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.
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!
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
“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!
why a seraph
why its six
the dying Christ.
you could ask
those lonely hills
I cannot say
why love and pain
go hand in hand,
I will not
that day of joy
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 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.
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
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