“We are all broken. We think of this as our biggest liability, but the reality is that the beauty in our brokenness is overwhelming.” Read more here.
“As Abraham Heschel wrote, God is of no importance if He is not of supreme importance, which means that in our subjective understanding, God can only be all or nothing. If we genuinely know God, then we can’t know Him as anything but All…Every attempt to reduce God to a mere part of life is doomed to fail, for it does not correspond to reality and will result in a truncated, unsatisfactory form of human life. Part of `letting God be God’ is letting Him completely fill your world… To be oblivious to the presence of God is to miss the entire point of human life.” ~Abbot Joseph Homick, How Lovely Is His Dwelling Place
“If there is anyone who is not enlightened by this sublime magnificence of created things, he is blind. If there is anyone who, seeing all these works of God, does not praise Him, he is dumb; if there is anyone who, from so many signs, cannot perceive God, that man is foolish. . . In everything, whether it is a thing sensed or a thing known, God Himself is hidden within.” ~St. Bonaventure
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
PHILADELPHIA, February 13, 2015 (Zenit.org) – The great Catholic writer Georges Bernanos once said that, “the world will be saved only by free men. We must make a world for free men.” He wrote those words nearly 70 years ago in the wake of a terrible world war. He understood from painful experience that man is made for God — and without faith, there can be no real freedom, only distractions and idolatries that eventually consume man himself.
The humility to recognize who we are as creatures; who God is as a loving Father; what God asks from each of us; and the reality of God’s love for other human persons as well as ourselves – this is the foundation that our Catholic faith brings to every conversation about human meaning and purpose. The Book of Sirach, the Psalms, the Gospel of Luke, the Letter of James: These Scriptures move the human heart not simply because they’re beautiful writings. Rather, they’re beautiful writings because they spring from what we know in our hearts to be true. God is real, and faith matters. Again and again, for our own good and happiness, Scripture calls on us not just to repent and turn to God, but also to act accordingly in every aspect of our daily lives.
The words of Georges Bernanos from decades ago are just as relevant today for Christians living in a world increasingly marked by unbelief. As Catholics, we’re most truly “free,” and we most truly serve the common good, by having the courage to be disciples of Jesus Christ, both in our personal lives and in our public actions. God gave us a free will, but we need to use it. Discipleship has a cost, and Jesus never asked us to be invisible or silent. Quite the opposite.
Helping people in the work of personal conversion and their public witness of justice and charity is the task of the Church. And this is why immersing our hearts in the whole liturgical cycle of Christian life – in effect, its rhythm — is so important.
Next week, on February 18, we begin the journey of the Lenten liturgical season with Ash Wednesday. It’s a moment of hope, not sadness. Lent is a time when God invites all of us to enter into a deeper relationship with himself. We pursue that through prayer, fasting, acts of mercy and justice, and a return to the Sacrament of Penance. All of us, in different ways, are burdened down by past sins we can’t take back, searching for forgiveness and healing, but unable — or more often, unwilling — to let ourselves trust in the goodness of God.
Lent is our pilgrimage to Calvary, and beyond that, to Easter and abundant life. Jesus came to save us; to give us real freedom; to show us that our lives have meaning; that God loves us; that despite all our sins, no matter how dark, he treasures us as his daughters and sons; that suffering has a purpose; that each person no matter how infirm or disabled has dignity; and that death — which is subject to God’s sovereignty, not ours — is never the end of who we are.
“Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Those are the first words Jesus speaks to the people of his time in the Gospel of Mark (1:15), and he says them just as urgently now, in these last few days before Lent, to each one of us. The real freedom every human heart thirsts for, and the world so desperately needs, is a big thing that hinges on a seemingly “little” thing: our own personal turning away from sin and toward God, not just with our words but with our whole lives.
This is the invitation Lent places before each of us. What we do with it depends on us. ~Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
“Those who have entirely lost the ability to see the transcendent reality that shows itself in all things, and who refuse to seek it out or even to believe the search a meaningful one, have confined themselves for now within an illusory world, and wander in a labyrinth of dreams. Those others, however, who are still able to see the truth that shines in and through and beyond the world of ordinary experience, and who know that nature is in its every aspect the gift of the supernatural, and who understand that God is that absolute reality in whom, in every moment, they live and move and have their being—they are awake.” ~David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss
“It seems to me that I have found my heaven on earth, because my heaven is you, my God, and you are in my soul. You in me, and I in you – may this be my motto. What a joyous mystery is your presence within me, in that intimate sanctuary of my soul where I can always find you, even when I do not feel your presence. Of what importance is feeling? Perhaps you are all the closer when I feel you less.” ~Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
“Each time we look upon Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, He raises us up into deeper union with Himself, opens up the floodgates of His merciful love to the whole world, and brings us closer to the day of His final victory “where every knee will bend and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord”. “The reign of God is already in your midst.” The coming of Jesus to us in the Eucharist is assurance of His promise of final victory: “BEHOLD, I COME TO MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.” ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Over at Vox Eremita there is a good entry that addresses the question “What is eremitic life?” It’s worth a read.