Level 7 Member
Friday, July 4, 2014, 6:50 AM
“O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, You desire so ardently to shower Your favors upon the unfortunate, and to teach those who want to advance in the school of Your love; You continually invite me to be meek and humble of heart like You. For this reason, You convince me that in order to gain Your friendship and to become Your true disciple, I can do nothing better than to try henceforth to be truly meek and humble. Grant me, then, that sincere humility which keeps me subject to everyone, which makes me bear little humiliations in silence, which even makes me accept them willingly and with serenity, without excuse or complaint, remembering that I really deserve more and greater ones than I receive.
“O Jesus, permit me to enter Your Heart as I would a school. In this school teach me the science of the saints; in this school I shall listen attentively to Your sweet words: ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ I can see that the storms I fear arise solely from my self-love, my vanity, my attachment to my own will. Defend me, O Lord, protect the peace of my soul! Your Heart is an abyss in which I find everything and, above all, it is an abyss of love in which I must submerge every other love, especially love of self with its fruits of human respect, vain complacency and egoism. By drowning all these tendencies in the abyss of Your love I shall find there all the riches my soul needs. O Jesus, if I feel in myself an abyss of pride and vainglory, I shall plunge it immediately into the profound humiliations of Your Heart which is an abyss of humility. If I find in myself an abyss of agitation, impatience or anger, I shall fly to Your Heart which is an abyss of meekness. In every circumstance, at every encounter, I want to abandon myself to Your Heart, the ocean of love and charity, and I will not leave it until I am all penetrated by its divine fire” (cf. St. Margaret Mary).
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 7:56 PM
Some say love it is a river tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
and you it's only seed.
It's the heart, afraid of breaking,
that never learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking,
that never takes a chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dying,
that never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely,
and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
far beneath the bitter snow,
Lies a seed, that with the sun's love,
in the spring becomes a rose
Monday, June 23, 2014, 8:42 PM
I have a hard time accepting that God loves me just the way I am. I experienced abuse growing up, and lived in a very dysfunctional family. My son had cancer and chemo at the age of 13. I married an emotionally, religiously abusive husband. I have a hard time knowing and accepting God accepts and loves me. I feel like maybe I am too much work, even for God. Can you help me?
It’s understandable to have those feelings – they come from an awareness of our neediness, our imperfection, our sinfulness and weakness and wounded-ness. From a human perspective, we really are hopeless… But that’s exactly why Jesus came to earth. If we could have saved/healed/perfected ourselves, he would never have had to come to earth in the first place. He knows our neediness better than anyone. And it doesn’t diminish his love at all. He himself pointed this out: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). And again: “I did not come to condemn the world, but the save the world” (John 12:47). The more you fill your mind and heart with that truth – through prayer and study of the faith, for example, through reading and experiencing God’s love in the sacraments – the more you will be able to respond with courage and faith to the lies and the darkness that try to make you think you are “too much work” for God. The key is that – giving yourself the chance to experience the truth of God’s limitless love, power, and wisdom, a little bit more every single day
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 7:16 AM
The rest of the Bible is, in a sense, the story of that great restoration of mankind which is its redemption by Christ. First that restoration is promise and expectation. Then it is fulfilment of the promise and accomplishment of the restoration by Christ, in whom "God wanted all perfection to be found. .. and all things to be reconciled through him and for him" (Colossians 1:18-19). 33. All through the Bible, God's relationship with mankind is expressed in terms of a covenant, a solemn treaty of love and fidelity which God makes with His people. By this covenant, God pledges Himself irrevocably to love His people and never to desert them. They in turn are asked to pledge themselves to a covenant with Him; but no matter how they behave towards God, He will never change His love for them. Furthermore, this language of the covenant and the language of marriage are very closely related all through the Bible. It is as though God could find no language better than the human language of married love in order to tell human beings about how He loves them. He loves them with a love which has all the characteristics of married love, but immeasurably surpasses the most devoted married love. God loves mankind with a love which is faithful, dependable, unconditional, irrevocable; a love which is patient and full of pity; a love which is tender yet strong, passionate but constant; a love which forgives to the point of foolishness and never ceases to welcome home the unfaithful partner. The prophets, when they speak of God's covenant-marriage with His people, stress above all God's fidelity in love in spite of the repeated ingratitude and infidelity of Israel, His spouse.
34. The Prophet Hosea depicts God's people Israel as an unfaithful, adulterous, and indeed promiscuous wife. But God, so far from rejecting her, thinks only of stratagems for enticing her to come back to His love. He pledges to restore her one day to the blissful delights of Paradise as it was at the dawn of creation. He promises once more to make Israel's marriage with God as radiant and joyful as Adam's marriage with Eve before the Fall.
I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart...There she will respond to me as she did when she was young... (Hosea 2:16-17). I will betroth you to myself in faithfulness and you will come to know the Lord (Hosea 2:21-2).
35. Jeremiah too describes God's love for His people in terms of married love. This begins with the beauty and joy of young first love.
I remember the affection of your youth, the love of your bridal days. You followed me through the wilderness, through a land unsown. (Jeremiah 2:2)
But soon this idyll becomes a broken dream. The story of Israel becomes an unending tale of infidelities and of the disasters resulting from them. But God's only thought is to win back Israel's love and to rebuild the marriage with His people.
I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I am constant in my affection for you. I build you once more, you shall be rebuilt, virgin of Israel. (Jeremiah 31:3)
36. Ezekiel describes Israel's infidelity to God in terms of marriage betrayed and defiled by adultery and debauchery. But God's only response is to shame Israel into repentance by His forgiveness and tenderness and by the renewal of the marriage covenant with her. (Ezekiel 16)
37. Isaiah in his turn describes the tender pity of God for His fickle and deceiving bride. Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame; do not be dismayed, you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth... For now your creator will be your husband... Does a man cast off the wife of his youth? says your God. I did forsake you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back... With everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says the Lord, your redeemer... For the mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you, and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken, says the Lord, who takes pity on you. (Isaiah 54:4-10)
38. Through the Prophets, then, God reveals to us the nature of His covenant-love for men, by describing it in terms of human married love. At the same time, the revelation of God's covenant with His people ennobled the understanding of human marriage. The lesson of the prophets is that the divine covenant-marriage, on which human marriage is based, is irrevocable, no matter what human fickleness and infidelity it encounters. God promises to make a new covenant with men in the future, in which all the tragedies of the broken covenant will be abolished, and the blessed peace of the original covenant, the joyful innocence of the original creation, will be restored.
39. The Old Testament has many beautiful stories of marriage, all of them stressing that blend of steadfastness and tenderness which should characterise married love, as it characterises God's love for His people. Such are the espousals and marriage of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebekah, of Jacob and Rachel. The Book of Ruth describes, with touching simplicity, the marriage of Boaz and Ruth. The Book of Tobit has the charming story of "love at first sight" between Tobias and Sarah, and of their prayerful preparation for marriage and their married bliss. Tobias, we are told, "fell so deeply in love with Sarah that he could no longer call his heart his own" (Tobit 6:18). Tobias prays to God: Be kind enough to have pity on (Sara) and on me and bring us to old age together (Tobit 8:9).
40. The Song of Songs is one of the most celebrated love songs of all literature. It is a long lyrical celebration of the joy of the mutual love between a young man and a young woman; and yet it is simply an elaboration of the earliest love song which we find in Genesis, the song sung by Adam when he was first introduced to Eve. The stress laid in Genesis on the unbreakable union of the first man and woman in marriage is re-echoed in the Song of Songs: My beloved is mine and I am his. (Song of Songs 2:15)
Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is strong as Death, jealously relentless as Sheol. The flash of it is a flash of fire, a flame of the Lord himself. Love no flood can quench, no torrents drown. Were a man to offer all the wealth of his house to buy love, contempt is all he would purchase. (Song of Songs 8:6-7)
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:59 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 2:20 AM
Pre-Transcendent and Transcendent Presence (Part Two)
Our potential for distinctively human presence is realized within the transcendent horizon of our personality. As we have seen, it can be expressed in three modes of self-transcendence:
Self-presence: Self-awareness and self-knowledge. It includes our pre-transcendent levels but is more about being in touch with “what we are going through” in the depths of our being, and with increasing contact with our deeper spiritual identity vs. the functional, or already-known, aspects of our identity. St. Teresa of Avila emphasizes this mode of presence in describing prayer as inclusive of “what we are going through.”
Presence to others: This is physical presence and may involve functional skills – parenting, teaching, etc. However, the essential “formative” elements go beyond the physical to include spiritual attunement to and care for the other.
Presence to the Mystery: Openness to inspirations, to the call of God to be more. . . This is a call to embody our deepest potential for form-receptivity and self-donation.
That transcendent presence is the central dimension – i.e. the distinctively human dimension – becomes evident when we consider the affects of experiences of pain, absence and grief, which involve but call us beyond our pre-transcendent fixations. Human trials inevitably become spiritual or existential in nature, challenging our vital and functional assumptions about our life. Such trials also join us to the human community, creating spiritual connection through bonds of suffering and empathic communion.
We grieve on all levels of human embodiment. If we pay attention to our experiences of pain and grief and loss, we may find that we can identify something of each level coming into play, for example, in grief: we grieve for place, for bodily, physical endowment, for ego diminishment. In these words from a review of Joan Didion’s recently-published memoir of loss, John Banville (“NY Times Book Review,” Nov. 3, 2011) observes that
The author as she presents herself here, aging and baffled, is defenseless against the pain of loss, not only the loss of loved ones but the loss that is yet to come: the loss that is, of selfhood.
Losses in the physical, material realm point inevitably to the inner subjective realms – i.e., to our very sense of selfhood .
Roland Barthes’s Mourning Diary, a journal on “scraps of paper” he kept after his mother died in the late 70’s, provides a timely testimony of grief’s power to penetrate to the inner depths of a personality .
Everyone (knows) bereavement’s intensity. But it’s impossible to measure how much someone is afflicted. (10)
Struck by the abstract nature of absence: yet it’s so painful, lacerating. . . . the pain of absence – perhaps therefore love? (42)
I write my suffering less and less yet it grows all the stronger, shifting to the realm of the eternal. . . (215)
Human experiences of suffering and loss refer us to the central dimension of spiritual transcendence. This is the primary locus of our spiritual life, of prayer, meditation, our deepest reflections, and our relationship to God, or the Mystery. Simone Weil wrote that “contact with human creatures is given us through the sense of presence. (But) contact with God is given us through the sense of absence.” (The Notebooks of Simone Weil, Volume I, p. 239.) This is why the spiritual traditions view negation as an essential means of inner flourishing. Absence draws us to the Mystery. Hence a teaching such as the following from the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing:
Leave aside this everywhere and this everything, in exchange for this nowhere and this nothing. . . A person’s affection is remarkably changed in the spiritual experience of this nothing when it is achieved nowhere. . . . (Quoted in Bernard McGinn, The Foundations of Mysticism, p. xix)
Our presence is capable of being spiritualized. Our affections can become transcendent, overcoming prior determination by pre-transcendent motivations. This “transformation” effectively recreates our presence, even in the midst of absence, pain, and loss.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 5:05 PM
O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the little form of bread! Look, brothers, at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves, as well, that you may be exalted by Him. Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally” (Saint Francis, Letter to the Entire Order).
Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 12:27 PM
How do we know that we are infinitely loved by God when our immediate surroundings keep telling us that we'd better prove our right to exist?
The knowledge of being loved in an unconditional way, before the world presents us with its conditions, cannot come from books, lectures, television programs, or workshops. This spiritual knowledge comes from people who witness to God's love for us through their words and deeds. These people can be close to us but they can also live far away or may even have lived long ago. Their witness announces the truth of God's love and calls us to act in accordance with it
Sunday, June 15, 2014, 5:47 AM
The Source of All Love
Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.
In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God's unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God's Spirit dwelling within us
Henri Nouwen the author of the above is quite right It really hit me this morning . Why we did not realize that the Spirit of God was with us through tumultuous years maybe we had our heads under the sand like some birds do . Abuse takes it's toll .Action is required . Please pray for me
Saturday, June 14, 2014, 6:39 PM
YES, God is present even in hell. There is no place (or being) in which God is not present. God, the Creator of all things, maintains everything in existence and knows everything from all eternity. So demons are not freed from the presence of God even in hell. No matter how far a demon wants to draw away from God, he will always be condemned to be in the presence of God. Even though God is in hell, the demons do not directly perceive His presence. On the contrary, they feel totally distanced from Him. God permits them to have this sensation so as not to torment them. Nevertheless, there is no place or being that can be outside the reach, sight, or power (i.e., the presence) of God.