Fourth Sunday of Lent

 

The Prdigal Son art by Sieger
The Prodigal Son, art by Fr. Sieger Köder

 

 

Cycle C: Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32


In the parable of the prodigal son a man loses both of his sons — the first through self-indulgence, the second through self-righteousness.


 

The Parable of the Prodigal Son leaves us with an unanswered question: Does the elder son join in the celebration of his brother’s return or does he stay outside fuming in his self-righteousness? The door is unbarred. He can go in whenever he chooses. Only his inability to enter into his father’s joy keeps him outside.

Within this perspective we can understand Jesus’ words: “If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you. “If we misinterpret these words, we can conclude erroneously that God withholds forgiveness from us when we withhold it from others. In reality, when we do not forgive others, we lose the capacity to receive the forgiveness that God offers us.

Jesus condemns not the elder son, but his self-righteousness. Self-righteousness can cloak itself in many forms, even the guise of humility. Even the prodigal son himself has a peculiar self-righteousness that declares, “I may have my faults and failings; I may have even done wicked things in my life, but at least I’m not self-righteous like my brother. ” Such a disclaimer not only proclaims one’s moral superiority but also can even contain a sort of boast. It’s the pride of the initiated sophisticate who smiles down with condescension upon his inexperienced brother. “What does my brother know of life? He’s never been off my father’s farm. He’s never been in the big city. My God, he’s never even disobeyed one of my father’s orders.” Tolkien labels such an attitude “inverted hypocrisy.” He held that while we are somewhat free from the common form of hypocrisy that professes a holier than thou attitude, we are subject to an inverted form of hypocrisy that consists of “professing to be worse than we are” (337).

The two brothers in today’s gospel may resemble each other more than either of them would care to admit. Rigid, overly moralistic, self-righteous people are vulnerable to abandoning themselves to a self-indulgent, hedonistic lifestyle. Conversely, hedonistic individuals are often blind to the self-righteousness that they project upon others.

 

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

 

 

 

The Canticle of Creation

 

Today it’s Earth Hour around the world at 8:30p.m. (local time) and on the side of the world where I live, Canada, it finished two hours ago. We honour our beloved planet Earth with an annual one-hour event meant to spread awareness about sustainability. This should be practiced all year round focusing on long-term changes that everyone can make to do their part for our planet that is in so much need. Together we can make a difference! Let us care for our beautiful and beloved planet each and every day ❤

 

 

Saint Francis art by Aquarel van Uli Viereck
Aquarel van Uli Viereck

 

 

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory,
honour and all blessing.

Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon,

and for the stars
which you have set shining and lovely
in the heavens.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,

who is very useful to us,
and humble and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.

Be praised, my Lord,

for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
bringing forth
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colours.

Be praised, my Lord,

for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those
who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience
– you will grant them a crown.

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,

whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord,
and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.

~ A poem by Saint Francis of Assisi

 

 

“My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth’s loveliness.”
~ Michelangelo Buonarroti

 

 

3-2-1 Quote Me -TRUTH

 

Truth2
Photo credit to Mark Carrel/Shutterstock.com

 

 

http://francisashis from JOVIAL nominated me for 3-2-1 Quote me challenge – TRUTH.

 

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

• Thank the Selector
• Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day
• Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

I’m honoured Francis for nominating me for the ‘Quote me’ challenge. I always seek the truth.

My quotes:

“My longing for truth was a single prayer.”
~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

“Truth suffers, but never dies.”
~ St. Teresa of Ávila, O.C.D.

 

My nominees for this challenge:

http://reflectionsfromthepewblog

http://rosesintherubble.com

http://marredinthemastershands.com

 

Thank you! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear: Our Worst Enemy

 

woman reflection
Art source unknown

 

Hosea 14: 2-10


The prophet Hosea calls the Israelites to return to God and forsake the idols of their own making.


 

“We shall say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands.” People don’t worship work. Rather, they offer their life’s blood for what work affords, be it power, prestige, or possessions. The pagan cults that worship power, prestige or possessions are rooted in fear. Power provides a reassurance against helplessness; prestige offers protection against humiliation, and possessions assuage the fear of destitution. But each god betrays its worshipers. For the more we dedicate our lives to protecting ourselves against insecurity, the more insecure we feel.

The story of the king who had a nightmare reveals a deep truth about insecurity. He called in his wizard to interpret his dream. The wizard told the king that the dream predicted he would be murdered on his next birthday and all of his possessions stolen. Out of fear, the king stockpiled his riches in his throne room and ordered guards to surround it. The closer his birthday drew, the more afraid he became. He moved his riches to a smaller room with fewer entranceways and placed his most trusted guards around it. On the eve of his birthday, he ordered that all of his riches be piled in a vault. The king sat inside the vault and ordered its only entrance sealed up with bricks, to be torn down a minute after midnight, the day after his birthday. When they tore the wall down, his men found the king dead. He had suffocated. His dream came true. He was murdered, and his possessions were taken from him. The culprit was his own fear.

Our deep insecurities are insatiable. We will never feel completely secure. The more we placate our fears the stronger they become. We cannot defeat them, nor should we try. The king did not have the power to stop feeling afraid; his dream was too frightening. But he did have the ability to not give into his fear. The same is true with us.

 

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

 

 

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:4

In The Hands Of God

 

olio su tela, cm 289x179
Santa Teresa crowned by Christ, art by Gerrit Van Honthorst (1614-1615)

 

 

Yours I am, born yours to be,
what’s your will to make of me?

Sovereign Majesty, decreeing
wisdom timeless, ever whole;
kindness pleasing to my soul;
God, most high, all good, one being,
this vile creature you are seeing,
who sings to you lovingly:
what’s your will to make of me?

Yours, for me you did create,
Yours, since me you did succor,
Yours, since me you did endure,
Yours, you called me to my fate,
Yours, for me you did long wait,
Yours, I chose not lost to be.
What’s your will to make of me?

What, then, is your will, good Lord,
that this servant vile should do?
What work can you give unto
this poor slave in sin abhorred?
Look at me, sweet Love adored,
sweet Love, here for you to see,
What’s your will to make of me?

See my heart here for inspection,
I place it within your hand,
with my body, life, soul and
my deep feelings and affection,
sweetest Bridegroom and redemption,
myself offering yours to be,
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me death, or let me live,
give health or infirmity,
shame or honor give to me,
war or peace to me now give,
weakness, strength superlative,
to all these I will agree,
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me wealth or poverty,
give relief or troubled spell,
give me sorrow or give glee,
give me heaven or give me hell,
sweet life or sun without veil,
I surrender totally.
What’s your will to make of me?

If you wish to, give me prayer,
if not, give me dryness too,
if abundant worship fair,
if not barrenness will do,
Sovereign Majesty, in you
I find all my peace to be.
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me wisdom’s deep insight,
or for love, just ignorance,
give me years of abundance,
or of hunger, famine’s blight,
give me dark or clear daylight,
move me here or there freely.
What’s your will to make of me?

If you wish that I should rest,
I, for love, want to rest to savor;
if your will is that I labor,
death from work is my request.
Say where, how, when, manifest;
say, sweet Love, now say clearly.
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me Tabor or Calvary,
desert or land fruitfully fine,
be as Job in misery,
of John, on your breast recline;
let me be a fruitful vine
or bare, as your will may be.
What’s your will to make of me?

Be I Joseph placed in chains,
Egypt’s governor of renown,
or as David suffering pains,
or now David bearing crown,
be I Jonah nearly drowned,
or from waters now set free,
what’s your will to make of me?

Being silent, moved to speak,
bearing fruit or barren woe,
my wound to me law does show,
Gospel mild does joy bespeak;
mournful or enjoyment’s peak,
in me now lives You only,
what’s your will to make of me?

Yours I am, born yours to be,
what’s your will to make of me?

 

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Ávila

 

 

Today is Saint Teresa’s Birthday! I’m sharing a few photos I took of my visit to Ávila, Spain in July 2017 

 

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Church and Convent of St. Teresa of Jesus in Avila, Spain is the place where St. Teresa was born.  
July 2017 (My photo)

 

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Main Altar of the Church and Convent of St. Teresa of Jesus in Avila, Spain (photo taken by me before Mass on July 16th, 2017 Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
20170716_122634
Chapel of Saint Teresa ~ Casa Natal de Santa Teresa (photo taken by me)

 

20170716_122727
Room in which St. Teresa of Jesus was born (photo taken by me)

 

20170716_122451
Small garden where St. Teresa prayed (photo taken by me)

 

 

Happy Birthday Holy Mother St. Teresa! ❤ Pray for all your Carmelite family and the whole world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Forget The Great Graces You Have Received

 

Christ blessing a child 1926 art by Mikhail Vasilevich Nesterov
Christ’s Blessings, art by Mijaíl Vasílievich Nésterov – 1926

 

 

Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9


Moses exhorts the Israelites to remember the great deeds that the Lord has done for them and to not let those deeds slip from their memories.


 

Upon recovering from a long illness, Wilfred Sheed reflected:

The spiritual life becomes very simple when you’re sick. You pray to get better, and if and when you do, you don’t need to be told to be grateful about it: it gushes out of you. And you discover, in the same giddy rush, that just being alive . . .  is astoundingly good. G.K. Chesterton once said that if a person were to fall into the waters of forgetfulness and come out on the other side, he would think he had arrived in paradise. But all you need to do is to spend a couple of months on your back, or return home from a war and come downstairs to have breakfast in your own house. So my private proofs of God . . . begin with this: the sheer capacity for happiness, and one’s sense, when it happens, that this is correct and normal and not some freak of nature. When health returns, it feels like coming home . . . and the other thing, the bad news — the broken leg or even the mental breakdown — feels like the freak. But now you are to where you belong, in harmony with the universe. And from this I deduce with some conviction that the universe is essentially a good place to be, despite appearances. (10)

We feel gratitude most poignantly shortly, after we have recovered from a great sickness or immediately after unburdening ourselves of some mental anguish. We feel deep relief because we still remember our pain. But as time passes and we get further and further away from that initial experience of relief, our sense of gratitude fades because we forget how bad it really was.

This is what happened to the Hebrews. When they were in slavery, they cried out to God to be released. And when Moses brought them out of their bondage, they were grateful, but only for a while. As they sojourned in the desert, year in and year out, their memory of what God had done for them began to fade. And whenever anything went wrong, they complained to Moses. “Why did you bring us out into this desert? We were better off back in Egypt!” Past pain is no match for present suffering. We forget how bad we had it.

Thus, Moses exhorts the Hebrews: “Take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your mind as long as you live…. “Forgetting the things of the past does not mean the inability to recall an event. Rather, it means that a past event ceases to have an impact upon the present. Remembrance is an act of re-membering ourselves, to reconnect ourselves to the great graces that we have received.

God’s saving mercy has brought all of us through difficult times. We should not let what God has done for us slip from our memory. We need to remember the pain of the past. Doing so fosters gratitude and helps us keep the little annoyances of daily life in perspective.

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

 

Lady Charity

 

Charity por lluisribesmateu 1969 museo del Prado en Madrid
Allegory of Charity, art by Francisco de Zurbarán c.1655

 

Lady Charity
where are you wandering
these days?
where have you hidden?
where is your voice—
your words of kindness
and compassion?
I need to find you
before I lose 
my faith.

Lady Charity
you are my friend 
and companion.
Don’t disappear from
the human hearts.
The hearts of men
need you.

There is so much unkindness
and indifference around.
Men are not kind to each other.
Many hearts are wounded
and exhausted with pain. 

We need to be restored.
We need to be truly caring.
We need a  revolution
of the heart.
We need to love.

I ache in silence
hearing the talks
that lack warmth,
prudence and
sincerity.

Lady Charity
come again
and dwell in all
the human hearts.
The world, God’s creation,
the Church, the families,
the streets need you.

Lady Charity
come and stay for awhile.

Hear my prayer! ❤

 

~ My Personal Reflection