Our Prayers Break On God

 

women lenten retreat
Photo taken by me at the Women’s Lenten Retreat Weekend (March 22nd to 24th) 

 

 

Our prayers break on God like waves,
and he an endless shore,
and when the seas evaporate 
and oceans are no more
and cries are carried in the wind
God hears and answers every sound
as he has done before.

Our troubles eat at God like nails.
He feels the gnawing pain
on souls and bodies. He never fails
but reassures he’ll heal again,
again, again, again and yet again.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

Thank you, my Beloved!
❤ 

 

 

women lenten retreat 5
Photo taken by me at the Chapel (March 2019)

 

women lenten retreat 3
“Just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands, and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him—really rest.”  ~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

Third Sunday of Lent

 

Icon of the Fig Tree
The Fig Tree icon

 

 

Cycle C: Luke 13: 1-9


The parable of the fig tree exhorts us not to live a fruitless life.


 

In 1970, during a protest at Kent State University, national guardsmen shot and killed several students. Shortly afterwards, psychologists interviewed parents of college-age children. Among other questions, they asked whether the students who had been killed were campus radicals or innocent bystanders. Overwhelmingly, the parents believed that the slain students were campus radicals. Applying to their findings Attribution Theory, which tries to explain how and why people make sense of their world, the psychologists concluded that the majority of parents held that the slain students were radicals because it was too frightening for them to believe otherwise. If they believed that the slain students were innocents bystanders, then they would have to admit that in a similar situation their own children were vulnerable. Whenever disaster strikes, we tend to attribute it to a cause that will protect us from a similar disaster.

This is what the people in today’s gospel were trying to do. They had to believe that those killed by Pilate or the falling Tower of Siloam were sinners. This belief protected them from living in an unpredictable world. They were reasoning thus: “All we need to do in order to be safe is to keep the Law, for bad things don’t happen to good people.” Jesus challenges their thinking by telling them the Parable of the Fig Tree, which teaches that to avert spiritual disaster it is not enough to keep the Law. Our lives must bear fruit.

The Greek word translated “wasting (katargeo) the soil,” means unused, idle, inactive, or useless. From a spiritual perspective, our life is useless and barren, if, like the fig tree, we provide shade only for our selves and offer no nourishment to others.

The parable is consoling, for it proclaims a season of grace, a second chance, a stay of execution. Each day when we wake up, we are given another opportunity to truly live life by loving our neighbor. But the parable is also sobering, for it warns us that our opportunities are not endless. Thoreau wrote that he wanted to live deliberately in order to avoid the ultimate disaster of life, that at the moment of death he would “discover that [he] had not lived” (86). This is what we must fear.

~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

The Lord’s Abundant Crop

Lord you’re doing
So much in our lives
To bring a deeper growth
A time of pruning
The withered branches
So healthier ones can grow

Though it is painful
And hard to endure,
It is needful in our lives —
For without it we’d be
An unhealthy tree
And may wither away and die

To keep on producing
The fruit of the Lord,
We need to have sin cut out
Then new branches will come
And we’ll flourish again
As the new shoots begin to sprout

Then we will produce
From the seeds God planted
Fruit that will never rot
Ripened by God
And picked in its season,
Is the Lord’s abundant crop!


A poem by Michelle Lowndes
© By M.S.Lowndes

Visions To Behold

 

San Jose y Jesus art
Saint Joseph and Child, art by Francisco Antonio de la Fuente – 18th century

 

Fatima, Portugal 1917

From May to October three shepherd children beheld apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary atop a small holm-oak tree. During theses visions, the seers Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto and Lucia dos Santos were given secrets. They were instructed to pray the Rosary and to offer penance for the conversion of sinners. In the September apparition, Our Lady told them:

“Continue to pray the Rosary to obtain the end of the war. In October St. Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus in order to bless the world. God is satisfied with your sacrifices.”
(L. Santos, 2007, pg. 181)

On October 13th over 70,000 people gathered around the site of the apparitions. All night it had rained non-stop and up till the moment of the Virgin’s arrival, the people had stood in the water and mud. After Our Lady appeared to the three children the rain suddenly stopped and the dark clouds parted. Thousands of people from different walks of life (including atheists who had gone to mock the children) witnessed what is now famously known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”

During the Miracle of the Sun, the three shepherd children were witnessing what the Virgin had promised them in September. Lucia dos Santos recounts what they saw:

“Our Lady having disappeared in the immensity of the firmament, we saw, beside the sun, St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady clothed in white with a blue mantle. St. Joseph and the Child Jesus appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands.”
(L. Santos, 2007, pg. 183)

Here is St. Joseph, no words are spoken by him, but his actions speak. St. Joseph, holding his Son Jesus, blesses the world by tracing the sign of the cross with his hand. This is a powerful statement regarding his place as head of the Holy Family as well as his position in the Church. He holds Christ in his arms, making a statement about true fatherhood: “Fathers, love your children, take your place at the head of the family and protect those entrusted to your care.” The act of St. Joseph blessing the crowds shows his power in the Church, as intercessor and Patron of the Universal Church, as proclaimed in 1870 by Pope Pius IX. The glorious Saint Joseph is also patron saint of Canada, families and of all Carmelites.

 
~ Adapted from ‘The book of Joseph, God’s chosen father’ compiled by Jose A. Rodrigues

 

 

To St. Joseph

When the day was done
And all your work put by,
You saw the stars come one by one
Out in the violet sky.
You did not know the stars by name,
But there sat by your knee
One who had made the light and flame
And all things bright that be.
You heard with Him birds in the tree
Twitter “Good-night” o’erhead, —
The maker of the world must see
His little one to bed.
Then when the darkness settled round,
To Him your prayers were said;
No wonder that your sleep was ground
The angels loved to tread.

 

~ A poem by Father Charles L. O’Donnell

 

Saint Joseph and baby Jesus 1896
St. Joseph with Child Jesus, art by Ponziano Loverini, 1896

 

“I took for my advocate and comforter the glorious Saint Joseph, and commended myself fervently to him; … His aid has brought me more good than I ever desired to receive from him…. I am quite amazed at the great favors Our Lord has given me, and the many dangers, both of soul and body, from which He has delivered me through the intercession of this blessed saint!
~ Saint Teresa de Ávila

 

“When you invoke Saint Joseph, you don’t have to speak much. You know your Father in heaven knows what you need; well, so does, His friend Saint Joseph. Tell him, “If you were in my place, Saint Joseph, what would you do? Well, pray for this in my behalf.”
~ Saint André Bessette

 

 

Glorious Saint Joseph ❤ Master of the interior life, pray for us! 

 

 

 

A letter to St. Francis from a modern-day pilgrim

 

Saint Francis Stigmatization of St Francis c 1594-5 (II Baroccio)
The Stigmatization of St. Francis, art by Federico Barocci (II Baroccio) c. 1594-5

 

Dear Francis
(On the occasion of your stigmata),

As if
you could
know
why a seraph
should appear,
why its six
dazzling wings
should enfold
the dying Christ.
As if
you could ask
the mountain’s
jutting rocks
what provoked
those lonely hills
to illuminate
your fast.
Because
I cannot say
why love and pain
go hand in hand,
I will not
doubt
the sky
tore up
in flames,
that day of joy
and blood—
nor that
you bore
His wounds.

From one unpierced

 

~ A poem by Abigail Carroll

 

 

How did St. Francis of Assisi receives the Stigmata of Christ?

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September 1224) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says and early writer, had long since been impressed upon his heart.

Brother Leo, who was with St. Francis when he received the stigmata, has left us in his note to the saint’s autograph blessing, preserved at Assisi, a clear simple account of the miracle, which for the rest is better attested than any other historical fact.

The saint’s right side is described as bearing an open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward.

After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. Worn out, moreover, as Francis now was by eighteen years of unremitting toil, his strength gave way completely, and at times his eyesight so far failed him that he was almost wholly blind.

Francis died in 1226 at the age of forty-five. He was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX.

 

 

 

 

Life’s Only Meaning

 

Jesus the Beloved art by Amy McCutcheon
Art by Amy McCutcheon

 

 

Life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
(John 17:3)

 

Each day of our lives holds within itself the possibility of this knowledge of God, this holy wisdom. How deeply we should long for this revelation of the Father.

Let us seek, let us listen with all our hearts and care for nothing else. Then perhaps we shall be able to exclaim with perfect truth: ‘My heart knows you now, Jesus Christ my Lord, and everything worldly has lost its meaning. ‘

With perfect truth. That is, my life henceforth will reveal the truth that nothing has any meaning to me except Jesus Christ my Lord.

There is no easy way to this, only that the grain of wheat must die; the humble acceptance of our painful human lot; no complaint, no rebellion, no dodging . . .
Becoming identified with the Son of Man, the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sin of the world by bearing the full weight and effect of it with no vestige of responding evil — only worship of his Father and infinite compassion for us.

 

~ A Meditation by Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

 

 

Happy The One Who Loves God

How happy the heart that by love is elated,
in which only God all its thought has embraced,
renouncing for him every thing that’s created,
and finding its glory and joy by him graced.
Thus living with all thought of self so negated,
because in God all its intention is placed,
and so in great happiness and joyfully
it travels the waves of this turbulent sea.

 

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Ávila, O.C.D.

 

 

 

 

 

Ukřižování (Crucified)

 

Jesus crucified art by Ladislav Zaborsky
Art by Ladislav Záborský

 

My hands were crucified,
I cannot do what I like.
My legs were crucified,
I cannot go where I want.
Thus was I likened
to Your Son,
so that in me might be born
a new person
who will not fulfill his own desire,
but who seeks Your desire.
Hence I am suspended on this cross,
but salvation quickly approaches me.

~ By Ladislav Záborský (poems written from prison)
translated from Slovak by Harold B. Segel

 

 

 

Not Garden Any More

 

Jesus art by daniel bonnell
Art by Daniel Bonnell

 

God is not garden any more, to satiate the sense
with the luxuriance of full exotic wilderness.
Now multiple is magnified to less.
God has become as desert now, a vast unknown Sahara
voicing its desert cry.
My soul has been arrested by the sound
of a divine tremendous loneliness.

I write anathema on pool, on streams of racing water.
I bid the shoot, the leaf, the bloom no longer to intrude.
Beyond green growth I find this great good,
a motionless immensity of oneness.
And Him I praise Who lured me to this edge
of uncreation where His secrets brood,
Who seared the earth that I might hear in silence
this infinite outcry of His solitude.

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

 

 

“Listen to God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all-embracing silence.”
Catherine Doherty