RSS

Tag Archives: meditation

SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

SERMON FROM THE AQUEDUCT

The word was made flesh and now dwells among us. He dwells in our memory, he dwells in our thoughts. He comes down even to our imagination.

“How?” you ask. By lying in a manner, by nestling at his mother’s breast, preaching on the mountain, praying throughout the night, hanging on the Cross, growing pallid in death, free among the dead, triumphant in hell. He does it by rising on the third day, by showing the Apostles the print of the nails, the marks of his victory, and finally by ascending before their very eyes into the mysterious heights of the heaven. Of which of these can we not think truly, lovingly, piously, holily?

Of whichever one I think, I think of God; and he is my God through them all. I call it wisdom to meditate upon them, I judge it prudent to recall the memory of their sweetness. From such seeds the priestly rod put forth buds; Mary, drawing their nurture from celestial depths, brought forth the flowers. She who received the Word from the heart of the Father himself, was on a supernal plane, higher even than the angels.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DO NOT TRUST IN YOUR PRESENT FEELINGS: RESTLESSNESS OF SOUL

DO NOT TRUST IN YOUR PRESENT FEELINGS: RESTLESSNESS OF SOUL

My Child, do not trust in your present feeling, for it will soon give way to another. As long as you live on this earth you will be subject to changeableness in spite of yourself. You will become merry at one time and sad another, noe peaceful but again disturbed, at one moment devout and the next indevout, sometimes diligent while at other times lazy, now grave and again flippant.

Standing superior to these changes

But the man who is wise and whose spirit is well instructed stands superior to these changes. He pays no attention to what he feels in himself or from what quarter the wind of fickleness blows, so long as the whole intention of his mind is conducive to his proper and desired end. For thus he can stand undivided, unchanged, and unshaken, with the singleness of his intention directed unwaveringly toward Me, even in so many changing events. And the purer this singleness of intention is, with so much more constancy does he pass through many storms.

The eye of your intention must be free from interference

But in many ways the eye of pure intention grows dim, because it is attracted to any outwardly delightful thing that it meets. Indeed, it is rare to find one who is entirely free from all taint of self-seeking. The Jews of old, for example, came to Bethany to Martha and Mary, not for Jesus’ sake alone, but in order to see Lazarus.

The eye of your intention, therefore, must be cleansed so that it is single and right. It must be directed towards Me, despite all the objects which may interfere.

– From: The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MINUTE MEDITATION: THE MERCIFUL HEART OF JESUS

MINUTE MEDITATION: THE MERCIFUL HEART OF JESUS

HE GIVES HIS LIFE TO SNATCH US, HIS CHOSEN SHEEP, FROM THE DEATH OF SIN AND OF HELL.

Tender and compassionate, immense and truly incomprehensible is the pity of the Heart of Jesus for our miseries.

It was pity which made Him descend from heaven to earth, to work so many prodigies of mercy and compassion on our behalf. Like a good shepherd, He gives His life to snatch us, His chosen sheep, from the death of sin and of hell. Lamb of God, He exposes Himself to the rigours of divine justice, that we may be spared. Mediator between God and man, He consents to be abandoned, that we may be received into the friendship of His Heavenly Father.

And all this mercy, all this compassion, is living still in the Heart of Jesus. How He grieves to see so many perishing, or exposing themselves to perishing eternally! “O men,” He cries to them, “my poor children, why do you perish thus? Rather return to Me and live.”

“Return to Me and live.”

And when at length, contrite and humbled we return to Jesus, oh! with what tender mercy and compassion He welcomes us, embraces us, and re-establishes us in our rights! And – prodigy truly incomprehensible! – He even forgets our iniquities, so that, banishing from His Heart all resentment and all idea of vengeance, He seems never to have suffered the smallest injury at our hands.

– From: Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

HOW, IN THE ROSARY, WE ARE FORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS

HOW, IN THE ROSARY, WE ARE FORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS

(To learn how to pray the Holy Rosary, please click here: How to meditate on Our Lord Jesus’_life / the Gospels with the Rosary  )

To know, love and imitate Our Lord Jesus Christ – such is the principle of Christian life, the secret of perfection. True perfection consists formally in the love which unites us to Jesus, but as one cannot love without acquaintance, and affectionate acquaintance engenders imitation – one is anxious to resemble those whom one loves – it follows that the imitation, as well as the knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ, form, as it were, the integral parts of that perfection, the essence of which is love.

The Rosary is the school where Mary trains us daily in the Christian life. There, not only does this divine Mother fill our understanding with the knowledge of Jesus and our hearts with love of Him, but she completes her work by imprinting on us, by imitation, the image of Him who is the First-born of all the elect. To this last point I would particularly direct your attention.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the First-born of all the elect.

Created as we are to the image of God, we feel the need of perfecting with us this divine image, of drawing out all its splendour, by imitating more and more closely our sovereign model. In the beginning, the angel and the man, intoxicated with foolish pride, wished to push the divine resemblance beyond all limits, even to the extent of absolute independence, which is the attribute of God alone. Avenging His slighted rights, God struck down Lucifer, and severely punished the first man. The punishment of the latter, however, was not untempered with mercy. God raised Adam and Eve anew, and once more showing Heaven to them, revealed to their eyes through the distance of ages One whose imperfect image they were henceforth to bear, till they at length resumed His glory.

Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God the Father, appears at the centre of the new creation as the finished model which we all must copy, which we must all resemble if we are to be counted among the children of God. To the Blessed Virgin, who formed this divine exemplar, is allotted the task of reproducing His likeness in each one of the elect. The Rosary is the mould into which she casts souls, to form them to the divine image; or let us say, rather, that with the Rosary, as with a chosen instrument, this admirable artist sculptures, paints, and imprints the image of her Son. She sculptures it in the neophytes, paints it in souls more advanced, and imprints it in hearts which are responsive to the lightest touch of grace.

The purgative, illuminative and unitive life 

Spiritual authors tell us that in the work of perfecting us, and forming us in the likeness of Jesus Christ, it is necessary, first, to take away, like the sculptors, then to add, like the painters, and finally to apply and unite closely, like the printers.

The purgative life

In the purgative life, in which the soul divests itself of its vices and bad habits, it is necessary above all to cut away. In the Rosary, therefore, Mary sculptures certain souls, refining them by the practice of poverty, of mortification, of ever increasing detachment. In the joyful mysteries, she takes from us the love of earthly treasures by showing us Jesus poor and shelterless; in the sorrowful, she destroys our love of ease, our desire for pleasure, by opposing to our sensuality the terrible sufferings of our Saviour; in the glorious mysteries, she severs the last ties which bind us to earth, elevating our hearts by the spectacle of Jesus ascending into heaven.

As the sculptor first rounds off a block of marble, then gradually outlines the statue, and finally completes it with little touches of the chisel, so the Blessed Virgin, after the sinful habits, removes the small defects, even to the last lingering imperfections of a soul which generously penitent abandons itself entirely to her.

The illuminative life

In the illuminative life, in which the soul devotes itself particularly to progress in virtue, Mary resembles the painter who adds colour to colour, mixing and blending them suitably, in order to produce an accurate and life-like portrait. When the soul, purified of its faults, presents, as it were, a spotless surface, the immaculate Virgin complacently deposits on this stainless background the colours of all the virtues, spreading perpetually a new layer of grace; and the Rosary is the rich palette from which she draws the tints which contribute to the perfection of the image, which she wishes to produce. Under the brush of this incomparable artist the dazzling whiteness of faith, the celestial radiations of hope, the soft crimson of charity, the shades and reflections of all the virtues mingle on the countenance of the soul, formerly gloomy and darkened, and stamp upon it the supernatural expression which distinguishes the children of God.

Ah! could we, by a life of piety and habitual recollection, by frequent meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, keep our soul always ready, spread forth to its utmost limit, like a precious canvas, on which Mary might exercise her divine art by completing in us the image of her Son!

The unitive life

In all cases there is no better way to obtain a perfect resemblance in a short time than to reproduce the model itself by applying it to the surface on which it is to be represented. The image shows itself immediately, distinguished by an accuracy far greater than could be obtained by endless touches of the brush.

When a soul has arrived at the punitive life, that is, at such a degree of love for God as excludes all return to self, and justifies the words of the great apostle: “It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ who lives in me” – then Mary imprints Jesus in this soul, as on soft, pure wax. In a moment the celestial image appears, no longer merely in outline; it is reflected each day more faithfully in the affections, in the desires, in every act. Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum, ut signaculum super brachium tuum. Jesus is set like a seal on the heart and on the arm, in the intention and in the deed.

The contemplative soul, closely united to God by love, receives, in passing through the mysteries of the Rosary, the impression of this divine seal. Mary herself applies it, and, according to the mystery, she reproduces Jesus humble, gentle, obedient, Jesus in His wisdom, power, goodness and infinite grace; or again, as in those modern portraits which light produces with such exactitude, Mary, admirable light emanating from the Sun of Justice, transmits in perfection the features of the divine model, imprinting them with the utmost fidelity to the depths of the heart.

An imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in heaven

Who then, faithful to this Rosary, would not allow himself to be worked upon by Her who knows so well how to mould a soul, how to paint and imprint Jesus on it? Let us dispose ourselves daily by a life of mortification, of recollection and intimate union with God, to aid Mary in her admirable work, unquestionably more admirable than all the works of nature, for the material creation even in its most beautiful manifestations, offers only a distant reflection of God, while the soul devoted to the Rosary, closely united to Christ, bears an imperishable resemblance to the Father who is in Heaven.

– Laverty & Sons, 1905

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THINGS TO DO DURING EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

WHAT IS EUCHARISTIC ADORATION?

“Eucharistic adoration is the act of worshipping God as He is present in the consecrated Eucharist. Since the Last Supper, when Jesus broke the bread and distributed the wine, saying, “This is my Body” and “This is my Blood”, Catholics know that the bread and wine is the actual living presence of the Second Person of the Trinity. Spending time before the Blessed Sacrament, in prayer and devotion, is exactly the same as spending time before the living God. Adoration occurs whenever someone kneels in front of a tabernacle that contains the Blessed Sacrament, genuflects towards a tabernacle, bows before receiving the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, or, in a more focused way, when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration.

 

THINGS TO DO DURING EUCHARISTIC ADORATION:

 

Fr Benedict Groeschel points out in “In the Presence of Our Lord: The History, Theology, and Psychology of Eucharistic Devotion” that there are ‘four kinds of prayer most appropriate in the presence of the Eucharist, namely adoration and praise, thanksgiving, repentance, and trusting intercession’. Here are suggestions what to do during private Eucharistic adoration.

 

1. PRAY THE PSALMS OR THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS

Whether you are praising, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness, or seeking an answer, you’ll find an appropriate psalm. The ancient prayer of the Church called the Liturgy of the Hours presents an excellent way to pray through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.

 

2. RECITE THE “JESUS PRAYER”

Say “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner”, repeatedly as you quiet your heart and mind.

 

3. MEDITATE USING SCRIPTURE

Choose a passage from the Bible. Read the words and ask God to let the passage speak to you. Pay special attention to anything that strikes you and ask God what He wishes for you to draw from that passage.

 

4. READ THE LIFE OF A SAINT AND PRAY WITH HIM OR HER

Most holy men and women have a great devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist. Therese of Lisieux, Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Julian Eymard, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Baroness Catherine de Hueck are just a few. Read about them and pray their prayers before the Blessed Sacrament.

 

5. POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO CHRIST AND ADORE HIM

Speak to Jesus, aware that you are in His presence, and tell Him all that comes to your mind. Listen for His response. Pray the prayer that St Francis instructed his brothers to pray whenever they were before the Blessed Sacrament: “I adore you, O Christ, present here and in all the churches of the world, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”

 

6. ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND INTERCEDE FOR OTHERS

Think of those who have hurt you and request a special blessing for them. Ask God to forgive you for all the times you have neglected or hurt someone else. Bring before the Blessed Sacrament all those who have asked you to pray for them. Ask the Lord to address their concerns.

 

7. PRAY THE ROSARY

Pope John Paul II reminds us, “…is not the enraptured gaze of Mary as she contemplated the face of the newborn Christ and cradled him in her arms that unparalleled model of love which should inspire us every time we receive Eucharistic Communion?” (The Church and the Eucharist, 55) Ask Mary to join you as you gaze on Christ in the Eucharist and as you pray the Rosary.

 

8. SIT QUIETLY AND JUST “BE” IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Think of a visit to the Blessed Sacrament as coming to see your best friend. Sit quietly and enjoy being in each other’s company. Instead of talking to the Lord, try listening to what He wants to tell you.”

 

Tags: , , , , ,

THE SPIRITUAL ROAD OF TRANSFORMING UNION – THE UNITIVE WAY

“THE UNITIVE WAY

Far from being mere spiritual fervour, the flame of love or “divinisation” is a transforming grace which fuses the human and the divine in such a way that the former is annihilated in the latter. But to reach this height, a total detachment from and denial of self is required because heading down the road of transforming union only occurs when every other road has been renounced.

THE PURGATIVE, ILLUMINATIVE AND UNITIVE WAYS

In the heavily stereotyped classification of mystical experience, experts say that the UNITIVE WAY follows that of the ILLUMINATIVE WAY, and the illuminative way that of the PURGATIVE WAY. It is always necessary to restructure and clarify things a bit, especially in this field where the intellect is not the lord and master and finds itself cataloguing and appraising phenomena which transcend it.

The classification per se is not a sin: it is but an external grazing of a precious subject whose internal content, even if not entirely impenetrable, does not allow itself to be easily grasped. Without a doubt these three phases are real; and they indubitably manifest the characteristics for which they are typically known. The field determinations and their respective differences, however, often seem a bit excessive both because some phenomena, without being common, repeat themselves and because the exact meaning of a mystical experience, especially at the highest levels, can never be adequately explained in human terms.

ENTERING INTO THE CASTLE

Nonetheless, it is opportune to cross over the threshold, not only in order to enter into the CASTLE, but to take a look at some of its secret rooms as well.

Up to now we have only had but a glimpse of them. We have been granted, in special moments of grace, the possibility of giving them a cursory glance. But now we would like to explore them. In those moments when prayer opened our hearts to God’s PURIFYING and ENLIGHTENING action, or in which our free will received the solicitations of grace to allow itself to be PURIFIED of all residue of sin and attachment to self, and the soul was ENLIGHTENED about the path to be undertaken, we truly remained, more or less at length, in those very rooms where there was the joy of resting in the Father’s bosom and of having the Most Holy Trinity repose in our heart. We experienced a total union of two objects united by Love.

Then the heavenly light, while it did not extinguish itself, nonetheless was distanced and the vision of those rooms grew feeble. As if engulfed anew in the purgatory of our initial spiritual undertakings, we found ourselves once again, not in the ‘quiet,’ but in the rage of a purifying battle. And yet we were often enveloped – and with the passing of time with greater frequency – by the splendour of heavenly light. During the illuminative experience the memory of this remained and this nourished the hope of experiencing that union yet again. Actually, the nostalgia of having tasted it made us long for it to be renewed and prolonged as a perennial communion.

THE ‘SPIRITUAL ENGAGEMENT’ AND ‘THE SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE’

It is precisely this communion which is of interest when it speaks of the UNITIVE WAY. It is here that the process of maturation, binding God and the mystic into one has its coronation (cfr. The Ascent). In other words, it is here that the process reaches its peak. The soul now awaits the ‘spiritual engagement’ and akspiritual marriage,’ those two extraordinary experiences upon which converge the entire development and unfolding of the unitive relationship. ‘Divinisation’ we called it. The mystics call it the ‘flame of love.’
And what we are dealing with here is a true flame whose effects, at times, are even visible and distinguish themselves clearly from common fervour. It is a flame which brings to mind the ‘flames’ of the Song of Songs (8:6) and Jeremiah (20:9). Or even more, it is that ‘fire’ which Our Lord brought to this world (Lk 12:49). When it blazes, nothing can resist it.

A NEW AND BLESSED LIFE

The ‘divinisation’ then has the signs of a fusion: just as metals are fused under the action of fire, so too in the ‘flame of love,’ on the supernatural plane, God and the mystical soul become BUT ONE. In reality we are speaking of a most intimate, radical and complette participation of the mystical soul in that transforming grace which engenders a new and blessed life (cfr. The Dark Night II, 9, 4). In a word we are dealing with the fusion of two operative principles, the divine and the human: not in a sense of a new metaphysical reality, but in that of a new way of being united which occurs under the decisive action of the divine principle and wherein the human is annihilated (cfr. The Ascent I, 11, 3).

Just as some habitual imperfections impede the mystic soul from crowning his journey of communion with God (cfr. The Ascent II, 5, 4), in the same way, the emptying of oneself helps it: the radical detachment of one’s thought, desire, feeling and imagination (cfr. The Ascent II, 4, 4).

As soon as the detachment would abandon the shifting sands of pious intentions and would respond to a firm and irremovable decision of the mystic, the divinisation becomes a fact. On the way of transforming union, in fact, one enters into the very act in which every other way is abandoned (cfr. The Ascent II, 4, 5).”
– Brunero Gherardini, published in “De Vita Contemplativa” (Monthly Magazine for Monasteries), Year V – Number 7 – July 2011.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES FOR THIS WEEK

THESE EXERCISES ARE NOT MANDATORY BUT VOLUNTARY; THEY ARE GROUPED TOGETHER FOR YOU TO SELECT THOSE WHICH BEST SUIT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

ACTS OF VIRTUE

1. Observe a strict silence when there is no need or just reason to speak and remain in God’s presence, in order to imitate, according to your. capacity, the Sacred Heart. Say seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Bes in honour of St Joseph, asking him to obtain for you the interior peace and order that is so necessary for receiving the aid of the Sacred Heart.
2. Fast from food, mortify your stomach, and stay in uncomfortable positions or postures. Say five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory bes in honour of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, that she may obtain for you the spirit of Christian mortification.

3. Carry with greater patience your everyday cross, whether it be illness, poverty or certain temptations, and carry it not just with lamentation, but giving thanks to the Lord, who gave it to you for your good to make you into the image of His Son. Look at Christ crucified for a quarter of an hour, with faith, thinking at every moment of His divine patience; learn how to exercise your patience alongside Him to gain eternal life.
– Mons. Nicola Tafuri

 

Tags: , , , , , ,