Category Archives: Spiritual Life

The Harvest Ember Days

Ember Days or the Quatuor Temporas are a traditional time of harvest fasting “four times” per year. The Ember days are the Wednesday, September 19, Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.

This is a time to ask God for the gift of holy priests for the harvest of souls. Let us voluntarily take up the Ember Days, whatever your intention may be.

For more on the Ember Days:

How observing the Ember Days can enhance your spiritual life

How do I want to live my life?

At the beginning of a new year the following words of Father Alexander Schmemann give us much to think about:

“…What then gives meaning to a particular day, to the TODAY we live in? Is it not simply one day out of a long sequence of days that each one of us has to live through? Yet for me, as a Christian, its new and deep meaning comes from the past. It is a day related to Christ’s coming into the world, a day AFTER His coming, and thus the Christian is the one who first of all, REMEMBERS. He can forget Christ; he can wake up in the morning and think only of the petty concerns of that particular day, yet, on a deeper level, even these minor concerns become a very different experience if he remembers that he is not simply John Smith who has to do this or that, but the one to whom Christ has come, whose life Christ has assumed and has given new meaning. “Today,” however, has a second meaning, because it is also a day BEFORE Christ’s return. Thus I am always living between the two comings of Christ: the one in the past, the other in the future. And finally, the meaning of TODAY comes to me from the words of Christ, who says that He is ALWAYS with me. “And lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 27:20). Past, present, future – we see that the time in which we live is not only the time of the calendar, but the time that is shaped from inside and transformed by faith, by Christian experience. It is related to the coming of Christ in the past, to His coming in the future, and to His presence now…”

Celebrating Thanksgiving today 2017

Celebrating this day of Thanksgiving with loved ones and friends, I thought this morning at Divine Liturgy that what is crucial is diving into what really matters, what we’ve been given by the Lord —the most holy of giving thanks. It is the Holy Eucharist, instituted by the Lord Jesus “on the night he was betrayed and entered willingly into his passion.”

Here we see the root of our life: The Lord in His Life-Giving sacrifice shows us the relationship between His infinite mercy, justice and His love. We participate in Lord’s kenosis inviting us to assent to deification in the Life of the Trinity in a synergistic way. This is our sacred, divine Liturgy.

“I give thanks to you, my sweetness, my honor,
my confidence;
to you, my God, I give thanks for your gifts.
Do you preserve them for me.
So will you preserve me too,
and what you have given me will grow and reach perfection,
and I will be with you; because this too is your gift to me
—that I exist.”

-Saint Augustine, Confessions

Prayer for the time of fatigue

Adrienne von Speyr’s Prayer for the time of fatigue

Dear Lord, I am too tired to pray. And you certainly know from the Cross how great fatigue can be. I ask you to let all your angels and saints so adore you that no break in adoration results. Amen.

A fitting prayer on today’s feast of the Guardian Angels.

Adrienne von Speyr

A women not really known in the US is the Mystic and Theologian, Physician, Writer: Adrienne von Speyr (20 September 1902 – 17 September 1967); she is known in theological circles as being a close associate to the Swiss theologian and priest, Hans Urs von Balthasar.

On this date, the feast of Saint Hildegard von Bingen, von Speyr died. Some will say that Speyr’s devotion to Hildegard provided her with a fitting intercessor at the Throne of Grace at this key time in her mission. Both shared a similar vocation.

Among the interesting things about Adrienne’s theological work is her 4 volume commentary on the Gospel of St John which she claimed St John dictated to her. Likewise, her volume, Book of All Saints, is quite interesting. A book I have not read but that is recommended to me is Matthew Sutton’s Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.

Balthasar once wrote of his friend,

“In fact, on one occasion very soon after her conversion, she was driving home from her office, she suddenly saw a great light in front of her car (a pedestrian also jumped aside in fear, and Adrienne stopped) and heard a voice close by which gave the key to all that was to follow: Tu vivras au ciel et sur la terre  (You shall live in heaven and on earth).”

Hans Urs von Balthasar, First Glance At Adrienne von Speyr

What is interesting about Balthasar’s comment is a similar experience Saint Benedict had shortly before he died where, according to Saint Gregory the Great Benedict saw the whole world in a ray of light. Saints beget saints.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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