Tag Archives: Love

On the Calendar: The Solemnity of All Saints

John Nava, The Communion of Saints (www.johnnava.com)

John Nava, The Communion of Saints (detail) – Sts. Paul, Peter, Charles Lwanga, Maria Goretti, and Agatha (www.johnnava.com)

“Very often, without our knowing it, the graces and lights that we receive are due to [the prayer of] some hidden soul, for God wills that the saints communicate grace to each other through prayer, with great love – a love much greater than that of a family, even the most perfect family on earth. How often have I thought that I may owe all the graces I’ve received to the prayers of a person who begged them from God for me, whom I shall know only in Heaven… In Heaven, we shall not meet with indifferent glances, because all the elect will discover that they owe to each other the graces that merited the crown for them.”

– St. Therese of Lisieux

Leave a comment

Filed under On the Calendar

Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations IX-XIV

Stations I-IV

Stations V -VIII


 +

Ninth Station

Jesus Falls the Third Time under the Cross

“And I, once I have been lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  John 12:32

Three times Love falls to the ground under the blows of men, under the weight of the cross burdened with sins. But It does not remain down. It knows It will finally triumph over sin and ingratitude, that It “will draw all men to Itself” ­– but not before It is “lifted up from the earth.” Therefore It uses every effort to rise, until It has mounted Calvary, until It has sacrificed all, until It has shed the last drop of blood.

We like to complain when our love is not returned; we decry the lack of charity in our neighbor, instead of lamenting the lack of it in ourselves. We must love still more, give and sacrifice still more. We must mount still higher, until we have climbed Mount Calvary, until we too have been “lifted up.” Only when all self-love has died in us, when we have made a total surrender to the crucified Savior, only then will our love have that overpowering force which draws all men to itself.

Let us sacrifice all, then, for love!


+

Tenth Station

Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

“He emptied Himself.”  Phil. 2:7

“If a man intends to rob you of your coat, let him have your cloak as well,” the Savior once said (Matt. 5:40). Now on Calvary, He gives not merely coat and cloak; in His love He allows Himself to be stripped naked. Love gives without calculating and measuring, gives what it can and does not ask whether anything remains.

How selfish I am, Lord, when I compare my love with Yours! Without mercy, take from me everything to which my heart is still attached, everything that I would not be prepared to sacrifice at any moment for You and for my neighbor. Take away all, until I am, like You, completely “emptied,” utterly poor, stripped naked in holy, selfless love!


+

Eleventh Station

Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34

The Savior prays for His enemies while they are nailing Him to the cross. Could I do likewise? At the very moment when I am ridiculed, mocked, tormented, despised, crucified, can I pray for those who cause my suffering – really pray from the heart, just as the Savior prayed for His enemies?

The Savior’s prayer in this hour was not merely a pious wish, but a sacrifice of Himself for His executioners. It was not merely a prayer on the lips; it was self-immolation. Until I am able to pray and offer myself in this same spirit, I have not perfect love.

The Savior prays, “They do not know what they are doing.” Love “take no note of injury” (1 Cor. 13:5), judges no one, “is always ready to hope” (1 Cor. 13:7), never despairs of anyone, though he seem hopeless. How uncharitable is our judgment of others!

Lord, give me true love! 


+

Twelfth Station

Jesus Dies on the Cross

“It is now completed.”  John 19:30

The Savior has given all; naked and despoiled He hangs on the cross. And still His love looks for something more to give. Then He sees His mother, and He presents her also to us: “This is your mother” (John 19:27). Now he can cry out, “It is completed”; He has given all.

The triumph of Love can now begin. “Lifted up from the earth,” It can begin to “draw all men to Itself.” The centurion under the cross is the first fruit of this love; after that, the awe-stricken crowd, beating their breasts and repenting their sins; then the holy souls in Limbo; and finally the thousands and millions of souls that are saved by the redeeming “Love unto the end.”

Lord, give us this love, “love to the end,” that the world may be saved!


+

Thirteenth Station

The Heart of Jesus Is Opened and He Is Taken Down from the Cross

“Love is not provoked.”  1 Cor. 13:5

Things like ingratitude, misunderstanding, suspicion and unkindness cause most men’s hearts to harden and close. But all these bitter things served only to open the Savior’s heart wider, so wide that the last drop of blood could flow from it as an offering of love.

As long as we experience rancor in our hearts at the injustice of men, we have not yet true love, for “love does not let itself be embittered.” Our heart must be like the Savior’s. Men pierced it, only to find revealed the riches of its love. They surrounded it with thorns, but could not extinguish its fire. They imposed a cross upon it, but the flames of its love blazed up above the cross.

O Jesus, make my heart like Yours, like the heart of Your mother, which was pierced with Yours and which, together with Yours, is a source of grace and love for us! 


+

Fourteenth Station

Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

“Having loved His own… He loved them to the end.”  John 13:1

Bright shines the legend over the Savior’s tomb: “He loved to the end.” “To the end” must our love go, to the end of our strength, to the end of our life. It must be like that of the pious Catherine Emmerich, who in a dream took her heart from her bosom and divided it among many people. “And when I had given away the last little piece,” she relates, “I felt empty, exhausted unto death.” Then Jesus appeared to her upon the cross. “Lord,” she said. “I have nothing left.” Thereupon He gave her His heart, saying, “Take My heart and share it.” And the moment He put His heart into her breast, she awoke and felt strong.

O Jesus, I would like to be like that! And thus should we all be, ready to share our heart and give away the last little piece of it, that we may become emptied of all self-seeking and filled with Your love.

Then above our grave too can be placed the inscription: “He loved to the end.” Our reward for this will be Your “love unto the end” in everlasting bliss. Amen, amen! So be it!


+

Conclusion

We have meditated on the Way of the Cross which the Savior’s love traveled for us. It is now our task to follow Him on this way. It is a difficult road, demanding many sacrifices, the “narrow path” of which the holy Scripture speaks. But this road leads to final happiness. It leads to love, which is the greatest thing of all (1 Cor. 13:13). It leads to perfect union with God and men, to blessed oneness in Christ (John 17:21ff.)

“Take courage, then, brethren, let us go forward together and Jesus will be with us. For Jesus’ sake we have taken this cross. For Jesus’ sake let us persevere with it. He will be our help as He is also our leader and guide. Behold, our King goes before us and will fight for us. Let us follow like men. Let no man fear any terrors. Let us be prepared to meet death valiantly in battle. Let us not suffer our glory to be blemished by fleeing from the Cross” (Imitation of Christ 3:56).

Why should we fear death? “He who does not love abides in death,” but “we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers” (1 John 3:14).

2 Comments

Filed under Reflections

Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations V-VIII

Stations I-IV


 +

Fifth Station

Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

“Inasmuch as you did this to one of these least brethren of Mine, you did it to Me.”  Matt. 25:40

It is hard to show love for a man who seems like a criminal unworthy of love. But look into the person’s eyes. Then the Savior’s eyes will meet yours as they did those of Simon the Cyrenian, and the Savior’s words will sound in your ears: “Inasmuch as you did this to one of these least brethren of Mine, you did it to Me.”

Lord, give me the living faith to see You in every human being, to serve You in every sufferer, in every cross-bearer!


+

Sixth Station

Veronica Offers Jesus a Handkerchief

“By this token all the world will know that you are My disciples

– by cherishing love for one another.”  John 13:35

The reward of love! Every act of love imprints the image of Christ deeper in our soul. With every act of love we shall become more and more “transformed into His very image from one degree of splendor to another” (2 Cor. 3:18), into “another Christ.” And this is as it should be. Every Christian should be an embodiment of the Savior’s love. One should be able to say of every Christian what is written concerning the Savior: “The goodness and kindness of God our Savior toward all mankind appeared” (Tit. 3:4) and “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38); he goes through all life like the Savior, thinking thoughts of love, speaking words of love, doing works of love. Thus, according to our Savior’s words, we would be surely known as His disciples by our love for our neighbor.

Lord, give me strength for holy works of love, that Your image may shine ever brighter in me!


+

Seventh Station

Jesus Falls the Second Time under the Cross

“Lord, I wish to see.”  Luke 18:41

If only the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers who tortured and tormented the Savior so cruelly on His Way of the Cross had known how much He loved them! Might not even their cold hearts have been filled with shame and sorrow?

And if we too could only see through the eyes of God what loving deeds of silent sacrifice, prayer and suffering are offered up for us, perhaps by the very people whom we love least and offend deeply in many ways!

“Lord, let me see!” May I never fail to recognize the love of my brethren. May I never in pride look down upon others. And when my own love is misjudged, even abused, may I follow Your example and never stop loving!


+

Eighth Station

Jesus Consoles the Weeping Women

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Jesus, Himself unconsoled, has words of consolation for the weeping women. Submerged in a sea of pain and sorrow, He thinks of the misery and needs of others. Such is the way of love. It forgets its own suffering as soon as it becomes aware of another’s pain. It finds no time to consider its own misery when the need of another calls for help. It can help others, itself it cannot help (cf. Matt. 27:42). It thinks only of giving, and thereby becomes unmindful of receiving.

How happy we would be if we would unselfishly forget our own pain in our concern for another’s sorrow, if we would forget about receiving in our concern with giving! For it is more blessed to give than to receive.

O Savior unselfishly loving, give me that all-pure love which forgets itself, which “is not self-seeking” (1 Cor. 13:5), which is always ready to give, and let me be sanctified in this love!


Stations IX-XIV

2 Comments

Filed under Reflections

Love’s Way of the Cross: Stations I-IV

Here is Part 1 (of 3) of the Way of the Cross given to me by Fr. Fields. After scouring the Internet for a site where copies of these Stations could be purchased, I’ve concluded that the booklet is out-of-print. I reproduce it here in the hope that readers will find it an aid to their prayer this Holy Week. No copyright infringement is intended.


Murillo, The Embrace of St. Francis and the Crucified, 1668

Murillo, The Embrace of St. Francis and the Crucified, 1668

Love’s Way of the Cross:

Love Revealed in the Stations of the Cross

By Emmanuel Maria Heufelder, O.S.B., Abbot of Niederalteich

Translated from the German by a Benedictine Monk

Doyle and Finegan – Collegeville, Minnesota – 1955

Nihil Obstat: Rev. Gregory J. Roettger, O.S.B., Censor Deputatis

February 18, 1955

Imprimatur: + Petrus G. Bartholome, Bishop of St. Cloud

February 19, 1955


+

Preparatory Consideration

“This is My commandment; love one another as I love you.”   John 15:12

Everyone who loves must walk the way of the Cross, just as He who taught love and who is Love has walked the way of the Cross. These stations are the testing time of love.

Lord, I will let my soul review in quiet contemplation those hours which tested Your love as gold is tried in the fire. I will make the stations of Your love to test and measure the extent of my own love.


+

First Station

Jesus Allows Himself to Be Condemned to Death

“No one can give a greater proof of his love than by laying down his life for his friends.”    John 15:13

With a love unto death Christ has loved us. “We know what love is from the fact that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.” And with the same great love we must love one another. “We, too, ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). As long as we are not ready for this, as long as we are not determined to sacrifice ourselves for others as completely as the Savior did, we have not yet “the great love.”

O Lord, how small is my love when I measure it against the vastness of Yours! I should be ready to give my life; how much more ready, then, to give what is less than life. What I have and what I am – my strength and talents, my time, my possessions – all should be bent upon the service of my brethren, belonging more to them than to me.

Lord, help me to love my neighbor “not merely in word or with the tongue, but in action, in reality” (1 John 3:18). Help me to love with that “great love” unto death with which You have loved me.


+

Second Station

Jesus Takes the Cross on His Shoulders

“Love is long-suffering; love bears everything.”   1 Cor. 13:4, 7

“Love bears everything,” even the cross which our neighbor imposes; bears it not complainingly, not unwillingly, but patiently and with resignation – yes, with joy, as the Savoir carried His cross. Love rejoices when it can bear another’s burden and so fulfill Christ’s law of love, as the Apostle bids (Gal. 6:2).

What is the burden that we should carry for our neighbor? St. Benedict tells us in his holy Rule (ch. 72), when he exhorts his monks “most patiently to endure one another’s infirmities, whether of body or of character.” Everyone has his weaknesses and miseries, bodily defects and faults of character, and suffers frequently enough because of them. We should help our brother to carry his burden “most patiently,” with that patient, all-sustaining love which made the Savoir carry His cross: mankind’s burden of sin and pain, for the salvation of all.

My Savior and Redeemer, give me Your long-suffering love! Give me the love that bears all, and so let me be with You a savior and redeemer for my suffering neighbor.


+

Third Station

Jesus Falls the First Time under the Cross

“Love will never end.”   1 Cor. 13:8

It is terrible and yet wonderful what divine Love is willing to suffer at the hands of men. It lets Itself be mocked, abused, crushed, tormented with inconceivable tortures, and still It does not cease. “Love never fails.”

Only a love that seeks itself more than its neighbor will give way to disaffection and hate if it is not returned.

True love never ceases. On the contrary, it converts the pain inflicted by the loved one into a sacrifice for him, a redemptive offering to free him from his selfishness. As long as we do not act thus, we have not yet true love.

Lord, give me Your selfless love, which never ends!


+

Fourth Station

Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

“Love endures everything.”   1 Cor. 13:7

Mary is the model of all who have true love. For this is the perfect love, to walk beside the Savior as He carries His cross, to suffer and endure everything with Him and through Him, to sacrifice everything, even what is most precious, even a treasure on which one has set one’s heart. “Most gladly,” says true love, “will I spend myself and be spend to the limit for the sake of your souls” (2 Cor. 12:15), to make reparation and petition, in union with the Savior, like Mary.

O Mary, mother of fair love, mother of sorrows, teach me this true love!


Stations V-VIII
Stations IX-XIV

2 Comments

Filed under Reflections

A Very Merry Christmas to All!

Ragin Cajun Catholics O Come Let Us Adore Him

Image credit: Trey Petitjean, from the Ragin Cajun Catholics Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ragincajuncatholics)

“At Christmas we encounter the tenderness and love of God, who stoops down to our limitations, to our weakness, to our sins – and He lowers Himself to us. St. Paul affirms that Jesus Christ ‘though He was in the form of God … emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men’ (Philippians 2:6-7). Let us look upon the cave of Bethlehem: God lowers Himself to the point of being laid in a manger – which is already a prelude of His self-abasement in the hour of His Passion. The climax of the love story between God and man passes by way of the manger of Bethlehem and the sepulcher of Jerusalem.

“Dear brothers and sisters, let us joyously live the feast of Christmas… Let us live this wondrous event: The Son of God again is born ‘today’; God is truly close to each one of us, and He wants to meet us – He wants to bring us to Himself. He is the true Light, which dispels and dissolves the darkness enveloping our lives and mankind. Let us live the Lord’s birth by contemplating the path of God’s immense love, which raised us to Himself through the mystery of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of His Son… Above all, let us contemplate and live this Mystery in the celebration of the Eucharist, the heart of Christmas; there, Jesus makes Himself really present – as the true Bread come down from heaven, as the true Lamb sacrificed for our salvation.”

– Pope Benedict XVI,  General Audience, 21 December 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under From the Holy See, Quotes

On the Calendar: St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

Ora pro nobis!

“What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before God… for the language He best hears is silent love.”

St. John of the Cross

For more of my thoughts on the saint who inspired the title of this blog, check out last year’s post.

Leave a comment

Filed under On the Calendar, Quotes

On the Calendar: Blessed Charles de Foucauld

Charles de Foucauld

Ora pro nobis!

Prayer of Abandonment

Father, I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You
with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Bl. Charles de Foucauld

1 Comment

Filed under On the Calendar, Quotes

Little Flower Novena, Day 7

Therese in habitPrayers To Be Said Each Day

Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
V.  Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of Your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of that same Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love

O my God! I believe in You: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in You: do You secure them. I love You: teach me to love You daily more and more. Amen.

The Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Prayers for the Seventh Day

O little martyr of Love, you know now even better than in the days of your pilgrimage that Love embraces all vocations; that it is Love alone which counts, which unites us perfectly to God and conforms our will with His. All you sought on earth was love; to love Jesus as He had never yet been loved. Use your power in heaven to make us love Him. If only we love Him we shall desire to make Him loved by others; we shall pray much for souls. We shall no longer fear death, for it will unite us to Him forever. Obtain for us the grace to do all for the love of God, to give Him pleasure, to love Him so well that He may be pleased with us as He was with you.

[Mention your intentions…] Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day: Love of God

I will love God alone and will not have the misfortune of attaching myself to creatures, now that my heart perceives what He has in store for those who love Him.

What attracts me to the kingdom of Heaven is the call of our Lord, the hope of loving Him as I have so desired and the thought that I shall be able to make Him loved by a great number of souls who will bless Him forever.

When Christ said, “Give me a drink,” it was the love of His poor creatures that He, the Creator of all things, desired. He thirsted for love.

Remember that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone. Remember that He is consumed with a desire to come into your heart.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day

O Lord, You have said: unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

Adapted from EWTN.com

1 Comment

Filed under Prayer Requests

Little Flower Novena, Day 1

St. Therese of Lisieux

Ora pro nobis!

(Sorry this post is going up kind of late… I’ve been so tired this week that I had forgotten about posting the novena until Kolbe reminded me this afternoon.)

Starting today, a few friends and I will be praying the novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux in honor of her upcoming feast on October 1. My specific intentions will be:

For struggling priests, particularly those who are in danger of abandoning their vocation. For all of the priests who are dear to my heart; for our Lord to increase in them the virtues of humility, faithfulness, and purity of heart. For the grace of perseverance to be given to all priests and seminarians. 

Please join us in begging the powerful prayers of the Little Flower for this or any other intention, and feel free to post intentions in the Comment Box.


Prayers To Be Said Each Day

Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of Your love.
V.  Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of Your faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of that same Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love

O my God! I believe in You: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in You: do You secure them. I love You: teach me to love You daily more and more. Amen.

The Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Prayers for the First Day

St. Thérèse, privileged Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, I approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. I lay before you my desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant me according to this promise the favor(s) I am asking from you… [mention your intentions]

Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day: Confidence in God

We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for.

If you are nothing, do you forget that Jesus is everything? You have only to lose your nothingness in His Infinity and think only of loving Him.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day

O Lord, You have said: unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

Adapted from EWTN.com

2 Comments

Filed under Prayer Requests

On the Calendar: St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Padre Pio with cross

“Yes, I love the Cross… I love it because I always see it behind Jesus’ shoulders.”

Padre Pio

1 Comment

Filed under On the Calendar, Quotes