Monday, February 28, 2011

Food for Thought

"I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight."

~ Isaiah 42: 16

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Currently Reading: Rediscovering Catholicism

I've heard several talks by Matthew Kelly on tape, and really enjoyed listening. Recently, today in fact, I delved into his newest book released this past January, Rediscovering Catholicism. Already I've devoured the first 6 chapters. Kelly has a great way of combining common sense, clarity, practical advice, and inspiring wisdom within the context of our Catholic faith. There is a lot of ground covered, and may require more than one read for me. I'm eager to see how I can implement this into my daily life. If you have thought about reading this for lent, or never heard of it, I would highly recommend it either way.

Happy Reading. :-)

A quote to spark your interest:

‎"Created to love and be loved, we feel a restlessness, a longing for more, a profound discontent with our lives and with our culture. Our hunger is not for appearances, but for something of substance. We are hungry for truth. The people of today are starving for the authentic, thirsting for the tiniest droplet of sincerity, aching to experience the genuine."

-Matthew Kelly, Rediscovering Catholicism

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Our Heart Longs for God"

By St. Augustine, Bishop

We have been promised that we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. By these words, the tongue has done its best; now we must apply the meditation of the heart. Although they are the words of Saint John, what are they in comparison with the divine reality? And how can we, so greatly inferior to John in merit, add anything of our own? Yet we have received, as John has told us, an anointing by the Holy One which teaches us inwardly more than our tongue can speak. Let us turn to the is source of knowledge, and because at present you cannot see, make it your business to desire the divine vision.

The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.

Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Then you set about stretching your sack or wineskin or whatever it is. Why? Because you know the quantity you will have to put in it and your eyes tell you there is not enough room. By stretching it, therefore, you increase the capacity of the sack, and this is how God deals with us. Simply by making us wait he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us. 

So my brethren, let us continue to desire, for we shall be filled. Take not of Saint Paul stretching as it were his ability to receive what is to come: Not that I have already obtained this, he said, or am I made perfect. Brethren, I do not consider that I have already obtained it. We might ask him, "If you have not yet obtained it, what are you doing in this life?" This one thing I do, answers Paul, forgetting what lies behind, and stretching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the prize to which I am called in the life above. Not only did Paul say he stretched forward, but he also declared that he pressed on toward a chosen goal. He realized in fact that he was still short of receiving what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived.

Such is our Christian life. By desiring heaven we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world. Let me return to the example I have already used, of filling an empty container. God means to fill each of you with what is good; so cast out what is bad! If he wished to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its contents and then be cleansed. Yes, it must be cleansed even if you have to work hard and scour it. It must be made fit for the new thing, whatever it may be.

We may go on speaking figuratively of honey, gold or wine - but whatever we say we cannot express the reality we are to receive. The name of that reality is God. But who will claim that in that one syllable we utter the full expanse of our heart's desire? Therefore, whatever we say is necessarily less than the full truth. We must extend ourselves toward the measure of Christ so that when he comes he may fill us with his presence. Then we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

*Taken from the LOTH, Sixth Week in OT, Friday Office of Readings, 2nd Reading. Emphasis added.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading of the Day: St. Jerome Emiliani

From a letter to his brothers by Saint Jerome Emiliani

"Place your trust in God alone"

Sons of the Society of the Servants of the Poor, and dearly beloved brothers in Christ: Greetings from your poor father. I urge you to persevere in your love for Christ and your faithful observance of the law of Christ. In word and work I set an example for you when I was with you. And so the Lord is glorified in you through me.

Our goal is God, the source of all good. As we say in our prayer, we are to place our trust in God and in no one else. In His kindness, our Lord wished to strengthen your faith, for without it, as the evangelist points out, Christ could not have performed many of His miracles. He also wished to listen to your prayer, and so He ordained that you experience poverty, distress, abandonment, weariness and universal scorn. It was also His desire to deprive you of my physical presence, even though I am with you in spirit as your poor, dear, beloved father.

God alone knows the reasons for all this, yet we can recognize three causes. In the first place, our blessed Lord is telling you that He desires to include you among His beloved sons, provided that you remain steadfast in His ways, for this is the way He treats His friends and makes them holy.

The second reason is that He is asking you to grow continually in your confidence in Him alone and not in others. For God, as I said before, does not work in those who refuse to place all their confidence and hope in Him alone. But he does impart the fullness of His love upon those who possess a deep faith and hope; for them he does great things. So if you have been endowed with faith and hope, He will do great things for you; He will raise up the lowly. In depriving you of myself and everyone else you have loved, He will offer you an opportunity to choose one of these alternatives; either you will forsake your faith and return to the ways of the world, or you will remain steadfast in your faith and pass the test.

Now there is a third reason. God wishes to test you like gold in the furnace. The dross is consumed by the fire, but the pure gold remains and its value increases. It is in this manner that God acts with His good servant, who puts his hope in Him and remains unshaken in times of distress. God raises him up and, in return for the things he has left out of love for God, He repays him a hundred-fold in this life with eternal life hereafter.

This is the way God has dealt with all His saints. So it was with His people Israel after their period of trial in Egypt. He not only led them out of Egypt with many miracles and fed them with manna in the desert, He also gave them the promised land. If then you remain constant in faith in the face of trial, the Lord will give you peace and rest for a time in this world, and forever in the next.

*Taken from the Office of Readings for February 8th, Proper of Saints

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Let us go foward in peace..." ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

It's been quite a long time since I posted something a bit more personal on here. So, here goes...It seems that God has allowed some very trying times in the past few years. Family issues, health, finances...not to mention inward struggles. I know that above all though, Jesus loves me...deeply, with an intensity I can't fully understand. It is upon this reality, that I base my hope, trust, and continue to seek after the will of God.

It is now some years since I began discerning religious life. I still continue to search, trusting God is preparing a place for me, as well as preparing me. I still sense that He is calling me to this. It's difficult to understand oneself, isn't it? I often find myself confused when trying to figure out how God is working in my soul. But I know He is working. Often, looking back on my life, I see His marvelous plan, and the good He performs. I trust that, years from now, I will look back upon this time, and see the same.

St. Thérèse the Little Flower said once,

"If I did not simply suffer from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient; but I look only at the present moment, forget the past; and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair, it is usually because we give too much thought to the past and to the future."

And so I strive after this too. To keep my peace in the doing the will of God in the present moment, bearing all I suffer as the Cross of Christ. Offering all to Him. And loving Jesus with all that I am, as I receive His Love each day within my heart.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Come, follow Me, and I will make you Fishers of Men."

Have you ever wanted to do something great for God? Take the time to ask Him what that might be. What is God calling you to?