The Always-Love

Jesus did the will of the Father when it was not at all pleasing to his human nature. It was not pleasing, even long before the Passion, to be treated with ingratitude, to be disappointed again and again, to receive such small returns for his love. But he did the will of the Father always and not just when it was agreeable to his humanity.

Out of that constancy comes directly that persevering love absolutely characteristic of Jesus. Saint John says of him that, "having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (Jn 13:1). Again, we see in ourselves, flowing right out of the previous consideration, a sometimes-love, a self-centeredness. Christ was always Father-centered and other-centered. It is when we are focused on ourselves that we have sometimes-love. When we look back on our own lives, we realize that we have sometimes experienced that feeling of "What's the use?" in situations, particularly at times with persons. And yet there is that unquenchable love that God has put in our hearts, which comes up like a tide and against all evidence to the contrary. It urges us to say, "No, I will try again." This is what we want to nurture in ourselves. This is of Christ. It is the always-love.

This persevering, constant love, like mobility and the faith response, comes out of suffering and pain. The love that is not persevering, the sometimes-love that separates us from Christ, is a matter of emotions, situations, persons, circumstances, surprises. But the persevering love of Jesus is the unquenchable love.

- Taken from Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., Anima Christi: Soul of Christ (San Francisco, CA.: Ignatius Press, 2001).


When Our Hearts Cry Out

God wants us to grow in prayer. Suffering and tribulation are a school for that. When we are sick, we often don't feel that the quality of our prayer is improving. In fact, it can seem quite the opposite. When I am in pain, or in depression, or in obsessive fear, my mind feels as if it's tied in knots. I can't lift it to anything, much less God....

Prayer is conversation with God, and it is God who initiates the conversation. That does not mean that we should wait until God starts speaking inside our heads. He is always speaking, calling to us, drawing us to prayer. He speaks to our hearts. We begin to hear him when we become more aware of our need for him. This is where prayer begins: when our hearts cry out, "Lord, have mercy on me!"

We always need mercy, but the awareness of that need arises and intensifies when we are suffering. One of the things that has helped me see the mercy of God at work in my own suffering is the fact that it has forced me to shut up and listen. The ear of the heart that hears God has a very simple shape.

The cry of that heart is also simple: "Help. Have mercy on me. I need you." We may not be able to articulate these words, but that inward groaning that seeks him is the foundational response to the love he continually offers us.

We are dear to God in our weakness. He is close to us when we are suffering. He lifts us closer to him if we allow him to enter inside of that need that groans within us. He shapes us, in his way and in his time.

- Taken from John Janaro, Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy (Cincinnati, OH: Servant Books, an imprint of St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010).


Dishonor for Love of Him

Follow the standard of the most holy cross courageously and with blazing desire; follow in his footsteps along the way of suffering and of crucified loving desires. For the son or daughter should always be glad to follow his or her father, and the bride her bridegroom, so that if our father and bridegroom is in pain we conform ourselves with him in pain, and if he is joyful we conform ourselves with him in joy. Thus the Apostle Paul, that man in love, said of himself: "I rejoice with those who rejoice, and I weep with those who weep." This is how we act if we are living in perfect charity, and by so doing we realize in ourselves what the Apostle Paul said: that those who share in the suffering, the cross of Christ, will also share in the consolation, will be in glory with Christ. Justly will God give them his inheritance, since for love they have left behind the inheritance and concerns of the world, have given up worldly pleasure and consolation, and followed the cross of Christ crucified. They have embraced pain and disgrace and dishonor for love of him.

This... is the fire in which your souls must burn with enflamed and loving desires. In nothing else must you take pleasure, for every other way is dark and obscure for us and leads to eternal death. So don't be careless. Be conscientious on this lovely straight way, Christ Jesus. He said, "I am way and truth and life. Whoever walks by me walks in the light and not in darkness, and comes to the true life that will not be taken away for ever." Don't let selfish love or inattentiveness take control of you, because this is what keeps us from running, so that we stall along the way and keep turning back to look at what we've already plowed....

I urge you then, for love of Christ crucified - because our good gentle Jesus is so noble and generous - let us dally no longer. Let's keep in mind how short our time is. Let's redeem with holy sorrow and grief the time we have spent carelessly or lost, and in this way we shall regain the past.

- Taken from St. Catherine of Siena, The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, Vol. II, Suzanne Noffke, O.P., Tr., MRTS Vol. 203 (Tempe, AZ: 2001). 


Musings on the Cross

Crucifixion with the Virgin by Lucas Cranach the ElderWhen I am overtaken by fear of God, the Cross is my protection; when I stumble, it is my help and my support; when I engage in combat, my prize; when I conquer, my crown. The Cross is for me a narrow path, a narrow way - Jacob's ladder, which angels ascend and descend, at the top of which the Lord is to be found.

- Taken from an Easter homily from the second century.

The Cross is the sign of victory displayed to fend off demons, the sword to use against sin, the sword with which Christ ran the serpent through; the Cross is the will of the Father, the glory of his only Son, the joy of the Holy Spirit, the ornament of the angels, the assurance of the Church; it is what Paul glories in, it protects the saints and lights up the whole universe.

- Taken from St. John Chrysostom, De coemeterio et de cruce, 2.

O Cross, chosen and designed to do such ineffable good: you are praised and exalted not so much by the minds and tongues of men, or even angels, as by the works that have been done thanks to you. O Cross, in whom and by whom salvation and life have come to me, in whom and by whom all good things come to me: God would not have me glory unless it be in you (cf. Gal. 6:14).

- Taken from St. Anselm, Prayers and Meditations, 4.

When you see a poor wooden Cross, alone, uncared-for, and of no value... and without its Crucified, don't forget that that Cross is your Cross: the Cross of each day, the hidden Cross, without splendour or consolation..., the Cross which is waiting the Crucified it lacks: and that Crucified must be you.

- Taken from St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 178. 

Between the heathen world and the threefold God there is only one link, and that is the cross of Christ. Yet when we move into this no-man's land and try afresh to twitch the threads that link the heathen world and the threefold God, should we still be surprised that we can only do it in the cross of Christ? We must make ourselves resemble this cross, bear it within ourselves, "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus," as Saint Paul says of the preacher of the faith (2 Cor 4:10). This feeling of being torn asunder, which is a cross to us, this inability of our heart to carry within itself simultaneously love of the most holy Trinity and love of a world alienated from the Trinity, is precisely the death agony of the only begotten Son, an agony he calls on us to share. He who bore this division within himself in order to abolish it within himself, and who could only abolish it because he had previously borne it within himself - he reaches from one end to the other. Without leaving the bosom of the Trinity, he stretches out to the ultimate limit of human misery and fills the whole space in between. This stretching out of Christ, symbolized by the four directions of the cross, is the mysterious expression of our own dismemberment and makes us like him.

- Taken from Cardinal Jean Danielou in Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, J. R. Foster, Tr. (San Francisco, CA.: Ignatius Press, 1990).


Eucharistic Miracle in Buenos Aires

This Eucharistic Miracle in Brazil is incredible, and the short video about it in Spanish and subtitled in English is definitely worth watching. If you ever doubted that Jesus loves you, know that in every Communion He gives you His whole Heart.

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