Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

How do any of us, come to understand the cross as, of all things, an opportunity? How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who, for the sake of the joy that lay before him, embraced the cross out of love, heedless of its shame? Can we imagine truly embracing the cross, embracing our own crosses? 

Saint Ignatius of Antioch had his gaze so fixed on Christ Jesus that he begged his friends not to keep him from the wild beasts who would eat him up in the Roman arena. “I will gladly die for God, if only you do not stand in my way,” he said. “I offer my life's breath for the sake of the cross…let me imitate my suffering God...I am God's wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” Perhaps we are humbled by such reckless ardor, but such passion is meant to be ours as well. 
Photography by Brother Brian.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Teresa

As Pope Francis said yesterday during the canonization ceremony, "Jesus invites us to return to the source of joy, which is the encounter with him, the courageous choice to risk everything to follow him, the satisfaction of leaving something behind in order to embrace his way. The saints have traveled this path." Certainly this was true of Saint Teresa of Avila, whom we remember today. She tells us, "On this road of prayer it is more important to love much than to think much." We pray that we may be consumed with love for Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Detail of the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gianlorenzo Bernini.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.


As we sang this hymn as the recessional at Mass this morning, we could hear echoes of Father Aquinas' homily. He admonished us to constantly put aside everything in order to follow Christ Jesus wholeheartedly. Let us make haste.

Photo by Br. Brian. Some verses from  the Gaelic hymn by Dallan Forgaill.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Our Lady on Saturday

It is our joy to celebrate this ordinary Saturday in honor of Our Lady. Saint Bernard says that above all what has drawn God to Mary is her humility. God finds it utterly irresistible. We arrive at humility by a route very different than Our Lady’s, but it can give us the same irresistible quality. We do it through, what we call in the monastery, bitter self-knowledge – the realization that we are sinners beloved by God, humbly acknowledging that we have nothing to boast of before God but our weakness. This humility allows God to be God for us, for when things fall apart we seek the only One who can restore us to wholeness, peace and joy. We rejoice because through the Virgin Mary God has chosen to be part of our fragmentation and restoration.

An etching by Margaret Walters, (1924 - 1971).

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Saint John XXIII

Image result for pope john xxiii quotes

As we remember good Pope John XXIII today, we recall his words, "If God created shadows, it was to better emphasize the light." With so much darkness in our world, we realize our longing for the Light - Christ Jesus our Lord. May His truth, the truth of self-forgetful love, move our hearts to prayer and acts of compassion and mercy.

Saint John XXIII pray for us.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our Dependence

To test Jesus, the Pharisees pose this question, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife.” But Jesus goes back to the beginning and reveals the mystery of communion: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.” A communion of persons is possible only because of mutual help. We are not sufficient unto ourselves. We are dependent on others.

We are limited creatures, but God gives us helpers to help us bear our limitations and accept them. We see this clearly in married life but also in the common life of monks. Going one’s own way by refusing any dependence on others, is a recipe for disaster. Our Lord embraced his dependence – first, his dependence on Our Lady and Saint Joseph; then, on the companionship of his disciples, and above all, on his intimacy with his heavenly Father. We must do the same. Marriage is fruitful physically in the blessing of children but also fruitful spiritually in a partnership of life to the end. And the spiritual fruitfulness of monks is drawn out of the crucible of common life.

And so we recall a story from the Special Olympics. A group of youngsters with Down syndrome were lined up for the fifty-yard dash. Off they went, but half way down the track one of the children tripped and fell to the ground. After a few more yards, the others stopped, turned around, and went back to their fallen companion. They lifted him up, and locking arms, they all walked the rest of the way, crossing the finish line together with big grins on their faces. That is the communion of persons we will see in heaven – a communion of little children who realize their dependence, recognize the grace of God, and bear fruit in abundance. In the Eucharist we receive the greatest Helper of all, “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,” thanks to his mother Mary. 

Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from Father Vincent's Sunday Homily.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

With Francis

Image result for saint francis and jesusJesus is consumed with love for the mission entrusted to him by his Father, and nothing can separate him or even distract him from its accomplishment. When he asks us to follow him, this is an expression of the divine pleasure to have us truly united with him in his task. Saint Francis knew that this union was the way of peace, joy and fullness of life in the midst of every conceivable trial and tribulation. Perhaps we are well aware of the distance between our level of discipleship and what Francis and the Lord Jesus hold out to us. The Lord can close the gap by the gift of his Spirit. Let us open our hearts to him. 

Meditation by Father Timothy.