Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The coming of the kingdom

By David Torkington

Pentecost  by El Greco

Throughout his life on earth Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom he promised had not  yet come . The question is then, when would this kingdom come? St John gives us the answer, as an aside when Jesus was celebrating the feast of the Tabernacles. It was the final day called ‘The Day of Hosannas’. A priest had carried a large bowl of water from the temple precincts to the pool of Siloam followed by a long procession. Once there, the water from the bowl was poured out into the pool to ‘commemorate’ the rock that Moses had struck in the desert to save his people from dying from thirst. Whilst he was doing this a prophetic text was read out from Isaiah. It looked forward to the living waters that would be poured out when the Messiah would inaugurate the new world order promised by God through the Prophets. This was the moment that Jesus chose to speak out in a loud voice so that all could hear him, claiming to be the new and living rock prefigured by the rock struck by Moses in the desert. His words speak for themselves:-

“If any man is thirsty let him come to me! Let the man come and drink, who believes in me. As the scripture says: From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.”

Then, after describing the event and quoting what Jesus had said, John added, so that there would be no misunderstanding:-

“He was speaking of the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified”.( Jn. 7:37-39).

Continue reading at David Torkington.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our home: A flexible tabernacle

By Melanie Jean Juneau

A Happy Family by Eugenio Eduardo Zampighi

My husband and I discovered how to build relationships with our children and encourage their relationship to God  through a combination of the grace of God, parental intuition and perhaps a dash of sheer luck.

In order to nurture authentic Catholic family life, we learned that we had to first nurture our own intimacy with God. When parents are in communion with the Trinity (who are the first community), our children are also drawn into a spiritual relationship with their parents and in turn with God as well. A blessed home, dedicated to God, could actually be called a tabernacle because it is filled with a tangible Presence of God. 

When we give God permission to be Lord of our lives, our children and our family life, then the Holy Spirit is in the very air we breathe.

The image God gave me of Christian family was a triangle of light with strong bars of light flowing from the heart of the mother and father at the base  and up to God at the top of the pinnacle, with the children protected in the middle of the triangle. The light of God’s love filled the triangle protecting and nurturing the children. This is a vision of family as a community, submersed in the community of the Trinity.

Continue reading at Melanie's blog joy of nine9.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vacation meditation

By Carlos X.

St. Damien, before he set off for Hawaii (Wikipedia).

Staring intently at the sun setting behind Molokai, from Maui, where I was on vacation with my family this summer, was, for me, a religious experience (the two Hawaiian islands are only 7.5 miles apart).  The sunset has since time immemorial been a spiritual hour for Christians: the Vespers have been recited at this time since at least the 4th century; the glorious refraction of the sun’s light across the sky creates a natural stained glass window, and the fall of darkness recalls the hour of the death on the Cross.  Going on vacation can take us out of our normal schedule, threatening to disrupt our prayer life.<  But powerful moments such as the sunset—which happens every day, and being on vacation may leave us more at liberty to observe—can provide an opportunity to keep up our prayer life and indeed enrich it.

One way to seize upon such unplanned and unexpected moments is meditation—that “freestyle” form of conversation with God, which differs from regular prayer in that prayer attempts to articulate in words our needs and praise, while meditation “engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire.” 
[Catechism of the Catholic Church, §2708.]  It is often said that meditation in the Christian sense involves an active process—engaging the mind through thought, imagery, reflection, etc.—whereas “eastern” forms of meditation often involve “emptying” oneself of these.  Catholics may turn to these other techniques for “a path to interior peace and psychic balance,” but they are not effective substitutes for prayer. [Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, J. Ratzinger, Prefect, 1989.]  Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with Him.”  [Catechism, supra.]
Continue reading at Carlos' blog Super Martyrio.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Win a signed print copy of Trusting God with St. Therese!

 By Connie Rossini

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the day! Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Trusting God with St. Therese is now available on Amazon for the Kindle and in print.  For the time being (at least the next 90 days) the ebook will be exclusive to Amazon. However, the paperback should be available soon at Barnes and Noble and other online retailers. I hope to see it in some Catholic bookstores as well. And those of you who are local or who know me personally are always welcome to purchase the paperback directly from me as well.

The last 14 months writing and publishing this book have been busy but rewarding. I pray you will find them rewarding for you too. I really believe it will help almost everyone but those very advanced in the spiritual life to come closer to Christ.

Now for the fun stuff!

Visit Contemplative Homeschool to enter the contest and see the other contests and events marking the release of  Trusting God with St. Therese.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A time of Visitation

By Caroline

The Good Shepherd, Ravenna Mausoleums (Wikimedia Commons)

Besides you know the time has come; the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up,
because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe.
–Romans 13:11
Maybe it’s the season for angels. I don’t know.

I usually don’t have time to stop in the hospital chapel after my visits, but today was different. Today I sensed something in my spirit, something palpable, but hard to put in words; that still small voice gnawing at my soul, vying for my my attention, which for several hours had been preoccupied with the stories of God’s dear people. They, who are worn down with the afflictions of physical suffering are many times over my greatest teachers.

But today, I somehow knew I was not to pass up a visit to the chapel.

With each passing week, I’ve noticed in many patients another sort of fatigue has set in and it has nothing to do with their bodies..It’s as if through them, the Lord is trying to tell me something; they whose suffering leaves nothing to the imagination, yet whose smiles make room for me to sit– though their hospital gowns barely cover them– and nurses intrude on their tears as they bare to me the spiritual wounds of their heart. In almost every patient I’ve recently seen they are crying as if in imitation of Christ, not for themselves, but for us as a country and people who are turning away from the day of the Lord’s visitation.

Continue reading at Caroline's blog Bell of the Wanderer.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mortification, Penance, Suffering Seen through the Holy Spirit

By Barbara A. Schoeneberger

 Flower Sellers of London, Gustave Dore, Google Art Project via Wikimedia

Comprehending the value of the Cross, of suffering, of willful mortification and penance is impossible with the human eye alone. We need the light of the Holy Spirit to live through that which is visited upon us just as Jesus was seized and killed by worldly powers. In the eyes of the world he was just a man, one certainly with extraordinary power to heal both hearts and bodies, but in the end, just someone who could be killed to be gotten out of the way.

To the world, suffering makes no sense. It is a mystery. Mortification and penance make no sense. The world cannot conceive the hidden meaning and value of suffering and so it vainly seeks to end it by purely earthly means – this program and that, but oddly enough only creating more suffering. When by the grace of the Holy Spirit and with a generous heart charity seizes us, we can not only accept that which is beyond our control, but also choose to take advantage of all the many instances we find daily to deny ourselves and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.

In Meditation #97 of Divine Intimacy Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene writes:>
The spirit of mortification has more than a purely physical aspect of mortification; it also includes renunciation of the ego, the will, and the understanding.

Continue reading at Barb's blog Suffering With Joy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tobit’s Dog, A Novel by Michael Nicholas Richard (Reviewed by Nancy Ward)

By Nancy Ward

Tobit’s Dog is a love story amid the battle between heaven and hell  for the souls of the good guys as well as the racists, murderers, rapists, thieves and connivers not portrayed in the biblical version of the Book of Tobit. In this imaginary take on the Book of Tobit, exciting enough a tale, Richard skillfully uses the characters, symbols, and scriptural principles. All the vital elements are there: Tobit’s sudden blindness and miraculous healing. Prejudice and bravery — this time, involving a lynching and Tobiah’s arrest for his compassion toward the boy hanging from a tree.
Richard sets this, his first professionally published novel, in North Carolina during the depression. The Jim Crow era provides the tension between the black characters (Tobiah and family) and the white businessmen and law enforcement determined to keep the Negros in their place. And they are Catholics. Is this how the enemies of the Jews treated the chosen people during their exile?

I relate to this language, landscape, food, music and culture, having been raised in the south, although a few decades later. The scenery, described so beautifully and succinctly, is somewhat familiar to me. More like my Texas than the biblical Nineva.

Continue reading at Nancy's blog JOY Alive in our hearts.