Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Holy Life Has a Voice

'The holy life has a voice, 
and speaks even when 
the tongue is silent.'

St. John Paul II

Painting: Mary Cassatt, 1890

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Prayer in Sickness

'I must be on my guard, especially today, because I am becoming over sensitive to everything. Things I would not pay any attention to when I am healthy bother me today. O my Jesus, my shield and my strength, grant me Your grace that I may emerge victorious from these combats.' 

St. Faustina 

Painting: Giovanni Boccaccio Valentin

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All The Kindly Waterfalls

Let all the waterfalls of Your
 kindly Fatherhood
run down upon me.
Let all the fountains of the great abyss
of Your infinite mercy burst open over my head.
Let the depths of Your charity engulf me....
Let me be lost in the flood of Your living love,
as a drop of the sea is lost in
its immensity... 
as a burning spark dies in the
rushing current of the river... 

St. Gertrude 

Painting: August Lucas

Saturday, May 23, 2015

You Were Made For Greatness

'The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. 
You were made for greatness.'

Pope Benedict XVI

Painting: Rosetti, Joan of Arc

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Heart Goes After Shadows

'My God, how far I am from acting 
according to what I know so well!
I confess it, my heart goes after shadows.
I love everything better than communion with You.
I am ever eager to get away from You.
Often I find it difficult even to say my prayers.
There is hardly any amusement I would not 
rather take up than set myself to think upon You.
Give me grace, O my Father, 
to be utterly ashamed of my own reluctance!
Rouse me from sloth and coldness 
and make me desire You with my whole heart.
Teach me to love meditation, 
sacred reading and prayer.
Teach me to love what must 
engage my mind for all eternity.'

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

Painting: Laurits Andersen Ring, in US public domain due to age

Monday, May 18, 2015

An Experience of Prayer

'I see without sight, I understand without intelligence, I feel without feeling, I taste without taste; 
I know neither shape nor dimension;
yet without seeing, I see so divine a preparation 
that all words concerning perfection, cleanness or purity which I uttered before now seem to me to be naught but mockery and fable
in comparison with this truth and honesty. 
The sun which had appeared bright to me before 
now appears dark.'

St. Catherine of Genoa

Painting: Giovanni Agostino Ratti; St. Catherine of Genoa; digitally altered

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Perfume Sweet

'Our mortifications, humiliations, prayers - in a word, all the exercises we practice - what are they but acts of virtue, which are like so many beautiful flowers that send up a perfume extremely sweet before the Divine Majesty?'

St. Francis de Sales

Painting: John William Godward, Sweet Violets (detail), in US public domain due to age

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I Grew Up Wealthy. Did You Know?

I'll bet you didn't know I grew up rich.  It's not something I brag about, and anyway - it's not as if my wealth had anything to do with my father's salary. 

Here's the truth of it:  I am a bona fide baby boomer. One who spent my childhood fashioning cardboard dollhouses, taking my protesting puppy for rides in a doll carriage, and spending hours crafting my own paper dolls.  I knew the wealth of not having technology to think and play and create for me - and how thankful I am for the luxury of those times. They helped, in ways known to God alone, to form me into someone with a spark of creativity in my bones.  When I did sit in front of the black and white TV, I found nothing to pollute my young mind. Loretta Young twirled onscreen to present this week's half hour drama (always with a lesson). Bishop Sheen taught things I didn't "get," but I liked it when an unseen angel seemed to clean his blackboard.  Bud learned again that Father Knows Best. 
I don't have to point out the fact that things have changed.  Even those much younger than I know this. Some even realize that society as a whole has traded oh, so many riches for poverty. We probably all know just what I mean.

Still, we uncover wealth where we can. God is with us, and by His amazing grace we can find Him.  We who know Him have a wondrous inheritance to pass along to our families.

With that in mind, I look around and realize that I'm wealthier now than when I was a child. For one (main) thing, I know God better.  For another, earthly treasures are piled so high that people can barely walk around in my house.

You should see it!  The floors around here are littered with grandchildren's dolls and trucks and board games and papers.  And yes, money as well.  "Dollar bills" that we've colored and cut (more or less in rectangles) from printer-paper.  And such an abundance of food!  Roundish paper cookies my granddaughter Bunny made for her collection of dolls.

Oh, and you should see the art on our walls; there is a virtual gallery covering doors and windows ... and well, of course, the 'fridge. 

I do not want to see my grandchildren deprived of the treasures that have been my entitlement.  Not when they have a grandma wealthy enough to provide paper and crayons when they want tea-party cookies, a cardboard box when they'd like a playhouse, a round coaster to serve as the steering wheel for their (sofa) car.

I share less "simple" things with the grandchildren as well, of course, as do their parents and other relatives and friends. But I would be remiss if I hoarded my stash of boomer-treasures and refused to hand them on.

Most importantly (it goes without saying), I'm privileged to help pass along the incomparable treasure of shared prayer and casual discussions of Christ's love.

In a world that seems to be sliding ever further from the wealth of creativity, simplicity.... and most of all, truth and morality and integrity... I don't intend to be stingy.

I intend to pay the Truth forward.  I intend to pass it on.

Painting: Gerda Tirén-Brudföljet

This gently re-edited post was originally published in 2013. I am linking it up with Theology Is A Verb, where a group of Catholic bloggers re-post favorite articles on “It’s Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Prayer Most Useful

'There is a certain manner of prayer most simple and very useful; 
it is to be habitually in the presence of God. 
And this sight of God will produce in us an intimate union with Him, 
a simple and perfect intention. Oh, how precious is this manner of prayer!' 

St. Francis de Sales

Painting: George William Joy, Bayswater Omnibus 1895

Sunday, May 10, 2015

And About The Future

'We must 
the future 
the hands 
of God.'

St. Therese of Lisieux

Painting: Guy Rose

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nor Time For Times

                               'Do not seek repose here, for this is a world of toil. 
                               And if you can discern wisely, do not change time for time;
                               what is permanent for what is not;
                               what does not end for what ends;
                               nor truth for lying;
                               nor body for shadow;
                               nor watching for slumber;
                               nor that which is in season for that which is out of season;
                               nor the Time for the times.
                               Collect your mind;
                               do not let it wander among varieties that do you no good.'

                                               St. Ephrem the Syrian

                                                               Painting: John William Waterhouse, Windswept

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I Have Right Now

Several years ago, I had what I would call an "awakening." Feeling that I'd given too little time to God over the course of my life, too little time to prayer, too much time to trivialities, I experienced a different reaction than I'd had to such thoughts in the past.

Rather than my usual "woe is me, I've wasted too much time, I'll never 'make up for it..,'" I felt a gentle whisper of hope.  If I could put it into a sentence, it was as if I sensed the words: "but you have right now."

I have right now.  Knowing this in a kind of "flash," I realized that I could not turn back the clock and re-live minutes of years ago, last week, or even yesterday morning.  However, I had the moment of right then.

I could pray at that very instant, and I did so.

I could choose anew to live for Christ, in that moment, and I did so.

I have forgotten to pray more often than I'd like to admit during the course of my life. Sometimes I find prayer a struggle.  But in each moment, I am given a new opportunity.  A fresh, shining, precious chance to at least speak to God when I think of Him.  A moment in which I can connect with Him, offer a word of thanks or praise - a moment in which I can start anew.

"Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made it."  (St. Francis de Sales)

I have Right Now.

Painting above: Gara, Still Life 1914, in US public domain due to age {{PD-1923}

This gently re-edited post was originally published on June 21, 2012. I share it here in order to link up with Reconciled To You and Theology Is A Verb, where a great group of Catholic bloggers re-post favorite articles on “It’s Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Future Full of Hope

'I know well the plans I have 
for you, says the Lord, plans for 
your welfare, not for woe! 
Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call to Me, when you go 
to pray to Me, I will listen to you.  
When you look for Me, 
you will find Me. 
Yes, when you seek Me
with all your heart.'

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Painting: William Adolphe Bouguereau

Sunday, May 3, 2015

God Will Make Saints of Us, If....

'Perseverance is what God wants. 
If we get up and start again after each fall, 
God will make saints of us in the end.'

Father William Doyle

Painting: William Bouguereau, 1873

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Always Springtime

'It is always springtime in the heart that loves God.'

St. John Vianney

Painting: Iosif Evstafievich Krachkovsky

Friday, May 1, 2015

Nothing But The Truth

'I can nourish myself on nothing but the truth.'

St. Therese of Lisieux

Painting: Carl Maria Seyppel, 1904 (cropped), in US public domain due to age