Believe The Unbelievable

 

Baby Jesus

 

A human being who was God has appeared in the world. This is the most jarring event in all of world history.

To the nonbeliever this is a scandal that turns Christianity into mythology. Christianity claims not only that Jesus was singularly transparent to God; it claims that God—he who carries the universe and to whom no name is fitting because he transcends anything we can imagine—is identical to a human being who was named Jesus, born in Nazareth, and who worked as a carpenter.

The eternal God, who can have no historical destiny since he is outside of any history limited by time, enters time and submits himself to a particular destiny. The invisible and intangible one becomes visible and tangible and ties himself to the human condition. He has a mother, a grandmother and a grandfather, and other relatives.

That God has crossed the threshold of history and entered our existence is totally incomprehensible. On our own, we would never have thought that anything like this were possible. Yet, the Incarnation of God is the central truth of Christianity.

Our faith is rooted in mystery. God has come so close that his nearness blinds us. We grow in the faith to the extent that we bow before the incomprehensible. It is only when you affirm the unbelievable that has become one of us that it is possible for you to become like him. And that is what he created you for in the beginning.

 

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

 

 

Merry Christmas! ❤ Feliz Navidad!

The Mystical Sparrow of St. John of the Cross

 

san juan de la cruz
Art source unknown

 

“Lost in the fathomless abyss of God.”
~ The Spiritual Canticle

Distantly pure and high, a mountain sparrow
is solitary in transfigured sky.
A ball of bird melodious with God
is lightsome in its love.
Not to dear mate or comrade do I cry
but to my own remote identity
who knows my spirit as divinely summoned
to gain that perch where no horizons lie.

Here is the king’s secret scattered when I focus
unworthy song on one small eremite
lost in infinities of airy desert
where love is breathed out of the breast of light.

For call, for meeting-place, good end and rest
each has a symbol; each invokes a sign.
I take a bird in vastness and on height
to mark my love. It sings its jubilation
alone upon the housetop of creation
where earth’s last finger touches the divine.

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

 

 

Happy & Blessed Feast of Saint John of the Cross!

Discalced Carmelite, Reformer, Doctor of the Church, Mystic and Poet

 

A Child’s Glorious Freedom

 

yo
Me ~  (My photo)

 

A child—if it lives in an environment where it is allowed to be itself—has no problems. Children aren’t worried about money, food, or clothing. They are like the birds and the lilies Jesus speaks about. They figure they will always get what they need. Nothing needs to be stored. There will always be enough.

Children live in a glorious freedom. Even the smallest, insignificant gift can mean pure bliss for them, because it is received in the present moment. The joy of the present moment is not darkened by worries of a difficult past or a threatening future. Children’s ability to be present in the moment means that every moment has a gift to give and that every little occasion of joy is appreciated.

This presence in the moment also means that children make no separation between play and seriousness. Play itself is taken very seriously. They don’t perceive mistakes as calamities; they count on forgiveness as self-evidently as they count on daily food.

This lack of worry is slowly lost as we grow up and become “adult.” Life becomes full of “problems”—modern variation of the worries Jesus tells us we don’t need. Our time is a time of problems, and can only be such, because everything becomes problematic when we no longer know whether there is a Father who takes care of us. But if we return to the Father, we return to the glorious freedom of a child.

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

 

 

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

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

 

 

Vineyard of Carmel

 

CarmeliteMonastery
Carmelite Monastery in Santa Clara, California ~ Art by Sylvia Waddell


Come, Love, to the vineyard

In the morning dew,
There we’ll watch in silence,
If vineyards bloom anew,
If the grapes are growing,
Life with vigor glowing,
Fresh the vine and true.

From the heights of Heaven
Holy Mother descend,
Lead unto your vineyard
Our beloved friend.
Dew and rain let gently
Drop from His kind hand
And the balm of sunshine
Fall on Carmel’s land.

Young vines, newly planted,
Tiny though they be,
Grant them life eternal
A gift of peace from Thee.
Trusted vintners strengthen
Their frail and feeble powers,
Shield them from the enemy
Who in darkness cowers.

Holy Mother grant reward
For your vintners’ care
Give them, I beseech you,
Crown of Heaven fair.
Don’t let raging fire
Kill these vines, we pray,
And grant your life eternal
To each young shoot some day.

 

~ A poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), O.C.D.

Thankfulness Always

 

Jesus art by Joshua Vargas
Art by Joshua Vargas

 

Jesus gives thanks to God when he institutes the Holy Eucharist. He thanks the Father for the bread which is his own body, and the wine which is his blood.

Jesus is infinitely thankful that he gets to work for his Father’s kingdom, even if this means suffering and death for himself. He gives thanks that he can pass on the words he has received from the Father (Jn 17:8), reveal the name of the Father (v. 6), and fulfill the commission the Father has given him (v. 4). Everything for which Jesus gives thanks comes to fruition through his total humiliation. The wine in the cup that he lifts in thankfulness to God is the blood that pours out of his pierced heart.

If you sometimes have difficulties thanking God for everything, then just remind yourself of how Jesus presented his whole life as a thanksgiving sacrifice to the Father. All his vitality, the riches of his will and his love, he concentrates and summarizes in a prayer of thanksgiving. If you wish to find unity and coherence in your life, the best thing you can do is to resign yourself to everything that happens. What it does mean is a foundational attitude of trust in someone who knows and understands everything much better than you do, someone who loves, and wants the best for his creation.

We do well always and everywhere to give God thanks.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

 

A Blessed Canadian Thanksgiving to All!

 

grateful

 

The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe

 

Mother Mary
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Anne  ~ (Photo taken by me at The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, Canada)

 

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race —
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.

If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn —
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.

Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steeped sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.

So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
An her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.

Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

~ A poem by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-89)

 

Happy Birthday Blessed Virgin Mary! ❤ Ora Pro Nobis!