EXPAND YOUR READING!!

"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Google+ Badge

Sunday, 3 June 2012

JUNE, MONTH OF THE SACRED HEART

June is the month of the Sacred Heart.   Our religion is a religion of the heart: firstly the heart of Jesus, his very depths where he is intimately united to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and from his heart the Spirit flows like living water; the heart of Mary that received by faith and humble obedience the incarnate Lord into her womb and she became his mother and the mother of all who are in Christ; and the heart of each one of us where dwells the eucharistic presence of Christ.

In the time of St Isaac the Syrian, there was no devotion to the Sacred Heart as such; but the whole meaning of that devotion is contained in his writings.  He asks what a merciful heart is, and his answer is a description that fits the Sacred Heart of Jesus more than it fits anyone else. 

  In his writings, the love of God revealed in Christ is seen as the sole motive for creation and redemption: love motivates absolutely everything that God does, and, for him as for the mediaeval English mystic Juliana of Norwich, everything and everybody that exists does so because of the love of God.   God's love is a cosmic force by which everything exists.   This was the basic insight of Teilhard de Chardin who writes of Christ's heart beating "at the heart of matter".    God's love is everywhere.   Grace is everywhere because Christ is everywhere.  

 No theology of Redemption is adequate if it leaves anyone outside the reach of Christ's love.  That being the case, what is the function of the Church and of its members in the salvation of the world?   One answer is shown in the life of Charles de Foucauld.   It is to be a presence of Christ among human beings, to "cry out the Gospel among men", to manifest the love of God to people by means of the quality of our love, a love that operates in synergy with the Holy Spirit.   For that to happen, our own hearts must, little by little, take on the the characteristics of the Heart of Jesus: we must have merciful hearts, as St Isaac the Syrian teaches us.   Mother Teresa and Fr Maximilian Kolbe in the 20th century immediately come to mind, and St Damian of Molokai in the 19th.
The Sayings of St Isaac the Syrian
 Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.
Be crucified, but do not crucify others. 
Be slandered, but do not slander others. 
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity. 
Suffer with the sick. 
Be afflicted with sinners. 
Exult with those who repent. 
Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone. 
Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all. 
Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly. 
Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them. 
And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character. 

What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person's heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns with without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.

The person who is genuinely charitable not only gives charity out of his own possessions, but gladly tolerates injustice from others and forgives them. Whoever lays down his soul for his brother acts generously, rather than the person who demonstrates his generosity by his gifts.   God is not One who requites evil, but who sets evil right.

Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness. 
The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.

In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised..

As for me I say that those who are tormented in hell are tormented by the invasion of love. What is there more bitter and violent than the pains of love? Those who feel they have sinned against love bear in themselves a damnation much heavier than the most dreaded punishments. The suffering with which sinning against love afflicts the heart is more keenly felt than any other torment. It is absurd to assume that the sinners in hell are deprived of God's love. Love is offered impartially. But by its very power it acts in two ways. It torments sinners, as happens here on earth when we are tormented by the presence of a friend to whom we have been unfaithful. And it gives joy to those who have been faithful. That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion: remorse. But love inebriates the souls of the sons and daughters of heaven by its delectability.
If zeal had been appropriate for putting humanity right, why did God the Word clothe himself in the body, using gentleness and humility in order to bring the world back to his Father?

Sin is the fruit of free will. There was a time when sin did not exist, and there will be a time when it will not exist.

God's recompense to sinners is that, instead of a just recompense, God rewards them with resurrection.

O wonder! The Creator clothed in a human being enters the house of tax collectors and prostitutes. Thus the entire universe, through the beauty of the sight of him, was drawn by his love to the single confession of God, the Lord of all.

“Will God, if I ask, forgive me these things by which I am pained and by whose memory I am tormented, things by which, though I abhor them, I go on backsliding? Yet after they have taken place the pain they give me is even greater than that of a scorpion's sting. Though I abhor them, I am still in the middle of them, and when I repent of them with suffering I wretchedly return to them again.”

This is how many God-fearing people think, people who foster virtue and are pricked with the suffering of compunction, who mourn over their sin; yet human prosperity compels them to bear with the backsliding which results from it. They live between sin and repentance all the time. Let us not be in doubt, O fellow humanity, concerning the hope of our salvation, seeing that the One who bore sufferings for our sakes is very concerned about our salvation; God's mercifulness is far more extensive than we can conceive, God's grace is greater than what we ask for.



Blessed Charles de Foucauld



Charles served in the French Army and was stationed for a time in Algeria. This was the beginning of his fascination with North Africa. After serving in the army, he travelled throughout Morocco. A book he wrote on his explorations earned Charles a gold medal from the Geography Society of Paris.

 Conversion

 His contact with devout Muslims in Morocco stirred Charles' heart:
 Islam really shook me to the core. The sight of such faith, of these people living in the continual presence of God, made me glimpse something greater, truer than worldly concerns. I started studying Islam, and then the Bible.
 Back in Paris, Charles felt a need to renew his own religious commitments. On October 29, 1886, Charles spoke with Father Huvelin at St. Augustine's Church. After confessing his sins and receiving holy communion, Charles experienced a new horizon opening in his life:
 As soon as I believed there was a God, I understood that I could not do anything other than live for Him. My religious vocation dates from the same moment as my faith. How great God is! There is such a difference between God and everything that is not Him! 
 Fr. Huvelin encouraged Charles to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The journey inspired Charles to imitate the "hidden life" of Jesus of Nazareth. This was the life Jesus lived before His public ministry, a life characterized by silence, obscurity, humble work, domestic charity, and simple joys. The idea of "Nazareth," of finding holiness in the everyday, became essential to Charles' spirituality. His understanding of Nazareth would evolve throughout his life.

 Charles entered a Trappist monastery, but after several years realized that his vocation was leading him elsewhere. He lived for a while as a gardener and handyman for a convent of Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth.
Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others. Be crucified, but do not crucify others. Be slandered, but do not slander others. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity. Suffer with the sick. Be afflicted with sinners. Exult with those who repent. Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone. Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all. Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly. Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them. And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.
 His search to live the hidden life of Jesus eventually led him back to the Sahara Desert. In 1901, Charles was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Viviers in France and Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others. Be crucified, but do not crucify others. Be slandered, but do not slander others. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity. Suffer with the sick. Be afflicted with sinners. Exult with those who repent. Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone. Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all. Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly. Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them. And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character. received permission to establish a hermitage in Beni-Abbes in Algeria. He later built a second hermitage far to the south in Tamanrasset, a tiny settlement in a remote region of volcanic mountains called the Hoggar.

Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others. Be crucified, but do not crucify others. Be slandered, but do not slander others. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity. Suffer with the sick. Be afflicted with sinners. Exult with those who repent. Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone. Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all. Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly. Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them. And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place, do not destroy their character.
 Out in the desert, Charles led an austere life, marked by prayer and an unassuming ministry of friendship to the nomadic tribes of Bedouin Muslims known as the Tuaregs. To them, he became known as a "Marabout," a holy man.

 Cry the Gospel 

 Charles welcomed all who came to his outpost: the indigenous people, French soldiers, and anyone else traveling across the forbidding landscape of the deep Sahara. He offered whatever charitable assistance his means allowed. His motivation was simply to imitate the generous love of Jesus. From his writings: 
 Our entire existence and being should shout the Gospel from the rooftops. Our entire person should breathe Jesus. All our actions and our entire life should proclaim that we belong to Jesus. .................... We do good, not by what we say and do, but by what we are, by the grace which accompanies our actions, by the way that Jesus lives within us, by the way that our actions are Jesus' actions, working in and through us. 

 Charles also voiced his protest against slavery and other acts of injustice inflicted upon the poor of the desert.

 Hopes for a New Community 

 Charles hoped to start a new religious community based on the life of Nazareth. He wrote a basic rule for the "Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus," but he had no followers during his lifetime. His life would have a much greater impact in years to come, inspiring religious orders and secular fraternities around the world. From his journal: 
 Jesus speaks: Your vocation: Preach the Gospel silently as I did in My hidden life, and as also did Mary and Joseph. Your rule: Follow Me, do what I did, in every situation ask yourself: What would Our Lord have done? Then do that. That is your only rule, but it is absolutely binding on you. 
The Heart and Cross

 Charles designed a "Heart and Cross" insignia to be worn on the front of his religious habit. From his writings: 
 The emblem of Jesus' Heart reminds you that you must give God the same love He gives you . . . and that you must love your neighbor as yourself . . . because God loves him as He loves you. .................... I am translating the four Gospels into the Tuareg language. I am trying with all my strength to demonstrate and prove to these poor lost brothers that our religion is nothing but charity and fraternity, and that its badge is a HEART. .................... What is there in common between heaven and me -- between its perfection and my wretchedness? There is your Heart, O Lord Jesus. It forms a link between these two so dissimilar things. .................... Through the cross we are united to Him, who was nailed on it, our heavenly spouse. Every instant of our lives must be accepted as a favour, with all that it brings of happiness and suffering. But we must accept the cross with more gratitude than anything else. Our crosses detach us from earth and therefore draw us closer to God. .................... It was not by His divine words, not by His miracles, not by His good works that Jesus saved the world; it was by His cross. .................... The more we embrace the cross, the more we become one with Jesus. 
 On December 1, 1916, Charles was shot and killed by a young member of a rebel Tuareg tribe. In a notebook he carried with him, Charles had written:
 Live as though you were going to have to die as a martyr today.


Teilhard de Chardin

Teilhard de Chardin had a christic sense – an “extraordinary sense of the dynamic presence of Christ in the universe”. For him the Sacred Heart of Jesus was “the Heart of Christ at the heart of matter”. It was the “Golden Glow”. It was what he had earlier seen even as a child “gleaming at the heart of matter”. He had also a cosmic sense. The whole of his life was very much, as he put it, a struggle that “was being produced at the innermost depths of my soul by the definitive coexistence and invincible reconciliation in my heart of the cosmic sense and the christic sense.” It is important to understand that Teilhard does not see himself as the founder of a new philosophical or religious movement. For, as Robert Faricy writes: “The religious experience that lay at the base of the whole edifice of Teilhard’s thought was the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he learned from his mother and, later, at school from his Jesuit teachers. Personal attachment to the Heart of Jesus is the seed of Teilhard’s Christology which, in turn, forms the most substantial part of his religious thought.” It it also important to understand that, as Siôn Cowell writes in the article following, “he seeks … to proclaim the Christian message within the framework, not of a static, but of a dynamic universe–a universe, not in being, but in becoming.” A dynamic universe becoming, we are moved to add, more and more the actual Body of God – and this by the power of the Sacred Heart — which is the power, in Teilhard’s terms, of the personalizing Personality. Pax et bonum, Randall Scott

Post a Comment

Search This Blog

La Virgen de Guadalupe

La Virgen de Guadalupe

Followers

My Blog List

Fr David Bird

Fr David Bird
Me on a good day

Blog Archive