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.

God is always with us

“God is always with us.  Even in the dark nights of our life, he does not abandon us.  Even in the difficult moments, he is present.  And even in the final night, in the final solitude in which no one will be able to accompany us, in the night of death, the Lord does not abandon us.  He accompanies us, as well, in this last solitude of the night of death.  And for this reason, we can be confident: We are never alone.  The goodness of God is always with us.”  (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)

Steadfast taper

A poem by Luci Shaw:

       Steadfast Taper
Job 28:3

His candle shines upon my head.
He trims the wick and guards the falme
and though darkness creeps in close
the steadfast taper shines the same.

The flower of flame sways in the air.
Wind fingers snatch and try to snuff
the stalk his careful hands protect.
The light shines through.  It is enough.

His candle shines on me in love,
(protective circle in the gloom)
and through the dreadful night I know
that he is with me in the room.

Throughout the weary waiting time
the liquid flame shines thin and pure.
When tiredness dims my faith, I look
and see his light, and I am sure.

        ~Luci Shaw (Moving into Light, p. 106)

No longer alone

“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)

A Christmas Card

I don’t usually post Christmas music videos before Christmas.  (Trying to keep Advent Advent.)  But this one is special.  And it’s for all of you who are having a hard time during this Advent season, finding it hard to be joyful like all of those around you.  This one’s for you (from Steven Curtis Chapman).

And here’s his story behind the song.

Now, go back and listen to the song again, written just for you.