 
We do not have to try very hard to please our Beloved, He is easily taken with us. Our faith need only be the size of a mustard seed according to Jesus. But even that is a gift from Him to help us in loving Him. We can't outgive God. There is no way to even come close.
 Lord, help us try daily with simplicity to love one another, our enemies, and especially, You, our Breath and Light. 
 
wkm
 
 
Therese in color

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One thing..

     "Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to his good pleasure and rest in him."--St. John of the Cross
 
This quote made me think of Curly in the old movie "City Slickers". Billy Crystals character asks Curly what is the meaning of life. Curly holds up one finger. He says that life is about One thing. He was speaking a great truth. Why do we live? What do we live for? What gives us meaning? If the answer is anything except life in, with, and for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then we still haven't learned the One thing that truly matters. When Union with God in Christ is our One thing, we naturally love those around us better. We naturally do better work, whether in school or at a career. We are more creative. When we are about the One thing, we find harmony in our relationships and in our daily dealings. This does not mean that everything goes as we plan, but we fight with faith against our doubts and fears that rise up when our plans crumble. The One thing is devotion to Jesus through His Church, the Sacraments, prayer, study and service.  Let us ask our Father to help us desire the One thing.
 
wkm
 
  http://www.livingwatercommunity.com/saiints/st%20john%20of%20the%20cross.htm

Friday, November 28, 2008

Struggle?

"The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain." --St. Padre Pio
 
What is so great about struggle? Why did Jesus have to suffer? What is the big deal about the gap between getting what we want and what we need? The answer is this, the Beatific Vision. This is what every human being, whether they know it or not, is made for. We are made to see God! In other words, we are made for union with Him alone. What does the scripture say? , "When we see Him we shall be like Him." But we cannot look upon Him until we are full of Him alone. There is a purging that has to take place, an emptying, and if you doubt this, look at the cross. St. Paul said that Jesus "emptied Himself." Even Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered the scripture tells us. One Saint said this, "The greatest gift we are given is our crosses." What the heck was he talking about?! Suffering awakens and challenges our falleness. C.S. Lewis said, "Suffering is God's megaphone..."  We need awakening often from our lukewarm tendencies, especially us Americans. We don't want to end up vomit, do we? ( He will spew the lukewarm from His mouth, Revelation 3) This is serious stuff. God is not kidding about how much He loves us and requires our everything, soul and body. He is a jealous God. He is jealous for our eternal happiness in the presence of the Trinity. So, let us humbly admit that we have failed once again and fly unto our Mother Mary, asking her prayers for our wayward souls. She will take us, as she does better than anyone, to her Son Jesus, our Lord. We need all the help we can get! Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble...". Let us turn to our Beloved Jesus in this moment and be brutally honest about everything. He is always there for us. Life is a mystery of faith, do not assume anything.
 
wkm
 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Good Shepherd

The Lord knows how to rescue devout men from trial...--St. Peter (in his second letter, chapter 2:9)
 
This is very encouraging, but also very demanding. "Am I devout?", should be the question that comes to our minds when we read this verse. This verse of course is taken out of a very important context. St. Peter was warning the church against men who act like beast, who say anything to make a buck, and who act as if they are sheep when really they are wolves. We need to make sure that we are sheep. Sheep focus on things like knowing where the shepherd is at all times. They must not wander off from the herd. They learn to know the voice of the shepherd and will not follow any other voice. Here is a great beginning to being devout. We must not wander from Jesus.  We must learn His voice so as not to be misled. We must pray at all times and earnestly desire His nearness for our protection and comfort. But without the staff, the lamb would never learn to be a wise sheep. These are the beginnings and foundations of a devout life. Then we must cry out, MERCY! We must press in to our Lord, learn to hate our sin, and seek Him first every moment of every day. And when we fail, we must rely on His staff to guide us back to the fold.
 
wkm
 
 http://imagesbible.jexiste.fr/ANGLAIS/ANG_FICHES/Ang_good_sheperd.htm

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Great Treasure

"Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall keep you then more effectively than during my life."
    — Saint Dominic's last words to his brothers
 
There is a great treasure that many Christians never look for. It is a great help that comes from God alone, but it reaches us through the prayers of the Saints. We on earth are the Church militant, those in Heaven are the Church triumphant. There is much to gain from our family in heaven. If I ask you, my earthly brother or sister, to pray for me, why should I not ask a heavenly brother or sister the same? They are more alive than we are being in the unveiled presence of the Trinity! The writer of Hebrews paints an amazing picture of them cheering for us as they watch our progress from heaven. We have Jesus with us in the Eucharist, and we have our brothers and sisters urging us on. They have no tears, for they have experienced the Beatific Vision. Even as I write this, they are gazing upon the face of God!!!!! This should light a fire within our souls for holiness and living our lives in abandon for Jesus! This should cause us to tremble and to humble ourselves, asking for their prayers often. Why not call upon those alive in Christ to remember us as we fight the good fight?! This is a great treasure of grace for us. We are family in Christ. We can do nothing alone.
 
wkm
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Light

I intend to recall these things to you constantly, even though you already understand and are firmly rooted in the truth you possess. I consider it my duty, as long as I live, to prompt you with this reminder.---St. Peter ( writing from Rome just before his death, 1 Peter 1: 12-21)
 
St. Peter goes on to remind them that he was there when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain. He tells them that Jesus, "received glory and praise from God the Father when that unique declaration came to Him out the majestic splendor." He says for the Church to remember that he possesses this prophetic message as something reliable. You and I were not there, neither were the first century believers he was writing to. He was passing on this moment, this apostolic moment, to those who did not see this so we would embrace even deeper that Jesus is Lord. St. Peter pleads with them to keep their attention fixed on this "prophetic message" as something reliable, as if it were a "lamp shining in a dark place until the first streaks of dawn appear and the Morning Star rises in your hearts." He goes on to explain that this is not open to "personal interpretation", this is the way it happened. Here is the first Pope ( Papa) of the Church establishing a firm foundation to build everything on. Think of it, this leader of the early Church is simply passing on the truth to us here in 2008. How did these words survive and get all the way to this computer this morning?, through the Church! And praise God Almighty, hell still hasn't been able to prevail over the apostolic teachings and traditions of the Church of Jesus. Read the words of Pope Benedict and you will see this message of Jesus Christ is still as prophetic, fresh, sound, and alive as ever! There is so much to take in, do not waste a second on anything else! There is only one true light worth gazing upon.
 
wkm
 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dignity

Soul of a nation is under the knife, death is standing in the doorway of life, in the next room a man is fighting with his wife over dignity.--Bob Dylan (from his Tell Tale Signs version of the song "Dignity".)
 
How is it that we are made in the image of God? Life is from God, and our lives are given so that we may in turn give them back to Him. When I heard these words from Dylan I knew he was talking about abortion, "The soul of a nation is under the knife, death is standing in the doorway of life..." We must pray with sincerity this morning for all people who believe that life begins at conception, and the scientist who now know that it does, to raise one voice for abortion to become uncool. Our society is driven by what is in style and what isn't. Let's pray that killing babies goes out of fashion quickly. Let's even hope that it becomes financially rewarding to stand up for life. If people saw a way to make money saving the unborn, the tide would turn....What is so amazing about the absurdity of these ideas is that they are true! If somehow  babies in the womb could become as important as baby seals... God have mercy on us!!! We must pray with great fervor that Barack Obama and his people will have an awakening to the Truth. Nothing is impossible with God. Jesus said He came that we may have life, and have it to the full, so many never get this chance. If anything should bring all believers together it is this, there is nothing more basic or elemental as the gift of life.
 
"Man's likeness to God, if preserved, imparts high dignity."--St. Columban (7th century)
 
wkm
 
 
      http://www.52shows.com/2008/07/02/new-american-music-union-pittsburgh-pa/
 
http://www.st-columban.de/

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christ the King

They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty; then He will send out the angels...-Jesus (from Mark's gospel 13th chapter)

Today the Church celebrates Christ the King. St. Paul tells the Ephesians, "All things are under His feet! He is the exalted Head of the Church, which is His body." Glory to our King! This is the last Sunday before Advent begins, before the waiting begins! We go out of "ordinary time" into the time of great expectation! The Church is constantly reminding us of the Salvation Story. We are constantly in it! When we call Jesus our King, we are also saying we are a Kingdom. We do not call him president, we do not live in a democracy as followers of Jesus. He is King forever! We live in a kingdom. And where does this kingdom exist until He comes in the clouds?, within each of us. Jesus said people will say, "there it is.", or "it is there.", but no, the Kingdom of God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit making Their Home within us. Our lives are where God wants to be! How amazing! He loves us so much! Therefore, Christ reigns in each of His holy ones. So we must stop sinning and living as though we can do what we want! This idea is not part of the Kingdom life, the Kingdom of God is not the American Dream. In fact, it is mostly opposed to it. So when we pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, and say, "Thy Kingdom come..", remember that we are asking Him to come and live within us again. We are saying, 'I do not want to rule over myself, I turn from a life of selfishness.' We are asking Him to rule over us. We give Him the key to our lives and souls. And if Jesus is truly King of our hearts, one day we will see Him coming in the clouds, and we will be ready to stand on His right with the other sheep when the angels are sent out to gather every soul.

wkm

Christ the King, a detail from the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ablaze!

When we are whom we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze.--St. Catherine of Sienna
 
St. Paul says we are new creatures in Christ Jesus. We are driven by love! Our faith and hope are in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation now, moving and being within the eternal perfect love of the the Trinity. This all sounds well and good, but why are we not setting the world ablaze? Why are we ripped apart by disagreements and individual declarations of the truth? St. Catherine knew why, she knew it was because we do not embrace the call! We think too often that being a Christian is some kind of osmosis. We think that saying it and believing it is enough. James says that even the demons believe and they shudder! In order to set the world ablaze we must pray without ceasing, press in and press on to the call in Christ Jesus! This is not a bystander religion, this is a Liturgy! This is a ritual! This is a daily taking up the cross and following after Jesus. Do we really want this safe little world of ours to be ablaze? It will mean humbling ourselves, it will mean seeking harder than ever, it will mean trusting Jesus when everything seems lost, it will mean loving our enemies, it will mean being whom we are called to be.
 
wkm
 
 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gabriel

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.--Jesus  (Mt.18:10)
 
This is one more command to love from our Lord. How do we "see that we do not despise"?, by loving the little ones. Who are the little ones? They are the unborn child in the womb, the young child abandoned in Darfur, the elderly abandoned by family and left in homes to die, the prisoner forgotten and wasting away in a local jail we drive by daily, the teenager who seeks happiness in all the wrong places, the college student who hopes there is more to life than getting a degree and a job. The "little ones" are all of the us at some point in our lives. Jesus was talking about the child who is innocent when He said these words, but at one point this was all of us. We never lose our Guardian Angel. We always have this appointed creature doing the work God has assigned. Let us pray that our hearts will be ever grateful for this help. The Angel to remember today is Gabriel, sent to speak to the Virgin Mary and call her by her real name, "Full of Grace". Remember that all of this is for our salvation. Glory to God!
 
wkm
 
Guardian Angel
Gabriel