O HAPPY SAINT

This Sunday morning (13 October) the brilliant yet modest priest, John Henry Newman will become – what he always was – a SAINT.  Which is to say that the Bishop of Rome, Francis, will officially “raise” Blessed Cardinal Newman “to the Altar.”  Newman profoundly shook the English Church world by his conversion to the Roman Church in 1845.  There are some wonderful pieces (short and long) available at the You Tube channel of Bishop Robert Barron which help explain the importance of this holy man.    https://www.youtube.com/user/wordonfirevideo/videos

Here is the Jesus Prayer attributed to Newman:

“Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go.  Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.  Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. / Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.  Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus! / Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.  The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine.  It will be You, shining on others through me. / Let me praise You in the way which You love best, by shining on those around me.  Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You. Amen.”

While hardly brief, this prayer radiates a holiness we should aspire to.  With that hanging participle, we leave you to look up the Newman link we shared above !

ANGEL OF GOD

Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, 2nd October

“Angel of God my guardian dear, To whom God’s love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light, to guard, to rule, to guide.  Amen.”

St Basil the Great (+378) taught that every member of the faithful has an Angel Guard for life.  St Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153) promoted this devotion in medieval times.  In the book of Exodus (23:20) we read that the LORD raises up an Angel guard for his people – a fearsome Angel not to be taken lightly.  In old and modern times there are Jewish teachings regarding angel guards.   I tend to believe that all living things have some sort of “angel” but only humans have THIS sort of Angel along the lines mentioned in Exodus or in Psalm 91.  We mostly keep our angel very busy in the course of life; also I believe that our personal angel is there at our mortal ending to escort us along that last mysterious journey to bring us “to the place prepared.”  Probably (this is just me thinking) that even if we have a purifying journey (call it what you will) our Angel guard will not leave us.  When the journey is FINALLY over, we two can whoop it up.  The Vatican does not teach this!  Just my hunch about it all.  TODAY is your Hard Working Angel Appreciation Day!

PASSWORDS

Don’t you hate them?  None of the Sisters know beans about “blogging” and we could not remember our password!  Sound familiar?  Now we are here.  But not sure how we got here!  Sound familiar?  Well, if you are of a certain generation, yes.  If you are younger, lucky you, because this is all just natural to you.  We look forward to being more intelligent in the near future, but for now, we will just try to POST !  With some luck and a few prayers, you will hear more from us.  Meanwhile, God Bless!

It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over

The 2017 Baltimore Orioles are …. well, not good.  They started off great and as soon as fans began to dream of the World Series in Baltimore, the road got bumpy.  And bumpier.

But wait.

They have just finished the first half of the season and still half of 162 games are left to play.  Let’s see what happens at the end.  Maybe better than expected, maybe not.

The reality is any team, any player, goes through rough patches.  You may be saying, “Look what Zach Britton accomplished last year”!  He was so good for the whole season – 47 saves out of 47 opportunities and his ERA a minuscule 0.54!  Then look what happened this year.  He injured himself and could hardly even play during the first half of the 2017 season.  There; up and down.

But a down period can be a springboard for a plateau that one has never reached before.  Our realization that we are in a pit can prompt our effort to get back up and gives us the opportunity to reach a plane higher than ever before.

Doesn’t this apply to our life in spirit also?

Sometimes we go through a dry well experience in prayer.  Everything seems blah and lifeless.  We feel like we are in an endless stretch of desert land.  But, enter St. John of the Cross, when we are stuck in the dry well, we are receiving an invitation from God to scale a high summit we have not seen.

So we go up and down, sometimes desperately calling out: “Lord, you’ve got to help me outahere!”  And surely our Holy Mother will help with her prayers.

At the end of the baseball season there will be a World Series champion team who will be adorned with a trophy.  Jesus doesn’t settle with just one trophy:  He gives an imperishable crown of glorious life to everyone who perseveres in the Christian race.

In the meantime, you’d better win some more games, Orioles!

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On A Shopping Day

I went shopping this morning–no rain, wind is a bit strong, but very pleasant day to be outdoors even for shopping.  Even the carts I used rolled nicely.  Some days my shopping expedition is so wretched–pouring rain, strong wind, my cart rolling away on the parking lot, having to chase it before it hits another vehicle, stuff rolling off the cart into a puddle of rain water, cart that has its own will, pushing heavy load uphill on parking lot, unpleasant cashier, merchandise poorly stocked and having to go to extra stores, cashier telling me the machine isn’t recognizing my 5.00 coupon, cashier running out of the roll of register paper just after the customer before me, waiting forever at  service desk to see an unpleasant clerk, finding the van has no space left for more stuff, loading the van with 25 lbs of sugar and another 25 lbs of flour in rain….!!!!  Some days the only good thing is no car accident on the trip….  But still I have to be grace-ful so that people I encounter won’t be driven away from the Church because of me….   Well, today was a lovely shopping day!  Thank you, Lord!

 

GETTING SHARP FOR LENT

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That is Nicky the Cat’s idea.  Sharpen those claws because spring (aka lent) is coming.  The old meaning of the word “lent” was “spring.”  With the ending of winter lots of things need to be done.  Like sharpening those claws!  The cat is not all wrong really.  He sheds his winter coat and gets ready to enjoy Spring.  He knows that his athletic skills need to be honed if his hunt is to be profitable.  As Christians we need a season to sharpen our soul’s skills, as it were.  A time to sharpen our longing and hunt for God – for the Eternal Love we sense is there waiting for us to respond.  It is less about ‘giving up’ and more about ‘getting on’ and remembering that we are athletes in spirit and must get tough on ourselves – to be ready for the Spring of Life.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

As we look forward to Ash Wednesday – which falls on Wednesday this year – oops, I mean, March 1st – we look at how LOVE engages Hate in the war for our souls and the rules of our own engagement with the Enemy.  If you don’t think you have a soul or any need to engage in ‘warfare’ you need read no further!  It was a saintly priest who so clearly set forth the path for the Christian.

Blessed John Henry Newman wrote in one of his sermons (#162 Sermons bearing on Subjects of the Day):

“Such is the rule of our warfare.  We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we inherit the earth through meekness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer.  Heaven and earth shall sooner fall than this rule be reversed; it is the law of Christ’s kingdom: and nothing can reverse it but sin.”

WALKINGjonsie

C.P. Jones, O.P.