Sunday, November 27, 2022

Advent

"IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.” (Jn 1:1)

AND MARY SAID, "BEHOLD! I AM THE DOULY OF THE LORD. LET IT BE DONE UNTO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD." (Luke1:38)

“AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US." (Jn 1:14)

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. The greatest love story of all time is being re-told. A mystical door is opening from Heaven to inflame earth in the "burning Furnace of Love" that is God's passionate Love affair with His people. He is madly in love with our soul and His love is revealed in and through "The Word." 

We search and dig and pray to try to hear and understand what this "Word" is saying to us. His language is sometimes beyond us because we are finite. He is Infinite. He is totally Other. We are totally dependent on Him.  

"When God loves us, He is loving Himself in us."

Inherent in these words is a staggering truth... that if God loves Himself in us, then He must be Present within us. 
                                   How to fathom such a profound and eternal meaning?

In Sacred Scripture, The Word speaks, so we go there to "sit at His feet" to hear His Voice. 
                                   
And to hear Our Father's response.

Jesus, The Word, spoke in the darkness of the stable of His Birth. We sit at the mouth of that cave and we look inside. We see His Poverty. In this, we hear Him inviting us to let go of attachments that make our hands stick to things that can do damage to our souls. "Attachments can be dangerous because they prevent us from relying on faith. And they can ultimately make us prey to the devil. Detachment is non-possessiveness and opens a soul-space for God to fill it with poverty of spirit."

Like Mary, the Douly of the Lord, we say our own YES to that gift of poverty.

And the Father sees His Son's Poverty growing within us. God the Father is seeing and loving in us something of what He saw and loved in His Son. As He gazes on us, we hear His delight with our small gift and He proclaims to all the hosts of Heaven: 

                  "BEHOLD! MY BELOVED... IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." (Mt 3 :17)
                    
During His life on earth, we see Jesus, Savior, Son, as Humility enfleshed. He is the Doulos, the Bondslave of God. Everything He said and did and had, came from His Father. In Matthew 3:6, John is baptising many in the waters of the Jordan. To be submerged in the waters was an external marker for an interior confession of sin and a desire to repent. Jesus, Son of God, Redeemer before time began, approaches John to ask to be baptised. In that moment, He, the Innocent One, not only aligned Himself with my sins, He was expressing ownership of them. For all of us. In full view of the great number
of sinners waiting to confess and to repent, He, the Christ, waited in line and was submerged in our place. 

And when the Savior came out from the waters, the Voice of God was heard:

                       "BEHOLD! THIS IS MY BELOVED... IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED."

When we wait in line to confess our sins and our spiritual pride tempts us with a hundred reasons to abandon such a place of humiliations, we may be given the grace to attend to another whisper: God can use even my sins for the salvation of my soul. But more, much more, we can offer our humiliation to God for the soul of another, one who never prays and who will not do penance, to be brought back to God through my offering. 

 And at the words of absolution, the Father sees more of His Son in us and we hear His delight:
                                 
                       "BEHOLD! MY BELOVED... IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." 

It was a shocking and terrifying and electric moment when Jesus, Lord raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. The scorching sun must have blazed on that scene among the caves of tombs. And into that stunned silence, Christ Jesus walked to the entrance of the tomb. Suddenly, He raised His hands and arms high into the air. His head was thrown back and His eyes stared up toward Heaven. And then He gave a great shout that must have rocked the silent crowd. 

Jesus was addressing His Father and His Voice was filled with holy joy:

"Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." (Jn 11:38-44)

In deeply challenging circumstances, when even friends don't fully stand by us, when all that should be just isn't, do we ever throw our hands and arms high in the air and shout a great shout of utter holy joy in the midst of our storm: Father, Thank you. I know that you always hear me?

And the Father's Gaze sees the faith and holy joy of His Son alive in our soul, and He replies:
                                        
                          "BEHOLD! MY BELOVED... IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." 

Our fallen human nature is being pursued by Love in every passage and event in Sacred Scripture. The Word is speaking Himself into life in, through and with us. Christ is the Father's "entire Locution and Response, given to us as Master, Brother, Companion, Ransom, Reward." (St John of the Cross)

This is never more miraculous and powerful and uncontained than at that moment when we leave our seats to walk forward to the Altar where the Unbloodied Sacrifice has been offered to the Father at the hands of the priest. On our way up the aisle, we offer ourselves: all that we were, all that we are, all that we have, all that we will be.  
                                
We receive the Word made Flesh, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

To give Himself to us, the Son had to be totally annihilated so that we can be totally filled with God. The Breath of the Father, through the Spirit, breathes in the Son, now actually and Physically Present on our tongue or in our hand. We are breathing the Breath that empowers us to communicate with God and the Hearts of the Trinity are now beating in our own. 
           
AS HE GAZES ON AND IN US, THE FATHER CAN NOW PROCLAIM IN FULLNESS TO ALL OF HEAVEN:
                              "BEHOLD! MY BELOVED... IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." 

                                                      And the Word speaks into our depths...

                                                   "DON'T CLING TO ME.....GO AND TELL" (John 20:17)

“WHEN GOD LOVES US HE IS LOVING HIMSELF IN US. HE THUS MAKES US HIS EQUAL."




Friday, November 18, 2022

SILENCE IS THE CROSS ON WHICH WE MUST CRUCIFY OUR EGO

"SILENCE IS THE CROSS ON WHICH WE MUST CRUCIFY OUR EGO." (St. Seraphim of Sarov)

When words of detraction have wounded us, or we have been sorely misunderstood, and when then we do not defend ourselves, our silence becomes a Sacrament and we permit God to use it as His holy tool to purify our soul. 

In the death to our disordered self, we lose chunks of the self that destroy our soul. We lose all the disordered attachments that bind us.  Our tainted ego is silenced. In our silent and hidden suffering, offered into the Savior's, He then invites us to join Him in winning souls: those who were and those who are; and those who are yet to be born because God is the Eternal NOW. 

And He draws us ever deeper into His Mighty, Loving Heart. 

We become one with Him.

Monday, November 7, 2022

FEAST DAY OF ST. ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY

NOVEMBER 8 IS THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY. SHE LEADS US INTO DEPTHS OF GOD IN HER FINAL RETREAT, JUST BEFORE HER VERY PAINFUL DEATH FROM ADDISON'S DISEASE. THE FOLLOWING MEDITATIONS ARISE FROM DAY FIFTEEN OF HER LAST RETREAT. 

                                 (EXTRACTS FROM " A SPACIOUS PLACE")

Day Fifteen

 

There is a spiritual world and beyond contained in this FIFTEENTH DAY reflection because in it, Elizabeth draws us into a mere glimpse of the MIGHTY POWERLESS ONE... MARY, MIRIAM, HOUSE OF GOLD, SEAT OF WISDOM,  TOWER OF DAVID, ARK OF THE COVENANT, GATE OF HEAVEN, REFUGE OF SINNERS, PUREST OF CREATURES, and when we say, "MARY" she says "GOD". 

 

Today our Mighty Mother, the Mother who wears combat boots as she protects us, is in our sight and we are in hers and we march behind our Warrior Queen toward the conclusion of our mystical journey with St. Elizabeth into the Most Holy Trinity.

 

On the FIRST DAY of her reflections for our retreat, St. Elizabeth reminded us that: "no-one has penetrated the depths of the mystery of Christ except the Blessed Virgin Mary".  

 

St. Elizabeth goes on to reveal to us that: "The Mother of Grace will form my soul so that her little child will be a living, 'striking' image of her First Born".

 

Questions…


1) Is Mary herself a living, "striking" image of her Son? What aspects of Christ does she reflect? What aspects of Christ do I currently reflect to those around me?

 

2) Could Mary have become the mirror of the Son if she had any self-image?

 

3) Her Son revealed, "...for anyone who has looked at me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). Could He have been the "striking image" of the Father if He had any self-image?

 

4) Do the Son and the Mother embody "nescivi" which means seeking no other knowledge but knowledge of God alone?

 

5)  Is this what I seek? Could this be my desire for my "eternity already in progress" (Day One)?


The Prayer to the Trinity

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to become utterly forgetful of myself so that I may establish myself in you, as changeless and calm as though my soul were already in eternity. Let nothing disturb my peace nor draw me forth f from you, O my unchanging God, but at every moment may I penetrate more deeply into the depths of your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven, your cherished dwelling-place and the place of your repose. Let me never leave you there alone, but keep me there, wholly attentive, wholly alert in my faith, wholly adoring and fully given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, I long to be the bride of your heart. I long to cover you with glory, to love you even unto death! Yet I sense my powerlessness and beg you to clothe me with yourself. Identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself for me, so that my life may become a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, as Redeemer and as Saviour.

O Eternal Word, utterance of my God, I want to spend my life listening to you, to become totally teachable so that I might learn all from you. Through all darkness, all emptiness, all powerlessness, I want to keep my eyes fixed on you and to remain under your great light. O my Beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, overshadow me so that the Word may be, as it were incarnate again in my soul. May I be for him a new humanity in which he can renew all his mystery.

And you, O Father, bend down towards your poor little creature. Cover her with your shadow, see in her only your beloved son in who you are well pleased

O my 'Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to you as your prey. Immerse yourself in me so that I may be immersed in you until I go to contemplate in your light the abyss of your splendour! (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity)


Questions...


6) Do I know the work He has set aside for me to do during my life time?


7) Do I recognize that this work will continue to be mine in and for all eternity?


"WORK WHICH WILL BE HERS FOR ETERNITY AND WHICH SHE WILL ALREADY PERFORM IN TIME, WHICH IS ETERNITY BEGUN AND STILL IN PROGRESS" (Day One, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity)

 




Thursday, November 3, 2022

All Souls Day 2022 - Heroic Act of Charity

 The Heroic Art of Charity Prayer for the souls in Purgatory.

"O MY GOD! FOR YOUR GREATER GLORY AND TO IMITATE AS CLOSELY AS POSSIBLE THE GENEROUS HEART OF JESUS, MY REDEEMER, AND ALSO TO TESTIFY MY DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN, MY MOTHER, WHO IS ALSO THE MOTHER OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY, I PLACE IN HER HANDS ALL MY SATISFACTORY WORKS, AS WELL AS THE FRUIT OF THOSE WHICH MAY BE OFFERED FOR MY INTENTIONS AFTER MY DEATH, THAT SHE MAY APPLY THEM TO THE SOULS IN PURGATORY, ACCORDING TO HER WISDOM AND GOOD PLEASURE. AMEN."

Passage from Sacred Scripture for meditation:
"Thus he made atonement for the dead that they may be freed from sin" (2 Maccabees 12:46).

(Extract from "God's Tapestry in Time - the Story within the story," A Rae-Kelly 2022)