31 July 2008

The Wounds of Jesus

Men are afraid to go to Christ, or else they say, "My Sins are so many I cannot go to Him; He will be angry with me."

Do you see His hands outstretched to you to night? He is in heaven, and He still says, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Are you afraid to come? Then, look at His hand—look at His hand, will not that induce you?

"Oh," but you say, "I cannot think that Christ can have it in His heart to remember such a worm as I." Look at His side, there is easy access to His heart. His side is open, and even your poor prayers may be thrust into that side, and they shall reach His heart, holy though it be. Only do thou look to His wounds, and thou shalt certainly find peace through the blood of Jesus.

There were two monks of late years in different cells in their convent. They were reading the Bible. One of them found Christ while reading the Scriptures, and he believed with a true evangelical faith. The other one was timid, and could scarcely think it true; the scheme of salvation seemed so great to him he could scarcely lay hold upon it.

But, at last, he lay upon the point to die, and he sent for the other to come and sit by him, and to shut the door; because if the superior had heard of that of which they were about to speak, he might have condemned them both. When the monk had sat down, the sick man began to tell how his sins lay heavy on him; the other reminded him of Jesus. "If you would be saved, brother, you must look to Jesus who did hang upon the cross. His wounds must save." The poor man heard and he believed.

Almost immediately afterwards came in the superior, with the brethren and the priests; and they began to grease him in extreme unction. This poor man tried to push them away; he could not bear the ceremony, and as well as he could he expressed his dissent. At last his lips were opened, and he said in Latin, "Tu vulnera Jesu!"—Thy wounds, oh Jesus! Thy wounds, oh Jesus!—clasped his hands, lifted them to heaven, fell back and died.

Oh, I would that many a Protestant would die with these words on his lips. There was the fullness of the gospel in them. Thy wounds, oh Jesus! Thy wounds; these are my refuge in my trouble. Oh sinner, may you be helped to believe in his wounds! They cannot fail; Christ's wounds must heal those that put their trust in him.

~Charles Spurgeon
from "The Wounds of Jesus" (#254)
January 30th, 1859

20 July 2008

The Power of the Spirit - B16

This power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive “power from on high”, enabling us to be salt and light for our world.

Being “baptized” in the one Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13) means being set on fire with the love of God. Being “given to drink” of the Spirit means being refreshed by the beauty of the Lord’s plan for us and for the world, and becoming in turn a source of spiritual refreshment for others. Being “sealed with the Spirit” means not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilization of love.

World Youth Day - Sydney, Australia
Sunday, 20 July 2008

16 July 2008

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The glory of God is given to her,
the beauty of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
and the splendor of our God.
Isaiah 35:2
Flower of Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Virgin Mother of the Son of God. Amiable Mother, ever Virgin, give to thy children of Carmel the Privilege of thy Protection, Star of the Sea! ~from the prayer of St. Simon Stock

The Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England, on Sunday, 16 June, 1251. She presented him with a brown scapular and said: "Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant".

The Scapular is a long, narrow garment, which simply covers the shoulders and falls equally before and behind nearly to the feet. The use of this garment is of the greatest antiquity in Carmel. John 44th, who lived about the year 400, in the work entitled, The Institution of the First Monks, gives a description of a garment almost identical in form with the present Scapular, which he calls superhumerale, and which was worn by the Solitaries of the Old Testament. The Abbot Dorotheus speaks also of a garment like it, in use amongst the Monks of Syria and Palestine, which he calls in Greek analabe.

Speaking of Carmelites...
Holy Annunciation Monastery Byzantine Discalced Carmelite Nuns
The Monastery and Fraternity of St. Elie in Saint-Remy, France

01 July 2008

Going Home

Today I left Denver for my hometown of Plymouth, Michigan. Not sure when I'll post again.

I consider this an "open ended vacation and fact-finding mission". While there I will discern what to do next. Pray for me.

After three months of unemployment I figured I'd give things a try out there where my roots are. Sure it's risky, but that's what faith is about.

I'll post when I can. Until then, read over the archives.