Early light, before sun, and I hear an unknown bird singing his morning syllables— pitiful, pitiful, pitiful—in a voice too plaintive to be believed.
Birds speak their native language— music with feathers. We pick up clues, but translation depends on our willingness to hear, and listen.
Maybe I’ve let last night’s bad dream misinterpret his message. Maybe he’s telling me this new day is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
~ A poem by Luci Shaw
“The birds are the saints, who fly to heaven on the wings of contemplation, who are so removed from the world that they have no business on earth. They do not labour, but by contemplation alone they already live in heaven.”
~ Saint Anthony of Padua
“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky, you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise Him.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi
You have got to approach prayer as a love affair. And the accent is not on praying; it is on the one to whom you pray. You are drawn to God as a young girl is drawn to a young man. Slowly, as in a human love affair, Christ absorbs you more and more and becomes the center of your life. You savor and find new depths to every word he says.
Then you turn to the Scriptures. We call this meditation, but how can such a little word describe your plunging into the depths of each word of Christ?
As you plunge into Christ’s words, your deep relationship to him, the one you call prayer, will change. You will enter into a new dimension, which some call contemplation.
What is contemplation? One Sunday I was walking in a city park, and I came across a couple sitting on a bench. Before them was their picnic basket, and a dog was happily eating their sandwiches, paper and all; I stood less than ten feet away. The two paid no attention to me, and were utterly oblivious to the dog. They were holding hands and looking at each other.
There comes a moment when words become useless—men and women just sit and look at each other. This is the moment of deepest love, when the wings of the intellect are folded and the heart is totally opened to the other. This is contemplation.
So, before you can pray, you must meet God. The best way to meet him is to stand very still, without frustration or anxiety, and wait for him. He will come if you are waiting for him.
That is really all I can tell you about prayer.
And when you hold hands with Christ, whisper my name.
~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty
My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! ~ Sg 2: 10
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
Happy Birthday Holy Mother St. Teresa! ❤ Pray for all your Carmelite family and the whole world!
Our prayers break on God like waves, and he an endless shore, and when the seas evaporate and oceans are no more and cries are carried in the wind God hears and answers every sound as he has done before.
Our troubles eat at God like nails. He feels the gnawing pain on souls and bodies. He never fails but reassures he’ll heal again, again, again, again and yet again.
Is Lent and I feel the interior call to walk by your side during these 40 days united to you, my Beloved.
These 40 days in the wilderness where the earth is barren and quiet, I can feel your loneliness, my Beloved. Silence engulfs this desert and I can only hear your footsteps as we walk side by side.
I can’t wait for the night to arrive. So I can view the magnificent sky filled with all the beauty of your Father’s creation. The moon and the stars — the sky looks like a blanket of shooting stars covering us from above giving us light and protection marked by the beauty of His love.
All those bright stars are speaking to you they bring you messages from above, from your Beloved Abba! They prompt you to persevere, and remain in His presence all along this journey. Giving you strength for your mission ahead, consoling your weary heart, my Beloved.
They urge you to keep going, to keep focused, to keep praying. To stay and remain in His perfect love.
Following you along this desert, my Beloved, is not an easy task. At times I have so many questions, so many concerns, so much restlessness in my own heart. But you only ask me to trust in you, to hold your hand and continue to walk together, side by side these 40 days.
My heart is united to yours and is finding true calm now, being in your presence is all I need during these long 40 days.
In quietude and awe, my heart is waiting,
Your beloved child, sister and friend, Redeemed by your love!
why a seraph
why its six
the dying Christ.
you could ask
those lonely hills
I cannot say
why love and pain
go hand in hand,
I will not
that day of joy
From one unpierced
~ A poem by Abigail Carroll
How did St. Francis of Assisi receives the Stigmata of Christ?
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September 1224) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says and early writer, had long since been impressed upon his heart.
Brother Leo, who was with St. Francis when he received the stigmata, has left us in his note to the saint’s autograph blessing, preserved at Assisi, a clear simple account of the miracle, which for the rest is better attested than any other historical fact.
The saint’s right side is described as bearing an open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward.
After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. Worn out, moreover, as Francis now was by eighteen years of unremitting toil, his strength gave way completely, and at times his eyesight so far failed him that he was almost wholly blind.
Francis died in 1226 at the age of forty-five. He was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX.
“Ask and you will receive.” While God always answers our prayers, he does not always grant our requests.
In Somerset Maugham’s autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage, young Philip Carey, a boy born with a clubfoot, prays that God will heal him. He wakes up the next morning to find that he has not been cured. His faith is shaken, for he has been told that whatever you ask for in prayer will be given. Throughout his life, Philip’s deformity causes him much shame and humiliation, but it also brings about his transformation. At the very end of the novel, Philip comes to the following realization:
And thinking over the long pilgrimage of his past, he accepted it joyfully. He accepted the deformity which had made his life so hard, but now he saw that by reason of it he had acquired that power of introspection which had given him so much delight. Without it he would never had his keen appreciation of beauty, his passion for art and literature and his interest in the varied spectacle of life. The ridicule and contempt, which had so often been heaped upon him, had turned his mind inward and called forth those flowers which he felt would never lose their fragrance. Then he saw that the normal was the rarest thing in the world. Everyone had some defect of body or of mind. He had thought of all the people he had known. He saw a long procession, deformed in body and warped in mind. At that moment he could feel a holy compassion for them all. He could pardon Griffiths for his treachery and Mildred for the pain she had caused him. The only reasonable thing was to accept the good of men and be patient with their faults. The words of the dying God crossed his memory: Forgive them, for they know not what they do. (680-81)
God always answers our prayers, but does not always grant our requests. We are promised that we will receive if we ask, but we are not told what will be given to us. The door will be opened to us, but we do not know what God has in store for us on the other side. We are told only that God knows how to give.
The ways of providence are mysterious indeed. Like Philip Carey, we should reflect upon the long pilgrimage of our past in order to apprehend the pattern of God’s loving wisdom in our lives. Like Philip, we may realize what we once considered to have been our greatest curse was the occasion of our greatest blessing. We realize that what we once judged a stumbling block actually is a cornerstone. Conversely, think of how disastrously your life may have turned out had God granted your specific request.
~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.
“Cast yourself often into His arms or into His divine Heart, and abandon yourself to all His designs upon you” II, 673. ~ Saint Margaret Mary