Thoughts

I had a very productive morning. My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I debated for a few seconds if I should really go running or not, my mind plays this game with me at least a few times a week. Here were my options – get up right now and go running as planned, which would mean leaving the warmth of my bed for shorts and T-shirt. Or reset my alarm for 6:30 am so I could make 7:00 am Mass on time, which turned out to be a Communion service this morning (which was mildly frustrating). And then I got to thinking, maybe that shouldn’t really bother me? I mean after all I am still receiving the Body of Jesus Christ. Well, anyway I still haven’t come to terms with how I should or shouldn’t feel about this. Please don’t misinterpret, I was still very much excited to receive Jesus, I just really like going to Mass.

Okay, I  rambled on there – sometimes I wonder, do I write like I talk? Or talk like I write? However that works, I wonder if I do that. I’ll have to ask my sister Clare, she would know. Speaking of Clare, I was just about to text her to ask her how to spell a word. Clare is a genius, she has been known to ruin the entire curve in grad classes. I was never a very good speller, but then when I picked up the phone to text her I realized I would need to know how to spell the word if I was going to text it to her. She is in class so I couldn’t call her and no I’m not going to say what word it was because it’s far to embarrassing. You know those simple words that you sometimes forget how to spell and then when you figure it out you’re like oh yeah I totally knew that? Yep, that’s what happened.

Okay for real, back to the topic at hand. So, I did get up and go running and there were actually several runners outside running this morning, which made me feel slightly less insane. I think the earliest I have seen another fellow human being up and running was 4:30am. All of my 4:00am  runs have been alone in the stillness. Sometimes I like it that way and other times I like to see people.

So after running I went to Mass, well Communion service, but you already know how I feel about that. While praying after I read today’s reflection from In Conversation with God. Today’s reflection was on the Our Father. I really loved it and want to share it with you.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches that the Lord omitted other words which might have induced awe or fear in us. He wanted to use a word which would inspire love and confidence in those who were praying. What word could be more agreeable than ‘father’, so full is it of tenderness and affection? Jesus chose the word Jewish children used to address their fathers. This was the word He found most suitable for invoking the Creator of the entire Universe. Abba! Father! 

St. Cyprian says that when we pray the Our Father we should take care to savor those sweet words, Abba, Father, my Father. This prayer will then have a decisive influence on our daily life because if we really mean that God is our Father, we will struggle to behave as His worthy children. – In Conversation with God, 185.

Well dang, there it is! And it’s only 7:30am. I sat there in complete awe. It certainly wasn’t the first time I had heard that message before, but it left me speechless. I’m an heir to the Kingdom of God. Holy Cow! I mean, Praise God!!

So, armed with Jesus, some good endorphins from a great run and back home for some coffee and breakfast – I’ll be unstoppable. Today is going to be a glorious day!

Advertisements

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven – which is when Mary was taken to Heaven both body and soul. Below is part of a beautiful reflection on this glorious feast day from you guessed it – In Conversation with God. 

The Chapel inside the home of the Missionaries of Charity, Bronx, NY. Some of my fondest memories in college were going there to spend Sundays with the Sisters. They let me serve the homeless with them after 6am Mass. One of my favorite days to be there was Easter. We cooked a feast for the homeless and sang songs with them. I miss those days.

We often contemplate the Assumption of Our Lady in the Fourth Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary: The mother of God has fallen asleep…But Jesus wants to have His mother, body and soul, in Heaven. And the heavenly court, arrayed in all its splendour, greets our Lady. You and I – children after all – take the train of Mary’s magnificent blue cloak, and so we can watch the marvellous scene. The most blessed Trinity receives and showers honours on the Daughter, Mother and Spouse of God. And so great is the Lady’s majesty that the Angels exclaim: Who is she? We too, full of admiration, rejoice with the angels, and we congratulate her on her feast day. And we feel proud to be sons and daughters of so great a Lady. 

The Assumption of Mary is a wonderful precursor of our own resurrection. It is made possible through Christ’s rising from the dead. He will refashion the body of our lowliness, and conform it to the body of His glory. Today on this feast, our petitions are full of confidence. Our Advocate rose up to heaven, so she will arrange for our salvation as Mother of the Judge, the Mother of Mercy. 

Mary strengths our hope. We are still pilgrims, but our Mother has gone before us, and is already pointing to the reward of our efforts. She reminds us that it is possible to reach it, and that if we are faithful, we will in fact do so. Let us then be filled with hope and confidence. In spite of our shortcomings, we can be saints, if we struggle one day after another, if we purify our souls in the Sacrament of Penance, and if we frequently receive the Eucharist. – In Conversation with God, 95.

A Nugget to Ponder

Lately I have been reading a lot on humility, because it is a virtue I really need to grow in. I read this from In Conversation with God and it encouraged me in my quest for growth, Truth and beauty. Because after all that is what virtue is – beauty.

First here is a little story on humility from a saint. One day, it is said, Saint Thomas Aquinas was pulled up for a supposed grammatical error while reading. He corrected it as indicated. Later, his companions asked him why he had made the correction since he himself must have known that the original text was faultless. Before God, the saint replied, better a fault of grammar than a fault of obedience and of humility. 

If we want to serve the Lord, we must desire and ask for the virtue of humility with insistence. To truly desire this virtue, we should keep in mind that the opposite of humility – the capital sin of pride – is the greatest obstacle to the vocation we have received from the Lord. Living in the virtue humility is not only a matter of rejecting the motions of pride, selfishness and vanity. In fact, Jesus and Mary, who possessed the virtue of humility to the full, never experienced any inclination toward pride. 

The word ‘humility’ derives from the Latin word humus (soil or earth). Etymologically, ‘humble’ signifies inclined towards the earth; the virtue of humility consists in bowing down before God and everything that is of God in creatures. In practical terms, it leads us to recognize our inferiority, our littleness and indigence before God. We learn to be humble by meditating on the Passion of our Lord, by considering His greatness in the face of so many humiliations, allowing Himself as He did to be led like a sheep to its shearers. 

He who struggles to be humble does not seek out praise, and if praise comes, he tries to refer them instead to the glory of God, the author of all good things. Humility does not consist so much in despising oneself as in forgetting oneself, joyfully recognizing that we possess nothing that we have not received. It leads us to become God’s little children, who find all their strength in the strong hand of the Father. 

Everything the sun touches is bathed in light. Lord, fill me with your clarity, bathe me in your divinity so that I may identify my will with Your adorable Will and become the instrument You wish me to be. Give me the madness to undergo the humiliation you underwent, which led you to be born poor, to work in obscurity, to endure the shame of dying sewn by nails to a piece of wood, to your self-effacement in the Blessed Sacrament. May I know myself: may I know myself and know You. I will then never lose sight of my nothingness. – In Conversation with God

Beautiful. Now I just need to pray for the grace to live it.

A Nugget to Ponder

The other day several people asked me why I hadn’t posted in a few days. The answer to that question is that the weekends are my busiest days. And then yesterday when I set aside time to write I fell asleep for 5 hours (whoops). I woke up and thought it was the next day and that I was late for work.

Anyway, on Saturday I read the daily reflection from In Conversation with God and there was a paragraph that really tugged at my heart and I wanted to share it even though it’s Tuesday. To be honest it doesn’t really matter what day of the week it is, the following message applies everyday of the year, the challenge is to live it out everyday and not just on a “Saturday.”

The mediation was entitled Knowing when to Speak. 

The silence of God in the face of human passions, before the sins which are committed every day by humanity is not a silence of anger. It is a silence full of patience and love. The silence of Calvary is that of a God who comes to redeem all men by His indescribable agony on the Cross. The silence of Jesus in the Tabernacle is that of a love which waits for a response. It is the patient silence of One who treasures our attentions. 

Christ’s silence during His earthly life represents interior strength and sense of purpose. Those who complain continually about their misfortunes or their ‘bad luck’ should look to the example of Our Lord. Those who proclaim their problems to the four winds should consider the behaviour of Christ. Those who feel compelled to explain and excuse their actions, who wait anxiously for praise or approval, should take note of Christ, who says nothing. 

We will imitate Him when we learn to accept life’s duties and worries without sterile complaints, when we confront our personal problems without dumping them in someone else’s lap, when we face our work for the glory of God without looking for earthly praise. – In Conversation with God, 274

A Nugget to Ponder

Today is the feast day of St. James the Apostle, a very special feast day. And one that holds great personal meaning because my brother is named after Saint James (guess what his name is?) And my sister Clare walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain two summers ago to the tomb of St. James.

What better place to look for a reflection on this holy saint than In Conversation with God. Francis Fernandez tells his readers.

James, from Bethsaida, was the son of Zebedee and the brother of John. He was one of the three disciples to witness the Transfiguration and the agony in the Garden besides other important events of our Saviour’s public life. He and his brother’s impetuous zeal caused the Lord to name them the Sons of Thunder. 

James developed his apostolate in Judaea and Samaria. According to tradition he preached the Gospel in Spain. He became the first Apostle to suffer martyrdom. His mortal remains were later brought to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain which became a popular medieval pilgrimage site and a sanctuary of the Faith for all of Europe. 

Fernandez goes on to meditate on the life of Saint James and his countless encounters with Christ and others. He talks about the beauty and mystery of suffering and this particular quote from Saint Josemaria in the reading penetrated the deepest depths of my heart.

In union with Christ even our pain and failure are converted into joy and peace. The great Christian revolution has been to convert pain into fruitful suffering to turn a bad thing into something good. We have deprived the devil of this weapon, and with it we can conquer eternity. In Conversation with God, 29.

A nugget worth pondering wouldn’t you say?

A Nugget to Ponder

It’s been a while since I have posted. Life has been busy, busy, busy.

I figured there was no better way to start off a few posts than with an excerpt from In Conversation with God. Here is something that I read today that penetrated my heart.

We have to let others know that Christ is alive by our sense of peace and joy in the midst of difficult and even painful circumstances, by our work well done, by our sobriety and temperance, by our human warmth extended to everyone. When lived to the full, the Christian vocation should affect every aspect of our existence. All the people who deal with us or know us in one way or another should be able to sense the joy within our heart. We have to act in such a way that others will be able to say, when they meet us: this man is a Christian, because he does not hate, because he is not a fanatic, because he is willing to understand, because he is willing to make sacrifices, because he shows that he is a man of peace, because he knows how to love, because he is generous with his time, because he doesn’t complain, because he knows how to overlook what is superfluous… – In Conversation with God, 207.

It leaves you with a lot to ponder, eh?

As always, you can go to amazon.com and buy this meditation series. Or you can just keep following my blog and I promise you will own at least half of the series in no time.

What Moves Us to Reform Is Love

I read this reflection from the Magnificat and wanted to share it with you because its simplicity is beautiful. It is written by St. Therese of Lisieux.

Papa seemed to be rejoicing with that joy that comes from a sacrifice already made. He spoke just like a saint, and I’d love to recall his words and write them down, but all I preserved of them is a memory too sacred to be expressed. What I do recall, however, is a symbolic action my dear King performed, not realizing its full meaning. Going up to a low wall, he pointed to some little white flowers, like lilies in miniature, and plucking one of them, he gave it to me, explaining the care with which God brought it into being and preserved it to that very day. While I listened I believed I was hearing my own story, so great was the resemblance between what Jesus had done for the little flower and little Therese. I accepted it as a relic and noticed that, in gathering it, Papa had pulled all its roots out without breaking them. It seemed destined to live on in another soil more fertile than the tender moss where it had spent its first days. This was really the same action Papa had performed a few moments before when he allowed me to climb Mount Carmel and leave the sweet valley which had witnessed my first steps in this life. I placed the little white flower in my copy of the Imitation at the chapter entitled: “One must love Jesus above all things,” and there it is still. 

– Saint Therese of Lisieux