Monday, June 26, 2017

As a Child

Jesus tells us that “Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it. Here is what Saint Thérèse of Lisieux had to say about being a child before God at the end of her life, in her Last Conversations: “It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living…To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of his little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God’s treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one’s faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.” 

Let us then show ourselves always ready to accept God’s kingdom, to receive the embrace and blessing of Jesus, by acknowledging our faults and our need for his mercy. 

See Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, trans. John Clarke, pp. 138-39

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Passing Beauty

Each morning we pass these wildflowers, called white campion, on the edge of one of the Abbey pathways. The delicate articulation of their petals recall the adage, "God is in the detail." 

And indeed the following words from the Book of Wisdom remind us to leap ahead from beauty to Beauty:

...how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.


Once after noticing a wildflower, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins noted in his journal, "I know the beauty of our Lord by it."


Friday, June 23, 2017

Sacred Heart

Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon Thee.

Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.


The compassionate Jesus will always be the God with a broken, open, wounded heart. And so the invitation is to honestly even joyfully take ownership of our very real need for his mercy. Our sinfulness can never estrange us from him, but instead lead us right into his broken heart, for he wants to heal and console us, if we will allow him.

Jesus notices us, lost in our isolation and confusion, all the stuff that does not fit, and he rushes toward us without delay to take us to himself, even into his wounded side as refuge. God in Christ has lost himself in love for us. Let us open our hearts to him.

Face of Christ by Georges Rouault. Excerpts from the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rabbits

Numerous bunny rabbits have been sighted hopping around the monastic enclosure this year. We are glad to know they feel safe among us.


Praise be to Thee my Lord with all Thy creatures!
Saint Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Living Bread

We live as hungry people in a hungry world. Everyone is looking for something that will sustain and nourish life, something that will feed and energize, something that will fill and satisfy. Everyone is looking for bread. The problem is not so much that we are hungry, but the kind of bread we eat.

Think about the varieties of bread being eaten in our lives and in the world today. In Syria all sides are eating the bread of violence and war. Here in our country, Republicans and Democrats share the bread of negativity, hostility, and name-calling. Closer to home, many of us eat the bread of having to be right and get our way. We eat the bread of hurt feelings and resentment. Sometimes we eat the bread of loneliness, fear, and isolation. There are times we eat the bread of sorrow or guilt. Other times we eat the bread of power and control. Sometimes we eat the bread of revenge or one-upmanship. We eat all kinds of bread. But the bread we eat reveals something about the nature of our appetites.

But there is an appetite that we may not be explicitly conscious of, but is nonetheless the most basic and powerful of all. Only God can complete us, only he can make us happy. That is how we are made. It is a consoling truth that hunger for God, once it seizes us, does not disappear easily; for that we can be grateful to God. Indeed, he will continue to intensify this hunger, if only we respond to it.

In the Gospels people come to Jesus hungry. They want to feed themselves with bread. Jesus wants to feed them with God. “Do not work for the food that perishes,” he tells them, “but for the food that endures for eternal life.” The Good News we celebrate is precisely this: the food that endures is Jesus himself. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” He is the bread that is broken and distributed for the life of the world. He is the bread that is broken, and yet never divided. He is the bread that is eaten, and yet never exhausted. He is the bread that consecrates those who believe in him, and eat him.

Excerpts from Father Dominic's homily for Corpus Christi.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Corpus Christi

He is The Bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the flesh, molded in His passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulchre, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars, which daily supplies Heavenly Food to the faithful. Saint Peter Chrysologus

In the Most Blessed Sacrament Christ Jesus graciously hands himself over to us in self-forgetful love, longing to be dissolved within his own creatures as our food, our life, our sweetness and abiding consolation. Too often we run after food, that we mistakenly believe can fill the deep hunger and void within us. Jesus sees clearly our need, our longing and his desire to fill us answers our deepest desire. Let us go to Him eagerly, hungrily; knowing that He indeed is Heart of all our desiring, He alone is able to satisfy us.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fragile



















We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, 

that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed;
always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.
For we who live are constantly being given up to death
for the sake of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor 4


The vessels that Paul is referring to in this passage were apparently very fragile clay containers used for lowly purposes, and they were prone to cracking and easy breakage. Amazingly Paul says that is what we are. Truth be told, our own experience often verifies that, indeed as Paul would insist, we are fragile- too prone to sin and self-absorption.

The good news is that this knowledge of our weakness combined with a desire for God's grace-filled healing makes us perfect candidates for God's overwhelming, loving presence and action in our lives. With Saint Paul then we can rejoice in our weakness because it grants us availability to the grace that God in Christ always longs to lavish 
upon us.

We long to be more and more transparent to the  powerful presence of Christ Jesus within the earthen vessels that we are.