Holy Virgin, I Beg You

 

Mary Mother of God The teotokos
Mary, Mother of God: The Teotokos, art by Bradi Barth

 

St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Spain, was proclaiming the joy of being “a servant of Mary” already in the 7th century. In one of his prayers he brings to full light the idea of Mary’s virginal Motherhood as a model of spiritual life for the Christian.

Mary must obtain for us from the Holy Spirit the grace for Christ to be formed spiritually in us just as she, through the power of the same Spirit, fashioned Christ according to the flesh.

 

Holy Virgin, I beg you:
enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit,
according to the same process by which you bore Jesus.

May my soul possess Jesus
thanks to the Spirit
through Whom you conceived Jesus.

May the grace to know Jesus
be granted to me through the Spirit
Who enabled you to know how to possess Jesus
and bring Him forth.

May my littleness show forth the greatness of Jesus
in virtue of the Spirit in Whom
you recognized yourself as the handmaid of the Lord,
desiring that it be done to you
according to the word of the Angel.

May I love Jesus in the Spirit
in Whom you adored Him as your Lord
and looked after Him as your Son.

~ St. Ildephonsus of Toledo

 

~ From the book “Prayers to Mary” by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

 

May, a blessed month with Our Lady!

 

The Old Has Died

 

trusting in the Lord art by Elizabeth Wang
Trusting in the Lord, art by Elizabeth Wang

 

By the cross of Jesus Christ “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14). Not the world as God created it, but the spirit of the world: the conceit, the greed, and the egoism that are within us.

All this has died to me, Paul testifies. Therefore, it can’t control me, it has no claim on me, it can’t be the starting point of my actions.

Nevertheless, the spirit of the world has made its mark on you. But this cannot hurt you if you merely see it as a trace of something that has died. Nobody can be afraid of what has already died. The new life in Christ is your genuine reality.

Many people who begin to spend time in interior prayer complain that they become so very absent-minded. Thoughts rush in like horses in a gallop. What am I to do about that? they wonder uneasily. What definitely not to do is fight these thoughts aggressively or be afraid of them. If you fight or become afraid, you show that you take these thoughts seriously.

The only thing to take seriously is the new creation within you, the new life which is the life of Christ in you. Everything else is completely uninteresting: it has died, and you don’t have to lose time and energy on it.

The Christian life is so much simpler than you think. You don’t have to walk around fighting all kinds of things, or desperately try to conquer God. A Christian begins in the victory. The old has irrevocably died and come to an end. You must rest in the new that you already been given.

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

 

 

When we contemplate the sufferings of Jesus, He grants us, according to the measure of our faith, the grace to practice the virtues He revealed during those sacred hours.
~ Saint Angela Merici

 

 

God Alone Suffices

 

Icon 3
Icon of the Holy Trinity, by Paternitas 1855 (State Museum of Palekh Art)

 

Ultimately, there really is only one thing you unequivocally can ask God: that he be your all. There is no need to coach God as to how best he ought to fulfill your needs. God is all, and, when he gives himself, he gives you everything you need. If you possess God, there is nothing more for which you can ask.

The first part of the Lord’s Prayer is completely focused on God himself: hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. Following that, you are free to ask for what you think you need, but these special petitions must always be rooted in surrender to—and longing for—God’s very self.

The closer you are to God, the more emphasis is on the first part of the Lord’s Prayer. The more you trust God, the less you are inclined to specify your prayers for the various needs you may have for yourself and others.

There is a restless concern that is not of God, a restlessness that comes from trying to carry the suffering of the world on your own shaky shoulders, rather than laying it in God’s hands.

The one who in surrender commends the world to God will continue to feel compassion for all who suffer. But it is a compassion that is held up by a deep peace rooted in the knowledge that God, who is almighty, loves everyone and can assimilate everything in his plan to save the world.

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

Si Sabrá la Primavera Que La Estamos Esperando…

 

sheeps2
Photo credit to: Pawel Uchorczak

 

Aquí tenéis un precioso poema-oración de una de Carmelita Descalza de Antequera

 

Si sabrá la Primavera
que la estamos esperando…

Si se atreverá a cruzar
nuestros pueblos despoblados,
colgando en nuestros balcones
la magia de sus geranios.
Si dejará su sonrisa
esculpida en nuestros campos,
pintando nuestros jardines
de verde, de rojo y blanco.

Si sabrá la Primavera
que la estamos esperando…

Cuando llegue y no nos vea
ni en las calles ni en los barrios,
cuando no escuche en el parque
el paso de los ancianos,
o el bullicio siempre alegre
de los chiquillos jugando.
Si creerá que equivocó
la fecha del calendario,
la cita que desde siempre
la convoca el mes de Marzo.

Si sabrá la Primavera
que la estamos esperando…

Cuando estalle jubilosa
llenando de puntos blancos
los almendros, los ciruelos,
los jazmines, los naranjos,
y no vea que a la Virgen
la preparan para el Paso.
Que se ha guardado el incienso,
el trono, la cruz y el palio.
Y que Cristo, igual que todos,
está en su casa encerrado,
y no lo dejan salir
ni el Jueves ni el Viernes Santo…

¿Pensará la Primavera
que tal vez se ha equivocado?

¿Escuchará los lamentos
de quien se quedó en el paro,
de quien trabaja a deshoras
por ayudar a su hermano,
de aquél que expone su vida
en silencio y olvidado?
¿Escuchará cada noche
los vítores, los aplausos
que regalamos con gozo
al personal sanitario?

¿Pensará la Primavera
que tal vez se ha equivocado
y colgará sus colores
hasta la vuelta de un año?

Si sabrá la Primavera
que la estamos esperando…

Que se nos prohíbe el beso,
que está prohibido el abrazo;
el corazón, sangre y fuego,
el corazón desangrado.

Si sabrá la Primavera
que ya la estamos soñando…
Asomados al balcón
de la Esperanza, esperamos
como nunca, que ella vuelva
y nos regale el milagro
de ver florecer la vida
que hoy se nos va de las manos…

¡Bienvenida, Primavera!
Hueles a incienso y a ramos,
con tu traje de colores
y los cantos de tus pájaros.
Ven a pintar de azul-cielo
esta tierra que habitamos.

¿No sentís que en este mundo
algo nuevo está brotando?
Si será la Primavera
que está apresurando el paso.

~ Hermana Lucía, O.C.D.

God Is Not Angry!

 

Cross in a blizzard art by jozef chelmonski 1907
Art by Jozef Chelmonski (1907)

 

Our God is different than we think. We have all heard of a God who demands atonement, a God who is just and wants restitution for the injustice he has been suffering. But our God is not justice. Our God is love.

We don’t need to reconcile God to us. God is reconciliation itself. God has never turned his gaze from us. It is we who have turned away from him. God had been waiting for us all along. No, not only waited. . .God has run to meet us with such overwhelming proofs of his love that it ought not possible for us to close our eyes to them.

It is not for us to appease God’s anger. God is not angry with us. Love is not resentful (1 Cor 13:5). It is, rather, God who tries to calm humanity’s anger. But he hasn’t been able to, since humanity is still angry at God. Has there ever been a time like our own in which humanity has been so cruel toward God? God is accused as never before: “What kind of God is it that allows for so much evil?”

Much of this human revolt against God is in reality directed toward a caricature of God—a God who seeks to judge, a God who looks for the first opportunity to punish. Such a God is only to be feared or despised.

But a God who hangs defenselessly on a cross, and who—with arms outstretched in a worldwide embrace—tries to unite all people with himself and one another, such a God is not hard to love.

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

 

 

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone at this trying and unprecedented times with COVID-19 Global Pandemic. . .
May God’s strength, healing and peace be with us all and the whole world!

 

Tend to the Seed of Faith in Your Heart

 

mustard seed art by jane n
Art by Jen Norton

 

Doubt and despair have their deepest roots in a fundamental distrust of God. It is quite often a long journey before a human being is truly convinced that God really wants the very best for him or her.

As long as your heart remains unconvinced that the one who has created  and sustains you, loves you and leads you, through whatever happens, you will not find lasting peace.

You have several resources with which you can help yourself toward a firm belief in love. You can try to confront your doubt by emphasizing trust and confidence; you can open your heart to receive testimony and preaching about God; most importantly, you can listen to God’s own word.

God’s preeminent message is that he is love. This message is in itself effective and active. If you listen to it openly, it will reach your innermost recesses.

Emotions of love will not reach the core of your being; only faith does that. The capacity for faith is like a small seed laid down in you. To some extent, it is up to you to decide whether weeds and drought are to suffocate the faith when it begins to sprout. You have within you an ability to turn your gaze toward God and turn yourself over to him with trust. Then the seed will flourish.

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

The Lord Killeth and Makes Alive

 

Baptism of Jesus art by Val Bochkocv
Baptism of Jesus, art by Val Bochkov

 

When a person is baptized, he or she officially acknowledges no longer wanting to live an inauthentic life. The “old” is drowned in the waters of baptism, and a renewal person rises. Invariably, the “old” will try, again and again, to make its presence known. Complaints and protests rise repeatedly. But just as insistently you shall arouse your confidence, the confidence that the old egoism is truly and irreversibly dead, since, through baptism, you have united yourself with the death of Christ on the cross where he, once and for all, died to sin.

The “old” no longer has any real influence over you. It can no longer have any control over you. As much as the “old” may try to entice and ensnare you, you can no longer be manipulated if you only keep to your belief that in Christ you have received new life.

Many years may have passed since your baptism—years in which you have not shown any attention to God and the new life he has given you. However, these years have not been able to eradicate the transfiguring power of baptism. You can, at any time, activate your baptism by forgetting everything that is behind you and focusing on the new life you have already received. Perhaps, for a long time, you have let the “old” live on in you. But from the moment you take your new life seriously, the “old” is helpless.

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

 

 

Happy & Blessed Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord!

Our Heavenly Birthday

 

heavenly birthday
Art source unknown

 

For a Christian to be afraid of death would be like being afraid of a ghost. Death no longer has any power over us. It has lost its sting. “Death has been swallowed up in victory, ” Paul writes (1 Cor 15:54). Ever since we have eaten the food of immortality that is Jesus himself (Jn 6:51, 54), we are irrevocably on the side of the living. True, all Christians must go through the physical process called “death” when “this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Cor 15:53)? “I do not die; I enter into life,” Thérèse of the Child Jesus said on her deathbed.

It is important not to forget the early Christian way of speaking about death. The date of death of the saints has always been called dies natalis, their birthday, by the Church.
To die is to be born into eternal life. When Jesus, just before his death, shares his farewell discourses with the disciples, he says: “I am going to the Father” (Jn 16:10); “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father” (14:28). John also writes that Jesus knew “that he had come from God and was going to God” (13:3). To be born is to come from God; to die is to return to God. When we die, our true life begins.

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

 

“The essential is always hidden from our eyes . . . and that lends still more ardor to the quest and sustains our advance toward the only reality.”
~ Brother Roger of Taizé

 

 

Hold On To Your Saint!

 

All-Saints-Montage
(Photo collage~source unknown)

 

That we are entering an age of martyrdom must be obvious to anybody with a nose on their face and eyes in their head! When it comes, the name of God, Our Lady, and your patron saint should be on your lips. Your patron saint is very close to you, a creature like you.

What characterizes a saint?

A saint is a lover of God; that is, a lover of all human beings.
A saint listens to the Lord and lets his words penetrate the heart. He doesn’t respond with “if”s and “but”s.
The saints were free. Those who do the will of God are free, for when you do your own will, you are bound.
When you go in search of God, hold on to the hand of your saint. He or she will lead you to God as no one else can.

~ A Meditation by Catherine Doherty

 

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.
~ 2 Cor 3: 2-3 

 

Facing Him

Eucharistia by ladislav Zaborsky
Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

Faith is a gift of God. Only he can bestow it, and it is a gift that he passionately desires to give us. However, he can only give it to us if we ask for it.

When we ask for faith, we are turning our face towards his face, and he can look into our heart. He loves to see us facing him, but we for some reason try to avoid this. Even while begging him for favors, we close the eyes of our soul, so as to avoid looking at him. Yet he is always looking at us, with deep love.

It is faith that allows us to enter peacefully into the dark night each of us faces at one time or another. Faith walks simply, like a child, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come, “for eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God reserves for those who love him.” Faith is a kind of folly, a folly of God himself.

Faith breaks through barriers. When our face is turned to God in faith, our eyes meet his, and each day becomes more luminous. The veil between God and us becomes thinner until it seems we can almost reach out and touch him.

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty


“For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
~ Romans 8:38-39