Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Essence...

A vision, art by Yongsung Kim

From her book, Essence of Prayer Sister Ruth Burrows wrote a reflection on prayer, asking, "What do we mean by prayer?" 

Prayer: "It is not primarily something we are doing to God, something we are giving to God but what God is doing for us. And what God is doing for us is giving us the divine Self in love."

She goes on, "Any talk about prayer, if we are to stand in the clear, pure atmosphere of truth, must begin by reflecting in firm belief on what Jesus shows us of God. Let us push straight to the heart of the matter.
What is the core, the central message of the revelation of Jesus? Surely it is of the unconditional love of God for us, for each one of us: God, the unutterable, incomprehensible Mystery, the Reality of all reality, the Life of all life. And this means the divine Love desires to communicate Its Holy Self to us. Nothing less!
This is God’s irrevocable will and purpose; it is the reason why everything that is, and why each of us exists. We are here to receive this ineffable, all-transforming, all beatifying Love.

Please read her reflection HERE.

I was struck by how beautifully she drew out that prayer is not found in some formula, but rather by making one's self available to the mystery of Love. 

The essence of being - the essence of prayer is to be open to God, is to place ourselves at His disposal and enter into an encounter where we allow God to draw us out of ourselves and to know, to acknowledge, and to trust Him. We thus allow Him to enrich, deepen and most importantly, we allow Him to love us as He unites us with His Being. 

It is in this obedience, this encounter, this listening to and with God, we literally become speech (we become prayer) and we communicate much more than mere words. 

In this form of speech, this letting go and being filled with His Love, we are allowing God to 'translate' us - where the etymology of the word 'translate' means 'to carried across' into the Kingdom. In prayer we are allowing ourselves to be imprinted by Love Itself and thus prayer becomes being and being is transformed into prayer... and... and trusting that from "this" place deep within, I am loved.

As Sister Ruth Burrows puts it:
Well-instructed Christians know this notionally but, alas, few know it really. And here I must add an important reminder that knowing it ‘really’ does imply ‘feelingly’. To know really – or really to know – means living that knowledge, living out of it. It means that our way of looking at things, our attitudes, our actions arise from this knowledge. Of this real knowledge we use the word faith.  

The gift of people like Sr Burrows who reflect and share their thoughts on the spiritual journey is a blessing and should help us along our way in the journey of faith.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Reflections of poverty by Bishop Camisasca

"Poverty is born from the discovery that I am Another's: I exist because I am loved in an individual way by Another.... I am the work of Another, nothing is mine, because everything is given to me by HIM."

 "Poverty cannot exist unless it is fed by hope, that is to say, by the certainty that we have been given what really counts in life and that no one can take that away from us....  Poverty is freedom from things, and awareness that it is God who fulfills our desires." 

“Poverty, understood as the use of things according to their true purpose, is a virtue for building up, a virtue animated by the certainty that God’s promises are being fulfilled. Unless you are certain of having already received everything, in fact, you cannot have the freedom to use what you hold in your hands according to its ultimate purpose. You will be out for your own safety, you will tighten your grip on things, and so you will set the stage for your own destruction.”
“To be poor, then, is to use each thing according to its ultimate end, placing the expectation of one’s good, not in the possession of this or that thing, but in the realization of the Kingdom of God. When we do that, we use, appreciate, and love each thing without turning it into an idol. When they become idols, persons and things cease to be ours: they are like objects that irreparably break to pieces in our hands. In a correct relationship with things and with other people, we do not refuse them the esteem that is their due – for example, you do not deny the value of a person if you are friends with him. At the same time, however, one does not expect from them the fulfillment of one’s own life. It is in the Kingdom of God that things and persons find their proper place….”
“Through this stripping, however, an endless joy comes to birth. For when we live poverty, we discover that we are lacking nothing, since everything is given to us….”

“We are already in the definitive hour, the hour in which, after the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, we human beings possess everything, but in a new way.” 
Source: Bishop Massimo Camisasca, Magnificat from his book, The Challenge of Fatherhood:

"Poverty is born from the discovery that I am Another's: I exist because I am loved in an individual way by Another.... I am the work of Another, nothing is mine, because everything is given to me by HIM."    "Poverty cannot exist unless it is fed by hope, that is to say, by the certainty that we have been given what really counts in life and that no one can take that away from us....  Poverty is freedom from things, and awareness that it is God who fulfills our desires."    “Poverty, understood as the use of things according to their true purpose, is a virtue for building up, a virtue animated by the certainty that God’s promises are being fulfilled. Unless you are certain of having already received everything, in fact, you cannot have the freedom to use what you hold in your hands according to its ultimate purpose. You will be out for your own safety, you will tighten your grip on things, and so you will set the stage for your own destruction.” “To be poor, then, is to use each things according to its ultimate end, placing the expectation of one’s good, not in the possession of this or that thing, but in the realization of the Kingdom of God. When we do that, we use, appreciate, and love each thing without turning it into an idol. When they become idols, persons and things cease to be ours: they are like objects that irreparably break to pieces in our hands. In a correct relationship with things and with other people, we do not refuse them the esteem that is their due – for example, you do not deny the value of a person if you are friends with him. At the same time, however, one does not expect from them the fulfillment of one’s own life. It is in the Kingdom of God that things and persons find their proper place….” “Through this stripping, however, an endless joy comes to birth. For when we live poverty, we discover that we are lacking nothing, since everything is given to us….” “We are already in the definitive hour, the hour in which, after the Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, we human being possess everything, but in a new way.”  Source: Bishop Massimo Camisasca, Magnificat from his book, The Challenge of Fatherhood:

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Collateral Beauty - What is truth, you ask? No idle questions answered here!


When I saw the movie "Collateral Beauty" nearly 2 years ago it jumped right up into my list of favorites. A devastating story being told by someone hit hard by life and refusing platitudes and the conventional quick fix answers from friends, society, church and religions.


Throughout the movie I found instances where we are invited to enter into the drama of life - the drama of suffering, which, when you think about it, is what we do as we participate in the mass of the passion of Christ each Sunday at church. 

The post: "The Beautiful Truth of Collateral Beauty" from Jeff Hual at Mockingbird peels away all the cloudiness, distortions and relativism of the world as it says: 
... Collateral Beauty goes straight to the heart of the matter, diagnosing the human condition.  The movie begins with Will Smith portraying an advertising executive named Howard, a guru in his field, who is addressing his associates. Howard asks the question that is most likely at the heart of our burning questions today:
What is your why? Why did you even get out of the bed this morning? Why did you eat what you ate? Why did you wear what you wore? Why did you come here? We’re here to connect, so how are we supposed to do that?
Love, time, death. These three abstractions connect every single human being on earth, everything that we covet, everything that we fear not having, everything that we ultimately end up buying, is because, at the end of the day, we long for love, we wish we had more time, and we fear death. Love, time, death. Let’s begin there.
I don’t know if the writer of these words is a Christian, but I can think of no better description of the human condition. In the absence of Christ, humanity is forever trapped in an insoluble situation. We live always with the fear of death; we can’t do a single thing to gain more time; and real love can be ephemeral, elusive. So we go to church on Good Friday seeking an answer to our insoluble problem, one that rings true, and brings comfort into our situation. 
Jeff goes on in the review to explain the supernatural turn of the movie when Christ through Love, Time and Death, in the form of three actual people, enter into the drama of Howard's life. He goes on to challenge each of us to delve deeper in our faith by asking those most vital and hard pressing questions that only come to us when we are struck down by life and find out at that moment that the only way out is through God's love. And for me, I throw the challenge out, if we are not the one struck down, but rather the one nearby, we are commissioned by way of our baptism, to be present with them in that suffering so they can feel that they are not alone and perhaps feel the truth of the situation which is always, always, always that Christ is in it with them.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Real Contact - Simone Weil

Simone Weil from Awaiting God

In my contemplations on the insoluble problem of God, I did not anticipate the possibility of real contact, person-to-person, here below, between a human and God. I had vaguely heard tell of things of this kind, but I never believed them. … Moreover, in Christ’s sudden possession of me, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part. Through my suffering I only felt the presence of a love analogous to that which one reads in the smile of a beloved face.
I had never read any of the mystics, because I had never felt called to read them. In reading, as in other things, I always attempt practical obedience. There is nothing more favourable to intellectual progress, for as far as possible I do not read anything except that for which I am hungry in the moment, when I am hungry for it, and then I do not read, … I eat. God mercifully prevented me from reading the mystics, so that it would be evident to me that I had not fabricated this absolutely unexpected contact.
Yet I still half refused, not my love, but my intelligence. For it seemed certain, and I believe it still today, that we can never wrestle God too much if we do so out of pure concern for the truth. Christ loves that we prefer the truth to him, because before being the Christ, he is the Truth. If someone takes a detour from him to go towards the truth, they will not go a long way without falling into his arms.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Catholic Spirit Radio Interview on Spiritual Direction

Catholic Conversations hosted by Jason Bramley of Catholic Spirit Radio interviews Tina Boettcher, Pam Smith & David Nybakke about Spiritual Direction.

Link here

Friday, March 9, 2018

Finding the cushion of calm - Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling~ March 9th

Rest in My Radiant Presence.  The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur.  Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me.  Return to this soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized: filled with My Love, Joy, and Peace.

The world is a needy place; do not go there for sustenance.  Instead, come to Me.  Learn to depend on Me alone, and your weakness will become saturated with My Power.  When you find your completeness in Me, you can help other people without using them to meet your own needs.  Live in the Light of My Presence, and your light will shine brightly into the lives of others.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ~Galatians 5:22
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:12
My Thoughts:
We all need a 'power source' as we are not autonomous beings. This world tells us the lie, the myth, that we are individual and independent! Try your best, when things are going crazy, and you will drain others by using them to meet your own needs. But to seek Him, in that cushion of calm at your center, provides all your needs and allows you to be a strength for others - not on your power only, but in union with His!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Eucharist as Your Heartbeat - Reflection by Susan Kaye


I remember the time I first experienced the Eucharist as Your Heartbeat. Communion becomes a still space. Even with all its movement, Communion always becomes a still space.

Eyes are closed – Heads are bowed – the guy beside me kneels - From the right, comes a song - a song that “I am here;” that “I am near.” And also from the right the hint of a breeze stirred by movement carried forward by footsteps. And on the left – Like a steady drumbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
like a heartbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
that draws us so close we touch it
         Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
and taste it
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
    
Not just me – but we -
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

There is a pause in the beat -- I look up. The Priest is blessing a baby and young child.
And, yes, Jesus becomes Lord and Savior again for me this night and again and again in every Eucharist.
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

Someone once told me: Catholic Churches – they are all the same. I said: How can they all be the same?  When you moved here – the new parish – isn’t it different?

She said: Oh sure.  Different building.  Different people.  Different Priest.  But once you find Christ in the Eucharist, it is all the same.  It is good – but all the same.