WHY can’t we give ourselves completely to God? Why don’t we make holiness our one pursuit? Why do we cling to this or that thing, knowing we would be happier if we let it go?

We must answer this. And when we do, we should place the truth before Him, and let it begin to set us free.

Lightning



FAR from “stealing Christ’s thunder”

Mary is the lightning

which illuminates The Way.

Lightning

 

 

FAR from "stealing Christ’s thunder"

Mary is the lightning

which illuminates The Way.

I AM in the desert.

But it’s like the desert at night, when the moon rises over the dunes,
and a billion stars fill the sky.
It is quiet, and cool… but the thin light of the heavens,
and the moonlit Host of daily Mass,
make the burning sands bearable and the vast emptiness
an invisible void.

The New Ark

 

 

A READING from the Divine Liturgy this week has lingered with me:

God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark. (1 Peter 3:20)

The sense is that we are in that time when the ark is being completed, and soon. What is the ark? When I asked this question, I looked up at the icon of Mary……… the answer seemed that her bosom is the ark, and she is gathering a remnant to herself, for Christ.

And it was Jesus who said he would return “as in the days of Noah” and “as in the days of Lot” (Luke 17:26, 28). Everyone’s looking at the weather, earthquakes, wars, plagues, and violence; but are we forgetting about the “moral” signs of the times Christ is referring to? A reading of Noah’s generation and Lot’s generation–and what their offences were–should look uncomfortably familiar.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.Winston Churchill

IF only we understood what is lost when we let ourselves become forked by the two pronged skewer of pride.

The one prong is defensive: “I am not wrong, or as bad as you say.” The second prong is despair: “I am useless, a worthless failure.” In both cases (often the second prong follows the first), the person expends great energy hiding a basic human truth: the need for God.

Humility is the crown of the Christian. The adversary does everything in his power to prevent us from coming before God with our genuine sinfulness, failure, and character flaws. Such honesty is rewarded by God, and paradoxically, becomes a vessel of strength.

As long as the devil keeps you on his fork, strength is kept at bay, and your crown is left in the treasury of God.

AT a time when the “religious” in the world are strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing themselves up; when missiles are being launched in the name of biblical land rights; when scriptural quotes are taken out of context to support self-interested rights–Pope Benedict’s encyclical on love stands as an extraordinarily bright beacon in the darkened harbor of the earth.

This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
(John 13:35)

Paralyzed


 

AS I walked the aisle to Communion this morning, I felt as though the cross I was carrying was made of concrete.

As I continued back to the pew, my eye was drawn to an icon of the paralyzed man being lowered in his stretcher to Jesus. Immediately I felt that I was the paralyzed man.

The men who lowered the paralytic through the ceiling into Christ’s presence did so through hard work, faith, and perseverance. But it was only the paralytic–who did nothing but gaze at Jesus in helplessness and hope–to whom Christ said,

“Your sins are forgiven…. rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”

Gandolf… the Prophet?


 

 

I WAS passing by the TV as my children were watching “Return of the King”—Part III of The Lord of the Rings—when suddenly the words of Gandolf leapt straight from the screen into my heart:

Things are in motion which cannot be undone.

I stopped in my tracks to listen, my spirit burning within me:

…It’s the deep breath before the plunge……This will be the end of Gondar as we know it……We come to it at last, the great battle of our time…

Then a hobbit climbed the watchtower to light the warning fire—the signal to alert the peoples of middle earth to prepare for battle.

God has also sent us “hobbits”—small children to whom his Mother has appeared and charged them to set the fires of truth ablaze, that light may shine in the darkness… Lourdes, Fatima, and more recently, Medjugorje come to mind (the latter awaiting official Church approval).

But one “hobbit” was a child in spirit only, and his life and words have cast a great light across the entire earth, even into the dark shadows:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up.  —Cardinal Karol Wotyla who became Pope John Paul II two years later; reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal

    WE must learn to see every imperfection as just more fuel for offering.’ (Excerpt from a letter from Michael D. Obrien)

FROM a song I never finished…

Bread and Wine, on my tongue
Love become, God’s only Son

A remarkable reality: the Eucharist is the physical form of pure Love.

Divisions Beginning


 

 

A GREAT division is occurring in the world today. People are having to choose sides. It is primarily a division of moral and social values, of Gospel principles versus modern presumptions.

And it is exactly what Christ said would happen to families and nations when confronted with his presence:

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three… (Luke 12:51-52)

WHAT the world needs today is not more programs, but saints.

Each Hour Counts

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)

The Bunker

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.

EVERY moment here,

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)

CONSUMATION…

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)

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."

JOY.

The greatest of presents this morning is His Presence.

DURING prayer this past week, I have been so distracted in my thoughts that I can barely pray a sentence without drifting away.

This evening, while meditating before the empty manger scene at the church, I cried out to the Lord for help and mercy. As quickly as a falling star, the words came to me:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit".

Tolerance and Responsibility

 

 

RESPECT for diversity and peoples is what the Christian faith teaches, no, demands. However, this does not mean “tolerance” of sin.’

…[our] vocation is to deliver the whole world from evil and to transform it in God: by prayer, by penance, by charity, and, above all, by mercy. —Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

It is charity to not only clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and visit the prisoner, but to help one’s brother not to become naked, sick, or imprisoned to begin with. Hence, the Church’s mission is also to define that which is evil, so good may be chosen.

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.  —POPE JOHN PAUL II

 

 

GRAPES will grow most, not in the cool damp, but in the heat of the day. So too will faith, when the sun of trials beats down upon it.

Leaping Upward

 

 

WHEN I’ve been free for a time from trials and temptations, I admit I’ve thought this was a sign of growing in holiness… at last, walking in the strides of Christ!

…Until the Father gently lowered my feet to the ground of tribulation. And again I realized that, on my own, I merely take baby steps, stumbling and losing my balance.

God doesn’t set me down because He no longer loves me, nor to abandon me. Rather, so I recognize that the greatest strides in the spiritual life are made, not leaping forward, but upward, back into His arms.

Peace

 

PEACE is a gift of the Holy Spirit,
contingent on neither the pleasure, nor suffering of the flesh. It is a fruit,
born in the depths of the spirit, just as a diamond is born

in
            the
          
                   depths

       of

the

 earth…

far below either sunshine or rain.

Tolerance?

 

 

THE intolerance of “tolerance!”

 

It is curious how those who accuse Christians of
hatred and intolerance

are often the most venomous in
tone and intent. 

It is the most obvious—and easily over-looked
hypocrisy of our times.