Saint's Lives and Writing: August 2002 Archives

One More Time--Audience in Krakow

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Here is a wonderful reflection from the Wednesday Audience held in Poland. The prayer at the end is, again, exemplary.

From the Wednesday 21 August 2002 Audience in Krakow, (?) Poland
John Paul II

4. My pilgrimage then took me to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the shrine dedicated to the Passion of Jesus and to our Lady of Sorrows. I have been attached to that holy place since childhood. I often experienced there how the Mother of God, Our Lady of Grace, turns her merciful eyes to afflicted humanity, in need of her wisdom and help.

After Czestochowa, it is one of the better known and visited shrines of Poland to which the faithful come even from the countries nearby. After travelling the paths of the Way of the Cross and of the Compassion of the Mother of God, the pilgrims pause to pray before the ancient and miraculous image of Mary, our Advocate, who welcomes them with eyes filled with love. Beside her, one can perceive and understand the mysterious bond between the "suffering" (patě) Redeemer on Calvary and his "co-suffering" (compatě) Mother at the foot of the Cross. In this communion of love in suffering it is easy to discern the source of the power of intercession which the prayer of the Virgin Mary has for us, her children.

Let us ask Our Lady to kindle in our hearts the spark of the grace of God and to help us transmit to the world the fire of Divine Mercy. May Mary obtain for all people the gift of unity and peace:  unity of faith, unity of spirit and of thought, unity of families; peace of hearts, peace of nations and of the world, while we wait for Christ to return in glory.

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Thou Art Peter III Viva Il Papa!

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From the poetry of His Holiness John Paul II. (Find more poetry here.)

from Space Which Remains in You
John Paul II

(spoken by the apostle John)

Your arms now remember His space, the little head
snuggling to your shoulder,
for the space has remained in You,
for it was taken from You.

And shining never empty. So very present in You.
When with my trembling hands I broke the bread
to give it to you, Mother,
I stood for a moment amazed as I saw
the whole truth through one single tear
in your eye.

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Apropos of the remarkable discussion Kairos started yesterday on humility:

At the risk of violating number 8 below, I use leave this as a checklist on my wall at work. I cheer when I have shown as few as nine of the seventeen in a day. This is from the remarkable writings of Josemaria Escriva, soon-to-be St. Josemaria.

Furrow Josemaria Escriva


263


Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:

--Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;

--Always wanting to get your own way;

--Arguing when you are not right or --when you are -- insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;

--Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;

--Despising the point of view of others;

--Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;

--Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;

--Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;

--Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;

--Making excuses when rebuked;

--Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;

--Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;

--Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;

--Refusing to carry out menial tasks;

—Seeking or wanting to be singled out;

--Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige ... ;

--Being ashamed of not having certain possessions ...

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Happy Saint Dominic's Day

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Happy Saint Dominic's Day
To all Dominicans--a most blessed feast day!

And that he might be construed as he was,
A spirit from this place went forth to name him
With His possessive whose he wholly was.

Dominic was he called; and him I speak of
Even as of the husbandman whom Christ
Elected to his garden to assist him.

Envoy and servant sooth he seemed of Christ,
For the first love made manifest in him
Was the first counsel that was given by Christ.

Silent and wakeful many a time was he
Discovered by his nurse upon the ground,
As if he would have said, 'For this I came.'

O thou his father, Felix verily!
O thou his mother, verily Joanna,
If this, interpreted, means as is said!

Not for the world which people toil for now
In following Ostiense and Taddeo,
But through his longing after the true manna,

He in short time became so great a teacher,
That he began to go about the vineyard,
Which fadeth soon, if faithless be the dresser;

And of the See, (that once was more benignant
Unto the righteous poor, not through itself,
But him who sits there and degenerates,)

Not to dispense or two or three for six,
Not any fortune of first vacancy,
'Non decimas quae sunt pauperum Dei,'

He asked for, but against the errant world
Permission to do battle for the seed,
Of which these four and twenty plants surround thee.

Then with the doctrine and the will together,
With office apostolical he moved,
Like torrent which some lofty vein out-presses;

And in among the shoots heretical
His impetus with greater fury smote,
Wherever the resistance was the greatest.

Of him were made thereafter divers runnels,
Whereby the garden catholic is watered,
So that more living its plantations stand.

From Paradiso Canto XII

My apologies for the translation (Longfellow) but needed to find something that was without question public domain.

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The Beauty of the Saints

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God has made powerful provision for all his people in the person of His saints. There seems to be a saint for every person and temperament. What is more, we have images from the lives of saints that, while the saint may or may not appeal, the moment speaks to us.

St. Alphonsus Liguori was a prolific writer and among the things presented to the world is a magnificent compendium The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ. Naturally, the lives of saints makes up only a portion of the work. But here is a excerpt that really spoke to me:

Similarly Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, when she held any beautiful flower in her hand, felt herself on fire with love for God, and she would say: "Then God has thought from all eternity of creating this flower for love of me." Thus that flower became, as it were, a dart of love, which sweetly wounded her, and brought her closer to God.

The saints are so steeped in prayer that they are able to show us the world anew. In their innocence of vision they strip away some of the illusions that we have built up about ourselves and the world. Who among us would look upon a flower and conclude that God in His love had made that flower particularly and especially for us at that moment in time? One of our prayers should be to be able to see things as they are--to be able to rip through illusion and see God's particular love and care for us.

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Memento Mori

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Memento Mori

Long called Venerable, St. Bede offers this brief reflection on the four last things:

Bede's Death Song
from The Venerable Bede (673-735)

Fore there neidfaerae naenig uuiurthit
thoncsnotturra than him tharf sie
to ymbhycggannae aer his hiniongae
huaet his gastae godaes aeththa yflaes
aefter deothdaege doemid uueorthae.

[Loose Translation:
Before the inevitable journey there is no one
wiser than him who, knowing his need,
ponders, before his journey,
what good and evil within his soul,
after his death, will be judged.]

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And a little known teacher of prayer. His works are still in the sometimes tortured prose of the seventeenth century, but what he has to say holds true now as then.

1. IT was only infinite goodness that moved Almighty God to create the world of nothing, and particularly in this inferior visible world, to create man after His own image and similitude, consisting of a frail earthly body, which is the prison of an immortal, intellectual spirit, to the end that by his understanding, which is capable of an unlimited knowledge, and by his will, which cannot be replenished with any object of goodness less than infinite, he might so govern and order himself, and all other visible creatures, as thereby to arrive unto the end for which he was made, to wit, eternal beatitude both in soul and body in heaven, the which consists in a returning to the divine principle front whom he flowed, and an inconceivably happy union with Him, both in mind, contemplating eternally His infinite perfections, and in will and affections eternally loving, admiring, and enjoying the said perfections.

2. Now to the end that man might not (except by his own free, and willful choice of misery) fail from attaining to the only universal end of his creation, God was pleased to the natural vast capacity of man's understanding and will to add a supernatural light, illustrating his mind to believe and know Him, and divine charity in the will, which was as it were a weight to incline and draw the soul, without any defect or interruption to love God, and Him only. So that by a continual presence of this light, and an uninterrupted exercise of this love, the soul of man would in time have attained to such a measure of perfection of union with God in this world, as without dying to merit a translation from hence to heaven, there eternally to enjoy a far more incomprehensibly perfect and beatifying union with God.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Saint's Lives and Writing category from August 2002.

Saint's Lives and Writing: September 2002 is the next archive.

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