Love Song

Jesus and the beloved disciple2

St. John The Beloved Disciple resting in the Heart of Jesus ~ By unknown artist

Long ago, an ordinary man called John laid his head on the breast of Christ, and listened to the heartbeats of the Lord. Who can guess what that man felt as he heard the beat of that mighty heart? None of us will ever be in his place, but all of us can hear, if we listen, the song of love God sings to us. If we meditate on the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, we will hear, not only his heartbeats, but our own hearts beating in unison with his. We will be united with our Lord and our God.

God’s heart is our only true resting place, the oasis to which he calls us. The key to his heart is identification with all his little ones, a deep love that requires so great an enlargement of heart that we cannot even aspire to it unless God shows us the way.

Let us pray for that enlargement of heart.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35 

A Meditation by Catherine Doherty, Madonna House Apostolate


O glorious St. Joseph…

Glorioso San José, under your patronage may my interior life grow and develop.
In your school, O glorious St. Joseph, I desire to learn how to live by faith, guided in all things by divine Providence.

Today the Church presents St. Joseph, the great Patriarch, to whose care God willed to entrust the most chosen portion of His flock, Mary and Jesus. Because Joseph was selected by God to be the guardian of the family of Nazareth, the nucleus of the great Christian family, the Church recognizes in him the Guardian and Patron of all Christendom. Herein lies the significance of today’s Feast, which invites us to fix our attention on the mission entrusted to this great Saint in relation to Jesus and to the Church.
Aware of the great mystery of the Incarnation, Joseph’s whole life gravitated about that of the Incarnate Word: for Him he endured worry, suffering, fatigue, labor. To Him he consecrated all his solicitude, his energy, his resources, his time. He reserved nothing for himself, but completely oblivious of any personal needs, desires, or views, he devoted himself entirely to the interests and the needs of Jesus. Nothing existed for Joseph except Jesus and Mary, and he felt that his life on earth had no other raison d’être than his care for them. In this way he participated fully, as a humble, hidden collaborator, in the work of Redemption; if he did not accompany Jesus in His apostolic life and to His death on the Cross—as Mary did—nevertheless, he worked for the same end as the Savior.
Having been the faithful guardian of the Holy Family, it is impossible that from the heights of heaven St. Joseph should not continue to protect the great Christian family, the universal Church, which, confident of his protection, and relying on his assistance, prays thus: “Sustained, O Lord, by the protection of the spouse of Your holy Mother, we beseech Your clemency … that by his merits and intercession You will guide us to eternal glory” (RM).

Saint Joseph and Jesus

Saint Joseph and the Child, Jesus ~ art by Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682)

St. Teresa of Avila Devotion to Saint Joseph:

Due to St. Teresa’s devotion to and trust in St. Joseph’s loving care for her intentions and the needs of the reform, Discalced Carmelites regard St. Joseph as a Protector of the Order and a master of prayer…

Saint Joseph patron saint of the order of carmelites

“O St. Joseph, how much I love you! How much good it does me to think of your humble, simple life! Like us, you lived by faith. I contemplate you in the little house at Nazareth, near Jesus and Mary, busy working for them. I see you using the plane, and then wiping your forehead from time to time, and hurrying to finish the work on time for your customers. Although you lived with the Son of God, your life was very ordinary, for Jesus certainly did not perform any useless miracles. Everything in your life was just as it is in ours. And how many sorrows, fatigues and dangers! Oh! how astonished we should be if we knew all that you suffered!” (cf. T.C.J. C, – NV).

“I do not know how anyone can think of the Queen of Angels during the time that she suffered so much with the Child Jesus, without giving thanks to you, O glorious St. Joseph, for the way you helped them. For this reason it seems to me that those who practice prayer should have a special affection for you always.

“I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to you, for I have great experience of the blessings which you obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to you and render you particular services who did not notably advance in virtue, for you give very real help to souls who commend themselves to you. I have clearly seen that your help has always been greater than I could have hoped for. I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of you which you failed to grant. The Lord wishes to teach us that as He was Himself subject to you on earth (for, being His guardian and being called His father, you could command Him), just so in Heaven He still does all that you ask” (cf. T.J. Life, 6).
O dear St. Joseph, I place myself, then, with full confidence under your protection. teach me to live as you did, in faith and abandonment to God; teach me to live solely for Him, by consecrating myself entirely to His service.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. ~ Divine Intimacy


Jesus, Mary and Joseph, going down to Nazareth art by William Charles Thomas Dobson

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, going down to Nazareth, art by William Charles Thomas Dobson (1817-1898)


Wishing you all a very blessed Feast day of Saint Joseph! 

In Stillness You Receive New Eyes


Mark 6 31 #2

When Jesus tells the apostles: “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mk 6:31), it is in a way a new call they receive. Not a call to work in the vineyard of the Lord, but a call to rest and a time to recover.

Jesus aims those words even at you. You need space to breathe, times of stillness to be alone with him. He calls you every day to a quiet period of prayer, every week to a day of rest that is also his day, and from time to time to a longer period of retreat. You withdraw from activities not only to gain new strength but also to see your life with new eyes.

Being still with God gives you a chance to ask the essential questions all over again: What is the meaning of my life? Am I walking next to the road God wants to lead me on? Am I walking in the wrong direction?

In the stillness, you gain some distance to what could otherwise swallow you. It becomes easier to see everything in its right perspective. You can see the truth more clearly and see through your illusions. There is a basic insight which can only mature in this stillness before God. If you regularly follow Jesus into solitude and rest, then this basic insight will carry you through all of life’s ups and downs.

~ A Reflection by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

Silence…The Indispensable Doorway to The Divine

On Monday night I attended  a public lecture with His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah, at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto, Ontario.

Cardinal Sarah

Photo credit to Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Cardinal Sarah was born in Guinea, West Africa. Made an Archbishop by Pope Saint John Paul II and a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, he was named the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis in 2014. He is the author of such books as God or Nothing and, more recently, The Power of Silence ~ Against the Dictatorship of Noise.

Cardinal Sarah3

His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins from the Archdiocese of Toronto greeting Cardinal Robert Sarah ~ Photo taken by me

Cardinal Sarah’s talk was about how to live our faith authentically and the importance of the strength of silence in our lives. “The modern world generates so much noise, he says, that seeking moments of silence has become both harder and more necessary than ever before.” “Silence is an attitude of the soul.”

Silence is the space that allows God into our lives, said Cardinal Sarah. In his most recent book The Power of Silence he writes:

“There is one great question: how can man really be in the image of God? He must enter into silence. When he drapes himself in silence, as God himself dwells in a great silence, man is close to heaven, or, rather, he allows God to manifest himself in him. We encounter God only in the eternal silence in which he abides. Have you ever heard the voice of God as you hear mine?
God’s voice is silent. Indeed, man, too, must seek to become silence.
In his book I Want to See God, Blessed Marie-Eugene de L’Enfant-Jésus O.C.D. writes:

God speaks in silence, and silence alone seems able to express Him. For the spiritual person who has known the touch of God, silence and God seem to be identified. And so, to find God again, where would he go, if not to the most silent depths of his soul, into those regions that are so hidden that nothing can any longer disturb  them?
When he has reached there, he preserves with jealous care the silence that gives him God.
He defends it against any agitation, even that of his own powers.

At the heart of man there is an innate silence, for God abides in the innermost part of every person. God is silence, and this divine silence dwells in man. In God we are inseparably bound up with silence. The Church can affirm that mankind is the daughter of a silent God; for men are the sons of silence.

God carries us, and we live with him at every moment by keeping silence. Nothing will make us discover God better than his silence inscribed in the center of our being. If we do not cultivate this silence, how can we find God? Man likes to travel, create, make great discoveries. But he remains outside of himself, far from God, who is silently in his soul. I want to recall how important it is to cultivate silence in order to be truly with God. Saint Paul, drawing on the Book of Deuteronomy, explains that we will not encounter God by crossing the seas, because he is in our heart:

Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does [the law] say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:6-9; Deut 30:12-14, 16)

It is necessary to leave our interior turmoil in order to find God. Despite the agitations, the busyness, the easy pleasures, God remains silently present. He is in us like a thought, a word, and a presence whose secret sources are buried in God himself, inaccessible to human inspection.

Solitude is the best state in which to hear God’s silence. For someone who wants to find silence, solitude is the mountain that he must climb. if a person isolates himself by going away to a monastery, he comes first to seek silence. And yet, the goal of his search is within him. God’s silent presence already dwells in his heart. The silence that we pursue confusedly is found in our own hearts and reveals God to us.”

“When we retreat from the noise of the world in silence, we gain a new perspective on the noise of the world,” he said. “To retreat into silence is to come to know ourselves, to know our dignity.”

“Marvels of technology have made it more difficult to know and to learn the value of silence. Cardinal Sarah urged his audience to keep technology in its proper place.
“Technology is only ever a means. Technological development is never an end in itself. Technology does not satisfy our deepest desires.” he said.”

And I would like to conclude with this quote from the Cardinal, “Let us seek silence, for in silence we come to know God and to know ourselves.”

my garden

“Be silent. Sit there and appreciate everything that God has given to us.”












As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This is a little adaptation of the beautiful song by Sophie B. Hawkins. Every time I listen to it, it makes me think of My Beloved….Jesus I love you!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…


Jesus you are mine art by Yongsung Kim

You are mine, art by Yong-Sung Kim


It felt like spring time on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing Your praise
I’m still recalling things You said to make me feel alright
I carried them with me today

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your Name into the sky
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
Heavy hearted
Till You call my name
And it sounds like church bells
Or the whistle of a train
On a summer evening
I’ll run to meet You
Barefoot, barely breathing

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

Oh, Beloved
As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

It’s not too near for me
Like a flower I need the rain
Though it’s not clear to me
Every season has it’s change
And I will see You
When the sun comes out again

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why 

when the sun comes out again 
when the sun comes out again…

I will wake up happy 

This I pray


Trust in God’s Mercy

Jesus tells Nicodemus that just as the bronze serpent was an instrument of healing, so too will the Son of Man be the source of salvation when he is lifted up on the Cross. ~ John 3:14-21.


Christ of Saint John of the Cross 1951 art by Salvador Dali

Christ of Saint John of the Cross, art by Salvador Dalí 1951


“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” This image refers to the time that God sent Seraph serpents among the people as a punishment for their complaints against God and Moses. Those who were bitten but still lived begged Moses to intercede for them. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole. “And everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live” (Nm 21:9). Why would looking upon the bronze serpent bring healing? Because it symbolizes acknowledging the consequences of one’s actions. It means looking upon what we have done to ourselves and to others. This is the first step in healing. The serpent mounted on the pole is a symbol of Jesus upon the cross. On the cross we see what our sins have done. We have killed Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. As we grow older, the cross is set before our eyes more and more as our sinful past looms up before us and we see the damage that lies in the wake of our lives.

But more that an icon of our sins, the Cross is the manifestation of God’s infinite mercy. It is God’s promise that the final judgement upon our lives is mercy and forgiveness. “Christ’s death on the cross is a judgement of judgement, ” Maximus the Confessor puts it (Clement 49). How can this be otherwise? Jesus, who allowed himself to be murdered, offered his murderers forgiveness as he hung dying. In the Cross God reveals completely unmerited forgiveness.

If, when we look upon the Cross, we see only our sins, we are not looking deeply enough. Sin, which is an offense against God, cannot be separated from God’s forgiveness. Such a myopic way of looking at sin can result in what Saint Teresa considers one of the great dangers of the spiritual life—discouragement. If we look at our sins isolated from God’s mercy, we do not perceive them correctly. Teresa tells us that we should look at our sins against the backdrop of God’s mercy, as if we were looking at a black dot against a white background. Excessive introspection upon one’s sinfulness is dangerous because we see only the black dot. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “The belief that Jesus is referring to is trust in God’s mercy.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Marc Foley, O.C.D.

A Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of great price by JVC

A pearl of great price, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

“The higher he ascends the less he understands,
because the cloud is dark which lit up the night;
Whoever knows this remains always in unknowing
and transcending all knowledge.”
~ Saint John of the Cross

The contemplative must lean on pure faith, as Saint John of the Cross affirms insistently. By this teaching, he maintains that our hunger for God in prayer depends in an absolute sense on a belief in his immediate presence to our soul despite what can seem at times the stark emptiness of the dark hour. In this teaching, faith is essential to the contemplative life, just as breathing is to the human person.
The certitude upon which the deeper life of contemplative prayer rests can only be firmly grounded in the unquestioning dispositions of a soul’s deeper faith. Faith establishes the certitude of the divine presence, without which prayer might be thought simply a lonely cry released into the vast reaches of an empty night. By faith our soul knows that prayer draws a mysterious response from God, even when it seems to be an answer of silence. The silence conceals God’s longing for our soul—a truth known often only by faith. It is a faith always rooted in the clear teaching of the Catholic doctrinal tradition, without which no contemplative life can survive.

The truth of God is an inexhaustible mystery and therefore always an incitement and goad to our intelligence. Even with an intensity of faith, we confront the incomprehensibility of God. There is no eventual arrival in prayer at a comfortable knowledge of God. He is infinite love and beyond our human understanding. Contrary to what may be our expectation, greater faith does not grant a more expansive knowledge of God. What it does more often is reduce our knowledge of him to a blind certitude of his living presence. We realize in deeper prayer how real he is and, likewise, how unknown he still is. This inability to overcome barriers of blindness in our knowledge of God is the normal condition of contemplative prayer after a certain point. Over time, we learn more about the limits of knowledge, while at the same time recognizing that there is no limit to love. A loving encounter with God can remain our great desire in prayer even in blindness and incomprehension. And God, indeed, does make the reality of his presence known at times, though not perhaps to our satisfaction. For his presence is not a reality that the soul, even with great love, can embrace as a possession. Always God slips back into hiding, so that our love, too, may be inexhaustible.   

~ A Meditation by Father Donald Haggerty

Coming Home

In the parable of the Prodigal Son. we see a faint image of God’s love for us, a love that always beckons us to return home. ~ Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

return of the prodigal son by Eugene Burnand

The Return of the Prodigal Son, art by Eugene Burnand

In George Herbert’s poem “The Pulley,” God pours out every blessing upon humankind—beauty, wisdom, honor and pleasure, holding back one gift—rest. For God thought to himself, “If I should…bestow this jewel also on my creature/He would adore my gifts instead of me/And rest in nature, not in the God of Nature.” God’s choice to withhold rest from humankind created restlessness and dissatisfaction in the human heart. God uses unrest as the pulley that draws human hearts out of the quicksand of worldly self-absorption back to God.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.

This stanza contains two truths. The first is that the longing God has planted in our hearts makes us strangers on this earth. Malcolm Muggeridge considered the feeling of being a stranger in this world one of the greatest blessings that God had ever bestowed upon him. He wrote,

This sense of being a stranger, which first came to me at the very beginning of life, I have never quite lost, however engulfed I might be … in earthly pursuits… For me there has always been—and I count it the greatest of all blessings—a window never finally blackened out, a light never finally extinguished. I had a sense, sometimes enormously vivid, that I was a stranger in a strange land; a visitor, not a native, a displaced person. The feeling, I was surprised to find, gave me a great sense of satisfaction, almost of ecstasy. [When the feeling went away, I asked myself], would it ever return—the lostness? I strain my ears to hear it, like distant music; my eyes to see it, a very bright light very far away. Has it gone forever? And then, Ah! the relief. Like slipping away, from a sleeping embrace, silently shutting a door behind one, tiptoeing off in the grey light of dawn—a stranger again. The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth. As long as we are aliens, we cannot forget our true homeland. (30-31)

Muggeridge can say, paradoxically, that he felt “connected” to his real self only when he felt a stranger in this world because his longing for a place beyond this world was an experience of his true homeland—heaven.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the Greek phrase translated “coming to his senses at last,” literally means “having come to himself.” What brought the prodigal son home to himself was his hunger. The same is true with us.

“If goodness lead him not, yet weariness may toss him to my breast.” The second truth that Herbert’s poem contains is that God loves us so much that he welcomes his prodigal children back home for any reason whatsoever. God does not demand that our motives be either noble or pure as a prerequisite for being accepted home.
The prodigal son came home because he was hungry and tired. It made no difference to his father why he came home, as long as he had him home safe and sound. But like the prodigal son, our guilt makes us feel that we no longer even deserve to be called God’s children.

Our guilt distorts the merciful countenance of God. Julian of Norwich tells us that when we are submerged in our guilt “We believe that God may be angry with us because of our sins.” In consequence, we project our guilt on God as anger and then fear punishment. But when cleansed of our guilt we see clearly. Julian writes, “And then our courteous Lord shows himself to the soul, happily and with the gladdest countenance, welcoming it as a friend, as if it had been in pain and in prison saying, ‘My dear darling, I am glad you have come to me in all your woe. I have always been with you’ and now you see me loving, and we are made one in bliss” (246).

The restless longing that God has planted in our hearts is more than our desire for heaven. It is God’s loving invitation for us to return home.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Marc Foley, O.C.D.