Bright sadness

Sometimes it helps to look at things with a new perspective.  Here is the Orthodox perspective on Lent.

“The Lenten season is meant to kindle a ‘bright sadness’ within our hearts. Its aim is precisely the remembrance of Christ, a longing for a relationship with God that has been lost. Lent offers the time and place for recovery of this relationship. The darkness of Lent allows the flame of the Holy Spirit to burn within our hearts until we are led to the brilliance of the Resurrection.” (Alexander Schmemann)

Ponder that one today and may you long for your relationship with God in any ways that it may be lost.

He thirsts for our thirst

Jesus & the woman at the well

From the beginning of , Amazing Nearness, by the author of The Gift of Faith, Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer:

In my daily life, I am constantly getting lost. Yet that means He can constantly find me.  The more I need Him, the closer He is.  I can ceaselessly discover that in weariness He sought me.  This means loving until weary.  Because of Original Sin He constantly searches for us to the point of weariness and exhaustion, humanly speaking.

In the Eucharistic encounter, Jesus regularly finds me quite lost.   Yet, I am normally lost, needing to be found.  So no need for regrets.  If I am lost I can only be found in Eucharistic love.  He can only find me when I am lost and beginning to search for Him.  Love needs two.  It is a grace always given to me to seek Him through faith, hope, and love.

Fr. Dajczer is here making a reference to the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4.  “Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well.”  Augustine points out that Jesus is weary because He is on a journey to seek us each out.  He is thirsty for our faith.  He knows that we are lost and constantly sets out to find us.  If you feel lost today, take heart that He is seeking you and looking for you.  Let yourself be found by Him.

Thy Mercy Free

Out of the depths we cry to thee.
Lord, hear us, we implore thee.
Bend down thy gracious ear to us.
Let our prayer come before thee!
On our misdeeds in mercy look
O deign to blot them from thy book,
And let us come before thee.

Thy sov’reign grace and boundless love
Show thee, O Lord, forgiving.
Our purest thoughts and deeds but prove
Sin in our hearts is living.
None guiltless in thy sight appear.
All who approach thy throne must fear,
And humbly trust thy mercy.

Thou canst be merciful while just.
This is our hope’s foundation.
In thy redeeming grace we trust.
O grant us thy salvation.
Upheld by thee we stand secure.
Thy word is firm, thy promise sure,
And we rely upon thee.

Like those who watch for midnight’s hour
To hail the dawning morrow,
We wait for thee, we trust thy pow’r,
Unmoved by doubt or sorrow.
So let thy people hope in thee,
And they shall find thy mercy free,
And thy redemption plenteous.

Martin Luther

Seeds need darkness

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“The directions on the packet of flower seeds read: ‘Seeds need darkness to germinate.’  It makes me think of myself.  I want to grow.  I want to become more than I am.  Yet, so often my self-guided efforts leave me feeling empty, looking for Something More.  The ‘germination,’ the better life that I seek, must start in darkness.  Lent is that darkness.  It is not something dreadful or depressing.  Rather, Lent takes us back to what really matters in life.  We return to the beginning.  You are here.  Why?  Did you bring yourself about?  Is your life a reward from some accomplishment?  No.  You have been loved into existence by Someone.  Why would that Someone want to bring you into being?  The answer to all the dissatisfaction and unrest we experience every day is to be found in the love that acted (and acts) to give you life.  In the darkness of Lent we meet again this Someone whose love whispers to us, ‘It is necessary that you exist.’  In that desire of the divine heart we discover our truest worth.  Which sets us free.  We belong to this One who constantly speaks to our wounded heart. . . who constantly calls us in our darkness to come out of our darkness.  Lent is for leaving behind our distractions, our delusions.  We go into the darkness of Christ’s tomb.  What happens there to him will happen, too, to us.”  (Father Peter John Cameron)

I am bending my knee

I Am Bending My Knee

Originally from the Carmina Gadelica I, 3
Taken from Esther de Waal, editor, The Celtic Vision (Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1988, 2001), p. 7.

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need,
Love towards God,
The affection of God,
The smile of God,
The wisdom of God,
The grace of God,
The fear of God,
And the will of God
To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints
Do in heaven;
Each shade and light,
Each day and night,
Each time in kindness,
Give Thou us Thy Spirit.

You are a zero

One of the Lenten quotes hanging on the walls in our convent:

“Cast away that despair produced by the realization of your weakness.  It’s true: financially you are a zero, and socially another zero, and another in virtue, and another in talent . . . But to the left of these zeros is Christ . . . and what an immeasurable figure it turns out to be.”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá)

1,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo

Sr. Dorcee:

Something to think about . . .

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

Jesus washing the feet of his disciples by Finnish artist Albert Gustaf Edelfelt

Jesus washing the feet of his disciples by Finnish artist Albert Gustaf Edelfelt

What e’er the soul has felt or suffered long,
Oh, heart! this one thing should not be forgot:
Christ washed the feet of Judas.
~George Marion McClellan
from “The Feet of Judas” in
The Book of American Negro Poetry 1922

As an aide in a rest home caring for the crippled feet of the elderly,
as a medical student in an inner city hospital seeing the homeless whose socks had to be peeled off carefully to avoid pulling off gangrenous toes, as a doctor working with the down and out detox patients from the streets who had no access to soap and water for weeks,

I’ve washed feet as part of my job.

People always protest, just as Peter did when Jesus started to wash his feet.
We never believe our feet,
those homely gnarled bunioned claw-toed…

View original 124 more words

How to live Holy Week

An excellent Holy Week suggestion from Fr. Peter John Cameron (editor of Magnificat):

One way to approach Holy Week to live it like no other of the year is to unite yourself with one of the holy people who accompany Jesus in his Passion.  So perhaps you might identify with one of the disciples sent to prepare the Upper Room, looking at everything in your life in the light of the Eucharist . . . or the woman who anoints Jesus in Bethany, begging for the grace of special compassion . . . or Simon Peter, weeping with true repentance over your sins . . . or Simon of Cyrene, eager to take up Christ’s cross no matter how it may appear . . . or the Good Thief, bursting with hope that Jesus wants us to be with him in paradise . . . or John, daring to remain with Jesus on Calvary and accepting the gift of Mary to be our Mother . . . or the centurion, letting our profession of faith transform our life for ever: This man is the Son of God!

And for those of you who are walking your own way of the Cross, my advice is that you approach Holy Week pondering how Jesus is accompanying you in your passion, helping you to carry your cross, washing your feet and kissing them . . .

Symon of Cyrene and Jesus carry the cross

Those thorns on Thy brow . . .

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;250px-Claude_Mellan_-_Face_of_Christ_-_WGA14764
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

William R. Featherstone

To hear it sung, you can go here.