Good Friday 3-30-18

“They will look upon him whom they have pierced…”

To gaze upon the crucified Jesus, or the dead Jesus in the picture detail of the Pieta by Michelangelo, is to look upon him as if you were gazing in a mirror. Something is catalyzed out of that self-emptying which is pure divine substance mirrored in our own true face. — Bourgeault

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Pray for Grace 3-27-18

Most of us aren’t likely to betray anyone to a death squad. But as we meditate on the events of the Passion, we might reflect on the times we’ve betrayed a trust, the times we’ve talked about someone behind their back, the times we’ve stayed silent when a friend has been ridiculed. Resolve to keep silent when tempted to gossip and to speak out when others are gossiping. That sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it? It is. Pray for the grace to meet it.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

St Patrick’s Day 3-17-18

Today is St Patrick’s Day. Most people celebrate by wearing green, going to parties, eating corn beef and cabbage while drinking green beer.

As a Catholic we believe in saints. In our belief saints are merely intercessors we pray to asking for them to pray for us during a specific challenge. One of those saints happens to be St Patrick.

Here is the story of St Patrick taken from the Franciscan Media.

Saint Patrick’s Story

Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God’s instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.

Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the good news to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north–where the faith had never been preached–obtained the protection of local kings, and made numerous converts.

Because of the island’s pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission. In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rock-like belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused. One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in County Down in Northern Ireland, long the scene of strife and violence.

Reflection

What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labors, and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.

St Patrick’s Day is a reminder to me to give thanks while saying the following prayer to St Patrick.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the trinity. Christ be w me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort me and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend or stranger. I arise. Amen

The Wounded And Forgiven 3-15-18

The world contains only one thing that is truly novel: forgiveness. And this is the message of the resurrection. Everything else is like the words of an old song repeating itself endlessly over and over again. There is normally only one song that gets sung: the song of betrayal, hurt, resentment, and non-forgiveness. That pattern never changes. There is an unbroken chain of unforgiveness, resentment, and anger stretching back to Adam and Eve.

We are all part of that chain. Everyone is wounded and everyone wounds. Everyone sins and everyone is sinned against. Everyone needs to forgive and everyone needs to be forgiven.

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser

Albert Einstein 3-14-18

Birthday of Albert Einstein

The great genius Albert Einstein was nicknamed by his parents as a child, der Depperte, or, the dopey one. Albert was so unusually slow in learning that his parents consulted a doctor about their young son who had such difficultly in speaking. Einstein later explained that his slow verbal development actually was an advantage since it allowed him ‘to observe with wonder’ the everyday things that others took for granted.

“It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical.”

St Catherine’s Tree 3-14-18

Saint Catherine of Siena pictured the spiritual life as a large tree:

The trunk of the tree is love.

The core of the tree is patience.

The roots of the tree are self-knowledge.

The many branches are discernment.

In other words, said Catherine, love does not happen without patience, self-knowledge, and discernment. Today we have little encouragement toward honest self-knowledge or training in spiritual discernment from our churches. We prefer the seeming clarity of black-and-white laws. By nature, most of us are not very patient. All of which means that love is not going to be very common. We need Saint Catherine’s tree again.

—from the book Yes, And…: Daily

Meditations by Richard Rohr