A New Encounter
This Advent I have put together a new series of reflections for prayer. The approach I am using is based on the prayer method 'Lectio Divina'.
Each week in the series will have three meditation based on the Word found in the Advent liturgies. The grace we are are seeking in these meditations is a "New Encounter With Christ". Whatever may be our present progress in prayer, there is is always the need to go deeper. As each stage in our progress into the mystery of Christ's presence matures, the Lord becomes hidden again, requiring us to let go of the comfort and security we now know, and embark yet again in search of Him for whom our heart desire.
In addition to this approach to prayer, with each post I am including a image from the collections of painting by William Kurelek entitled 'Northern Nativity'. They lend themselves well to the Ignatian approach to contemplation - placing oneself in the scene. What William Kurelek does is place the scene in a contemporary setting.
So we have these two approaches to support us as we embark on anew Advent journey in search of a new Encounter with Christ.
For more information on 'Lectio Divina' I encourage you to refer to this earlier post.
Thursday, 30 November 2017
Saturday, 25 November 2017
No doubt, everyone has faced that dreaded “0-hour”. Usually our first experience with “0-hour” is exam time in school. And finally, the teacher says, “children, put down your pens, time is up”. Some of you may have done so with a confident smile, but the rest of us where in a panic. “Oh no! Why did I not take more time to study? I knew better, but just had to go out and party the night before”.
And so it goes, many, many time through life. Even when you finally become seniors you have to pass that testing to renew your drivers licence.
Well the liturgy, today is meant to be a day of examination. Not a final exam however, more like a midterm – thank God. Today the liturgical year ends with this glorious feast of Jesus Christ the King. The gospel passage for this year A presents us with an image of Judgement Day. We hear Jesus describing how the standard of our accounting is to be measured by the Works of Mercy.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, <> I was thirsty and you gave me drink, <> a stranger and you welcomed me, <> naked and you clothed me, <> ill and you cared for me, <> in prison and you visited me”.
From this the Church has derive the Corporal Works of Mercy and with these we are most familiar. But to these has been added the Spiritual Works of Mercy; also seven in number, compiled from Jesus teachings found throughout the gospels. They are no less important:
To counsel the doubtful <> instruct the ignorant <> admonish the sinner<> comfort the afflicted <> forgive offences willingly <> bear wrongs patiently <> pray for the living and the dead.
In Matthew’s account of the Corporal Works, we see how people are surprised by how they are judged, asking: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?” It is even more surprising when we are held up to the standard of the Spiritual Works. But these are no less important.
Our Holy Father, in Misericordiae Vultus, the Vatican document which announced the Year of Mercy, described the Spiritual Works this way:
Our Holy Father writes, “We will be asked if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness; if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty; if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence; if we have had the kind of patience shown by God, who is so patient with us; and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer.
Holy Father ends with: Let us not forget the words of St. John of the Cross: ‘As we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love,’ on how concretely we showed love to others — both those in need spiritually and those with physical needs”.
Advent begins next Sunday – a new gift of time, a time to prepare, a time to examine our lives, a time to resolve to get down to work in all seriousness.
Yes, there really is a day of accounting – and the standard of judgment is the standard of love.
Saturday, 18 November 2017
Lord, Father of all, you have brought us to the dawn
of one more day,— make us live with Christ and praise your glory.
Lord, hear us.
You have poured out faith, hope and love upon us,
— keep them firmly rooted in our hearts.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, let our eyes be always raised up to you,
— so that we may swiftly answer your call.
Lord, hear us.
Protect us from the snares and enticements of evil,
— keep our feet from stumbling.
Lord, hear us.
All-powerful and ever-living God,
splendor of true light, and never-ending day:
let the radiance of your coming
banish from our minds
the darkness of sin.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
Parable of the Ten Virgins
Today you most frequently see this parable of Jesus referred to as the parable of “The Ten Bridesmaids”. But older references called them “Virgins”. The Greek word being translated is [parthenos] literally “virgin” – most bibles use this translation. Likely recent translations chose to use Bridesmaids to avoid provoking questions about polygamy – marrying several wives. But Jesus is talking about His Bride, the Church – which is many, many individuals who make up his holy bride.
St. Augustine has a wonderful commentary on this parable. It is known as Sermon
No. 43. Here is the . . . LINK . . .
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
From the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world
of the Second Vatican Council
Re-education for Peace
Men must not be content simply to support the efforts of others in the work for peace; they must also scrutinize their own attitudes. Statesmen, responsible as they are for the common good of their own nation and at the same time for the well-being of the whole world, are very much dependent on the opinions and convictions of the general public. Their efforts to secure peace are of no avail as long as men are divided or set against each other by feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, by racial hatred or by inflexible ideologies. There is then a very great and urgent need to reeducate men and to provide fresh inspiration in the field of public opinion.
Those engaged in education, especially among young people, and those who influence public opinion, should consider it a very serious responsibility to work for the reeducation of mankind to a new attitude toward peace. We must all undergo a change of heart. We must look out on the whole world and see the tasks that we can all do together to promote the well-being of the family of man. We must not be misled by a false sense of hope. Unless antagonism and hatred are abandoned, unless binding and honest agreements are concluded, safeguarding universal peace in the future, mankind, already in grave peril, may well face in spite of its marvelous advance in knowledge that day of disaster when it knows no other peace than the awful peace of death.
In saying this, however, the Church of Christ, living as it does in the midst of these anxious times, continues unwaveringly in hope. Time and again, in season and out of season, it seeks to proclaim to our age the message of the Apostle: Now is the hour of God’s favor, the hour for change of heart; now is the day of salvation.
To build peace, the causes of human discord which feed the fires of war must first be eliminated, and among these especially the violations of justice. Many of these causes are due to gross economic inequality and delay in providing necessary remedies. Others arise from a spirit of domination and from a contempt for others, and, among more fundamental causes, from human envy, distrust, pride and other forms of selfishness. Since man cannot bear so many violations of due order, the result is that, even where war does not rage, the world is constantly plagued by human conflict and acts of violence.
The same evils are also found in relations between nations. It is therefore absolutely necessary that international institutions should cooperate more effectively, more resolutely and with greater coordination of effort, in order to overcome or prevent these evils, and to check unbridled acts of violence. There must also be constant encouragement for the creation of organizations designed to promote peace.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
The month of November begins with two important liturgical celebrations. November first we have The Solemnity of All Saints, and November second we have the The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed or All Souls Day as we commonly refer to it. In the liturgy, the Church prays,
Grant we pray, O Lord, that your departed servants,for whom we have celebrated this paschal Sacrament, may pass over to a dwelling place of light and peace. Through Christ our Lord.
This prayer is rooted in one of the church's tenants of faith, that of Purgatory.