Almsgiving

words the power of words art by dolores DeVelde

The Power of Words, Art by Dolores DeVelde

 

Not everyone can give alms in money, but we all can give alms in words.

Alms of warm, kind words are like a mother’s lullaby to the elderly, who have a kind of hungry loneliness. These words bring peace and joy to those who are sad and anxious, and make the unwanted feel loved and needed once more.

Do you see that child? Have you an extra moment to speak to him? Befriending a lonely or unloved child, be he rich or poor, is to bring Christ to that little one. Take the child into your heart. You will be taking Christ into your heart, and surely, in eternity, He will reverse the process!

~ By Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 


“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” ~ Matthew 25:35-36


 

The Uninvited

There is a city that through time shall lie
in a fixed darkness of the earth and sky,
and many dwell therein this very hour.
It is a city without seed or flower,
estranged from every bird and butterfly.

Who walked these streets of night? I know them well.
Those who come out of life’s sequestered places:
the lonely, the unloved, the weak and shy,
the broken-winged who piteously would fly,
the poor who still have starlight in their faces.

They are the outcast ones, the last, the least,
whom earth has not invited to her feast,
and who, were they invited in the end,
finding their wedding clothes too frayed to mend,
would not attend.

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

 

woman art by gustav klimt

Golden Tears, art by Gustav Klimt

 

A Reflection: “What Makes You Happy?”

summer at the cottage

Summer days in Canada (photo source unknown)

It’s June and the summer heat is starting to make its presence felt here on this side of the world where I live—my beautiful Canada! All is green and flowers are blooming with beautiful hues and aromas that are so soothing to the senses.

The ducks are back and it’s so sweet to see them out and about walking around with their babies in tow. The warm breeze feels so good and the sunrays are beaming.
Oh, summer how much I like you! You make me happy!

I live close to the lake and I love going for walks by the shore. There is a lot of activity over there—seagulls playfully flying over the calm waters, searching for food. Nature is so alive at this time of the year. Locals peacefully walking their dogs enjoying the nice warm weather. As I sat in one of the benches overlooking the lake, I was overcome with a deep emotion of thanksgiving, my heart full of gratitude. I’m so much in awe admiring all the magnificent art of God’s creation. Indeed, God is an artist!

Every second of summer is precious. It is a season of plenty, especially for the birds. They enjoy it so much singing joyfully and loudly to the Creator. It’s a heavenly melody thanking Him for everything. Am I that grateful? Am I that loving to you, Oh Lord? I pray that I am. Many times I want to shout in joy for the precious gift of being alive and get to appreciate all these marvelous things that God has done for me and for each one of us. I thank you Lord, for this awesome gift. I thank you for this awareness that flows from my heart and allows me to contemplate your grace. Beloved, I thank you for your daily blessings in my life.

Neighbours burning wood in their backyard fire pits brings me great memories of past summers. With the smoke that rises, let it come up to you as incense and let me offer a prayer of thanksgiving and abundant joy for the gift of your presence in my life, beloved Lord. I offer a prayer for peace in the world, for love in man’s heart, for the gift of faith, for healing of body and soul, for strength and patience in tribulation, for perseverance in the way, for the blessing of nurturing a joyful heart and for endless hope for all of your human family.

Fr. Eddie Doherty asks, “What do we need to make us happy?” For me, I wonder: is it a new and bigger house? A new SUV? No debts? A good stable job or a promotion with better salary? A new wardrobe? A savory filet mignon with the most expensive vintage wine? A fancy holiday or the latest model of a mobile phone?

Once I dreamt these things would bring me happiness. What brings me happiness now, though, is experienced through a new set of eyes and a heart that is newly transformed: admiring a beautiful sunrise, a lavender field in full bloom, listening to the birds singing joyfully in the early morning for a new day has come, looking at the different cloud formations in the sky. My tabby cat Ruby lying peacefully next to me.

A shared family meal, filled with laughter and wholesome dishes with local wine and with my favorite home made lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Flowers makes me happy. A bunch of summer bloom flowers my husband brings me without any particular occasion, because really every day is a special occasion.

I love sunsets and the sky full of evening stars. I love my family, my husband and our two lovely daughters. I cherish the time we spent together, enjoying each other’s company. The faces of cheerful friends. And the smile of a stranger, which is really a new friend not yet known—that will make me happy.

I also share the same sentiment as Fr. Eddie. I quote him here:

“I walked leisurely, thinking of your words, thinking of your Son who also loved to walk upon your hills and of his mother Mary. She passed through hilly country as she hurried to Elizabeth, her cousin. Did she too stoop, now and then, because she saw your glory in a stone? I think she did.

I think she also knelt here and there along some road to smell the aroma of your presence in a flower; or to meditate on your concern for even the least of your creatures as she watched the orderly chaos in an ant’s nest; or to thank you for the gracious cool shade of a tree; or to praise you for the color of your sky and the contour and the texture and the splendor of your clouds.”

Dear God, I give you thanks and praise you for the beauty of this season and every season. For all your creation has a mark of your love for us ❤

Pax et Bonum!

 

~ My Reflection is inspired by Fr. Eddie Doherty’s piece “What Makes You Happy?” in his book I Cover God (1962) currently out of print.


Here I share some photos I took during the month of May and early June this year:

 

sun at the lake

“I can’t find words to express my happiness. Here there is no longer anything but God. He is All; He suffices and we live by Him alone.”
~ St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D. 

 

lake6

“Just as the sun shines on all the trees and flowers as if each were the only one on earth, so does God care for all souls in a special manner.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake16
“God’s Providence is in all things, it’s always present.” ~ Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

 

sun at the lake6

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake7

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” ~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

lake3

“How I’d love to show you the lovely infinite horizon beyond creation that I experience and contemplate. I love God now a thousand times more than I did before…He reveals and makes Himself known to souls that really seek to know and love Him. Everything on earth…seems to shrink, to lose value before the Divinity which, like an infinite Sun, continues to shine upon my miserable soul with its rays.”
~ St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake13

“Enjoy Nature: take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.”  (Quote from Carmelite Conversations-OCDS)

 

ruby and roses

And this is Rubyshe likes to smell the roses too!

 

Love For Love

 

Corpus Christi

“Corpus Christi is one of God’s most beautiful and precious gifts. It is beautiful because it encompasses the reality of the Trinity being present , and precious because it is a gift which we do not deserve and yet was given to us freely and unconditionally. Many Saints and spiritual writers spent many long hours of contemplation before our Eucharistic Lord, and put down in writing what they have experienced during those hours of prayer and contemplation. And yet, all of them would tell us that there is no word to describe the gift of this Presence of Jesus in this simple piece of bread. The Holy Eucharist is both a unifying doctrine for those who accept in faith the words of Jesus, “This IS My Body!” in the passage of the Last Supper, and a stumbling block for those who do not yet believe. For us, Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is not just a representation of Jesus, it IS Jesus Himself, the Real Presence. It is not just the product of a collective imagination of pious people but a mystery presented to us which can only be apprehended by faith alone. The Holy Eucharist is one of those mysteries of “believe to understand,” as opposed to “understand to believe.” (paraphrasing St. Augustine).” *
*https://srhelena.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-eucharistic-lord.html

~ A Reflection by Sister Helena of Mary, Carmelite nun

 

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist by Saint Teresa of Avila:


“Once after receiving Communion,” St. Teresa wrote, “I was given understanding of how the Father receives within our soul the most holy Body of Christ, and of how I know and have seen that these Divine Persons are present, and how pleasing to the Father this offering of His Son is, because He delights and rejoices with Him here—let us say—on earth. For His humanity is not present with us in the soul, but His divinity is. Thus the humanity is so welcome and pleasing to the Father and bestows on us so many favors.”


“What a powerful insight! In our reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become connected to Christ’s humanity. We are united with God-made-man and experience the most intimate communion possible between two human persons. He becomes one with us, and we are united with Him. We are right to wonder at this great mystery of our faith! We can say nothing more profound than Thank You (which is what the word “Eucharist” means in Greek) when we experience the indescribable blessings that result from our communion with God’s only Son.”*  * http://stlouisreview.com/article/2012-07-25/eucharist-sacrament

 

Holy Eucharist4

Holy Eucharist, by unknown artist

 

The Real Presence

Jesus is present in the Eucharist with all His divinity and all His humanity. Although His humanity is present “per modum substantiae,” that is, in substance and not in corporeal extension, it is whole and entire in the consecrated Host—body and soul, and this latter with its faculties of intellect and will. Therefore our Eucharistic Lord knows and loves us as God and as Man. He is not a passive object for our adoration but He is living; He sees us, listens to us, answers our prayers with His graces. Thus we may have, with the gentle Master of the Gospel, living, concrete relations which, although imperceptible to our senses, it substitutes for what we do not see or touch; “sola fides sufficit,” says St. Thomas, faith alone is sufficient (Pange Lingua). As Jesus, disguised as a traveler, once taught the disciples of Emmaus, and inflamed their hearts, so too, Jesus hidden under the Eucharistic veil illumines our souls, inflames them with His love and inclines them over more effectively toward sanctity.

Jesus is there, in the consecrated Host, true God and true Man; as He became incarnate for us, so for us too, has He hidden Himself under the Sacred Species. There He waits for us, longs for us, is always ready to welcome and listen to us. And we need Him so much! God, pure Spirit, is present everywhere, it is true; and in His Unity and Trinity, He even deigns to dwell within our souls, vivified by grace. Nevertheless, we always have need of contact with Jesus, the Word made Flesh, God made Man, our Mediator, our Savior, our Brother, and we find Him present in the Eucharist. Here on earth we are never closer to Him than when we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

 

Jesus and the Holy Eucharist


LOVE FOR LOVE

White Host set in tabernacle gold,
Real Presence no eye can behold,
Called down from heaven by priestly words,
His name is Jesus, Savior long foretold.

What love our Savior has for us,
To make himself a prisoner of love.
Asking for nothing but giving everything
Dwelling in silence, patiently waiting.

My soul, awaken!
Do you hear him sighing?
The God of heaven,
For your love is thirsting.

O Jesus,
how often we have neglected you.
Distracted by the works we have to do.
Missing those moments,
We could have spent with you.

Lord my God, in the tabernacle
You are always there.
If only we find few moments to spare.
Returning the love that keeps you there
A Prisoner for us whom you hold so dear.

~ A poem by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm

 

Let us celebrate this day of devotion with much love. Let us return Love for love ❤

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of Corpus Christi! 

The Visitation


O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.


 

The Visitation by Bradi Barth

The Visitation, art by Bradi Barth

 

“And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.” These words are from today’s Gospel (Lk 1, 39-47). Mary, in the exquisite delicacy of her charity, has such a profound sense of the needs of others, that as soon as she hears of them, she acts spontaneously and decisively to bring help. Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin was about to become a mother, she goes immediately to offer her humble services.

If we consider the difficulty of traveling in those days, when the poor, such as Mary, had to go on foot over difficult roads, or at best, by means of some rude conveyance, and also the fact that Mary remained three months with Elizabeth, we can readily understand that she had to face many hardships in performing this act of charity. However, she was in no way disturbed: charity urged her, making her wholly forgetful of herself, for as St. Paul says: “Charity seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13,5). How many times, perhaps, have you omitted and act of kindness, not to spare yourself a hard journey, but only to avoid a little trouble. Think how uncharitable you are and how slow to help others. look at Mary, and see how much you can learn from her!

Charity makes Mary forget not only her hardships but also her own dignity, which was greater than that given to any other creature. Elizabeth is advanced in years, but Mary is the Mother of God; Elizabeth is about to give birth to a man, but Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Nevertheless, before her cousin as before the Angel, Mary continues to look upon herself as the humble handmaid of the Lord, and nothing more. Precisely because she considers herself a handmaid, she comports herself as such, even in respect to her neighbor. In your case, perhaps, although you know how to humble yourself before God and recognize your lack of perfection in the secrecy of your heart, it displeases you to appear imperfect before your neighbor, and you quickly resent being treated as such. Are you not anxious to have your dignity, education, and ability recognized, as well as the more or less honorable offices or charges which have been entrusted to you? Your dignity is a mere nothing, and yet you are so jealous of it. Mary’s dignity approaches the infinite, yet she considers herself and behaves as if she were the least of all creatures.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

The Visitation2

Art by Bradi Barth


O Mary, how great is your humility when you hasten to serve others! If it is true that he who humbles himself will be exalted, who will be more exalted than you who have humbled yourself so much?

“When Elizabeth caught sight of you she was astonished and exclaimed: ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? But I am still more astonished to see that you, as well as your Son, came not to be served, but to serve… It was for this purpose that you went to Elizabeth, you the Queen, to the servant, the Mother of God to the mother of the Precursor, you who would give birth to the Son of God, to her who would bring forth a mere man.

“But your profound humility in no way lessened your magnanimity; the greatness of your soul was not opposed to your humility. You, so small in your own eyes, were so magnanimous in your faith, in your hope in the Most High, that you never doubted His promises, and firmly believed that you would become the Mother of the Son of God.

“Humility did not make you fainthearted; magnanimity did not make you proud, but these two virtues were perfectly combined in you!

“O Mary, you cannot give me a share in your great privileges as Mother of God; these belong to you alone! But you want me to share in your virtues, giving me examples of them in yourself. If, then, sincere humility, magnanimous faith, and delicate, sympathetic charity are lacking in me, how can I excuse myself? O Mary,  O Mother of mercy, you who are full of grace, nourish us, your poor little ones, with your virtues!”
(cf. St. Bernard).

 

 

God In Your Neighbor

 

love of neighbor hear my plea art by rochelle blumenfeld

Art by Rochelle Blumenfeld

 
Since God has become human, he himself has become your closest neighbor. He so identifies with us that we can meet and love him in each and every human being. “If you have met your brother, you have met God,” the desert fathers said.

We can only truly love our neighbor if we see him or her as God does. God sees right through our exterior into our depths where the Spirit witnesses that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). God says of every human being: This is my child, my beloved (Mt 3:17).

Jesus Christ is the light of each of us, a light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:4-5). Love sees this light. To encounter this light is to meet the most personal in your neighbor, the center where he or she is most authentic.

Humanity is most human in the divine. John of the Cross writes: “The center of humanity is God.” Love doesn’t attach itself to nonessentials: talents, character, intellect. Love jumps over all obstacles that the other might have erected, and meets him or her in the center. When you behold the core of your neighbor, you love and revere God in that one and that one in God.

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

The Most Holy Trinity


“I return thanks to You, O God, one and true Trinity, one sovereign divinity, holy and indivisible unity. (RB).”


 

The Holy Trinity art by Andrei Roublev

Icon of The Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev, 15th century

From Advent until today, the Church has had us consider the magnificent manifestations of God’s mercy toward men: the Incarnation, the Redemption, Pentecost. Now she directs our attention to the source of these gifts, the most Holy Trinity, from whom everything proceeds. Spontaneously, there rises to our lips the hymn of gratitude expressed in the Introit of the Mass: “Blessed be the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity; we will give glory to Him, because He has shown His mercy to us”: the mercy of God the Father, “who so loved the world that He gave it His only-begotten Son” (cf. Jn 3,16); the mercy of God the Son, who to redeem us became incarnate and died on the Cross; the mercy of the Holy Spirit, who deigned to come down into our hearts to communicate to us the charity of God and to make us participate in the divine life. The Church has very fittingly included in the Office for today the beautiful antiphon inspired by St. Paul: “Caritas Pater est, gratia Filius, communication Spiritus Sanctus, O beata Trinitas!”; the Father is charity, the Son is grace and the Holy Spirit is communication: applying this, the charity of the Father and the grace of the Son are communicated to us by the Holy Spirit, who diffuses them in our heart. The marvelous work of the Trinity in our souls could not be better synthesized. Today’s Office and Mass form a veritable paean of praise and gratitude to the Blessed Trinity; they are a prolonged Gloria Patri  and Te Deum. These two hymns—one a succinct epitome, and the other a majestic alternation of praises—are truly hymns for today, intended to awaken in our hearts a deep echo of praise, thanksgiving, and adoration.

~ By Father Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. ~ Divine Intimacy

 

 

O eternal Trinity, You are a deep sea in which the more I seek the more I find, and the more I find, the more I seek to know You. You fill us insatiably, because the soul, before the abyss which You are, is always famished; and hungering for You, O eternal Trinity, it desires to behold truth in Your light. As the thirsty hart pants after the fount of living water, so does my soul long to leave this gloomy body and see You as your are, in truth.

O unfathomable depth! O Deity eternal! O deep ocean! What more could You give me than to give me Yourself? You are an ever-burning Fire; You consume and are not consumed. By Your fire, You consume every trace of self-love in the soul. You are a Fire which drives away all coldness and illumines minds with its light, and with this light You have made me know Your truth. Truly this light is a sea which feeds the soul until it is all immersed  in You. O peaceful Sea, eternal Trinity! The water of this sea is never turbid; it never causes fear, but gives knowledge of the truth. This water is transparent and discloses hidden things; and a living faith gives such abundance of light that the soul almost attains to certitude in what it believes.

You are the supreme and infinite Good, good above all good; good which is joyful, incomprehensible, inestimable; beauty exceeding all other beauty; wisdom surpassing all wisdom, because You are Wisdom itself. Food of angels, giving Yourself with fire of love to men! You are the garment which covers our nakedness; You feed us, hungry as we are, with Your sweetness, because You are all sweetness with no bitterness. Clothe me, O eternal Trinity, clothe me with Yourself, so that I may pass this mortal life in true obedience and in the light of the most holy faith with which You have inebriated my soul.

~ By Saint Catherine of Siena

 

Holy Trinity2

The Blessed Holy Trinity by unknown artist

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Holy Trinity!  ❤

 

Global Warming

 

Jesus hold the world

Painting by unknown artist

 

Because people do not love, the world is a very cold place. There is lust. There is temporary commitment to what appears to be love. But real love is something else entirely.

Love is God. Love is a Person. Love is stronger than death. The heart of God calls us to give him our heart, which means to give him ourselves. We must hold nothing back. It is by loving God in the nitty-gritty routine of our daily life that we make up for the coldness of others hearts.

~ By Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

faithfulness by akiane kramarik

Faithfulness, art by Akiane Kramarik

 

“All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, the light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower.”
~ John 1:4-5

To Live with The Spirit

Holy Spirit visual blessings

 

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.

The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.

Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.

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

Ascension of the Lord


“So then, the lord Jesus after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. 
But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.”
~ Saint Mark 16:19-20


 

Ascension of Christ by william blake

The Ascension, art by William Blake, 1805

 

God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavens, says Saint Paul. Does this mean that it is wrong to have both feet on the ground, to actively work for a better world? Of course not. Living with a focus on heaven must make one even more engaged in the well-being of the world. Heaven is love, the giving and receiving of love. And the one who carries heaven in his or her heart will even now love as much as that makes it possible. In this way, life on earth becomes more like life in heaven—a little of heaven comes down to earth.

We are the body of Christ on earth. Jesus, our head, is in heaven. It is the head that directs the members of the body. If we really live as Christians, our actions are guided by a heavenly code. Christ, our head, leads us in all that we do. To have our heart in heaven and heaven in our heart doesn’t just mean that we long for heaven. It also means that we live life on earth in a heavenly way.

The members who let themselves be used, who let the head determine what they are to do, accomplish something lasting here on earth. But those who want to function without contact with the head will only cause confusion and chaos.

If you share communion with Christ in your heart, you are already now living a heavenly life. And, together with him, you are to lead others to the Father.

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

 

 

The Gaze of Love

“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face”; your face, Lord, do I seek!
Psalm 27

Jesus and me by unknown artist

‘Gazing into the eyes of the Beloved’, by unknown artist

 

My Beloved,
My heart yearns for your gaze.
Your presence reveals this yearning in me.

It is so necessary to gaze upon you, O Lord 
When I’m here in your presence.
Your gaze heals me and comforts me,
Your healing power transforms me and renew me.

To contemplate your face, Beloved, is all I seek.
You are the gaze of love.

Your peace I yearn and desire.
Your friendship, is all I want and all I need in order to live in this exile.

O Beloved,
My heart cannot contain your beauty when You gaze at me
With so much tenderness and infinite love.
I want to live for these precious moments of intimacy with You.

You embrace me with so much delicacy, and I feel so loved.
O Lord, I feel so calm and whole in your presence.
You hold my hand and I feel your guidance and affirmation,
Knowing that You are constantly in me and with me.

You bless me Lord.
I need you Lord, like oxygen to my lungs.
Like sight to my eyes.
Like food to sustain my body.
Like light to illuminate my mind and soul.

You are my all, Beloved.
May I live in You all the days of my life and forever.

~ My Personal Reflection