SERMON: Of Charity, or The Love of God by Jeremy Taylor

March 3, 2019

Love is the greatest thing that God can give us; for himself is love; and it is the greatest thing we can give to God; for it will also give ourselves and carry with it all that is ours. The apostle calls it the band of perfection; it is the old, and it is the new, and it is the great commandment, and it is all the commandments; for it is the fulfilling of the law. It does the work of all other graces without any instrument but its own immediate virtue. For as the love to sin makes a man sin against all his own reason, and all the discourses of wisdom, and all the advices of his friends, and without temptation, and without opportunity, so does the love of God; it makes a man chaste without the laborious arts of fasting and exterior [...]

VIRTUES: The Precept Of Charity by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen

August 10, 2017

Presence of God – O Lord, teach me to love you truly, with my whole heart, my whole soul, and with all my strength. Meditation “Virtue lies in the golden mean.” This maxim which is so exact for the moral virtues, cannot be applied to the theological virtues, which, having an infinite object, can have no limit. The measure of our faith, hope, and charity is to believe, to hope, and to love without measure. However much we love God, we can never love him too much, nor can we love him as much as he is lovable. By its very nature then, the precept of charity admits of no limit and we could never say, “I shall love God up to a certain point and that will be enough,” for by doing so, we would renounce tending toward the perfection of [...]

POETRY: The Widow’s Mites—A Poem, by Brother Roy

February 16, 2017

From: New Hope International Ministries  Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44) During the last days that Jesus walked upon this earth as a man, He went up to the temple to see if anyone truly understood God’s plan. A nameless, faceless widow passed by Jesus as He rested against the temple wall, But He did [...]

POETRY: My Beautiful Soul by Laura Kasischke

November 3, 2016

It is the beggar who thanks me profusely for the dollar. It is a boat of such beggars sinking beneath the weight of this one’s thanking. It is the bath growing cold around the crippled woman calling to someone in another room. And the arthritic children in the park picking dust off summer speck by speck while a bored nurse watches. The wind has toppled the telescope over onto the lawn: So much for stars. Your brief shot at the universe, gone. It is some water lilies and a skull in a decorative pond, and a tiny goldfish swimming like an animated change-purse made of brightness and surprises observing the moment through its empty eye. Thank you, thank you, bless you, beautiful lady with your beautiful soul. It is as if I have tossed a [...]

ALL SOULS: Cluny And The Feast Of All Souls, by Iotsald

November 2, 2016

From Iotsald Concerning the vision of a hermit. Lord Bishop Richard related to me the story of a certain vision, which I had heard once before but I could not remember the details.  At that time, he said, a certain devout man from the district of Rouergue [in southwestern France] was returning from Jerusalem.  But when he had sailed halfway across the sea that stretches from Sicily to Thessaloniki, very strong winds struck his boat and drove it to an island, or rather a rocky outcropping, where a certain servant of God lived as a hermit.  As he waited for a while for the sea to calm, the pilgrim tarried long enough to have a conversation with this servant of God about many different topics.  Asked by the man of God where he was [...]

COMMUNITY: The Soup Kitchen by Nora Gallagher

October 20, 2016

From The Sacred Meal Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. (Acts 2:46-47) Many of us are asking, How should I live?  How should we live?  We come to our faith communities with those questions.  Sometimes they are taken seriously, even answered, and sometimes the church sticks us on a committee. One of the things that happened to me after I went to church for many years, asking those questions, was I began to see that if you don’t act on what you hear in the gospels every Sunday, then it doesn’t stick. When I first went back to the Episcopal Church after a long hiatus, I [...]

SATURDAY READING: On Pilgrimage, by Dorothy Day

March 5, 2016

From The Catholic Worker January January 17, 1948, West Virginia, 5°: When you are in the country, the temperature is important. To write, I lie in bed with a hot-water bottle at my feet, a loose old coat covering me. A bathrobe would not be enough. The hot-water bottle is a pint-size whiskey bottle. This is a good house, a good farm, in spite of the fields being far from the house beyond the woods. Spring, summer, and fall are so beautiful in the country, but the winters are hard. Yesterday the snow fell all day and the children ran out getting pans of it to eat. My son-in-law David calls it the poor man’s manure, as it is filled with chemicals that enrich the soil. It tastes sooty, just as it does in the city. The wheat, barley, [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: A Lifetime Job by Dorothy Day

February 25, 2016

From Selected Writings “Hell is not to love anymore,” writes George Bernanos in The Diary of a Country Priest.  I felt when I read this that the blackness of hell must indeed have descended on Our Lord in His Agony. The one thing that makes our work easier most certainly is the love we bear for each other and for the people for whom we work.  The work becomes difficult only when there is quarreling and dissension and when one’s own heart is filled with a spirit of criticism. In the past, when I have spoken on the necessity of mutual charity, of self-criticism rather than criticism of others, the accusation has been made that I talk to the men as though they were angels, that I do not see their faults.  Which is [...]


March 29, 2015

From The School of Charity In his letter to the Romans, we find Saint Paul asking his converts if they realize what it means to be part of the church.  It means, he says (and we can imagine their surprise when they heard it), being received into the death of Christ – the unconditional sacrifice of the cross – in order to walk in newness of life: transformed through self-loss into a bit of that body which is indwelt and ruled by the Spirit of Divine Charity.  No easy application for membership, then, fulfills the demands of real Christianity.  It is a crisis, a radical choice, a deep and costly change.  When we judge our own lives by this standard we realize that full entrance into the church’s real life must for most of us [...]

LENTEN MEDITATION: Charity — The Goods by Caryn Rivadeneira

March 14, 2015

From Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed about God’s Abundance I had gotten used – if, I suppose, you can get used to charity – to unexpected financial gifts from family members.  Once my husband shared a bit of our story and the direness of our situation, we were overwhelmed by generosity and love, which took the forms of “widow’s mites” to no-interest loans.  but one particular bit of charity caught me off guard. I held the stack in my hands, a pile of $100 gift cards for the local grocery store, and fought back tears.  Not that long ago – at least, it didn’t seem that long ago – the man who had sent these had talked with my husband about merging businesses, aligning their two [...]

CHARITY: Treatise IX. On the Advantage of Patience, by Cyprian

February 17, 2015

Argument. — Cyprian Himself Briefly Sets Forth the Occasion of This Treatise at the Conclusion of His Epistle to Jubaianus as Follows: “Charity of Spirit, the Honour of Our College, the Bond of Faith, and Priestly Concord, are Maintained by Us with Patience and Gentleness. For This Reason, Moreover, We Have, with the Best of Our Poor Abilities, by the Permission and Inspiration of the Lord, Written a Pamphlet on the Benefit of Patience, ‘ Which, for the Sake of Our Mutual Love, We Have Transmitted to You.” As I am about to speak, beloved brethren, of patience, and to declare its advantages and benefits, from what point should I rather begin than this, that I see that even at this time, for your audience of me, patience [...]

MYSTICISM: On Charity, by Marguerite Porete

January 23, 2015

From The Mirror of Simple Souls Chapter 3: Here Love speaks of the commandments of the Holy Church Love: Therefore we shall begin, says Love, with the commandments of the Holy Church, so that each might be able to take his nourishment in this book with the aid of God, who commands that we love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength; and ourselves as we ought, and our neighbors as ourselves. First, that we love him with all our heart: that means that our thoughts should be always truly in him.  And with all our soul: that means that until death we do not speak but the truth.  And with all our strength: that is, that we accomplish all our works purely for him.  And ourselves as we ought: that means that in doing [...]

HOME: Hospitality And Service by Pope Francis

December 22, 2014

(Address to the Missionaries of the Homeless Shelter Dono di Maria, 21 May 2013) When we say “home,” we mean a place of hospitality, a dwelling, a pleasant human environment where one stays readily, finds oneself, feels inserted into a territory, a community.  Yet more profoundly, home is a word with a typically familiar flavor, which recalls warmth, affection, and the love that can be felt in a family.  Hence the home represents the most precious human treasures: encounter, relations among people who are different in age, culture, and history, but who live together and help one another to grow.  For this reason, the home is a crucial place in life, where life grows and can be fulfilled, because it is a place in which [...]

WAR AND PEACE: The Church And War, by Evelyn Underhill

July 1, 2014

We are moving – perhaps more rapidly than we realize – towards a moment in which the church, if she is to preserve her integrity and her spiritual influence, will be compelled to define her attitude towards war; to clear her own mind as to the true reason why her members, by the mere fact of of their membership, are bound to repudiate war, not only in principle but also in fact.  The reason, for there is only one, is simple and conclusive.  The Christian church is the Body of Christ.  Her mission on Earth is to spread the Spirit of Christ, which is the creative spirit of wisdom and love; and in so doing bring in the kingdom of God.  Therefore, she can never support or approve any human action, individual or collective, which is [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Fourteenth Station — Jesus Christ Is Laid In The Sepulcher, by Evelyn Underhill

April 19, 2014

From The Path of Eternal Wisdom, written under the pseudonym, John Cordelier Death as the Gate of Life It is surely the strangest, least-to-be guessed-at paradox of the spiritual life, that Wisdom’s path should lead – so far as our poor vision may trace it – not to those hard-won heights of the spirit which are reached by the bridge of the cross, but back again to the bosom of Earth, our mother.  Earth to earth.  Not even those courageous souls who aspire to the final, utmost transmutation – who have paid the dreadful price of their adoption as hidden sons of God – escape this. Humility, the law of the cross, sees to it that we find our level: that death be tasted in its fullness by every postulant of life.  Those who attempt [...]

LOVE: Love Gives Life by Virgilio Elizondo

November 21, 2013

From Charity At my mother’s funeral, a former employee of our family’s grocery store came and told me how much my parents meant to him and how much they had done for him.  The young man remembered an act of kindness by our dad that changed his whole life.  When he was a young boy in elementary school, he was the butt of everyone’s cruel jokes because he was tall for his age and mentally slow.  One day on his way to school he saw my father sweeping the sidewalk in front of the store and stopped to talk to him.  My father complained that because there was a bus stop in front of the store, there was always a lot of trash and no one bothered to sweep it up.  The next morning, this young boy got up very early, took his [...]

SERMON: Love, The One Thing Needful, by John Henry Newman

November 17, 2013

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1) I suppose the greater number of persons who try to live Christian lives, and who observe themselves with any care, are dissatisfied with their own state on this point, viz., that, whatever their religious attainments may be, yet they feel that their motive is not the highest; — that the love of God, and of man for his sake, is not their ruling principle.  They may do much, nay, if it so happen, they may suffer much; but they have little reason to think that they love much, that they do and suffer for love’s sake.  I do not mean that they thus express themselves exactly, but that [...]

SATURDAY READING: The New Commission of the One Love, by Karl Rahner, SJ

November 16, 2013

From The Mystical Way In Everyday Life The topic [we are discussing here] is the unity of love of neighbor and love of God.  Are these simply two things that stand next to each other, loosely connected through a commandment from God, so that one can only properly love God when the commandment of loving one’s neighbor is equally respected and carried out to the best of one’s ability?  Or is there a closer relationship between the two? One could assume that God has commanded all kinds of things and that obeying these various commandments is only a test and the concrete fulfillment of what he wants ultimately, namely that people love him, the eternal God, from their very core and with their entire heart and with all their strength.  [...]

LOVE: The Most Unselfish Love, by Maria Bello

November 14, 2013

From Notes From Extraordinary Women On The Layers, The Laughter, and The Litter of Love On December 5, 2008, I was witness to the most unselfish act of love I could have ever imagined.  More than a year before the devastating earthquake in January 2010 that claimed more than 250,000 lives in Haiti, I went to visit the impoverished but beautiful country and my life would never be the same. I had traveled with a group of friends to the opening of Kay Germaine, the first hospital for disabled children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  My friend, Paul Haggis, had met Father Rick Frechette, a priest and doctor who had been working with the poorest of the poor in Haiti for twenty-three years and invited a group of us to witness his work.  The [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Wednesday Of Holy Week

March 27, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Taking up the cross Abba Nilus said, “Go, sell all that belongs to you and give it to the poor, (Mark 10:21), and, taking up the cross, (Luke 14:27), deny yourself; in this way you will be able to pray without distraction.” The dog and the hare An old man was asked how the zealous monk should not have his feelings hurt if he sees others turning back to the world and he said, “It’s profitable to observe dogs as they chase after hares: when one of them sees the hare he gives chase; the others see only the dog giving chase and run after him for a while but finally turn back to where they were.  Only the dog that saw the hare keeps up the [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Thirty-One by Paul Wallis

March 20, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the good of God and of neighbor be in these feet.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) Jesus Christ referred to his own teaching as the “narrow way.”  It is often the harder path because it calls us to live in a way that looks beyond ourselves.  The Gospel stretches us beyond a life wrapped up in self; beyond what is familiar, easy, and comfortable.  For Fursa this stretching meant a journey from home and kindred to a whole new world of challenges. For the good of God and of neighbor, in AD 633 Fursa’s feet took him from the furthest west of Ireland to the furthest east of Britain, where he was to build a community of monastic workers among the Saxon and Anglian peoples of that region.  The [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Thirty by Paul Wallis

March 19, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate Let the good of God and of neighbor be in these feet.  (Fursa’s Breastplate) In this phrase, Fursa binds together the divine good and the common good.  His vision of goodness, here, is profoundly rooted in the teaching of the savior, who, when asked for the most important command in the Jewish law, replied, “You must love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus was asked for one but answered with two commands, because neither command is truly fulfilled unless both are fulfilled.  Because of this, the letter of James refuses to  honor with the name, “faith,” any spirituality that fails to express itself in works [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Christmas Gospel by Dorothee Söelle

December 27, 2012

When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20) For many years I was so disgusted by the commercialization that Christmas has endured, so sickened by the terror of consumption, the [...]

ADVENT MEDITATION: To You Christ Is Born by Martin Luther

December 24, 2012

The angel said to them, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day a savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10) The Gospel teaches that Christ was born, and that he died and suffered everything on our behalf, as is here declared by the angel.  In these words you clearly see that he is born for us. He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you he is born.  Neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy.  Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all the people.  This faith no condemned or wicked man has, nor can he have it.  Christ has a pure, innocent, and holy birth.  Man has an [...]

ADVENT MEDITATION: Room For Christ by Dorothy Day

December 19, 2012

It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ.  Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late.  Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that he speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that he gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that he gives.  It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that he walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter.  And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving to Christ. We can do now what those who knew him in the days of his flesh did.  I am [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL: Christianity Proclaims the Value of the Individual

November 26, 2012

From Worship, Chapter IX: The Principles of Personal Worship The “praying church” is built of praying souls; and all that has been said of the fundamentally social character of Christian worship, as expressed in the common liturgic action of the church, and of the status of the individual soul as an organic part of this corporate life, must not be allowed to obscure this complementary truth.  Christianity proclaims, more clearly than any other religion, the value and particular vocation of the individual, his unique and direct relation to God.  Its greatest triumphs have been the individual achievements of the saints: that is, persons whose lives of worship have made them tools of God.  Already in the teaching and practice of [...]