Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Thoughts on mystics

What Is a Mystic?

Photo by Leon Contreras on UnsplashThe mystics cultivate awareness. They listen for God’s word; they respond with concrete, often heroic, actions when they hear it. A mystic, then, is one who shows the rest of us who we really are, who we can become, if only we would realize the gift of God that is already within us and respond in our concrete daily lives to God’s great gift of love. The mystic shows us how not to let God’s word return to God empty. The mystic uncovers the mystery, a mystery inside each one of us, and models what it looks like and what it accomplishes. In all of this it is important to remember that God takes the initiative—both in the ordinary believer’s life and in the mystic’s life. One cannot force God’s hand or woo God to make one a mystic. But once that initiative is taken, the mystic’s heart is changed, and he or she falls in love with God.
—from the book Mystics: Twelve Who Reveal God's Love by Murry Bodo, OFM

Friday, October 25, 2019

Thoughts on forgiving others

A Forgiven Person Forgives
Maybe the reason it seems hard for me to forgive others is that I do not fully believe that I am a forgiven person. If I could fully accept the truth that I am forgiven and do not have to live in guilt or shame, I would really be free. My freedom would allow me to forgive others seventy times seven times. By not forgiving, I chain myself to a desire to get even, thereby losing my freedom. A forgiven person forgives. This is what we proclaim when we pray “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

This lifelong struggle lies at the heart of the Christian life.
 
Henri Nouwen
 
 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Thoughts on gratitude

Deciding to be Grateful
Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an “accident,” but a divine choice. It is important to realize how often we have had chances to be grateful and have not used them. When someone is kind to us, when an event turns out well, when a problem is solved, a relationship restored, a wound healed, there are very concrete reasons to offer thanks: be it with words, with flowers, with a letter, a card, a phone call, or just a gesture of affection. . . . Every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.
Henri Nouwen

Friday, October 11, 2019

Thoughts on creativity


Using Our Creativity for Others

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on UnsplashA Christian celebration of humanity consists in lovingly midwifing our fellow humans into full being. One of our God-given endowments is creativity, the ability to cooperate with God in the inauguration of the kingdom. We’re called to use this creativity in nurturing our brothers and sisters as full members of that kingdom, and we do this by going out of our way to help them recognize and affirm themselves as images of God. In concrete terms, this means performing the acts of charity listed in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew: clothing the naked, tending the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving food and drink to the hungry and thirsty. Celebrating the sheer existence of others often demands that we do the dirty work of easing the material burdens that inhibit them from arriving at a conscious appreciation of their own holiness.
—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi  by Kerry Walters

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thoughts on pain

Befriend Your Pain
I want to say to you that most of our brokenness cannot be simply taken away. It’s there. And the deepest pain that you and I suffer is often the pain that stays with us all our lives. It cannot be simply solved, fixed, done away with. . . . What are we then told to do with that pain, with that brokenness, that anguish, that agony that continually rises up in our heart? We are called to embrace it, to befriend it. To not just push it away . . . to walk right over it, to ignore it. No, to embrace it, to befriend it, and say that is my pain and I claim my pain as the way God is willing to show me his love.
Henri Nouwen
 
 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Thoughts on Guardian Angels

























Friends, today we celebrate the feast of our Guardian Angels. Why does God send these spiritual messengers to help us? Well, Aquinas says that each of us, due to our fallen nature, has been assigned a heavenly guide. Is all of this just speculation and conjecture?

One of my favorite stories about angels is this one: Two relatively inexperienced pilots found themselves lost on a foggy day. Though they tried desperately to make contact with an airport, they were incapable of doing so. One of them then prayed for protection.

In time, a voice crackled onto the radio. The speaker identified himself as a controller from a small airport. Through very precise instructions, he guided the two pilots through the fog to a landing strip at that airport.

Once they had arrived, to their astonishment they discovered that the airport was closed and that there was no one on duty. A bizarre coincidence? A happy accident? Or perhaps a sign that we are being protected by powers at a higher pitch of ontological perfection? As you know, stories such as this come out of the woodwork once people are given the opportunity to share them.


Bishop Robert Barron

 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Thoughts on fear

The Freedom of the Children of God
We are fearful people. We are afraid of conflict, war, an uncertain future, illness, and, most of all, death. This fear takes away our freedom and gives our society the power to manipulate us with threats and promises. When we can reach beyond our fears to the One who loves us with a love that was there before we were born and will be there after we die, then oppression, persecution, and even death will be unable to take our freedom. Once we have come to the deep inner knowledge—a knowledge more of the heart than of the mind—that we are born out of love and will die into love, that every part of our being is deeply rooted in love, and that this love is our true Father and Mother, then all forms of evil, illness, and death lose their final power over us and become painful but hopeful reminders of our true divine childhood. The apostle Paul expressed this experience of the complete freedom of the children of God when he wrote, “I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38–39).
Henri Nouwen