The Still, Small Voice of Love …

Many voices ask for our attention.  There is a voice that says, “Prove that you are a good person.”  Another voice says, “You’d better be ashamed of yourself.” There also is a voice that says, “Nobody really cares about you,” and one that says, “Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.” Continue reading “The Still, Small Voice of Love …”

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Longing …

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower …

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29; translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

God’s Wisdom …

If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives. Let us not fear the responsibilities and the inevitable distractions of the work appointed for us by the will of God. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surrounds us everywhere.
— Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude

Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from God exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual. The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become sources of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread underfoot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.
— Source: Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. , The Sacrament of the Present Moment (As presented on p.284 in the The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, S.J.)

Prayers of Saint Francis …

BLESSING …

May the Lord bless you and
keep you; may the Lord show his face to you and have compassion on
you! May he turn his face to you and give you peace! Amen.

PRAYER OF ADORATION …

We adore You, O most
holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all Your churches all over the
world, and we bless You because, by Your holy cross, You have
redeemed the world.

PRAYER FOR PEACE …

Lord, make me an instrument of peace
Where there is hatred, Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood, As to understand;
For it is in giving that we Receive,
it is in pardoning that We are pardoned.
And it is in Dying that we are Born to Eternal
life. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 in Assisi, Italy. His gift to humankind was his love of God as he experienced Him in all of His creation. His imprint on history are the men and women who identify with his vision in the Franciscan way of life. That legacy lives on in the followers of Francis who today seek to inspire in themselves and others the ideals of peace and justice.

Saint Francis, Pray for Us.

Sharing God’s Work …

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.  This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living.  It is quite easy, it seems, to please everyone.  But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high.  To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls “working out our salvation”, is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears.  It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation.
— Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation

We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong.  They give us peace in any suffering.  They teach us to laugh at despair.  And we may have to.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island

12 Things I Wish I Knew at 25 …

The New Year is a time of reflection and resolutions.  It is a time when many of us commit to implementing positive changes into our lives striving for self-improvement.  The hope is at the end of the year that perhaps we may come out happier, wiser or in some way better than when we started.  Usually, at this time of year there is an abundance of suggestions and advice on how to make this the best year yet!   This year I was particularly inspired by post written by Catholic priest and author Rev. James Martin on the occasion of his 50th birthday.  It was a compilation of 12 tweets on the 12 things that he wished he had known at 25.  These are the things I took would like to learn and incorporate into my daily living this year – and hopefully well beyond that as well.  Happy New Year!

1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It’s useless. (i.e. Jesus was right.)

2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.

3. There’s no right way to pray, any more than there’s a right way to be a friend. What’s “best” is what works best for you.

4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You’re not God. This ain’t heaven. Don’t act like a jerk.

5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God’s desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.

6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God’s grace.

7. Don’t worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.

8. You can’t force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.

9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else’s life falsely. So our real-life loses out. i.e. Compare and despair.

10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.

11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I’m so happy for you! Why not? Yes.

12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you — from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.

— Rev. James Martin, S.J., December 30, 2010, Huffington Post

Rev. James Martin, S.J. is a Jesuit priest, the culture editor of America magazine and author of numerous books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.  He is also the author of My Life with the Saints which Publishers Weekly named one of the Best Books of 2006.  Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media.   Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business and worked with General Electric for several years.  He now lives in New York City.