Enduring God’s glance

“Holiness consists in enduring God’s glance.  It may appear mere passivity to withstand the look of an eye; but everyone knows how much exertion is required when this occurs in an essential encounter.  Our glances mostly brush by each other indirectly, or they turn quickly away, or they give themselves not personally but only socially.  So too do we constantly flee from God into a distance that is theoretical, rhetorical, sentimental, aesthetic, or, most frequently, pious.  Or we flee from him to external works.  And yet, the best thing would be to surrender one’s naked heart to the fire of this all-penetrating glance. The heart would then itself have to catch fire, if it were not always artificially dispersing the rays that come to it as through a magnifying glass.  Such enduring would be the opposite of a stoic’s hardening his face: it would be yielding, declaring oneself beaten, capitulating, entrusting oneself, casting oneself into him.  It would be childlike loving, since for children the glance of the father is not painful: with wide-open eyes they look into his.  Little Thérèse—great little Thérèse—could do it.  Augustine’s formula on the essence of eternity: videntem videre—‘to look at him who is looking at you.’”  (von Balthasar)

If this quote touched you, I would encourage you to take just six minutes to listen to this homily by Fr. Pierre Ingram on how God looks at you.  You’ll be blessed.

In Dazzling Darkness

Barnstorming

newyearsice
Deep midwinter, the dark center of the year,
Wake, O earth, awake,
Out of the hills a star appears,
Here lies the way for pilgrim kings,
Three magi on an ancient path,
Black hours begin their journeyings.

Their star has risen in our hearts,
Empty thrones, abandoning fears,
Out on the hills their journey starts,
In dazzling darkness God appears.
~Judith Bingham “Epiphany”

sunset12172

…the scent of frankincense
and myrrh
arrives on the wind,
and I long
to breathe deeply,
to divine its trail.
But I know their uses
and cannot bring myself
to breathe deeply enough
to know
whether what comes
is the fragrant welcoming
of birth
or simply covers the stench of death.
These hands
coming toward me,
is it swaddling they carry
or shroud?
~Jan Richardson from Night Visions –searching the shadows of Advent and Christmas

birchgold

Unclench your fists

Hold out your hands.

Take mine.

Let us hold…

View original post 231 more words

No longer alone

Witnesses to Hope

“How is it possible to believe that God, who is considered by religions to be infinite and all-powerful, can make Himself so small?”

“The Greek Fathers called it syncatabasis, divine condescension, that is: God coming down to be with us.  It is one of God’s mysteries.  Back in 2000, in Bethlehem, John Paul II said God became a child who was entirely dependent on the care of a father and mother.  This is why Christmas gives us so much joy.  We don’t feel alone anymore; God has come down to be with us.”  (Pope Francis)

View original post

Preparing the Heart: From Creche to Cross

Barnstorming

20120329-052504.jpg Detail from “Descent from the Cross” by Rogier van der Weyden

The whole of Christ’s life was a continual passion;
others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr.
He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified,
even in Bethlehem, where he was born;
for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after,
and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last.
His birth and his death were but one continual act,
and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but
the evening and the morning of one and the same day.
From the creche to the cross is an inseparable line.
Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter.
It can have no meaning apart from that,
where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death.

~John Donne –opening words in his sermon on Christmas…

View original post 219 more words

O Emmanuel

O come, O come, and be our God-with-us
O long-sought With-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us Wisdom, come unspoken Name
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.
Malcolm Guite