Friday, March 27, 2015

A reflection on who is doing the gazing

In one of the letters St Clare wrote to Lady Agnes of Prague:
.... Gaze upon him, consider him, contemplate him, as you desire to imitate him. 
From Franciscan Prayer Ilia Delio, OSF wrote:
"The type of prayer that Clare and Francis hold out to us – this prayer of gazing – requires openness to grace.  To gaze is to be open to the Spirit of the Lord, for; 
it is the Spirit within us who really gazes
or, we might say, who “embraces” the God of humble love.  The Spirit who searches the depths of God reaches out for God who humbly bends low in the crucified flesh of Jesus.  It is the Spirit who joins us to Christ and leads us into the embrace of the humble love of God.  Gazing is a matter of the Spirit."  (Page 79) [My italicizing for emphasis]

It is not we, ourselves, gazing upon the crucified flesh, but it is the Spirit within us who really gazes on and embraces the God of humble love.  How does that happen?

In his message for Lent 2006 Pope BenedictXVI wrote: "In turning to the Divine Master, in being converted to Him, in experiencing His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, 
we will discover a “gaze” that searches us profoundly and gives new life
 to the crowds and to each one of us.  It restores trust to those who do not succumb to skepticism, opening up before them the perspective of eternal beatitude. Throughout history, even when hate seems to prevail, the luminous testimony of His love is never lacking.  To Mary, “the living fount of hope” (Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, XXXIII, 12), we entrust our Lenten journey, so that she may lead us to her Son." 
 So let us remember as we pray the Stations of the Cross

that the prayer of gazing is actually a gift from God 

that we receive as we step away from the noise of this world

allowing ourselves to be open to the gaze of Christ.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Faith teaches freedom - Madeleine Delbrêl

Madeleine Delbrêl (1904-1964), an unconventional Frenchwoman who grew from precocious child to bohemian adolescent and from confirmed atheist to Catholic convert. A woman of great compassion and awareness, she was vigorously involved in the major social, political, cultural, and religious movements of 20th-century France. After her conversion, she founded an experimental community of professional women who lived and worked among the French Communists in the Paris suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine. A true humanitarian with a contemplative spirit, she came to love God intimately in the streets, cafes, subways, and people of Paris. Her "Cause for Beatification," the first step to sainthood, is currently under study in Rome. From her writings found in We, the Ordinary People of the Streets is this reflection on faith.

Faith teaches freedom
Vis-a-vis the world that is created to serve him, and vis-a-vis God who created him, man is free. He is free to accept or reject his vocation to live as a human being and his vocation to live as a child of God, but whether he accepts or rejects them depends on his choice.
On the other hand, man does not have the capacity to create. He cannot recreate man: he cannot invent some other child of God. He nevertheless retains the capacity in freedom to live what he was given in a way that degrades, destroys, or falsifies it.
The only thing that counts between us and God is what is free. God judges us according to our choices. Faith is given to that in man that has remained free. It is the science of eternal realities, of all that God has told us about himself and all that he has told us about ourselves.
It is the art of knowing how to do God's will, the science of charity. It governs our choices.
It was given to us so that we might attain eternal life, but that we might do so in time; it was given to us so that we might live God's life, but that we might do so in our human life; so that we might bring about the salvation brought by Christ, but to bring it about in the world and in history.
It is given to us so that we would choose God with human acts; so that we would do God's will in human history, in the human world, with human acts. It is as temporal as we are; it will pass away when we die.
Faith is given to the human being we are on behalf of all the human beings that we are not.
Moreover, faith teaches us that the Christian life should be structured like a living tissue, according to eternal laws, but that it must be lived in the immediate, in the moment, in the particular. We are destined for the eternal love of God. But we can only come to this love in our human life, in the time that belongs to us and others, in the world here and now.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lord, Help me walk another mile

Great song sung by Kris Kristofferson with Larry Gatlin
Lord, Help me walk
Another mile, just one more mile,
I'm tired of walkin' all alone.

Lord, Help me smile
Another smile, just one more smile,
I know I just can't make it on my own.

I never thought I needed help before,
I thought that I could do things by myself.
Now I know I just can't take it any more.
With a humble heart, on bended knee,
I'm beggin' You, please, Help Me.

Come down from Your golden
Throne to me, to lowly me,
I need to feel the touch of Your tender hand.

Remove the chains of darkness
And let me see, Lord let me see,
Just where I fit into your master plan.

I never thought I needed help before,
I thought that I could do things by myself.
Now I know I just can't take it any more.
With a humble heart, on bended knee,
I'm beggin' You, please, Help Me.
Help Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Joni Mitchell/Crazy Crow Music/Siquomb Music