Sunday, April 30, 2017

When My Eyes Are Heavy

'My dearest Jesus, look with pity on me, your poor, weak child. My heart is cold, and my eyes are heavy; I really cannot pray, for I am so tired I can scarcely keep awake. 

You, too, were often weary during Your life on this poor earth of ours, so I know You understand just how I feel. Lord, if You will, You can keep me wide awake when I long to talk to You. 

You know I really do love You, and want You to set my heart aflame with a love so strong and tender, that even while my eyes close and my head droops and a drowsiness overpowers me, I shall find comfort in the thought that I am struggling and working for You.'

(from The Living Pyx of Jesus by A Religious, Pelligrini, 1941, pp.383-384)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Room for the Likes of Him

                    'I gave the keys of my heart to Love - to Love on a blood-stained tree,
                    Whose Heart and Hands and Feet were pierced as a purchase-price for me,
                    Whose Head hung heavy beneath the crown which marked Him King of Grief.
                    I gave the house of my heart to Love as hospice for His relief.
                    And yet, when He comes to claim His own, to shelter Himself with me,
                    How often I fail to pierce the guise of the King Whose Throne was a tree.
                    How often I ask that He garb Himself with raiment befitting my whim -
                    How strange that I keep Him waiting to know if there's room for the likes of Him.'

(from The Living Pyx of Jesus by A Religious, Pelligrini, 1941, p. 57)

Painting: Fra Angelico

Thursday, April 27, 2017

O Hermitage! Delight of Holy Souls

'The hermitage is a paradise of delight where the fragrant scents of the virtues are breathed forth like sweet sap or glowing spice-flowers. 

There the roses of charity blaze in crimson flame and the lilies of purity shine in snowy beauty, and with them the humble violets whom no winds assault because they are content with lowly places; there the myrrh of perfect penance perfumes the air and the incense of constant prayer rises unceasingly. 

But why should I call to mind these in particular? For the lovely buds of all the holy virtues glow there many-coloured, and graces flourish in an undying greenness - beyond the power of words to describe. 

O hermitage! Delight of holy souls, unfailing in your inner sweetness.'

St. Peter Damian

Monday, April 24, 2017

This Unchosen Cloister

You may have noticed that lately I've been absent from behind these cloister walls. I wish I could say I've been away on a long vacation, but the truth is far less glamorous. I've spent the last few weeks in a cloister not of my own choosing... within the little "cell" of a hospital room.

I hope to tell you more, soon, about this adventure. (I know you won't be able to wait). In the meantime, this is just to say "Hi! I'm back!" And I hope you're having a blessed Easter season.

'Thank God, there still remains one sanctuary, the sacredness of which no earthly power may violate…  It is the sanctuary of the human heart.  It needs no fixed place for its confines, no stated time for the opening of its gates, no particular hour of silence for its prayer.  A thought, a word, a moment of reflection, and by faith and by love, the soul is within the blessed refuge, and the gates are closed on the confusion of life with all its noise and tumult. It is secure against the bitterness and the pain of persecution, or hardship or trial, or hurt of body, or wound of earthly pride, or failure of worldly ambition, for there she is inviolable, sacred, impregnable in the fortress of her own spirit.' (From The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pelligrini and Co, 1941, p.101) 

'We cannot go to Jesus in the Tabernacle at every moment of the day, but we can turn inward to the Triune God at any moment, even in the midst of our day's worst difficulties.' (The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pelligrini, 1941, p. 27)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Revisiting Bethany

I was seven years old when I learned I had a soul.  This was where Jesus would come when I received Holy Communion, and I was to prepare the place carefully.  Sweep it clean and tidy, Sister instructed; no sin allowed.  

I pictured this item of my personhood quite vividly.  I saw it as oval shaped, pearly white, and resting in the center of my chest.  A venial sin would spot it, a mortal sin (heaven forbid) would turn it black as a lump of coal.  It was like a little house inside me, where Jesus could come and rest.

I’m now many years past seven.  I no longer envision a white oval, shining like a pearl.  I do, however, marvel at the truth embedded in this simple childhood picture. “Here I stand, knocking at the door.  If anyone hears Me calling and opens the door, I will enter his house and have supper with Him, and he with Me.”  (Revelation 3:20)

What an astonishing reality.  There really IS a dwelling place inside me, set aside for God Himself.  A cloister of the heart, a sanctuary.  And it’s not a refuge for me alone. 

In the days when He walked the earth, Jesus found places of refuge.  Certainly He was in need of them, as He was hunted down, mocked, misunderstood, beaten, spat upon, and finally killed.  He found refuge in a womb, a manger, the arms of Mary and Joseph, with friends, and in a little house in Bethany. In such places Jesus was cared about and loved.

As we know, misunderstanding of Jesus did not cease with His crucifixion. The world has never, as a whole, reached out to embrace Christ and His teachings.  He is still “spat upon.” He’s discounted, laughed at, shunned in various ways – often before our eyes.  I may hear Him mocked this very day..  or dismissed as unimportant.  I might hear His Name used as a swear word. 

If that happens, can I remember to take a moment to offer a prayer of praise and love to Him in the solitude of my heart? 

“A cloistered heart accepts God’s grace to love Jesus Christ in the midst of a world that does not love Him; to embrace His will in a world which does not embrace it.  Thus the cloistered heart becomes a place of refuge not only for us, but for Christ Himself.  To create such a refuge is a primary part of the cloistered heart’s apostolate.” ( The Cloistered Heart)

"Make my soul…Your cherished dwelling place, Your home of rest.  Let me never leave You there alone, but keep me there all absorbed in You, in living faith, adoring You.”  (Elizabeth of the Trinity)

"I want to repose in your heart, because many souls have thrown Me out of their hearts today." (Jesus to St. Faustina)

"I try always to be a Bethany for Jesus, so that He may rest here." (St. Faustina) 

This is a repost from our archives. It is linked to Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for 'It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday.'  

Painting: Semiradsky, Christ, Martha, Maria


Monday, April 3, 2017

Buried in His Will

'There are no disappointments
 to those whose wills 
are buried in the will of God.'

Father Frederick Faber

Painting: Frank Dicksee, 1909