The Christocentric Life

May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the “civilization of love”. The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!--Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Great Rebellion

I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found. Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere? Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father? I am constantly surprised at how I keep taking the gifts God has given me— my health, my intellectual and emotional gifts— and keep using them to impress people, receive affirmation and praise, and compete for rewards, instead of developing them for the glory of God. Yes, I often carry them off to a “distant country” and put them in the service of an exploiting world that does not know their true value. It’s almost as if I want to prove to myself and to my world that I do not need God’s love, that I can make a life on my own, that I want to be fully independent.

Beneath it all is the great rebellion, the radical “No” to the Father’s love, the unspoken curse: “I wish you were dead.” The prodigal son’s “No” reflects Adam’s original rebellion: his rejection of the God in whose love we are created and by whose love we are sustained. It is the rebellion that places me outside the garden, out of reach of the tree of life. It is the rebellion that makes me dissipate myself in a “distant country.” 

Looking again at Rembrandt’s portrayal of the return of the younger son, I now see how much more is taking place than a mere compassionate gesture toward a wayward child. The great event I see is the end of the great rebellion. The rebellion of Adam and all his descendants is forgiven, and the original blessing by which Adam received everlasting life is restored. It seems to me now that these hands have always been stretched out— even when there were no shoulders upon which to rest them. God has never pulled back his arms, never withheld his blessing, never stopped considering his son the Beloved One. But the Father couldn’t compel his son to stay home. He couldn’t force his love on the Beloved. He had to let him go in freedom, even though he knew the pain it would cause both his son and himself. It was love itself that prevented him from keeping his son home at all cost. It was love itself that allowed him to let his son find his own life, even with the risk of losing it. 

Here the mystery of my life is unveiled. I am loved so much that I am left free to leave home. The blessing is there from the beginning. I have left it and keep on leaving it. But the Father is always looking for me with outstretched arms to receive me back and whisper again in my ear: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.”

--Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son (pp. 43-44). 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Returning Home: The Prodigal Son

"Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests”— the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard."
--Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blessings to our friends in Oxford!

Stratford Caldecott, Winston & Barbara Elliott
The Community of Eternal Love, the Blessed Trinity makes his creatures by Love for Love. And then, if free will does not hide it in the darkness, our souls expand in the love we share with one another, a glimpse of the brilliant and overwhelming Love of the Triune God who is Love in singular and communal form. Mysterious? Yes. A gift of mystery. A loving response to love received our greatest offering?


Three questions worth asking: What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Of what is the spirit made? The answer to all three is the same. Love.

Tessa & Leonie Caldecott with Barbara
Love (another word is Grace) is all around us and yet...the darkness often seems to be expanding today...the victory is promised...but many battles are lost until the end...and yet some victories? To our beloved friends each evening of the days until the Creator of time slips us out of time, sleep well kept warm by the Love of all Loves from the Giver of Love eternal and Grace abundant.


Thank you to Friends from far away who
Khalil Habib & Winston
made far away warm and wonderful. The sites were magnificent, the Bodleian Library beautiful. The friendships, we treasure beyond measure.

Winston

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolbe

The militant desires for everyone the light of faith, happiness, forgiveness of sins, and a heart afire with God's love. His dream is the happiness of all humanity in God.--St. Maximilian Kolbe

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote of the Day: Bring Christ to the World-Blessed John Paul II

It is not enough to discover Christ-you must bring Him to others! The world today is one great mission land, even in countries of longstanding Christian tradition.--Blessed John Paul II

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quote of the Day: Gerard Manley Hopkins

The best ideal is the true
And other truth is none.
All glory be ascribed to
The holy Three in One.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, Summa

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Feast of the Transfiguration

August 6, 2011 by Communio
José Granados,, Embodied Light, Incarnate Image: The Mystery of Jesus Transfigured. (pdf, 2008).
From the text:
What is new and surprising in Christ is that in him we see not only a fraction of the past, but the ultimate origin from which everything comes; that he foreshadows not only a slice of the future, but the ultimate goal of the universe. In the life of the Son, time encounters its own truth by making visible the depths of eternity.

Now the glory of the one who eternally comes from the Father and eternally returns to him in love enters into the flesh, into the space where past and future, coming from and walking toward, memory and promise, are joined in the density of the present. We see then how Christ can fulfill the human experience of time beyond what is imaginable while faithfully preserving its structure. These reflections allow us to see in the Transfiguration a key to understanding the rhythm of salvation history. That the glory of Easter is anticipated on Mount Tabor is no exception, but rather a witness to Christ’s dominion over time, including the past and future. The second epistle of Peter tells us, indeed, that the Transfiguration validates the Old Testament in retrospect. From this point of view it is possible to see how the prophets and the just of the Old Testament were justified by the Spirit of Christ. We can glimpse also the meaning of Tertullian’s sentence, quoted in Gaudium et spes 22, in which he sees in the image of man a prefiguration of Christ’s image: “Thus that clay, already putting on the image of Christ who was to be in the flesh, was not only a work of God but also a token of him.” (full text)

Quote of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolbe on Truth, Good & Evil

"No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?"
~ St. Maximilian Kolbe

Friday, August 5, 2011

Quote of the Day: The Devout Life

But even as Josue and Caleb declared that the Land of Promise was good and fair, and the possession of it would be easy and pleasant; so the Holy Spirit, speaking by all the Saints, and our blessed Lord Himself assure us that a devout life is a lovely, a pleasant, and a happy life.-St. Frances de Sales

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tolkien: Lover of the Logos

From the Spring 1993 issue: Mark Sebanc, JRR Tolkien: Lover of the Logos (pdf).
From the text:
Tolkien’s is an exquisitely proleptic art that takes a pagan, pre-Christian universe and suffuses it discreetly with a sacramental holiness stemming implicitly from what Balthasar makes bold to call a Christian form. . . . . Like a colossus, Tolkien bestrides the abyss which separates the ancient and medieval worldviews from that of modern man, who has utterly lost sight of the Christ form as the primary means of access to the noumenal world. The power of the Word has been repudiated, and all around us now we see only its debased and slatternly distortions, hideous and mass-produced, like Tolkien’s Orcs. Tolkien’s art restores the incarnational, Christo-logical inclination of language. . . .  (full text).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Enriching the Good: Toward the Development of a Relational Anthropology

From the Winter, 2010 issue:
D.C. Schindler (bio). Enriching the Good: Toward the Development of a Relational Anthropology
From the text:
[W]ealth is not simply a collection of possessions (or indeed an abstract measurement of their monetary value) but more fundamentally a way of being, and specifically, being good. A response to the problem of poverty requires, before some sort of redistribution of wealth, more radically a reconception of wealth, and so an “enrichment” of the notion of the good, or it risks reinforcing the individualistic atomism at the root of poverty.

Ultimately, in order to overcome the poverty of individualism, which is a spiritual poverty at the root of material poverty, we must think of the common good in its most transcendent sense, and this entails a recovery of the Platonic understanding of goodness. (full text)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Mystery of Grace by Romano Guardini

Through your creation, O Lord, goes a voice that reminds us of something that is above everything created. The things and their ordering, earth, sun and stones, seem to be pure reality, but our heart knows that they proceed from your holy freedom, and are gifts that should always be accepted afresh. And so they point away from themselves to something higher than they are; but what they might be they do not say.

This indication is stronger in our own life. Plants and animals grow from their own nature and perfect themselves in it; not so men. Only in joining with this other does he come to himself; he gains his own being only when he gives himself to the other. But there is nothing mortal that could be the last fulfilling encounter for him, and so he is always wandering and searching.

But what he in fact seeks, he never gains through his own strength. Only grace can give it to him. On grace depends our salvation, but we have neither a right to grace nor the power to compel it. Grace must reveal itself to us, and only then will we recognize it. Grace must give itself to us, and only then will we possess it. And in it alone do we receive our own true self, which you, O God, assigned to us as you created us.

In the work of your redemption, O Lord, you started a fresh work. You yourself came and called to man. Your being, veiled from all creation, “shown out to him in the face of Jesus Christ”. You showed him how he was lost, and offered him forgiveness. Your love and holiness streamed out to him; now he can accept them and share them.

All that is your free gift, and yet the answer to our innermost need. We cannot conceive it with our own strength, but when you reveal it, we feel that it is the truth upon which we live. We must preserve it from the claim of the world and from the contradiction of our own inadequacy. But when our heart is open, the truth speaks within it and bears up our existence.

Awake within me a holy disquiet, O Lord, so that at all times I may search for you. Teach me to understand the mystery according to which you made my being: that I can only live from that which is above me, and that I lose myself as soon as I place myself within myself. Take my hand; help me to cross over to you, so that I may truly find myself in you.

Amen.

(From Prayers from Theology by Romano Guardini)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Become Humble like Mary-Mother Teresa

With deep appreciation, I thank you for you remembering me in your prayers. My gratitude will be my prayer for you that you may become humble like Mary, so as to become more and more holy like Jesus. Together, let us thank God for all his tender love and care. Continue to pray for me and my sisters that we may not spoil God’s work. Always be one heart full of love in the hearts of Jesus and Mary by loving one another with a most tender and forgiving love.--Mother Teresa

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Creation of Man-Romano Guardini

O Lord, you made all things. You gave them their being, set them in their place and gave them their measure. They are filled with your mystery, and the pious heart is moved by it.

We people, too, O Lord, were called into being and placed between you and the things. You have formed us in your own image and made us to share in your dominion. You have placed your world into our hands that it may serve us and that in it we may complete our work.  However, we must remain your subjects, and our dominion becomes rebellion and robbery if we do not bow down before you, who alone bears the eternal crown and is Lord in his own right.

Wonderful, O God, is your generosity. You did not fear for your sovereignty when you created beings who were masters of themselves and entrusted your will to their freedom. Great and truly regal are you!

You have placed the honor of your will in my hands. Each word of your revelation says that you respect and trust me, that you give me dignity and responsibility. Teach me to understand that. Give me that holy maturity that is capable of receiving the right that you grant and of assuming the responsibility that you entrust. Keep my heart awake that at all times it may be before you, and let what I do become one with the command and the obedience to which you have called me.

Amen.

(From Prayers from Theology by Romano Guardini)