Showing posts with label Cloistered Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloistered Heart. Show all posts

19 Feb 2017

The Nights of Many Bells

In some monasteries, the new day begins in the middle of the night. "Not long after midnight," writes Mother Mary Francis PCC, "Sister Sacristan...sets her jaw for what is at once a beautiful and a grim task:  to rouse all the other sleeping nuns.  It is a beautiful task because the sacristan's bell is summoning the community to a midnight tryst with God.  It is a grim business because Poor Clares unfortunately carry their souls about in the same clay casing found on the rest of humanity..." (A Right to Be Merry, pp. 115-118)

Out here in the world, I can't identify with bells that rattle me from sleep in the middle of the ni...

O but wait. O yes. Yes, I can. The nights of many bells were several decades ago for me now, but some of you are reading these very words between two such nights.  We know what it's like.  We're deep into a sound sleep, having finally fallen exhausted into bed, when the baby cries.  Is it time for her to eat again?... oh, it can't be!  We drag to our feet, get the baby, feed her, and now she needs a diaper change.  Three hours later, this sweet voiced little "bell" rings again.... (click here to continue) 

29 Jan 2017

A Saint for Bloggers

I like to imagine that, were he living in our age, St. Francis de Sales would be a blogger.  After reading the following on Catholic Online, I suspect my idea may not be all that far-fetched.... 

"Francis' unusual patience kept him working.  No one would listen to him, no one would even open their door.  So Francis found a way to get under the door.  He wrote out his sermons, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors.  This is the first record we have of religious tracts being used to communicate with people." 

It is primarily because of his tracts, copied tirelessly by hand and slipped under doors, that Francis de Sales has been named patron of Catholic journalists. I cannot imagine a more appropriate saint for bloggers.

May he pray for all who slip faithful, God-honoring, blog posts through today's cyber-doors...


22 Jan 2017

An Act of Mercy

It is one of my favorite scenes in Scripture.

Thomas, who had not been present when Jesus appeared to the disciples just after His Resurrection, was skeptical. "'I will never believe it,' said he, 'without probing the nailprints in His hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into His side...'

What strikes me most about this is Jesus' tender mercy to Thomas. There are no reprimands. Our Lord doesn't say "oh you of little faith, why do you doubt? You've got to exercise faith, Thomas! You can do it! Just make up your mind!"

No. Jesus simply offers Thomas the precise help he needs.. (continue reading...)

1 Jan 2017

I Resolve...

'During this new year I resolve
to begin a new life.
I do not know what will
happen to me during this year.
But I abandon myself entirely to You,
my God. And my aspirations
and all my affections will be for You.
I feel so weak, dear Jesus,
but with Your help I hope and resolve to 

live a different life; that is, a life closer to You.'
 

St. Gemma Galgani

24 Dec 2016

If You're Not Feeling Merry

It's a bad time of year to be hurting.  Not that there is a good time for pain, of course, but the days around Christmas and New Year's can be particularly poignant for some.

Many of us have had such seasons. Times when we can't be with loved ones, or a close friend has died, or we've suffered a miscarriage, or we're sick, or we've lost our job, or there is illness in the family.  Even the time of year can make us feel blue.  Here in the northern hemisphere, night falls early in these months of bleak midwinter. We may be struggling to adjust to the long, long, long dark.

For anyone reading this who is sad, in pain, or maybe just wishing the holidays would be over and gone - know that you're not alone...
(continue reading)

11 Dec 2016

In This Time of Preparation


‘Silence is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God. In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection, so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.’
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 
 

4 Dec 2016

The Advent Window


My 'Advent Window' opened when I was twenty years old. I was in what I call my 'God doesn't bother me and I don't bother Him' phase. There was so much to do... friends to hang out with, boys to date, parties to go to. I took no time to think about God; in fact, I was ignoring Him altogether.

God, however, was 'thinking' of me, and began reminding me of Himself through a series of little seasonal things. A song heard on the radio, a nativity scene featured on the courthouse steps, Christmas songs piped into stores to draw customers...(click to continue..)

27 Nov 2016

Advent's Intention

'Advent is concerned with 
that very connection 
between memory and hope 
which is so necessary to man. 
Advent's intention is to awaken 
the most profound and emotional 
memory within us; namely, 
the memory of the God Who became a child. 
This is a healing memory; 
it brings hope.... 
It is the beautiful task of Advent 
to awaken in all of us 
memories of goodness 
and thus to open doors of hope.'
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

(from The Cloistered Heart)

13 Nov 2016

Unceasingly


'For my heart is always with Him; day and night it thinks unceasingly 
of its heavenly and divine Friend, to Whom it wants to prove its affection.'
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
 

30 Oct 2016

Souls in the Street

'I would like us, in our meditation today, to make up our minds once and for all that we need to aspire to become
contemplative souls, in the street, in the midst of our work... (continue)

23 Oct 2016

1,000 Darts

'As soon as worldly people see that you wish to follow a devout life, they aim a thousand darts of mockery and even detraction at you. The most malicious of them will slander your conversion as hypocrisy, bigotry, and trickery. They will say...' (click to continue)

16 Oct 2016

One of Our New Saints!

Someone once wondered why my earliest writings on The Cloistered Heart did not mention saints who'd had ideas somewhat similar to my own. Actually, I'd had no clue that anyone else ever thought such things... at least things with specifically 'cloistered' imagery.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I first read this from Elizabeth of the Trinity: 

'May the God Who is all love be your unchanging dwelling place, your cell, and your cloister in the midst of the world.'

Oh my goodness... (continue...)