Archive for June 2019

He Must Increase

June 24, 2019


Blessed Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!

This is so cool!

John is a man, Christ is God.
Man should be humbled,
but God should be exalted,
according to what John himself said concerning our Lord:
He must increase, while I must decrease [John 3:30].
In order that man might be humbled,
John was born on the same day
that the days begin to grow shorter;
in order that God might be exalted,
Christ was born on the very day
when the days begin to grow longer.
It is a great mystery, dearly beloved,
and for this reason we celebrate the birthday of John
like that of Christ,
because birth itself is full of mystery.
Of what mystery but that of our lowliness,
just as the birth of Christ
is full of the mystery of our greatness?
Let us become smaller in man
in order that we may grow in God;
let us be humbled in ourselves,
in order that we may be exalted in Him.
The presumption of man should be humbled,
in order that divine compassion may increase.
The mystery of this reality
was further fulfilled in the sufferings of both.
The head of John was cut off
in order that man might decrease,
while Christ hung on the tree of the cross
in order that God might be exalted.
~St. Caesarius of Arles

Divine Artist

June 17, 2019


Blessed Monday!

I love this explanation of the Blessed Trinity:

An artist will tell you…
he put the whole of himself
into that poem, that picture.
The image which exists in his mind,
the thing which he is trying to utter,
to externalize, on paper or on canvas or on the piano,
is in a certain sense “the expression of his being.”
Which may help us understand what St. Paul means
when he tells us that the divine Word
is related to the Eternal Father
as “the full expression of His being.”
The artist, if he is a true artist,
would have liked to do better;
he has not, after all, put the *whole* of himself
into his masterpiece.
But God is the perfect artist,
and the masterpiece of His activity
cannot be something less than Himself.
He utters His Word,
externalizes His thought,
and it becomes, necessarily,
a Second Person in the Godhead.
And when God utters His Eternal Word
it does not pass outside Himself–
God had the Word abiding with Him.

The artist loves his own work
with a kind of parental affection;
so much of himself has gone into it.
Three separate facts–
the author of the work,
the work itself,
the love of the author for His work.
The work, a lifeless thing,
cannot love in return.
But the Expression of the divine artist’s thought
is as personal as Himself,
and the Love that passes between them
is therefore mutual.
And this Love itself is personal too;
so Christian theology assures us.
~Msgr. Ronald Knox

Pentecost: Gifts, Fruits, Virtues

June 9, 2019


Blessed Pentecost!

MANY years ago,
when I visited the Sisters of St. Clare over Pentecost,
they invited me to share in their tradition
of drawing from a hat (without looking)
a piece of paper
on which was written a gift and a fruit of the Holy Spirit
(as found in Isaiah 11:2 & Galatians 5:22, respectively–
the older, longer version of Galatians)
to focus on until the following Pentecost.

I’ve carried on that tradition,
putting each on a separate slip of paper,
adding the Theological and Cardinal virtues
as well.

Faith, Hope and Love/Caritas
being the Theological Virtues,
and Prudence, Justice, Temperance
and Fortitude
being the Cardinal Virtues.

I recommend it!

It’s been a good way for me to let God tell me
what He wants to work on in my life.

Come, Holy Spirit!
Change my life!

Here are thoughts on the gifts and fruits
we’ve shared with RCIA participants:


Fear of the Lord: eager resolve to avoid anything that would hurt our relationship with God; awe and reverence at the privilege we have of being His children. “What do I really fear losing?” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)
fear of the Lord in action; giving God the honor He deserves as our heavenly Father, and showing appropriate honor and respect to leaders who are responsible for our welfare; doing good to all out of reverence for God (Matthew 25:40).
Knowledge: tell the difference between spiritual truth and counterfeits; helps us see created things as signposts to point us to God rather than as ends in themselves.
Fortitude: supernatural courage to do good and to avoid evil; confidence to get through tough times, protection against discouragement, supernatural patience; to stand firm, and even to face death for the sake of doing what’s right–even if we feel weak and scared.
Counsel: helps us know what choices lead to Heaven and what choices lead to hell.
Understanding: an intimate knowing that penetrates to the heart of what God’s revealed to us about Himself and about living the Christian life; going deeper into the meaning, the inner truth of the Scriptures, the Trinity, the Eucharist, etc.
Wisdom: a taste for God and for the truth about God that puts everything in a divine perspective; putting first things first; encompasses all the other gifts (see James 3:17).


Caritas (we use that word because “Love” can refer to so many different forms of attraction!): self-sacrificing love for the best good of the other
Joy: delight in our union with the God we love
Peace: perfection of joy, cannot be disturbed by trials, suffering or frustrated desires. Jewish “Shalom” is more than absence of conflict–fullness, completeness, all is well because God has everything under control
Patience: unshakable confidence that God’s got everything under control
Kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness & faithfulness: doing good for other people, including our enemies, for Jesus’ sake
Modesty: refusing to unveil what should remain hidden out of reverence and respect for the spiritual dignity proper to our bodies; down-to-earth dignity that doesn’t draw attention to itself
Self-control: mastering our desires so they serve God instead of enslaving us
Chastity: reverencing God’s sacred gift of sexuality, so that it becomes a holy giving of ourselves in self-sacrificial love (not just a passing pleasure); forming a union of body and spirit, of husband & wife. Chastity unites, while a misuse of sexuality divides.

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