The Place of Splendor

garden and child

Little one, wait.
Let me assure you this is not the way
to gain the terminal of outer day.

Its single gate
lies in your soul, and you must rise and go
by inward passage from what earth you know.

The steps lead down
through valley after valley, far and far
past the five countries where the pleasures are,

and past all known
maps of the mind and every colored chart
and past the final outcry of the heart.

No soul can view
its own geography; love does not live
in places open and informative.

Yet, being true,
it grants to each its Raphael across
the mist and night through unknown lands of loss.

Walk till you hear
light told in music that was never heard,
and softness spoken that was not a word.

The soul grows clear
when senses fuse: sight, touch and sound are one
with savor and scent, and all to splendor run.

The smothered roar
of the eternities, their vast unrest
and infinite peace are deep in your own breast.

That light-swept shore
will shame the data of grief upon your scroll.
Child, have none told you? God is in your soul.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

The Silent Years

 


When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” ~ Matthew 2:13-15


 

Holy Family Flight into Egypt by ladislav zaborsky

The Flight Into Egypt, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

The silence of those years away from the familiarity of the Promised Land, of the love of family and the community.
Those “unknown years” to humans but not to God. Those years were reserved especially for you and Joseph, Holy Mother!

Those days, weeks and months were filled with the scorching sun of the day in the desert, very cold nights and the uncertainty of each day. Yet, you continued your journey faithfully in union with your Beloved Child.

Donkey, donkey! would you whisper in my ear the secrets of those precious and sacred moments you witnessed of the Holy Family those unknown years?

How many moments of awe and wonder were lived—while others were lived ordinarily like every family but with a deep and serene trust in the Almighty. A family following the will of God.

As I meditate on these mysteries, I realize I have much to learn from them. There are no revelations in Holy Scripture about those silent years. God wanted it that way. Truth has a way of revealing itself. We need to be aware of those moments of grace while we meditate in the mysteries of God, praying constantly for guidance and for His holy will to be done in us.

Beloved Lord Jesus, teach me to live in a contemplative way, always walking by Your side along the journey of my life so I can learn to discern my way.

Mary, Joseph, teach me to ponder all the things of God in my heart. The journey through Egypt is the journey of our life. We are destined to walk every day with our God, with our Beloved Brother Jesus Christ. He guides our way with His light—through Truth and Life. Saying less and listening more to the gentle voice of the Spirit, is my prayer in my life journey. Not being concerned about what tomorrow brings, but living every day with absolute trust in my Beloved.

What does it mean to trust and to live a faithful life with God? It means to do His will every day but first I need to be open to listen to the voice of Love. Embracing the precious gift of every present moment. Giving praise and thanksgiving to the Master of creation and of my heart—my heart beating to His, is the greatest miracle!

 
~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

The Beloved Disciple

saint john the evangelist

Saint John the Theologian, art by Vladimir Borovikovsky

 

St. John the Theologian, Apostle and Evangelist

It is right and just that someone who was loved by Christ more than any other should be the object of a very special love by Christ’s friends, all the more so since John has shown such love for us that… he has shared with us the riches of eternal life that he himself received. Indeed, God gave him the keys to wisdom and knowledge (cf Lk 11:52)…

John’s God-illumined mind conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25). And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3) are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there that he drew and from there that he greatly enriched our wretchedness as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods taken from their source for the salvation of the whole world. And because this blessed John speaks about God in a marvelous way that cannot be compared to that of anyone else, it is only right that the Greeks as well as the Latins have given him the name of “Theologian”. Mary is “Theotokos” because she has truly given birth to God; John is “Theologos” because he saw in an indescribable way that the Word of God was with the Father before the beginning of time and was God (Jn 1:1) and because, too, he spoke about this with extraordinary depth.

~ By Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072) hermit then Bishop, Doctor of the Church

 


St. John is also known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? St. John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself.

St. John is the patron of authors, theologians, publishers, editors, booksellers, art dealers, painters, and writers.


Saint John the Beloved Disciple, pray for us!

 

The Hidden Christ

Navidad

The Nativity at my Parish (photo taken by me)

 

I went into the Christmas cave;
there was no Child upon the straw.
The ox and ass were all I saw.

I sought His stable where He gave
His goodness in the guise of bread.
Emptiness came to me instead.

Filled with my Father’s words, I cried
“Where have You hid Yourself?” and all
the living answered to my call.

I found Him (and the world is wide)
dear in His warm ubiquity.
Where heart beat, there was Christ for me.

I went back to the Christmas cave,
glad with the gain of everywhere.
And lo! the blessed Child was there.

Then at His feasting board He gave
embrace. He multiplied His good
and fed in me the multitude.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

Christmas art by vladimir fokanov

Baby Jesus, art by Vladimir Fokanov

 

 

Potential of the New

 

Misty Path, Art by Michael Whelan

Misty Path, Art by Michael Whelan

It is an art to be able to start over, to be able to let go completely of what has been. Perhaps something decisive happens in our lives, and we are forced to leave the old and habitual. This can be an occasion for us to deepen our relationship with God.

Joy and sorrow, grace and sin, have entered our lives. We must be thankful for God’s grace; for our sins we must repent. Everything that God has bestowed on us is a grace, and has an everlasting value. We are God’s beloved children, and God is faithful to us without fail. This we must keep as a precious treasure.

We cannot carry our sins into the new. They must be placed at the mercy of God, and he erases our sins so they are no more. When God forgives, he does it thoroughly. We will have no burden of sin when we enter the new; the Lamb of God carries that burden to the Father, who receives it with joy. It is a joy for the Father to be able to show us his mercy.

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

 

Wishing you all a very blessed New Year 2018!

  

Simplicity Serves Best

 

Nativity ~ By unknown artist

Nativity ~ By unknown artist

To a Christian it is very simple to come into contact with God. God is not just the goal at the end of a long and hard journey. In Jesus Christ, God is the way itself. As soon as we take the first stumbling steps on this way, we are together with God. 
No demanding exercises in concentrating are needed, no heroic asceticism. The only thing needed is to genuinely love Jesus. Love entrusts itself to the beloved, opens itself to him or her, trusts him or her. If such a genuine love of Jesus fills our hearts, then everything else will follow.
Jesus is Immanuel: God with us. We don’t need a telescope to scout for God. God is near; he is our traveling companion. We need only let him take us by the hand. Since God has shown himself on the earth and has pitched his tent among us, he is “grab-able” to all.
It is not through profound speculation that we grow in our relationship with God, but through the unsophisticated faith of the heart, and the trust in what transcends human understanding. When we bow before the mystery that has come so close to us in Jesus, then he reveals himself most clearly. 

 

~ A Christmas meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Miracle in Our Midst

 

Angel to shepherds in the field ~ Art by Carl Bloch

Angel to shepherds in the field ~ Art by Carl Bloch

The oxen and the mules who silently witness the birth of the child in Bethlehem may be wiser than we, who like to talk the divine to pieces. Before the miracle of Christmas, only silence is appropriate. Even if some words are said, they do explain that which cannot be explained; they can only attempt to convey that the mystery of Christmas is totally unfathomable.

The shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem experience something wonderful when the angels appear in shining glory, proclaiming what has happened. For a moment, all of heaven comes near to earth. But angels soon leave, and the night becomes cold and dark once again.

Yet something definitive has changed in the hearts of the shepherds. They leave heaven behind them in order to seek out the sign promised by the angels. There is nothing exceptional about the child they find, and the glory of the Lord which they saw in the field is hidden here in the shoddy stable and manger in which the child lies.  It is all so ordinary.

There have been many wonders and miracles in the history of Christianity. But when the incredible happens—when God becomes human—it takes place in the utmost simplicity, without a stir. No special wonders are needed. The incarnation of God is itself the great wonder. A miracle so great and astounding that not even eternity is enough to understand it. But to God it is so self-evident and natural that he has no need to make anything of it.

~ A Christmas meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

Christmas Within

a child stand by Jesus crib

A manger filled with Love ~ Art by unknown artist

The mystery of Christmas is not a reality outside of you. It is realized only if it becomes a reality within you.
Mary and Joseph sought shelter. And the King of Kings  was satisfied with a poor stable and manger meant for cattle. Is there a shelter for him within you—he doesn’t ask for much—or are you so preoccupied with your own that there is no room for him?
If you let Jesus be born in you, you become a messenger of love. Then you will no longer do anything just for your own sake. Everything will be inspired by Love. If you continually make a home for him in your heart, he will continually become visible in and through you. As he is ceaselessly born of the Father, he will ceaselessly be born in you.
Do not think that you must have something big and magnificent to offer him. It is his presence that makes your poverty shine with divine light. He is most comfortable in the simple and unassuming, if only the door is opened to him.

~ A Christmas meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.