Monday, December 30, 2013

The SOG Plan by Ken Sande--helpful advice for relationships

from Ken Sande  http://www.rw360.org/2013/04/28/the-sog-plan/
  • Self-Aware
  • Other-Aware, and
  • God-Aware
This simple acronym was not a panacea. But as Megan and the rest of our family developed the habit of channeling our thoughts, emotions, and actions through this grid, our relationships steadily improved.
We found that the best way to implement the SOG Plan was to develop the habit of asking ourselves the following types of questions.
Self-awareHow am I feeling and acting? More specifically …
  • What am I feeling? (Typical answers: competitive, irritated, insecure, envious, embarrassed, defensive, frustrated, fearful, angry, hopeless)
  • Why do I feel this way? (I failed at something. Didn’t get what I want. Fear I’ll lose something. Someone criticized me. Tried to control me. Betrayed me.)
  • What am I inclined to do? (Assume I know more than others. Clam up. Speak too much or too forcefully. Accuse or justify. Press others to see things my way.)
  • What will I do instead? (Listen patiently. Seek to understand. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Speak gently and graciously.)
Other-awareHow am I affecting others? More specifically …
  • What do others seem to be feeling? (Note their words, body language, tone of voice)
  • What do others seem to need? Want? Fear?
  • How am I impacting others? (Am I confusing, irritating, frustrating, hurting, judging, manipulating, or punishing them?)
  • Is this really the best time to talk, counsel, or correct?
  • How can I serve others? Look out for their interests?
  • How can I demonstrate genuine love and forgiveness?
God-aware: How is God involved? More specifically …
  • Who is God? What is he like?
  • What could he be up to in this situation?
  • Am I acting in faith or unbelief? Do I trust in him or myself?
  • What difference does the gospel make?
  • How can I pray? What Scriptures can guide me?
  • How can I show that I love, trust, and obey God above all things?
These questions have many variations. The point is that we always need to be thinking three-dimensionally, to be self-aware, other-aware, and, most-importantly, God-aware.
This is the essence of relational wisdom. It works for impulsive teens like my daughter, who is now twenty-one, thriving spiritually, relationally, and academically, and glad to have me share her story.
By God’s grace, it can also work for you and me. At home, in the workplace, and at church. However frustrated, detached, resentful, or relationally clumsy we or others might be at times, God can use something as simple as a SOG Plan to steadily transform our lives and relationships.
- Ken Sande
Reflection questions:
  • Which elements of the SOG Plan are described by the following passages: Matt. 22:37-39Eph. 4:30-32Phil. 2:1-11Col. 3:12-17).
  • Think of someone who seems to be exceptionally self-aware. Other-aware. God-aware. How does it show it their lives?
  • Which of their awareness skills would you most like to develop? Why?
  • Which of these three dimensions is most important? Why?
To learn more about how to apply the SOG plan in your life, visit Discover Relational Wisdom.
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.
© 2013 Ken Sand

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tchaikovshy-Hymn of the Cherubim




Blessed angel spirits offer praise undying,
Ever crying Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth.
Saints and Martyrs praise thy Name, Trinity lifegiving,
Earthborne sorrow leaving before Thy throne,
Evercrying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.
Father omnipotent, mighty in glory, Christ,
Thy Son, our Saviour who died that we might live,
Holy Spirit, mystic dove, dwelling with us ever more,
We praise Thee, Blessed Trinity.
With the Angels' sacred hymn,
All thy might proclaiming,
With the mystic cherubim
in songs of praise we join,
Holy, Holy, Holy,
Join we all in songs of praise for ever;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Lord God of Sabaoth.

[not sure of the correct translation--also found this as an intro

We, who mystically represent the Cherubim,
And chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity,
Let us set aside the cares of life
That we may receive the King of all,
Who comes invisibly escorted by the Divine Hosts. Alleluia

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is this emotion pleasing to God?

Good Advice from Ken Sende--this is a quote :
Do a 180
 
Sin-tainted emotions often provide helpful navigation points … and excellent opportunities to practice the six core skills of relational wisdom.
 
When you realize that you are feeling anger, bitterness, jealousy, contempt, or any other negative or distressing emotion, ask yourself two questions.
 
First, “Is this emotion pleasing to God and consistent with his character and will?”
 
If the answer is “probably not,” ask yourself the second question: “In what direction is this emotion seeking to move me?”
 
Once you’ve clearly identified the direction that you are inclined to go, the best course of action will often be to “do a 180,” that is, to do exactly the opposite of what you feel like doing.
  • Do you want to turn your back on someone who ignored you during a time of need? Then take the initiative to encourage and serve that person.
  • Do you feel like sharing embarrassing information about someone who gossiped about you? Instead protect that person’s reputation and draw attention to her virtues and accomplishments.
  • Are you tempted to shun someone who has deliberately rejected your advice? Surprise him by seeking his counsel and implementing his worthwhile ideas.
  • Do you secretly hope that someone who rejected you will be hurt in the same way? Pray daily that God will graciously spare her from such harm.
  • Was someone disloyal to you, and now you have a chance to the same in return? Amaze her by standing fast as her friend and supporter.
Radical stuff. Crazy in the eyes of the world. Exactly the opposite of what we feel like doing. But precisely the course that God calls us to walk as his image bearers:
 
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
 
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).
 
This kind of unworldly behavior requires you to exercise all six disciplines of relational wisdom:
  • Self-awareness - “What am I feeling? Why? What am I tempted to do?”
  • Self-engagement - “What will I do instead?”
  • God-awareness - “What is God like? How does the gospel apply to this situation?”
  • God-engagement - “How will I trust, imitate, and obey Jesus right now?”
  • Other-awareness - “What are the other person’s needs? Struggles? Interests?”
  • Other–engagement - “How can I encourage, bless, and serve him?”
Doing a 180 is of course inappropriate in situations involving abuse or danger of serious harm, when we should instead follow our protective instincts and seek help from God-ordained authorities (Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 13:1-7).
 
But when emotions are churning during the normal disappointments and trials of life, doing the opposite of what you feel like doing--without expecting any benefit in return--can put you on a course that imitates God’s mercy and grace to you (Eph. 5:1-2), and gives you the best chance of preserving a relationship you might otherwise loose.
 
- Ken Sande
 
Reflection Questions:
  • How do these passages support the concept of doing the opposite of what our feelings are leading us to do? Luke 23:34; 1 Samuel 24; Romans 12:19-21; Acts 7:54-60
  • How does doing the opposite of what we feel like doing give us an opportunity to imitate God (Rom. 5:8)?
  • Think of a time when you let negative and distressing emotions guide your words and actions toward another person. How did it feel initially? How did the situation turn out in the long run? Were you glad or sad that you followed your emotions?
  • Are you in a challenging relationship that is triggering emotions that seem to be moving you to distance yourself from another person or to say or do hurtful things toward him? What would be opposite course of action? Do you think that is where God wants you to go?
  • Why is it essential that you do these things without expecting the other person to do anything for you in return?
Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.
 
© 2013 Ken Sande

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bach, cello suites Yo-Yo Ma




The painting is "Mill on a River" by Claude Lorrain Suite
 No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Suite No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008 16:34
Suite No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009 35:35
Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 1010 55:09
Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011 1:19:44
Suite No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012 1:43:29

Monday, September 2, 2013

the little things

It never occurs to me that I can possibly separate anything from love,” she said. “For example, I will speak of washing dishes. If I have the attitude that this is a beautiful ‘little thing’ that I can give to God, then washing a cup becomes an adventure! Do you get the picture? Every little thing should be done perfectly, completely, connected with God. Otherwise, it ceases to be interesting. It has no sense and no being. Doing little things with our whole hearts is our vocation.
— Catherine Doherty

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chesterton on Christianity

G.K. Chesterton on Christianity
"Suppose we heard an unknown man spoken of by many men.  Suppose we were puzzled to hear that some men said he was too tall and some too short; some objected to his fatness, some lamented his leanness; some thought him too dark, and some too fair.  One explanation (as has been already admitted ) would be that he might be an odd shape.  But there is another explanation.  He might be the right shape.  Outrageously tall men might feel him to be short.  Very short men might feel him to be tall.  Old bucks who are growing stout might consider him insufficiently filled out; old beaux who were growing thin might feel that he expanded beyond the narrow lines of elegance. Perhaps Swedes (who have pale hair like tow) called him a dark man, while negroes considered him distinctly blonde. Perhaps (in short) this extraordinary thing is really the ordinary thing; at least the normal thing, the centre.  Perhaps, after all, it is Christianity that is sane and all its critics that are mad—-in various ways."
From Orthodoxy

Thursday, August 15, 2013

veni Creator Spiritus



(this is a poem and not a precise literal translation of the Latin)
Veni, creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heav'nly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas
et spiritalis unctio.
O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
Thou heav'nly gift of God most high,
Thou Fount of life, and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Tu septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae
tu rite promissum Patris
sermone ditans guttura.
O Finger of the hand divine,
the sevenfold gifts of grace are thine;
true promise of the Father thou,
who dost the tongue with power endow.
Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti.
Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed thy love in every heart;
thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.
Hostem repellas longius
pacemque dones protinus;
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and thine abiding peace bestow;
if thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.
Per te sciamus da Patrem
noscamus atque Filium,
te utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Praise we the Father and the Son
and Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Amen.

Allegri Miserere



This translation is from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and is used in Ivor Atkins' English edition of the Miserere (published by Novello):
Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness
According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offences.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and stablish me with Thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou that art the God of my health: and my tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth shall shew Thy praise.
For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise.
O be favourable and gracious unto Sion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall they offer young calves upon Thine altar.
Psalm 51

the Latin found on .wikipedia.

 The original is written in Latin:
Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci: ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me hysopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae: et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut aedificentur muri Ierusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

Lux Aurumque

Alleluia Eric Whitacre

Ave Maria Vladimir Vavilov

Thursday, August 1, 2013

hand of welcome


Hand of Welcome
"... freed from the slavery of corruption into
the freedom of the children of God." Romans 8:21
Father,
You stretch forth
Your Hand of Welcome, and
Guide me to Your Land --
Of glory and freedom.
This is Your Will.
Your Hands
Lift me from under the heel of sin,
A gnawing and withering world,
Of pride, with it's prison,
Of greed, with it's worry,
Of lust, with it's hangover,
Of anger, with it's wreck.
This is not Your Will.
No.
For, when I surrender to Your Will,
Harsh-days go,
Gloom-days go,
Lonely-days go,
For the grace of Your Will
Is soul-quiet.
This is Your hope for me,
As a Father loves his child.
Thank You.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It is written


Peter O'Brien  


It Is Written
"You shall worship the Lord, Your God, and Him alone
shall you serve." Luke 4:8
Father,
Scribe
On my soul
Your Word --
The alphabet for my words.
Lift
The grey heavy blanket
Hiding my soul, then
I will light the long candle --
The ever-burning flame of praise.
Not in whispers, but 
With a praise large and sturdy
Will this tireless traveler
Join with Your angels in worship -
"Holy, holy, holy, lord God."
Let not my praise be taxidermal, one
That appears alive and real, but
Is cold and stiff,
Wooden inside.
Father,
I pray:
That my worship
Spread beyond my soul's house,
Go into the world and
Serve as Your servant --
The Great Christian paradox:
In slavery to You, I am free.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rest


 photo IMG_5737.jpg


           Rest

There is on this earth
A marvelous Tree.
Its root, O mystery!
Is in Heaven...

In its shade
Never could anything
      cause pain.
One can rest there
Without fearing the storm.

Love is the name
Of this ineffable Tree,
And its delectable fruit
Is called Abandonment.

Even in this life this fruit
Gives me happiness.
My soul delights
In its divine fragrance.

When I touch this fruit,
It seems a treasure.
Putting it to my mouth,
It is sweeter still.

It gives me in this world
An ocean of peace.
In this deep peace
I rest forever.....

by St. Therese of Lisieux

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Secularism

by Peter O'Brien  (found on Awestruck)

SECULARISM
"Serve the Lord with awe, and rejoice before Him with trembling,
Bow down in homage, lest He become angry and you perish from
The Way." Psalm 2:11
Father,
Secularism?
The world's clam shell
Slammed tight
Around a suffocating world.
Secularism?
Homage to "Man,
Not as Your Craft, Your Mirror, Father, 
But the world's height,
The castle's tenant, the dream's center.
Secularism?
Homage to "Science,"
Not as the eye to see Your Canvas, Father,
But the only eye, for all else is
The tyrany of superstition and projection..
Secularism?
Homage to the "I,"
Not as part of Your "we," Father, 
But the only wreath worthy of wear, the crown,
The "I" who walks with pomp through the crowd.
Secularism?
Homage to "Non-Belief,"
Not as a spark for search, Father, 
But the only "adult" realm,
The land without crutch,
But one of militancy.
Secularism?
Homage to "Reason,'
Not as Your gift, Father, 
But the only ship,
The "smart" ship for the journey, for
Faith is a paper boat.
Secularism?
Homage to "Consuming,"
Not as share, Father, 
But the only engine of joy --
Buy, buy, buy,
Must have, must have, must have.
Secularism?
Homage to "Success,"
Not as fulfilling Your gifts, Father, 
But the ONLY river road to self-esteem,
Even if wide-wasting and confining.
Father,
Unshell our world,
Open it with young eyes
To the dignity of homage,
Not to man. nor science,
Nor "I," nor non-belief,
Nor consuming, nor success,
For they lead to ashes, but
To You Father, who leads us
To Freedom --Jesus, the Gentle Emancipator.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Farewell

by Peter O'Brien

FAREWELL "...Every one of you who does not renounce his possession,
can not be my disciple." Luke 14:33
Father,
Farewell
To my old ways, my old days,
To yesterday's yearn and itch, now
I walk as a pupil to the Joy-Maker -- Jesus.
Farewell
To those memories,
Forged in sin's fire,
Burning down all stairways to You, now
I walk as a pupil to the Cheer-Maker -- Jesus.
Farewell
To those spells,
Caging and chaining my soul, now
I walk as a pupil to the Smile-Maker -- Jesus.
Father,
Jesus, the Key-Maker,
Unlocked the home of grace
Through the blooded iron of the Cross,
Let me be rich with it, so to be
Your Son's apprentice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Touching others with His love


Touching others with His love
“The ultimate miracle of Divine Love is this, that the life of the Risen Lord is given to us to give to one another. It is given to us through our own human loves. It is no violation of our simple human nature. It is not something which must be cultivated through a lofty spirituality that only few could attain; it does not demand a way of life that is abnormal, or even unusual; it is not a specialized vocation.  It is to be lived at home, at work, in any place, any circumstances.  It is to be lived through our natural human relationships, through the people we know, the neighbours we see.  It is given to us, if we will take it, literally into our own hands to give.  It is the love of human lovers, of man and wife, of parent and child, of friend and friend. 
“It is through his Risen Life in us that Christ sends his love to the ends of the earth.  That is why instead of startling the world into trembling adoration by manifesting his glory, he sent the woman who had been a sinner to carry the ineffable secret, and sent the two disciples who had been bewildered by their blind inability to reconcile Scripture and Calvary, and sent the friend who had denied him, to give his love to the world, and to give it as simply as a whispered secret or a loaf of bread.  So is it that we, sinners, wranglers, weaklings, provided only that we love God, are sent to give the life of the Risen Christ to the whole world, through the daily bread of our human love.” {C. Houselander}

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God's mercy--from homily by Pope Francis

From April 7 mercy Sunday homily---there are some statements in this that are so encouraging---Pope Francis:



-- 1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as “Divine Mercy Sunday”. What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.
2. In today’s Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus. Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: “We have seen the Lord”. It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: “On the third day I will rise”. He wants to see, he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side. And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. “My Lord and my God!”: with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.
Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: “Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in me”. Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!
Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them. This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.
I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father; it impresses me because it always gives me great hope. Think of that younger son who was in the Father’s house, who was loved; and yet he wants his part of the inheritance; he goes off, spends everything, hits rock bottom, where he could not be more distant from the Father, yet when he is at his lowest, he misses the warmth of the Father’s house and he goes back. And the Father? Had he forgotten the son? No, never. He is there, he sees the son from afar, he was waiting for him every hour of every day, the son was always in his father’s heart, even though he had left him, even though he had squandered his whole inheritance, his freedom. The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about him, and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach: he is back! And that is the joy of the Father. In that embrace of the son there is all of this joy: he is back! God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence, hope – always! A great German theologian, Romano Guardini, said that God responds to our weakness by his patience, and this is the reason for our confidence, our hope (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis, W├╝rzburg, 1949, p. 28). It is like a dialogue between our weakness and the patience of God, a dialogue that, if we will engage in it, gives us hope.
3. I would like to emphasize one other thing: God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith. Saint Bernard, in a fine homily, says: “Through the wounds of Jesus I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock (cf. Deut 32:13), I can taste and see the goodness of the Lord” (On the Song of Songs, 61:4). It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: What can I count on? On my own merits? No, “My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits” (ibid., 5). This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love. Saint Bernard even states: “So what if my conscience gnaws at me for my many sins? ‘Where sin has abounded, there grace has abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20)” (ibid.). But some of us may think: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: “Father, I have many sins”; and I have always pleaded: “Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything”. We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.
Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: “Adam, where are you?” He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: “What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.
In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his tenderness, so beautiful, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.
<><

Thursday, March 21, 2013

logic, reason , faith


It is idle to talk always of the alternative of reason and faith. Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all. If you are merely a sceptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question ‘Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction? Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic? They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?’
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 39. (via thirstygargoyle)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hope



 photo d3b7efd3-ae31-4e13-ad98-dbe0b725a474.jpg



To imagine ourselves outside the temporality that imprisons us and in some way to sense that eternity is not an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality-- this we can only attempt. It would be like plunging into the ocean of infinite love, a moment in which time-the before and after---no longer exists. We can only attempt to grasp the idea that such a moment is life in the full sense, a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy. This is how Jesus expresses it in Saint John's Gospel: 'I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you' (Jn 16:22). We must think along these lines if we want to understand the object of Christian hope, to understand what it is that our faith, our being with Christ, leads us to expect.


These are good thoughts to think on from Spe salvi 12, by Benedict
.