Prayer to Build Up the Mystical Body of Christ

May we, Lord,

live a life worthy of the calling we have received,

with perfect humility, meekness and patience.

May we bear with each other lovingly,

preserving the unity which has the Spirit as its origin,

and peace as its binding force.

There is but one Body and one Spirit,

just as there is but one hope;

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

You are the unique God and the father of all,

who is over all,

works through all,

and is in all.

Help us to work,

each one at our own post,

to the building of the Body of Christ,

till we become

one in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son

and form that perfect man,

who is Christ come to full stature.

Let us, Lord,

profess the truth in love

and grow to the full maturity of Christ, the head.

(cf. Eph 4, 1-15)

October 1st – Saint Therese of the Child of Jesus

SAINT THÉRESE OF LISIEUX

Like a child

Let us allow the Saint to speak for herself: “I can aspire to holiness, despite my smallness. To make myself bigger is impossible! I must bear with myself just as I an, with my countless imperfections, but I want to find a way of going to heaven by a little path that is very straight, very short, a little way that is altogether new. We are living in a century of inventions. Now we no longer need to climb stairs. In the homes of the wealthy an elevator takes the place of a staircase. As for me, I should also like to find an elevator to lift me up to Jesus; for I am too little to climb the rugged stairway of perfection.”

“And so I have looked in the Sacred Books for some clue to the elevator that is the object of my desire. And I read these words from the very lips of Eternal Wisdom: ‘If anyone is very small, let him crane to me.’ Then I approached God, quite sure that I had discovered what I was looking for: ‘As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you. And I shall hold you on my knees’” (cf. Isa. 66:13, 12).

“Ah! Never did more tender, more melodious words cane to delight my soul. It is Your arms, O Jesus: that are the elevator which will take me up to heaven. For this, I do not need to grow any bigger. On the contrary, I must remain small, I must become smaller and smaller. O my God., You have exceeded my expectations, and I for my part want to sing Your mercies:” (Histoire d’une ậme, Chapter 9).

Give me some of this water”

Thus speaks the Lord:

“I will not take a calf out of thy house nor he-goats of thy flocks: for all the beasts of the woods are mine, the thousands of beasts in my mountains…

“If I should be hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine and the fullness thereof. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or shall I drink the blood of goats? Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows to the Most High” (Ps. 49:9-14).

“This, then, is all that Jesus demands of us! He does not need our works, but only our love. This same God who declares He has no need to tell us when He is hungry did, not fear to beg a little water from the Samaritan woman. He was thirsty! But when He said: ‘Give me to drink,’ He, the Creator of the universe, was asking for the love of His poor creatures. He was thirsty for love!

“Yes, now more than ever Jesus is, parched with thirst. He finds only ingrates and heartless men among the disciples of’ the world. And among His own disciples He finds –alas! – very few hearts who surrender themselves without reservation to the tenderness of His infinite Love” (Histoire d’une ậme, Chapter 11).

You busy yourself too much

“Souls afire with love cannot remain inactive. Of course, like Saint Magdalen, contemplative souls remain at the feet of Jesus, listening to His sweet and impassioned words. Although they appear to give nothing, they give much more than Martha who torments herself with many things. However, it was not Martha’s works that Jesus condemned, but only her anxiety. His divine Mother humbly accepted to perform these very same works, since she had to prepare the meals of the Holy Family.”

“It is above all the Gospel that nourishes me during my mental prayer. There I find everything that is necessary for my poor little soul. I am always discovering new lights in it, hidden and mysterious meanings. I understand and I know from experience that the kingdom of God is within us. Jesus needs no books or teachers to instruct souls. He, the Doctor of doc­tors, teaches without noise of words. I have never heard Him speak; but I know that He is within me. At every instant, He guides and inspires me. At the very moment I need them, I become aware of lights hitherto unknown” (Histoire d’une ậme, Chapter 8).

“Have pity on me, Lord!

“Holiness does not consist in this or that practice, but in a disposition of heart that makes us humble and small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness and confident to the point of boldness in His Fatherly kindness” (Novissima Verba).

From the Spiritual Directory of The Society of the Missionaries the Holy Apostles, 1962

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Prodigal Son

The old man of sin still sleeps within the heart of the baptized Christian, who is always free to make compromises with evil. And it is very difficult to strip oneself completely of the mentality of the kingdoms of earth which one inherits in being born into the world — and which sleeps in the dark depths of the heart with all its perversions and its selfish law of the jungle — in order to put on the “new man” of rightness and perfection. The evil and sin in the world saturate us and attack us from every direction. And in our own hearts there are always rationalizations which will give them an entry.

Luckily enough for humankind, God loves man with an obstinate love which follows him everywhere, no matter how far he wanders. God loves us like the father of a boy who lets himself be reconquered by the spirit of evil. The sinner loses his divine status, his rights as a citizen of the kingdom of God. But God waits for him always. He stands at the roadside, ready to welcome him, to give him the dignity of a son. The only thing necessary is for the errant boy to express a gesture of regret, to take the first step homeward. And he’ll see God come out to meet him.

The priest is the one who has received this mission to make known to the world the limitless goodness of God for man and to dispense forgiveness in his name with open hands. His, then, to live in contact with the greatest sinners — with Jesus’ help and all the good sense necessary.

Father Eusebe Menard in his book At All Times.

 

 

 

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Jesus is Disconcerting

 

Yes, my God is unexpected:

            He is close to us and above all things.

            He is sweet and he is violent.

            He is eternal and is born every day.

He created us for happiness and feeds us on suffering.

            He blesses what so many fear.

            He loves what so many despise.

            He asks from us what seems impossible.

He came to bring war and he is peace-loving.

He is God and he is man,

one and Trinity.

He reproves those who are unjust, and bears with injustice.

He is Father almighty – and allows suffering to go on torturing the world.

He demands that we conquer the world, that we live in the world,

that we love all that is human, and he wants us

to think of eternity.

He asks sanctity of everyone and chose as head of his Church

the apostle who denied him.

His predilection goes to the weak and the poor, and those are

the ones who go on suffering most.

He engraves his law in everybody’s conscience, and founded a Church

whose Magisterium at times creates conflicts with the

voice of people’s conscience.

He is always present and nobody sees His face.

He who loves his neighbor loves Him, – however

he goes on being unique.

He is our whole life, and He has no name.

The nearer you come to Him, the more you love Him,

the less you understand Him.

He is freedom, and came to obey.

He is love, – and Hell exists.

He praises marriage to the extent of making it a sacrament and the

image of his union with the Church, – and He and his mother

are virgins.

He is the heart of our history; not a single hair falls from our

head without his leave, and millions of men go on without knowing

of his existence, or else consider Him superfluous.

He is joy and pain at the same time.

He is holy, and was the friend of sinners.

He is all purity, and allowed the prostitutes

to touch him and to love him.

He loudly condemned the rich – and ate with them.

My disconcerting God is difficult for the man who wants

to measure Him completely, – or for those who want to

impose a logic upon him.

But my God escapes all logic and all our measures.

My God is both marvelous and ineffable,

unique and disconcerting.

He is being and He is motion.

He is what has been, what is

and what will be.

He is all, and nothing is Him.

My disconcerting God is the one

            in whom one believes without seeing Him,

            whom one loves without touching Him,

            in whom one hopes without understanding Him,

            whom we possess without deserving Him.

Feast of St. James – July 25

Even with their good teacher, the companions would keep their all too human ideas until the last possible day. They thought that it was in establishing a new political regime, through revolution and a coup d’etat if necessary, that God’s rights would finally be recognized. Jesus with his incredible powers seemed able to overthrow any army and wipe out all the wrongdoers on earth. He was holding off for now, but he undoubtedly had a secret plan. The Day would come and he would go into action; they, his faithful companions, would occupy the top posts in his new regime.

This is what they talked about, a couple of paces behind Jesus’ back, as they walked the roads of Palestine. Since they dared not themselves express their secret ambitions to Jesus, the two hotheads among them, James and John, one day asked their mother to speak for them. She sometimes went along with the caravan of Jesus’ intimates and was of great service to the small wandering community. So there she found herself, prostrate before Jesus’ feet with a look of supplication. Her two sons stood nearby. They wanted Jesus to grant their request even before he knew what they were asking: “Master, promise us that you’ll grant what our mother asks.”

But Jesus wasn’t happy with this at all: “Look, what do you want?” So the mother explained her request: “Promise me that my sons here will have the highest places at your side on the day of your triumph” (she meant to refer to the new regime she thought he was going to establish).

“You really don’t have any idea what you’re asking for,” Jesus responded to James and John. “Are you first willing to drink the bitter cup of suffering I must drink? To go all the way with me in my misery?”

“Sure we’re ready for anything.”

“That’s true, one day you will know my suffering,” Jesus replied as he thought of their future. “But as for what you ask, that is my Father’s business.”

James and John were ambitious and naive. They hoped for human success in the kingdom of God. It was a big mistake; but they easily realized this and tried to make amends, for they passionately loved Christ.

Written by Father Menard in his book At All Times.

Prayer to Love our Neighbor

Oh God, send in us your spirit of love, so that it prepares our hearts to love our brothers. In order to live the commandments of your Son, Jesus, in order to carry the distinctive mark and the rallying sign of his true disciples, we want to love one another, not with a sensitive but with a voluntary love, drawn in faith, consolidated by hope and proven by acts.

We praise and thank our Lord for having deigned to live among rough and uncouth men, accepting the hateful intrigues of the Pharisees and the oppressors; always with unchanging kindness, submitting Himself to everything, healing bodies and souls and, finally, giving His life, the supreme proof of His love.

Fully confident and trusting in the powerful intercession of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, and of the Saints, our brothers, we come to Jesus in order to learn the meaning of charity, to discover in His love for us the reasons and the model for the love toward our brothers; and to receive assistance, without which our feeble will can do nothing. In loving all men as if they were the living tabernacle of the Holy Trinity, may we accomplish the Law and thereby merit to love You and to be eternally loved by You, Oh God of Love!