September 23, 2022

Our Lady of Knock

Mary leads into a deep Eucharistic Silence.  With the support of Joseph, she presents the mystery of Christ presence in the world - it is a real presence, a mysterious presence that communicates such glory as would transform the deepest center of humanity if only we welcomed Him. With the support of Apostolic ministry, in Knock the ministry of the Apostle John, she teaches the truth about Her Son's presence - so that we might enter into the silence that receives Him, that accepts Him, that makes a home for Him. This is why those who visit the Gable at Knock feel her presence with them when they go into adoration - she follows them into this Eucharistic moment that we might behold the Lamb.

September 11, 2022

The Threshold into the Heart of God

Christ's crucified and risen humanity is the threshold in the Heart of God. Catastrophe unfolds in all social conventions that we once relied on, but in this sacred place, we are secure. Alienated, lost and ashamed, our true homeland is just a prayer away. Through His Mystical Body, the Good Shepherd reaches out to touch us and His voice echoes in our hearts.  Through His Body and Blood, the Eucharistic Lord manifests and communicates inexhaustible treasures, riches we have secretly desired but never dreamed would be suddenly lavished upon us. Knocking at the door of our hearts, the Divine Pilgrim offers real connection, true understanding, meaningful love. 

Gazing at us and searching our depths, this True Friend comes to us in warmest vulnerability. Uncreated Wisdom of God, He understands us in ways that we do not understand ourselves. The Man of Sorrows, He empathizes with our weakness and offers to heal the most painful wounds. The Rejected One, He challenges us to the very core of our being.  The Revelation of the Mercy of the Father, the Healer convicts us, not to shame, but to forgive and to give a new beginning.  Such is the threshold into the deep things of God - not one that we cross as much as does God out of inexhaustible compassion. He opens the gate, reaches through the portal with outstretched hands, and revealing His wounds for our sake, He offers His Heart.  

Even as this yet unrecognized pilgrim walks with them, there are some who seek religious experience or else attempt great feats of spiritual industry.  They want results and attain what their hearts seek.  These achievements provide momentary relief and a sense of accomplishment. But as accomplishments limited to space and time, they are too limited for the heart. Too far beneath its dignity, the heart aches for something that is beyond its own power to achieve, for a Someone who alone can satisfy.

Even as this mysterious stranger questions their deepest fears, there are others who turn to created spiritual forces to gain security or find power. By degrees of deception, they are trapped into the realm of created things.  Whatever power we grasp for has power over us. Apart from God, the passing splendors of this life only stir lust, covetousness, and pride, fanning fires that will burn with destructive force for all eternity. Thus, the Lamb who was slain humbly calls out in harmonies that shake the foundation of the world, that shatter self-made strongholds and that cast down false altars of the heart.  Like a violent earthquake, the suddenness of the truth is unveiled and the opportunity to freely choose comes with shocking clarity. Blessed are they who He has moved to tears in this moment, for such tears quench fires unworthy of the heart's greatness.

Even as this mysterious Guest breaks bread before them, there are also some who want to give their lives to the One who they love. Even these find in their hearts such attachments, grievances, wounds and burdens that they are confounded.  They cry night and day over their own sins and the sins of their dearest loved ones, and they wait for their Deliverer.  They know that they will be measured by their own measure, so they humbly let go. The forgive and seek forgiveness. They stop trying to measure and they surrender - for a measureless love dawns upon them. In this Uncreated Light, they know that their hope does not disappoint and they long to see His Face. 

September 4, 2022

Prayer's Power in Human Weakness

In deep silences, the Lord speaks into our hearts even when everything around us falls apart.  Our weakness shouts at us and all we see is failure.  A cacophony of shame and accusation, fear and doubt assails us.  The voices of those who disdain us would be bad enough - but our own self-accusation seems to shake our core. How might we find Him, the One for who our hearts most long, our Savior and Deliverer when we are trapped and there seems no way out? Yet His voice is not silent. It whispers in gentle patience, inviting us out of chaos and into prayer.  

Loneliness haunts us and alienation from even our closest friends when all our hopes are dashed.  How true it is that we discover our true friends in the midst of crisis!  In such times, those who we assumed would be most steadfast disappoint us. We feel abandoned and misunderstood - or else the object of someone's misguided charity project.  Some actually want to relieve the plight and really do attempt to protect the dignity of the soul steeped in such misery ... how few they are!  Yet even these cannot bridge the abyss that yawns between the suffering soul and the rest of humanity.  Such is death - this is what it means to be placed in the tomb.

Here, in this deepest darkness, the Word of the Father seems most absent.  It is as if He let out his last wordless cry and breathed His last. At this moment, my soul and His soul are closest - united in the terrible mystery of death. This is where a new kind of whisper enters our hearts - a gentle movement so subtle that one never recognizes it until afterward. For there is a love that is stronger than death even if I cannot feel it. There is a reason for hope even if my mind cannot find it or my feel it. This is because He is with me always -- even in the shadow of death, even as waves of weakness engulf me.

Prayer's power in human weakness reaches a perfection in total disaster and complete failure. Only those who have been gripped with acute anxiety and suffer utter catastrophe know this power. It is a power Christ shares with His closest friends, those who He trusts most of all. If you are such a soul, know that your feeblest act of faith and most humble effort to love makes space for God to reveal His life giving glory in a dying world - through your smallest sacrifice, life giving splendor reaches out where it is most needed. Christ Himself accomplished his greatest work when He was annihilated on the Cross -- our salvation, and by faith your suffering is an extension of His saving work, raising up all human life in times when it is most needed.

August 31, 2022

God's Presence when Empires Fail

We need to find the gaze of Christ. His look of love changes everything - but until we find it, a whole horizon of hope is hidden when we need it most. Everything else is passing, even the great empires of our times.  It is difficult to write about this gaze in the midst of political collapse, but God does not stop acting even in the midst of so much uncertainty.  In the face of a whole cacophony of conflicting cultural narratives, it is easy to be distracted in curiosity: with all this bad news, is there any good news?  With everyone grasping for control even as the world spins out of control, let us remain focused on what God is doing.  

The Bridegroom does not grasp or enter into competition for our attention.  The Eternal Son does not need to caste dispersion on those who disagree with Him.  He is not limited to act by only the most sensational display of power.  Instead,  the Savior of the Word is solemnly present in silent hidden majesty.  He prefers to act as would an artist - with delicate, painful subtly. So does He bring the work that has begun in us to perfection. His sovereignty undaunted - the Lord reigns in peace even as heaven is at war and the earth unaware of its peril.  

What of evil and the calamities that surround us?  The Word who holds in being all things knows that nature has turned against those He loves because they have turned against nature. No anger but regret over the plight we have brought on ourselves.  But more than the disorder of nature against humanity and humanity against nature, the Bridegroom grieves over His Bride - the wolves who attack her will not avoid HIs judgment. Those are destined for mill-stones who think that He has not made her holy and immaculate. Like lighting flash He comes to shatter the safe conventions that those without reverence presume to rely on. Woe to them who playing politics and power stand in His Way.  

Even still, His love is patient and does not waver.  He knows that the Heart of the Father aches over how we have squandered ourselves on what is far below our dignity and He knows how the Father waits for us to come to our senses and turn towards home.  Even as we take our first step, the Trinity pulls up divine robes and runs as if forgetful of all sacred dignity - to us who still reek with pigsty.  God runs not to shame or scold, but to welcome and embrace, to bring home.

Thus, the Word made flesh rebukes the fever of sin and every form of diabolical praise. Out of love for the Father, the Great High Priest even gently rebukes us for wanting Him to stay where we are in our present life circumstance instead of following Him where the Father sends Him - for He leads to our true home, to the things that are above, to the Holy of Holies.  Not God of the familiar, convenient and comfortable, if we will follow Him into the Heart of the Father, even in times such as these, we will live in such astonished amazement - flooded forever by overflowing fullnesses of meaning and exceeding goodness. Here is the true source of peace - and the only hope for our people, our children. Our Father's love, a divine love no nation's nihilism can ever overcome, is unleashed here and now in the gaze of Christ - what freedom and greatness awaits those who dare to glance into those eyes.  

August 29, 2022

The Rosary -- threshold to Holy Mysteries


The Rosary opens a threshold to sacred memories in the heart of the Church, mysteries from the heart of Our Lady that the whole Church should ponder with her.  If you have not taken time to make this prayer part of your daily routine, it is a good time to begin.  From the Sign of the Cross and the Creed through each Our Father and ten Hail Mary's, the beads of the Rosary remind your hands to surrender in prayer and the gentle repetition on the lips help the heart recall the goodness of God even in the midst of anxiety. In a secular world where active efforts are made to sideline what is sacred, the Rosary is a threshold to holy Mysteries, a portal that opens into the very heart of God.  

For those who would like to take a course on the rosary - 

click here: https://sfarchdiocese.org/rosary-course/