Tag Archives: Catholic Church

I Can’t Remember

The late Brennen Manning shares this humorous look at forgiveness in The Ragmuffin Gospel.brennan

A few years ago, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The archbishop decided to check her out.

‘Is it true, m’am, that you have visions of Jesus?’ asked the cleric.

‘Yes,’ the woman replied.

‘Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins that I confessed in my last confession. Please call me if anything happens.’

Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition.

Within the hour the archbishop arrived. ‘What did Jesus say?’ he asked.

She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes. ‘Bishop,’ she said, ‘these are his exact words: I CAN’T REMEMBER.

We all has some difficulty imagining that god is really that way. “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

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Worship

Detail of the Holy Communion window at St. Mat...

People silently entered the candlelit sanctuary. In the total quiet of the moment, the intense prayers of those gathered were almost palpable. Each brought to worship years of living with accumulated pain and joy. The lonely came, as well as the exhausted because they are never alone. Some came bearing deep hurts, and some came bearing crushing guilt because of hurts they had imposed. Some came because their pain was nearly unbearable, and some came because they were afraid they could no longer feel anything. Some came because they were afraid to die, and some came because they were afraid to live.

The ancient music washed over us all calming doubts and troubles in our souls. The liturgy began and those souls were lifted up to the lord. Fear and cares receded, and peace and hope took hold. We gave God our thanks and praise and He gave back to us the mystery of His presence. We revisited the crucifixion together as we celebrated Holy Communion. No matter our pasts, our educations, and our finances – we were all the same before God. We were sinners in need of His mercy – and we received it. We left that sacred time forgiven, reconciled, and whole. We worshipped and left with grace for the journey-full of glory.

Monica Boudreaux

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The Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Introduction and Commentary

The Saint Photios Greek Orthodox Chapel

I found this article and thought it might be helpful to those who read this blog for information on the Desert Fathers. Click on the link below.

The Ancient Fathers of the Desert: Introduction and Commentary — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

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Augustine and Love of God

Augustine BWWhat do I love when I love God?

—– Augustine of Hippo

What do you think?

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Lose Yourself

What does a Christ-like mind look like as we live in the world? We can see it clearly in the great saints and martyrs, such as Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer. I’m drawn as well to the idea William Placher suggests in his book “Narratives of a Vulnerable God” as he uses an illustration from the world of basketball. Professor Placher writes, “In basketball the players who are always asking, ‘How am I doing? Am I getting my share of the shots?’ Those are the ones who never reach their full potential. It is the players who lose themselves who find themselves. And it’s that kind of self-forgetfulness that makes the best players.” And isn’t that the case with all of us in whatever we do?

I read about one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with branches in 32 countries already. It is called the Winners Church, and according to its leaders, it lives by a motto that comes from America’s religious culture. Here’s the motto: “Be happy. Be successful. Join the winners.” People flock to that kind of church, I guess. But it all depends, doesn’t it, on how we define winning? I wonder what kind of church you would have if your motto were “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” Or about this one for a motto, “Those who want to save their lives will lose them and those who lose their lives for my sake, will find them.”

For the past several years I have lived with the Christian mystics, and sought that God would allow me to learn from them. One of the most important lessons they have taught me is the act of putting self behind. In doing so, I place God in front. He belongs there.

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Ascetics & Prayer

Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. Many religious traditions (Buddhism, the Christian Desert Fathers) include practices that involve restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of these religions lived extremely austere lifestyles, refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. They practiced asceticism not as a rejection of the enjoyment of life, or because the practices themselves are virtuous, but as an aid in the pursuit of physical and spiritual health.

From these ascetics much of our prayer and contemplative practices were given to us. In these day of stress and multiple pressure of life we can learn much from them. One of these ascetics was medieval mystic Ignatius of Loyola.   Today I present a very simple practice known as the Daily Examen. The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us.  The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. Here’s how it works.

 

At the close of each day find a quiet place, and perform these tasks.

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

I believe that these simple steps can change your perception of God and yourself.

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Silent Love

Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490.

Augustine of Hippo

“Love, and do what you will. If you keep silence, do it out of love. If you cry out, do it out of love. If you refrain from punishing, do it out of love.”

― Augustine of Hippo

Augustine speaks of silence as a form of love. I propose that in our silence , we show the ultimate love to others. Our world is a place of “getting it straight,” but Augustine tells us that is not always the answer. Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek,” and by doing so we have expressed true Christianity. The challenge is to know when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. The twenty-first century world tells us that every doubt must be addressed, every question must be answered, every offense must be rectified, but that is not always so. Might we hear the word of the great Church Father, and know that silence is, at times, pure love. Think about it.

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