Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Peter

Simon Peter said in reply, 
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, 

but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 


Even after Peter denied him, Jesus did not give up on him, and he won’t give up on us. He is a relentless rescuer, the God who saves us, even chases after us. He rescues us from all our distress over and over again, because he loves us. And even when we are dead in our stubborn sinfulness; he brings us to life, not because of our virtuous deeds but because of his tender mercy. All is grace, not merit but graciousness, a love that reaches down to every human misery. We do not feel humiliated, but restored, transformed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Servants

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone wishes to be first, 
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."


Some of the older monks tell us that years ago a list of assignments for various duties in the monastery was posted each week near the entrance to the refectory. And at the top of the list was this phrase: "To serve is to reign."

Photographs by Brother Brian.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Our Prayer

When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
"Why could we not drive the spirit out?"
He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."


Jesus reminds us that our prayer is efficacious, it works; it dispels evil, draws the world closer to him, who is all holiness, beauty and peace.

Photograph by Brother Brian.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

To Disarm With Love

Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. Mt 5

In his homily this morning, Father Peter recounted a familiar story from the life of Mother Teresa. It seems that one day she approached a wealthy man begging a contribution for a new home she wanted to build for orphaned children. The rich man who disdained her and her work, spat at her. Undaunted Mother wiped her face and is reported to have said something like, “Thank you; that was for me. Now what about something for my poor children?” Astounded by her response, the man is said to have had a change of heart and immediately to have made a large donation. 

Jesus is not calling us to be doormats because of humility, but inviting us to disarm with love. As Saint Gregory the Great will say, "Those who love more can do more."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Like Mary

The great theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar's reminds us that a loving receptivity to the Word of God like that of the Virgin Mary is the true purpose of the contemplative life in the Church. He says, “The highest priority belongs, without exception, to our readiness to serve the divine love, a readiness that has no other end than itself, and that appears senseless to a world caught up in so many urgent and reasonable occupations.” 

Photograph of Madonna in Abbey retreat house garden by Brother Brian.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Deny

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me."


Jesus invites us this morning to deny ourselves- to realize that we do not know who we really are. We come to understand that we will find our true selves, our true identity, only in the light of his grace. And in his light we see that we are only poor sinners, saved, rescued by his loving mercy. 

Photograph of monks in chapter by Brother Brian.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hopelessly in Love

In the foolishness of love, God in Christ has lost himself and given himself away to us. He can’t help himself. God is helpless, hopelessly in love. It’s no wonder Catherine of Siena will cry out to him: O eternal beauty! O eternal goodness, O eternal mercy! O crazy lover! You have need of your creature? It seems so to me, for you act as if you could not live without her. Why then are you so mad? Because you have fallen in love with what you have made! You are pleased and delighted over her within yourself, as if you were drunk with desire for her salvation. She runs away from you and you go looking for her. She strays and you draw closer to her. Whamt shall I say? I stutter, “A-a,” I don’t know what else to say.

Photogrsph by Brother Brian.