An answer came to me in prayer, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, and in the sorrows of my own life: God permits evil so that we may reject it and choose good.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Wednesday, May 02, 2018
I thought this beautifully written excerpt would be thought-provoking reading for Christians who wonder at Catholics who pray to Mary. This was written by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, who was a true Marian devotee and advocate of the same. It was the gospel commentary from dailygospel.org from today's Mass. The Gospel reading is from John 15:1-8.
[Jesus] is our only master, who must teach us; our only Lord, on whom we must depend; our only head, to whom alone we should belong; our only model, whom we should imitate; our only physician, who must heal us; our only shepherd, who must feed us; our only Way, who must lead us; our only Truth, whom we must believe; our only Life, who must be our life; and our sole sufficiency in all things, that in him we may have all in All. Except the Name of Jesus, there is no other name given under Heaven whereby we must be saved; and apart from Jesus Christ, God has given us no other foundation of our salvation, our perfection and our glory: "for other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus" (1Cor 3:11). Every house which is not built upon this firm rock, is founded on the shifting sands, and will inevitably fall sooner or later. Every soul who is not united with Christ as a branch to the stem of the vine, will fall off, wither and become fit only for the fire. If we are in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in us, we need not fear damnation; neither angels in heaven nor men on earth, neither demons in hell nor any other creature can harm us because they cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (cf. Rm 8:38-39).
Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716), preacher, founder of religious communities
Treatise on the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, (Article one; First Truth)
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me"
O Jesus, Good Shepherd, a shepherd who is truly good, shepherd full of lovingkindness and gentleness, the cry of a poor and wretched shepherd rises up to you: a weak and clumsy shepherd, an unprofitable shepherd (cf. Lk 17:10) and yet, in spite of all, a shepherd of your flock. Yes, Good Shepherd, the cry of this shepherd who is far from being good rises up to you. He cries to you, uneasy for himself, uneasy for your flock… You know my heart, Lord, you know my wish is to spend entirely for those you have entrusted to me all you have given to your servant …, and more than anything, to spend myself for them without counting the cost (2Cor 12:15)… Even you yourself did not disdain to spend yourself for them. Therefore teach me, Lord, even me your servant, teach me through your Holy Spirit how to expend myself for them… By your inexpressible grace grant me, Lord, to bear their weaknesses with patience, to sympathize with kindness, to help them with discretion. May your Spirit’s instruction teach me to console the afflicted, strengthen the fearful, raise up those who fall, to be weak with the weak, to share the shame of those who stumble, to make myself all things to all to gain them all (2Cor 11:29; 1Cor 9:19.22). Put true words on my lips, words that are upright and just so that they may grow in faith, hope and love, in chastity and humility, in patience and obedience, fervor of spirit and purity of heart. Since it is you who have given them this blind guide (Mt 15:14), this ignorant teacher, this incapable leader, teach him whom you have installed as their professor, guide the one you have commanded to guide others.
- Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Sunday, April 01, 2018
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
While I love the Mass in general, there's nothing like the celebration of the Easter vigil. The darkness, the Paschal candle and then people lighting their candles from it and then from their neighbors, and the growing sea of tiny flames as they keep going until every person's candle is lit. And then the readings, starting from the creation account in Genesis, then the Exodus rescue, then from Isaiah and Ezekiel, until we reach the New Testament readings where it culminates in Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, sacrificed, and then the Resurrection. Then we have baptisms and confirmations, the creed and then the Eucharist. It is beautiful! And powerful!
Yes, my wife and daughter are away on holiday, and yes, my sons were blowing out my candle when I wasn't looking. And yes, one of them decided to break up his remaining candle into tiny pieces and pull out the wick. And he dribbled a bit of wax on his pants and maybe the floor. And yes, he's too old to be fooling around with it like that (at 16), and yes he and his younger brother were sniggering at the size of the feet of the guy in front of us, for everyone to see his shoulders shaking uncontrollably. And yes, they also saw me trying to keep them quiet a number of times during the Mass.
But all my sons were with me and were fine. They weren't miserably begging off the Mass, nor miserably begging to go after an hour. They weren't grumpy at having to stand and kneel and sit and on and on. Mind you, I wish they'd been more prayerful throughout, as they should, but they were with me through more than two hours, and sang and chanted and prayed through some if not most of that. Grace doesn't come from us. As Lito would say, it's 'extra nos', outside of us, coming from God, unmerited. Our receptiveness depends on our disposition, of course, but not Grace. My sons are young. If they don't resist too much, they will mature, and I will pray for that all my life and after. God is patient, rich in kindness and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in love.
It's Easter. Christus Resurrexit! Alleluia!
Monday, February 26, 2018
.. for you might just get it. The pastoral angle is attractive, just as emotional, romantic highs are, but what does it profit us if we wander away from truth?
Show me, Lord, your way,
So that I may walk in your truth.
Guide my heart to fear your name.
-- Psalm 85 (86)
Promises of paradigm shifts, like hasty science, buzz words and sound bites, tend to leave a lot of details out. The whole point of the journey is perfection, so of course there is struggle. Devaluating the struggle for the sake of expedience - wouldn't that risk making any struggle optional, perhaps arbitrary, to commit to (or not) as with the demands of discipleship in general?