“The most important thing of all to him [Paul], however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ.” (St. John Chrysostom)
Let not your imperfections discourage you; your God does not despise you because you are imperfect and infirm. On the contrary, he loves you because you desire to cure your ills. He will come to your assistance and make you more perfect than you would have dared to hope, and adorned by his Hand, your beauty will be unequalled, like his own goodness.
Louis de Blois OSB (1506–1566)
“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.
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”
…the scent of frankincense
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
whether what comes
is the fragrant welcoming
or simply covers the stench of death.
coming toward me,
is it swaddling they carry
~Jan Richardson from Night Visions –searching the shadows of Advent and Christmas
Unclench your fists
Hold out your hands.
Let us hold…
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This is so powerful.
“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)