Friday, October 29, 2010

Distractions, by Fr. Jack Farley, SVD

As soon as we begin making room for prayer, all sorts of things begin to crowd in: memories, emotions, plans for future projects. And if we do manage to start praying, it does not seem long before our attention wanes and the process begins all over again.
Sometimes my prayer is a time of great inner stillness, and my spirit is possessed by what feels like God's nearness.  That is good prayer. At other times I am tired and disgruntled; my efforts at prayer simply expose me to my own weakness, and I cry out to God from a very great distance. That is also good prayer.
Prayer may be rejoicing in the Spirit or writhing in anguish. It is good if it is real, and no good if it is delusion or play-acting.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

World Mission Sunday

excerpt from:
October 24, 2010
Building Ecclesial Communion
is the Key to Mission

The Father calls us to be sons and daughters loved in the beloved Son, and to recognize that we are all brothers and sisters in him who is the gift of salvation for humanity divided by discord and sin, and the revealer of the true face of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3: 16).
"We wish to see Jesus" (Jn 12: 21), is the request in John's Gospel that some Greeks, who had arrived in Jerusalem for the paschal pilgrimage, address to the Apostle Philip. It also resonates in our hearts during this month of October which reminds us that the commitment to, and task of, Gospel proclamation is a duty of the whole Church, "by her very nature missionary", and invites us to become champions of the newness of life made up of authentic relationships in communities founded on the Gospel. In a multiethnic society that is experiencing increasingly disturbing forms of loneliness and indifference, Christians must learn to offer signs of hope and to become universal brethren, cultivating the great ideals that transform history and, without false illusions or useless fears, must strive to make the planet a home for all peoples.
Like the Greek pilgrims of two thousand years ago, the people of our time too, even perhaps unbeknown to them, ask believers not only to "speak" of Jesus, but to "make Jesus seen", to make the face of the Redeemer shine out in every corner of the earth before the generations of the new millennium and especially before the young people of every continent, the privileged ones to whom the Gospel proclamation is intended. They must perceive that Christians bring Christ's word because he is the truth, because they have found in him the meaning and the truth for their own lives.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

God's Timing

Imagine being a pregnant, unwed teen in a society that stones unwed mothers: that was Mary. Who would believe her if she said she was innocent? God's timing was miserable! Why couldn't he have waited until she was married? Why was he waiting so long to tell Joseph? If I were in her place, I would've said, "God, what are you doing?" As a matter of fact, I do say this sometimes when things happen in my life.  I wonder how Mary handled this. I doubt that she was in such ceaseless ecstasy that she didn't care. I don't know how she handled it but I do know that God took care of her and she trusted him. In the end—as we know 2000 years later—everything worked out perfectly. Such is God's timing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Guardian Angels

The first prayer my mother taught me was the Guardian Angel Prayer:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
When I was a child I used to look out my window at night and think I saw the tail of my guardian angel's robe. I reality what I saw was the light from the streetlamp falling between the shadows of my parents' cars, but this began a relationship with my guardian angel. Plus, my aunt told me to pray a Hail Mary before going to bed to ask Mary, Queen of the Angels, to tell me the name of my guardian angel. In college, none of my peers had ever thought of having a relationship with their guardian angel before and I thought I was alone in this until I discovered our Congregation. To our Founder, St. Arnold, angelic spirits were God's messengers, our teachers in the spiritual life, our protectors, and most of all they taught us how to worship and adore God. Thank you, Lord, for your angels!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pray for the Church and her Mission!

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the French Carmelite who died in 1897 at the age of 24.  Her "Little Way" is a spirituality that attracts many; doing small things with great love is a path to sanctity that we can all follow.  The reading for the Divine Office today is from her autobiography:

Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.

This young woman, without ever leaving the walls of her cloister, became a Doctor of the Church and patroness of the missions.  Her love and zeal drove her to desire to be all things: she was not satisfied to be "just" a martyr or "just" an apostle or teacher.  St. Therese had the insight to understand that love covers everything:
I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were ever extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more.
St. Therese is a model for us all.  By doing all tasks as an offering of love to God, she was able to cover the whole world with grace.  By washing the laundry, sweeping the halls, being faithful to even the smallest details, she became a missionary to the nations without traveling any distance.
As contemplative missionaries, we are also love in the heart of the Church. And as the Little Flower reminds us, love is everlasting.