A One-Sided Love

 

Jesus love by ladislav zaborsky2

Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

Jesus asks us to love our enemies. Love of enemies has always been considered a typically Christian virtue.

It is common to love the one who loves you. The law of mutually regulates love in society: I love you, if you love me; I will be grateful to you, if you treat me well.

However, Jesus wants us to break out this “coercion of mutuality.” He wants us to love in all circumstances, to love those who do not love us, yes, even the ones who are against us. Perhaps a former friend has turned away from me. Perhaps this person has stopped loving me; still, Jesus wants me to love him or her.

Just as we used to talk about unilateral disarmament, we should be able to talk about unilateral—one-sided—love, that is, a love that doesn’t expect anything in return. In this sense, God’s love for us is often one-sided. God loves and loves while we don’t love him in return.

It is not superhuman to love in situations where you only encounter hate? Yes, it is superhuman. It is divine. But Jesus will teach us how to interact with one another in a divine way. He has come to reveal God’s “lifestyle” to us, and he wishes for this lifestyle to become ours as well. He wants us to love as God loves, who lets the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and lets it rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous (Mt 5:45).

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

 

Matthew 5 45

Surrounded

 

Jesus by yon sum kim

Jesus, art by Yongsung Kim

 

Those who don’t love themselves can’t receive the love of others in a healthy way either. To those who doubt their own worth, other people become rivals and competitors. Positive and open encounters become an impossibility. Many people never have an authentic experience of presence. They can’t receive another person and simply let that person be near them. There is no community, no communication. This lack of presence can lead to the most bizarre, desperate attempts to bridge the abyss they feel between themselves and others.

The deepest human longing is to be completely affirmed as we are, and to be loved unconditionally. But one of the reasons this is so difficult for the majority of us is the fact that we don’t really know who we are, and therefore we don’t know how to receive the love that is true. Only those who know their own depths can begin to understand what love is.

In your depths, you are nothing but the capacity to give and receive love. Only in your depths can you come to know the love that surrounds you on all sides. And the most direct way to your depths are silence and prayer.

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

 

“Oh, if you could go to the depths of my soul even for an instant, you’d see me captivated by that Beauty, by that incomprehensible Goodness. How I’d love to bind the hearts of creatures and surrender them to divine Love!”
St. Teresa of Jesus, O.C.D. 

 

 

Go to the Father!

 


“Grant, O Lord, eternal rest to the souls of the departed; and may the thought of death spur me on to greater generosity.”
~ Divine Intimacy ~


 

Jesus and the souls

 

Human beings have lost the clear perspective that death is a part of a life that is lasting and true.

Most often, death is considered something sad and negative—a punishment for sin, as the Old Testament affirms. But the New Testament has a different perspective. “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die,” Jesus says (Jn 11:26).

The physical process is not changed, but the meaning and its signification changes completely. “If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father” (Jn 14:28). To Jesus death is a joyful event, and he has given it the most beautiful definition: “To go to the Father.”

Life reaches its zenith in death; this is where we leave behind all details in order to cling unconditionally to what is essential. Death is the last and definitive capitulation before God, the beginning of an eternal being together with God and one another.

When we die, we conclusively give up our resistance and our self-will. Death leaves us unreservedly in the hands of God. To die means that we finally let God take care of our lives.

Do not love death for its own sake! You can only go through death in a meaningful way if you love life. The meaning of death is life, the life that remains forever.

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

 

“O Master and Creator of the universe, Lord of life and death, You give our souls being and fill them with blessings: You carry out and transform everything by the work of Your Word, at the time foreordained and according to the plan of Your Wisdom; receive, today, our deceased brethren and give them eternal rest.”
~ Divine Intimacy ~

 

 

Wishing you all a very blessed All Souls’ Day!

 

 

 

 

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


 

Contemplation: Meeting Gaze

 

Kristus by Zaborsky

Kristus, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

There are those who wonder why Christians must talk about contemplation and mysticism when the Bible itself says nothing about it. The answer is that the Bible says a lot about contemplation. The yearning to have God show himself is a reoccurring theme in the Bible.

“Make your face shine upon your servant” (Ps 119:135). “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2). Or in Psalm 27: “Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.” All these texts express a yearning to behold, to contemplate God. In the New Testament, Jesus promises that he will show himself to the one who loves him and keeps his commandments (Jn 14:21).

Heaven promises to be an eternal, contemplative beholding of God. But for the one who lives a life of prayer it is possible to taste some of the happiness of this contemplation already in this life.

Still, it is not the most important thing that we get to behold God. Long before we could even fathom what it is to see God, God has seen us and let his light shine upon us.

The gift of contemplation is none other than human beings having their eyes opened to meet God’s gaze, which has rested eternally upon each one of us.

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

 

 

An Autumn Encounter

Jesus walking in the path

Art by Yong Sung Kim


My Beloved,

you are the author of all seasons.
At the arrival of each one,
you leave your footprints in my garden.

Now, is the glorious season of autumn.
Here where I live, in this beautiful North,
the majestic beauty of your touch
is everywhere to be seen.

The precious gift of your presence
is always a special grace
in my garden.

My Beloved,
my flowers are still in bloom
despite the late night cold breeze.
But the maple tree is already
showing the vibrant hues of red and orange leaves.

Oh! Blessed Lord!
The birds always welcome your divine presence in my garden,
they whisper in my ear
that your gentle steps are approaching,
and I know you are near
calling me to come to your presence and rest awhile.

Autumn, this glorious season of change,
is also of transformation and beauty.
I can sense your gentle presence within me,
transforming and revealing within my soul
new insights illuminated by your precious light,
leading me in my own
journey of self-discovery and towards you.

Beloved of mine,
how I long for these moments of being
in your holy presence!
Quietly listening to you,
awakening my heart.

Your voice I seek,
your warmth I crave,
you give me an abundance
of unconditional love.
Thank you, my Jesus!

Oh! My Rabboni,
I love you!
I want to live to love you!
Each and every day and night
of my life.
Let us walk together along this path
in my fall garden.
This tender precious moments I’ll always treasure
within my heart and soul.

Let me embrace you,
my Beloved,
with endless love and gratitude
forever!

~ My Personal Reflection

Bible verse Colossians

 

 

The Oasis of His Heart

 

Jesus and Saint Teresa at Holy Communion

St. Francis Borgia, S.J. with St. Teresa of Avila, O.C.D.; art by José Segrelles (1956)

 

We who walk in the desert of violence, wars, and changes that bewilder and confuse us need an oasis in which  to rest and renew ourselves. Mass is the oasis to which the Good Samaritan brings us each day. Every day Christ  invites us to the oasis of his heart to be refreshed there by the Wine of his compassion and love.

Love is not an emotion and not a state. It is a Person — it is God himself. He is the food I receive in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. I need him daily because I am a sinner and weak.
True, I am a saved sinner; but one who realizes only too well the words of Christ, “Without me, you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) I need him, the living Bread, to love through me.

I need to participate in the daily Sacrifice of the Mass because I am in love with God. I am in love with Jesus Christ. My soul seeks union with God. It cannot rest until it finds him.

Mass is a rendezvous with Christ. Passionately in love with my God, I become one with him at the Eucharistic table.

Daily Mass is a plunging into the inexplicable, incredible mystery of love. It is a reality more real than the air I breathe, than the life I live throughout the day.

What can I bring to the world but him who has given himself to me?

~ A meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

 


My lover belongs to me and I to him…
~ Sg 2:16


 

Jesus Sacred Heart9

God’s heart is our only true resting place, the oasis to which he calls us ❤ Beloved Lord Jesus, draw us near and near to your Most Sacred Heart! Amen!

 

Showing the Face of Christ

Jesus prince of Peace by Akiane

Prince of Peace, art by Akiane Kramarik

 

He who eats the Bread of the Lord must in turn be “eaten up” by others. Having received God, who is love, we must give love. We who work in the front lines of spiritual warfare know that this is the only answer for a world so desperately in search of meaning.

Only when we who call ourselves Christians show the face of the resurrected Christ will seekers of God be able to see and touch him. This has to be done person to person. It cannot be done en masse. Each person needs to know that he or she is loved—loved as a friend, loved as a brother or sister in Christ. Only in the eyes of another can we find the image of Christ.

~ A meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty


“This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
~ 1 John 4:21


 

Gently

resting on the heart of Christ

Resting on the Heart of Christ, art by Giotto di Bondone (1304-06)

 

Christ told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. How important it is to be gentle with oneself!

We so often flagellate ourselves, dwelling on our sins and thinking we are horrible people. We harass ourselves, thinking of the wrong decisions we have made and the sins we have committed. We wound ourselves unceasingly, and we exhaust ourselves in the process.

We forget that the gentleness of God is part of his mercy. We forget that if we but turn to him and say, “I’m sorry”, the sin is erased completely. He does not remember the sin. His mercy overshadows all.

How do you learn to be gentle? St. John used to recline on the breast of Christ. I think we will become gentle with ourselves and others if we do likewise. Then we will hear the heartbeats of God, and we will be able to help others hear them.

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty


“Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
~ Matthew 11:28-29


 

Healing

ChristCleansing the leper

Christ healing the leper, art by Jean-Marie Melchior Doze, 1864

 

The pity of God is immense and profound. It is like a fresh wind that comes up suddenly on a torrid day. It is like a cool evening, when the sky is pink and blue and red, and beautiful to behold. It is as gentle as a loving mother rocking a cradle. It is like oil that softens the heart.

If we let God’s pity penetrate the deepest levels of our being, so many painful things will disappear. If we allow the gentleness of Christ to take hold of us, so many of our inner hurts, fears and negative emotions can be assuaged. We will find our depression lifting, for it is Christ himself who visits the very depths of our heart. Having lifted up the crushed and bruised soul, he embraces the whole person, and speaks words of tender affection. Even sin can be burned up in this pity, for God loves sinners.

If we enter into the divine pity, we will ourselves be able to extend it towards others, embracing them, holding them, and calling them “Brother, sister, friend.”

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

 



“A leper came to him and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to,’ he said, ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured.'”

~ Matthew 8:2-3


“Let us not grow tired of prayer: confidence works miracles.”
~ Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.