Saturday, 31 October 2015

Neither the examples of humility nor the proofs of charity

"Incense-bearer", photography by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.

"I wish to follow with all my strength the lowly Jesus; I wish Him, who loved me and gave Himself for me, to embrace me with the arms of His love, which suffered in my stead; but I must also feed on the Paschal Lamb, for unless I eat His Flesh and drink His Blood I have no life in me. It is one thing to follow Jesus, another to hold Him, another to feed on Him. To follow Him is a life-giving purpose ; to hold and embrace Him a solemn joy ; to feed on Him a blissful life. For His flesh is meat indeed and His blood is drink indeed. The bread of God is He who cometh down from Heaven and giveth life to the world (S. John vi. 56, 33). What stability is there for joy, what constancy of purpose, without life ? Surely no more than for a picture without a solid basis. Similarly neither the examples of humility nor the proofs of charity are anything without the sacrament of our redemption."
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Letter On the Errors of Peter Abelard)


"Volo totis nisibus humilem sequi Jesum; cupio eum qui dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me, quibusdam brachiis vicariae dilectionis amplecti: sed oportet me et Agnum manducare paschalem. Nisi enim manducavero carnem ejus, et bibero ejus sanguinem, non habebo vitam in memetipso. Aliud sequi Jesum, aliud tenere, aliud manducare. Sequi, salubre consilium; tenere et amplecti, solemne gaudium; manducare, vita beata. Caro enim ejus vere est cibus, et sanguis ejus vere est potus. Panis est Dei qui de coelo descendit, et dat vitam mundo (Joan. VI, 56, 33). Quis status gaudio, sive consilio, absque vita? Nempe haud alius quam picturae absque solido. Ergo nec humilitatis exempla, nec charitatis insignia, praeter redemptionis sacramentum, sunt aliquid."

Monday, 26 October 2015

"This Too Shall Pass"

"Sunset in the Yosemite Valley", Albert Bierstadt, 1869
Many people attribute the titular quote to the Sacred Scripture, although it is actually never found there. There are similar sounding verses, for example, in 2 Cor 4:17-18: "For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal."

Regardless, I've been contemplating on "This too shall pass" a lot. Or rather, the quote has implanted itself in my mind so I can't stop thinking about it whenever and wherever.

People usually think about the quote or say it to themselves during a period of suffering, be it a small or a big affliction. I couldn't agree more. When you say "This too shall pass", it reminds you to persevere, to push through, and to "do your suffering" well.

However, I'd like to point out that the quote is also a good warning in times of prosperity. We are reminded that in Heaven's eyes, material prosperity is as fleeting as earthly suffering. It's not to say that we are not allowed to be happy or to feel happiness (or other positive feelings), but even with pleasant things we have to be in moderation, so that we don't grow attached to them or too proud of them, because someday they will be no more. This is a virtue that I'm currently in the process of cultivating and praying for. I fail many times still, many many times. But every day I pray these words of St. Thomas Aquinas's, hoping that one day, by His grace, I will be made worthy of it.

Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter
in times of prosperity or adversity,
so that I may not be exalted in the former,
nor dejected in the latter.

Da mihi, Domine Deus meus,
inter prospera et adversa non deficere,
ut in illis non extollar et in istis non deprimar.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The "Yes" of Even One Soul

No soul need ever be afraid of meeting My gaze, for in My eyes there is naught but mercy and love. Those who turn away from My gaze, those who fear the encounter with Me face-to-face,
 are those who fall away from My love. I call you to a life of adoration
 so that you might contemplate My Face
 and read thereon all the love of My Sacred Heart for poor sinners,
 and especially for My priests.
 Whenever a soul seeks My gaze,
 My Heart is moved to show that soul an immense pity,
 to lift her out of the sin into which she has fallen,
 to bind up her wounds,
 and restore her to the joys of friendship with My Heart.
 When a priest begins to avoid looking at My Face,
 he has begun to alienate himself from the merciful love of My Heart.
 This will he begin, little by little,
 to lose confidence in My mercy,
 to consent to sin,
 and to descend into the darkness of a life
 from which I have been exiled.

Look upon Me for those who turn away from Me.
 Seek My Face for those who avoid My Divine gaze.
 Accept My friendship for those who refuse it.
 Remain with Me for those who flee from My presence.
 This is the reparation I ask of you. 
Offer yourself to Me as did the little Thérèse;
 thus will you allow Me to love you freely,
 and through you, My merciful love will triumph 
even in the souls of hardened sinners.
 The “Yes” of even one soul to My Merciful Love
 is of immense benefit to a multitude of souls
 who fear to say it,
 or who are hardened in the refusal of My love.

From In Sinu Iesu, the Journal of a Priest
(Dom Mark Kirby, OSB: Vultus Christi)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

More Real than Reality

There's something beautifully strange about the Real Presence. Time freezes when you step into His chamber. History converges into that very time and place, as though the entire creation was set in motion just to bring about that particular second.

Isn't it a wonderful realization that God has thought about this very moment with you since eternity? When He spoke "Fiat lux!", what He really said was, "I love you! Arise, my beloved!" He was thinking of you and of me, and of this intimate encounter with Himself. It is as though He's saying, "I've been waiting for you. I miss you."

You look at Him. He looks back at you. A quiet stare that a romantic couple shares with each other. You are quiet not because you despise talking, but because you have so much to say. Too much. And too great. The hastily-scribbled list of intentions laid aside like an insignificant lump of dust. This is a soul-to-soul dialogue, of One that has long fallen in love with the other, who loves Him back a little late. Words are good, but once they're uttered they're gone like a smoke in the wind. But presence, ah!—presence is better. To enjoy and appreciate each other's existence, pleasantly surprised of that ancient hunger within that is right now being sweetly satiated, a fulfillment which only makes you desire for more.

Don't you love just spending time with your Lover? You cherish every moment, you don't want to stop. So many questions and so many expressions, but you're afraid that too many words will shatter the delicate silence. And is your heart not torn apart when reality shakes you violently awake from your loving slumber? Which one is only a dream, and which one is real?

Whether hidden inside the tabernacle or exposed in an adoration chapel, this glorious Presence is more real than reality. Everything else pales before His subtle brilliance. He is Him who is, you are she who is not. And with Him who is True Reality you're forever captivated.


Keep yourself for Me
as I keep Myself for you
in the Sacrament of My Love.
Know that I wait for you.
There is a consolation
that only you can give Me.
It is your friendship
that My Heart desires
and this friendship of yours
cannot be replaced by any other.
You are Mine and I am yours.

(In Sine Iesu, The Journal of a Priest)