Saturday, April 30, 2016

God builds a palace (C.S. Lewis)

   Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense.  What on earth is He up to?  The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it Himself.
--C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sunday Gospel Reflection, May 1, 2016: We will make our dwelling with him...

  How can we best live in Christ’s love?  

   The profound love of Jesus Christ, revealed most perfectly at his death on the cross, touches us at the depth of who we are; it is a love revealed in sacrifice, the giving of Jesus’ self entirely for the salvation of humankind.  God wants this love to possess us and for us to possess the Lord in that love, creating a mutual indwelling meant to give us peace.  To reassure the apostles and calm their fears for the future, Jesus promises in John’s Gospel that the Father will send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to guide and direct us, to help us discern in our time of need, dwelling within us:  my peace I give to you.  Revelation describes this presence of the third Person of the Trinity as an outpouring of the light of the temple that is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb:  the Holy Spirit is the very love that binds the Father and Son, and invites us into ongoing relationship with God.

   Throughout all of the difficulties of the early Church, the apostles – Paul and Barnabas among them – had to keep sight of the fact that God’s intent is always to live among us.  The apostles’ work is inspired:  It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and us, Paul and Barnabas write to the Christians of Antioch in Acts, to help them better to understand the teachings of the Church.  The apostles know the power of the God dwelling within them, and are fully aware of the role the Holy Spirit plays in their ministry.  In a sense, they are fulfilling the dictum of Psalm 67:  may your way be known upon the earth; among all nations, your salvation. 

   Jesus offered his apostles a revelation of something they have yet to understand, exhorting them not only to keep his word, but also to live in the context of the profound love he is about to reveal in all its glory.  The Advocate is his gift to us, an embodiment of the love in which we are to live, allowing it to possess us, striving to possess it, that we might also be an outpouring of that love to all the world.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Christ plays in ten thousand places (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

  As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves – goes itself; myself  it speaks and spells, 
Crying What I do is me: for that I came. 
I say more:  the just man justices; 
Keeps grace:  that keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is – 
Christ – for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men’s faces. 

--Gerard Manley Hopkins, As Kingfishers Catch Fire

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

What does love look like? (St. Augustine)

   What does love look like?  It has the hands to help others.  It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.  It has eyes to see misery and want.  It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.  That is what love looks like.

--St. Augustine