Category Archives: Bride of Christ

God’s Tenderness During Holy Mass

  
At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today, I was preoccupied with my past sins and the weakness that I show seemingly often in my daily life, often listening to sin as if it is not such a bad thing. 

But there were consoling words today.

I heard, “Marry me” twice, the first time during the Confiteor and the next time during the Sanctus.  This calling is reminiscent of God’s calling to all of the People of God to come to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and be joined in unity with Him.  The Prophet Jeremiah gave us God’s own imagery for how He wants us to relate to Him:

31″Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” [Book of the Prophet, Jeremiah, 31:31-34, RSVCE, Holy Bible]

And here, St John reveals that the spouse of the Lamb is the Church of the Faithful:

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.

7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

8 it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” [Book of Revelation, 19:6-9, RSVCE Holy Bible]

I saw in my mind an image of the hand of another man, not physically present, clad in priestly attire, holding his hand out over the Chalice before the words of Consecration as if a saint had come down from heaven bringing with him the power of the Holy Spirit.

  
I heard, “Totus tuus” twice during the Agnus Dei as I imagined our Savior as a meek lamb.  “Totus tuus” was made popular by Polish Pope Saint John Paul II, and it means, “Totally yours.”  

Our priest today was a visiting priest from Poland.  I have a feeling that the doors of Heaven were wide open and Pope Saint John Paul II was there serving this priest and bringing God’s consolation to us.

    
  

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When Your Inner Voice Says: “Marry me.”

Church Adorned as a Bride

The Church as the Lord Sees Her Soul, When She Prays in Truth

When you are praying in truth – with true affection in your heart for the Lord – and you hear “Marry me,”  what do you say?  How do you respond?  What happens in your mind and soul?

In my soul, in the hearing of the words, it is like water entering a parched leaf, softening and rejuvenating my soul.  But I question it:

“Who?  Me?  Of course!  What?  Marry You?  How?  How can this be?  When?  Yes.  I believe what is impossible for me to understand from a human perspective.  I will, but…”

And then I yearn to hear the words again, and often, subtly I do, but only when my prayer is in truth, and when my prayer is in truth, it is because I am already being acted upon by a soothing Presence in my soul, that Presence, the Holy Spirit in whom my soul rejoices.

We ask ourselves, “What will life be like after I die on earth?  Where am I going?  What will I do?”

We don’t know all of the details, but we do know how much our Creator loves us and desires us:

For your husband is your Maker;
the LORD of hosts is his name,
Your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.

The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
A wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.

For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.

In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.

~ Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 54:5-8, New American Bible

And St. John the Baptist confirms the intent of God for His people:

He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.

~ Gospel of John 3:29, RSV Holy Bible

And the Lord, Jesus Christ Himself confirms the intent of God for His people in the Kingdom when He teaches:

Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom…

~ Gospel of Matthew, 25:1, RSV Holy Bible

But this is not a human marriage where new human life is procreated from the carnal union of two.  I believe that this is a marriage consummated in the spiritual soul, wherein God works most effectively, a deification of sorts from which new, spiritual Light emerges, new in the sense that it is intimately mingled with our spiritual soul.  It is joyful.  It is beautiful.

DREAM: LESSON TO STOP TRYING TO STEER THE HOLY SPIRIT

I dreamed last night that I was flying a kite, a kite which also was hoisting me along in the air from place to place.

The kite is changing into a dove!

The kite is changing into a dove!

I was trying to steer the kite when I noticed that it was not a kite at all.  It was a beautiful white dove!

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

The Dove of the Holy Spirit

Was I steering it or was it steering me around power lines and trees?  As we went along, it got lower and lower to the ground and the wind seemed to slow.  Eventually the dove rested on the ground and immediately became a beautiful young human being with golden hair with a white robe and reclining on the ground and smiling at me. And that was my dream.

Upon reflection this morning, I thought of the Holy Spirit.  While I know that the Holy Spirit is literally scripturally masculine, I could not tell whether the Person was male or female except that I can easily associate fairness and beauty with feminine traits.  I suppose that when we see God, the glorified Jesus face to face, we might see both masculine and feminine traits since the Body of Christ consists of all of the Faithful, both male and female, and we all find our wholeness in Jesus Christ.

The dream is important and relevant to my recent tribulations in determining my vocation in life.  Am I following God’s Will or am I subverting His Will through my own efforts to control the direction I am going?  But, truly, I feel directionless now – without passion for anything in particular other than stabilizing my life so that I can spend more time with God, e.g., going to daily Mass, and so on. But I am like a person on the wind which blows where it wills, and I do not know the direction in which it goes, and am I comfortable with such a disposition? 

It is like the Lord’s teaching:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.   That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.   Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’   The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” [Gospel of John 3:5-8, RSVCE]

“…so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit”

That last phrase caught my attention.  I am born of the Spirit in Baptism and my direction in life needs to be aligned with that of the Spirit whose direction it is not mine to grasp by my own will.  I need less me and more Him in my soul.  If I can just hang on in trust and let the Spirit carry me instead of me trying to steer the Spirit, all will be okay, will it not?

Let us listen to a great saint Doctor of the Church on this subject:

“Therefore must the soul be stripped of all things created, and of its own actions and abilities — namely, of its understanding, perception and feelings — so, that when all that is unlike God and unconformed to him is cast out, the soul may receive the likeness of God; and nothing will then remain in it that is not the will of God and it will thus be transformed in God.  Wherefore, although it is true that, as we have said, God is ever in the soul, giving it, its natural being, yet he does not always communicate supernatural being to it.  For this is communicated only by love and grace, which not all souls possess; and all those that possess it have it not in the same degree; for some have attained more degrees of love and others fewer .  Wherefore God communicates himself most to that soul who has progressed farthest in love; namely, that has its will in closest conformity with the will of God.  And the soul that has attained complete conformity and likeness of will is totally united and transformed in God supernaturally.”  [St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, book 2, chapter 5, from the Navarre Bible Commentaries on John 3:3-8]

St. John of the Cross in contemplation of God.

St. John of the Cross in contemplation of God.

And so I need to humble myself – stop trying to steer God and let God steer me instead.  This requires me to open my heart and say “yes” more to the missions He sends my way, right?  And what are the missions?  You see?  I doubt because I am not sure what are the missions. Lord, open my heart and my mind to be receptive to your love and grace whenever and wherever you will that I may do your will and be joined to You and You to me in that close bond which is meant to be like a marriage according to your own design.  Help me to hear your voice and to follow You wherever you lead me.  Amen.

Learn from the Flowers of God

Sister Tracey_FSP_Flower of God_2Mar2014 (2)

Sister Tracey, Flower of God, Daughters of St. Paul, March 2, 2014.

Jesus said, “Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink? ‘or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek.  Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” [Gospel of Matthew, 6:28-33, NAB].

st_therese_of_lisieux

The Little Flower, St. Therese Liseux

Hear what the “Little Flower” had to say and compare:

“Yes, when a soul has allowed herself to be captivated by the inebriating fragrance of Thy perfumes, she could not run alone, all the souls whom she loves are drawn after her; this is a natural consequence of her attractions towards Thee.”

Flower of God, "crazy" for Jesus.  St. Tracey will be face-paining on March 4th, 2014 in Metairie, LA.  Please go and make a donation.

Flower of God, “crazy” for Jesus. Sister Tracey will be face-painting on March 4th, 2014 in Metairie, LA. Please go and make a donation for the missions.

“My only desire now is to love Jesus even to folly.”

“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love at which we do them.”

“For me to love you, Jesus, as you love me, I would have to borrow your own love and then only would I be at rest.”

~ St. Therese Liseux, the Little Flower

 

And now for a delightful view of the flowers of Jesus the King.  Enjoy

Loving Bond: A Vine of Roses

Sweet blossoming of our Blessed Mother Mary

Sweet blossoming of our Blessed Mother Mary

As I walked and meditated on the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary yesterday, my heart was grateful for the wonderful gifts which God has given to me, especially in the gift of our Blessed Mother Mary.

I envisioned giving her a bouquet of roses in gratitude. She smiled joyfully. When I gave her the bouquet, the roses became like a Vine and wrapped around her hands and mine, and around our wrists.

I was embarrassed because this was too much for me. I had no choice but to stand there and gaze into Mother Mary’s eyes and be loved in her gaze; the Vine of Roses, Jesus our Lord bound us together.

A Dream of the Intoxicating Love of God

800-Ezra Temple is Built

We have thought on thy steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of thy temple.
— Psalm 48:9, RSV

I dreamed last week that my wife and I had desired to go to a far off place – a very important place – to receive Holy Communion, the Blessed Sacrament. This reception would be very special however because the experience would be unique and tangible.In my dream, we were there on the steps leading up to the entrance waiting to go up. Father Terry was there as the very serious gatekeeper, only allowing certain people to enter in. He had a beard and a traditional Franciscan brown robe on…No smile – looking very diligent and serious in his service. We walked by him, and he did not concern himself with us.

We entered into what seemed to be an old stone temple, a dark hallway barely lit with candles. I was excited with anticipation of receiving the Lord!

We finally arrived at the head of the line where 3 persons were standing, but I could only see the beautiful young person standing in the center and holding the ciborium. I thought the person, because of the apparent youth (20’s), fair complexion, absence of facial hair, and thick, dark hair cropped flat about 3 inches above the shoulders, and thin frame, to be a young lady, but it was not Instituation of the Eucharistclear. The person wore what appeared to be a black, floor-length, silk-like robe or cassock with shiny, silver-like strips and adornments attached from the shoulders downward and from side to side across the chest as if sewn in. I could only see by candle-light.

The person held up a Host:  “The Body of Christ” is what I expected to hear.  I bowed down dramatically in accordance with the promptings of the Spirit and received the Precious Body and Blood of the Lord.

I immediately became intoxicated and refreshed.

I was given a large container of water to carry out with me.  The 3 persons helped me out , with my wife following closely.  I held the water up high above my head.  The water was important.

At the entrance of the temple, I looked to the young person carrying the ciborium.  I immediately knew the person to be royalty.  With all of my Spirit I said, “Thank you Princess!”  My wife immediately chastised me and said, “He is a man.”  She sensed the masculinity of this person; I sensed the femininity and all that is good there in this person.  We were both being complemented.

God complements humanity.  In the Son, all of humanity is unified.  From Adam came out the woman, Eve.  And so Adam and Eve became complements to each other.  Before Eve, Adam was not yet divided.

In the Son, Jesus Christ, He is whole — fully all — fully complementary to all of humanity.  This is a great mystery.  The Church, like Eve, came out of Him.  Yes.  That is it.  The Church was formed from that Blood and Water that gushed from His side.  Jesus is also fully complementary with His Bride, the Church.  This is not on account of His flesh alone, but on account of His divinity as well, and therefore, on account of who we will become at the Resurrection — like Him.

His Spirit constantly calls us to succumb to Him, that is, to be one with Him in true complementary fashion, in a way which we do not yet fully understand.  “Succumb to Me!” He insists.  “Marry Me!” He insists.  We are chosen; we must prepare for that day.  How must we prepare?  We ask and do not yet see fully the way.

Yet He nourishes us along the Way.  He helps us to become ready for Him, and so many deny His help — not being receptive!  He sends disciples to lead and to distribute life-giving Water to soften, wash, purify, so that we may receive True Nourishment, the Eucharist, which gives us True Life and makes us ready for Divine Marriage.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.   He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.  For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  [St. Paul, Letter to the Colossians, 1:17-20, RSV]

Catholic Nuns: Bearing Fruit That Will Last – Joy!

Sister Tracy, Daughter of St. Paul, 13 April 2013.  She went out weeping; she came back with shouts of joy, bringing her fruit with her. [cf, Psalm 126:6]

Sister Tracey, Daughter of St. Paul, 13 April 2013. She went out weeping; she came back with shouts of joy, bringing her fruit with her. [cf, Psalm 126:6]
What a lovely smile. 🙂

This is a tribute to my wonderful Catholic Christian religious Sisters in the world who give their entire life to Christ and who “bear fruit that will last.”  Shout out to Sister Tracy and the Daughters of St. Paul!

Jesus Christ said:  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.   This I command you, to love one another.”  [Gospel of John, 15:16-17, RSV Holy Bible]

The following is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah chapter 54, RSV Holy Bible:

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;  break forth into singing and cry aloud,  you who have not been in travail!

For the children of the desolate one will be more  than the children of her that is married, says the LORD.

Enlarge the place of your tent,  and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;  hold not back, lengthen your cords  and strengthen your stakes.

For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,  and your descendants will possess the nations  and will people the desolate cities.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;  be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame;  for you will forget the shame of your youth,  and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

For your Maker is your husband,  the LORD of hosts is his name;  and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,  the God of the whole earth he is called.

For the LORD has called you  like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off,  says your God.

For a brief moment I forsook you,  but with great compassion I will gather you.

In overflowing wrath for a moment  I hid my face from you,  but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,  says the LORD, your Redeemer.”

A Dream of an Asian Majestic Highness and the Church

Last Saturday night, I had 3 dreams – the last one being the most special dream.Mary and Tower

THE FIRST DREAM – NEWLYWEDS

In the first dream, I was with my wife, and we were being a naturally-loving married couple.

THE SECOND DREAM – CALL TO ARMS

In my second dream, I was a soldier again, and I felt an intense anxiety as I was called to prepare to deploy for an unanticipated war. I actually felt a tearing anxiety in my body – a feeling of intense worry, mostly about being sure to take the right things with me. When I awoke, I calmed down and then I prayed and asked the Lord why I needed to feel such pain in my dream. And then I thought, “Perhaps I am taking on someone else’s burden – for their sake – for love of them.” I accepted this, and then I knew that the dream was good.  I felt I had somehow done a good deed.

THE THIRD DREAM – ASIAN MAJESTY, THE CHURCH

In the third dream, I was relaxed and with a few other men sitting at table in an enclosed room.  There were no walls but everything beyond the table was blackness – nothing. But, there was a square opening in the darkness through which light poured in from a bright blue, clean sky – the vision through the window was more real then the dream in which I was dreaming.  I glanced out through the window and saw a very tall white building – a huge and lofty tower, and behind the building was a white cloud.  I looked down and then up and out again and the cloud had become a beautifully-chiselled, smiling Face, like that of a beautiful Asian woman (because of the eyes and beautiful Face and Asian-styled attire).  But I am not sure if it was a woman or not.  The Face was beautiful – like perfect white marble – and finely detailed.  I called my companions at table to also look.  And they agreed with what I was seeing.  Then, a mist formed before my eyes along the length of that huge, tall white building, and an Enrobed Body began to form – from the Head all the way down to the base where I could see the Feet which were adorned in special shoes.  The Enrobed Majesty stood, a giant beautiful Column, like a Royal Highness in front of the towering Building. This Majestic Highness seemed to be coming from the Building or mysteriously  joined with the building but forming from a gently-appearing mist.

My first thought was that I was seeing this vision in a land like China because of the Face and clothing.  I do not yet know what to make of the dream except that perhaps I was seeing a spiritual vision of the Catholic Church in China or Mongolia.

The Majestic Highness could be like the pure spirit or pure soul of that Building, the Church, and the Church could be the People who are the spiritual building blocks of that great white Building.

The Majestic Highness could be like a Princess or a Daughter.

The Majestic Highness could also be like a companion to that Building.

But I did not know for sure.

But one thing I do know for sure:  the Majestic Highness is greater than the Building.

During Morning Prayer, Psalm 93 began with these words:

“The Lord is king, with majesty enrobed;
the Lord has robed himself with might,
he has girded himself with power.

The world you made firm, not to be moved;
your throne has stood firm from of old.
From all eternity, O Lord, you are.

The waters have lifted up, O Lord,
the waters have lifted up their voice,
the waters have lifted up their thunder.

Greater than the roar of mighty waters,
more glorious than the surgings of the sea,
the Lord is glorious on high.

Truly your decrees are to be trusted.
Holiness is fitting to your house,
O Lord, until the end of time.

This beautiful psalm reminded me of my dream, and confirmed to me that I may have had a dream from God about Himself and His relationship with the Church.  What do you think?

Jesus Heals His Bride, the Church

bride_of_christ_hahlbohm_l
My friends, do not despair at what is happening in the Church today. The Lord, Jesus Christ, the Master, the Bridegroom loves His Bride and heals her. She is dizzy, but He is tending her. She is weakened by the sin of some, and her enemy is assaulting her when she is down, but Christ is stronger, and she is Christ’s, and nothing will prevail over her; she is being healed.

Eucharist – Marriage Banquet – Eternal Joy

In the Eucharist, there is union and communion. We bring forward the gifts – the bread and wine – made with human hands – the product of humanity – that is, imperfect humanity itself. And then the Holy Spirit enters and converts the symbols of humanity into Christ. Humanity is healed and made one with Christ in that instant, and then there is another exchange: We individually receive Christ in our own persons, and we are made one – one Body in Christ – one Body with Christ – one Body through Christ. As one, bonded with Christ, we can never fail – we will never die – we have happiness on the horizon.

In the mean time, when we are one with Christ, we share in His holy suffering.  This is because we live in time, and Christ’s suffering is in time – re-presented in time at each offering to the Father – and we, when we say “yes” to this mystical marriage – become partners in His Suffering.  He is not alone, and we are not alone.  There is nothing that we do not share together.  We share sacrifice; we will share bliss.  We sacrifice through Christ’s Sacrifice; we will receive Love through Christ’s Love.  Christ is perfect; we are being perfected through Christ’s Perfection.

In suffering in this way, the Way which leads to eternal Salvation,  there is reason for great joy!

Without Him, we can do nothing – achieve nothing of lasting importance – that is, we can not achieve eternal blissful Life in Love with Him.  But with Him – holding hands along the Way, we will achieve precisely what God wills for us.  He wills to heal us and perfect us along our journey.  He wills our total happiness in Him.

Be patient.  Endure.  Suffering is but a spark in time; Joy is eternal.  🙂