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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Prayer: Catherine of Siena

Just as baptism with water cleanses us of original sin and gives us grace, so in the blood we will wash away our sins. There all wounds will be healed; not only will be cease to brood on them or seek revenge, but we will receive the fullness of grace to lead us along the right path.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Spirituality: Tony Hendra, Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul

Like the rest of Holy Week, Easter is also a terrific story. It starts as tragedy: the hero broken and bloody, against all expectation dead, his followers' joyful hope in him entombed with his corpse, the rock rolled into place, sealing their despair.

But the curtain doesn't fall there. The next morning at dawn they discover the rock has been rolled back. The tomb is empty, the body's gone! A missing corpse? Great stuff. A whisper of comedy. Now a touch of farce as Mary Magdalen and the guys chase frantically around looking for help, or the corpse, when suddenly, out of nowhere, up it pops—alive!

Of course it's Jesus, who's done the impossible and beaten death.

And they're so amazed they think he's the gardener! It's a payoff way beyond the Hollywood ending: all the flooding emotion and uplift of a tragedy followed by all the bubbling joy and optimism of a comedy.

Is that possible? Not just to live happily ever after but to die—and still live happily ever after? It's the most audacious claim of Christianity, the one element that marks the brand indelibly, that trumps the claims of all other major faiths.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Prayer: Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

Jesus no longer belongs to the past but lives in the present and is projected toward the future; Jesus is the everlasting "today" of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples, and all of us: as victory over sin, evil, and death - over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, you, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness...and that is where death is. That is not the place to look for the One who is alive!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Prayer: David Housholder, The Blackberry Bush

If anyone or anything tries to curse or kill the Goodness at the Center of all things, it will just keep coming back to life. Forever Easter.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Prayer: Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

Remember Jesus of Nazareth, staggering on broken feet out of the tomb toward the Resurrection, bearing on his body the proud insignia of the defeat which is victory, the magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Prayer: N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

Easter was when Hope in person surprised the whole world by coming forward from the future into the present.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Second Sunday of Easter

Second Sunday of Easter
April 28, 2019
Acts 5:12-16; Psalm 118; Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19; John 20:19-31

The story of Thomas the Doubter helps us to see the mercy God has towards us and it raises questions about our notion of how big our God actually is. We can have empathy with Thomas because he doubts the accounts of the resurrection. After all, we do not have any first-hand accounts of the resurrection. No one really saw what happened with Jesus. Our evidence is the empty tomb and the appearance narratives. It is further testimony that Easter is about reconciliation because Thomas is the only one separated from the community and cannot be reunited with his friends until he is with them again.

St. Paul reminds us that the Resurrection is a cosmic event in which all creation is groaning for its redemption. To show the immensity of God, our Christian artists depict Christ uniting the netherworld with the heavens. As Christ descended into death, he united the departed souls who were awaiting redemption to God the Father. This is a God who can bring about a universal redemption of creation while also helping others achieve personal reconciliation and transformation. Christ’s love is beyond the walls of death and it would be natural for him to seek out his friend, Judas, who betrayed him and handed him over. If Christ’s magnanimous heart will do that, imagine what his love can do for us.

         We have to know above all things that we are already loved by a God whose immeasurable love doesn’t have time or interest in seeing our sins. We have to live in the reality that we are radically loved and are promised a place in God’s kingdom. Remember the words Jesus said to his disciples and then to Thomas, “Peace be with you.” In other words, “Do not live in fear.” Our lessons are to not let fear hold us back or to keep our minds closed. This love of God will open our hearts and minds to love and see the world the way God loves and sees the world.

         When we meet Thomas, his mind and heart are closed, and he will not believe. He is quite stubborn, but the reconciliation Jesus offers him loosens his mindset so that he can accept the friendship of Jesus and the inclusion back into his communities again. Consider a person in your life whose mind is closed to reconciliation. They are separated from the whole community just as Thomas was. Their closed heart keeps them suffering and causes more suffering. Perhaps someone’s honor was tarnished, or they took offense at what was said or done, or they want an apology on their terms before they offer their own apology and consider forgiving the other person. They have taken the place of judgeship, and it is not rightly theirs, but the only way to reach into their closed worldview is through our merciful way of life, when we can understand their struggles and hear about their pain. We are waiting for Christ to breathe his Holy Spirit upon the closed-down person so the reconciliation can begin. Sometimes we are the one who has closed down and shut out others, and we have some heart-work to do. We, who are believers, are the ones to bring the Spirit of reconciliation to others. Christ acting through us can achieve the union that we seek. We can do this because we are already loved by a God who does not do anything else but love us.

         Let us pray for our increased capacity to be merciful to others and to be open to the possibility that our relationships can be restored. We know when our minds and hearts are closed because we won’t talk about an issue or we get angry. We shut down others and ourselves and we hold onto some view tightly without considering that another person has a valid perspective. These are the moments we need to ask Christ to love us more because his love corrects the course of misperceptions and allows us to see another viewpoint. His love takes our fear away, which is proof of the resurrection. Our increased love will helps set things right once again because love unites and stops the progress of evil. It reminds us that our God is bigger than all our concerns, though God remains concerned for our needs, and that God is working to restore our relationships through loving us more fully. Let us be open to receive that love, and then let our openness give new life, new hope, new energy to one who seeks it. Easter’s reconciliation will happen again.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Readings
Monday: (Acts 4) Peter and John return to their people after being released from the religious authorities. They prayed about their ordeal and the whole house shook and all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday: (Acts 4) The community of believers was of one heart and mind and together they bore witness to the Resurrection. Joseph, called Barnabas, sold a property and give money to the Apostles.

Wednesday: (Acts 5) The high priest with the Sadducees jailed the Apostles but during the night the Lord opened the prison doors and the Apostles returned to the Temple area to preach.

Thursday: (Acts 5) The Apostles were brought forth again during their arrest and they were reminded that they were forbidden to preach. Peter said on behalf of the Apostles that they are to obey God, and not men. 

Friday (Acts 5) Gamaliel, the Pharisee, urges wisdom for the Sanhedrin declaring that if this is of God, it cannot be stopped, but if it is of men, it will certainly die out.

Saturday (Acts 6) The number of disciples grew. The Hellenists complained to the Hebrews that their widows were being neglected. The Twelve decided it was right to select seven reputable men (deacons) to take care of the daily distribution while they continued with prayer and the ministry of the word. Meanwhile the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly. Even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Monday: (John 3) Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews comes to Jesus wondering about where he is able to do the great miracles and teachings. He tries to understand.

Tuesday: (John 3) Jesus answered Nicodemus saying, “you must be born from above” to accept this testimony.

Wednesday (John 3) God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world might be saved through him.

Thursday (John 3) Jesus explains that he was come from above and speaks of the things that are from above. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.

Friday (John 6) Near a Passover feast, Jesus miraculously feeds the hungry crowds as a good shepherd would. He reminds the people that the actions in his earthly life were precursors of the meal that they are to share. They are to eat his body and drink his blood. 

Saturday (John 6) Jesus then departs to the other side of the sea. When a storm picks up, he walks on the turbulent waves and instructs them not to be afraid. He is with them. He has power over the natural and supernatural world.

Saints of the Week

April 28: Peter Chanel, priest, missionary, martyr (1803-1841), is the first martyr of the Pacific South Seas. Originally a parish priest in rural eastern France, he joined the Society of Mary (Marists) to become a missionary in 1831 after a five-year stint teaching in the seminary. At first the missionaries were well-received in the New Hebrides and other Pacific island nations as they recently outlawed cannibalism. The growth of white influence placed Chanel under suspicion, which led to an attack on the missionaries. When the king’s son wanted to be baptized, his anger erupted and Peter was clubbed to death in protest. 

April 28: Louis of Montfort, priest (1673-1716), dedicated his life to the care of the poor and the sick as a hospital chaplain in Poitiers, France. He angered the public and the administration when he tried to organize the hospital women's workers into a religious organization. He was let go. He went to Rome where the pope gave him the title "missionary apostolic" so he could preach missions that promoted a Marian and Rosary-based spirituality. He formed the "Priests of the Company of Mary" and the "Daughters of Wisdom."

April 29: Catherine of Siena, mystic and doctor of the Church (1347-1380), was the 24th of 25th children. At an early age, she had visions of guardian angels and the saints. She became a Third-Order Dominican and persuaded the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon in 1377. She died at age 33 after receiving the stigmata.

April 30: Pope Pius V, Pope (1504-1572), is noted for his work in the Counter-Reformation, the Council of Trent, and the standardization of the Roman Rite for mass. He was a fierce conservative who prosecuted eight French bishops for heterodoxy and Elizabeth I for schism. The Holy League he founded defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto whose success was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May 1: Joseph the Worker was honored by Pope Pius XII in 1955 in an effort to counteract May Day, a union, worker, and socialist holiday. Many Catholics believe him to be the patron of workers because he is known for his patience, persistence, and hard work as admirable qualities that believers should adopt.

May 2: Athanasius, bishop and doctor (295-373), was an Egyptian who attended the Nicene Council in 325. He wrote about Christ's divinity but this caused his exile by non-Christian emperors. He wrote a treatise on the Incarnation and brought monasticism to the West.

May 3: Philip and James, Apostles (first century), were present to Jesus throughout his entire ministry. Philip was named as being explicitly called. James is called the Lesser to distinguish him from James of Zebedee. Little is known of these founders of our faith.

May 4: Joseph Mary Rubio, S.J., priest (1864-1929), is a Jesuit known as the Apostle of Madrid. He worked with the poor bringing them the Spiritual Exercises and spiritual direction and he established local trade schools. 

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Apr 28, 1542. St Ignatius sent Pedro Ribadeneira, aged fifteen, from Rome to Paris for his studies. Pedro had been admitted into the Society in l539 or l540.
·      Apr 29, 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman died in New Orleans. An orator on the mission band, he was the son of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. He suffered a breakdown, and wanted to leave the Society, but was refused because of his ill health. Before his death he renewed his vows in the Society.
·      Apr 30, 1585. The landing at Osaka of Fr. Gaspar Coelho. At first the Emperor was favorably disposed towards Christianity. This changed later because of Christianity's attitude toward polygamy.
·      May 1, 1572. At Rome, Pope St. Pius V dies. His decree imposing Choir on the Society was cancelled by his successor, Gregory XIII.
·      May 2, 1706. The death of Jesuit brother G J Kamel. The camellia flower is named after him.
·      May 3, 1945. American troops take over Innsbruck, Austria. Theology studies at the Canisianum resume a few months later.
·      May 4, 1902. The death of Charles Sommervogel, historian of the Society and editor of the bibliography of all publications of the Jesuits from the beginnings of the Society onward.

Segundo domingo de pascua

Segundo domingo de pascua
28 de abril de 2019
Hechos 5: 12-16; Salmo 118; Apocalipsis 1: 9-13, 17-19; Juan 20: 19-31

La historia de Tomás el Dudador nos ayuda a ver la misericordia que Dios tiene para con nosotros y plantea preguntas sobre nuestra noción de cuán grande es realmente nuestro Dios. Podemos tener empatía con Tomás porque él duda de los relatos de la resurrección. Después de todo, no tenemos relatos de primera mano de la resurrección. Nadie realmente vio lo que pasó con Jesús. Nuestra evidencia es la tumba vacía y las apariencias narrativas. Otro testimonio es que Easter se trata de reconciliación porque Thomas es el único separado de la comunidad y no puede reunirse con sus amigos hasta que vuelva a estar con ellos.

San Pablo nos recuerda que la Resurrección es un evento cósmico en el que toda la creación está gimiendo por su redención. Para mostrar la inmensidad de Dios, nuestros artistas cristianos representan a Cristo uniendo el inframundo con los cielos. Cuando Cristo descendió a la muerte, unió a las almas difuntas que esperaban la redención de Dios Padre. Este es un Dios que puede lograr una redención universal de la creación al mismo tiempo que ayuda a otros a lograr la reconciliación y transformación personal. El amor de Cristo está más allá de los muros de la muerte y sería natural que buscara a su amigo, Judas, quien lo traicionó y lo entregó. Si el corazón magnánimo de Cristo lo hace, imagina lo que su amor puede hacer por nosotros.

Tenemos que saber, sobre todo, que ya somos amados por un Dios cuyo amor inconmensurable no tiene tiempo ni interés en ver nuestros pecados. Tenemos que vivir en la realidad de que somos amados radicalmente y se nos promete un lugar en el reino de Dios. Recuerda las palabras que Jesús dijo a sus discípulos y luego a Tomás: "La paz sea contigo". En otras palabras, "No vivas con miedo". Nuestras lecciones son para no dejar que el miedo nos retenga o mantener nuestras mentes cerradas. Este amor de Dios abrirá nuestros corazones y mentes para amar y ver el mundo de la manera en que Dios ama y ve al mundo.

Cuando nos encontramos con Thomas, su mente y su corazón están cerrados, y él no creerá. Él es bastante terco, pero la reconciliación que Jesús le ofrece afloja su mentalidad para que pueda aceptar la amistad de Jesús y la inclusión nuevamente en sus comunidades. Considera a una persona en tu vida cuya mente está cerrada a la reconciliación. Están separados de toda la comunidad tal como lo fue Thomas. Su corazón cerrado los mantiene sufriendo y causa más sufrimiento. Tal vez el honor de alguien se haya empañado, o se ofendieron por lo que se dijo o hizo, o quieren una disculpa en sus términos antes de ofrecer su propia disculpa y considerar perdonar a la otra persona. Han ocupado el lugar de la judicatura, y no es suya, pero la única manera de alcanzar su cosmovisión cerrada es a través de nuestro modo de vida misericordioso, cuando podemos entender sus luchas y escuchar sobre su dolor. Estamos esperando que Cristo respire su Espíritu Santo sobre la persona cerrada para que pueda comenzar la reconciliación. A veces somos nosotros quienes cerramos y excluimos a los demás, y tenemos mucho trabajo que hacer. Nosotros, los que somos creyentes, somos los que traemos el Espíritu de reconciliación a los demás. Cristo actuando a través de nosotros puede lograr la unión que buscamos. Podemos hacer esto porque ya somos amados por un Dios que no hace nada más que amarnos.

Oremos por nuestra mayor capacidad para ser misericordiosos con los demás y para estar abiertos a la posibilidad de que nuestras relaciones puedan ser restauradas. Sabemos cuándo nuestras mentes y corazones están cerrados porque no hablaremos de un tema o nos enfadaremos. Cerramos a los demás y a nosotros mismos y mantenemos la vista firmemente sin considerar que otra persona tiene una perspectiva válida. Estos son los momentos que necesitamos para pedirle a Cristo que nos ame más porque su amor corrige el curso de las percepciones erróneas y nos permite ver otro punto de vista. Su amor quita nuestro miedo, lo cual es una prueba de la resurrección. Nuestro amor incrementado ayudará a arreglar las cosas una vez más porque el amor une y detiene el progreso del mal. Nos recuerda que nuestro Dios es más grande que todas nuestras preocupaciones, aunque Dios sigue preocupado por nuestras necesidades, y que Dios está trabajando para restaurar nuestras relaciones amándonos más plenamente. Estemos abiertos a recibir ese amor, y luego permitamos que nuestra apertura dé nueva vida, nueva esperanza, nueva energía a quien la busque. La reconciliación de Pascua volverá a suceder.

Escritura para la misa diaria

Primeras lecturas
Lunes: (Hechos 4) Pedro y Juan regresan a su gente después de ser liberados de las autoridades religiosas. Ellos oraron acerca de su terrible experiencia y toda la casa tembló y todos fueron llenos del Espíritu Santo.

Martes: (Hechos 4) La comunidad de creyentes era de un solo corazón y mente y juntos fueron testigos de la Resurrección. José, llamado Bernabé, vendió una propiedad y dio dinero a los Apóstoles.

Miércoles: (Hechos 5) El sumo sacerdote con los saduceos encarceló a los apóstoles, pero durante la noche el Señor abrió las puertas de la prisión y los apóstoles regresaron a la zona del templo para predicar.

Jueves: (Hechos 5) Los apóstoles fueron resucitados nuevamente durante su arresto y se les recordó que tenían prohibido predicar. Pedro dijo en nombre de los apóstoles que ellos deben obedecer a Dios, y no a los hombres.

Viernes (Hechos 5) Gamaliel, el fariseo, pide sabiduría al Sanedrín y declara que si esto es de Dios, no se puede detener, pero si se trata de hombres, ciertamente desaparecerá.

Sábado (Hechos 6) El número de discípulos creció. Los helenistas se quejaron a los hebreos de que sus viudas estaban siendo descuidadas. Los Doce decidieron que era correcto seleccionar a siete hombres de buena reputación (diáconos) para que se encargaran de la distribución diaria mientras continuaban con la oración y el ministerio de la palabra. Mientras tanto, el número de discípulos en Jerusalén aumentó enormemente. Incluso un gran grupo de sacerdotes se estaban volviendo obedientes a la fe.

Lunes: (Juan 3) Nicodemo, un fariseo, un gobernante de los judíos, se acerca a Jesús y se pregunta dónde puede hacer los grandes milagros y enseñanzas. El trata de entender.

Martes: (Juan 3) Jesús le respondió a Nicodemo diciendo: "debes nacer de lo alto" para aceptar este testimonio.

Miércoles (Juan 3) Dios no envió a su Hijo al mundo para condenarlo, sino para que el mundo se salve a través de él.

Jueves (Juan 3) Jesús explica que él vino de arriba y habla de las cosas que son de arriba. El que cree en el Hijo tiene vida eterna.

Viernes (Juan 6) Cerca de una fiesta de Pascua, Jesús alimenta milagrosamente a las multitudes hambrientas como lo haría un buen pastor. Le recuerda a la gente que las acciones en su vida terrenal fueron precursoras de la comida que deben compartir. Ellos deben comer su cuerpo y beber su sangre.

Sábado (Juan 6) Jesús luego se va al otro lado del mar. Cuando una tormenta se levanta, camina sobre las olas turbulentas y les ordena que no tengan miedo. El esta con ellos Él tiene poder sobre el mundo natural y sobrenatural.

Santos de la semana

28 de abril: Peter Chanel, sacerdote, misionero, mártir (1803-1841), es el primer mártir de los mares del Pacífico Sur. Originalmente sacerdote de una parroquia en la zona rural del este de Francia, se unió a la Sociedad de María (maristas) para convertirse en misionero en 1831 después de un período de cinco años de enseñanza en el seminario. Al principio, los misioneros fueron bien recibidos en las Nuevas Hébridas y otras naciones isleñas del Pacífico, ya que recientemente prohibieron el canibalismo. El crecimiento de la influencia blanca puso a Chanel bajo sospecha, lo que llevó a un ataque contra los misioneros. Cuando el hijo del rey quiso ser bautizado, su ira estalló y Peter fue golpeado hasta morir en protesta.

28 de abril: Luis de Montfort, sacerdote (1673-1716), dedicó su vida al cuidado de los pobres y enfermos como capellán de un hospital en Poitiers, Francia. Enfureció al público y a la administración cuando trató de organizar a las trabajadoras de las mujeres del hospital en una organización religiosa. Fue dejado ir. Fue a Roma, donde el Papa le dio el título de "misionero apostólico" para predicar misiones que promovieran una espiritualidad mariana y basada en el rosario. Formó los "Sacerdotes de la Compañía de María" y las "Hijas de la Sabiduría".

29 de abril: Catalina de Siena, mística y doctora de la Iglesia (1347-1380), fue la 24ta de los 25 hijos. A temprana edad, tuvo visiones de los ángeles guardianes y los santos. Se convirtió en dominicana de Tercera Orden y persuadió al Papa para que regresara a Roma desde Aviñón en 1377. Murió a los 33 años después de recibir los estigmas.

30 de abril: el Papa Pío V, Papa (1504-1572), es conocido por su trabajo en la Contrarreforma, el Concilio de Trento y la estandarización del rito romano para la misa. Era un conservador feroz que procesó a ocho obispos franceses por heterodoxia y Elizabeth I por cisma. La Liga Santa que fundó derrotó al Imperio otomano en la batalla de Lepanto, cuyo éxito se atribuyó a la intercesión de la Santísima Virgen María.

1 de mayo: José el Trabajador fue honrado por el Papa Pío XII en 1955 en un esfuerzo por contrarrestar el Día de Mayo, un sindicato, obrero y feriado socialista. Muchos católicos creen que él es el patrón de los trabajadores porque es conocido por su paciencia, persistencia y trabajo duro como cualidades admirables que los creyentes deben adoptar.

2 de mayo: Atanasio, obispo y médico (295-373), fue un egipcio que asistió al Concilio de Nicea en 325. Escribió sobre la divinidad de Cristo, pero esto provocó su exilio por emperadores no cristianos. Escribió un tratado sobre la Encarnación y trajo el monasticismo a Occidente.

3 de mayo: Felipe y Santiago, apóstoles (primer siglo), estuvieron presentes a Jesús en todo su ministerio. Felipe fue nombrado como explícitamente llamado. James es llamado el Menor para distinguirlo de James de Zebedee. Poco se sabe de estos fundadores de nuestra fe.

4 de mayo: Joseph Mary Rubio, S.J., sacerdote (1864-1929), es un jesuita conocido como el Apóstol de Madrid. Trabajó con los pobres llevándolos.

Esta semana en la historia jesuita

• 28 de abril de 1542. San Ignacio envió a Pedro Ribadeneira, de quince años, de Roma a París para sus estudios. Pedro había sido admitido en la Sociedad en l539 o l540.
• 29 de abril de 1933. Thomas Ewing Sherman murió en Nueva Orleans. Orador de la banda misionera, era hijo del general de la Guerra Civil William Tecumseh Sherman. Sufrió una crisis, y quería dejar la Sociedad, pero fue rechazado debido a su mala salud. Antes de su muerte renovó sus votos en la Sociedad.
• 30 de abril de 1585. El desembarco en Osaka del Padre. Gaspar Coelho. Al principio, el emperador estaba dispuesto favorablemente hacia el cristianismo. Esto cambió más tarde debido a la actitud del cristianismo hacia la poligamia.
• 1 de mayo de 1572. En Roma, el Papa San Pío V muere. Su decreto que impone Coro a la Sociedad fue cancelado por su sucesor, Gregorio XIII.
• 2 de mayo de 1706. La muerte del hermano jesuita GJ Kamel. La flor de la camelia lleva su nombre.
• 3 de mayo de 1945. Tropas estadounidenses toman el control de Innsbruck, Austria. Los estudios teológicos en el Canisianum se reanudan unos meses después.
• 4 de mayo de 1902. La muerte de Charles Sommervogel, historiador de la Sociedad y editor de la bibliografía de todas las publicaciones de los jesuitas desde los inicios de la Sociedad en adelante.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Prayer: John XXIII

Easter is for us a dying to sin, to passion, to hatred and enmity, and all that brings about disorder, spiritual and material bitterness, and anguish. This death is indeed only the first step toward a higher goal for our Easter is also a mystery of new life.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Prayer: Earth Day, 2019, Pope Francis, ENCYCLICAL ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

Prayer: "Easter" by N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Poem: "The Harrowing of Hell" by Denise Levertov

Down through the tomb's inward arch
He has shouldered out into Limbo
to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber:
the merciful dead, the prophets,
the innocents just His own age and those
unnumbered others waiting here
unaware, in an endless void He is ending
now, stooping to tug at their hands,
to pull them from their sarcophagi,
dazzled, almost unwilling. Didmas,
neighbor in death, Golgotha dust
still streaked on the dried sweat of his body
no one had washed and anointed, is here,
for sequence is not known in Limbo;
the promise, given from cross to cross
at noon, arches beyond sunset and dawn.
All these He will swiftly lead
to the Paradise road: they are safe.
That done, there must take place that struggle
no human presumes to picture:
living, dying, descending to rescue the just
from shadow, were lesser travails
than this: to break
through earth and stone of the faithless world
back to the cold sepulchre, tearstained
stifling shroud; to break from them
back into breath and heartbeat, and walk
the world again, closed into days and weeks again,
wounds of His anguish open, and Spirit
streaming through every cell of flesh
so that if mortal sight could bear
to perceive it, it would be seen
His mortal flesh was lit from within, now,
and aching for home. He must return,
first, in Divine patience, and know
hunger again, and give
to humble friends the joy
of giving Him food—fish and a honeycomb

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Prayer: Pope Benedict XVI

To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.

Prayer: Saturday of Holy Week – St. Ephrem of Edessa

We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Prayer: Unarine Ramaru

Practice mercy and forgiveness throughout as a lesson that symbolizes the love shown through his crucifixion.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Prayer: Not enough Feet

I once heard a homily from Fr. Bryan Hehir on Holy Thursday at St. Paul Church in the 1990's. It tooks me by surprise and it resonated with me profoundly. In it he said, "In a moment, I saw all the feet coming to me and I thought, 'There are so many feet' and then it dawned on me that there simply were not enough feet to wash."

Prayer: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Prayer: Tuesday of Holy Week

Be assured of God’s love for you. Seek by his grace to heal the damage of sin. Seek communion with him and with those who make up his Church and those who are not yet within. His love for all of us is unconditional. His joy is infinite. His mercy overflows. – Deacon Michael Bickerstaff

Monday, April 15, 2019

Prayer: Monday of Holy Week – Pope Francis

The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It is also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. Remember this: God, in judging us, loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Poem: "The Donkey" by G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.” 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Prayer: Ignatius of Loyola

O Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength. Helps us to have greater trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for living close to you, we shall see your activity, your purpose, your will through all things.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Prayer: Patrick

Whatever will come my way, whether good or bad, may I accept it calmly and always give thanks to God, who has ever shown me how I should believe in God, unfailing and without end.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

When Difficulties Arise

When Difficulties Arise

In difficult situations, there are ways to reconcile and to create openings for more compassionate communications.

Communicating when you are Angry

One reason we have trouble communicating is that we often try to do it when we are angry. We suffer and we don’t want to be alone with all that suffering. We are angry because of something someone did or said and we want them to know it - right away.

We are not lucid when we are angry. We can hold our anger, but we can express it in a compassionate and healthy way. Doing violence to our anger means hurting ourselves.

Remember to breathe. It helps us treat our anger tenderly, and it does not diminish our anger’s energy. Once your anger has settled, you can look at it to see its source. Anger may come from a wrong perception or a habitual way of responding to events (that we develop within our family of origin) that does not reflect your deepest values. We repeat the cycles we were taught, and we seldom grow out of them, which becomes the source of family disputes.

You have to genuinely get in touch with your anger in order to heal. This is what it means to pick up our cross. Suppressing anger is dangerous. We have to educate ourselves and take care of our anger. We return to ourselves, our places of calm, and become present to it. (The first statement.) You can communicate to the person who angered you that you are suffering: I suffer. Please help. (The fourth statement.) Once you calmly tell the person that you are suffering and that you want help, you can let them know you are doing your best to take care of your suffering. When you ask for help when you are angry, it tells the other person that you are suffering and not just angry. They will see that suffering causes the anger, and then communication and healing can begin. (Sometimes, it is difficult to do when the person is far away or will not even answer a letter, phone call, or the door.)

Helping Each Other Suffer Less

When we have a rift or estrangement from another person, we both suffer. We still care about the person because the pain is deeper. Our greatest suffering comes from those we care about most deeply. We try to avoid it and cover it up because we are afraid of the suffering inside of us. We can pretend it is not there, but it is a big block.

Our suffering demands to be understood. Mindfulness helps us embrace suffering. We sometimes do not want to be in the same room with a person because we will suffer. With awareness, you can understand your own suffering and the other person’s suffering. Sometimes the other person doesn’t know how to handle their suffering and it comes out sideways, and you are the victim. Maybe the person doesn’t know any other way to act. He can’t understand and transform his suffering, and he makes people around him suffer too. He needs help, not punishment.

You can acknowledge the person’s difficulty in the relationship. Without acknowledgement, we cannot generate understanding and compassion, and we feel alienated. We can’t help.

Use the tools of compassionate communication (the deep listening and loving speech.) Say something like this:

“I know you are not feeling too happy right now.”

“In the past I did not understand your feelings, so I reacted in a way that made you suffer more, and that also made me suffer more. I wasn’t able to help you resolve the problems. I reacted angrily in a way that has made the situation worse.”

“It is not my intention to make you suffer. It is because I did not understand your suffering, and I did not understand my suffering either.”

“I understand my difficult feelings better now, and I also want to understand yours. Understanding your suffering, your difficulties will help me behave in a way that can be more helpful.”

“If you care for me, help me understand.”

“Tell me what is in your heart. I want to listen; I want to understand. Tell me about your suffering and your difficulties. If you don’t help me understand, who will?”

The words have to be your own. Ignatius tells people to pray for courage and energy. When you have the energy of compassion in your heart, your loving words will come to you naturally. When you are angry, it is nearly impossible to use loving speech. When understanding arises, compassion comes, and you can use loving speech without making much effort.

It takes courage to acknowledge difficulty in a relationship. You might think the other person will come to you eventually, but that may not happen. You can’t wait. Begin restoring communication by modeling open-hearted, compassionate dialogue.

The Suffering of Pride

A wrong perception can cause a lot of suffering. We live with some misperception and misunderstanding every day. We have to look into the nature of our perceptions. “Are you sure your perception is right?” Mindful communication has the potential to ease unnecessary suffering.

Reconciling in Families

Sometimes communication is hardest in our families because we share similar suffering and ways of responding to suffering. Our habit of dealing with our suffering is passed along to us by our parents and grandparents. Unless you understand your own suffering and reconcile with yourself, you will pass along your unhealthy ways of responding. You inherit the suffering of your parents. If your parent had a lot of suffering and was unable to handle and transform the suffering, it was most likely passed down to you. You are the continuation of your parents.

Mindfulness recognizes the energy that we put into our habitual responses (our immediate learned response to conflict) each time it arises, and you can embrace it with mindfulness, and then the habit energy is weakened. If we continue this, we can stop the cycle of transmission.

The suffering we received from our parents when we were children is probably our deepest suffering. We may even hate our parents, and whether they are still living or not, we will never reconcile with them. Mindfulness transforms and restores communication. The good news is reconciliation is possible.

Relationships with parents and siblings can be particularly difficult. Maybe there were deep wounds, and no one listened to them. Mindful communication can restore a relationship and allow one another to acknowledge one’s own and each other’s suffering.

A practice of breathing, walking, mindfulness in daily activities can help you return to yourself and learn how you feel. Listen to your own suffering and look deeply into its nature. This is crucial. Compassion arises and you can accept yourself. Then you have a chance to look at others. When you see the suffering in others, you begin to understand that there is a reason they suffer like that. You are no longer angry with them anymore because compassion arises. You become more peaceful, your mind is clearer, and you are motivated to say or do something to help others transform their difficulties. Reconciliation is possible.

Communicating in Long-term Relationships.

In long-term relationships, we think change is no longer possible. We think the other person should change and they won’t, and we give up hope. We have to stop judging. If we wait for the other to change, we will wait a long time. Therefore, it is better that we change.

Your partner’s behavior may irritate you, and you try to correct him, and he gets irritated and becomes unkind. You have to disentangle yourself from the unhappiness and go back to yourself, back to your peace, until you can handle the situation well.

Only when you are calm, invite your partner to speak. Apologize for not understanding her better, listen deeply even if what she says is complaining, reproachful, and unkind. You may learn that your partner has many wrong perceptions about you and the situation, but do not interrupt. Let her speak. Let her have a chance to speak out everything in her so she can feel listened and understood. When your partner speaks, breathe mindfully. Later on, you might have a chance to undo her misunderstanding. Little by little, in a skillful loving way, mutual understanding will grow.

Forget about truth. If your partner says something untrue, don’t interrupt and try to correct. He is trying to speak out his difficulty. Know that you have plenty of time. Perhaps you have been angry with one another for years and you have been stuck and you can’t change the situation. If you can understand your partner deeply, you can start to make peace. Loving, compassionate speech and deep listening are the powerful instruments for restoring communications.

Sometimes a negative environment doesn’t leave space for communication with ourselves. We have to feel safe and not vulnerable. Most times, people love each other and don’t try to intentionally hurt each other, and they don’t know how to communicate. If people need to divorce, they still suffer. You can’t take the other person out of you. The relationship still exists. The suffering continues.
The question is: can you focus on trying to understand each other using compassionate speech and deep listening, no matter what the outcome?

Mutual Understanding in Challenging Situations

Compassionate communication has the capacity to create mutual understanding and to make changes where people thought connection and communication impossible. It can transform situations where both parties are full of fear and anger.

One has to listen with deep compassion and not interrupt the person who is speaking about his or her suffering. If there are misperceptions, one is not to correct or interrupt. When one listens fully, the other can understand for the first time that the other person suffers, and it is much like their own. You can recognize the person as a human being just like them, who suffers similarly.

When you understand suffering, you feel compassion and suddenly you no longer fear or hate. They see acceptance in your eyes, and they suffer less. The fear that we both have is gone. When we are able to produce a compassionate thought, this thought begins to heal us, to heal the other, and to heal the world.

Peace Negotiations

When opposing parties come together to negotiate, they should not do it right away. Each group has a lot of doubt, anger, and fear, and negotiating is too much of a challenge when these strong emotions are present. The first part of negotiating should be about breathing, walking, sitting and calming. Then the groups may be ready to listen to each other and the desire and capacity for mutual understanding will be there.

Keeping it going

Every human communicates. We write, we speak. We also use facial expressions, our tone of voice, our physical actions, and the expression of our thoughts. A beautiful human can produce beautiful thoughts, speech, and actions. Every time we communicate, we produce more compassion, love, and harmony, or we produce more suffering and violence. It is what we leave as our legacy – what we express with our bodies, words, thoughts and intentions, and actions. You are what you do.

Thinking is already an action; it is a powerful energy. Every thought, every attitude will bring a fruit. Our speech is the second action and our bodily action is the third.

We are responsible for our thoughts, speech, and bodily actions. If I did something yesterday that was not right, I have the ability to change it today. We are creating all the time, and its effect is the outcome of our being.

Communication isn’t static. If we can’t change the past because someone has died, we can find a mindful way of bringing them into the community, asking for forgiveness, and making new resolutions.

We can produce a new thought. Today’s new thought may neutralize yesterday’s bad thought. Right communication today can help us heal the past, enjoy the present, and prepare the ground for a good future.

Practices for Compassionate Communication.

The phone or watch alarm

With so much automation, we can set a bell to remind us to breathe deeply three times before returning to our work.

Drinking Tea or Coffee

Make the time just to sit down, relax, and drink your tea or coffee. It does not have to be in front of a computer, on a phone, or texting. It is just you and the cup of coffee or tea.

Listening to your Inner Child

Be a parent to the inner child who is wounded. Speak tenderly to the child. Don’t run away from your suffering, but if you can comfort and console a young child, you have to skills to care for your own self in the same way.

Writing a Love Letter

Practice writing a compassionate letter to someone you love but pain separates you from this person. It is never too late to bring peace and healing to a relationship, even if the person is far away or deceased. You risk nothing by writing the letter. Perhaps later on, you might even want to send it.

Peace Treaties and Peace Notes

These two tools can help to heal anger and hurt in relationships. The Peace Treaty is a preventative tool, while the Peace Note aids in healing. You set the stage for a discussion and give it a few days before you meet to discuss the plans.

The Peace Treaty

Writing a Peace Letter

My dear,

I know you have suffered a lot over the past many years. I have not been able to help you – in fact, I have made the situation worse. It is not my intention to make you suffer. Maybe I’m not skillful enough. Maybe I tried to impose my ideas on you. In the past, I thought you made me suffer. Now I realize that I have been responsible for my own suffering.

I promise to do my best to refrain from saying things or doing things that make you suffer. Please tell me what is in your heart. You need to help me; otherwise it is not possible for me to do it. I can’t do it alone.

The Peace Treaty: The one who is angry

I, the one who is angry, agree to:

1.     Refrain from saying or doing anything that might cause further damage or escalate the anger.
2.     Not suppress my anger.
3.     Practice breathing and taking refuge deep within myself.
4.     Calmly, within twenty-four hours, tell the one who has made me angry about my anger and suffering, either verbally or by delivering a peace note.
5.     Ask for an appointment later in the week (e.g, Friday evening) to discuss the matter more thoroughly, either verbally or by peace note.
6.     Not say, “I am not angry. It is OK. I am not suffering. There is nothing to be angry about, at least not enough to make me angry.”
7.     Practice breathing and looking deeply into my daily life – while sitting, lying down, standing, and walking – to see:
a.     The ways I myself have been unskillful at times.
b.     How I have hurt the person because of my unreflective habit energy.
c.     How the strong seed of anger in me is the primary cause of my anger.
d.     How the other person’s suffering, which waters the seed of my anger, is the secondary cause.
e.     How the other person is only seeking relief from his or her own suffering.
f.      That as long as the other person suffers, I cannot truly be happy.
8.     Apologize immediately, without waiting until our appointment, as soon as I realize my unskillfulness and lack of mindfulness.
9.     Postpone the meeting if I do not feel calm enough to meet with the other person.

A Peace Treaty: By the one who caused the anger

I, the one who has made the other angry, agree to:

1.     Respect the other person’s feelings, not ridicule him or her, and allow enough time for him or her to calm down.
2.     Not press for an immediate discussion.
3.     Confirm the other person’s request for a meeting, either verbally or by note, and assure him or her that I will be there.
4.     Practice breathing and taking refuge in the island of myself to see how:
a.     I have seeds of unkindness and anger as well as unreflective habit energy to make the other person unhappy.
b.     I have mistakenly thought that making the other person suffer would relieve my own suffering.
c.     By making him or her suffer, I make myself suffer.
d.     Apologize as soon as I realize my unskillfulness and lack of mindfulness, without making any attempt to justify myself and without waiting until the meeting.

A Peace Note

            Dear ______________________,
            This morning/afternoon/yesterday, you said/did something that made me very angry. I suffered much. I want you to know this. You said/did: __________________________________
            Please let us both look at what you said/did and examine the matter together in a calm and open manner this Friday evening.
            Yours, not very happy right now,