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Posts Tagged ‘Example’

“Go with confidence to Mary”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/05/15 at 12:00 AM
When you see yourself with a dry heart, without knowing what to say, go with confidence to the Virgin Mary. Say to her, “My Mother Immaculate, intercede for me.” If you invoke her with faith, she will make you taste in the midst of your dryness the proximity of God. (Furrow, 695)

Let us also contemplate his blessed Mother, who is our Mother too. We find her on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, praying. This is nothing new for Mary. She has always acted like this, as she fulfilled her duties and looked after her home. As she went about the things of this earth she kept her attention on God. Christ, who is perfectus Deus, perfectus homo, wanted us also to have the example of his Mother, the most perfect of creatures, she who is full of grace, to strengthen our desire to lift our eyes up to the love of God at every moment. Remember the scene at the Annunciation? The Archangel comes down bearing a divine message — the announcement that Mary is to be the Mother of God — and he finds her withdrawn in prayer. When Gabriel greets her, she is totally absorbed in God. ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.’ A few days later she breaks out into the joy of the Magnificat, a Marian hymn which the Holy Spirit has transmitted to us through the loving faithfulness of St Luke. It reveals Mary’s constant and intimate conversation with God.

Our Mother had meditated deep and long on the words of the holy men and women of the Old Testament who awaited the Saviour, and on the events that they had taken part in. She must have marveled at all the great things that God, in his boundless mercy, had done for his people, who were so often ungrateful. As she considers the tenderness shown time after time by God towards his people, Mary’s immaculate Heart breaks out in loving words, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour, for he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid.’ The early Christians, children of this good Mother, learned from her; we can, and we ought to do likewise. (Friends of God, 241)

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“Saint Joseph, a teacher of the interior life”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/03/21 at 12:00 AM
Saint Joseph, father of Christ, is also your father and your lord. Ask him to help you. (The Way, 559)

Saint Joseph, our father and lord, is a teacher of the interior life. Place yourself under his patronage and you’ll feel the effectiveness of his power. (The Way, 560)

Speaking of Saint Joseph in the book of her life, Saint Teresa says: ‘Whoever fails to find a Master to teach him how to pray, should choose this glorious Saint, and he will not go astray.’–This advice comes from an experienced soul. Follow it. (The Way, 561)

Saint Joseph. One cannot love Jesus and Mary without loving the Holy Patriarch. (The Forge, 551)

There are many good reasons to honour Saint Joseph, and to learn from his life. He was a man of strong faith. He earned a living for his family ‑‑ Jesus and Mary ‑‑ with his own hard work. He guarded the purity of the Blessed Virgin, who was his Spouse. And he respected ‑ he loved! ‑ God’s freedom, when God made his choice: not only his choice of Our Lady the Virgin as his Mother, but also his choice of Saint Joseph as the Husband of Holy Mary. (The Forge, 552)

Saint Joseph, our Father and Lord: most chaste, most pure. You were found worthy to carry the Child Jesus in your arms, to wash him, to hug him. Teach us to get to know God, and to be pure, worthy of being other Christs. And help us to do and to teach, as Christ did. Help us to open up the divine paths of the earth, which are both hidden and bright; and help us to show them to mankind, telling our fellow men that their lives on earth can have an extraordinary and constant supernatural effectiveness. (The Forge, 553)

Love Saint Joseph a lot. Love him with all your soul, because he, together with Jesus, is the person who has most loved our Blessed Lady and been closest to God. He is the person who has most loved God, after our Mother. He deserves your affection, and it will do you good to get to know him, because he is the Master of the interior life, and has great power before the Lord and before the Mother of God. (The Forge, 554)

“Do whatever he tells you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/02/28 at 12:00 AM
In the middle of the rejoicing at the feast in Cana, only Mary notices that they are short of wine. A soul will notice even the smallest details of service if, like her, it is alive with a passion for helping its neighbour, for God. (Furrow, 631)

Our Lady was a guest at one of those noisy country weddings attended by people from many different villages. Mary was the only one who noticed the wine was running out. Don’t these scenes from Christ’s life seem familiar to us? The greatness of God lives at the level of ordinary things. It is natural for a woman, a homemaker, to notice an oversight, to look after the little things that make life pleasant. And this is how Mary acted.

—Do whatever he tells you.

Implete hydrias (John 2:7), fill the jars. And the miracle takes place. Everything is so simple and ordinary. The servants carry out their job. The water is easy to find. And this is the first manifestation of our Lord’s divinity. What is commonplace becomes something extraordinary, something supernatural, when we have the good will to heed what God is asking of us.

Lord, I want to abandon all my concerns into your generous hands. Our Mother—your Mother—will by now have said to you, as at Cana: “They have no wine!…”

If our faith is weak, we should turn to Mary. Because of the miracle at the marriage feast at Cana, which Christ performed at his Mother’s request, his disciples learned to believe in him (John 2:11). Our Mother is always interceding with her Son so that he may attend to our needs and show himself to us, so that we can cry out, “You are the Son of God.”

—Grant me, dear Jesus, the faith I truly desire. My Mother, sweet Lady, Mary most holy, make me really believe! (Holy Rosary, Second Luminous Mystery)

Catholic Teachers

In 03 Archbishop Charles Chaput on 2013/08/16 at 12:00 AM

Who we are is what we give to others

All adult Catholics are teachers. That’s one of our mandates as believers. And like never before in history, we need to be people rooted in the Church and faithful to her teachings. In an age of confusion, the Church is our only reliable guide. Through her, it’s our job to form our children and ourselves in the truth that will make us genuinely free.

Most of us know C.S. Lewis as the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Screwtape Letters.” But he was a teacher as well as a writer—and in his lectures, he often described God as a sculptor. For Lewis, the suffering in a person’s life has a special meaning, which is echoed again and again in Scripture.

Proverbs tells us, “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (3:11-12). And the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that in suffering, “God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom a father does not discipline?” (12:7).

Suffering is a tool. God uses it to shape each of us into the saints he wants us to be. God sees the shape of our holiness in the marble of our humanity. Then He cuts away the stone of sin to free us.

It’s a great metaphor. Anyone who has seen Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Pieta knows exactly what Lewis meant. The figures of Jesus and Mary have a living humanity. The smoothness of the skin, the elegance of the limbs, the sorrow on Mary’s face—these things are so real that we can forget they came from a slab of marble. The sculptor saw the beauty in the stone … and he set it free with a hammer and a chisel. Nobody remembers the hammer blow; that was over in an instant. They’re too moved by the beauty of the results. The beauty lasts forever.

Now, people aren’t blocks of stone. They’re living tissue, with the freedom and dignity of children of God. And teachers aren’t chisels and hammers. Or at least they shouldn’t be. They are active, cooperating agents in God’s plan, not merely his instruments. But we can still draw some lessons from the sculptor and his work.

First, the great sculptor is motivated by love, not merely technical skill. The sculptor loves the beauty and the truth he sees locked in the stone. In the same way, the great teacher loves the possibilities for beauty and truth—the hint of the image of God—she sees in the face of her students.

Next, the great sculptor has a passion for his work and a confidence in his vision. In like manner, no Catholic catechist, teacher or parent can form another person in the faith without a passion for the Gospel, a personal zeal for Jesus Christ, and an absolute confidence in the truth of the Church and her teaching. No teacher can give what she doesn’t have herself. If you yourself don’t believe, then you can only communicate unbelief. If I’m not faithful myself, then I will only communicate infidelity. Who we are, is part of the formation we give to others.

Remember: Who we are, is part of the formation we give to others. In deepening our own faith, the more effectively we can share it with others. That’s something we all need. So you can be sure I’ll be there. I hope you will be too.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. WAS  the Archbishop of Denver AND IS NOW ARCHBISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA. To read more from Archbishop Chaput, click here.

“Through daily life, give a proof of faith”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/06/27 at 9:11 AM
Many things, whether they be material, technical, economic, social, political or cultural, when left to themselves, or left in the hands of those who lack the light of the faith, become formidable obstacles to the supernatural life. They form a sort of closed shop which is hostile to the Church. You, as a Christian and, perhaps, as a research worker, writer, scientist, politician or labourer, have the duty to sanctify those things. Remember that the whole universe – as the Apostle says – is groaning as in the pangs of labor, awaiting the liberation of the children of God. (Furrow, 311)

I have often spoken of it before, but let me insist once again on the naturalness and simplicity of St Joseph’s life, which was in no way remote from that of his neighbours, and which raised no artificial obstacles to his dealings with them.

So, though it may be proper to some periods or situations, I do not like to talk of catholic workers, catholic engineers, catholic doctors and so on, as if describing a species within a genus, as if Catholics formed a little group separate from others. That creates the impression that there is a chasm between Christians and the rest of society. While respecting the contrary opinion, I think it more correct to speak of workers who are Catholics, or Catholics who are workers or engineers. For a man of faith who practices a profession, whether intellectual, technical or manual, feels himself and is in fact at one with others; he is the same as others, with the same rights and obligations, the same desire to improve, the same interest in facing and solving common problems.

The Catholic who is prepared to live in this way will, through his daily life, give a proof of his faith, hope and charity: a simple and normal testimony without need of pomp and circumstance. The vitality of his life will show the constant presence of the Church in the world, since all Catholics are themselves the Church, because they are members in their own right of the one People of God. (Christ is passing by, 53)

“We have to pray at all times, from morning to night”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/02/01 at 12:00 AM

True prayer which absorbs the whole individual benefits not so much from the solitude of the desert as from interior recollection. (Furrow, 460)

As for me, as long as I have strength to breathe, I will continue to preach that it is vitally necessary that we be souls of prayer at all times, at every opportunity and in the most varied of circumstances, because God never abandons us. It is not a proper Christian attitude to look upon friendship with God only as a last resort. Do we think it normal to ignore or neglect the people we love? Obviously not! Those we love figure constantly in our conversations, desires and thoughts. We hold them ever present. So it should be with God.

When we seek Our Lord in this way, our whole day becomes one intimate and trusting conversation with him. I have said and written this so many times, but I don’t mind saying it again, because Our Lord has shown us by his example that this is exactly what we have to do: we have to pray at all times, from morning to night and from night to morning. When everything goes well: ‘Thank you, my God!’ If we are having a hard time, ‘Lord, do not abandon me!’ Then this God of ours, who is ‘meek and humble of heart’ [1] will not ignore our petitions or remain indifferent. For he himself has told us, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened for you’ [2]. (Friends of God, 247)

[1] Matt 11:29

“Try to enter in on the scene taking part as just one more person there”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/01/11 at 10:57 PM

How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ. (The Way, 2)

When you open the Holy Gospel, think that what is written there ‑‑ the words and deeds of Christ ‑‑ is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail by detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life. God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there. You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, “Lord, what would you have me do?” And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, “The Will of God!” Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done. (The Forge, 754)

If you wish to get close to Our Lord through the pages of the Gospels, I always recommend that you try to enter in on the scene taking part as just one more person there. In this way (and I know many perfectly ordinary people who live this way) you will be captivated like Mary was, who hung on every word that Jesus uttered or, like Martha, you will boldly make your worries known to him, opening your heart sincerely about them all no matter how little they may be [1]. (Friends of God, 222)

[1] cf Luke 10:39-40

“The greatest revolution of all times”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/11/30 at 9:01 AM

If we Christians really lived in accordance with our faith, the greatest revolution of all times would take place. The effectiveness of our co-redemption depends on each one of us. You should meditate on this. (Furrow, 945)

You will feel completely responsible when you realize that, before God, you have only duties. He already sees to it that you are granted rights. (Furrow, 946)

Here is a thought to help you in difficult moments. “The more my faithfulness increases, the better will I be able to contribute to the growth of others in that virtue”. How good it is to feel supported by each other. (Furrow, 948)

You run the great risk of being satisfied with living, or thinking that you have to live, “like a good boy”, who stays in a cosy and neat house, with no problems, and knowing only happiness. That is a caricature of the home in Nazareth. Because Christ brought happiness and order, he went out to spread those treasures among men and women of all times. (Furrow, 952)

“You are obliged to give good example”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/07/07 at 8:51 AM
You need interior life and doctrinal formation. Be demanding on yourself! As a Christian man or woman, you have to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, for you are obliged to give good example with holy shamelessness. The charity of Christ should compel you. Feeling and knowing yourself to be another Christ from the moment you told him that you would follow him, you must not separate yourself from your equals – your relatives, friends and colleagues – any more than you would separate salt from the food it is seasoning. Your interior life and your formation include the piety and the principles a child of God must have in order to give flavour to everything by his active presence there. Ask the Lord that you may always be that good seasoning in the lives of others. (The Forge, 450)

Look: Our Lord is anxious to guide us at a marvellous pace, both human and divine, and which leads to joyful abandonment, happiness in suffering and self‑forgetfulness. ‘If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self’ [1]. This is a counsel we have all heard. Now we have to make a firm decision to put it into practice. May Our Lord be able to use us so that, placed as we are at all the cross-roads of the world — and at the same time placed in God — we become salt, leaven and light. Yes, you are to be in God, to enlighten, to give flavour, to produce growth and new life. But don’t forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it. It is not we who save souls and move them to do good. We are quite simply instruments, some more some less worthy, for fulfilling God’s plans for salvation. If at any time we were to think that we ourselves are the authors of the good we do, then our pride would return, more twisted than ever. The salt would lose its flavour, the leaven would rot and the light would turn to darkness. (Friends of God, 250)

[1] Matt 16:24

Observe Jesus Christ

In 07 Observations on 2011/04/08 at 6:37 PM

Observe our Savior’s behavior during the last days of His earthly life.

Jesus was entirely serene, calm and sovereign.

He said what He came to say; neither attacking nor retreating.

Jesus willed to do the will of His Father.