Sunday, November 28, 2010

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel)

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel)

Latin

Veni, veni, Emmanuel
Captivum solve Israel,
Qui gemit in exsilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, Gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni O Oriens,
Solare nos adveniens,
Noctis depelle nebulas,
Dirasque mortis tenebras.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
Regna reclude caelica,
Fac iter tutum superum,
Et claude vias inferum.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.

Veni, veni, Adonai,
Qui populo in Sinai
Legem dedisti vertice
In maiestate gloriae.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.

English

Come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
form ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav’nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My usual manner of praying is this: I no sooner begin to pray than my
soul becomes enveloped in a peace and tranquility that words cannot
describe. . .All I can say about this prayer is that my soul seems to be
completely lost in God and that in those moments it gains more than it
could in many years of intensive spiritual exercises. ...St. Padre Pio

Friday, November 19, 2010

St. Teresa, the foundress of the Discalced Carmelites, once wrote:
Christ has no body now on earth, but yours, No hands but yours, No feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.

Lost Christian Language for Repairing the Person

Lost Christian Language for Repairing the Person  by Scott Cairns


"He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul."
--Psalm 22:3
Among a good many advantages our predecessors in the early Church could claim was a more nearly adequate vocabulary. For instance, they were in possession of a number of words that indicated a number of amazing truths. Nous, kardiá, népsis and théosis were among those words that helped to keep the young Body focused on the task at hand, the task of healing our shared array of rifts -- rifts within ourselves, between ourselves and others, and, most keenly, between a Holy God and a race of creatures that had broken off communion.

Three of those words -- nous, népsis and théosis -- have been all but lost to our contemporary conversation, and the deep significance of another, kardiá, which is to say "heart," has been sorely diminished. With these onetime commonplace words enhancing their spiritual conversations, our predecessors were better able to give their attentions to the profound complexity and the vertiginous promise of the human person, another treasure neglected over the centuries.

The import of nous has been obscured thanks to a history of not-so-good choices translating that very good Greek word into other languages that didn't have direct equivalents. What we have received are, at best, half measures, and none of them sufficiently delivers to us the mystery of ourselves.

In most cases, translations have replaced the mysterious noun with something that addresses maybe half of a complicated story, and leaves us, on occasion, misdirected in what we make of things.

For instance, when Saint Peter employs his accustomed, muscular language to encourage us -- "Gird up the loins of your minds" -- nous is the word that is shortchanged, having been replaced with mind. When we read in Saint Paul's epistle to the Romans, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," the word mind is again what we are given in lieu of the more suggestive nous.

In the above passage from Saint Paul, a good deal of significance appears to be placed upon right thinking -- specifically, the renewing of our minds -- as if by thinking better thoughts, by fine-tuning our theologies or by undergoing a bit of brain-scrubbing we might find ourselves duly equipped to "prove what is [the] good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Virtually every time we come across the word mind (or, in some cases, intellect or reason) in an English translation of the New Testament, nous is the word being rendered. One might say that it is the word being surrendered.

The greatest danger is that what should be an actively performed faith, a lived faith, becomes little more than an idea. When it is most healthy, ours is not a simply propositional faith, but a faith embodied and performed. Having lost this understanding, much of Western Christendom and much of an unduly influenced Eastern Church, has squandered the single most essential aspect of the Christian life: that we are ill, that what we need most is to be healed -- our nous purified, illumined and restored to actual communion with the God who is.

Until we shed the scholastic view that all we need are better ideas, until we apprehend that our deep illness must be cured and our smudged nous recovered, we remain susceptible to smug, deluded, recurrent failure and, perhaps, actual separation from the Body of Christ.

Another New Testament word that could benefit from a rigorous appraisal is kardiá, offered to us simply as heart. Early Christians, taking their lead from Jewish and other Semitic traditions, understood this word as indicating more than the pump in our chests, or as a figure of speech for our emotions, feelings and affections. They understood kardiá as the very center of the complex human person, and as the scene of our potential repair.

As our long tradition has figured the matter, the human person is herself/himself something of a trinity. Various writers in that tradition are likely to name our tri-parts variously, but most agree that thanks to the dire severing of our persons from the Triune Persons of our Life-giving God, we have become splintered, or something of a crippled tripod, a triangle that doesn't ring true.

We may be body, soul and spirit true enough, but, for most of us, our wholeness and unity remain either troubled or downright fractured.

We are compelled toward balance, but we are bent.

We hope to be even, but we are at odds with ourselves, at odds with our constituent bits, and as a result we have become somewhat less than the sum of our parts.

"Gather yourself together in your heart," writes Saint Theophan the Recluse, "and there practice secret meditation. ... The very seed of spiritual growth," the saint insists, "lies in this inner turning to God. ... Or, still more briefly, collect yourself and make secret prayer in your heart." On another occasion, Saint Theophan writes, "The Savior commanded us to enter into our closet and there to pray to God the Father in secret. This closet, as interpreted by St. Dimitri of Rostov, means the heart. Consequently, to obey our Lord's commandment, we must pray secretly to God with the mind in the heart."

The Mind in the Heart

The more we read in the fathers and mothers across the early centuries of the Church, the more profoundly we come to recognize this formula, this admonition that we might find our prayer lives made fruitful by our descending with our "minds" into our "hearts." This figure, then -- of the lucid nous descended into the ready kardiá, of the mind pressed into the heart -- articulates both the mode and locus of our potential re-collection, our much desired healing. At the very least, it identifies the scene where this reconstitution of our wholeness might begin: the center of the human body, which is nonetheless the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Split as we are, we think with our minds and we feel with our bodies.

Imagine, however, a habit of prayer that serves to marry both faculties together.

Imagine a covert organ at the core of our beings that, duly apprehended, duly cleansed and duly inspirited, is able to re-connect those severed capacities within ourselves, so that our internal struggle between the appetites of the body and the varied solipsisms of the mind resolves, finds peace in likely collaboration.

A finer sense of things is occasioned by Bishop Kallistos Ware's depiction of the nous as "the intellective aptitude of the heart." In this fortunate collision of mind-talk and body-talk, we glimpse something of what the figure of the nous descended into the kardiá performs; the nous inhabited kardiá becomes the place where mind and body meet, a place where their longstanding severance might be healed, their half-measures made meet and fit, a place where the human split is potentially repaired.

The faculty occasioned by the mind's descent into the heart is also the organ by which we apprehend God's presence as more than an idea, and as more than a passing sensation. The severed mind can help us to the idea of God, and the severed body can provide us with a sensation of His touch; but the noetic center of a healed, triune person offers something more lasting and more satisfying than either: felt knowledge of His love and ceaseless communication with His constant presence. Recovering a sense of nous and a more profound sense of kardiá will better equip us for the journey ahead.

As for népsis and théosis, the recovery of these similarly illuminating terms may provide some very helpful insights into what it is we are to accomplish in this the often puzzling meantime of our lives. Népsis can be considered as watchfulness, sobriety, interior attention and it is this discipline of népsis that is understood by the fathers and mothers to be essential to our théosis -- to our becoming like Him, our becoming holy.

As I recognize in my own, none-too-exemplary experience, sin happens when I pretty much agree to it, when I acquiesce to it. Sin, which clouds the nous and hardens the heart, is committed by our -- that is, by my -- failing to be watchful, sober or sufficiently attentive to the effects of what I think or say or do. The fathers almost uniformly distinguish between an unavoidable, momentary, if not-so-expedient thought (logismós) and sin itself (amartía).

The provocation to sin develops into sin only when we fail in our watchfulness.

An inexpedient thought becomes sin when we turn toward it and certainly becomes sin when we settle in to savor it.

"My son, give heed to my word," the writer of the Hebrew Proverbs exhorts, "and incline your ear to my words,"
...That your fountains may not fail you;
Guard them in your heart;
For they are life to those who find them
And healing for all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all watchfulness,
For from these words are the issues of life.

That your fountains may not fail you, guard them in your heart.
Developing this discipline of népsis, of watchfulness, teaches us increasingly to guard our hearts from every careless slip into temptation, keeps us from missing the mark and spares us from squandering whatever spiritual development we may have accomplished. With népsis we avoid our chronic sins that would have us repeatedly starting again from zero.
The mind descended into the heart, then, describes where and how we meet Him. Watchfulness indicates how we keep that meeting place uncorrupted. And théosis is the goal of our journey to Christ-like-ness, a condition that will gain for us the kingdom of heaven, here on earth. Over time, resulting from what Brother Lawrence (a 17th-Century lay brother) has characterized as "the practice of the presence of God," these meetings become a way of life, and they become the source of our freedom from happenstance, our freedom to face any occasion, any insult or any affliction with the consoling apprehension of God's being with us.
Moreover, the mind-in-the-heart -- the establishment of the noetic heart -- also creates the organ by which we finally are able to meet our brothers and sisters, the organ by which strangers are recognized as holy messengers, and the means by which we hope finally to realize that whatsoever we do (or fail to do) to the least of these, we necessarily do (or fail to do) to Christ Himself.
As Christ prayed for us, in what our common tradition recognizes as "the high priestly prayer," the prayer He prayed in the garden of Gesthemane "on the night when He was betrayed, or rather when He gave Himself up for the life of the world":
"...that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."
Which means, of course, that we are loved utterly, but just as the cup was not taken from Him, neither are we likely to skirt suffering. As Saint Paul avers, God "did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."

Oddly enough, our own descents into suffering may turn out to be the occasions in which we -- imitating His unique and appalling descent -- come to know Him all the more intimately.

Post I got in FB this morning..good timing

"You say that a dense darkness is obscuring your mind. Why, at such times, do you not come to Me, the light who can in an instant pour into your soul more understanding about holiness than can be found in any books?... the darkness about which you complain I first endured in the Garden of Olives when My Soul was crushed in mortal angui...sh.
I am giving you a share in those sufferings because of My special love for you and in view of the high degree of holiness I am intending for you in Heaven.
A suffering soul is closer to My heart. But when your mind is dimmed and your sufferings are great , it is then that you take an active part in My Passion. It is your task to submit yourself to My will at such times, more than at others."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There are times in life when you look over the landscape of who you are and what makes the inner you do the things you do.  Then there are other times when the last thing you do is even give yourself a second glance.  Lately situations and events in my life have been brought to the forefront, why do I throw the obstacles in my way?  Why do I hesitate and allow things from the past to hinder me in this search for a closer relationship. union, with our Lord?  

Yesterday and over the past few weeks one subject has been bothering me as the subject comes up repeatedly in the press.Gay suicides and gay marriage bring up conflicting responses within me, but yesterday I read where an American Archbishop equated gay marriage with Roe V Wade.I admit openly that I identified myself as a lesbian for a large chunk of my adult and teen life.Even though it has been over 20 years since I voluntarily have been with a woman and I have slept with more men then I ever slept/dated women I still have that part of me that still immediately identifies with the gay community.  To see the largely secular issue of gay marriage be equated to abortion, the killing of innocent life caused me shock, disbelief and even pain, that the murder of unborn children is equal to gay people trying to have some of the same civil rights in this secular country?  I am one of the first to say that gay marriage should not be forced upon religions, and that they should not be mandated in our country.  I am the first to say my gay friends that all people are called to a life of chastity.  But to equate it to the murder of over 50million babies? Wow... that stunned me.

Since coming back to the Church and God gracing me with His touch I have pondered over the issue of homosexuality in great detail in prayer and in watching the attitudes of my fellow Christians, I have seen where God has been merciful and never made sexuality a large part of my life, ever, if I had to look back and claim any label I'd say it is more asexual but that is a whole other story.  I have also looked over large portions of my life and can now see how my orientation became skewed the way it did and the forces that lead me to live like I did, not laying blame it is what it is.  I also see very clearly that I am called to a single life and have no problem with it to be honest.  For some reason God made me this way and I will never know until I hopefully join Him in Heaven the reason. The greatest time of sin and shame for me and the time that I know the devil worked on my reason was when I tried to become something I was not able to become and that was a straight person.  My advantage was I was older and had already had experienced extreme trails and darkness in my life so unlike the young people now killing themselves over their sexual orientation The inner psychological muscles were strong within me.  The religious communities of the world need to be firm, yes, in correcting the problems and sins of society but they need to be just as loud, just as public and just as intolerant of the identified straight people out there breaking God's laws. Just muttering at the end of a chastising, veering on hate filled sermon "love the sinner, hate the sin" is not giving the very real suffering ones out there any hope, any love to feel.


For over 4 years now I almost never talk about my past, how my ex was a woman, or what my former attractions were out of the very real experience when I first did tell members of my Church that I was a lesbian living a personal vow of chastity the reactions were all very hurtful.  One lady told me to never mention that to anyone, a couple other never talked to me again and still usher their children away from me like I am some pervert.  The weirdest one was awhile back that echoed chapters in my former life when for some reason some women think all lesbians want, think, breath is nothing but to jump their bones.  I have mental images they see me as a lecherous drooling freak who watches bad porn 24/7 doing vile things in dirty alleyways.  Sigh... its taken awhile to learn to just let it go and give it to Mother Mary and to try to not let the emotions become anything other then pity for their misperceptions. For those too afraid to ask or just don't know, people like me seem to get a certain grace from God that honestly makes the sexual side of ourselves a none issue, rarely if ever do I even get temptations dealing with sins of the flesh and the rare few I get are so obviously from the bad guy that they make me laugh and tell him to go away that my Mother Mary and my Lord Jesus are here with me and his paltry aims have no power or appeal.  Remember that we are just regular people who are trying to live our lives as best we can knowing that we will forever be single and the last thing we ever want thrown in our faces is misguided stereotyping bordering on depersonalized prejudgements, or avoidance from others.  That is the behavior that slays me more then anything, that is the weapon the bad guy uses to try and lure uswho are trying away from loving our Lord.


I know a couple who are very religious, not Catholics, just married and have been together for almost 30 years they have beautiful boys and they are parents that too many "normal" families need to emulate.  There is no way I could look at them and say they are like those who have murdered millions, their whole life together is maturely loving, self sacrificing and united always to raising loved, faith filled children, and a safe, supportive stable home life.  In a society where over 50% of the marriages end in divorce and children shuttled like pets from house to house every week, where physical,emotional and sexual abuse of children is at an all time high, where even among Christians the divorce rates equal that of non-Christians I think many of my brethern need to look at themselves long and hard and then touch that loving non-judgmental self within and say,"What can I do to make this world better?"  This is not achieved by laying blame to all the people outside of yourself and allowing yourself this one group to vent frustrated hate towards, instead maybe you should start changing from within first and showing that you live a true loving Christ centered life.  Show that you will at first show the gay person you know why they are called to chastity like all non-married people, and then as the gay person starts to open up more to the faith lead them on that journey to show them that homosexuality is not a death sentence of misery and that it is a sacrifice of love to God.  Let them enter religious life where they can have the support, guidance and family structure that fills them with a purpose and hope.

Yeah, I know it won't happen in this lifetime, too many think all homosexual are sex hungry fiends unable to rise above their physical nature and have an "agenda".  Maybe so many would not be so militant if they had not been so severely hurt, traumatized and openly hated, beaten up, humiliated by those within the so called churches?  The main reaction to hate and hurt is anger is it not?  So if we all opened our hearts and left the stereotypical misconceptions in the trash hwere they belong the push for gay marriage will diminish and then convert more homosexuals to follow the path of chastity and love a sea change would take place.  Maybe, just maybe it can begin by not having an Archbishop calling gay marriage equal to Roe v Wade and the slaughter of innocent life in the womb?

Maybe, I am full of it and letting my own misinterpretations color this rambling post as I read and pray for all those young kids killing themselves for they feel they have no hope, no chance for love, no place to breath without real fear of bullying, being beaten up, abandoned by their family, friends, church... maybe I wish we would all be a bit more like Jesus and learn that to ever change a heart is through love and guidance and also support to those in need.  Maybe I am a fool? 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Prayer by Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery ! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.  
O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you - even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm. me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.
O my `Three', my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendour !
The Mercy of God: "I am a God of love... never doubt My readiness to forgive. I am a Father full of compassion and never harsh. Knowing human frailty and infirmity, My Heart stoops to poor sinners with infinite mercy. I love those who after a first fall come to me for pardon. I love them still more when they beg pardon for their second sin, and should this happen again, I do not say a million times but a million million times, I still love them and pardon them, and I will wash in my blood their last sin as fully as their first. Does not a father love a sick child with special affection and greater care and solicitude? So too, is the tenderness and compassion of My Heart for sinners. Tell them that the mercy of My Heart is inexhaustible." (Our Lord's words to Sr. Josefa Menendez, June 1, 1923). St. Gertrude once heard these words in vision, "My child, there are many more saved than thou thinkest; I condemn no one who does not willfully resist My grace."