Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Living in the Eucharistic Heart of the Lord

Jesus, gentle and humble of Heart,

You are the Bread of Life;

help me to live my life hidden in Your Eucharistic Heart

in the Presence of our Father

united in the love and power of Your Holy Spirit.

Give me a listening heart,

a heart to love You for Your own Sake, to love You in myself,

and to love You in my brothers and sisters as You have
loved.

Consume me in the fire of Your love.

Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and my Mother,

you are the first “house of bread.”

Help me to live in perfect love by being:

the bread of Humility and Abandonment to the Father’s will;

the bread of Sincerity and Truth,

the bread of Purity of Heart;

the bread of Word and Eucharist;

the bread of Simplicity, Poverty and Littleness;

the bread of Silence and Solitude;

the bread of Prayer and Contemplation;

the bread of Reconciliation and Peace;

the bread of Interior and Joyful Suffering;

the bread of Charity and Desert Hospitality,

broken and offered with Jesus to the merciful Father

and shared for the salvation of the world.

Holy Mary, Lady of Bethlehem, Queen of the Desert,

guide me in the journey of the Spirit that, together with you,

I may participate in the wedding feast of the Risen Lamb

until at last I may sing an eternal Magnificat of Love and
Praise, 

face to Face, before our All-Holy Triune God. Amen.

A Way of Desert Spirituality: The Plan of Life of the
Hermits of Bethlehem

Father Eugene L. Romano, Founder of the Hermits of
Bethlehem, Chester, New Jersey

God understands our weakness

Of all the parables this [one on the prodigal son,
Matthew15:11-32] is the most popular, appealing more universally to the heart
of man than any other. In fact, it contains the whole scope of the theology of
God and the salvation of men. And to some extent it applies to all of us to
some degree. Unless we have lived perfect lives, it is true we are called
prodigal.

As Catholics, if we have done wrong, we go back to our Father.
Christ is represented by a priest. We say, “Father, bless me for I have
sinned.” The priest gives a blessing. The penitent then says, “Father, it is so
long since my last confession and I have sinned as follows.” He expresses his
sorrow and contrition for his sins. Then the words of absolution are pronounced
over him. God sees in him one that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ.

Then he is led to the glorious Lamb of God, slain for us on
Calvary, residing in the tabernacle, to be our food. The tabernacle door is
opened. It contains these hosts, every one of which is the body, blood, soul
and divinity of the Lamb of God, giving peace to you, and there is rejoicing
among the angels.

There is told the story of an old French curate when a
prodigal came to him. As he was making his confession in the sacristy, the
priest smiled and the young man stopped and said, “Father, if you are going to
laugh at me I won’t go on with my confession.” “My son,’ said the priest, “You
misunderstand. I was only thinking of what the Lord said, ‘There is more
rejoicing among the angels of heaven over one sinner that repents than over
ninety-nine just persons which need no repentance.'” That is the spirit of the
mercy and love of God. God understands our weaknesses, our waywardness,
infirmities, like sheep going astray. His love goes out, seeks us, so glad to
have us come to Him. The very angels of God sing with God the Father, that we
are back home again.

I hope that everybody, in the degree in which you are a
prodigal, will take home the message of the love of Christ, the Sacred Heart of
Jesus, and won’t keep away from it. Repent of your sins, feel his embrace, that
joy of conscience after a good confession, after you have been forgiven. The
Father’s says, “I am well pleased with you now. You were lost and you are
found.” [See Luke 15:32]

(Father Paul Wattson, SA, Retreat at Hereford, Texas,
June 1922)

Mercy…is Jesus’ way

Only mercy challenges our hard-headedness like no other reprimand. Jesus said that he who is forgiven much, loves much. Man is sensitive to no other gesture as he is to mercy. After all, it was the method Jesus used, as Saint Paul recalls, “When we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    ~Father Julian Carron

The resurrection of the Lord is our hope: are you going to help Him?

Christ has destroyed the root of evil, he still wants the assistance of men and women in every time and place who help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love. …Christ is looking for men and women who will help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love.

Pope Benedict’s 2009 Urbi et Orbi address

The spirituality of Holy Saturday

There was a day when Nietzsche was right: God was dead, the Word was not heard in the world, the body was interred and the tomb sealed up, the soul descended into the bottomless abyss of Sheol.” This descent of Jesus into the kingdom of the dead “was part of his abasement even if (as St. John admits of the Cross) this supreme abasement is already surrounded by the thunderbolts of Easter night. In fact, did not the very descent to hell bring redemption to the souls there?” It prolonged in some manner the cry from the Cross: Why have you abandoned me? “Nobody could ever shout that cry from a deeper abyss than did he whose life was to be perpetually born of the Father.”

Descent into Hell Duccio.jpgBut there remains the imitation of Christ. There is a participation, not only sacramental, but contemplative in his mystery. There is an experience of the abandonment on the Cross and the descent into hell, and experience of the poena damni. There is the crushing feeling of the “ever greater dissimilarity” of God in the resemblance, however great, between him and the creature; there is the passage through death and darkness, the stepping through “the somber door”. In conformity to the mission he has received, the prayerful man then experiences the feeling that “God is dead for him”. And this is a gift of Christian grace — but one receives it unawares. The lived and felt faith, charity, and hope rise above the soul to an inaccessible place, to God. From then on it is “in nakedness, poverty and humiliation” that the soul cries out to him.

Those who have experienced such states afterwards, more often than not, in their humility, see nothing in them but a personal purification. True to his doctrine which refuses to separate charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit, the ecclesial mission, and individual mysticism, von Balthasar discerns in it essentially this “Holy Saturday of contemplation” by which the Betrothed, in some chosen few of her members, is made to participate more closely in the redemption wrought by the Spouse. We have arrived at a time in history when human consciousness, enlarged and deepened by Christianity, inclines more and more to this interpretation.

The somber experience of Holy Saturday is the price to be paid for the dawn of the new spring of hope, this spring which has been “canonized in the rose garden of Lisieux”: “is it not the beginning of a new creation? The magic of Holy Saturday … Deep cave from which the water of life escapes.”

Reading so many passages where this theme is taken up, we discern a distress, a solitude, a night — of the quality, in fact, as that experienced by “the Heart of the world” — and we understand that a work that communicates so full a joy must have been conceived in that sorrow.

Cardinal Henri de Lubac on the work of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar

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]yahoo.com.
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