Behold The Mystery

What love Lord that I show, truly reflects Your love for me. When I am unable to love, when my arms can no longer embrace the creation You have made, You come. You come like a storm, drawing me to its center, a storm that makes my heart anguish in longing and desire for You. You press upon me with waves of compassion, of which there is no defense, for nothing can withstand the storm of Love’s Divine presence.

When all I am is laid bare and I can no longer move, I stand in the radiant peaceful center of Your Heart. I stand naked with my wounds in plain sight, paralyzed, too weak to move, too weak to love with my own arms; You call out, “Long have I desired, long have I waited, long have I waited.”

You robe me in the love of Your Divine presence. You crown me in the radiance of Your light. Your Truth and Wisdom is my authority. Your mercy is my scepter of justice. With desire, the same desire in which You have desired, my heart now reaches out to the ends of creation with branches of pure light to embrace what my arms never could. I can no longer love, for I cannot become Love as You are Love, but I can love eternally if You become part of me.

Come then Lord like the storm that You are, and let the crashing waves of compassion break through my wounds’ my barred gates of suffering. Come as all that You are. Come in Your infancy, so that You whose finger could not wrap around another, yet the arms of Your radiant rays held creation firm, I may behold perfect power in perfect weakness.

Come in Your childhood, so that You may remain in Your temple, so others may find you and see that I am a Child of God. Come in Your adulthood, so that I may boldly proclaim the Kingdom and reign of God. Come in Your passion and death, so that I may be willing to hand over to You my spirit in times of trial. Come in Your resurrection, so that Life may be renewed in me. Come Lord, and clothe me in splendor as You have always longed.

Come, and I will love as You are Love. Come, and I will love with the arms of Your rays that reach to the ends of creation, with the arms which my own two cannot embrace.

Behold the Mystery, which confounds the mind, yet pierces the depths of the heart to break forth the spring of compassion. Behold the Vision, for through the eye of mercy I have seen the eternal Glory of God!

From: Br. Nicholas Reynolds. OP

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Where is God?

God is where we are weak, vulnerable, small and dependent. God is  where the poor are, the hungry, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the powerless.

How can we come to know God when our focus is elsewhere, on  success, influence, and power? I increasingly believe that our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness, loneliness, and human  need.

I realize that the only way for us to stay well is to stay close to the small, vulnerable child that lives in our hearts and in every other human being. Often we do not know that the Christ child is within us. When we discover him we can truly rejoice.

 

Sabbatical Journey: The Diary of His Final Year,  Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Gaudete Sunday, a Homily

Homily, Dec 15-16, 2012: Cycle C, 3rd Sun of Advent, (Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday)

Today is called Gaudete’ Sunday and you have probably already noticed the rose-colored candle is lit. Holy Mother Church is giving us an opportunity to rejoice since we are 9-10 days away from the Coming of the Christ Child at Christmas.

Along with the rose candle, Msgr & I could wear rose-colored vestments today.  The fact that we aren’t means one of two things.  We don’t have any, or we have them but are not secure enough in our manhood to wear pink.

Our readings today are filled with references to joy.

Today on Gaudete’, or “Rejoice” Sunday, we remember that though our lives are marked by waiting and watching, by penance and prayer during Advent, we are yet, a people of joy.

The first reading from Zephaniah begins with, “Shout for joy, sing joyfully, be glad and exult with all your heart”. It ends with, “the Lord your God is in your midst, He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love.”  Isn’t that beautiful wording?

The Responsorial Psalm continues the joyful mood, calling us to cry out with joy, sing praise, and shout with exultation.”

All of this reminded me of Father Jason Adams who had been adopted by the CCW while in seminary, and spoke at the annual CCW Advent Luncheon last Monday now that he has been ordained. He shared his faith walk from his early days in school to where he is today in his priesthood. A marvelous story…

He outlined a number of things that occurred along the way that helped him come to his decision, helped him realize God was calling him to the priesthood.

One of the stories he shared that strongly affected his faith walk was about a trip to Steubenville Ohio where he found a joyful expression of Catholicism he had not expected.

He attended an Easter Vigil Mass with four thousand people that lasted four hours, but seemed like only a few minutes because it was filled with joyful singing & praise

He knew that one of the fruits of the presence of the Holy Spirit was joy. With all the new candidates entering the Church at the Vigil Mass, with their reception of the sacraments & others receiving the Eucharist, accompanied by the beautiful singing, he knew that the Holy Spirit was present in that place. It moved him to deepen his own commitment to the Lord.

And, that is the call God places before all of us in this Advent season – to deepen our commitment to Him.

The Gospel today picks up almost where last week’s Gospel left off, with John the Baptizer.  He was the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his paths.”

John was so effective in his message that the people literally flocked to him to be baptized.  They were excited by his words.  The crowds were so captivated that they asked him, “What should we do?”

Tax collectors & soldiers, people you would not expect to be attracted to his words, each in turn, came forward asking the same question. “What should we do?”

I believe all of us asks that same question over and over throughout our lives.  We ask it in many different ways, different wording perhaps, but it all comes down to “What should I do”.

We start out as small children, looking to our parents for answers about the many new things that confront us. “What should I do?”

As we move through our 14 to 18 years of schooling and face new challenges, we look to our parents & to our teachers and ask, “What should I do?”

But, perhaps the largest decision we make is to decide for the religious life or the married life, and if we choose married life – who will be our life partner?

Interestingly, after marriage, women will continue throughout their lives to ask the generic question, “What should I do?”

In general, men, once they marry, discover that they never have to ask that question again – their wives will tell them.

Our Gospel closes today with the people wondering whether John is the Christ.  They were so impressed by his preaching that it seemed a real possibility.

John was very clear in his answer saying:  “I am baptizing you with water, (Baptism of Repentance) but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit & fire.”

That phrase, Baptize you with the Holy Spirit, has been examined down through the centuries and responded to many different ways, from the purely theological to the physical.

I think the core message in that phrase is this. John is saying if we are open to God & dedicated to God, desiring to do His will, & following His direction, we will find the Holy Spirit that we received at Baptism, filling us.  He will make us aware of God’s presence in our lives, enhancing the consciousness of His presence, inspiring us and showing us the way to answer His call on our lives.

Sometimes that happens quickly – sometimes it evolves over time.  What is important is that we be open to it.

In these last days of Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child, let us hold ourselves above the hustle & bustle of the crowds in pursuit of worldly gifts for those they love.

Instead, we should look for ways to express our love that transcends the materialism that normally overshadows the significance of this beautiful season.

Let us remember & emulate the impact of John the Baptist who moved his listeners to ask for his direction giving him the opportunity to point to the coming of Jesus Christ. That is the very essence of evangelization.

Let us prepare to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth, and pray that our hearts be filled with an abundance of Love, Joy and Peace, enough to sustain us throughout the coming year.

Advent Thought

“There is also a surprising ordinary-ness about the Lord’s coming — the divine presence does not force itself upon us with bells and whistles. When Jesus did come as Messiah, most people did not recognize him because he did not meet their expectations. Would God allow the Messiah to be defeated and disgraced by dying on a cross like a criminal? Advent thus is also a season to ask for the grace to be freed from false expectations about the Lord’s coming into our lives.

“Perhaps the most ordinary and most surprising way of all that the Lord comes to us is in the reality of the Present Moment. Each moment becomes a sacrament of divine presence if we say in faith, “It is the Lord.” It is thus possible to bless the Lord at all times because every moment without exception is a grace of divine, self-giving love to us. The Lord is with us even in those tragic moments beyond understanding that seem to be without meaning. Life either has no meaning at all, or has total meaning because the Lord is present in all its moments.”

Campion P. Gavaler, OSB

The Dilemma of Life

Do we desire to be with Christ in the resurrection?  It seems that most of us are not  waiting for this new life but instead are doing everything possible to prolong our mortal lives.

Still, as we grow more deeply into the spiritual life – the life in communion with our risen Lord – we gradually get in touch with our desire to move through the gate of death into the eternal life with Christ.

This is no death wish but a desire for the fulfillment of all desires.  Paul strongly experienced that desire.  He writes:  “Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would be a positive gain. … I am caught in this dilemma:  I want to be gone and to be with Christ, and this is by far the stronger desire – and yet for your sake to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need” (Philippians 1:21-24).

This is a dilemma that few of us have, but it lays bare the core of the spiritual struggle.

 

Taken from Henri Nouwen book, “Food For The Journey”