The Silent Years

 


When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” ~ Matthew 2:13-15


 

Holy Family Flight into Egypt by ladislav zaborsky

The Flight Into Egypt, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

The silence of those years away from the familiarity of the Promised Land, of the love of family and the community.
Those “unknown years” to humans but not to God. Those years were reserved especially for you and Joseph, Holy Mother!

Those days, weeks and months were filled with the scorching sun of the day in the desert, very cold nights and the uncertainty of each day. Yet, you continued your journey faithfully in union with your Beloved Child.

Donkey, donkey! would you whisper in my ear the secrets of those precious and sacred moments you witnessed of the Holy Family those unknown years?

How many moments of awe and wonder were lived—while others were lived ordinarily like every family but with a deep and serene trust in the Almighty. A family following the will of God.

As I meditate on these mysteries, I realize I have much to learn from them. There are no revelations in Holy Scripture about those silent years. God wanted it that way. Truth has a way of revealing itself. We need to be aware of those moments of grace while we meditate in the mysteries of God, praying constantly for guidance and for His holy will to be done in us.

Beloved Lord Jesus, teach me to live in a contemplative way, always walking by Your side along the journey of my life so I can learn to discern my way.

Mary, Joseph, teach me to ponder all the things of God in my heart. The journey through Egypt is the journey of our life. We are destined to walk every day with our God, with our Beloved Brother Jesus Christ. He guides our way with His light—through Truth and Life. Saying less and listening more to the gentle voice of the Spirit, is my prayer in my life journey. Not being concerned about what tomorrow brings, but living every day with absolute trust in my Beloved.

What does it mean to trust and to live a faithful life with God? It means to do His will every day but first I need to be open to listen to the voice of Love. Embracing the precious gift of every present moment. Giving praise and thanksgiving to the Master of creation and of my heart—my heart beating to His, is the greatest miracle!

 
~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

The Beloved Disciple

saint john the evangelist

Saint John the Theologian, art by Vladimir Borovikovsky

 

St. John the Theologian, Apostle and Evangelist

It is right and just that someone who was loved by Christ more than any other should be the object of a very special love by Christ’s friends, all the more so since John has shown such love for us that… he has shared with us the riches of eternal life that he himself received. Indeed, God gave him the keys to wisdom and knowledge (cf Lk 11:52)…

John’s God-illumined mind conceived the incomparable height of divine wisdom when he reclined on the Redeemer’s breast during the holy Last Supper meal (Jn 13:25). And because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3) are within the heart of Jesus, it is from there that he drew and from there that he greatly enriched our wretchedness as people who are poor and generously distributed these goods taken from their source for the salvation of the whole world. And because this blessed John speaks about God in a marvelous way that cannot be compared to that of anyone else, it is only right that the Greeks as well as the Latins have given him the name of “Theologian”. Mary is “Theotokos” because she has truly given birth to God; John is “Theologos” because he saw in an indescribable way that the Word of God was with the Father before the beginning of time and was God (Jn 1:1) and because, too, he spoke about this with extraordinary depth.

~ By Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072) hermit then Bishop, Doctor of the Church

 


St. John is also known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? St. John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself.

St. John is the patron of authors, theologians, publishers, editors, booksellers, art dealers, painters, and writers.


Saint John the Beloved Disciple, pray for us!

 

The Hidden Christ

Navidad

The Nativity at my Parish (photo taken by me)

 

I went into the Christmas cave;
there was no Child upon the straw.
The ox and ass were all I saw.

I sought His stable where He gave
His goodness in the guise of bread.
Emptiness came to me instead.

Filled with my Father’s words, I cried
“Where have You hid Yourself?” and all
the living answered to my call.

I found Him (and the world is wide)
dear in His warm ubiquity.
Where heart beat, there was Christ for me.

I went back to the Christmas cave,
glad with the gain of everywhere.
And lo! the blessed Child was there.

Then at His feasting board He gave
embrace. He multiplied His good
and fed in me the multitude.

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

Christmas art by vladimir fokanov

Baby Jesus, art by Vladimir Fokanov

 

 

Come Is the Love Song

 

Bethlehem

Bethlehem, art by Dorothea Schmidt

 

Come is the love song of our race and Come
our basic word of individual wooing.
It lifts audacious arms of lowliness
to majesty’s most amiable undoing,
to Godhood fleshed and cradled and made least.
It whispers through closed doors a hurry, hurry
to Tierce and fiery feast.

The liturgy of Advent plucks its bud
from the green shrub of love’s compendium:
O Wisdom, Adonai, Root of Jesse
and sign by which the mouths of kings are dumb,
O Key, O Orient, King and Cornerstone,
O our Emmanuel, come.

And Paschaltide prepares an upper room
where burns the fuller bloom.
Come is the small sweet-smelling crib we carve
from fir and bear across December frost.
It is the shaft of the flame-hungry Church
in  Paschal spring, or the heart’s javelin tossed
privately at the clouds to pierce them through
and drown one in the flood of some amazing
personal Pentecost.

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

 

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Christmas Eve! 

The Visitation Journey

 

Mary and Elizabeth by brother sylvain of taize

Mary and Elizabeth, art by Brother Sylvain of Taizé 

 

The second bead: scene of the lovely journey
of Lady Mary, on whom artists confer
a blue silk gown, a day pouring out Springtime,
and birds singing and flowers bowing to her.

Rather, I see a girl upon a donkey
and her too held by what was said to mind
how the sky was or if the grass was growing.
I doubt the flowers; I doubt the road was kind.

“Love hurried forth to serve.” I read, approving.
But also see, with thoughts blown past her youth,
a girl riding upon a jolting donkey
and riding further and further into the truth.

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

 

 

O Jesus living in Mary,
come to live in Your servants,
with Your spirit of holiness,
in the fullness of Your power,
in the perfection of Your ways,
in the truth of Your virtues,
and in the communion of Your Divine Mysteries.

In Your Spirit
and for the glory of the Father,
overcome every hostile power!

~ A prayer by Father John J. Olier (d. 1657)

 

Giving Life to the World

Jesus Icon3

St. John The Baptist (unknown artist)

 

John the Baptizer exhorts us to conversion. No one better than Mary can tell us what this conversion entails.

Conversion means turning away from yourself and turning to God instead. So, conversion is beginning to live as Mary did. She is so overwhelmed by the life growing in her body that she is not at all concerned about her own. Her center is not in herself, but in the life she is to give birth for the salvation of the world.

If you live along with Mary, turned away from yourself and turned toward God, then even you will give life to the world. You get to give birth to Christ. He has himself said: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:50).

If Christmas were only a celebration of an unusual child born two thousand years ago, then we wouldn’t need a long season of Advent to prepare for it. But Jesus is born within you, and preparation for this birth must be made.

John of the Cross writes in a small poem:

The Virgin with God’s Word
Carried in her womb
Comes toward you
If only you had room. 

If you prepare a room for God, God will become real in you as he was in Mary.

~ An Advent Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Virgin Mary by ladislav Z

Virgin Mary, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

 

We Are Chosen


May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain.
Psalm 72:17

arms-of-faith-original-24-x-36

Art by Yongsung Kim

 

I do believe deeply that, in order to live a spiritual life, we have to claim for ourselves that we are “taken” or “chosen.” Let me try to expand a bit on these words. When I know that I am chosen, I know that I have been seen as a special person. Someone has noticed me in my uniqueness and has expressed a desire to know me, to come closer to me, to love me. When I write to you that, as the Beloved, we are God’s chosen ones. I mean that we have been seen by God from all eternity…long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts or your teachers, colleagues, and employers encouraged you, you were already “chosen.” The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty, as of eternal value. When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded.

Prayer

Beloved Lord, as one who has been chosen, may I accept the grace and wisdom to do your will.

~ A Advent Meditation by Henri J.M. Nouwen

I Went In Pursuit By Love’s Way

 

saint john of the cross toledo

Painting of Saint John of the Cross, photo taken by me from the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, Spain in July 2017

 

I went in pursuit by love’s way,
my hope did not fail in the try,
I flew very high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

In order to gain me the right
to divine opportunity,
I flew high toward unity
and soon became lost out of sight,
with all, in this dangerous way
I faltered in my strength to fly,
yet love bore me more high,
at last overtaking the prey.

While rising so near to the light,
my vision was dazed by the glare,
and my greatest conquest was there
in darkest obscureness of night;
but since I was seeking love’s way,
I blindly leapt in the dark sky,
and I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

The higher became my ascent
within this search so excellent,
the lower became my descent
fatigued and o’erwhelmed, I was spent;
None can overtake! I would say,
it humbled and made me so dry,
that I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

By this rare endeavor to cope
one flight did a thousand excel,
for hope within heaven to dwell
gains fully the height of its hope;
I hoped just to search in this way,
my hope did not fail in the try,
since I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

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

 

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of Saint John of the Cross!

 

 

 

The Fruits of Our Lives

To help you determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ…  Philippians 1:10-11

angel of love

 

What counts in your life and mine is not successes but fruits. The fruits of our life are born often in our pain and in our vulnerability and in our  losses. The fruits of our life come only after the plow had carved through our land. God wants us to be fruitful.

The question is not, “How much can I still do in the years that are left to me? The question is, “How can I prepare myself for total surrender so my life can be fruitful?”

Our little lives are small, human lives. But in the eyes of the One who calls us the beloved, we are great—greater than the years we have. We will bear fruit, fruit that you and I will not see on this earth but whose reality we can trust.

Solitude, community, ministry—these disciplines help us live a fruitful life. Remain in Jesus; he remains in you. You will bear many fruits, you will have great joy, and your joy will be complete.

Prayer:

Remain in me, dear Jesus.

~ An Advent Meditation by Henri J.M. Nouwen

My Visit to Seoul

 

Korean Orchids

Beautiful Orchids at Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea (photo taken by me) November 2018

 

I just got back from a week trip to Seoul, South Korea with a group of friends. Seoul is an amazing city with a rich culture and wonderful people. It was my first time in Asia and I didn’t know what to expect. It was a magnificent experience! I was in awe at every place I visited during those days in Seoul. I also celebrated my 58th birthday there with my group of friends enjoying a delicious Korean BBQ and touring the city. There is so much to see while you are there. Koreans are very hospitable and welcoming. The days passed by so fast but left an everlasting memory in my heart for which I am very grateful.

Here I share a few photos I took and also a bit of the history of the Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul I had the blessing to visit.

*For more information please check ‘Catholicism flourishing in South Korea’ at:            http://www.catholicdigest.com/news/nationworld/catholicism-flourishing-south-korea/

The Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception (also known as the Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul 

Is located in the heart of downtown Seoul, the cathedral is not only the first parish church in Korea but also an important symbol of the Korean Catholic Church.
Myeong-dong was called “Myeong-rye-bang” during the Joseon Dynasty. It was the place where the first Catholic community was formed in 1784.
Fr. Eugene Coste of the Paris Foreign Missions Society began planning the construction of Myeong-dong Cathedral in 1892. The Cathedral was consecrated on May 29, 1898, to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as its patron saint.
In 1900, the relics of the martyrs who were killed during Kihae  Persecution (1839) and Byungin Persecution (1866) were moved to the crypt of the cathedral from Yong-san Seminary. In 1942, Korean priest Fr. Rhee Ki-jun was appointed pastor of Seoul, making him the first Korean bishop in history. In 1945, the name of the cathedral was changed from Jong-hyeon to Myeong-dong, in celebration of the Liberation Day of Korea.

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, Myeong-dong Cathedral became the center for democratic movements in the country while the Korean Catholic Church played an important role in the expansion of human rights. Until now, Myeong-dong Cathedral continues to stand as the community landmark and it is reaching toward the world through prayers and missionary work.

Besides its historical value, Myeong-dong Cathedral was designated National Historic Site #258 for being one of the earliest and most notable examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Korea. The cathedral floor plan is cross-shaped, with the main building rising to 23m and the bell tower to 46.7m. The cathedral retains the pure Gothic style without architectural adornments.

~ Information taken from the Myeong-dong Cathedral parish office

 

Korean Cathedral 8

Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul (photo taken by me) November 2018

 

Korean Cathedral 3

The façade of the Cathedral is pure Gothic style with no architectural adornments; the interior design of the building, however, shows aesthetic beauty with arched side aisles, stained glass and other artworks. The altars, religious paintings and statues also add religious and aesthetic value to the church. (photo taken by me)

 

Korean Cathedral 9

Myeong-dong Cathedral Main Altar (photo taken by me)

 

Korean Cathedral 4

Statue of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon/Side Altar, He was the first native Korean priest to die for the faith. (photo taken by me)

 

Korean Cathedral Martyrs

Painting of the 79 Blessed Martyrs of Korea/Side Altar (photo taken by me)

 

Korean Cathedral.jpg

The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes was consecrated by Archbishop Paul Rho Ki-nam on August 27, 1960, with the intention to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula. In 2014, the grotto was relocated to the left side of the entry stairway of Myeong-dong Cathedral. (photo taken by me).

 

Korean Cathedral 6

The Stable is ready for Christmas Eve ❤ (photo taken by me)

 

Korea destinations

At the N Tower in Seoul… (photo taken by me)                   “Love knows not distance; it hath no continent; its eyes are for the stars.” ~ Gilbert Parker

 

Korea views

Views of Seoul… (photo taken by me)

 

Korea N tower

A bit hazy today in Seoul but nevertheless beautiful views…         (my photo)

 

Korean Inchon airport

Christmas Tree at Incheon Airport ❤ The Best Gift is the Gift of Love!                                            December 2018 (photo taken by me)

 

Holy Martyrs of Korea, pray for us!