Love, true love, is always directed at concrete people. Love is never anonymous. Love chooses; love doesn’t love an unknown mass.
God also chooses people onto whom he focuses his love. God wills that all people be saved, but he doesn’t begin with all. He chooses one man, Abraham. And Abraham becomes a people, Israel. Israel becomes the Church, the people of God, and the Church shines throughout the world.
To choose and be chosen is a characteristic throughout the Bible. God chooses someone from among the anonymous multitude and pours his love and gifts of grace over this person. From this person, love will in turn stream out to others.
If you want to live in love, you can’t begin by loving all of humanity. Start with your neighbor! Choose people you meet in your daily life. Love begins with a “you.”
The fire of love needs to spread all over the world, but its spark is always ignited in a relationship between two people. If you want to love everybody right away, you’ll end up loving no one for real. First, love the ones closest to you, then, through them, you may later acquire universal love.
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
The astrologers from the East presented gold, myrrh, and frankincense as a way to worship the unknown child of God. You—who know fully who the child in the manger is—can present him even more appropriate gifts.
You know that this child is your Creator. To create means to make something of nothing. If you really want to worship this child as your Creator, then give him your nothingness: your inner emptiness, powerlessness, and inadequacy. Without your nothingness, he cannot create you. With your nothingness, he makes your life his creation.
The child in the crib is also the Word. He is the Word of the Father. The Word will make itself heard, and seek those who will listen. You can offer him your openness, your silence, and your listening.
The child is also Christ your Savior. He comes to heal your wounds, and to free you from your sin. You can never get to know him if you do not reveal your sins to him. The third gift you can give this child is your need of his healing. Then he will change your sin into bright signs of his love.
~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
Happy and Blessed Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord!
Here is an excerpt from the book ‘The Way of the Dreamcatcher’
Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax: Poet, Peacemaker, Sage.
By S.T. Georgiou.
Robert, it’s been said that you eventually left Marseille and later went on to Greece and Patmos because of a “sign” you saw in your room. Over your bed there was an icon of St. John the Divine writing his Revelation. This image prompted you to start thinking of Patmos and the famous cave wherein John experienced his vision.
That’s a true story. And up there on my wall, among all the other pictures and postcards, is a copy of that very icon. The original is from an illustrated manuscript of the fifteenth century.
Oh yes, there’s St. John writing his Apocalypse.
And the fact that he’s writing also led me to believe that Patmos would be a good place to write and meditate.
So Patmos was love at first sight?
Definitely. Things were clearer here, much more real, rooted, you might say. No distractions. Excellent climate, at least for most months. A fertile, unfolding quiet. Beautiful, inspiring light. Something about the light – so many tones, hues beaming into the soul. And there was also a classical influence as well. It was a ruggedly Homeric place ringed by a “wine dark sea.”
What was it that you found holy here? The site must have certainly impressed you since you had previously gone to such inspiring locales as the Virgin Isles, the Canary Isles, and a number of the islands of Italy and Greece.
Many people who visit say that there is an ominous feel to the place as your boat approaches, but not in a bad way. There’s just a certain feeling that something spiritually significant is here, waiting to reveal itself in its own good time. When I first came I strongly felt the power of St. John’s cave as well as the great monastery and that whole area up there, but it was really the Cave of the Apocalypse that moved me.
You sound like the islanders — they’re very ” cave conscious. ”
Yes, the cave has been a magnet for all the Patmians since the days of St. John. In fact, St. John’s association with the cave has permeated the whole psychology of the people here. It has made them loving, gentle, wise. I’ve found that they never say a word in any situation that doesn’t emanate from a pure trust, a deep spiritual centre of which the cave is a part. So many times I’ve heard, “Epomoni” (Patience), “Oti theli o Theos” (Whatever God wants) and “Doxa si o Theos” (Glory be to God). Everything seems to be right here for a good rapport with the Creator. The men, women and children have a solid spiritual foundation nurtured by the sanctity of the isle and by their forefathers.
On top of that, they are always reminded of the high ideals of their classical and Byzantine ancestors. I mean, Socrates “Know thyself,” which many of the locals echo, is a good start for anyone.
So you feel Patmos is truly a sacred site, a blessed zone? Is there a unique energy here? A cosmic pulsing?
I certainly would not be inclined to doubt it. The sun, moon and stars seem to shine right into you. Yes, I very much believe the people are blessed simply by being here. Grace seems to flow here. You can’t help but sense the love of God. The gates of Patmos are as wide as the heart, open to all.
What did you feel when you first came to this holy isle?
A timeless serenity. Generative silence. Awe. The quiet imposed by the volcanic mountains and stones, a real love moving over the face of the waters. In a more familial sense, I did feel like someone might if they had run into their long-lost parents or grandparents — as if everything you’ve heard in your life, up till then, had just been an echo of something that all along had been planted right here. And the echoes of that something could still be heard. . .
It’s interesting how when St. John came here, he emphasized the need to love. “Just love one another, ” he would say. So we are meant to form relationships, to network. One star can’t illuminate the whole night sky. Constellations have to form.
Patmos then seems to be a model for harmonious living, a kind of cosmic school of higher learning.
I do believe that very much — it’s a wholesome place that naturally fosters self-discovery and genuine agape. There’s a living tradition here. I felt a great wave of peace when I came to Patmos, and I still sense these peaceful rhythms. Things are free-flowing here. The sunlight writes on the water, and the waters wave in the light. Even the birds seem to fly in a more peaceful way, as if they know that they are loved. Animals are like children because they know when they are loved, and when they are not.
Look far back, look infinitely on. Penetrate, do not appraise. Behold all things with the innocence of light. Laugh when you meet a stranger; let your glances flash together like water in sunlight. ~ Robert Lax
Happy Feast of Saint John The Evangelist! The Disciple whom Jesus Loved, St. John The Divine, St. John The Theologian,
pray for us!
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.
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.
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
That we are entering an age of martyrdom must be obvious to anybody with a nose on their face and eyes in their head! When it comes, the name of God, Our Lady, and your patron saint should be on your lips. Your patron saint is very close to you, a creature like you.
What characterizes a saint?
A saint is a lover of God; that is, a lover of all human beings.
A saint listens to the Lord and lets his words penetrate the heart. He doesn’t respond with “if”s and “but”s.
The saints were free. Those who do the will of God are free, for when you do your own will, you are bound.
When you go in search of God, hold on to the hand of your saint. He or she will lead you to God as no one else can.
~ A Meditation by Catherine Doherty
You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh. ~ 2 Cor 3: 2-3