Posts Tagged ‘Love’

“To follow Christ, that is the secret”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/07/11 at 12:00 AM
When I made you a present of that Life of Jesus, I wrote as an inscription. May you seek Christ: may you find Christ: may you love Christ. Three perfectly clear stages. Have you tried, at least, to live the first? (The Way, 382)

How can we overcome these obstacles? How can we strengthen our initial resolve, when it begins to seem a heavy burden? Let us take inspiration from the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother. She shows us a wide and open road, which necessarily passes through Jesus.

I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ: seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek him then, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven.

I beg Our Lord to help us make up our minds to nourish in our souls the one noble ambition that matters, the only one that is really worthwhile: to get close to Jesus, like his Blessed Mother and the Holy Patriarch St Joseph did, with longing hearts and self‑denial, without neglect of any kind. We will share in the joy of being God’s friends — in a spirit of interior recollection, which is quite compatible with our professional and social duties — and we will thank him for teaching us so clearly and tenderly how to fulfil the Will of Our Father who dwells in heaven.

To follow Christ — that is the secret. We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with him, like the first Twelve did; so closely, that we become identified with him. Soon we will be able to say, provided we haven’t put obstacles in the way of grace, that we have put on, have clothed ourselves with Our Lord Jesus Christ [1]. Our Lord is then reflected in our behaviour, as in a mirror. If the mirror is as it ought to be it will capture Our Saviour’s most lovable face without distorting it or making a caricature of it; and then other people will have an opportunity of admiring him and following him. (Friends of God, 299-303)

[1] cf Rom 13:14

“Mary teaches us to have charity”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/05/23 at 12:00 AM
In the hour of rejection at the Cross, the Virgin Mary is there by her Son, willing to go through the same fate. Let us lose our fear of behaving like responsible Christians when the environment in which we move is not easy. She will help us. (Furrow, 977)

What a contrast between Our Lady’s hope and our own impatience! So often we call upon God to reward us at once for any little good we have done. No sooner does the first difficulty appear than we start to complain. Often we are incapable of sustaining our efforts, of keeping our hope alive. Why? Because we lack faith. ‘Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfillment.’

She teaches us to have charity. Remember the scene of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. An old man, Simeon, ‘said to his mother Mary, Behold, this child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel; and to be a sign which men will refuse to acknowledge; and so the thoughts of many hearts shall be made manifest; as for your own soul, it shall have a sword to pierce it.’ So great is Mary’s love for all mankind that she, too, fulfilled Christ’s words when he affirmed: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.’ (Friends of God, 286)

“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/04/25 at 12:00 AM
The heart has been created to love, do not doubt it. Let us therefore bring Our Lord Jesus Christ into the love that we feel. Otherwise, the empty heart takes revenge and fills itself up with the most despicable vileness. (Furrow, 800)

How are we to approach Jesus, what are we to say, how should we behave?

Christian life is not made up of rigid norms, because the Holy Spirit does not guide souls collectively, but inspires each one with resolutions, inspirations and affections that will help it to recognize and fulfil the will of the Father. Still, I feel that, on many occasions, the central theme of our conversation with Christ, in our thanksgiving after holy Mass, can be the consideration that our Lord is our king, physician, teacher and friend.

He is our physician, and he heals our selfishness, if we let his grace penetrate to the depths of our soul. Jesus has taught us that the worst sickness is hypocrisy, the pride that leads us to hide our own sins. We have to be totally sincere with him. We have to tell the whole truth, and then we have to say: “Lord, if you will” — and you are always willing — ”you can make me clean.” You know my weaknesses; I feel these symptoms; I suffer from these failings. We show him the wound, with simplicity, and if the wound is festering, we show the pus too. Lord, you have cured so many souls; help me to recognize you as the divine physician, when I have you in my heart or when I contemplate your presence in the tabernacle. (Christ is passing by, 92-93)

What is love?

In 07 Observations on 2014/04/18 at 12:00 AM

Detailed notes taken by Aida Tamayo on Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism Series

Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as “to will the good of another.” Love is not a feeling.  Love is an act of the will to want that which is good for someone else.  If possible one will also act to bring about the good of another. That is why Jesus said love your enemy (Will the good of that person).  What is the good of the person, my enemy? Perhaps that this person sees the evil in his actions and turns to do what is good.

Love is a powerful word and it is the most overused and abused word of our times.  Pope Benedict XVI said God is Love and he is right.  But when our understanding of Love is so skewed, so will be our understanding of God.  Here is how we use LOVE: I love pizza (it pleases me) I love this show (it entertains me) I love you (you give me pleasure), I love my parents (as long as they don’t tell me what to do or inconvenience me) I love God (as long as His Will doesn’t interfere with mine).  Love in our world is what makes me feel good.  So if God is Love He will do what will please me. No.

God is LOVE, the source of all goodness.  Love is not what I feel and it is not about me. Love is about the good I can will and do for others.

Loving God, and being His followers.  Pope John Paul II called the Beatitudes the self-portrait of Christ in Veritatis Splendor. Most Bible scholars would agree that the Beatitudes give us a clear picture of the true disciple of God.  To get to this point, a follower must be following all the commandments and come to understand that the meaning of life is doing the will of God.  Pursuing the Beatitudes will perfect the soul of those that will to follow the Lord. Father Barron says that the Beatitudes reveal that the true path of joy is found not in grasping at power but in the willing surrender to God’s mysterious grace.

Loving others, and turning the other cheek.  Turning the other cheek is a way of forcing an aggressor to confront its aggression.  We are not saying that a Jewish person in Nazi Germany confronts the Gestapo.  That would be suicide. What Jesus meant is that when presented with an injustice, instead of returning the injustice or running away from it we choose a 3rd option… turn the other cheek.

To illustrate the point we can look at someone who understood Jesus’ message well and puts it into practice.  Blessed Teresa once entered a bakery in Calcutta with a poor hungry child.  She asked the owner if he could spare a piece of bread for the child.  He spit in her face.  She calmly wiped her face looked at him kindly and said, that was for me, now can you spare a piece of bread for the child.  That is what Jesus meant by turning the other cheek. She understood Love: Will the good of the other.

Friendship by Fr. Joshua Voitus

In 07 Observations on 2013/06/28 at 12:00 AM

Misuse of the word “friend” in our modern society is unfortunate: friendship has been diluted to include mere acquaintances, even people on the internet whom we might not even really know. A lack of proper understanding of friendship diminishes our ability to form true spiritual friendships with people here on earth. But even more tragic is that this misunderstanding of friendship also has the potential to damage our relationship with God.

At their core, authentic friendships – like any relationship based on love – involve two or more people who seek the good of the other. True friends, then, aside from sharing common interests and enjoying each other’s company (of course, which is important,  as you cannot truly build a friendship without spending time with the other), build each other up in word and in action. This building up reaches its peak and perfection in each friend assisting the other, not only in earthly tasks and trials, but in reaching the ultimate good of heaven.

Think, then, how important true friends are in our journey home to God! They will not only encourage us in our following of Christ, but they will also admonish us when we fail to live as we ought.

As St. Ambrose tells us in“On the Duties of the Clergy,” “(R)ebukes are good, and often better than a silent friendship … for the ‘wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of flatterers.’ (Proverbs 27:6) Rebuke, then, your erring friend … for friendship ought to be steadfast and to rest firm in true affection.”

A true friend will, therefore, love us enough to share in our joy and encourage us in virtue, and also have concern enough for us to correct us when we stray from the true path. For our part, if we are to be good friends, we must have the courage to do the same. Friendship, then, involves not only joy and happiness, but, at times, a sense of sacrifice when we might have to put aside our own desires to rebuke a friend or – far more painfully – humbly receive a rebuke from a true friend.

We must, therefore, recognize that friendship, in its authentic sense, is more than merely liking somebody’s company or having mutual interests. It implies a certain mutual exchange of love and concern for the good of the other, even to the point of a certain sacrifice of time or comfort. This exchange not only aids and supports us in our quest to grow in virtue and struggle against sin, but it can become a model in this life for our relationship with God Himself.

Our misunderstanding of the nature of authentic human friendship may potentially lead us to a misunderstanding of what God calls us to when He says He desires to be our friend.

Yes, God invites us to friendship with Himself: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends.” (John 15:15).

I can think of no higher calling than to be a friend of God Himself. Yet, if we misunderstand the nature of true friendship, then we run the risk of misunderstanding the nature of the relationship to which God is calling us.

A true friendship is, among other qualities, a mutual exchange of love and concern for the other. God, for His part, has demonstrated this love and concern in countless ways. He has done so in the act of our creation, in His revealing of Himself and His Will through the law and through Christ (who is the very word of God and is God Himself), and, ultimately in the sacrifice of the Cross, for “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Even God, like a true friend, rebukes us when we go astray so that we may return to Him in love.

This free gift of God is wonderful, but if we are to be true friends of God, it is not enough for us to passively “like” what He has done for us as we would a “friend” on Facebook. Rather, we are called to an active response to His love – a response of love which impels us to follow God, even sacrificing ourselves and our desires to serve Him, just as we would a true friend.

Christ Himself says much the same thing when He tells the Apostles, “you are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14) To be friends of God, we must treat Him as we would a true friend. We must spend time with Him in prayer (especially prayer before the Blessed Sacrament). We must study scripture and the teachings of the Church to learn His will (much like we would seek to find out the desire of our friend), and follow His will, even to the point of giving up anything which might separate us from Him. Then may we call ourselves true friends of God: people who know Him, love Him and serve Him, and who give thanks for all that He has done for us in friendship and in love.

Thus we can see how all true friendship is based on the love of God. All true friends will seek to guide each other, ultimately, to the supreme good which is God. They will do so even if it means discomfort or sacrifice. They will place the other person before themselves. By doing so, they provide a mirror and an example for the friendship to which God calls each one of us. Let us pray that we may be blessed by God with true friends in this life, and that we share in the joy of perfect friendship with Him now and in the life to come.

Father Joshua Voitus is the parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte. Read the Nov.9 online at www. catholicnewsherald.com.

Inspirational video of a beautiful but short life on earth

In 07 Observations on 2013/01/18 at 11:40 AM

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 10.42.04 AM

Dear family and friends,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We hope and pray that you are all having a wonderful Christmas season.  We have a special gift for you: A dear friend of ours made a little video about Little James’ life. We received it on Christmas Eve and were able to watch it that night. How appropriate!
As our thanksgiving for all your love, support and prayers we want to share this with you and ask you to pray specially for all those couples who might just have received a difficult diagnosis about their babies. May God be with them, help them accept His Gift and allow them to love their baby with the love of a lifetime for however much time He blesses them with their child.
Here’s the link, click on it and it will take you to the video:     http://youtu.be/hkrXximFShk 
 Much love,:) 
+Joe and María Keller & Co.


Long Married Couples’ Joy

In 14 Book Corner on 2013/01/11 at 9:20 AM

Christian marriage is constantly renewed by sacrifice…..It is the slow transfiguration of love through the experiences of a common reality. Early love does not yet see this reality, for the pull of the heart and senses bewitch it.  Only gradually does reality establish itself, when eyes have been opened to the shortcomings and failures revealed by everyday life.  She who accepts the other then, as he really is, in spite of all disappointments, who can share the joys and problems of daily life with him, just as she has shared the great experience of early love, who can walk with him before God and with God’s strength, will achieve second love, the real mystery of marriage.  This is far superior to the first love as the mature person is to the child, as the self-conquering heart is to that which simply allows itself to be conquered.  At the cost of much sacrifice and effort something greater has come into being.

Guardini, Msgr. Romano THE LORD.


“Love is shown with deeds”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/12/28 at 9:11 AM
Make your way to Bethlehem, go up to the Child, rock him in your arms, say warm and tender things to him, press him close to your heart… I am not talking childish nonsense, I am speaking of love! And love is shown with deeds. In the intimacy of your soul, you can indeed hug him tight. (The Forge, 345)

You must look at the Child in the manger. He is our Love. Look at him, realizing that the whole thing is a mystery. We need to accept this mystery on faith and use our faith to explore it very deeply. To do this, we must have the humble attitude of a christian soul. Let us not try to reduce the greatness of God to our own poor ideas and human explanations. Let us try to understand that this mystery, for all its darkness, is a light to guide men’s lives.

Whenever I preach beside the crib, I try to see Christ our Lord as a child wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on straw in a manger. Even though he is only a child, unable to speak, I see him as a master and a teacher. I need to look at him in this way, because I must learn from him. And to learn from him, you must try to know his life — reading the Gospel and meditating on the scenes of the new testament — in order to understand the divine meaning of his life on earth.

In our own life we must reproduce Christ’s life. We need to come to know him by reading and meditating on Scripture, and by praying, as we are doing now in front of the crib. We must learn the lessons which Jesus teaches us, even when he is just a newly born child, from the very moment he opens his eyes on this blessed land of men. The fact that Jesus grew up and lived just like us shows us that human existence and all the ordinary activity of men have a divine meaning. (Christ is passing by, 13-14)

“A person who loves God gives his very self”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/07/24 at 9:11 AM
Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity. (Furrow, 882)

What a shame it would be to have as one’s occupation in life that of killing time which is a God‑given treasure! No excuse could justify such behavior. ‘Let no one say, “I only have one talent, I can’t do anything.” Even with just one talent you can act in a meritorious way’ [1]. How sad not to turn to good account and obtain a real profit from the few or many talents that God has given to each man so that he may dedicate himself to the task of serving other souls and the whole of society!

When a Christian kills time on this earth, he is putting himself in danger of ‘killing Heaven’ for himself, that is, if through selfishness, he backs out of things and hides away and doesn’t care. A person who loves God not only hands over to the service of Christ, what he has and what he is in life. He gives his very self. He is not small‑minded. He does not see himself in his health, in his good name, or in his career. (Friends of God, 46)

[1] St John Chrysostom

Forgiving Love Mother Teresa

In 07 Observations on 2012/01/26 at 9:11 AM

The other day, a man, a journalist, asked me a strange question. He asked me, “Even you, do you have to go to confession?” I said, “Yes, I go to con­fession every week.” And he said, “Then God must be very demanding if you have to go to confession.”

And I said, “Your own child sometimes does some­thing wrong. What happens when your child comes to you and says, ‘Daddy, I am sorry’? What do you do? You put both of your arms around your child and kiss him. Why? Because that’s your way of telling him that you love him. God does the same thing. He loves you tenderly.” Even when we sin or make a mistake, let’s allow that to help us grow closer to God. Let’s tell Him humbly, “I know I shouldn’t have done this, but even this failure I offer to you.”

If we have sinned or made a mistake, let us go to Him and say, ”I’ m sorry! I repent.” God is a forgiving Father. His mercy is greater than our sins. He will forgive us.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta