Category Archives: Quotes

HOPE and Advent!

“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope…It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,  Seek That Which Is Above

Advertisements

Finding Meaning in Advent

Advent is my favorite time of the entire liturgical year!  I love the anticipation and HOPE that the readings at Mass convey, and the emphasis on preparing for Christ’s coming.  We are to prepare for His coming in three ways during this season:  reflecting on Christ’s entrance into human history through His Incarnation as a baby, His second coming at the end of time, and we prepare to receive Him more intentionally when He comes to us in the Eucharist and in our encounters with the human person.  Mother Teresa once said, “In the Eucharist I see Christ in the appearance of the bread; in the slums, I see Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor.  The Eucharist and the poor are but one love for me.”

I have been reflecting on how I should best prepare for His coming during this Advent season, and I am once again brought face to face with the stark change that has occurred in my attitude toward life.  Much of my desire to be “serious Catholic” in the past was motivated by a very “black and white” approach to the world.  I have been amused when talking with friends recently by some of the things they say I told them in the past about holiness and the meaning of life.  I was very certain of how holiness is achieved and felt my mission as a religious was very clear.   But PRAISE GOD for the hard knocks of life!  I, like Paul, have been “knocked off my horse” and from my clear mission to consider again what it really means to belong to God. As a person who tends to be focused on accomplishment, I wanted to follow God in a way that was socially acceptable and clear in purpose.  Of course it should follow the dictates of common sense and clearly reflect God’s approval!  But what if that’s not GOD’S plan? I continue to struggle with discouragement over “losing my mission.”  All I was going to “accomplish for God” now seems to have been just an illusion.  I wanted my life to be important, to have MEANING.

I am starting to realize that God is much less concerned with me being successful at doing anything “for Him” than He is interested in helping me to KNOW HIM.  And that the MEANING that I wanted to give to my life is not so much my work, but His.  My motto is the Scripture from the Prodigal son story: “You are with Me always, and everything I have is yours.”  (Luke 15:31)  THIS is what I am to live: to KNOW that I am with Him, and that what I seek, I already possess in this relationship with the Father.  I am starting to learn that “finding God’s will” is not necessarily the hard job that I have made it.  In fact, I think His will is pretty simple: LOVE.  That’s it.  He wants us to know we are loved, and to help every person we meet to  know they are VALUED and LOVED!!!  Perhaps God intends for me to recognize and appreciate the meaning He has imbedded in the very smallest things, the places that seem insignificant.  Rather than accomplishing a plan and giving meaning through my work, perhaps I have been placed here on earth to recognize meaning, appreciate it, and see the extravagant love God manifests in the littlest things.  That is beauty too, and perhaps is the real source of happiness: “to soak up meaning” rather than to create it myself.  This is my HOPE for this Advent.

The Service of Authority Part II

The media excitement about B16’s statement on condoms might also make it easy to miss the profoundly beautiful messages the Pope is speaking this week to the bishops he has recently appointed to the College of Cardinals.  If anyone believes that the Church has lost its way in terms of knowing what it’s about or has become distracted from the gospel by the continual crises that erupt, these messages should quell those fears.  God continues to speak His message of LOVE through the one He has chosen to represent His Son on earth!  Here are a few excerpts:
The drama that unfolds under the cross of Jesus is a universal drama; it regards all men before God who reveals Himself for what He is, namely, Love. In Jesus crucified divinity is disfigured, stripped of all visible glory, but it is present and real. Only faith is able to recognize it: Mary’s faith, who also united in her heart this last tile of the mosaic of the life of her Son; she still does not see the whole, but continues to trust in God, repeating yet again with the same abandonment, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38)…

“See emerge now clearly, dear Brothers, the first and fundamental message that the Word of God says to us today: to me, Successor of Peter, and to you, cardinals. It calls us to be with Jesus, like Mary, and not to ask him to come down from the cross, but to stay there with Him. And this, in regard to our ministry, we must do not only for ourselves, but for the whole Church, for all the People of God. We know from the Gospels that the cross was the critical point of the faith of Simon Peter and of the other Apostles. It is clear and it could not be otherwise: they were men and they thought “as men”: they could not tolerate the idea of a crucified Messiah. Peter’s conversion was realized fully when he gave up trying to “save” Jesus and accepted being saved by Him. He gave up wanting to save Jesus from the cross and accepted being saved by his cross. “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32), says the Lord. Peter’s ministry consists altogether in his faith, a faith that Jesus recognizes immediately, from the beginning, as genuine, as a gift from the heavenly Father; but a faith that must go through the scandal of the cross, to become authentic, truly “Christian,” to become “rock” on which Jesus can build his Church… http://www.zenit.org/article-31053?l=english

The Service of Authority Part I

The media excitement about B16’s statement on condoms might also make it easy to miss the profoundly beautiful messages the Pope is speaking this week to the bishops he has recently appointed to the College of Cardinals.  If anyone believes that the Church has lost its way in terms of knowing what it’s about or has become distracted from the gospel by the continual crises that erupt, these messages should quell those fears.  God continues to speak His message of LOVE through the one He has chosen to represent His Son on earth!  Here are a few excerpts:
“James’ and John’s request and the indignation of the “other 10” Apostles raise a central question to which Jesus wishes to respond: who is great, who is “first” for God? First of all attention goes to the conduct that runs the risk of assuming it is “those that are considered the rulers of nations”: “to dominate and oppress.” Jesus points out to his disciples a completely different way: “Among you, however, it is not thus.” His community follows another rule, another logic, another model: “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be the slave of all.” The criterion of greatness and primacy according to God is not dominion but service, diakonia is the fundamental law of the disciple and of the Christian community and it allows us to perceive something of the “Lordship of God.” And Jesus also indicates the point of reference: the Son of man, who came to serve, summarizes his mission under the category of service, understood not in the generic sense, but in the concrete way of the Cross, of the total gift of life as “ransom,” as redemption for many, and he indicates it as condition to follow him. It is a message that is true for the Apostles, for the whole Church, true above all for those who have tasks to guide the People of God. It is not the logic of dominion, of power according to human criteria, but the logic of bending down to wash the feet, the logic of service, the logic of the Cross which is at the bottom of all exercise of authority. At all times the Church is committed to be conformed to this logic and to attest it to make the true “Lordship of God ” shine, which is that of love.


“Venerable brothers elected to the dignity of cardinal, the mission to which God calls you today and that equips you to an ecclesial service that is even more charged with responsibility, requires an ever greater willingness to assume the style of the Son of God, who came among us as one who serves (cf. Luke 22:25-27. It is a question of following him in giving his humble and total love to the Church his Bride, on the Cross: it is on that wood that the grain of wheat, dropped by the Father on the field of the world, dies to become a mature fruit. Because of this there must be an even more profound and solid rootedness in Christ. The profound relationship with Him, which increasingly transforms life so as to be able to say with Saint Paul “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), constitutes the primary exigency, for our service to be serene and joyful and be able to give the fruit that the Lord expects from us.” http://www.zenit.org/article-31039?l=english

Deep Thoughts from B16

“Anyone who knows he is loved is in turn prompted to love. It is the Lord himself, who loved us first, who asks us to place at the center of our lives love for him and for the people he has loved. It is especially adolescents and young people, who feel within them the pressing call to love, who need to be freed from the widespread prejudice that Christianity, with its commandments and prohibitions, sets too many obstacles in the path of the joy of love and, in particular prevents people from fully enjoying the happiness that men and women find in their love for one another.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Family: Spiritual Thoughts Series

The Broken Heart of Jesus

“The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil.  Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force.  He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of favor meet in the Paschal Mystery, in Christ died and risen. This is the vindication of God: he himself, in the person of the Son, suffers for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we draw closer in solidarity with his suffering – and become willing to bear in our flesh “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Col 1: 24).”

Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Homily, Mass for the Election of the Pope, 4/18/05

This is the REASON and FOUNDATION for our DIGNITY as human persons!!