Meditations & Reflections
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
“I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” AMEN.
Dios, Señor Mío, no tengo idea de adónde voy. No veo el camino delante de mí. No puedo saber con certeza dónde terminará. Tampoco me conozco realmente, y el hecho de pensar que estoy siguiendo tu voluntad no significa que en realidad lo esté haciendo. Pero creo que el deseo de agradarte, de hecho te agrada. Y espero tener ese deseo en todo lo que haga. Espero que nunca haga algo apartado de ese deseo. Y sé que si hago esto me llevarás por el camino correcto, aunque yo no me dé cuenta de ello. Por lo tanto, confiaré en ti siempre aunque parezca estar perdido a la sombra de la muerte. No tendré temor porque estás siempre conmigo, y nunca dejarás que enfrente solo mis peligros. Amén
LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID 19MARCH 23, 2020Ron Rolheiser
In 1985, Nobel Prize winning author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, published a novel entitled, Love in the Time of Cholera. It tells a colorful story of how life can still be generative, despite an epidemic.
Well what’s besetting our world right now is not cholera but the coronavirus, Covid 19. Nothing in my lifetime has ever affected the whole world as radically as this virus. Whole countries have shut down, virtually all schools and colleges have sent their students home and are offering classes online, we’re discouraged from going out of our houses and from inviting others into them, and we’ve been asked not to touch each other and to practice “social distancing”. Ordinary, normal, time has stopped. We’re in a season that no generation, perhaps since the flu of 1918, has had to undergo. Furthermore, we don’t foresee an end soon to this situation. No one, neither our government leaders nor our doctors, have an exit strategy. No one knows when this will end or how. Hence, like the inhabitants on Noah’s Arc, we’re locked in and don’t know when the flood waters will recede and let us return to our normal lives.
How should we live in this extraordinary time? Well, I had a private tutorial on this some nine years ago. In the summer of 2011, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, underwent surgery for a resection, and then was subjected to twenty-four weeks of chemotherapy. Facing the uncertainty of what the chemotherapy would be doing to my body I was understandably scared. Moreover, twenty-four weeks is basically half a year and contemplating the length of time that I would be undergoing this “abnormal” season in my life, I was also impatient. I wanted this over with, quickly. So I faced it like I face most setbacks in my life, stoically, with the attitude: “I’ll get through this! I’ll endure it!”
I keep what might euphemistically be termed a journal, though it’s really more a Daybook that simply chronicles what I do each day and who and what enters my life on a given day. Well, when I stoically began my first chemotherapy session I began checking off days in my journal: Day one, followed the next day by: Day two. I had done the math and knew that it would take 168 days to get through the twelve chemo sessions, spaced two weeks apart. It went on like this for the first seventy days or so, with me checking off a number each day, holding my life and my breath, everything on hold until I could finally write, Day 168.
Then one day, about half way through the twenty-four weeks, I had an awakening. I don’t know what specifically triggered it, a grace from above, a gesture of friendship from someone, the feel of the sun on my body, the wonderful feel of a cold drink, perhaps all of these things, but I woke up, I woke up to the fact that I was putting my life on hold, that I wasn’t really living but only enduring each day in order check it off and eventually reach that magical 168th day when I could start living again. I realized that I was wasting a season of my life. Moreover, I realized that what I was living through was sometimes rich precisely because of the impact of chemotherapy in my life. That realization remains one of the special graces in my life. My spirits lifted radically even as the chemotherapy continued to do the same brutal things to my body.
I began to welcome each day for its freshness, its richness, for what it brought into my life. I look back on that now and see those three last months (before day 168) as one of richest seasons of my life. I made some lifelong friends, I learned some lessons in patience that I still try to cling to, and, not least, I learned some long-overdue lessons in gratitude and appreciation, in not taking life, health, friendship, and work for granted. It was a special joy to return to a normal life after those 168 days of conscripted “sabbatical”; but those “sabbatical” days were special too, albeit in a very different way.
The coronavirus has put us all, in effect, on a conscripted sabbatical and it’s subjecting those who have contracted it to their own type of chemotherapy. And the danger is that we will put our lives on hold as we go through this extraordinary time and will just endure rather than let ourselves be graced by what lies within this uninvited season.
Yes, there will be frustration and pain in living this through, but that’s not incompatible with happiness. Paul Tournier, after he’d lost his wife, did some deep grieving but then integrated that grief into a new life in a way that allowed him to write: “I can truly say that I have a great grief and that I am a happy man.” Words to ponder as we struggle with this coronavirus.
HOPE AT ALL TIMES
It is central in the biblical tradition that God’s love for his people should not be forgotten. It should remain with us in the present. When everything is dark, when we are surrounded by despairing voices, when we do not see any exits, then we can find salvation in a remembered love, a love that is not simply a wistful recollection of a bygone past, but a living force that sustains us in the present. Through memory, love transcends the limits of time and offers hope at any moment of our lives.
“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability--
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Ayer domingo 22 de marzo ofreció la Misa por aquellos que fallecen por causa del coronavirus, “que mueren solos sin poder despedirse de sus seres queridos”, y por sus familiares, que “no pueden acompañar a sus seres queridos en su fallecimiento” debido a las medidas de confinamiento de la población.
El sábado 21 de marzo pidió rezar por “las familias que no pueden salir de casa”, “para que sepan encontrar el modo de comunicarse bien, de construir relaciones de amor en la familia, para que sepan vencer las angustias de este tiempo, juntos, en familia”.
El lunes 16 de marzo también ofreció la Misa por “las familias encerradas”. “Que el Señor los ayude a descubrir nuevos modos, nuevas expresiones de amor, de convivencia en esta situación de prueba”.
El Papa Francisco también ofreció la Misa por los ancianos que sufren solos la pandemia, por los médicos que luchan contra el coronavirus hasta dar la vida, por los encarcelados y por todos los fallecidos.
This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
- See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen#sthash.vjE6PqTK.dpuf
Practice: Surrender to the Present Moment
James Finley, one of CAC’s core faculty members
Contemplation opens us to experiencing the path of descent as a way of life.
A contemplative practice is any act, habitually entered into with your whole heart, as a way of awakening, deepening, and sustaining a contemplative experience of the inherent holiness of the present moment. Your practice might be some form of meditation, such as sitting motionless in silence, attentive and awake to the abyss-like nature of each breath. Your practice might be simple, heartfelt prayer, slowly reading the scriptures, gardening, baking bread, writing or reading poetry, drawing or painting, or perhaps running or taking long, slow walks to no place in particular. Your practice may be to be alone, really alone, without any addictive props and diversions. Or your practice may be that of being with that person in whose presence you are called to a deeper place. The critical factor is not so much what the practice is in its externals as the extent to which the practice incarnates an utterly sincere stance of awakening and surrendering to the Godly nature of the present moment.
The following exercise is intended to demonstrate how meditation and the performance of daily tasks might gradually flow together in a habitual state of present moment attentiveness. The exercise consists of first choosing some household chore that needs to be done. I will use, as an example, washing a sink full of dirty dishes.
Begin by first sitting in meditation for about twenty to thirty minutes. Then slowly stand, and walk in a slow mindful manner to the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes. Stand at the sink, mindfully gazing for a moment at the dishes. Slowly and mindfully put soap in the sink. Fill the sink with hot water, attentive to the simple givenness of the sound of running water. Wash, rinse, and place each item in the drainer with mindfulness.
When the dishes are finished, pull the plug, listen to and watch the water going down the drain. Rinse out the sink with mindfulness. Dry each item and put it in its proper place with natural and deliberate mindfulness. Wipe off the counter tops with mindfulness. Then slowly walk back to your place of sitting meditation and sit for another twenty to twenty-five minutes.
Then open a journal and begin writing spontaneously and sincerely about what it would be like to live in this way. What would it be like to open and close doors, take some boxes out of the garage, file papers, answer the phone, not as rude interruptions into a carefully sequestered-off contemplative life, but, to the contrary, as living embodiments of the hands-on divinity of daily living?
El Padre es vida y es ternura y es misericordia y es perdón y es promesa. Su paternidad todo lo abarca. ¡Vamos al Padre! Al Padre de Jesús y Padre nuestro. Es imposible acudir al Padre sin recibir una abundancia especial de dones espirituales, porque él es el principio y la fuente de todo don, en el cielo y en la tierra." (19)
P. Felix de Jesus Rougier M.Sp.S
"Pope Francis has exercised a worldwide and major imaginal change . . [just as] Francis and Clare have done for eight hundred years.
They told us by their lives that Christianity could be
joyful, simple, sweet, and beautiful." -Richard Rohr, Eager to Love
Fragmentos de Thomas Merton: Pensamientos en la Soledad
Aspectos de la Vida Espiritual – IX
¿Qué significa conocer y experimentar mi propia “nada”?
No es suficiente alejarme disgustado de mis ilusiones y faltas y errores para separarme de ellos como si no existieran y como si yo fuese otra persona. Esta clase de auto-aniquilación es solamente una ilusión peor, es una falsa humildad que cuando dice; “no soy nada” lo que de hecho quiere decir es “quisiera no ser quien soy.”
Esto puede surgir de una experiencia de nuestras deficiencias y de nuestra impotencia, pero no nos produce ninguna paz. Para verdaderamente conocer nuestra “nada” tenemos también que amarla. Y no podemos amarla a menos que veamos que es buena. Y no podemos verla como buena a menos que la aceptemos.
Una experiencia sobrenatural de nuestra provisionalidad es una humildad que ama y valora por sobre todas las cosas nuestro estado de impotencia moral y metafísica ante Dios.
Para poder amar nuestra “nada” de esta forma, no debemos repudiar nada de lo que es nuestro, nada de lo que tenemos, nada de lo que somos. Debemos verlo y admitir que es totalmente nuestro y que es totalmente bueno: bueno en su entidad positiva, ya que proviene de Dios. Bueno en nuestra deficiencia, puesto que nuestra impotencia, incluso nuestra miseria moral y espiritual, atrae hacia nosotros la misericordia de Dios.
Al amar nuestra nada, debemos amar en nosotros todo lo que el hombre orgulloso ama cuando se ama a sí mismo. Pero debemos amarlo todo por las razones opuestas.
Para amar nuestra nada tenemos que amarnos a nosotros mismos.
Pero el orgulloso se ama a sí mismo porque piensa que es digno de amor, respeto y veneración por sus propios méritos. Porque piensa que tiene que ser amado por Dios y los hombres. Porque piensa que es más digno de ser honrado , amado y reverenciado que los demás hombres.
El hombre humilde también se ama a sí mismo y busca ser amado y honrado, no porque se le deba amor y honor, sino porque no se le debe. Busca ser amado por la misericordia de Dios. Implora ser amado y apoyado por la generosidad de sus semejantes. Sabiendo que no tiene nada, también sabe que lo necesita todo y no tiene miedo de rogar por lo que necesita y de obtenerlo donde pueda.
El orgulloso ama su propia ilusión y auto-suficiencia. El espiritualmente pobre ama su propia insuficiencia. El orgulloso reclama que se le honre porque tiene lo que nadie más tiene. El humilde implora por una participación en lo que todos los demás han recibido. Él también desea ser colmado abundantemente con la bondad y la misericordia de Dios.
Practice: Being Desired
As James Finley shared several weeks ago, Teresa of Ávila experienced and thus knew intimacy with God. She saw all of life as a journey toward consummation with the Beloved. Meditatively read this poem inspired by Teresa of Ávila, written by Daniel Ladinsky, and imagine yourself as the object of God’s (“Her”) desire:
She desired me so I came close.
No one can hear God unless She has
prepared a bed for
A thousand souls hear Her call every second,
but most every one then looks into their life’s mirror and
says, “I am not worthy to leave this
When I first heard Her courting song, I too
looked at all I had done in my life
“How can I gaze into Her omnipresent eyes?”
I spoke those words with all
But then She sang again, a song even sweeter,
and when I tried to shame myself once more from Her presence
God showed me Her compassion and spoke a divine truth,
“I made you, dear, and all I made is perfect.
Please come close, for I
“Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.”
― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love
The Jews did not speak God's name, but breathed it: inhale - Yah; exhale-Weh. God's name was the first and last word to pass their lips. By your very breathing you are praying and participating in God's grace. You are who you are -- living God's presence - in the simplicity and persistence of breath.
Breathe the syllables with open mouth and lips, relaxed tongue:
Inhale - YAH
Exhale - weh
For further study:
The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis, disc 5 (CD)
Ofrecimiento del Verbo Encarnado
Padre Santo, por las manos de María te ofrecemos como víctima al Verbo Encarnado, en quien tienes todas tus complacencias. Impulsados por la caridad que el Espíritu Santo ha derramado en nuestros corazones, nos ofrecemos constantemente en su unión como hostias vivas y nos sacrificaremos por tu amor en las ocasiones que se nos presenten, implorando gracias para el mundo y la Iglesia, especialmente por tus sacerdotes.
Jesús, Salvador de los hombres ¡Sálvalos!
BEING IN THE MOMENT
Many of us find that it is all too easy to get lost in the maze of our minds. We do this without even realizing it. We may be thinking about something in the future, or obsessing about some problem or reviewing some event in the past. Often this is not particularly valuable or productive thinking. In fact, it tends to be counter-productive because it distracts us from whatever it is that is right in front of us that needs our attention.
To read more from Henri Nouwen or to subscribe to his Daily Meditations
Great articles and meditations , visit Ron Rolheiser, OMI website.
ABOUT RON ROLHEISER, OMI
Ronald Rolheiser, a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.
He is a community-builder, lecturer and writer. His books are popular throughout the English-speaking world and his weekly column is carried by more than seventy newspapers worldwide.
Catholics celebrate the family and the rosary
Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic DRAPER — Dozens of Hispanic Catholics gathered to celebrate a "Day for Families and a Living Rosary" Oct. 26 at the Skaggs Catholic Center in Draper.
"I know how hard it is for you to leave your houses on the weekend; thank you for being here," said Maria Cruz Gray, director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, to the attendees.
Gray’s office organized the event, which was open to the Spanish-speaking community of the diocese.
Attendees from all over the state were at the event, some together with their families.
Dr. Antonio Ramirez de León and Father John Phalen were in charge of the presentations
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Love: Seeing with God’s Eyes
Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov 
God refuses to be known in the way we usually know other objects; God can only be known by loving God. Yet much of religion has tried to know God by words, theories, doctrines, and dogmas. Belief systems have their place; they provide a necessary and structured beginning point, just as the dualistic mind is good as far as it goes. But then we need the nondual or mystical mind to love and fully experience limited ordinary things and to peek through the cloud to glimpse infinite and seemingly invisible things. This is the contemplative mind that can “know spiritual things in a spiritual way,” as Paul says (1 Corinthians 2:13).
What does it mean when Jesus tells us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind (not just our dualistic mind), and strength (Luke 10:27)? What does it mean, as the first commandment instructs us, to love God more than anything else? To love God is to love what God loves. To love God means to love everything . . . no exceptions.
Of course, that can only be done with divine love flowing through us. In this way, we can love things and people in themselves, for themselves—not for what they do for us. That’s when we begin to love our family, friends, and neighbors apart from what they can do for us or how they make us look. We love them as living images of God in themselves, despite their finiteness.
Now that takes work: constant detachment from ourselves—our conditioning, preferences, and knee-jerk reactions. We can only allow divine love to flow by way of contemplative consciousness, where we stop eliminating and choosing. This is the transformed mind (see Romans 12:2) that allows us to see God in everything and empowers our behavior to almost naturally change.
Religion, from the root religio, means to reconnect, to bind back together. I would describe mystical moments as those attention-grabbing experiences that overcome the gap between you and other people, events, or objects, and even God, where the illusion of separation disappears. The work of spirituality is to look with a different pair of nondual eyes, beyond what Thomas Merton calls “the shadow and the disguise”  of things until we can see them in their connectedness and wholeness. In a very real sense, the word “God” is just a synonym for everything. So if you do not want to get involved with everything, stay away from God.
 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, trans. Constance Garnett (Encyclopedia Britannica: 1952), 167.
 Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (New Directions: 1973), 236.
Adapted from Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, eds. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018), 224-225.
--Richard Rohr, OFM
Click here to read more from Fr. Richard Rohr or to subscribe to his Daily Meditations.
Una oración por la quietud
Ron Rolheiser (Tras. Benjamín Elcano, cmf) - Lunes, 2 de octubre de 2017
Deteneos y sabed que yo soy Dios. La escritura nos asegura que, si estamos en sosiego, lograremos conocer a Dios; pero llegar a la quietud… es más fácil decirlo que hacerlo.
Como Blaise Pascal aseguró una vez: “Todas las miserias de la persona humana vienen de que nadie puede permanecer en sosiego durante una hora”. Lograr la tranquilidad parece que está más allá de nosotros mismos, y esto nos deja con un cierto dilema: necesitamos quietud para encontrar a Dios, pero necesitamos la ayuda de Dios para encontrar la quietud. Con esto en mente, ofrezco una oración por la quietud.
Dios de la quietud y el sosiego…