Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Gift of Self

" should not imitate Me only as a disciple imitates his master, or as a Christian on earth imitates his celestial patron. I am more than a model placed before you. I am for you an interior principle of life." My Ideal: Jesus, Son of Mary, Fr. Emil Neubert, S.M.

The goal of the Christian life is to become intimately united to God. God is a community of Divine Persons- the Blessed Trinity- constantly exchanging within Himself the gift of Himself to Himself. The Son is eternally offering Himself to the Father, the Father is eternally begetting the Son, the Spirit is forever pouring forth His Divine fragrance into the hearts of the Father and the Son, and they are unceasingly breathing forth their Life into Him. The exchange within the Blessed Trinity is an exchange of substance and life, an exchange of person and blessing, a comprehensive self-giving that also requires a total reception of the gift. We, the adopted children of the Father and the brothers of Christ, are destined to be incorporated into this union. Christ pours forth His Life and Spirit into our hearts, giving us the whole gift of Himself. He dwells within us in reality, so then "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." To receive this gift, we must also offer a corresponding gift-- the total gift of ourselves. It is in offering the gift of ourselves to God that we become able to receive the True Presence and Person of God into the very center of our beings, and so become one with Christ, as He is one with the Father.

"Ours is the spirit of the Eucharist: the total gift of self." St. Katherine Drexel

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Perfect Knowledge

"But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with faces uncovered, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. 3:18, Douay-Rheims

The Holy Spirit bestows upon us the gift of Knowledge. This knowledge is unlike ordinary human knowledge. It is not the consequence of intellectual pursuit or academic labor, rather it is the knowledge of a Person. We can memorize Scripture, study theology, or teach the Catechism, and these things are good and edifying, but the knowledge that the Spirit grants us goes beyond a collection of facts and words. The perfect knowledge of God is granted in union with the Holy Spirit and is a transforming knowledge. It is a living knowledge which brings about in our souls a true change of being. St. John describes it in this way: "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, because we shall see him as He is." I John 3:2. With faces uncovered, that is, with our souls cleansed from every stain of sin and detached from our personal motives, aspirations, and opinions, our perception of God, mediated by the Holy Spirit, will be perfect and accurate. For "the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God, that we may know the things that are given us from God, which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom, but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 2 Cor 2: 12-13. The very beholding of God in the Spirit, which will grant us true knowledge of Him, will produce in our souls a perfect imitation of His being. "We shall be like Him", we shall be truly sons and daughters of God because we shall know Him as He is...not as we wish Him to be or as we hope Him to be, but as He is.
Come, Holy Spirit, filled the hearts of Your faithful, and grant unto us the gift of perfect knowledge of God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

**Gold Dust**

"Preserve always the childlike simplicity which goes direct to God, and speak to Him as you would speak to your mother...Keep the generous heart of childhood which gives all you have to God. Let Him freely take whatever He pleases, all within and around you. Will only what He wills, desiring only what is in accordance with His Will , and finding nothing impossible that He commands...The longer you live, the better you will understand that true happiness is only to be found in a life devoted to God, and given up entirely to His Guidance." Gold Dust: A Collection of Golden Counsels for the Sanctification of Daily Life, ed. Charlotte M. Yonge, 1897

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Being a Child

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away the things of a child." I Cor 13:11, Douai-Rheims

When I was a child, my understanding was limited to what could be seen, felt, or heard in my world. Through these sensory channels, I experienced reality, but now I know there exists a greater Reality. When I turn my eyes to the beauty in this world, underlying it I perceive a greater Beauty. With what intense delight a child embraces this world! The smell of the new-mown grass, the haunting call of the gull, the ever-deepening blue vastness of the sky whisper to a child's heart of that Beauty beyond all beauty. The child begins a life quest, a pilgrimage; the uniquely human yearning for the knowledge of God burning within. And so, the child pursues many things, becoming soon a man or woman, seeking to discover somewhere in this world the antidote for the yearning. But the things of the world, the orientation of the child, must be put away to fulfill this longing. The soul must abandon the childish reliance on worldly satisfaction, but yet retain the child-like ability to embrace the Love of God without reserve. The joyful soul is entirely dependent upon and open to the Beauty of God in the depth of its being. Like the child rejoicing in the swooping dart of the swallow or the rustling quake of the aspen, it becomes so enthralled by the freedom, glory, and peace of God that it loses all awareness of itself.

"Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it."Gospel According to St. Luke 18:17, Douai-Rheims

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friendship with God

"I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you." Gospel According to St. John, Douai-Rheims
The deepest and truest secrets of our hearts we reveal only to those who are nearest to us, those whom we love with the deepest love. We may tell one person one thing, and another person another thing, but it is only with our genuine friends that we tell the entire truth of who we are, that we reveal our innermost being. Friendship is an exchange of persons. Christ, who in the eternal exchange of Himself with the Father is united so intimately with Him as to be One Being,
calls us to this same exchange of self with Him. He gives Himself to us in His High Priestly Sacrifice, and calls forth from us the same gift, that is, the total gift of self, to Him. The intimate exchange of being between Christ and us produces a new union-Christ the Head, we the Body; Christ the Bridegroom, we the Bride. Our Life flows forth from this union as we give ourselves to Him and receive from Him His own Life in the Spirit. To bring always to our conscious minds the truth of this union and to live it out in the reality of our daily lives is the work of faith.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hidden God

A dense fog lies on the land. In the distance, the ghosts of trees stand silently in the still air. There are no mountains in my vision; all is shrouded in whiteness and haze. God, too, is silent. He, once as clearly seen as the mountains, is hidden beneath a veil of obscurity. Yet, my soul, by faith you know He is near you, though you cannot see, or feel, or sense Him. How deep is your yearning for Him! How severe the trial of obscurity! Trust that this trial is God's will to draw you closer to Him, to purify your love and your intentions, to cause the sweet flower of profound humility to blossom within you. This is faith--to love without knowing, to follow without sight, to be certain of the hidden God.
"God hidden in his veils gives himself with His grace in an altogether unknown way, for the soul feels nothing but feebleness under its crosses, disgust with its obligations, while its attractions are only to very commonplace exercises...It feels itself lost in this dreadful state; it has no support, neither that of the thoughts which used to guide and animate its actions nor that of grace no longer perceptible; but in this loss of everything it finds everything restored, for that very grace that it cannot perceive in, so to say, a new form, gives the soul the hundredfold of what it has taken away, by the purity of its secret effects... To live by faith is then to live in joy, assurance, certitude, confidence in what one must do and suffer at each moment at God's command. God then disguises Himself to raise the soul to pure faith, thus teaching it to find him under all sorts of disguises...." Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. J. P. Caussade

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Our Lady of Fatima

Why did our Lady appear to children? Unlike adults, who often have suffered greatly, the children had really never suffered. How could they possibly understand her requests for penance, for reparation for sins committed against the Blessed Sacrament, for the intentional offering up of suffering? And yet, without understanding fully the nature of personal suffering, they committed themselves to all our Lady asked of them. The children were not overcome by the fear of future suffering that immobilizes us as adults. They simply trusted in God, and when the suffering did come in their lives, at that moment God gave them the grace to bear it and offer it up. God never gives grace in advance, but when we are caught up in fears for the future, we expect that we will be given the grace for those future events now-in the present moment. When we see within ourselves the inability to suffer for our God, we in fear decide that because we are unable to stand, we will just go ahead and fall down right now! We turn back from the Way; we fail to trust in God Who will give us His grace when we need it.