Almsgiving

words the power of words art by dolores DeVelde

The Power of Words, Art by Dolores DeVelde

 

Not everyone can give alms in money, but we all can give alms in words.

Alms of warm, kind words are like a mother’s lullaby to the elderly, who have a kind of hungry loneliness. These words bring peace and joy to those who are sad and anxious, and make the unwanted feel loved and needed once more.

Do you see that child? Have you an extra moment to speak to him? Befriending a lonely or unloved child, be he rich or poor, is to bring Christ to that little one. Take the child into your heart. You will be taking Christ into your heart, and surely, in eternity, He will reverse the process!

~ By Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 


“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” ~ Matthew 25:35-36


 

The Uninvited

There is a city that through time shall lie
in a fixed darkness of the earth and sky,
and many dwell therein this very hour.
It is a city without seed or flower,
estranged from every bird and butterfly.

Who walked these streets of night? I know them well.
Those who come out of life’s sequestered places:
the lonely, the unloved, the weak and shy,
the broken-winged who piteously would fly,
the poor who still have starlight in their faces.

They are the outcast ones, the last, the least,
whom earth has not invited to her feast,
and who, were they invited in the end,
finding their wedding clothes too frayed to mend,
would not attend.

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

 

woman art by gustav klimt

Golden Tears, art by Gustav Klimt

 

A Reflection: “What Makes You Happy?”

summer at the cottage

Summer days in Canada (photo source unknown)

It’s June and the summer heat is starting to make its presence felt here on this side of the world where I live—my beautiful Canada! All is green and flowers are blooming with beautiful hues and aromas that are so soothing to the senses.

The ducks are back and it’s so sweet to see them out and about walking around with their babies in tow. The warm breeze feels so good and the sunrays are beaming.
Oh, summer how much I like you! You make me happy!

I live close to the lake and I love going for walks by the shore. There is a lot of activity over there—seagulls playfully flying over the calm waters, searching for food. Nature is so alive at this time of the year. Locals peacefully walking their dogs enjoying the nice warm weather. As I sat in one of the benches overlooking the lake, I was overcome with a deep emotion of thanksgiving, my heart full of gratitude. I’m so much in awe admiring all the magnificent art of God’s creation. Indeed, God is an artist!

Every second of summer is precious. It is a season of plenty, especially for the birds. They enjoy it so much singing joyfully and loudly to the Creator. It’s a heavenly melody thanking Him for everything. Am I that grateful? Am I that loving to you, Oh Lord? I pray that I am. Many times I want to shout in joy for the precious gift of being alive and get to appreciate all these marvelous things that God has done for me and for each one of us. I thank you Lord, for this awesome gift. I thank you for this awareness that flows from my heart and allows me to contemplate your grace. Beloved, I thank you for your daily blessings in my life.

Neighbours burning wood in their backyard fire pits brings me great memories of past summers. With the smoke that rises, let it come up to you as incense and let me offer a prayer of thanksgiving and abundant joy for the gift of your presence in my life, beloved Lord. I offer a prayer for peace in the world, for love in man’s heart, for the gift of faith, for healing of body and soul, for strength and patience in tribulation, for perseverance in the way, for the blessing of nurturing a joyful heart and for endless hope for all of your human family.

Fr. Eddie Doherty asks, “What do we need to make us happy?” For me, I wonder: is it a new and bigger house? A new SUV? No debts? A good stable job or a promotion with better salary? A new wardrobe? A savory filet mignon with the most expensive vintage wine? A fancy holiday or the latest model of a mobile phone?

Once I dreamt these things would bring me happiness. What brings me happiness now, though, is experienced through a new set of eyes and a heart that is newly transformed: admiring a beautiful sunrise, a lavender field in full bloom, listening to the birds singing joyfully in the early morning for a new day has come, looking at the different cloud formations in the sky. My tabby cat Ruby lying peacefully next to me.

A shared family meal, filled with laughter and wholesome dishes with local wine and with my favorite home made lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Flowers makes me happy. A bunch of summer bloom flowers my husband brings me without any particular occasion, because really every day is a special occasion.

I love sunsets and the sky full of evening stars. I love my family, my husband and our two lovely daughters. I cherish the time we spent together, enjoying each other’s company. The faces of cheerful friends. And the smile of a stranger, which is really a new friend not yet known—that will make me happy.

I also share the same sentiment as Fr. Eddie. I quote him here:

“I walked leisurely, thinking of your words, thinking of your Son who also loved to walk upon your hills and of his mother Mary. She passed through hilly country as she hurried to Elizabeth, her cousin. Did she too stoop, now and then, because she saw your glory in a stone? I think she did.

I think she also knelt here and there along some road to smell the aroma of your presence in a flower; or to meditate on your concern for even the least of your creatures as she watched the orderly chaos in an ant’s nest; or to thank you for the gracious cool shade of a tree; or to praise you for the color of your sky and the contour and the texture and the splendor of your clouds.”

Dear God, I give you thanks and praise you for the beauty of this season and every season. For all your creation has a mark of your love for us ❤

Pax et Bonum!

 

~ My Reflection is inspired by Fr. Eddie Doherty’s piece “What Makes You Happy?” in his book I Cover God (1962) currently out of print.


Here I share some photos I took during the month of May and early June this year:

 

sun at the lake

“I can’t find words to express my happiness. Here there is no longer anything but God. He is All; He suffices and we live by Him alone.”
~ St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D. 

 

lake6

“Just as the sun shines on all the trees and flowers as if each were the only one on earth, so does God care for all souls in a special manner.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake16
“God’s Providence is in all things, it’s always present.” ~ Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

 

sun at the lake6

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake7

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” ~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

lake3

“How I’d love to show you the lovely infinite horizon beyond creation that I experience and contemplate. I love God now a thousand times more than I did before…He reveals and makes Himself known to souls that really seek to know and love Him. Everything on earth…seems to shrink, to lose value before the Divinity which, like an infinite Sun, continues to shine upon my miserable soul with its rays.”
~ St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake13

“Enjoy Nature: take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.”  (Quote from Carmelite Conversations-OCDS)

 

ruby and roses

And this is Rubyshe likes to smell the roses too!

 

God In Your Neighbor

 

love of neighbor hear my plea art by rochelle blumenfeld

Art by Rochelle Blumenfeld

 
Since God has become human, he himself has become your closest neighbor. He so identifies with us that we can meet and love him in each and every human being. “If you have met your brother, you have met God,” the desert fathers said.

We can only truly love our neighbor if we see him or her as God does. God sees right through our exterior into our depths where the Spirit witnesses that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). God says of every human being: This is my child, my beloved (Mt 3:17).

Jesus Christ is the light of each of us, a light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:4-5). Love sees this light. To encounter this light is to meet the most personal in your neighbor, the center where he or she is most authentic.

Humanity is most human in the divine. John of the Cross writes: “The center of humanity is God.” Love doesn’t attach itself to nonessentials: talents, character, intellect. Love jumps over all obstacles that the other might have erected, and meets him or her in the center. When you behold the core of your neighbor, you love and revere God in that one and that one in God.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

The Most Holy Trinity


“I return thanks to You, O God, one and true Trinity, one sovereign divinity, holy and indivisible unity. (RB).”


 

The Holy Trinity art by Andrei Roublev

Icon of The Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev, 15th century

From Advent until today, the Church has had us consider the magnificent manifestations of God’s mercy toward men: the Incarnation, the Redemption, Pentecost. Now she directs our attention to the source of these gifts, the most Holy Trinity, from whom everything proceeds. Spontaneously, there rises to our lips the hymn of gratitude expressed in the Introit of the Mass: “Blessed be the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity; we will give glory to Him, because He has shown His mercy to us”: the mercy of God the Father, “who so loved the world that He gave it His only-begotten Son” (cf. Jn 3,16); the mercy of God the Son, who to redeem us became incarnate and died on the Cross; the mercy of the Holy Spirit, who deigned to come down into our hearts to communicate to us the charity of God and to make us participate in the divine life. The Church has very fittingly included in the Office for today the beautiful antiphon inspired by St. Paul: “Caritas Pater est, gratia Filius, communication Spiritus Sanctus, O beata Trinitas!”; the Father is charity, the Son is grace and the Holy Spirit is communication: applying this, the charity of the Father and the grace of the Son are communicated to us by the Holy Spirit, who diffuses them in our heart. The marvelous work of the Trinity in our souls could not be better synthesized. Today’s Office and Mass form a veritable paean of praise and gratitude to the Blessed Trinity; they are a prolonged Gloria Patri  and Te Deum. These two hymns—one a succinct epitome, and the other a majestic alternation of praises—are truly hymns for today, intended to awaken in our hearts a deep echo of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration.

~ By Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. ~ Divine Intimacy

 

 

O eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea in which the more I seek the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek to know You. You fill us insatiably, because the soul, before the abyss which You are, is always famished; and hungering for You, O eternal Trinity, it desires to behold truth in Your light. As the thirsty hart pants after the fount of living water, so does my soul long to leave this gloomy body and see You as your are, in truth.

O unfathomable depth! O Deity eternal! O deep ocean! What more could You give me than to give me Yourself? You are an ever-burning Fire; You consume and are not consumed. By Your fire, You consume every trace of self-love in the soul. You are a Fire which drives away all coldness and illumines minds with its light, and with this light You have made me know Your truth. Truly this light is a sea which feeds the soul until it is all immersed  in You. O peaceful Sea, eternal Trinity! The water of this sea is never turbid; it never causes fear, but gives knowledge of the truth. This water is transparent and discloses hidden things; and a living faith gives such abundance of light that the soul almost attains to certitude in what it believes.

You are the supreme and infinite Good, good above all good; good which is joyful, incomprehensible, inestimable; beauty exceeding all other beauty; wisdom surpassing all wisdom, because You are Wisdom itself. Food of angels, giving Yourself with fire of love to men! You are the garment which covers our nakedness; You feed us, hungry as we are, with Your sweetness, because You are all sweetness with no bitterness. Clothe me, O eternal Trinity, clothe me with Yourself, so that I may pass this mortal life in true obedience and in the light of the most holy faith with which You have inebriated my soul.

~ By Saint Catherine of Siena

 

Holy Trinity2

The Blessed Holy Trinity by unknown artist

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Holy Trinity!  ❤

 

Global Warming

 

Jesus hold the world

Painting by unknown artist

 

Because people do not love, the world is a very cold place. There is lust. There is temporary commitment to what appears to be love. But real love is something else entirely.

Love is God. Love is a Person. Love is stronger than death. The heart of God calls us to give him our heart, which means to give him ourselves. We must hold nothing back. It is by loving God in the nitty-gritty routine of our daily life that we make up for the coldness of others hearts.

~ By Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

faithfulness by akiane kramarik

Faithfulness, art by Akiane Kramarik

 

“All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, the light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.”
~ John 1:4-5

To Live with The Spirit

Holy Spirit visual blessings

 

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.

The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.

Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.

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

The Gaze of Love

“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face”; your face, Lord, do I seek!
Psalm 27

Jesus and me by unknown artist

‘Gazing into the eyes of the Beloved’, by unknown artist

 

My Beloved,
My heart yearns for your gaze.
Your presence reveals this yearning in me.

It is so necessary to gaze upon you, O Lord 
When I’m here in your presence.
Your gaze heals me and comforts me,
Your healing power transforms me and renew me.

To contemplate your face, Beloved, is all I seek.
You are the gaze of love.

Your peace I yearn and desire.
Your friendship, is all I want and all I need in order to live in this exile.

O Beloved,
My heart cannot contain your beauty when You gaze at me
With so much tenderness and infinite love.
I want to live for these precious moments of intimacy with You.

You embrace me with so much delicacy, and I feel so loved.
O Lord, I feel so calm and whole in your presence.
You hold my hand and I feel your guidance and affirmation,
Knowing that You are constantly in me and with me.

You bless me Lord.
I need you Lord, like oxygen to my lungs.
Like sight to my eyes.
Like food to sustain my body.
Like light to illuminate my mind and soul.

You are my all, Beloved.
May I live in You all the days of my life and forever.

~ My Personal Reflection 

 

The Prayer of the Heart


As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God.
~ Psalm 42, 2


 

Beside quiet waters art by yong sung kim

 

While taking a walk through nature, listening to a beautiful music that “sends one into raptures” or fervently praying, who has not suddenly experienced a strange and overwhelming sense of freedom, a delightful feeling of being liberated from the constraints and limitations of daily life? At that instant, we are released from the grip of time and space, and overcome with a joy and inner peace that nothing could shatter. In those privileged moments, we love everybody, we feel unified, reconciled with ourselves, with others, with the whole universe. It is “the state of grace”, which happens unexpectedly, but which, unfortunately, we cannot recreate at will…

The Springs of Life

It is as if we had come upon a spring, ready to give us water in abundance, only to see it disappear again, shrouded in mystery… Once we have had a glimpse of that other world, we can never forget it and we will always try to find it again.

We will continue to yearn for those blessed states when our soul brushed against eternity, when we sensed the existence of another dimension of our being: immutable, peaceful, unchanging in the midst of fluctuating events. It is the deep, calm waters of a lake that reflect a wild duck in rapid flight without a single ripple on the surface. It is the discovery of “something indefinable” that suddenly and completely takes hold of us. Is not this “little corner of paradise” a reflection of that untarnished happiness enjoyed by our parents in the garden of Eden of our beginnings?

How can we find that center of our being where springs the water of life, where our thirst for happiness and fulfillment can be wholly quenched? How can we reach that secret place whose existence all traditions in the world have sensed and that so many men and women have “realized” in union with God?

Toward the Bliss of the Kingdom

To enter the Kingdom, it is not enough to think about it, just as we cannot quench our thirst merely by thinking of a cup of tea. If our intellect enables us to understand many things, it cannot alone fill the gap between us and these realities. It leaves us standing on the shore, trying to measure the surging waves, yet not allowing us to dive in and splash about in the sea spray.

And so, in his infinite love for us, the Lord does not content himself with our good thoughts for him; he wants us closer and wishes us to unite with his divine Person, just as a fiancé will not be satisfied merely to correspond with his beloved, but longs to marry her and live with her.

The love God has for us is a burning fire, and we are invited to warm ourselves up by its flame; it is the Song of Songs, in which the Lover kisses his bride on the lips: such is the intimate embrace to which God summons us, as of now, on this earth!

The pleasures of this world are but a pale reflection of the profusion of joys that God wishes to share with us; a flash in the pan, they fade away as soon as our passions are assuaged, leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled. Only permanent happiness can satisfy completely our yearning for infinity and eternity, but such happiness is not of this earth, but belongs to the Kingdom of Heaven.

If our mind cannot lead us to it, we must use another instrument, better suited to our quest of unity with God: our heart… Not only the heart that loves or rejects, the seat of feelings and emotions, but the very center of our being, that innermost “place” within ourselves where the divine Presence is revealed. And the path to ever deepening interiority is the prayer of the heart.

Knock and the Door Shall Be Opened

The word prayer is used in many different senses. For some, it is the reading of the Holy Scriptures or a meditation on their meaning; for others, it is communing with oneself… These exercises of Christian life certainly complement each other toward achieving union with God. But what we call the prayer of the heart is a form of contemplation.

In the secret garden of the heart, we no longer pray, we become prayer: the prayer of the heart is “pure prayer”. But we must not think of it as a difficult exercise, only meant for contemplatives. It is surely more difficult to meditate on the Word of God than to contemplate his face. The infant who cannot yet speak gazes at his mother, drinking her presence in, and she delights in returning that loving look that says so much more than mere words!

Likewise, the prayer of the heart is a contemplation of God’s Presence, a moment, heart to heart, when we surrender in the divine sight, in the Lord’s tender presence, just as when he was in Galilea with his disciples: how sweet it was to rest beside Him!

It is as when two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes: all talking ceases, activity is reduced to the simplicity of silent mutual contemplation where words have no place.

But why do we need a method to achieve this? Is it not sufficient to let ourselves be carried by the flow of grace itself? Can we actually learn something in a domain where God is the only captain on board? Why not let ourselves drift alone, rocked by the waves?

It is right that we should contribute to our relationship with the Lord; if indeed he does not impose himself upon us, he always offers his love and secretly calls us: I stand at your door and I knock (Rv 3, 20); Jesus, who is gentle and of humble heart, stands by, ready to receive those who seek him and who knock at the Kingdom’s door: Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened (Lk 11, 10).

~ By Daniel Maurin

Jesus grace art by yong sung kim

Grace, art by Yong Sung Kim

 

 

 

 

Dark Night

 

for the heart

A Dark Night, by unknown artist


Deep in the dark of night

with yearning, set aflame by love’s own fire,
—oh, happy grace-full flight!—
I left with no descrier,
as all my household, peaceful, would retire.

Secure, out of the light,
disguised, up secret ladder ever higher,
—oh, happy grace-full flight!—
the dark hid my desire,
as all my household, peaceful, would retire.

Within that happy night,
in secret, without anyone’s discerning,
nor aught that caught my sight,
nor guide nor light returning
save for the one that in my heart was burning.

It served me as my guide,
more certain than the brilliant midday sun,
to where for me would bide—
how well I knew! —the One,
where we might not be found by anyone.

O night that guides my flight!
O night that was more loving than the sun!
O night that would unite
the Lover and loved one,
beloved changed to Lover—unison!

Upon my blossoming breast—
I guarded it for only him, no less—
there he remained at rest,
I gave him my caress,
our love the fanning cedar’s breeze would bless.

The breeze blew from the tower,
my fingers now began to part his hair,
with his hand’s gentle power
he wounded my neck where
my senses, stricken, faded unaware.

I lost, forgot my being,
my face reclined upon my Lover there,
all ceased, my spirit freeing,
and leaving all my care
behind, forgotten, midst the lilies fair.

 

~ A poem by Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

 

 

 

 

 

Loveliest Blossom

 

woman and the flowers art by Christen Schloe

Loveliest Blossom, by unknown artist

 


You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
~ Song of Solomon 4:12



When you are eager in the tiny portion

that is your garden, when you are tying strings
to give the stalks of the sweet peas their balance
so flowers may alight on them like wings
of pastel butterflies; when you appraise
with glowing face the lilies and carnations
(scent is to charm and color to amaze),
I think: she has not found the loveliest blossom.

There is a flower full of mystery
between this wall and that, amid this green.
I found it but to bear it back to secret.
It is a flower God and I have seen,
and I not till I looked at it with Him.

Hidden and unpredictable and shy,
it was not given to be shared, not even with you,
little lover of fragrance.
(Oh, with you least of all!)
Plucked from the soft soil of your unawareness,
uprooted from my silence, it would die.
I keep it then, God’s individual favor,
the private bloom I scent my storerooms by.

 

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