Saturday, May 30, 2015

In touch with the Holy Trinity (Michael Casey, OCSO)

Prayer… is entering the unseen reality of our lives.  It is allowing ourselves to experience the mystery in which we are. […] In bringing us to the reality of our life, prayer also introduces us to the reality of God’s life.  We are put in touch with the persons of the Holy Trinity, not through words but at a deeper level.  We feel that we are from the Father and that our whole life is a journey toward God.  We discover a sense of solidarity with the Word, in our being bonded with the person of Jesus and in our union with all the saints.  We experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, inciting us to good, turning our thoughts to God, directing our actions, supplying for our weakness, and, like a homing beacon for an incoming play, guiding our steps toward the very heart of God. Divorced from this global vision, prayer does not make much sense. 

--Michael Casey, OCSO, 
Toward God:  The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer (p.8)

Image source:  Pierre Mignard, dome, Val de GrĂ¢ce, Paris, France

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunday Gospel Reflection, May 31, 2015: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...

What does an intimate relationship with God look like? 

Though it may be difficult to grasp entirely, we have our model in the Holy Trinity, a manifestation of the relationship of perfect union for which we strive throughout the entire journey of our lives.  To come to know and experience God is the ultimate task of our lives as Christians, for God is relational:  God chooses relationship, chooses to be in relationship with humankind.  

Hence Moses, in Deuteronomy, asks the people to ask themselves:  have I encountered and engaged the God who created all things?  Do I have an appreciation of the singular relationship God calls me to?  God made us, Psalm 33 reminds us; God breathed his Spirit into us, spoke one Word and we were created.  Blessed are we whom the Lord has chosen to be his own!  This is, implicitly, an evocation of Trinity.

Jesus, Matthew tells us, has the power of the Father to give life, and he passes that power on to the Church through the Spirit:  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations… The Church gives life by baptizing and by teaching what Jesus has commanded, namely, love of God and love of neighbor.  Witnessing the disciples’ doubt, Jesus draws closer to them, reminding them that he is with them always, until the end of the age.  And thus is His Spirit passed on to us, the Church, so that we might remain in him, remain, that is, in the relationship that is so central to our identity as Christians.  This is why we can call God Abba, Daddy, as Paul tells the Romans:  the word is an affectionate expression of connection based in intimacy and origin, signaling our hope to be united in relationship with God.  We are not simply creatures, created to exist on this earth:  we are children of God, and joint heirs with Christ, because God has chosen to enter into relationship with us, a relationship exemplified by the Trinity, a relationship shared, in all its awesome wonder, with us as God draws us ever closer into the love that is Trinitarian, the love that is eternal life.

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To die, like glass, by light (Thomas Merton)

The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to a Window

Because my will is as simple as a window
And knows no pride of original birth,
It is my life to die, like glass, by light:
Slain in the strong rays of the bridegroom sun. 

Because my love is simple as a window
And knows no shame of original dust,
I longed all night (when I was visible) for dawn, my death,
When I would marry day, my Holy Spirit:
And die by transsubstantiation into light. 

For light, my lover, steals my life in secret.
I vanish into day, and leave no shadow
But the geometry of my cross,
Whose frame and structure are the strength
By which I die, but only to the earth
And am uplifted ot the sky my life.

When I became the substance of my lover
(Being obedient, sinless glass)
I love all things that need my lover’s life,
And live to give my newborn Morning to your quiet room,
--Your rooms that would be tombs,
Or vaults of night, and death, and terror,
Fill with clarity of living Heaven,
Shine with the rays of God’s Jerusalem:
O shine, bright Sions!

Because I die by brightness and the Holy Spirit,
The sun rejoices in your jail, my kneeling Christian
(Where even now you weep and grin
To learn, from my simplicity, the strength of faith).

Therefore do not be troubled at the judgements of the thunder,
Stay still and pray, stay still, my other son,
And do not fear the armies and black ramparts
Of the advancing and retreating rains:
I’ll let no lightening kill your room’s white order.

Although it is the day’s last hour,
Look with no fear:
For the torn storm lets in, at the world’s rim,
Three streaming rays as straight as Jacob’s ladder:

And you shall see the sun, my Son, my Substance,
Come to convince the world of the day’s end, and of the night,
Smile to the lovers of the day in smiles of blood;
For though my love, He’ll be their Brother,

My light – the Lamb of their Apocalypse.
--Thomas Merton
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015


God spoke but one Word, and in virtue of that in a moment were made the sun, moon and that innumerable multitude of stars, with their differences in brightness, motion and influence. […] A single word of God’s filled the air with birds, and the sea with fishes, made spring from the earth all the plants and all the beasts we see. […]  All these together are called the universe, perhaps because all their diversity is reduced to unity as though one said unidiverse, that is, one and diverse, one with diversity and diverse with unity.

--St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God, Bk. II, Ch.II

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Just One Drop (Jonathan David Helser)

Just one drop of Your blood, my sins are all gone
Just one thread of Your robe, I'm made whole 
Just one glimpse of Your face is all I can dream of
Just one moment of Your favor is so much greater

You are the One who was
You are the One who is
You are the One who will always love

Just one word from Your lips, the heavens were made
Just one touch of Your hand, I am changed
Just one breath from Your mouth, I come alive
Just one moment of Your favor is so much greater

No matter what my circumstances try to say
I will trust in You, I will lift my voice, I will say
You are greatly to be praised.

Just one drop and everything will change

To listen to Jonathan David Helser's song, click on the video below:
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Knower of My Emptiness (J. Rupp)

I can easily hide out 
From everyone but you.  
I can pretend fullness 
But you won’t be fooled. 
You observe my emptiness 
In my sepulchered spirit. 
You try to convince me 
That being emptied of ego 
Is the prerequisite 
For being filled with love. 

--Joyce Rupp, O.S.M, Fragments of Your Ancient Name

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sunday Gospel Reflection, May 24, 2015: I will put my spirit in you, that you may live...

Are you open to the arrival of the Holy Spirit in your life? 

Christians have not always been open to that holy presence.  Our Vigil readings this weekend remind us of the barriers we tend to erect when we focus more on what we can accomplish on our own than on what God is doing in our lives.  Our reading from Genesis offers the lesson of the so-called Tower of Babel, a monument to the arrogance of those caught up in their own state of prosperity, the same arrogance that led to humankind’s original fall from grace:  God scattered them from there all over the earth.  Hence creation’s labor pains, humankind’s expression of longing for God, as described by Paul in his letter to the Romans:  salvation, he reminds us, is not yet complete, but will be when we come into the full union of perfect love, a love we will find in all its depth and wonder if we remain in the Spirit, who comes to the aid of our weakness.  In John’s Gospel, Jesus promises the Spirit to those who thirst for God:  Rivers of living water will flow from within him who believes in me.  His promise is reminiscent of that of Psalm 104:  when God’s creatures… look to God, God gives them food in due time.  As always, the Vigil is about waiting, longing, hoping for the coming of the Spirit, and the eventual salvation that is promised…

If the Vigil is about our longing for God, the celebration of Pentecost Sunday helps us to recognize what the Spirit’s action in our lives can look like if we are open to it.  Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on the disciples in John’s Gospel, and still they hesitate, but Luke’s account in Acts sends them, filled with the Holy Spirit, pouring into the street to proclaim God’s Word, Jesus himself.  A measure of the fullness of the Spirit is available to us, too, if we are are open to it, if we truly are able to pray, with true longing, Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.  Only then, as Paul tells the Galatians, can we enjoy the fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, and peace, to name just a few…  May the Holy Spirit come to unite what has been divided, and may we be open to its breath flowing forth to fill us with God’s love.

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle