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Posts Tagged ‘Discernment’

I meant to post this closer to last weekend, but travel and illness kept me from it.  However, I am very happy that our namesake has been beatified.  Chiara “Luce” Badano was declared Blessed on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

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Young Chiara Luce Badano has been an inspiration to me for the way she wholely, unreservedly and intentionally chose to accept God’s plan for her life.  Her joy is palpable in her actions of her life, in her words passed down to us, and in the very photos of her life, especially her long terminal illness.

Blessed Chiara Luce, pray for us!

(Click here to see the very moving video on her life and cause which Rome Reports has posted.)

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I saw this prayer on the weblog of Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, O.S.B.  I thought it was magnificent.  When we find things that leap out at us at any given moment, we need to take note, stop, reflect, meditate and pray on it.  What is the God trying to tell me?  Where is the Holy Spirit guiding me?  Why this?  Why now?  Why me?

Prayer of Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow

My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask from You.

You and You alone know my needs.

You love me more than I am able to love You.

O Father, grant unto me, Your servant, all which I cannot ask.

For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation;

I dare only to stand in Your presence.

My heart is open to You.

You see my needs of which I myself am unaware.

Behold and lift me up!

In Your presence I stand, awed and silenced by Your will and Your wisdom,

into which my mind cannot penetrate.

To You I offer myself as a sacrifice.

No other desire is mine but to fulfill Your will.

Teach me how to pray.

Do Yourself pray within me.

Amen.

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Word on Fire now has a blog.  If you haven’t seen it, hop over and take a look!

In a video posted there, Fr. Barron draws a comparison between the pre-papacy work of Karol Wojtyla and the story of Noah and the Ark.  In the brief time, he makes a sweeping analogy relevant for our efforts today in the New Evangelization.  Honestly, the intellectual gifts of Fr. Barron and his talent for making these insights understandable to lay people is incomparable.

His speech hit home with me because I sometimes feel like I am bursting to “let the life out.”  Ironic, too, because I have not been ‘hunkered down’ preserving the faith.   Rather, I have spent most of my adult life living in defiance of that faith.  Unhappily, I might add.  Okay….miserably – to be brutally honest.  But now that faith …it wants out.  It wants my evangelization. 

Perhaps – to extrapolate from what Fr. Barron was saying – perhaps this is part of what God intends. 

I’ll have to wait and see.  He’s not finished with me yet.

=)

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You can find Him when you seek Him

Well, the streak of bright sunny days that I mentioned yesterday has come to an end — eight fantastic days of hope and happiness.  The first thing I noticed when I woke up today was that the sun wasn’t pouring into the room from the east facing window.  I had gotten used to it!  Clearly, the forecasters were right, rain overnight and overcast today.  But I was surprised to find the weather still wonderful; after all, it is above seasonally warm, and we had periods of sunshine.  Besides, if there were no rainy days, we wouldn’t have life, would we? 

Our blessings are near to us, and grace fills us, even when we are unaware, or can’t see it.  A very good lesson for me, because I am not always able to see where the good is, I just have to trust God that it is there.  I am learning to trust that God is always near, even those times when it seems He must be very far away.

Here is the song that started my day on a good foot (click the link).  It popped into my head as I stepped out the door and has stayed there all day.  It’s from those four Christian brothers whose band I love – Remedy Drive.

Sunshine Above the Weather.

..and the lyrics:

Outside the thunder crashes
And the storms are gaining fast
Though it’s raining in my heart
I know that you are

The sunshine above the weather
Always and forever
Your love will remain
My rock and mighty fortress
I’m walking in your promise
Your love will remain

When everything is broken
And the darkness closes in
You are never far from me
Deep inside I see

Bridge:
I fade out
I run away
But through it all you stay
The sunshine – it’s breaking through when I need you
Your love will remain

 Have a happy, blessed and rainy/sunny/cloudy/snowy/blustery/seasonal/unseasonal day!

Photo:  Alex

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Bishop Jackels of Wichita spoke recently at a Theology on Tap which drew 200 young adults.  (wow!)  Apparently taking to heart the words of St. Jerome (“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”), the Bishop not only urged the group to make Bible reading a daily habit, he gave everyone a copy of the New Testament!

This is absolutely fantastic to read about.  Cheers to the Bishop for his faithful guidance and living testimony.  It’s so good to see what good shepherds the Lord has sent us.  And good to read that two hundred young adults came out for Theology on Tap.

I’ll drink to that.  =)

read the article here:  http://cdowk.org/advanceonline/2010/02/18/bishop-jackels-urges-young-adults-to-develop-a-living-relationship-with-jesus/

h/t Catholic News Agency

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It is Lent, which means a time of reflection, and it means that Spring is almost here! Christ is coming!  and…Christ is already here.  Where?  at the  Mass. 

Here is a beautiful meditation on the Sacrifice of the Mass with Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B.

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I have to say, when Mark Shea hits the ball squarely, he invariably knocks it out of the ballpark.  I try not to repost articles that were linked at New Advent, seeing how most of us start our day there, but if I do repost something, it seems to be a Mark Shea article.  I don’t know why, it just seems to be.  Anyway, here is another gem from him on the Catholic Exchange website

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead , two hapless characters who occupy a few minutes of stage time in Hamlet wander around, trying to figure out why they are there and what the story they are in is all about. They engage in comic banter and wordplay and, periodically, react to the main characters of Hamlet when they occasionally wander into the scene. Eventually, as we know from Hamlet , Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wind up getting killed in place of Hamlet, who is the actual center of the story. Their lives are essentially secondary—adjuncts in the service of the plot of Hamlet .

That’s not the only time a device like that has been used to tell a tale. A Japanese film called The Hidden Fortress gives us a tale of adventure as seen from the perspective of a couple of slaves. It was the inspiration for a rather more famous film called Star Wars , which showed us the entire narrative of a vast galactic conflict from the perspective of a couple of slaves called C-3PO and R2D2.

We are in a similar position to these bit players, slaves, droids, and also-rans. We assume the story of the world is about the famous and powerful. So, for instance, right now the headlines are consumed with Obama, bailouts for giant corporations, and the comings and goings of the powerful. Yet while all the while this kerfuffle is going on we may be missing the real story.

To see that, all we have to do is look at the supposed Big Stories of 2000 years ago. All the major players of antiquity—Augustus Caesar, Herod the Great, Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas, Herod Antipas—they are all forgotten. The main reason anybody remembers them today, if they do, is because they happened to live in the time of an utterly obscure manual laborer and itinerant preacher who was born in some rathole village nobody ever heard of, who grew up to cause a small commotion in some jerkwater province on the edge of nowhere and, for his troubles, wound up horsewhipped and spiked to a cross as a lesson to the legion of other faceless riff-raff who periodically trouble the smooth running of the System.

Any decent citizen of the time would have known for certain whose story belonged on the front page and who deserved the two line death notice on page D10. And any decent citizen would have been wrong. Pilate, Caesar, Caiaphas and the rest were the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of their time: bit players in the Real Story featuring Jesus of Nazareth.

We can forget just as easily today that where Christ is, there the main story is. That is but one of the reasons that God warns Israel so sternly that he is the Defender of the stranger, the orphan and the widow. It’s just another way of saying, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-36; 40).

That’s not to say God doesn’t choose people for special roles in history. It’s to say we often don’t know where the spotlight really is being thrown. And we often don’t remember that the Chosen are always chosen for the sake of the Unchosen. If that sounds like boasting, just remember that Jesus was The Chosen One: all the rest of us are chosen in him. And to be chosen means something much more like being selected out of the lineup at Auschwitz to die in the place of another man (like St. Maximilien Kolbe) than being winner of the lottery. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

However, just as the story is not necessarily where we think it should be, so it is also not over when we think it is either. Just when you figure the credits are going to roll, Jesus is raised from the dead and all the bit players, also-rans, second fiddles, sidekicks, extras, doowop singers, droids, slaves, and chorus line members are revealed to be, with Jesus, what the whole thing was all about. For “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

I read this and ask myself how I am cooperating with God’s storyline, both my little story and His greater universal one.  After all, the story of our salvation IS the greatest story ever told.  And we need to trust that we have a role in it, though we may not see it now.  Remember, now we see darkly but that doesn’t negate that God’s plan is unfolding to us and perhaps through us.  So I ask myself, am I cooperating with God’s storyline?  (Longtime readers know that discernment is an issue for me.) 

As Mark says, we might think that we know who the ‘big players’ are, but what we can’t see in our ignorance, smallness and humanity is how God works greatness out of the humble and despised.  Perhaps God is working through us, our neighbors and our family.  Grace, like the Force in Star Wars, flows through us.   We need to feel the abounding grace.

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