Saints

PRAYER: Prayers Of Antony Of Egypt

August 21, 2017

When the holy Abba Antony lived in the desert he was beset by despair, and attacked by many sinful thoughts.  He said to God, “Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction?  How can I be saved?”  A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Antony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and plaiting a rope, then getting up again to pray.  It was an angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him.  He heard the angel saying to him, “Do this and you will be saved.”  At these words, Antony was filled with joy and courage.  He did this, and he was saved. When the same Abba Antony thought about [...]

POETRY: From The Legend Of St. Clement by Thomas Merton

August 11, 2017

I have seen the sun Spilling its copper petals on the Black Sea By the base of the prisoners’ cliff Where, from the acts of martyrs, Tall poems grow up like buildings. Deep in the wall of the wounded mountain (Where seas no longer frown) The songs of the martyrs come up like cities or buildings. Their chains shine with hymns And their hands cut down the giant blocks of stone. Poetry, psalms Flower with a huge architecture Raising their grandeur on the gashed cape. Words of God blaze like a disaster In the windows of their prophetic cathedral. But the sighs of the deep multitude Grow out of the mountain’s heart as clean as vines. O martyrs! O tremendous prisoners! Burying your murder in this marble hill! The Lamb shall soon [...]

MYSTICISM: Clare Of Assisi by Bernard McGinn

August 9, 2017

From The Flowering of Mysticism The theme of finding Christ in and through Francis of Assisi was central to all later Franciscan piety and mysticism.  No more perfect example of this is to be found than in Clare of Assisi (1193–1253), Francis’s first female convert to the evangelical way of life and the founder of the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano,” the source of all the later groups of women who identify themselves as Franciscan.  As she put it in the Testament that she wrote late in life in imitation of that left by Francis: “The Son of God became our way, which our most holy father Francis, his true lover and imitator, showed and taught us by word and example.” Francis’s special love for Clare, whom [...]

POETRY: Paradox And Promise by Clare of Assisi

August 9, 2017

Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and— if you choose— follow His way, becoming contemptible to the world, so long as you do so for Him. More lovely than all things, He became the lowest, despised, struck, scourged countless times and raked across His perfect Body. And then, amid the sufferings of the horrid Cross, He died. For you. If you suffer with Him, you shall reign with Him. Weep with Him and you shall rejoice with Him. Die with Him upon the cross of wretchedness, and life is yours, And, yes, your dwelling forever in [...]

PRAYER: Prayer Of Deliverance by Clare of Assisi

August 7, 2017

I pray you, O most gentle Jesus, having redeemed me by baptism from original sin, so now by your precious blood, which is offered and received throughout the world, deliver me from all evils, past, present, and to come. By your most cruel death give me a lively faith, a firm hope, and perfect charity, so that I may love you with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength. Make me firm and steadfast in good works and grant me perseverance in your service so that I may be able to please you always. [...]

MYSTICISM: The Way Of Joy — Francis of Assisi by John Michael Talbot

August 2, 2017

From The Way of the Mystics Late one moonlit night, the citizens of Assisi, Italy, were awakened from their slumber by a frightful commotion.  The cause of the disturbance was a local youth named Francis, but none of the townspeople realized that yet.  All they knew was that the bells of their town church were clanging chaotically in the middle of the night. These were the same bells that sounded throughout the daylight hours, chiming out familiar tones at morning, noon, and dusk.  But this wasn’t daylight, and this noise was no pretty melody.  It sounded like a pack of hyenas had been let loose in the bell tower. When a few droopy-eyed town fathers made their way to the central square in their nightshirts and slippers, they were [...]

MYSTICISM: The Living Flame Of Love — Stanza 2 by John of the Cross

July 26, 2017

From The Living Flame of Love Stanza II O sweet burn! O delicious wound! O tender hand! O gentle touch That savors of eternal life, And pays every debt! In slaying you have changed death into life. EXPOSITION We learn here that it is the three persons of the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who accomplish the divine work of union in the soul.  The “hand,” the “burn,” and the “touch” are in substance one and the same; and the three terms are employed because they express effects peculiar to each.  The “burn” is the Holy Spirit; the “hand” is the Father, and the “touch” is the Son.  Thus the soul magnifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, [...]

POETRY: The Living Flame Of Love by John of the Cross

July 26, 2017

1. O living flame of love that tenderly wounds my soul in its deepest center! Since now you are not oppressive, now consummate! if it be your will: tear through the veil of this sweet encounter! 2. O sweet cautery, O delightful wound! O gentle hand! O delicate touch that tastes of eternal life and pays every debt! In killing you changed death to life. 3. O lamps of fire! in whose splendors the deep caverns of feeling, once obscure and blind, now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely, both warmth and light to their Beloved. 4. How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with [...]

PRAYER: The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom

July 24, 2017

The Trisagion: Holy God, holy and strong, holy and immortal, have mercy on us. The Cherubic Hymn: We who in a mystery represent the cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-giving Trinity, let us now lay aside all Earthly cares, that we may receive the king of all, invisibly escorted by the hosts of angels.  Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Before Communion: Let us pay attention: holy things for those who are holy. Only one is holy, only one is Lord. Jesus Christ, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. Before Receiving Communion: At your mystical supper, Son of God, today receive me as a partaker; I will not speak of the mystery to your enemies; I will not let my lips touch your body with a Judas-kiss; but like the thief I will [...]

PRAYER: The Liturgy Of Saint Basil The Great

July 17, 2017

O Lord, the helper of the helpless, the hope of those who are past hope, the savior of the tempest-tossed, the harbor of the voyagers, the physician of the sick; you know each soul and our prayer, each home and its need; become to each one of us what we most dearly require, receiving us all into your kingdom, making us children of light; and pour on us your peace and love, O Lord our God.  Amen. Complete and perfected, so far as in us lies, is the mystery of your redeeming work, Christ our God.  We have made the memorial of your death, we have seen the symbol of your resurrection, we have been filled with your unending life, we have tasted your inexhaustible joy, of which, we pray, you will count us worthy in the age to come, through the [...]

SERMON: Mystical Vineyards And The Prudence Of The Flesh by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 9, 2017

“They made me the keeper of the vineyards.” (Song of Solomon 1:6)  Who are they? Do you mean those opponents to whom you recently referred? Listen and understand. Perhaps she is saying that she has been given this charge by the very people who persecuted her. No need to wonder at this if she was attacked for the purpose of correcting her. Everybody knows that lots of people are frequently opposed in a well-intentioned way for their good. Every day we meet with people whose ideals are purified, who advance to perfection through the friendly corrections of their superiors. Therefore let us rather show, if we can, hew her mother’s sons fight against the church with hostile purpose and with a loss that is her gain. This is [...]

MYSTICISM: Bernard Of Clairvaux, by Louis Dupré and James A. Wiseman

July 5, 2017

From Light From Light Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153): Abbot, ecclesiastical statesmen, mediator between warring armies, counselor of popes and kings, champion of orthodoxy, Bernard of Clairvaux was unquestionably the most influential person in Europe in the first half of the twelfth century.  But it is perhaps in the stamp he left on Christian spirituality that his most enduring influence is to be found.  At one point in the history of Western Christianity love became equated with the very essence of the spiritual life, and if we had to assign the beginning of that movement to one person, that person would have to be Bernard.  The passages from his writings below are intended above all to illustrate this centrality of love in his [...]

POETRY: Jesu, Highest Heaven’s Completeness by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 5, 2017

Jesu, highest Heaven’s completeness, Name of music to the ear, To the lips surpassing sweetness, Wine the fainting heart to cheer. Eating Thee, the soul may hunger, Drinking, still athirst may be; But for Earthly food no longer, Nor for any steam but Thee. Jesu, all delight exceeding, Only hope of heart distrest; Weeping eyes and spirit mourning Find in Thee a place of rest. Stay, O Beauty uncreated, Ever ancient, ever new; Banish deeds of darkness hated, With Thy sweetness all bedew. Jesu, fairest blossom springing From a maiden ever pure, May our lips Thy praise be singing While eternal years [...]

PRAYER: On The Love Of God by Bernard of Clairvaux

July 3, 2017

I will love you, O Lord my strength, my stony rock and my defense, my savior my one desire and love. My God, my helper, I will love you with all the power you have given me; not as much as you deserve to be loved, for that can never be, but as much as I am able to. Whatever I do, I never can discharge my debt to you, and I can love you only according to the power that you have given me. The more power to love you give me, the more I will love you; yet never, never, can I love you as much as you should be loved. [...]

PRAYER: St. Teresa Of Ávila And Prayer by Ernest E. Larkin

June 19, 2017

From: The Published Articles of Ernest E. Larkin, O.Carm. Prayer is the heart of Teresa of Avila’s life and teaching, her “way of perfection.” For her, prayer is the supreme meaning and value of human existence, since it is the inner life that animates the exterior, the journey within that is the journey into reality. Prayer is life before it is an exercise, a dimension of being before it is an experience. Prayer means to be in touch with the Center of one’s life, who is “the Divine Majesty” dwelling in his own rooms in the depths of the interior castle, the figure for ourselves. This contact deep within where we merge with God and are transformed into God-centered persons makes us the “new creation” of Pauline theology and [...]

POETRY: The Quickening Of St. John The Baptist by Thomas Merton

June 16, 2017

On the Contemplative Vocation Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee, From the sands and the lavender water? Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth, The yellow fishing boats, the farms, The winesmelling yards and low cellars Or the oilpress, and the women by the well? Why do you fly those markets, Those suburban gardens, The trumpets of the jealous lilies, Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees? You have trusted no town With the news behind your eyes. You have drowned Gabriel’s word in thoughts like seas And turned toward the stone mountain To the treeless places. Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails? The day Our Lady, full of Christ, Entered the dooryard of her relative Did not her steps, [...]

POETRY: A Romance On The Psalm “By The Waters Of Babylon” by John Of The Cross

June 13, 2017

(Psalm 137) By the rivers of Babylon I sat down weeping, there on the ground. And remembering you, O Zion, whom I loved, in that sweet memory I wept even more. I took off my feastday clothes and put on my working ones; I hung on the green willows all the joy I had in song, putting it aside for that which I hoped for in you. There love wounded me and took away my heart. I begged love to kill me since it had so wounded me; I threw myself in its fire knowing it burned, excusing now the young bird that would die in the fire. I was dying in myself, breathing in you alone. I died within myself for you and for you I revived, because the memory of you gave life and took it away. The strangers among whom I was captive rejoiced; they asked me to [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Nine, Self Control, by Philip Bochanski

June 3, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Eight, Gentleness, by Philip Bochanski

June 2, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Hymn To Saint Philip This is the saint of gentleness and kindness, Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning; Patiently healing of their pride and blindness Souls that are sinning. This is the saint who, when the world allures us, Cries her false wares, and ope’s her magic coffers, Points to a better city, and secures us With richer offers. Love is his bond; he knows no other fetter, Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him, Willing to draw us on from good to better, As we can bear him. When he comes near to teach us and to bless us, Prayer is so sweet that hours are but a minute; Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us, Sin is not in it. Thus he conducts by holy paths and pleasant [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Seven, Faithfulness, by Philip Bochanski

June 1, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Six, Goodness, by Philip Bochanski

May 31, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Five, Kindness, by Philip Bochanski

May 30, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Four, Patience, by Philip Bochanski

May 29, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Three, Peace, by Philip Bochanski

May 28, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Hymn To Saint Philip This is the saint of gentleness and kindness, Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning; Patiently healing of their pride and blindness Souls that are sinning. This is the saint who, when the world allures us, Cries her false wares, and ope’s her magic coffers, Points to a better city, and secures us With richer offers. Love is his bond; he knows no other fetter, Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him, Willing to draw us on from good to better, As we can bear him. When he comes near to teach us and to bless us, Prayer is so sweet that hours are but a minute; Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us, Sin is not in it. Thus he conducts by holy paths and [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Two, Joy, by Philip Bochanski

May 27, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and Heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O Heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts overflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day One, Love, by Philip Bochanski

May 26, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come from thy bright heav’nly throne; come, take possession of our souls, and make them all thine own. Thou who art called the Paraclete, best gift of God above, the living spring, the living fire, sweet unction and true love. Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace, finger of God’s right hand; his promise, teaching little ones to speak and understand. O guide our minds with thy blest light, with love our hearts inflame; and with thy strength, which ne’er decays, confirm our mortal frame. Far from us drive our deadly foe; true peace unto us bring; and through all perils lead us safe beneath thy sacred wing. Through thee may we the Father [...]

PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Praying To The Holy Spirit, by Philip Bochanski

May 25, 2017

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit The Fruits of the Holy Spirit Gathered with his Apostles in the Upper Room, Jesus reminded them that he had chosen and appointed them to “go and bear fruit that will remain.” (John 15:16)  At that same Last Supper, he promised them that they would not be alone in accomplishing this mission: “I will ask the Father,” he said, “and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit.” (John 14:16-17)  The story of the early church related in the Acts of the Apostles shows just how Jesus kept his promise: the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles at Pentecost, and they went out to accomplish great things in the mission of evangelizing the world. Although we [...]

SAINTS: The Beloved Disciple — It’s All About Love, by Greg Friedman

April 16, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3:1-4; John 10:1-9 In 1984 singer Tina Turner had a comeback hit with her recording of What’s Love God To Do With It?  Years later I drew a lot of smiles when I began an Easter Sunday homily with the song’s title.  It’s a question that explains the Easter Gospel, John 20:1-9, which tells us that Peter and the “disciple Jesus loved” came to the tomb early on the first day of the week after hearing Mary Magdalene’s report of the empty tomb. The Beloved Disciple arrives first but waits until Peter enters and sees Jesus’s burial wrappings neatly folded.  Peter doesn’t understand what he sees.  But the other [...]

SAINTS: Mary Magdalene — Witness To Death And Resurrection, by Greg Friedman

April 15, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Exodus 14:15-15:1; Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Matthew 28:1-10 Mary Magdalene is one of the main characters in the story of Jesus’s Passion, death, and resurrection. Mary was not a public sinner.  Nor was she the figure who anointed Jesus’s feet with her tears or wiped them with her hair.  She was, however, a faithful disciple.  Unlike the male disciples, who fled from Jesus’s crucifixion, Mary was present.  Matthew and Mark place her among those “looking on from a distance.”  Luke identifies her, as do the other gospels, with the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. We can imagine what she must have endured after Jesus’s violent death.  Like anyone [...]

SAINTS: Mary — A Mother At The Foot Of The Cross, by Greg Friedman

April 14, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42 No mother should bear the death of her son. I heard that sentiment expressed in my family as a teenager, when my favorite uncle died of cancer in his forties. My grandmother was never the same afterward. The Stations of the Cross capture similar feelings, at the fourteenth station, popularly known as the Pietà. It is a scene full of grief, a mother holding the lifeless body of her son. John’s Passion story, read on Good Friday, depicts Mary at the foot of the cross. Standing next to the disciple whom Jesus loved, Mary hears Jesus say, Woman, here is your son. And to the Beloved Disciple he says, Here is your [...]