Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our God kept His scars.

You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for You. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more.---St. Catherine of Sienna
This is the great truth of our journey through, with, and in our Beloved God; no matter how deep we go, our hunger and thirst for Him will never be filled. Every new morning is another beginning for us to dig deeper into the treasure that is our faith. We must never be satisfied with how we are loving Jesus. How could we ever think we have loved Him enough or well? When I sat in the sanctuary the other day and looked at the Crucifix hanging above the alter, I focused on the scars in His hands, side, and feet. The scripture reading that day was when Jesus appeared to the disciples by the sea and showed them His scars. It amazes me that our God kept His scars on His risen body. His love for us is truly a mad and crazy love! St. John said we love because He first loved us. I pray that we will love Him a little madder and a little crazier today than we did yesterday. St.Catherine of Sienna, pray for us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We should praise Him.

If you desire to praise Him, then live what you express. Live good lives, and you yourselves will be praise.--St. Augustine
Why do we not praise Him more if we call ourselves His? There are many reasons we fall in to grumbling while in the desert. We are not very different from the children of Israel in their wandering. They had good days and bad. God was not only setting them free from the Egyptians, He was showing them a new way to live. They had a pillar of cloud and fire to lead them. They had manna from heaven to feed them. Water from the rock. They had the Passover to remember and celebrate their freedom. They were given priests to shepherd them. They were given the law to guide them and set them apart.... Now consider what we have and wonder with me why we do not praise... We have more than a pillar of cloud and fire, we have the grace of Jesus Christ to lead us to the promised land, which is Christ Himself! We have His Body and Blood, come down from Heaven, our True Food and True Drink, and, our eternal celebration of being freed from sin! We have the waters of baptism, the sacrament that flowed from His side on the cross to bring us into His Kingdom and birth us anew! We have the Eucharist to remember Him daily as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling!  We have the Church to bring us the Sacraments and guide us in the law of grace! We should praise Him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Union with God

Gratitude is the path to God. So too is contrition.--S.C. Biela, from his book, "The Two Pillars"
How is it that I complain about anything? Why do I moan about my trials as if I do not need them? The answer is pride, and an ungrateful heart. We are called to thankfulness. Consider this: The most important sacrifice we will ever participate in is called the Eucharist, or, "The Thanksgiving". It is The Sacrifice of praise. This is the foundation of our lives as Catholics. From the Eucharist, the "Thanksgiving", blooms our entire faith. This is where we are called to build from. This foundation of gratefulness is the "source and summit" of who we are, to paraphrase Pope John Paul 2. We are given a wonderful example of this attitude of gratefulness and contrition in Jesus' story of the Publican and the sinner. The Publican, a believer in God, raises his head full of pride for how beautifully and faithfully he lives for God. He looks across the way at the sinner and is smugly 'grateful' he is not like this man. The sinner bows his head, beats his chest, and cries for mercy with a contrite spirit. Jesus said the sinner walked away right with God. The Publican walked away in darkness, thinking he is in light. We have to really think about this kind of stuff daily, it is vital to our relationship and union with God. There is great freedom in being grateful, and having a contrite heart.
The Two Pillars

Monday, April 27, 2009

Listening at Prayer

We will never learn to live the years prayerfully unless we learn to live the seconds deeply and well.--Fr. Benedict Groeschel, from his book, "Listening at Prayer"
This life is mostly not about great plans and big ideas, it is about the daily joys, struggles, and the grind of living. It is about the daily Mass, the simple moments of loving someone simply because they are. It is about going to a job and dealing with the same old issues and people. It's about doing one more set in the weight room, and pushing harder when you want to quit. It is about those things that come up unexpected and how we react to them. Fr. Groeschel's book on prayer is eye opening. His main point is that prayer is something we must work at in two facets. Talking to God, but just as important, listening to God. If you have a friend and you never let them speak, or when they do, you are only thinking about what you want to say, that friendship is not a friendship. Take time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to listen. Just sit there and clear you head. This takes much patience and effort. It does not come easy. The second facet of prayer is to just do it.  Whether we feel like praying or not, pray. When we are angry, pray. When we are despairing, pray. When we are bored, pray. When life is going great, pray. Confused, pray. Bitter, pray. Hungry, pray. God loves it when we talk to Him, but He also loves it when we listen.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The devil is usually 95% correct..

Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.--Matthew 4:11
The devil is not someone we can outsmart. He is not like the evil nemesis in a James Bond film. He is a fallen angel with powers that are unexplainable to our human thinking. When he tested Jesus in the desert he did something very interesting. He used scripture to try and persuade Jesus to do what he wanted. He never lied to Jesus, he just didn't tell the whole truth. He quoted the Psalms, Jesus' favorite book to quote. He told Him what he would do for him if Jesus simply did what humans before Jesus had done, worship him and his materialism, power, and greed. Jesus never argued with the devil. He simply responded with the full truth. He never explained anything to the devil. Jesus experienced what everyone one of us experience with the devil. The devil is usually 95% correct when he accuses us of something. We are liars, drunkards, thieves, mediocre Christians, self possessed, talented, good at what we do, etc.. Diablo tempts us to despair or feel false pride with his accusations, trying to distract us from the narrow road. And how we usually respond is how he wanted Jesus to respond. He wanted Jesus to settle for what he was saying and jump from the high place. He wants us to wallow in our weakness, or be prideful regarding our abilities, thus turning from the love of God to the emptiness of self, he wants us to grasp! We need to try something Jesus did. We don't need to argue with Satan, we need to take it to a higher level of truth. "Yes devil, I am a liar, a drunk, lukewarm, etc.. but, here is my rosary, and here is the crucifix, and here is the verse that says He is with me, and listen now to my cries for mercy! My hope is in the cross, and in His grace to finish in me what He started. Get thee behind me."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jesus is real.

They said to each other, "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?" ---Luke 24:32
Why did Jesus appear to those two guys? Of all the people He could have been hanging with, why these two unknowns? I don't know. But, it might have something to do with the conversation they were having  before He showed up. They were confused about who He was and what had just happened back in Jerusalem.. They were probably heading back to their old life of fishing, carpentry, or whatever. They were sad too. They were beaten men. Their hopes had died on a cross. A stranger shows up and walks with them. Jesus explains the Old Testament writings about how the Messiah must suffer and then rise. He scolds them a little for not getting this. I love the fact that He acts as if He will walk on past their place. They beg this stranger to come in and eat with them, for it is late. He sits down, and after giving thanks, breaks the bread. He is revealed to them in the breaking of the bread. (Sounds like that night in the upper room doesn't it?) After He hands them the bread He vanishes before their eyes. Wow, it's as if He is saying, 'You have me now in the bread, therefore, I am with you always, even till the end. I am now your very sustenance for the journey.'  Jesus is real. His not some idea or myth. He is real, and He is alive. I pray that when we receive Him in the Eucharist, our hearts will burn within us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Worth Knowing..

We stumble and fall constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen. ---Thomas Merton

Jesus said, "If the light inside you is darkness, how great is that darkness." This is why I need to pray the rosary daily. The rosary is a meditation on the gospel, on the life of Jesus. It is taking His life in one moment at a time, asking Mary to help us see it through her loving and faithful eyes. When we see Him, we see light. This light shines upon us in our darkness, keeping us real with ourselves and God. It shows us how needy we are, and, how loved we are. This brings us to humility, where, though we fall 7 times a day, we are still walking with Him, able to get up and move on. This brings grace to keep fighting the fight. The rosary brings to our lives His life. Without Him, there is false light that keeps us in darkness, and from knowing anything truly worth knowing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Fabric of all things believed...

To attain holiness we must not only pattern our lives on Christ's being gentle, humble, and patient, we must also imitate him in His death. Taking Christ for his model, Paul said that he wanted to become like Him in His death in the hope that he too would be raised to life.---St. Basil, bishop, from the book, "On The Holy Spirit".
Heady stuff is our faith. But if we look at these things with our minds alone, we will be beguiled and fall into distracting arguments like 'predestination vs free will', or some other distraction. Our heart must ultimately be the leader in this journey of the cross. Reason without faith leads to ideas like, 'abortion is a choice'. Faith without reason leads to fanaticism, i.e. 9-11, or the killing of doctors who commit abortions. We must approach the treasure that is our faith with humility. For instance, I have seen so many angry people who hate what they think is the Catholic Church, not what it truly is. I used to be one of them. The Pharisees hated what they thought Jesus was, not Who and What He truly was. If they had known how deep and rich His love was for them , and had turned from their pride, they would have run to Him. We see this with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to Jesus under the cover of night, and then, after His death on the cross, came with spices for the burial. Grace falls like rain....   To become like Him in His death is not something we can study only with our intellect, but in order to go there with our heart, we must go where this teaching is part of the very fabric of all things believed and embraced. I have found this nowhere else but in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the understanding of Jesus' Passion. I do not know why or how His grace brought me to this Alter, but I want all of eternity to thank Him. Christ have mercy!
St. Peter's Basilica from the River Tiber.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Love of Jesus

In comparison with the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And without the love of Jesus, everything else is useless.--Pope John Paul 2
It often hits me that I only know Jesus a little bit. I fool myself sometimes thinking I know Him better than I do. And this is understandable, we all want to feel like we know the One living inside us. But He is as mysterious to our minds as we are to ourselves. He is Truth. He is Real, and He is Other. He is seen only with faith and a pure heart. He is not easily embraced, and if someone tells you that He is, they don't know Him as well as think they do. (Listen to them with only one ear.) This is why we must never rest in our pursuit of Jesus. Every Saint you ever study will end up telling you one thing, dig deeper! Pope John Paul 2 said that, "everything else is secondary." Do we truly believe this, and treat the world around us this way? "Without the love of Jesus, everything else is useless." Is this true? Is everything in this life useless to me compared to the love of Jesus? I want to scream, YES! But honestly, I have to struggle on. I worry about things to the point of anger and anxiety. I allow my fears to make me try on my own instead of looking to Him, and waiting on Him. But, St. Paul said this, "I press on!" St. Paul knew the love of Jesus, he knew Jesus probably better than any man of his time. Yet, he said things like, "I have not yet attained the calling for which I was called heavenward in Christ Jesus." If St. Paul felt this, whew! This is why I am so thankful for the Church and the Sacraments, and the Saints. Jesus did not leave us alone in this expedition. Never try to dig without the help of the Church! I have done this in the past, and it always brought me to something strange and self possessed, not community, and not the love of Jesus.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that any one who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto you,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in your mercy
hear and answer me.


After Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.--John 19:30
Jesus was convicted as a criminal by a kangaroo court. He was falsely accused. He was slapped in the face. His beard was pulled out! He was beaten to a bloody pulp. He was forced to carry a beam weighing over 100 pounds up a steady incline. He was laughed at. He was spat upon. His mother watched all of this. He was laughed at!, scorned. He was a failure! He died between two common robbers. Failure! If we saw someone like this today on the news, and we saw the report that this person claimed to be God, or the son of God, we would think, "What a loser! What a mixed up person." ..... This is Who we must die to our sinful, self righteous, prideful selves for! We have no idea what He really wants of us! Are we really ready to follow this Jesus? It might be confusing, mysterious, beguiling, frustrating, joyful, radical, and sorrowful. Yes, I promise you, if we follow Jesus, it will be all of this. If it isn't, then we are following our egos.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one"---C.S. Lewis
I am a horrible friend, but, then again, I am a devoted friend. I say things I regret, but then again, I  say things that are encouraging. I am a walking paradox. Jesus said things that confused, but, He never spoke anything untrue. He always spoke real things. Things more real than Bob Dylan, Bono, the atheist Christopher Hitchens, my priest, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Oral Roberts, Charles Stanley, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or Barak Obama. Jesus said things that still cause the whole world to shiver. He said, "Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life within you." He said, "Before Abraham, I Am." I can say things to my friends that are selfish and full of manipulation. I can also speak the truth, even if driven by my own insecurities. Jesus spoke the truth in love. He was always about setting His friends free. He also said "no greater love has one for another than to lay down one's life". He spoke every word in love. It may seem hard when we read His words that tell us to carry our own cross, but once again He led the way in this crazy love. He knew all along, no matter what He said, that the way to love us best was the cross. But, He also knew that His resurrection would give us purpose, joy, and hope. Always for us, His friends.
  He is Risen!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy, Jesus I trust in You

Today you shall be with me in paradise.---Jesus
I am glad for Divine mercy. It gives me more hope, and I am often in need of it. St. Faustina said, "Jesus, I trust in You." This short prayer will at times become a mantra for one desiring deeper union with Jesus, for this desire always brings with it great suffering. It will become a chant for one going through that damnable trial that seems endless. What does Jesus want from us,,?,, A broken and contrite heart, honesty, trust, humility, passion, our needs, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our triumphs, our total devotion, our love,,, He wants it all. I don't know about you, but it is hard to give Him my all all of the time. In fact, it's hard to even give it some of the time. My weakness amazes me, even after all He has done for me and in me. (everything is grace) I know more and more that apart from Him I can do nothing. But knowing that His Divine Mercy is for everyone, makes me remember the thief on the cross when suffering various trials. While we are hanging on our crosses, maybe we too can learn to look to Him and ask His help, and then listen for Him say those words, "Today, you will be with Me in paradise."  He is risen! Christ have mercy on us!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the cross and the upper room

In his humility, Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens - the proof, surely, of his power and Godhead - his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in Heaven. So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him.

St. Andrew of Crete, 8th century, Archbishop of Crete.
We cannot forget this journey is always and forever about love. His radical love and mercy is beyond our imagining. His justice is also beyond our imagining. The cross shows us both His great love, and great justice. These two, love and justice, are why you and I can never assume a thing. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, St. James tells us. If love is our goal, it is what we must do. St. Paul said that he presses on because he has not reached the goal. Here is the question we must ask ourselves throughout these days we are given, "How much does Jesus love me?" If we ask this often, we will find we are loved madly! His love for us never takes a day off. His desire for our love given back to Him is our hope for union with God. The next question is this, "How much do I love You Lord?" Ask this with great honesty. I ask Mary to show me how to love her Son. She always points me to the cross and to the upper room, the two places of His Passion and death. His love for us is deeper than any depth we can fathom. Let us pray to love Him with abandon. He is risen!
St. Andrew of Crete with St. Mary of Egypt

Friday, April 17, 2009

Our Calling

If men knew the meaning of eternity, they would do anything to mend their lives.--St. Jacinta of Fatima

The meaning of eternity is like the flavor of an apple. You can't really explain it, but you try to anyway. It is beyond us, like God, it is other. But Jesus talked about it as if He knew it well. He referred to the eternal Kingdom of God through parables to help us understand. He constantly asked, "What is the Kingdom of God like?" Then He would explain the flavor of it to His followers. It is like a field, an old woman, a coin, a man with a vineyard, treasure hidden, a Samaritan, a new wineskin, a farmer, a father with two sons, on and on and on. And He said the Kingdom is within us. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer says that eternity has been placed in the heart of every human. Even atheist sense eternity. The bible says that demons believe, and they shudder. We must take eternity seriously! Once we die, we will realize this life here on earth was but a vapor. The soul of a man will either spend eternity with God, or separated and alone without God. We must strive to embrace the Kingdom of God within us, and know it is a gift we can ultimately choose to refuse. We must meditate on the flavor of the apple, trying our best to share what it is like with everyone we meet. This is our calling.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hang on a bit longer...

Sometimes, all we can do is hang on a bit longer.--Anonymous
There will be times in this journey of union with Jesus when we will feel lost. We will see only darkness, and the silence will seem unbearable.  The hope we have will seem a bitter joke, and God will seem mean and impossible. St. John of the Cross called this the "Dark Night of the Soul". He said it was a time when God is drawing closer to us than He has ever been, and the darkness is His shadow cast over our finite understanding of His love. Jesus must have meant this when He told the disciples that ,"In this life you will have trouble.." He went on to say, "But take heart, for I have overcome the world." We must ask ourselves how He overcame the world and its trouble. The answer, His Passion, death, and resurrection. Our hope is that one day we will rise with Him. St. Paul says that we are already seated with Him in the heavenly places, and to set our mind on things above. This is where our hearts and minds must go when we feel so alone and hopeless. This is very hard to do. Mother Teresa would smile at Jesus when she felt the darkness growing deeper. Her response to this Shadow of God was a smile. I find this simply breathtaking. Whether we feel like it or not, we must hang on a bit longer. As St. Therese of Lisieux tries to remind me daily, "Everything is grace."
He is risen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my favorite prayer

Stay with me, Lord
Prayer of St. Pio of Pietrelcina after Holy Communion

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have
     You present so that I do not forget You.
     You know how easily I abandon You.

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak
     and I need Your strength,
     that I may not fall so often.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life,
     and without You, I am without fervor.

Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light,
     and without You, I am in darkness.

Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will.

Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice
     and follow You.

Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You
     very much, and always be in Your company.

   Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You.

   Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is,
        I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.

   Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes;
        death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength,
        so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You.
        It is getting late and death approaches,
        I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows.
        O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile!

   Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all it's dangers. I need You.

   Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread,
        so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness,
        the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart.

   Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You,
        if not by communion, at least by grace and love.

   Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it,
        but the gift of Your Presence, oh yes, I ask this of You!

   Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart,
        Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more.

   With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth
         and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity.    Amen

neither praise nor disgrace..

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.--Mother Teresa

 St. Paul said that Jesus humbled Himself, that He did got regard equality with God something to be grasped at. What did the devil tempt Eve with? He told her she would be like God if she ate the fruit. She would be equal with God. She grasped, she chose attachment to something other than trusting God. Jesus trusted His Father, and did not grasp. In His humanity, He learned obedience through what He suffered, the writer of Hebrews tells us. The devil tempted Him in the desert to be like God, He told Satan to get lost. He said no to grasping. What is the big deal about wanting to be equal to God? Because it is impossible for one thing, and any one who believes they can be equal to God have a misconstrued Idea of Who God is, and thus, who they are. We are sheep. He is the Shepherd. We did not make ourselves, He made us. We need Him, He does not need us. We deserve nothing, In Christ we have been given everything. I pray that one day I can get to this place of detachment that Mother Teresa writes about, "neither praise nor disgrace...". Christ have mercy!  He is Risen!
Photo of Mother Teresa

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

O Happy Fault!

It is such a folly to pass one's time fretting, instead of resting quietly on the heart of Jesus.- St. Therese of Lisieux
I sometimes wonder when I read some of these Saints, "how on earth did you do this!?" I especially mean this about St. Therese of Lisieux. Her suffering was so intense and so long. She struggled with doubts at the very end, but she kept on saying things like this. In other words, she was either nuts, or she was truly in love. We try and try to do the right thing and then we fail. We struggle against the same old sins every day, and so many times they get the best of us. What would St. Therese say to these failings after she had repented and made a good confession? She would cry out, "O happy fault!". This little girl, who is now a Doctor of the Church, of which there are only 33 in 2000 years, truly believed that she was loved. That was the secret to her faith. In fact, this is the secret of every saint, they know they are loved. Some days I struggle with this. This is why I am so weak at times. But I will say with Paul, "when I am weak, He is strong." St. Therese, pray for us.  He is Risen!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Be Firm.

Be firm in your resolutions; Stay in the boat I have placed you and let the storm come. Long live Jesus! You will not perish. Walk the way of the Lord in simplicity; Do not torment your spirit. Say the truth, always the truth.---St. Pio of Petrelcina

When Jesus was carrying the cross up to the "place of the skull", He was tired. He was hurting, weary, and bloody. Mary, His mother, was close by suffering what she knew was inevitable. St. John, the beloved disciple, must have been with her. A few of the other women followed too. Why do we never discuss the courage of these women, and the lone apostle John? I think they found their courage in the Holy Mother of our Lord. She would not allow her Son to be alone as He suffered. Her deep love moved her to allow the sword to pierce her heart through. I wonder if after the resurrection, she recalled the words of Simeon, that a sword would pierce her heart. Being firm in our resolutions during times of suffering is hard. And if we want to see what being firm looks like, we need look closely at Mary. She will teach us how to stay near Him, and she will teach us how to embrace our own crosses with humility and trust. Here is the beauty in all of this, Jesus did this work in Mary to the glory of God, and He can do it in you and me too...It's all about what He has accomplished, and, by grace, how we respond to it. We have a great family that is His Church, we are not alone in our battles. He is Risen! Jesus, have mercy on us.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

He has risen!

You rub your palm on the grimy pane in the hope that you can see. ( when you're waiting) You stand up proud and pretend you're strong, in the hope that you can be ( when you're waiting) the ones who've died, like the one's who've cried, trying to set the angel in us free,,,, when you're waiting for a miracle.--Bruce Cockburn

Aren't we all always waiting for some kind of miracle? If we are not, maybe we should be. Our God is God! He is Other. (mind boggling). Yet, He took on flesh, He gained a Body through the Virgin Mary. This is all so incredible, so beyond our imagining. But we can not only know it is true, we can eat this Body of His, and drink this Blood of His. Amazing! But still, we are all waiting for that particular miracle today, this day, 2009. We are all waiting on something to help us out of this mire and mess we find ourselves, even at Easter. Maybe we have a relative who is a victim of abuse and won't seek help. Maybe we ourselves are addicted to drink, food, praise, or drugs. Maybe we are depressed and feel hopeless. These feelings are nothing new to Jesus. We can lean upon His breast like the beloved disciple John, and find Him looking deeply into our bloodshot eyes. He is waiting to give us the miracle we need, and it has nothing to do with money, things, or dreams. It has to do with our redemption, and the redemption of our false ideas of Who He really Is; and, who we really are in His eyes. He has come to set us free. He has come to teach us the infinite beauty of detachment. He has come to save us so that we might be with Him forever. He is risen!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Preaching to the Dead!

He descended to the dead.--The Apostles Creed
The Triduum is the Passion of Jesus. From instituting the Eucharist and the Priesthood on Thursday night, to His glorious and quiet Resurrection on Sunday morning, these are days of constant prayer and thanksgiving. Saturday is the most mysterious. He is out of sight, silent. But this is a day and night of great ministry. The scripture says he took captivity captive. He descended to the dead and preached to His children held captive. Jesus defeated death! He took Adam and Eve by the hand and lead them home to the Father! Hallelujah! Praise His Name! The second Adam saved the first. My friend, we, the children of the first Adam, destined for physical death, are now adopted through baptism into the family of our Elder Brother, the second Adam. Eve is no longer our spiritual mother, Mary is! Eve grasped, Mary didn't. We can now say with Mary, "Let it be done unto me according the Thy will." Now we can say with St. Paul,
"O Death where is thy victory!?" 
 So let us press in to His Sacred Heart through the Sacraments He gave us in His Church. And by grace, let us love not this world over the one to come! Christ, have mercy on us.

Friday, April 10, 2009

bruised hearts

In the final moments of Christ's passion, when, with pierced hands and feet, he poured out all of his precious blood on human soil to make it fruitful, lived his last hours and experienced human suffering to a greater extent than we can understand, the Gospels tell us that the earth was covered with darkness. Lord, in our lives there are also hours completely covered in darkness, sad hours in which the veil cast over our hearts hides even those things that could give us comfort, hours in which we suffer in such a way that nothing on earth can console us. Happy are those who during such times of outer darkness can still at least contemplate you, Jesus Christ, the only Life.  Happy are those whose weak arms can still clasp your feet on the cross, who can lean their weary heads against your pierced hands and their bruised hearts on the heart that has suffered so much and is filled with such compassion and love.

Elisabeth Leseur
Thank You Jesus.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We are Loved

I have longed to eat this meal with you before I suffer.--Jesus
Our lives are no longer hopeless. Our failures are no longer who we are. Our faith is in a Person. Our love is because He first loved us! We can forgive one another because He has forgiven us. We can walk out our doors this morning and know that He is mad about us. It all began with a meal. Why did Jesus long to eat "this meal" with His followers? The Passover Seder is about deliverance. It is about God leading His people out of bondage to Pharaoh. With "this meal", God is about to lead the world out of bondage to sin! Jesus, the Lamb of God, longs for the meal because He becomes for us our very Food and Drink, uniting Himself with us in a way never imagined!! He is The Meal! He is not only our High Priest, He is the Lamb slain for the sins of all men. Moses made sure the children of Israel ate the lamb after they had placed the lamb's blood over the doorpost. It was vital that they ate the flesh of the lamb. Our freedom from the bondage of sin is found in the suffering Lamb of God. From the upper room and the giving of the Eucharist ( the Thanksgiving, or the Todah ), to Gethsemane, to the scourging, the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion, to the Glorious and quiet Resurrection, we have reason to repent, believe, and rejoice.
The 'Last Supper' - Artist unknown

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Walking..

Ain't talking, just walking...--Bob Dylan
There comes a time when we have to look in the mirror and ask a simple question, "What are you doing?" It's almost funny, but it is the most important question we can ask oursleves. Jesus knew what He was doing. This is the Wednesday before Gethsemane. Tomorrow night Jesus institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist! Tomorrow night John rests his head on the Holy human breast of God, and will peer into His beautiful eyes. Tomorrow night is when Judas dips his bread into the oil, and then leaves the others to betray Him. So much is coming in such a short time! When Jesus takes the bread, He will gives thanks. All of the disciples would have seen this done their entire lives every year during passover. But Jesus will say something after the blessing that will change everything forever, "This is My Body..". They will look at one another as if to say, "huh?". Then, after the meal, He will take the cup, pray the Jewish blessing they all know, and then say, "This is My Blood of the new covenant..", again they will wonder, "what is this?" In that moment, that will come tomorrow night, God will change the world forever. This is how He will be with us until the end! This is how He will feed our weary souls even 2000 years away, GLORY! So, when we look in the mirror this morning, and ask, "What are you doing?", let it be a moment of honesty. We know He is calling us to His Alter to eat His Body and drink His Blood, and to be about His business of carrying our cross and following Him. If we are not about His drama, let's be honest, and then ask Him to show us how to be so. He longs for us to do this, no matter how many times it takes.
Movie screen still of the Last Supper by Mel Gibson (2004)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your Will be done..

When I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.--Jesus
Moses lifted the serpent up in the desert so the people could gaze upon it and be healed from the deadly bite of the snakes. Jesus is lifted up so we can gaze upon Him and be healed from our sins, and our bent to sin. St. Paul said,"I knew nothing among you but Jesus Christ.. crucified." He said, "Let us boast only in the cross..." Jesus said for us to deny ourselves, to daily take up our cross, and to follow Him. This instrument of shame, torture,brutality, pity, humiliation, and death, is now our glory! We must ask for grace to embrace the one we have been given. It is hard to do, in fact, some days it seems impossible. We cry for God to take this cup from us, to let it pass. But now, because He went before us, by grace we repeat His words as best we can, "But not my will Father, Your will be done."

Monday, April 6, 2009


And He was teaching daily in the temple...--Luke 19:47
The Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience.--St. Augustine
If you read the accounts of the days that followed the entrance into Jerusalem on the donkey, you feel a growing tension. He cleanses the temple, He tells more parables about God's love and suffering. He talks about the destruction of the temple, He is questioned more than ever about the things of God. Jesus seems as focused as we have ever seen Him. The scribes are focused too. They want to kill him and they look for every chance they can to lay hands on Him. Jesus never wavers in His calling. He came to set us free from sin and death. He came to give us eternal hope. He came to show us how to live in grace, liberty, and holiness! He was about the Father's will, He was about giving Himself away so that we would give ourselves away. His patience with those that would kill Him is really mind boggling. He keeps pounding away with His message of Truth until the last minute, scattering seeds. We must never give up on those around us. We must pray, love, and hope for them to come home. We must scatter the seeds of love and truth as our Lord did. His passion is building as we get closer to Gethsemane. Lord, may our passion for you grow, and may it conquer our fears, so that our lives will be about one thing, YOU!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It Begins

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today He returns from Bethany and proceeds of His own free will toward His Holy Passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation.--St. Andrew of Crete, bishop
Today begins Holy week. Today we will praise Him as He humbly rides into town on a donkey. We will raise our palm branches and sing Hosanna. But this celebration is an odd one, for He had just been weeping for us all, wishing He could gather us under His wings like a mother Hen. He looks each of us in the eye as He rides by. He looks focused, not happy. Even with all of this praise, He seems serious and foreboding. I join in with the singing and He stares at me. I feel an incredible sense of love, and I see hope in His eyes, but not hope for Himself, instead, it is hope for me. Our Savior comes to each of us today in this way.  We know Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are coming, but today, in this moment, we can look into our Humble God's eyes as He rides into our lives on a donkey, longing for our nearness and salvation. Christ have mercy!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Abundant Life

Didn't I come to bring you a sense of wonder?---Van Morrison
Jesus said that He came to give us life, abundant life. What does this look like? Does it have anything to do with cars, money, nice houses, fame, dreams, etc...? Did He die on a cross so we could find a parking place at the mall? Did He wear a crown of thorns so that we could claim whatever we want in His name? I don't think the abundant life He came to give us has anything to do with those things. If we want to see what abundant life looks like, we simply must gaze upon a crucifix. How is this abundant life? It is the perfect picture of detachment, it is the perfect picture of surrender and trust. It is the perfect picture of love to the fullest! It is the perfect picture of freedom! Jesus said this is the greatest love, to lay down one's life for another. This is abundant life! Christ have mercy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

this good Mother

With Mary, we make more progress in the love of Jesus in one month than we make in years while living less united to this good Mother.--Mother Teresa, citing St. Louis de Montfort
If someone had told me 5 years ago that being devoted to Mary would bring me closer to Jesus, I would have been suspicious of that person's christianity. For 35 years as a non-catholic christian, I saw Mary as someone who God used for one purpose and nothing more. For me, she appeared every Christmas and then dissapeared into the dust of the past. I did not know about the early Church Father's devotion to the Mother of God as the best way to know and follow Jesus. The more I study the scripture through their eyes, the more I see how vital she is to our understanding of God's plan of salvation, especially our daily carrying of the cross. Her example of obediance, from her Fiat to the angel Gabriel to that moment with the disciples at Pentecost, she is the greatest example of how to follow Jesus in humility. Her prayers for us are incredibly powerful, for they are perfect in love. She is full of grace, the bible makes this clear. She has never not been full of grace, and will forever be so, and this is because of the work of God through Jesus. This gives me, a simple human being like her, great hope in what God can do. Everything Mary did, does, or will do is always about bringing Jesus to us. No one has ever, or will ever, glorify the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the way Mary does. This is her vocation. Our vocation is the same, to bring Jesus to the world. Since I have begun to know her as my very own spritual Mother, I find an intimacy with Jesus growing in my life that I never knew before. (and I thought Jesus and I were pretty tight.) I am thankful that Jesus shares her with us, so that we might truly learn deeply how to trust, love, and walk in humility. I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wild Love, woodland stream, Tell me the secret of your origin!---Pope John Paul 2, A Poetic Prayer
How wonderful it is to walk in a spring field of budding grass at dawn. How beautiful to stand by a cold creek in these Mississippi woods, counting the fresh deer tracks along the shore. They stopped here earlier to drink. All of these wonders speak of our Beloved Jesus, for He is the Word, and through Him all things were made. All of His art speak to us of grace, beauty, and even wildness. He gives us the world to know His love, which is grace, and at times, is wild and frightening to us with our desire for control, and wanting everything explainable. It makes me think of Aslan in C.S. Lewis' masterpiece, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". The little girl is reminded that though Aslan is loving and gentle, he is also wild and unpredictable.  Jack, our Fiest, is walking with me this morning. Even his eyes speak of God's unconditional, wild love.
Dragonfly Farm

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Picture of Turkish guys taking a break I mentioned in todays musing..

The two guys I mentioned in today's musing....

God is Love

God is love.--St. John
When we stood on the hill in Ephesus near the ruins of St. John's Basilica, I looked over the ledge and saw two Turkish men reclining on a hill. They had just eaten their lunch in the warmth of the noon day sun and had their shoes off. They were talking and smoking cigarettes. We made our way into the ruins after our guide told us the history of this ancient place. Soon we were standing in one of the holiest spots on this weary globe, St. John's tomb. This was the "disciple whom Jesus loved". This was the man who had laid his head on the breast of Jesus in the Upper Room. This was the only male disciple at the foot of the cross. This was the beloved disciple given the awesome responsibility of caring for the Blessed Virgin. This was the apostle who wrote the 6th chapter of the gospel attributed to his name. This was the one given the revelation of the Lamb who was slain. As I was thinking about these things I noticed the priests traveling with us. They had gathered one by one and were kneeling on the concrete slab where this beloved Saint was laid to rest. I wish you could have been there.