Posted in Inspiration

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896
The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner

In the Annunciation, the birth of the Son of God in the flesh is made to hinge on the consent of a woman, as the fall of man in the garden of paradise hinged on the consent of a man.  God in His power might have assumed a human nature by force, as the hand of a man lays hold of a rose.  But He willed not to invade His great gift of freedom without a creature’s free response.  Through the angel who salutes Mary in words that have become the first part of the Hail Mary, ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” Mary is asked if she will give God a man!  Mary learning that she will conceive without human love, but with the overshadowing of divine Love, consents, and a new humanity begins, with Mary as the new Eve, and Christ the new Adam. 

The Annunciation is the Mystery of the joy of freedom.  Our free will is the only thing in the world that is our own.  God can take away anything else, our health, wealth, power, but God will never force us to love Him or to obey Him.  The charm of Yes is in the possibility that one might have said No.  Mary has taught us to say Fiat to God.  ‘Be it done to me according to Thy word.’  But God Himself has taught us that if He would not invade the freedom of a woman, then a man should never do it.

–  Archbishop Fulton Sheen (The Fifteen Mysteries)

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Posted in Inspiration, lent

Happy Easter

The tomb is empty.

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“We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!” – Saint Pope John Paul II

Posted in Inspiration, lent

Holy Saturday

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“Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”

– A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

 

Posted in Inspiration, lent

“To Jesus: I Write in Trepidation”

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At this spectacle of people rushing to a Crucifix for so many centuries and from every part of the world, a question arises: Was this only a great, beneficent man or was He a God? You Yourself gave the answer and anyone whose eyes are not veiled by prejudice but are eager for the light will accept it.

When Peter proclaimed: “You are Christ, the Son of the living God,” You not only accepted this confession but also rewarded it. You have always claimed for Yourself that which the Jews reserved for God. To their scandal You forgave sins, You called Yourself master of the Sabbath, You taught with supreme authority, You declared Yourself the equal of the Father. Several times they tried to stone You as a blasphemer, because You uttered the name of God.

When they finally took You and brought You before the high priest, he asked You solemnly: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” You answered, “I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” You accepted even death rather than retract and deny this divine essence of yours.

I have written, but I have never before been so dissatisfied with my writing. I feel as if I had left out the greater part of what could be said of You, that I have said badly what should have been said much better. There is one comfort, however: the important thing is not that one person should write about Christ, but that many should love and imitate Christ. And fortunately – in spite of everything– this still happens.

By Cardinal Albino Lucini, Patriarch of Venice

Posted in Inspiration, lent

Ecce homo (Behold the Man)

Ecce homo who came into the world and lived for others.
Ecce homo who chose women as close friends.
Ecce homo who taught us to love.
Ecce homo who healed the sick.
Ecce homo whose arms stretch out towards all of mankind.
Ecce homo who taught and continues to teach us how to be holy.

Let us remember these words today as we prepare for the Holy Triduum.

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Ecce homo by Antonio Ciseri
Posted in Inspiration, lent, travel

Be Satisfied with Me

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
to have a deep soul relationship with another,
to be loved thoroughly and exclusively,

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone,
with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
that I have planned for you.
you will never be united to another
until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you
the most thrilling plan in existing… one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

You keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry
don’t look around at the things others have gotten
or that I have given them.
Don’t look around at the things you want,
just keep looking off and away up to Me,
or you’ll miss what I want to show you.

And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
far more wonderful than you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
to have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
and the life I prepared for you,
you won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me.
And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty,
perfection and love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly. I AM God.
Believe it and be satisfied.

By: St. Anthony of Padua

Posted in Inspiration, lent

Lenten Reflection Two

“In my deepest wound I saw your glory and it astounded me.” – Saint Augustine

Healing of a Blind Man by Brain Jekel
Healing of a Blind Man by Brain Jekel

“As [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” (John 9:1-3) This reading  reminded me of a conversation God had with Moses in The Old Testament. “The Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’” (Exodus 4:11). God does not make mistakes. Every action of His is intentional.

It’s interesting to think that people once blamed their physical maladies on their personal sins and on the sins of others. It is just further proof of how we often forget that all things come from God and in turn, all things reflect the glory of God. This does not exclude the role of suffering from the will and glory of God. Often in our suffering it is difficult to see things clearly. Just as Jesus granted the blind man eyesight, He grants us a new perspective through suffering as well.

Imagine the feeling of experiencing color and light for the first time. I imagine it to be an overwhelming sensory experience- a great mixture of excitement and nervousness. When the blind man showed himself to the Pharisees they did not believe that he had been healed- they even went as far to bring the blind man’s parents into the situation. In the end, he was cast out of the temple, but there in his exile, he was once again met by Jesus.

This story tells of a healing twofold: First, Jesus healed the man’s physical blindness; Second, He healed the blind man spiritually through his suffering. His physical blindness was not the true blindness he needed to address. His blindness serves as an example for us. We must see suffering in a new light. Jesus never promised life would be easy, but He did promise to always stay by our side. It is through the brokenness and sorrow of this life that we can see the love of Christ in our deepest wounds. Hopefully, in turn, like the blind man, we will bow down and worship Him.