Thursday, August 30, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Blessed and Close

Lord, bless us and bring us close to You.

Lord, bless us; pour Your grace down upon us.
Lord, bless us; fill us with faith, hope, and love.
Lord, bless us; give us strength and courage in times of trial.
Lord, bless us; grant us wisdom, knowledge, and good judgment that we may know You and serve You.
Lord, bless us; permeate us with patience, peace, and joy.
Lord, bring us close to You; remove all the barriers that stand between us and You.
Lord, bring us close to You; wrap us in Your love.
Lord, bring us close to You; keep us safe in Your arms.
Lord, bring us close to You; hold us in Your heart.
Lord, bring us close to You; carry us home to Heaven to be with You for all eternity.

(The intercessory response is from today's Morning Prayer.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Eternal Visions

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary includes a lovely hymn in which we ask Mary to obtain several realities for us: “the victory of hope over anguish, / of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust, of eternal visions over temporal ones, of life over death.”

The third of these particularly struck me as I was praying this hymn last night: “of eternal visions over temporal ones...”

Our visions can be so narrow. We often see only through the lens of this world. We are bound by time and space, but we rarely seek to look beyond them.

Therefore, when tragedy strikes, when suffering increases, when we face all sorts of trials and experience so many sorrows, we often fail to see beyond our hurt and our anxieties and our fears. We become focused on how horrible everything is, how frightened we are, how we cannot find a way out. We wonder where God is and why He has let such things happen.

We are stuck in our temporal visions.

So we ask our Lady to replace those temporal visions with eternal visions. We pray to catch a glimpse of our worst situations through God's eyes. And as we do, we learn many things. We discover that suffering has meaning and value, that it conforms us to Christ, that it cleans and polishes us, that it allows us to spread God's grace to others, that it helps us grow and learn, that it leads us to rely on God completely, that it prepares us for Heaven. We realize that God is perhaps closer to us than ever when we face difficult times and that He wants us to draw closer to Him so He may comfort and console us.

We come to understand that God has a plan for us, even if we don't see it fully, and that His plan is perfect even though some parts of it may hurt greatly. In the end, if we cooperate and remain in His grace, He will work everything out for our good. He will lead us to eternal life, home to Heaven, where our eternal visions will be permanent and where all our suffering will be only a memory.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lost Prayers #7

Prayer in Honor of the Five Sacred Wounds

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus! for the painful wound of Thy left foot, from which flowed the washing away of our sins. In it I sink and hide all the sins I have committed.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy right foot, from which the fountain of peace flowed to us. In it I sink and bury all my desires, that they may be purified and remain unspotted by any earthly stain.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy left hand, from which the well of grace flowed to us. In it I enclose all my spiritual and bodily ills, that, in union with Thy suffering, they may become sweet to me, and by patience may become of good odor before God.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the painful wound of Thy right hand, from which the medicine of the soul was poured forth. In it I hide all the negligences and omissions of which I have been guilty in my virtuous exercises, that they may be atoned for by Thy zealous works.

I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ! for the healing wound of Thy sweetest heart, from which living water and blood, and the riches of all good flowed to us. I place myself into this wound, and therein unite all my imperfect love to Thy divine love, that so it may be made perfect. Amen.

(From Manual of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 1897)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Notes from the Hours: Jesus Christ is the Same

As we celebrate the feast of St. Dominic today, we read a selection from Hebrews 13 in Morning Prayer:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.

Yes, Jesus Christ does not change. He is God, so He has always been, is now, and always will be a solid rock, a firm fortress, our protection and our strength when the world is falling down around us. We can count on Him to remain faithful, to love us even when we mess up, to continually pour His grace into open hearts.

So we need not be carried away by strange teaching, by the immoral temptations of the world, by the relativism that renounces truth, by the voices that deny the dignity of human life, by the naysayers who so loudly refuse to believe in God. We need not be confused or disturbed. Such teachings will always plague our broken world.

Our challenge is to stand on the unchanging Jesus Christ Who makes our faith firm and steadfast and to proclaim that faith to the world with confidence. It's not easy, but we're not alone, and we never will be because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen.