Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Proper and Real Hope

"What fantastic achievements have... been made possible in the way of moving faster, growing richer, communicating more rapidly, mastering illnesses, and altogether overcoming the hazards of our earthly existence.  But all the achievements have led to a growing arrogance, a widening separation from the true nature of our being; in other words, an alienation from God.  If it were possible to live without God, it would not be worth living at all.  It was in a labour camp, Solzhenitsyn has told us, that he learnt what freedom meant and became free.  

"So, amidst the shambles of a fallen Christendom, I feel a renewed confidence in the light of the Christian revelation with which it first began.  

"I should hate you to think that this view that I've put before you is a pessimistic view.  Strangely enough, I believe it to be the only way to a proper and real hope."  

Malcolm Muggeridge, from Daily Readings in Catholic Classics, ed. Rawley Myers, Ignatius Press, 1992, pp. 252-253

Painting: José Navarro Llorens - En el Jardín

Monday, June 24, 2013

Spritual Ecology

"The pollution of the outward environment we are witnessing is only the mirror and the consequence of the inward environment, to which we pay too little heed.  I think that this is also the defect of the ecological movements.  They crusade with an understandable and also legitimate passion against the pollution of the environment, whereas man's self-pollution of his soul continues to be treated as one of the rights of his freedom.

There is a discrepancy here.  We want to eliminate the measurable pollution, but we don't consider the pollution of man's soul and his creaturely form.... he must acknowledge himself as a creature and realise that there must be a sort of inner purity to his creatureliness: spiritual ecology, if you will." 

Painting: Waterhouse, The Tempest

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Hope of That Country

"The present life is given to us only to earn eternal life.  If we forget this, we tend to concentrate all our affections on the things of this world....

Believe me, if we want to live as happy pilgrims, we must have in our hearts the hope of that country where we will settle down forever.  But at the same time we must believe, and believe with all our hearts (this is a sacred truth!), that God keeps a loving eye on us as we walk toward Him, and never lets anything happen to us that is not for our greater good."

St. Francis de Sales, Letter 1502

Painting: Swieszewski W Alpach

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We Wander in a Solitary Way

                                      "To every one of us from time to time
                                      there comes a sense of utter loneliness,
                                     'There is no one who really understands, 
                                      Not one to enter into all I feel:'
                                      Such is the cry of each of us in turn.
                                      We wander in a solitary way,
                                      no matter what or where our lot may be.
                                      Each heart, mysterious even to itself,
                                      must live its inner life in solitude.
                                      ....when we feel this loneliness, it is
                                      the voice of Jesus saying 'Come to Me.'
                                      And every time we are 'not understood,'
                                      it is a call for us to come again.
                                      For Christ alone can satisfy the soul,
                                      and those who walk with Him from day to day
                                      can never have a solitary way."

                               (from Sheltering the Divine Outcast, by a Religious, Peter Reilly Co., Philadelphia, 1931, pp. 43-44)

Painting by Konstantin Yegorovich Makosky, 1839-1915, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monsters in Africa

    'It is an error to desire martyrdom without having enough courage to bear an insult.  The enemy often arouses in us ardent desires for things that are absent and may never come our way.  It is to turn our mind away from present objects from which, however small they may be, we could draw much profit.
     In imagination, we fight monsters in Africa.  But in fact, due to lack of attention, we allow ourselves to be killed by little serpents on our way.'  (St. Francis de Sales)

Hendrick ter Brugghen painting, public domain

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What to Do...

I'm happy to announce that Connie Rossini, blogger at Contemplative Homeschool and administrator of Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network, has a wonderful new e-book ready for downloading - free!

The title?  "Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints that Will Change your Life."

The possibility?  That these five lessons will change your life.

The book is short enough to read in one sitting.  And filled with inspiration to last a lifetime.

"You don't have to be strong to follow this way of trust," writes Connie.  "It is a way for the poor  and weak, a way for the average, a way for sinners, and it is open to all.  Even to you. Your sins don’t surprise or shock God. He knows you better than you know yourself, and He loves you without measure. He can make you a saint, even though you may currently be the worst sinner. Trust Him."

And then, as in all of the chapters, there is practical, solid advice about "What to Do...."

As for me, I'm ready to seriously do the What to Dos.

Click here to begin doing the What to Dos, too.

Painting: Otto Scholderer Lesendes Mädchen, in US public domain 

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Which Way, these Words?

                                         'Keep watch on your words, My loved ones.
                                         for words are wonderful things;
                                         They are sweet like the bee's fresh honey -
                                         like the bees, they have terrible stings. 
                                         They can bless like the warm, glad sunshine,
                                         and brighten a lonely life.
                                         They can cut, in the strife of anger,
                                         like an open, two-edged knife.'

(from Sheltering the Divine Outcast, by A Religious, Peter Reilly Co., Philadelphia, 1952, p. 26)

Painting: Ramon Casas, Cercle del Liceu, Barcelona, 1901-1902, in public domain

Friday, June 7, 2013

And Hide Me There

O Jesus,
place me in Your Sacred Heart
and hide me there.
Protect me from evil;
Free me from the grasp of sin.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place all my trust in You.

Painting:  James Tissot;
Notre-Seigneur Jésus Christ; detail

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Apparent in His Handiwork

'If things created are so full of loveliness, 
how resplendent with beauty must be the One who made them!
  The wisdom of the Worker is apparent in His handiwork.'  
St. Anthony of Padua

Monday, June 3, 2013

Feeling Cold in Prayer?

"We must not gauge our love by what we feel, but rather by what we are ready to do.  Indeed, it often happens that God tries the most advanced by letting them experience a coldness and deadness in prayer such as ordinary people do not experience, and none could endure in such times if their love for God were not very deep and strong."  
(from In Love With the Divine Outcast, compiled by A Religious, Pellegrini, Australia, 1934, p. 186)

The emphasis in the above is mine.  "God tries the most advanced..."

I pray that this will bring many of us great hope.

Jozef Israëls painting in US public domain

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