Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Redemption

"Cause my thoughts to dwell much to-day on the life and death of Jesus Christ my Lord, so that I may see all things in the light of the redemption which Thou hast granted to me in His name. Amen."
~John Baillie

"Your sins, my sins, the sins of all men, rise up. All the evil we have done and the good that we have neglected to do. The desolate panorama of the countless crimes and iniquities which we would have committed, if He, Jesus, had not strengthened us with the light of His most loving glance.

How little a life is for making atonement!"
~Josemaria Escrivá

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.
Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sacrifice

“…The key to interpreting what the first Adam did and what he should have done is by looking at Christ because He is the second Adam. That is how He is described throughout the New Testament. Here is the second Adam, He also is tested, He also goes to the Garden and there He is tempted. Then He goes to the tree and there at the tree He lays His life down for the Bride – for His Church. He has assumed the curse of Adam upon Himself – the curse of sweat and the curse of thorns. He sweat blood and He bore the crown of thorns and there at the cross (the ‘tree of life’ as the early church fathers called it) He laid His life down…”
~Scott Hahn

“We cannot decide to become saints without a great effort of renunciation, of resisting temptations, of combat, persecutions, and of all sorts of sacrifices. It is not possible to love God except at one’s own expense.”
~Mother Teresa

“…God calls us to love like the Trinity loves. The Father pours His life out to generate the Son. The Son images the Father by pouring that life, that gift out and He gives it back to the Father which is the Spirit. God calls us to enter into that life. But we can’t unless we give consent to the gift of self – to the sacrifice of self.”
~Scott Hahn

(the above was typed from a lecture – any grammatical errors are mine)

Monday, March 29, 2010

O Come and Mourn

O come and mourn with me awhile;
And tarry here the cross beside;
O come, together let us mourn;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

Have we no tears to shed for Him,
While soldiers scoff and foes deride?
Ah! look how patiently He hangs;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

How fast His hands and feet are nailed;
His blessed tongue with thirst is tied,
His failing eyes are blind with blood:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

His mother cannot reach His face;
She stands in helplessness beside;
Her heart is martyred with her Son’s:
Jesus, our Lord, is Crucified.

Seven times He spoke, seven words of love;
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

Come, let us stand beneath the cross;
So may the blood from out His side
Fall gently on us drop by drop;
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

O break, O break, hard heart of mine!
Thy weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

A broken heart, a fount of tears,
Ask, and they will not be denied;
A broken heart love’s cradle is:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified.

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried;
And victory remains with love;
For Thou our Lord, art crucified!

~Words: Frederick Faber & Music: John Dykes

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.
(http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/g/aglahonr.htm)

“Remember the little people whom Jesus loved and who were sarcastically referred to as the rabble on the occasion of the healing of the man born blind (see John 9)? It was these enthusiastic poor people, having nothing more elegant to offer the Messiah than a mule and branches torn from nearby trees, who celebrated Jesus’ arrival. How sadly revealing this really is.

The poverty of this humble celebration did not pain Jesus, because He could have summoned legions of angels. No, it is sad for the human race. It was the best that men of the time could do and were willing to offer.

And we don’t do much more right now…

…Apparently, the Son of God Himself knew that this humble crowd was the best He could find to proclaim that He was the Messiah, the new Elijah, the Son of David.

Religious practice in the English-speaking world has become very casual, to use a kindly term. ‘Slipshod’ might be a better way to describe what we see going on. I am not simply referring to casual liturgical practice but even to the way people dress when coming to church and how they stand and kneel. Many of those who come to church do so in order to fulfill an obligation as painlessly as possible. There is no enthusiasm, joy, or engagement of the person. It seems to many that attending church is like getting on a bus.

We should work to change this slipshod approach. We should dress as if we were going to the worship of God and not to the beach. We should sing and respond to the prayers, and personally we should pray. When the liturgy is over, then we should joyfully greet our fellow Christians.

If all this seems strange and unreal, then go and pray with the poor. Like the crowd that welcomed Jesus, they will show you what to do.”

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
~James 2:5

Prayer:
“O Lord Jesus Christ, You come as our friend and also as our King. We look to You for consolation and understanding, and we should also look to You with adoration and thanksgiving. As this Holy Week begins, help us to realize that You are our suffering and crucified King, the poor little One, but nonetheless the One we shall worship at the end of our lives as King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.”
~Benedict Groeschel

Friday, March 26, 2010

The LORD’s Chosen Servant

1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.

5 Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 "I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,

7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

~Isaiah 42:1-7 (ESV)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Temptations

“During the season of Lent in which we currently find ourselves, one of our tasks is to carefully evaluate the layers of cultural lies which so often enmesh us and prevent us from denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus. [Henri] Nouwen points out that the three temptations which confronted our Savior continue to haunt us: the temptations to be relevant, to be spectacular, and to be powerful.

These temptations are fueled by a culture that presents to us a false picture of life. We are encouraged to believe that if we are not enjoying great food, experiencing great sex, and making great money, that somehow we have missed out on the American dream. The church has, all too often, been sucked into a spiritual version of this secular vision, proclaiming that God is primarily to be found where there is health and wealth. But all of these promises are devoid of the message of the cross and claim that God is not in the everyday and the mundane, but in the spectacular.

The result, Nouwen maintains, is that when you look at today’s church, ‘it is easy to see the prevalence of individualism. . . that, if we have anything at all to show, it is something we have to do solo. You could say that many of us feel like failed tightrope walkers. . . most of us still feel that, ideally, we should have been able to do it all and do it successfully. Stardom and individual heroism, which are such obvious aspects of our competitive society, are not at all alien to the church,’ (In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, 55-56).

Nouwen, himself, experienced this temptation to be someone and something spectacular and found the privileged college yards at Harvard and Yale to be deadening to his own soul. On a trip to Central America, he rediscovered the joy of life among simple peasants who shared their modest meals with him in a true spirit of love and peace. Henri’s work with the mentally handicapped at L’Arche, just north of Toronto, helped him to recapture his faith as he bathed, fed, and prayed over those marginalized by our society. There, he had to find a way of reclaiming the everyday, the ordinary, as a means of working out his own salvation.”
~Brian Hartley

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lift Him Up

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
~John 8:28-29

"Lord Jesus, always in the depths of my heart, be lifted up so that You may draw me to Yourself. Amen."
~Benedict Groeschel

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Simple Prayer

O Lord,
I ain't what I wanna be
O Lord,
I ain't what I oughta be
and
O Lord,
I ain't what I'm gonna be
but thanks, Lord,
I ain't what I used to be.

~Prayer of a Long-Dead Slave

Saturday, March 20, 2010

As Dew Upon the Fleece

“When You were born of a virgin, the Scriptures were fulfilled. As dew upon the fleece, You came down to save mankind: we praise You, O our God.”
~from an old prayer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

~Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Come, O Thou Traveler Unkown

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
My misery and sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name,
Look on Thy hands, and read it there;
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold!
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,
But confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if Thy Name is Love.

’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy mercies move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home,
Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Dmitri S. Bortniansky

Monday, March 15, 2010

As the Waters Cover the Sea

"In chapter 11 [Isaiah], anticipating the 'new creation' passage in chapters 65 and 66, the prophet declares that 'the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.' As it stands, that is a remarkable statement. How can the waters cover the sea? They are the sea. It looks as though God intends to flood the universe with Himself, as though the universe, the entire cosmos, was designed as a receptacle for His love. We might even suggest, as part of a Christian aesthetic, that the world is beautiful not just because it hauntingly reminds us of its Creator but also because it is pointing forward: it is designed to be filled, flooded, drenched in God, as a chalice is beautiful not least because of what we know it is designed to contain or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know the music of which it is capable..."
~N. T. Wright

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trials

This quote is in answer to a question. The question was:
Do you think God would understand when we don’t have positive feelings toward Him and are lacking Christian joy in our hearts during really difficult trials in our lives?

“…At that moment, you are probably closer to doing God’s will than any other. At that moment, you are going by pure faith. There is no crutch. There is no emotional help. You’re somewhat like Jesus on the cross saying, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ But you are still praying…

Very often, when things are going well, we don’t pray much…

When God gives us trials and tribulations, that’s only because He loves us so much that He is giving us a kiss. He is like a grizzled old man with a beard and we are like little kids and the beard hurts when it scratches on our face. But, it is a kiss from Him.

The wiser and more saintly you get, the more you can do what great saints like Paul do and enjoy your tribulations. That is difficult. But, that is what we are called to. We should be able to do that a little bit…”
~Peter Kreeft

(the above was typed from a lecture – any grammatical errors are mine)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Facta, Non Verba (Deeds, Not Words)

"...Whatever love means now, it once meant fidelity, generous concern, and joyful giving of self. That's what it means when in the Scriptures we are called to love God and our neighbor. We see the highest expression of love in Christ's obedience to the Father's will that He drink the cup of human suffering and do always 'the will of Him who sent me.' We see His love for human beings, His neighbors, in His whole life of self-giving, His compassion, His work among the poor and sick.

...If an honest friend looked at me and my life, could that person say that I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and my neighbor as myself? Or am I just giving enough to pass? How beautiful is a life of fidelity, dedication, and generosity. How dull and depressing is anything else."
~Benedict Groeschel

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thought for the Day...

"If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable... we must be content to creep along the ground, and never soar."
~John Henry Newman

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Practice

“A man with a violin case under his arm stood in Times Square looking lost. He asked a policeman, ‘How can I get to Carnegie Hall?’ The policeman answered, ‘Practice, man, practice.’ There is no other short cut to sanctity either.”
~Peter Kreeft

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Light Exists in Spring

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

~Emily Dickinson

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Song Is Love Unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

~Words: Samuel Crossman & Music: John Ireland

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thy Greatest Gift

O God, who hast proven Thy love for mankind by sending us Jesus Christ our Lord, and hast illumined our human life by the radiance of His presence, I give Thee thanks for this Thy greatest gift.

For my Lord’s days upon earth:
For the record of His deeds of love:
For the words He spoke for my guidance and help:
For His obedience unto death:
For His triumph over death:
For the presence of His Spirit with me now:
I thank thee, O God.

Grant that the remembrance of the blessed Life that once was lived out on this common earth under these ordinary skies may remain with me in all the tasks and duties of this day. Let me remember―

His eagerness, not to be ministered unto, but to minister:
His sympathy with suffering of every kind:
His bravery in face of His own suffering:
His meekness of bearing, so that, when reviled, He reviled not again:
His steadiness of purpose in keeping to His appointed task:
His simplicity:
His self-discipline:
His serenity of spirit:
His complete reliance upon Thee, His Father in Heaven.
And in each of these ways give me grace to follow in His footsteps.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I commit all my ways unto Thee. I make over my soul to Thy keeping. I pledge my life to Thy service. May this day be for me a day of obedience and of charity, a day of happiness and of peace. May all my walk and conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.
Amen.
~John Baillie

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Enter Thou into the Joy of Thy Lord

"If to any man the tumult of the flesh grew silent, silent the images of earth and sea and air: and if the heavens grew silent, and the very soul grew silent to herself and by not thinking of self mounted beyond self: if all dreams and imagined visions grew silent, and every tongue and every sign and whatsoever is transient―for indeed if any man could hear them, he should hear them saying with one voice: We did not make ourselves, but He made us who abides forever: but if, having uttered this and so set us to listening to Him who made them, they all grew silent, and in their silence He alone spoke to us, not by them but by Himself: so that we should hear His word, not by any tongue of flesh or the voice of an angel nor the sound of thunder nor in the darkness of a parable, but that we should hear Himself whom in all these things we love, should hear Himself and not them: just as we two had but now reached forth and in a flash of the mind attained to touch the eternal Wisdom which abides over all: and if this could continue, and all other visions so different be quite taken away, and this one should so ravish and absorb and wrap the beholder in inward joys that his life should eternally be such as that one moment of understanding for which we had been sighing―would not this be: Enter Thou into the joy of Thy Lord?"
~St. Augustine

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

His Kingdom

"...'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,' reminds us that God is all and that our only true happiness can be found in Him. This acceptance of God's will by free rational human beings is what is meant by the kingdom or rule of God in our lives and hearts. Although we have many needs and petitions, this one must overarch them all. This is why Our Savior said, 'Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you' (Mt 6:33). As we grow spiritually, we might estimate the degree of our spiritual growth by the purity and intensity of our desire for His kingdom to come."
~Benedict Groeschel

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Thought for Today

"This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I'm exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good, not evil; success, not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it."
~Unknown