Category Archives: Love

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

SIGN OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP: GRATITUDE IN MIDST OF SUFFERING 

Because Love is radical and not practical, it often involves suffering. This is why Jesus rebuked St. Peter when he suggested that Jesus should not suffer and die for us: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matt 16:23) Not that Peter is Satan, but that Peter was thinking in line with the desires of Satan and God-less men – that we not be saved by the Lord’s Sacrifice. Yes, in the divine life, love and sacrifice, and therefore suffering, often go together.

If we look down upon suffering for or with Christ for His sake and ours, then we are not worthy of Christ. For the Lord Himself clearly said: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”(Lk 14:27)

If we do not understand this, then we are like strangers who follow a strange “Prosperity Gospel” which selfishly seeks pleasure and avoids suffering (of true love) which diminishes that pleasure, and we may very well be met with this rebuke from the Lord Himself one day:  

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”(Mk 7:21-23)

There is little excuse for our ignorance. We have all of the resources available to us today in order to know the Lord – that is – to hear and do His will.

Let us ask ourselves: Does love inconvenience us? Do we love grudgingly? What is our habit? Do we choose not to respond to the inspirations to love when it requires some sacrifice? Do we calculate the cost? If God is Love, and if love is selfless, are we compatible with Him?

Well, we can not be God in our finitude. But we most certainly can be grateful to Him for His own sake. Our response to Him can be gratitude, even in the midst of suffering – a gratitude worthy of His infinite love – a gratitude which does not complain, but sees the riches of mercy He bestows upon us in all of the goods around us, and then responds with giving back in some way.  

If we overflow with God’s love, then let us be instruments of love for those around us. If we are in truth branches on the life-giving Vine, let us bear fruit that is sweet and which lasts.

Yes, let us seek to know the Lord, His thoughts, and not our own thoughts, that we may know true Love, be thankful for true Love, and respond with love out of the joy of our gratitude, but not out of the misery of our selfish ingratitude, the ingratitude of the thoughts of men who do not know God.

Healing Epiphany: Light From Light

Good morning cornfield South Dakota

Bright, sun-lit road in the corn field.

I had a dream this morning that I was riding a bicycle along a level road with sun-lit cornfields on my left and my right.  The sun was shining brightly in the clouds directly ahead of me.

 

And then, from the sun came light which began to form the shape of a brilliant, Light-Man in the clouds to the right of the sun and standing on the horizon, and that Light-Man was brighter than the sun itself.

In my heart, I knew that this was God.  Like the light which comes from the sun, so the Son is begotten of the Father, Light from Light, True God from True God, consubstantial with the Father – being of the same one substance with the Father, Who is all Merciful and Loving.  This was Jesus who affirmed:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12, NAB Holy Bible]

My heart began to swell with hope, and I began to feel giddy, praying to God with sentiments of love and desire.  I said, “Take me!  Take me now!”  for I had been feeling tired and ready for a life of peace and happiness with God, if that be His Will for me.

Sun Man in the Clouds

Surging, Healing Light of God

And then, knowing my weary condition, I asked Him to heal me, and at that moment, the Light-Man, like Christ Himself, surged in brightness before my face, engulfing me in His Light, and I felt His Power piercing deep into my soul, and my head was jolted as if something came out of me, and I began to feel joy, real Joy!

 

I have been in a very good mood this morning – filled with hope.  I told my wife about this, and she stated, choking back a sob, that she has no intentions of me going anywhere anytime soon!

But, this must be sort of what Saints Peter, John and James experienced at the Transfiguration.  St. Peter was obviously giddy, wanting Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay – He didn’t want to leave either!   Here is the account from St. Peter’s account of the Gospel (as penned by St. Mark):

The Transfiguration of Jesus [Mark 9:2-8, NAB Holy Bible]
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

On the Apparent Loss of Friendship

This came to mind this morning as I ponder the apparent loss of a friend.  The Book of Proverbs has similar expressions:

When one has a friend, one’s friend also has a friend.

When one rejects a friend, one’s friend remains.

The one who keeps friendship secures help in hard times.  

The one who rejects friendship loses peace.

A call to friendship is a call to know love. 

A denial of friendship is a loss of a steady guide.

With friendship, we are aloft and secure. 

Without friendship, every mountain is a slippery slope.

A true friend proves friendship without trying. 

A false friend feigns friendship even while trying.

True friendship has its Source in one’s soul. 

Friendship is easily extinguished when the Source is no longer welcome.

But when one has a friend, even though one rejects that friend,

one’s friend still has a Friend, Who Is the Source of all true friendships.

Even though the Light of friendship is extinguished in the heart of one former friend, 

if that Light remains in the other friend’s heart, all is not lost.

The flame of friendship burns hot in a supple heart,

but who can light a flame in a stony heart?

Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb, Jesus.

When praying the Rosary the other day, I was searching for Jesus in my heart in order to confirm my faith.  I began to consider His Presence at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the privilege we have to approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  And then I prayed, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus,” and it occurred to me, in that instant, the Gift of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament is the gift of a meek, humble, ever-new, ever-living God Who is the well-spring of all life and of all that will ever live.  

He is our Life, and in the Blessed Sacrament, we receive that Life which He has offered, and then we give back that Life in that sacrifice with our own lives since it is His sacrificial Life which we now have in our beings, and His Life urges us on to love Him and others.  We are strengthened in order to give what we have been given, and to live that living which is ever-new and ever-lasting, and when beyond time, ever-happy in the joy of God’s immediate Presence.

God Makes Himself Small for Us

God makes us small relative to the universe, and then He makes Himself small, too, for us.

He makes Himself small in His infant birth to Mary.

He makes Himself poor in order to commune with the poor.

He is greater than the universe, yet He desires to be smaller than or as small as those persons to which He gives existence.  Why?

Who He Is absolutely demands that He conform to being small since Love draws the Lover to the Beloved that the two may experience communion on a common level, but a level which is even more intimate and deeper than even the cutest smallness.  This descent into intimacy must be infinite and fulfilling at every level of intimacy, and it is a constant descent…a constant “falling in Love.”

Jesus said, “Know Me”

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today, after receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I heard “Know Me,” and then I saw the Wound in His hand open.  Light shown through, and it looked warm and incandescent.  When I looked more at the Wound, the Light seemed to come from an infinite depth, and the Wound seemed to broaden.  In Jesus, can you imagine the mystery of infinity inside of a seemingly finite body?  It was infinite Peace in Him.  “Know Me!”  It was infinite Compassion.  He loves us.  He is Love.

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.

Childhood Awaits Us in Heaven

Children ad the Feet of Mother Mary

Children at the Feet of Mother Mary

A Trance about Heaven

In the Fall of 2008, I had a trance while sitting at table before the Crucifix in my dining room where I found myself in another place in Springtime playing joyfully with many other children, all of us around the age of 11 or 12.  I was holding hands with a girl who had blue eyes and red hair who was pulling me toward the other children, and my heart and theirs were full of ecstatic joy, a joy which was without blemish or worry, one which was based on complete faith.  We were all smiling and laughing ecstatically  – so very happy – it did not matter why – we just were.

Happy, happy, happy!

Happy, happy, happy!

I think this was Heaven, because it was a feeling which does not seem possible here, except for slight glimpses during early childhood perhaps.  But, it was of God because the Source of this joy was infinite and we felt it to its fullest potential, such that there was no worry or concern, but only love truly in our hearts for each other, such that we desired nothing more, because nothing more could possibly be greater than what we have.

And our Mother Mary is there, and I have imagined her in my prayers before as a loving Mother watching over us, her children, as we play games at her feet, and she smiles and laughs with us, encouraging us with her Motherly kindness.  How can this not be Heaven?

Desire To be Born of Mary

Jesus, born of the sinless flesh of Mary

Jesus, born of the sinless flesh of Mary

On 24 May 2009, I prayed that I might be born again, physically, through our Blessed Mother and be her child completely with a body from her body, free of original sin and stain of personal sin.  In this way, I would be like unto Jesus – compatible with Him in truth and pleasing to the Father and lovingly attached to my Mother as her child, and humble and faithful and charitable and pure.  [Not that I wanted equality with Jesus – no, but that I would be a true child free of sin and all that displeases the Lord our God, and follow my new Parents unreservedly and with complete trust.]

Sacred Scripture shows how the Lord favors little children.  Here are several verses which came to mind:

“Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” [Matthew, 19:13-14, RSVCE Holy Bible]

“‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter into it.’  And he took them [little children] in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands upon them.” [Mark 10:13-16, RSVCE Holy Bible]

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” [Matthew, 18:1-4, RSVCE Holy Bible]

“‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.'” [Matthew 18:5-6, RSVCE Holy Bible]

Sacred Scripture also shows how the Lord invites us to be members of his family:

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'” [John 3:5, RSVCE Holy Bible]

“When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’  Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’  And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.  [John 19:26-27, RSVCE Holy Bible]

“But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.'” [Luke 8:21 with ref. to Psalm 87:5-7,  RSVCE Holy Bible]

“Jesus said to her [Mary Magdalene], ‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” [John 20:17, RSVCE Holy Bible]

Kiss the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Image

Kiss the Wound of His Most Sacred Heart

If you rely upon the Lord’s great Mercy in His Most Sacred Heart, then desire ardently to heal the Wound of His Heart.  Heal His Sacred Heart through your love and obedience and affectionate response to His merciful Love.  Consider Him often in all that you do, and kiss the Scar of His Sacred Heart, this kiss bringing Him delight and giving you knowledge of His delight in your affection and true gratitude for His Infinite Love for you.  Amen.

Soothe the Wounds of Christ

See these wounds?  They come from your sin.  Choose to soothe and heal them by your virtue.   Apply holy ointment and caresses by your love.

See these wounds? They come from your sin. Choose to soothe and heal them by your virtue. Apply holy ointment and caresses by your love.

Christ was resurrected with His Wounds.  Do you understand why?  As long as there is sin in the world, Christ is still wounded by our sins because we are incorporated into His Body, the Body of Christ.  He accepts this joyfully for your sake, but we are hurting Him in our sins, are we not?

Realize that even in the Lord’s masterful joy of taking on your wounds in order to keep your soul alive, He is in pain for you.  He bleeds.  His Sacred Heart bleeds most especially for your mortal sins – your sins of impurity and hatred.  Realize that you are also wounded by your own sins, but you do not see your wounds; you do not see them in Christ’s Body either.  But they are there – festering because you don’t know what you do.

His Precious Blood brings healing, but that is because there is first a wounding and a wounding and a wounding.  “My Heart bleeds for you because I love you.”

At times the pain is too much to bear; it overflows into us.  Do you understand?  Meditate on what St. Paul meant in this statement in his Letter to the Colossians 1:24, which he wrote from his imprisonment:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body…”

Help Jesus the Christ to heal His Wounds.  At least be reconciled in the Sacrament of Penance.  Love returned to the Body heals His Wounds and yours.  Receive also Precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and allow God’s Love through you to be converted into works whereby God’s Love is transmitted to the rest of the Body of Christ like a Divine Medicine for healing.

Be a tender, loving healer to your Lord and His Body.  Do not inflict wounds; choose to soothe and dress His Wounds instead.  He will bless you as He and the rest of the Body are comforted when you do so.

I Love Because I am Loved through Mary the Mother of God

virgin-mary-MedjugorieWhat is it about Mother Mary? I see her in my thoughts and she is loving and kind and fills my heart with calm and confidence. She adorns my heart like a sweet embrace.  She is mine and she is with me. How is this? I know when she is present. How is this? She consoles me. I love her because she is present in me – with me – loving me. How is this?  I believe that she and the Holy Spirit are somehow together – matrimonially one – and they love me.  They love you, too.

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.

I Devote Myself to God Today

I devote myself to God today to faithfully receive His eternal Love, in fact, His very Body and Blood which is Love, at every Eucharist, and to realize that His Love is always pure and active and seeking a fruitful return, and to be a channel for His Majestic Love such that the Holy Will of the Father may be done through me, His humble and undeserving creation, that this act of submission and faith will be, in fact, my act of true love for my dear God Who is pure, simple Spirit and Who is eternally capable of all things visible and invisible, but doing all things in the Light of True Love which is always Good.  And in all these things, I depend upon the merciful Love of Jesus Christ, the  intercession of my eternally Blessed Mother Mary, the Communion of Saints in Heaven, and the gifts and helps of the most Holy Spirit.  So help me, please God, to be your most faithful and adorable servant forever more, caressing and healing your wounds which are thrust upon you constantly, and which you receive lovingly and patiently. 

So help me, God. 

So help me, God. 

So help me, God.

Amen.

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.”