Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Riches of Poverty - Fr Sullivan, O.P.

The Year of Consecrated Life: The Riches of Poverty                                                                              — Father James M. Sullivan, O P.
Both the Solemnities of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart often fall among the thirty days of June. This liturgical lesson directs us in some ways to the vow of poverty, because evangelical poverty forms the basis of consecrated life in the Church, and this type of poverty opens up the consecrated person for the riches that await the faithful.
Pope Francis in his preaching for the Vigil of Pentecost on May 18, 2013, reminded those gathered with him: “A poor Church for the poor begins by reaching out to the flesh of Christ. If we reach out to the flesh of Christ, we begin to understand something, to understand what this poverty, the Lord’s poverty, actually is.”
Consecrated persons live the vow of poverty faithfully by not allowing any good thing of this world to fill them up. They live wanting more but never simply settling for what the world wants. They live reaching out to the flesh of Christ, always wanting more of him, in the Eucharist and in the love of his Sacred Heart.
Pope Saint John Paul II in his apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata speaks of the need for evangelical poverty. Because we live amidst a “materialism which craves possessions,” we simply forget other people (#89). The vow of poverty reminds us of “the needs and sufferings of the weakest.” The vow of poverty reminds each of us how our lives could be transformed if we craved God as much as we craved that last possession we ordered online.
(Father James M. Sullivan, O.P., serves as director of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.                                  Magnificat, June 2015, Page 413.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Icons & Rowan Williams


Icon of the Holy Trinity - St. Andrei Rublev composed and proclaimed the Gospel with paints rather than with words — he was an iconographer (a person who writes/paints icons).  For nearly  600 years his icons have shown forth the Divine splendor, radiance, joy and love that have surpassed so many other icons of any era. Born in Moscow, Andrei demonstrated early in his life that he was destined for greatness not in the ‘worldly’ sense, but in a sense of humility and great love. Through his most famous icon, the “Holy Trinity”, he has eloquently preached a sincere and magnificent sermon about the nature of the Holy Trinity. It is believed by the holy that Word and Light can be proclaimed just as powerfully in paint icons, as in written words. St. Andrei lived to serve God above all else, and worked hard to overcome self-centeredness, and any other forms of sin that would detract him from this devotion. It is said that none but a true saint could have produced such marvels of beauty and truth.
I have a wall in my study dedicated to icons and the above icon, The Holy Trinity by Rublev is one of my favorites. For me icons bring a sense of focus, stillness - an 'other' centeredness as they arouse an awe-inspiring abundance for life that lead into and carry me through prayers. So I was blown away with the following excerpt from Rowan Williams on holy images in his study on Dostoevsky, telling of their staying-power and dynamic nature that help us to fathom, at a new depth, what Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:6: that of the expansiveness of His Presence - that truly there is something greater here.

"So just as the authority of the divine Word has to establish itself, in and through the unceasing continuation of dialogue, as that which continually offers excess or abundance which may be healing, so the divine image establishes itself not by universally compelling attraction but by its endurance through disruption and defilement. 
Fyodor Karamazov offers to spit on his wife’s beloved icon, as if the lack of any visible sanction or punishment that would prevent him doing this is a demonstration of the lack of “real presence” in the image, but he has failed to grasp the fundamental fact–to which all Dostoevsky’s stories of desecrated images point–that it is in the nature of images to be capable of desecration, and that what makes images sacred is not some magical invulnerability or supernatural protection but their capacity to retain in themselves the real energy of another world, transmitted into the world of isolated and death-bound agents. The icon is in this sense a “powerless” image, in that it is not safe from what history may do to it; the crucifixion of the fully incarnate image of God lets us know that. But a vulnerable image is not an empty one.
What comes into focus here ... is an offer and an invitation: it is an otherness that seeks itself in me, and enables me to seek myself in it... (t)he holy image ... is not an impenetrable surface repelling my identity, not a solid presence invading my weak and undefended territory, but a presence that offers to nourish and augment what I am."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Show Me The Place - Leonard Cohen

"Show Me The Place"
by Leonard Cohen
Show me the place where you want your slave to go
Show me the place I've forgotten I don't know
Show me the place where my head is bendin' low
Show me the place where you want your slave to go

Show me the place, help me roll away the stone
Show me the place, I can't move this thing alone
Show me the place where the word became a man
Show me the place where the suffering began

The troubles came I saved what I could save
A thread of light, a particle, a wave
But there were chains, so I hastened to behave
There were chains, so I loved you like a slave

Show me the place where you want your slave to go
Show me the place I've forgotten I don't know
Show me the place where my head is bendin' low
Show me the place where you want your slave to go

The troubles came I saved what I could save
A thread of light, a particle, a wave
But there were chains, so I hastened to behave
There were chains, so I loved you like a slave

Show me the place
Show me the place
Show me the place

Show me the place, help me roll away the stone
Show me the place, I can't move this thing alone
Show me the place where the word became a man

Show me the place where the suffering began

Come Healing - Leonard Cohen & the Webb Sisters

"Come Healing"
by Leonard Cohen
O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

O troubled dust concealing
An undivided love
The Heart beneath is teaching
To the broken Heart above

O let the heavens falter
And let the earth proclaim:
Come healing of the Altar
Come healing of the Name

O longing of the branches
To lift the little bud
O longing of the arteries
To purify the blood

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Friday, June 12, 2015

So that we become bread for others


Some people, who cannot see what nourishment they could be bringing, do not realize that they can become bread for others. They have no confidence that their word, their smile, their being or their prayer could nourish others and help them rediscover trust. Jesus calls us to give our lives for those we love. If we eat the bread transformed into the Body of Christ, it is so that we become bread for others.
~ Jean Vanier, Community and Growth