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

Holy Trinity, Whom I Adore

 

Holy Trinity art by Herman Han

The Holy Trinity, art by Herman Han (1574 – 1627) Poland

 

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in You, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from You, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of Your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it Your heaven, Your beloved home and place of Your repose; let me never leave You there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to Your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for You a spouse of Your heart! I would anoint You with glory, I would love You – even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask You to adorn me with Yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of Your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute Yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of Your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to You, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from You; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on You and abide under Your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave Your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to Him a super-added humanity wherein He renews His mystery; and You O Father, bestow Yourself and bend down to Your little creature, seeing in her only Your beloved Son in whom You are well pleased.

O my `Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to You as a prey to be consumed; enclose Yourself in me that I may be absorbed in You so as to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your Splendour!

~ A prayer of Saint Elizabeth of The Trinity (1880-1906), O.C.D.

Today, November 8th is the Feast day of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D., her very name means “house of God”. On August 2nd, 1901 St. Elizabeth enters Carmel., here is a  portion of her postulant questionnaire:

What is your Ideal for sanctity?
To live from love.

What is the quickest way to attain it?
To make oneself as small as possible, to surrender oneself without reserve.

What saint do you love most?
The disciple Jesus loved, who rested his head on Jesus’ breast.

Which part of the Rule speaks most directly to you?
Silence.

What is the dominant trait of your character?
Sensitiveness.

Your Favorite Virtue?
Purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The fault you most abhor?
Egoism in general.

Give a basic definition of prayer.
The union of one who is not with the One who Is.

What is your favorite book?
The soul of Christ—it reveals to me all the secrets of the heavenly Father.

~ By Two Sisters in the Spirit, Ignatius Press

*For more information about the life of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, please check:
 carmelitesofboston.org/spirit-of-carmel/our-saints/saint-elizabeth-of-the-trinity/

 

saint elizabeth

On December 8th, 1901 She receives the habit and is given the name “Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity”

 

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray of us! 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Little and Great Saints

 

Communion of Saints by john R Mccoy

Communion of Saints, art by John R. McCoy (left panel)

 


“Through the intercession of Your saints, O Lord, may I tread the way of holiness courageously.”
~ Divine Intimacy ~


 

Communion of saints by john mccoy3

Communion of Saints, art by John R. McCoy  (right panel)

 

Every one of us would probably admit that the distance between the great saints and us feels quite great. Their pattern of life can be so bright that there is a risk that—rather than urging us on—they make us wonder whether there is any sense in trying to follow their example.

For that reason it is good sometimes to turn our gaze to the great multitude of insignificant, anonymous, little saints. They are ordinary people who haven’t always been exemplary. They haven’t lived in ceaseless prayer and have not always been obedient and faithful to the promptings of the Spirit. They have had their failings, maybe big and tangible failures, but they haven’t said an irrevocable “no” to God. They are now, thanks to God’s incomprehensible mercy, together with the great saints before the throne of God.

They know, and we know, that it isn’t their great deeds or achievements that opened heaven to them. They acknowledge, and we with them, that God alone has saved them, and that their clothing has been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.

These little saints aren’t envious of the great ones. And the great saints aren’t condescending toward the little ones. All who stand before God are full-grown saints, according to the measure God has determined for each.

It fills us with encouragement and resolve to love God more when we see that it isn’t through great feats we come to him but only through the infinite love of this God to whom we finally surrender.

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

 


“O saints of heaven, I am the least of all creatures. I know my worthlessness, but I also know how noble and generous hearts love to do good. Therefore, O blessed inhabitants of the heavenly City, I entreat you to adopt me as your child. All the glory you may help me to acquire will be yours; deign, then, to hear my prayer and obtain for me … your love …” (T.C.J. St, 13) Divine Intimacy.


 

All Saints by elizabeth wang

Radiant Light, art by Elizabeth Wang

 

Prayer to the Saints of Carmel

Holy men and women of Carmel,
you found in the Carmelite Family a school of prayer,
a community ready to serve others,
and sure companions for your pilgrimage through life.
From your place at the summit of Mount Carmel,
Jesus Christ, help us to walk steadily in his footsteps,
that our prayers and good works may further the cause of his Church.
Amen.

 

The Carmelite Vine by anonymous artist

The Carmelite Vine by Anonymous Novohispanic Artist, 18th century – Templo del Carmen de San Ángel, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Wishing you all a very Blessed Feast of All Saints! 

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 Brightness of Water

Woman at the well by father sieger koder

Woman at the Well, art by Fr. Sieger Köder

 

From this depth—I came only to draw water
in a jug—so long ago, this brightness
still clings to my eyes—the perception I found,
and so much empty space, my own,
reflected in the well.

Yet it is good. I can never take all of you
into me. Stay then as mirror in the well.
Leaves and flowers remain, and each astonished gaze
brings them down
to my eyes transfixed more by light
than by sorrow.

~ Song of the Brightness of Water, a poem written by Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II), on the Samaritan woman’s reflections after her encounter with Jesus at the well
(John 4).

Saint John Paul II 3

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast day of Pope St. John Paul II!

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!