WHAT the world needs today is not more programs, but saints.
I feel as though each hour counts now. That I am called to a radical conversion. It is a mysterious thing, and yet incredibly joyful. Christ is preparing us for something… something extraordinary.
Yes, repentance is more than penitence. It is not remorse. It is not just admitting our mistakes. It is not self-condemnation: "What a fool I've been!" Who of us has not recited such a dismal litany? No, repentance is a moral and spiritual revolution. To repent is one of the hardest things in the world, yet it is basic to all spiritual progress. It demands the breaking down of pride, self-assurance, and the innermost citadel of self-will.(Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Kiss of Christ)
AFTER Confession today, the image of a battlefield came to mind.
The enemy fires missiles and bullets at us, bombarding us with deceptions, temptations, and accusations. We often find ourselves wounded, bleeding, and disabled, cowering in the trenches.
But Christ draws us into the Bunker of Confession, and then… lets the bomb of his grace explode in the spiritual realm, destroying the enemy’s gains, reclaiming our terrorities, and re-outfitting us in that spiritual armor which enables us to engage once again those "principalities and powers," through faith and the Holy Spirit.
We are in a war. It is wisdom, not cowardice, to frequent the Bunker.
Should be a parable of the eternal one.
THE words of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton continue to ring in my head:
Be above the vain fears of nature and efforts of your enemy. You are children of eternity. Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure there to reap in joy.(From a conference to her spiritual daughters)
PERSEVERANCE. O Lord, how I lack it.
Why do I so quickly collapse beneath the smallest weight of my flesh? I am so tired and saddened by my distractions, silly pursuits, and wasted time. I am exhausted by the perpetual dance with my frailty.
Lord I have fallen. Forgive me. I am no better than the one who thinks nothing of you. Perhaps he is further ahead in that he does his duty with fortitude, even though his end is not for your glory. I, on the other hand, knowning well the end of all things and that to which the heart should be directed, piddle away the moment, drifting from one impluse to the next like a kite in the wind.
I am ashamed, Lord, ashamed of my lack of resolve. The bile of sloth, avarice, and self-indulgence is rising in my throat. Why you bother with me is truly a mystery! Could it be really be Love? Could Love be this patient? Could Love be this forgiving? If so, I cannot comprehend it! I stand condemned—guilty—deserving to be tossed out with those who strike at your cheek, crucifying You all over again.
But I would be guilty of a greater crime if I were to remain in this despair. It is, after all, a condition of wounded pride. It is the place of Judas to run away in self-deprecation and depression; it is the domain of the unrepentant thief to persist in self-righteousness and blindness to your mercy; it is above all the tragic mindset of that fallen angel, that prince of darkness, to dwell in pride and self-pity.
And so Lord, I come to you again… as I am… broken, frail, wounded… filthy, hungry, and tired. I come—not as a faithful son—but as the prodigal. I come with my prepared confession, my imperfect penitence, and my pocket full of nothing but hope.
I come in poverty. I come, as a sinner.
…Behold! What do I see? Is that you, Father, running toward me….!
Our lives are like a shooting star. The question–the spiritual question–is in what orbit this star will enter.
If we are consumed with the things of this earth: money, security, power, possessions, food, sex, pornography… then we are like that meteor which burns up in earth’s atmosphere. If we are consumed with God, then we are like a meteor aimed toward the sun.
And here is the difference.
The first meteor, consumed by the temptations of the world, eventually disintegrates into nothing. The second meteor, as it becomes consumed with Jesus the Son, does not disintegrate. Rather, it bursts into flame, dissolving into and becoming one with the Son.
The former dies, becoming cold, dark, and lifeless. The latter lives, becoming warmth, light, and fire. The former seems dazzling before the eyes of the world (for a moment)… until it becomes dust, disappearing into the darkness. The latter is hidden and unnoticed, until it reaches the consuming rays of the Son, caught up forever in His blazing light and love.
And so, there is really only one question in life that matters: What is consuming me?
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?(Matt 16:26)
HUMILITY is our refuge.
It is that safe place where Satan cannot lure our eyes, because our face is to the ground. We do not wander, because we are lying prostrate. And we acquire wisdom, because our tongue is stilled.
TONIGHT, again, I sense an urgency to uproot whatever distractions and vices I still cling to. There are abundant graces there to do it… graces, I believe, for anyone who honestly asks.
There is no time to waste. We must begin now to prepare for what is to come “like a thief in the night”. And what is to come?
Let him who has eyes, see; who has ears, listen.
THE Lord sees the desires of our heart. He sees our desire to be good.
And so, in spite of our failures, and even sin, He runs to embrace us… just as the Father ran to embrace the prodigal son, who was covered in the shame of his rebellion.
Hence, Gabriel announced to Mary, "Be not afraid!"; the glorious throng announced to the shepherds, "Be not afraid!"; the two angels encouraged the women at the tomb, "Be not afraid!"; and to his disciples after His resurrection, Jesus repeated, "Be not afraid."