The Real Driver

Sr. Dorcee:

So important to remember . . .

Originally posted on Barnstorming:



I heard an old man speak once, someone who had been sober for fifty years, a very prominent doctor.
He said that he’d finally figured out a few years ago that his profound sense of control,
in the world and over his life,
is another addiction and a total illusion.
He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the back seat of cars,
in those car seats that have steering wheels,
with grim expressions of concentration on their faces,
clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car to do whatever it is doing,
he thinks of himself and his relationship with God:
God who drives along silently, gently amused, in the real driver’s seat.

~Anne Lamott from Operating Instructions


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When you get out of your cave

The psalm for tomorrow’s Liturgy is Psalm 18, written by David when God saved him from the hand of Saul.  It begins “I love thee, O Lord, my strength.”  Here is Amy Carmichael’s commentary on this and the next verse.

Let us pray for one another that we may not go into caves. [cf. Ps 142]  Any one of us might do it at any moment, but for the grace of God.  The heading of this Psalm says that it is the Song which David spoke to the Lord . . . when he was delivered from his enemies—those enemies who had driven him into the cave.

There are many caves besides the cave of selfishness and self-love . . .; but whatever our cave is, the moment we get out, the devil is sure to tell us we shall soon be back again, and so the second verse in the LXX is delightful: ‘The Lord is my firm support’.

Is that not just what we want?  We know our weakness, we have proved it many a time; but we need not fall, for ‘the Lord is our firm support’.  I have noticed that some of the happiest people are not by nature the strongest, but they are those who love the Lord their Strength with a confident, joyful love; and they are not constantly thinking of themselves and their weakness, nor do they ever dream of not enjoying what He gives them to do, for ‘the joy of the Lord is [their] strength’, and their Lord is their firm support.”

He sits by the door

“Just as human affection, when it abounds, overpowers those who love and causes them to be beside themselves, so God’s love for men emptied God (Phil 2.7).  He does not stay in His own place and call the slave, He seeks him in person by coming down to him.  He who is rich reaches the pauper’s hovel, and He displays His love by approaching in person.  He seeks love in return and does not withdraw when He is treated with disdain.  He is not angry over ill treatment, but even when He has been repulsed He sits by the door (cf. Rev 3.20) and does everything to show us that He loves, even enduring suffering and death to prove it.”  (Nicholas Cabasilas)

He came down to be near those whose heart is distressed

Reblogged from Vultus Christi:

Only the Eternal Light Can Satisfy Thee

S Bernardus "Amplexus"

We are blessed at Silverstream to have a rich treasury of patristic lessons at Matins. Our patristic lectionary, complete with proper responsories for each lesson, is the on–going work of Dom Benedict, who has a special gift for assorting appropriate patristic texts to the lessons from Sacred Scripture read each morning at Matins.

Today’s lesson, taken from Saint Bernard’s well–known sermon on Psalm 90 (Qui habitat), is a kindly light for souls journeying in darkness and distress.

From a Sermon on Psalm 90 by St Bernard, Abbot & Doctor

To be Near God is My Good

“I will be with thee in distress,” says God.  What else then should I long for but distress?  “For me, to be near God is my good”; and even more, “to make the Lord God my refuge,” for he says, “I will deliver thee and glorify thee.”  “I will be with you in distress”: and he adds: “I found delight in mankind”.  Emmanuel, God with us.

Near Those Whose Heart is Distressed

He came down to be near those whose heart is distressed, to be with us in distress.  But a day will come when we “will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord. Thenceforth we shall be with the Lord unceasingly.”  If we take care to have him always as a companion along the way, he will give us the kingdom in return; better still, he will be the Kingdom for us, provided that he is now our Way.

Gold is Tried in Fire

Lord, it is good for me to be in distress, provided that thou art there with me; that is much better for me than to reign without thee, rejoice without thee, or be glorified without thee.  It is far better for me to cleave to thee in distress, to have thee with me in the crucible than to be without thee in heaven.  “For what have I in heaven, and from thee what have I wished upon earth?”  “Gold is tried in fire and the just in the trials of distress.”  It is there, among those who are gathered in thy Name that thou art present, as once thou wert with the three young men.  Why should we be afraid and make every effort to flee from the crucible?  The fire burns, but the Lord is with us in distress.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  If it is also he who saves, who can charm us out of his hand?  Who could snatch us from his hand?  Finally, if it is God who glorifies, who can deprive us of glory and humiliate us?

No Cure Except for Thee to Humble Thyself

“With length of days will I gratify thee”, answers the Lord.  This says clearly: I know what thou desirest, for what thou thirsteth, and what thou cravest.  Thou cravest not gold and silver, sensual pleasures, curiosities, or dignities of any kind.  All of these are no help to thee; there is no cure except for thee to humble thyself in the depths of thy heart and refuse to give thine attention to that which cannot satisfy thee.  Thou art not unaware in whose image thou hast been created, and of what greatness thou art capable; thou desirest not a meagre profit to be for thee the occasion of an immense frustration.  Hence, “with length of days will I gratify thee,” for only the true Light can restore thee, only the eternal Light can satisfy thee — that Light whose length knows no end, whose brightness knows no dimming, and whose fulness knows no completion.

All of you who feel heavily the weight of the cross . . .

All of you who feel heavily the weight of the cross, you who are poor and abandoned, you who weep, you who are persecuted for justice, you who are ignored, you the unknown victims of suffering, take courage.  You are the preferred children of the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of hope, happiness and life.  You are the brothers of the suffering Christ, and with Him, if you wish, you are saving the world.

This is the Christian science of suffering, the only one which gives peace.  Know that you are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless.  You have been called by Christ and are His living and transparent image.

Sound like something from Pope Francis?  Wrong.  This is an excerpt from the Second Vatican Council closing speeches.  There are some things in the Church that just do not change.

“He looks at you with so much love”

“Live in peace and joy, my dear daughter.  Our Lord looks at you and he looks at you with so much love and compassion; and the weaker you are, the more his love for you grows warm and tender.  Never harbor thoughts which would go in reverse direction.  If these thought come and pester you, pay no heed to them; turn your mind away from them and cling to God with a humility that is bold and courageous.  Speak to him about his sacred and indescribable goodness which pours itself out on us, loving our small and week, poor and abject nature, despite all its infirmities.” (St. Francis de Sales)


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