Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday of Celebrations!

Pope John Paul II by Loci Lenar

Pope John Paul II, a photo by Loci Lenar on Flickr.

In light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable; the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the great sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.
Pope John Paul II
Redemptoris Mater, 1987

Celebration of many celebrations.  May begins with the month dedicated to the Mother of God.  It's Divine Mercy Sunday.   And finally, it is the dain in which Pope John Paul II is beatified.  
Thanks be to God!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Truth That Sets Us Free

This reflection was offered yesterday in the Magnificat.  To me it is a treasure.  It's here because I don't want to lose it.

Saint Catherine of Siena says:

It is easy to see Christ's patient the face of our sins, how he seems to pretend not to see...  What great patience, that he disregards the wrong done him!  On the cross he hears the clamor of those who first shouted, "Crucify him!" and now challenge him to come down from the cross.  And he cries, "Father, forgive them!"  He does not move when they shout that he should come down, but stays there till the end.

Then he joyously shouts, "It is finished!"  Yes, those seem to be sorrowful words, but they were words of joy to that soul aflame and consumed in the fire of divine charity, the soul of the incarnate Word, God's Son.   It is as if the gentle Jesus  wanted to say, "I have completely fulfilled what was written of me.  Fulfilled too is my painful desire to redeem the human race.  I am happy, exultant, that I have finished this suffering.  I have fulfilled the commission given me by my father, a commission I so longed to accomplish..."

Shame, shame on our human pride, our self complacency, our self-centeredness, when we see how good God has been to us, how many gifts and graces he had given us--and not because he has to but because he wants to.  Obtuse as we are, we seem not to see or feel this love so hot that, if we were made of stone, it would long ago have burst us open!...  Unhappy me!  I can see no other reason except that the eye of our understanding is not focused on the tree of the cross.  For there is revealed such warm love, such gently persuasive teaching has torn open his very body, has shed his life's blood and with that blood has baptized and bathed us.  We can and should make use of the baptism every day with continual remembrance and great love.  ~~Saint Catherin of Siena~~

Saint Catherine of Siena (+1380), Doctor of the Church, was a Dominican, stigmatist, and papal counselor.

Most eye-opening.  A lesson here to be learned by all, especially me!
Thanks be to God!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finding Ourselves in Public Worship

Church of the Immaculate Conception
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN

In the book Lent and Easter, Wisdom from Thomas Merton, I was called to reflect on this subject, Finding Ourselves in Public Worship.  He says,

Now it is precisely in the liturgy, the public prayer of the Christian Assembly, that the Christian discovers the secret of his own inviolable solitude, and learns to respect the solitude of his brother and sister while at the same time sharing it...

Christian persons find themselves and their brothers and sisters in the communal celebration of the mystery of Christ.  But what is manifested, proclaimed, celebrated and and consummated in the liturgy is not my personality or your personality; it is the personality of Christ the Lord, who when two or three are gathered together in His Name, is present in the midst of us.  This presence of Christ in the liturgical celebration leads to our discovery and declaration of our own sacred and spiritual self.

It struck me as I read this that, indeed, I gather with my Family in Christ as a community.  And though we are all there with the purpose of praising the glory of God through Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  only I know and understand who I am in relation to my Savior.  Though we celebrate together our redemption in the saving act of the Eucharist, I am still truly alone with my Savior in prayer and celebration.   I cannot truly understand someone else and their relationship with the Almighty.  And yet we are called to communion one with another because we do share the same belief in the Risen Lord.  Yes, I am alone with Christ in the midst of others!  

To paraphrase Scott Hahn in his book, The Lamb's Supper, at the consecration it truly is when heaven comes to earth!  Jesus, our Lord and Savior is truly in our midst and again he offers himself to me as always in love.  
Thanks be to God!