Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Breath of Heaven (song lyrics)

Listen here...

I have traveled
many moonless nights,
Cold and weary
with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now
to carry your son.

I am waiting
in a silent prayer.
I am frightened
by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.

Do you wonder
as you watch my face,
If a wiser one
should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Help me.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.

Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Love is a hungry infant

How strange it is
to love a love that must be hushed
like a hungry infant
crying out in a place of silence.

--Chantelle Franc

The most in love

A believer is surely a lover, yea, of all lovers the most in love.

--Sören Kierkegaard

Monday, December 29, 2008

My favorite gift

One of the many gifts bestowed on me this Christmas was from God himself.

Our Christmas Eve service was a series of hymns and readings, and I helped choreograph at a rehearsal last Monday night. Some changes were needed as various reader's were not available, and I volunteered to take on any readings that were open. The guys shuffled the readings around, and assigned me one, but I didn't look at it until the next day. When I did, I discovered that it was Luke 1:26-58; the annunciation and the visitation.

God's generosity and personal attention never ceases to amaze me.

Clean up time

Ah... the hubub is mostly over. What sweet relief.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The mystery of life...

The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.

-- Aart van der Leeuw

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thomas, my twin

Another thought on Thomas.

How like him we are as we probe around our faith. Jesus stands before us willingly and we thrust our fingers into His wounds, stretching and pulling them as we selfishly seek satisfaction.

The reason that Thomas is a twin is that we are just like him.

Forgive me Lord, and heal my disbelief.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

A very holy and merry Christmas to all. May God bless us every one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our fiat

During mass on Sunday it occurred to me that our yes may actually be harder than Mary's was. We generally do not have the benefit of a visit by an angel, or a tangible experience of union with the Holy Spirit as she did.

Monday's gospel reading described Thomas' disbelief, and seemed to potentially confirm this line of thought when it tells us that blessed are we who have not seen and yet believe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reflect on your blessings

Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

-- Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 20, 2008

C.S. Lewis on the Pain of God's Best

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

-- C. S. Lewis

Friday, December 19, 2008

Protect those who travel

It is snowing hard.

Blessed Mother, be with those who are traveling...

On joy and pain

From Ministry and Imagination, Ch 6:

"The fact is that contemplatives, who make the inward journey into the unconscious, frequently have spoken of the joy and pain, apparent opposites, that confronts them: the symbols and the diabols. Again and again I am reminded also of comments Castaneda makes, or rather quotations he records from his shaman. It is only when one claims to understand, that he is really 'in a mess.' The task of the 'warrior' is to achieve a balance between terror and wonder. The numinous and hidden quality of the vision, combined with the seeming multivocality of its symbols, are a common perception with those who surrender to the unconscious. Marghanita Laski, as we said before, has noted that 'ecstasy' has both its fearful and attractive dimensions, just as Otto spoke of the numinous as terrifying and fascinating."

On feeling God's presence

From Ministry and Imagination, Ch 6:

"It seems to me that when people say that they 'talk with Jesus' or 'feel Jesus in their hearts,' they are referring in part to a very superficial level of the unconscious, which we would identify by a kind of warm nostalgia they associate with pleasant memories of their parents, probably quite distorted, or of the 'good old days.' This is not really the content of the unconscious at any level of depth. The feelings of the unconscious are more frequently identified with a sense of joy, as described by C.S. Lewis in his autobiography; a strange warmth, such as John Wesley testified to at Aldersgate; a celestial orgasm, as Teresa of Avila relates; a sublime melody, as the fourteenth-century mystic, Richard Rolle, claims; or the oceanic experience such as Castaneda himself records."

The soul that walks in love...

The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired.

-- John of the Cross

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Passion

From Ministry and Imagination, Ch 6:

"The fact that 'passion' means both suffering and a frenzied release of the libido is not altogether accidental. Sexual intercourse and suffering have long been associated in man's mind. There is the notion that in coitus we die a little. It is also true that we pursue a vision that lies just outside our grasp. Ovid wrote somewhat facetiously Omne animal post coitum triste ('Every animal after coitus is sad'), and it is true (even without qualifications). Somehow we can sustain the sexual union, but we should come away with our routine existence more informed by what it might become. This is as true for any deep relationship as it is for mating, and it depends upon our willingness to trust ourselves, to let go of our self-centeredness in that meeting.

That very act of letting go, fueled by the mating urge (Eros), renders us vulnerable. Eros is no respecter of the conventions of society, as necessary as they are. Passion draws us into the abyss, with that curious mixture of pain and longing--that strange bittersweet feeling we never outgrow--and we risk that we might find ourselves in the beloved. Our reason tells us we are only foolish, and it is half right. There is only a thin line between 'puppy love' and the passion of the mating bond. The proof lies in the return to the world of obligation and role. Have we glimpsed in the mystery of love that which enables us to live out our life with a deeper compassion for ourselves and those whom we serve?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Everything comes from love

Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.

-- Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Litany of Humility

Litany of Humility

Written by Cardinal Merry del Val. He was accustomed to recite this prayer daily after the celebration of Holy Mass.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No electric blanket needed

I took a nap yesterday afternoon (ah, glorious!) and was again blessed with a supernatural warmth, like a blanket of warm water draped over my body. Part of the reason it feels so unusual is that the sensation is only on the top, as if the blankets were electric. It's not the kind of overheated sweatiness all around you which makes you throw back the covers for relief. It's a directional, radiant heat that nearly pulses. It reminds me a bit of the heat you feel when standing before a fire or a woodstove.

This has happened a handful of times throughout the last year or so, most typically while napping. It keeps me in a state of semi-wakefulness, in which I simply luxuriate in the experience.

Truly glorious.

God's gifts are so interesting...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A different state of being

Prayer this morning was nearly exquisite.

Sometimes in prayer I am transported to another state of being. It was not quite ecstatic today, but could have developed into that depth I think under different (and quieter) circumstances.

While worshiping I again felt the burning sensation of love and absence around my heart, and I imagined His hands wrapping around it, cradling it, sheltering it, warming it.

Protecting it.

I was reminded of God gathering His chicks together into the comfortable warmth of His bosom, and of us being sheltered beneath His wings.

But the image of those hands cradling my heart were the strongest, and the truest.

And the warmth and burning sensation grew as I worshiped Him.

If this is even a hint of the perpetual worship that is to occur in heaven, I can hardly wait. I can see how you could never grow tired of it; it is a different state of being.

Not one blade of grass

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world
that is not intended to make us rejoice.

-- John Calvin

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pain and delight at the same time

This passage from Ministry and Imagination reminds me of my intense experience of loss while on retreat:

"What we are aware of as a fulfillment of our religious quest on the primary level is the ambiguous feeling of both fear and love. We find ourselves gazing into a mystery, which would seem to engage us as an overweening power and yet flood us with an unimaginable assurance of worth. Such experience is not of equal impact in all individuals. Laski described ecstasies of withdrawal and intensity; and perhaps one person is more aware of their smallness and alienation before the mystery, while another is rewarded with the gift of wholeness and unity. At the same time, I do know that reporters as different as St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and the contemporary American anthropologist, Carlos Castaneda, describe mystical or transcendental experiences in which there is an intense level of pain and delight at the same time."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Love of person for person

To have known God vaguely but very really in nature and humanity, and then to discover him translated into a human comrade, is to find awe quickened into devotion, and reverence into love. The Eternal may stir me in certain moods and certain elements of my being: only love of person for person can possess me entire.

--Charles Raven

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prayer of abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joy vs. unbelief

The opposite of joy is not sorrow. It is unbelief.

-- Leslie Weatherhead

Monday, December 8, 2008

Joy vs. happiness

The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere talks
about a "happy Christian." Happiness depends on what happens;
joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays "that
they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves."

-- Oswald Chambers

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mother Teresa on joy

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

-- Mother Teresa

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Survival of the prayed up

World's collided last night, and everyone survived. Something tells me our Blessed Mother helped, because rosaries were wielded in one of them.

As Fr. Corapi says: My mama wears combat boots.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fuse me to the cross

While praying yesterday God sent me lots of good stuff, though I don't remember most now. I should keep my journal handy to capture His gifts.

The strongest of images He sent was of His cross being searing hot. I regularly imagine physically uniting myself to Christ on the cross, sometimes hanging with him, my back to His chest, sometimes clinging to the cross directly. In this meditation, I pressed up against and wrapped my arms around it, and it was so hot that the flesh which touched it was fused, so that the cross and I became one.

It was an agony of pain but it was right and good and required.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gift from the Sea

A friend at work gave me a lovely little book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh called Gift from the Sea. I can tell it will be a book to savor. This from the end of the first, small chapter:

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I need to fast...

I am all too often astonishingly pathetic and self indulgent.

Which reminds me; I need to fast more.

Monday, December 1, 2008

When world's collide

I stand upon the precipice of worlds colliding, and tremble.

Life, change, and cultural relevance

I had several good discussions with my 20 year old daughter over the Thanksgiving holiday. One of them had to do with my objection to Catholic seminaries which are not loyal to magisterial teaching. In this discussion, she commented that religion which does not change is dead.

One of the books I read during my brief stint at one such seminary suggested that it is the job of each generation to renew and reform the church and the liturgy.

I think both of these statements are accurate within the context of truth. Each generation needs to find ways to present the truth in a way in which the culture can most effectively respond to it. But the emphasis must be on the truth being the truth.

Truth stands outside of cultural relevance. It is what it is.

Change for the sake of cultural conformity and "relevance" is not life, it is certain death.

Joy vs. pleasure

God offers us joy, and we waste our lives searching for pleasure.