Saturday, December 23, 2023

Distractions & Longings are the Real Noise

DAILY MEDITATION with Magnificat



What Zechariah Learned in Silence

The direction of oneself toward God and toward solitude in him prepares the soul for the acquisition of that peace that helps us in the most distracting, most active external work…. Man’s silence makes room for God’s word. When man is silent, God is heard. And once we listen intently to God we maintain our silence even in the midst of our speech.

“Everything around man makes far less noise than man himself. The echo that magnifies external things in our soul—this is the real uproar.” This is a penetrating truth. We often do an injustice to the external world in blaming it for forcing us into distraction and noise. The longings of our soul, the disorder of our ideas and our thoughts, the diversity of our aims: it is these things that make the tumult inside us. Only our inner spiritual attitude can seal the entrance through which all these stray scraps tumble into our soul. If it is possible to open this door, it is also possible to close it. A voice crying in the wilderness has to announce to the soul, make straight the way of the Lord. In order to practice quiet within oneself, it is necessary to call on the aid of the virtues: patience, which calms the torment of sadness in us; perseverance and constancy, which overcome disquiet and fickleness, the shifting of intentions, plans, and goals from one object to another. Longanimity (or long-suffering) plays its part by controlling the feverish disturbance of work; humility and disinterestedness conquer the desire we feel for attention. Through the latter, our work takes on the subtle quality of a deed maturing in secret, like a flower in the bud until the time comes for it to bloom.

The longing for renown, the proclamation of our own deeds and sometimes even only of our plans, rob us of peace and of real thoroughness in our work, for there is too much for display in them, too much that is done for applause and renown, and too much seeking for immediate payment. The spirit of quiet demands humility and disinterestedness; the spirit of calm, as the fruit of love and justice, brings with it order and concord, and drives out disputes, discord, quarrelsomeness, and division. All of these are the fruit of quiet, poured into the soul.

Blessed Stefan Wyszyński

Blessed Stefan Wyszyński († 1981) was a Polish archbishop and cardinal who was a courageous and outspoken opponent of both Nazism and Communism. / From Sanctify Your Daily Life: How to Transform Work into a Source of Strength, Holiness, and Joy. © 2018, EWTN Publishing, Inc., Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH. Used with permission.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Saving Mr Banks – Forgiveness Scene


Saving Mr Banks – Forgiveness Scene

PAMELA - You've come to change my mind, haven’t you? To beat me into submission.

WALT - No, I've come because you misjudge me.

PAMELA - How do I misjudge you?

WALT - You look at me and you see some kind of Hollywood King Midas. You think I've built an empire and that I want to use your Mary Poppins as just another brick in my kingdom.

PAMELA - And don't you?

WALT - If that was all it was, would I have pursued a cranky, stubborn dame like you for twenty years? I'd've saved myself an ulcer! No, you expected me to disappoint you and so you made sure I did. You see, I think life disappoints you, Mrs Travers. I think it's done that a lot. Maybe Mary Poppins is the only person in your life who hasn't.

PAMELA - Mary Poppins isn't real.

WALT - Oh, no, no, no, that's not true. She's real as can be to my daughter's and to thousands of other children--adults too. She's been there as a nighttime comfort to a heck of alot of people.

PAMELA - Well, Where is she when I need her? Hm? I open the door to Mary Poppins and who should be standing there but Walt Disney!

WALT - Mrs Travers, I am so sorry. I hoped this would be a magical experience for you, for all of us. But I let you down-- and in doing so, I've broken a twenty year old promise to my girls. I've been wracking my brains, trying to figure out why this has been so hard for you and I--You see, I have my own Mr Banks. Mine you, he had a mustache.

PAMELA - Ah! Not true then that Disney created man in his own image?

WALT - But it is true that you created yourself in someone else's yes?

She doesn't answer.

WALT (CONT'D) - Ever been to Kansas City, Mrs Travers? Do you know Missouri at all?

PAMELA - Can't say I do.

WALT - It's mighty cold there in the winters. Bitter.

WALT (CONT'D - he pours out) - My dad, Elias Disney, he owned a newspaper delivery route there. Thousand papers. Twice daily. Morning and evening edition. Elias, he was a tough businessman. A save-a-penny anywhere you can type of fella so he wouldn't employ any delivery boys, he just used me and my big brother Roy. I was eight years old. Like I said, those winters were harsh and old Elias didn't believe in new shoes until the old ones were worn right through so-- Honestly, Mrs Travers, the snow drifts would be way over my head--

WALT (CONT'D) - We'd push through that snow like it was molasses. And the cold and the wet would be seeping through the shoes and the skin would be peeling from our faces-- and sometimes I'd find myself sunk down in the snow, waking up, cuz I must've passed out for a moment-- I dunno. Then school, too cold to figure out equations and things. And back into the snow so by the time we got home it'd be just getting dark, and every part of you would sting like crazy as it slowly came back to life in the warmth. My mother would feed us dinner and then it'd be time to go out again for the evening edition.

Best be quick Walt, best be quick or poppa's gonna show you the buckle end again boy.

WALT (CONT'D) - Now, I don't tell you all this to make you sad Mrs Travers, I don't. I love my life - it's a miracle. And I loved my daddy, boy I loved him. But, there rare is a day where I don't think of that little boy in the snow and old Elias with his fist and strap and I'm just so tired-- I'm tired of remembering it that way. Aren't you tired Mrs Travers? We all have our tales but don't you want to find a way to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn't dictated by a past?

It's not the children she comes to save. It's their father. It's your father--? Travers Goff.

PAMELA - I don't know what you think you know about me Walter--

WALT - You must've loved and admired him a lot to take his name--


WALT - Mrs. Travers. It's all about him isn't it? All of this. Everything.

Pamela looks at her hands, they're shaking.

WALT (CONT'D) - Forgiveness, Mrs Travers, it's what I learned from your books.

PAMELA - I don't need to forgive my father. He was a wonderful man.

WALT - No, you need to forgive Helen Goff. Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself.

WALT (CONT'D) - Give her to me, Mrs Travers. Trust me with your precious Mary Poppins. I won't disappoint you. I swear that every time a person goes into a movie house - from Leicester to Kansas City, they will see George Banks being saved. They will love him and his kids, they will weep for his cares, and wring their hands when he loses his job. And when he flies that kite, oh! They will rejoice, they will sing. In every movie house, all over the world, in the eyes and the hearts of my kids, and other kids and their mothers and fathers for generations to come, George Banks will be honored. George Banks will be redeemed. George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope, again and again and again. Trust me, Mrs Travers. Let me prove it to you. I give you my word.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Assimilate the Word

My prayer is to always remember with every breath to assimilate the Word within me.

To Hear and Observe the Word

On a human plane some days go better than others. And so once again we experience that in the present moment given to us it doesn’t really matter if the day is going well or not. What does matter instead is how we live our lives, and how that points to love, which alone gives value to everything. God in fact loves those who keep his Word.

Let us keep in mind that neither our successes nor our failures will accompany us to the next life. Were we to even give our bodies to be burned— without love it would have no meaning. Without love neither doing missionary work nor speaking with angels’ tongues, neither doing works of mercy nor giving everything to the poor has value (cf. 1 Cor 13:1-3). We can take with us to heaven only how all this was lived, that is, in accordance with God’s Word through which our love is expressed.

Let us start our day then with confidence, whether there be storms or sunshine. Let us remember that every day has value insofar as we have assimilated the Word within us. Christ will live in us and he will give value to the works we accomplish, whether directly or through our prayers and sufferings. In the end these are the works that will follow us into everlasting life (cf. Rv 14:13). We will realize in awe how the Word of God, the truth, makes us free regardless of external circumstances, of inner trials, and of the influence of the world around us, which attempts to diminish the fullness and beauty of God’s kingdom within us.

Servant of God Chiara Lubich

Chiara Lubich († 2008) was the founder and president of the Focolare movement. / From Heaven on Earth: Meditations and Reflections, Jerry Hearne, Tr. © 2000, New City Press, Hyde Park, NY. Used with permission.

From The Magnificat

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Oct 4 - Bound to the Weakest - St Francis

 From my friend, Gerry Straub's journal:

October 4, 2023

Bound to the Weakest

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. The saint desired to pray continually, as

1 Thessalonians 5:17 recommends. Let us pray...

Blessed you are, Lord;

show me what you want me to do.

Lord, you have been our refuge

from generation to generation.

Lord, have mercy on me

-- I ask as I have asked before --

heal this soul that has sinned against you.

Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God.

In you is the source of all life;

in you is the light

whereby we shall see light.

Forever show your mercy

to them that have come to know you.


(A fragment of the ancient church’s prayer, the Te Deum, specially translated by Fr. A. Hamman, a Dominican friar.)

Words to Ponder

Because he himself assumed his full share in this labor of transformation, along with the humblest and poorest of his fellow men, [St.] Francis [of Assisi] discovered an aspect of God very different from that current among the adherents of ecclesiastical principalities and holy wars. For him, God ceased to be the external, dominating, and Transcendent One, the Lord in a more-or-less feudal dress. To him, God appeared as mysteriously present in our history, bereft of all trappings of power, bound instead to what was weakest and most despised in man’s world. Francis rediscovered God’s humbleness, God’s humanity. Not merely as an object of devotion, but as a new principle on which to reconstruct society. He understood that if one acknowledges the God of the Gospel, then one can no longer be satisfied with just any form of social organization. This acknowledgment is bound to bring about a transformation in human relationships; it involves seeking and bringing into being true brotherhood, a brotherhood that excludes nobody. The God of the Gospel lets himself be seen through other men, where there are no more lords and no more subjects, where no one is kept out. The dawn of true brotherhood is the light in which God is truly found.

-Eloi Leclerc, OFM,

Francis of Assisi: Return to the Gospel

Monday, September 4, 2023

I, but no longer I: A liberation of our "I" from its isolation - Pope Benedict XVI

 I, but no longer I: A liberation of our "I" from its isolation

I can't help but think that sometimes you take words literally and then sometimes, if you are blessed, you hear and feel the heartbeat of the Word. 

Link to a homily given on April 15, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI 

Some outtakes of this homily:
Jesus is not a character from the past. He lives, and he walks before us as one who is alive, he calls us to follow him, the living one, and in this way to discover for ourselves too the path of life.

(Like the disciples we are perplexed at the Resurrection and ask) What happened there? What does it mean for us, for the whole world and for me personally? Above all: what happened? Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He is in a totally new life. But how could this happen? What forces were in operation? The crucial point is that this man Jesus was not alone, he was not an "I" closed in upon itself. He was one single reality with the living God, so closely united with him as to form one person with him. He found himself, so to speak, in an embrace with him who is life itself, an embrace not just on the emotional level, but one which included and permeated his being. His own life was not just his own...

The Resurrection was like an explosion of light, an explosion of love which dissolved the hitherto indissoluble compenetration of "dying and becoming". It ushered in a new dimension of being, a new dimension of life in which, in a transformed way, matter too was integrated and through which a new world emerges.

The Resurrection is not a thing of the past, the Resurrection has reached us and seized us. We grasp hold of it, we grasp hold of the risen Lord, and we know that he holds us firmly even when our hands grow weak. We grasp hold of his hand, and thus we also hold on to one another’s hands, and we become one single subject, not just one thing. I, but no longer I: this is the formula of Christian life rooted in Baptism, the formula of the Resurrection within time. I, but no longer I: if we live in this way, we transform the world.

Life comes to us from being loved by him who is Life; it comes to us from living-with and loving-with him. I, but no longer I: this is the way of the Cross, the way that "crosses over" a life simply closed in on the I, thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Contact - I Had an Experience...I Wish i Could Share It


I had... an experience.  I can't

prove it.  I can't even explain it.

All I can tell you is that

everything I know as a human being,

everything I am -- tells me that it

was real.

The room grows quiet.



I was given something wonderful.

Something that changed me.  A vision

of the universe that made it

overwhelmingly clear just how tiny

and insignificant -- and at the same

time how rare and precious we all

are.  A vision... that tells us we

belong to something greater than

ourselves... that we're not -- that

none of us -- is alone.


Moved beyond words.




I wish I could share it.  I wish

everyone, if only for a moment --

could feel that sense of awe, and

humility... and hope.  That

continues to be my wish.