The Face of Christ or, if you will, the Gaze of Christ, is a motif that recurs frequently in the preaching of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as in his writings. In today's Angelus Address, the Holy Father alludes to that mysterious exchange of gazes, by which a particular vocation -- and often one to the priesthood or monastic life -- is both offered and received. That exchange of gazes is, of course, but the beginning. A priestly or monastic (or religious) vocation cannot be sustained except by growing into an exchange of gazes that becomes habitual. And this habitual exchange of gazes is, in fact, the gift of contemplation.
There may be readers of Vultus Christi who have, at one time or another, recognized the gaze of Christ resting upon with with an unspeakable tenderness. This sometimes happens when one is lingering in the radiance of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus. It may also happen when one is bent over the Word of God, or praying the Psalms. Meet the gaze of Christ with your own gaze. Look at Him. Begin to live, as Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity says, with "your eyes in His eyes." And should He call you to monastic life, communicate with us at Silverstream Priory. Do not go away sad. Say "yes" to the joy of having nought but Christ, and of preferring nothing whatsoever to His love. (Read entire post.)
Thursday, October 18, 2012
From Vultus Christi:
Thursday, October 11, 2012
It opens today. In the words of Our Holy Father:
Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life. And in the desert people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive. Living faith opens the heart to the grace of God which frees us from pessimism. Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path. The first reading spoke to us of the wisdom of the wayfarer (cf. Sir 34:9-13): the journey is a metaphor for life, and the wise wayfarer is one who has learned the art of living, and can share it with his brethren – as happens to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James or similar routes which, not by chance, have again become popular in recent years. How come so many people today feel the need to make these journeys? Is it not because they find there, or at least intuit, the meaning of our existence in the world? This, then, is how we can picture the Year of Faith: a pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world, taking with us only what is necessary: neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money, nor two tunics – as the Lord said to those he was sending out on mission (cf. Lk 9:3).... (Read entire article.)
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
From The Catholic Herald:
Because faith isn’t an abstract notion, Christians also must live their faith and share it with the world through acts of charity and love, the Pope said.
“Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians,” he said. “We pray that faith becomes like a fire in us and that it will set alight others.”
The synod formally opened on yesterday with a Mass in St Peter’s Square.
During his homily, Pope Benedict said that the “Church exists to evangelise” by sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard of Christ, strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptised and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the Church”.
“At various times in history,” he said, “divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the church’s evangelising activity”, as happened, for example, with the evangelisation of the Americas beginning late in the 15th century.
“Even in our own times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the Church a new effort to announce the good news,” the Pope said.(Read entire article.)
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
From Fr. Doyle:
It is a fundamental truth that we cannot love God unless we believe in His love for us. Scrupulosity completely represses such a belief, and thus paralyses all generous effort. At every moment it creates trouble between the soul and its Creator by pessimistic feelings about the past, and about its present dispositions and actions. The conclusions foolishly arrived at under the influence of these feelings boldly give the lie to the wise decisions of the confessor, and lead the soul to rebel against his spiritual guidance, and to put itself at the mercy of its enemy.
Soon the soul, seriously believing itself to be in a bad way, becomes discouraged, and often begins to commit real sin.
Even though sin does not follow from scruples, scrupulosity, nevertheless, retards the soul's progress in several other ways. It represents prayer as full of difficulties. It stops the ears of the poor downcast soul to the consoling voice of the Holy Ghost. It destroys confidence. It prevents the frequentation of the Sacraments, and thus stops their strengthening effects. It almost takes away the power of resisting temptation. It causes discouragement, and may even lead to despair. (Read entire post.)
Monday, October 8, 2012
Fr. Mark quotes St. John of Avila, our new Doctor of the Church:
How long will you continue your minute self-examinations? It is like raking up a dust heap from which nothing can come but rubbish and unpleasantness. Feel sure of this, that it is not for your own merits, but for those of Jesus crucified, that you are loved and made whole. Do not give way to such discouragement about your faults, the results will show you how displeasing it is to God. It would be far better to be courageous and strong-hearted. Meditate on the benefits you have received through Jesus Christ in the past and possess now; reflect on them in such a manner as to lead you to sorrow for your sins against Him and to avoid offending Him, without losing your peace and patience if you happen to fall. (Read entire post.)
Friday, October 5, 2012
From Father Mark:
There are those, even, alas, among Catholics, who would argue that the Passion of Christ, once accomplished, at a given moment in history, is over and done with, swallowed up in the triumph of the Resurrection and, in no way, prolonged in history. Divine Revelation, however (being both Scripture and Tradition), as well as the experience of the saints and mystics affirm that Christ suffers, and will continue to suffer, in His Mystical Body and in His Eucharistic Body, and this until the end of time....
Mother Mectilde practiced what she preached. Readily she accepted whatever humiliations, calumnies, accusations, and offenses came her way, seeing in them so many occasions of mystical union with the Christus Passus. Not without wit, Mother Mectilde declared, "The Invention [Finding] of the Cross is a feast that occurs every day, because, ceaselessly, one encounters suffering; but it is not so with the Exaltation of the Cross; nothing is more rare than to see tribulation honoured and accepted." (Read entire post.)