General


Confidence in God is the very soul of prayer.   Venerable Fr. Solaris Casey

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Divine Love it is that energizes and structures the parables. Only the incarnate Word can thus perfectly mediate eternal and unfathomable mysteries to weak and sinful creatures, provided these open their hearts to receive the gift. For this way of “indirection”, this path to God’s very Heart via humanity’s language of flesh, is nothing other than the path the Savior personally assumed in his sacred Incarnation. The saving event of the Incarnation and the narrative event of the parable go hand in hand, for in both cases it is Love that impels God to empty himself out, to communicate his divine being in the materiality of flesh and words handed over lovingly by a Friend to his friends.

Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapters 1–25, vol. 2 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996–2012), 259.

 

My notes: First some context to the quote. The author is commenting on Matthew 13:34-35, in which Jesus is explaining why He talks in parables.  Jesus reveals the Kingdom of God in parables, but He (Jesus) had to come here, in the same flesh we have been given (by Him), so that he could talk to us.  God is not some distant being up in “heaven” somewhere. God is Love, and love moves, works, creates, communicates, sanctifies and then even comes here (into that which He has created) to be with the creatures that He has created. God who is Love, is impelled by His very being (love) to the Incarnation.

Near the end of book 13 of De Trinitate (“On the Trinity”), Augustine lists some of the main things that we can learn from the incarnation of the Word:

  • The high place the human race holds within God’s creation, in that human nature should be joined to the nature of God in a single person;
  • It makes us aware of the grace of God toward us, given without any previous merits on our part.
  • It shows us that our greatest infirmity, pride, is cured by the humility of God.
  • It teaches us how far we had actually drawn away from God before Christ’s coming: something that can cause us the wholesome pain of remorse when we return to God through such a mediator.
  • It reveals to us the true dimensions of the obedience we owe to God and shows that the reward of obedience is the resurrection of the dead.

 

Brian E. Daley, “Incarnation,” ed. Allan D. Fitzgerald, Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), Page 446.

Today I graduated from Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

First I should say that this blog is my autobiography. Having said that, everything I post is about a relationship with Jesus, a relationship centered around prayer. This blog is about my relationship with Jesus, and my desire to share that with the entire world on the Internet, by teaching about prayer.  My relationship with Jesus is also as His disciple, I am his student and He is my teacher.  So for the last four years I have taken eight classes at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  I am graduating with the smallest, simplest program they have: a Basic Diploma in Catholic Theology. (Note: the program was renamed during my time there from “Basic Diploma in Pastoral Ministry”).

This education in theology, Sacred Scripture and spirituality has formed me into a much better disciple than I was before taking all these classes. It has not been just “book knowledge”, it is a knowledge of Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit as well as the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church Jesus founded some 2000 years ago.

It is a bitter/sweet event. I have absolutely loved the time I have spent at the seminary and all the time I put into reading and studying for weekly classes, mid-term and final exams, and the research papers I wrote. I will miss this part of my life, it has truly been a blessing in my life.

I go forward now, serving Jesus by putting my education, my formation to use.  For I must put this education to use in serving Jesus and His church, and I will serve Him here on earth for as long as He gives me the strength to do so. Jesus, you are my King, my teacher, my friend.

It is simply impossible to lead a virtuous life without the aid of prayer.

— St. John Chrysostom

If you are in need of a virtue, pray for it.

JPII-Benedict-Francis-Faith-Hope-Love

First a brief summary of our three recent popes:
St. John Paul was a Philosopher/Carmalite
Pope Benedict XVI is a Professor/Theologian/Benedictine-Augustinian
Pope Francis is a Pastor/Jesuit (Ignatian spirituality)

Three different professions and more importantly three different spirituality’s. In the writings of these three Popes we can also see three approaches to prayer. We have seen in their actions three approaches to dealing with the people of the Church and the world at large. The differences between these three men can be summarized by the difference in spirituality.

When people have an opinion that they like one pope more than another, it is likely that they themselves have a spirituality that is close/closer to the pope that they like better. Once a person is deep enough in their prayer life, and in their relationship with Jesus and they know their own spirituality, they can then begin to understand, appreciate and respect other people’s spirituality.  I am an Augustinian, and while I have loved Pope Benedict because of our similar spirituality, I am fascinated by Pope Francis, as I was by St. John Paul. The differences in our relationship with Jesus (and the Holy Trinity) as lived out in our spirituality (and prayer life) is something we need to understand, embrace and pray about.

I would like to encourage everyone to learn and find their own spirituality type. Having a spirituality type is not just for professed religious people living in a Monastery or a Convent.  I am probably not normal, but it took me some 18 months to “find” mine.  Now that I have found it (again Augustinian), I am happy to be “home”.

“During Lent we learn to give the right amount of time to both personal and communal prayer, which gives breath to our spiritual life.”

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, February 24, 2013, in his final Angelus address.

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