Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stay Awake Be Ready: How spiders can teach us about prayer

Live + Jesus!


Today's Gospel reminds me of a song we used to sing in Sunday School. Complete with clapping hands and the eager voices of children, the song was filled with excitement and anticipation.

This is what our Lord calls us to today. This joyful expectancy of His arrival. Of course, as adults, we may look at this as a preparation for death or a warning to be ready for the end of the world. And it is that, but let us today be like little children. Why are they so excited/ Why do they eagerly clap and dance while they sing this little Biblical hymn? Because they are eager for Jesus to come right now! Eager and expectant that at any second, Jesus will show up. He will burst into the room and greet them. Is this a childish understanding? A fantasy of the imagination?

I would like to suggest that perhaps they are right in their eagerness. Will not Jesus come to us each day if we ask Him? Does He not surprise us under the guise of our family and friends stopping by unexpectedly or calling just to tell us they love us? Perhaps even you see Him in the smile of a stranger or a lonely individual who reaches out to you for help. Perhaps He does not come in human form today, He comes in the words of the homily, a book we are reading, or a butterfly flittering in front of our eyes.

This stance of expectancy was brought home to be one day in the presence of a little spider. Having more leisure than usual , I was seated outside beside a large orb web (a circular web) and entered into a long moment of prayer with this spider. The web, being spun across the front of a bush, was easy to see and yet the spider was hidden as it sat squarely in the center of its little home. As I gazed upon it I noticed that each leg was pulling ever so gently upon the radial lines of the web. There was a peaceful and constant tension in the spider as it sat quietly in the center. Each leg pulled at a single radial line which was then attached to other areas of the web. As I watched it never relaxed its grip or retreated from its guard post. It was waiting and expecting at any moment for some little insect to fly into the web. At this, the spider would then spring ito action to ensure that the meal did not manage to wiggle out of the sticky web before the spider could reach it. Yet, for the 2 hours that I spent with this spider, there was not a single catch. Not a single fly. But the spider for this seeming failure did not lose hope or relax its attention.

How much the Lord desired this same attention from us! A ready posture at prayer, at home, at work. An expectant attitude that He will teach us, send us some gift or grace, inspire us with some project or guidance. Yet, we must be always ready so that when the little spiritual morsel is sent into our web we are able to respond with prompt gratitude and ready attention. Just as the insects are able to wiggle out of a sticky web on their own if given enough time, so too the gifts from our Lord if not opened and used, if not appreciated and loved can slip through our fingers and be lost.

If I may boldly challenge you today, my challenge to you would be to ask the Lord, “Lord, what are my radial lines? What areas of my life do I need to be in touch with in order to hear Your voice and see Your gifts? Show my Jesus how to live in this gentle tension without becoming weary and with confident trust that You will and do send spiritual morsels to sustain me every day. Thank You Jesus. Amen.
The black lines are the "radial threads"

Friday, November 23, 2018

14th Station of the Sacred Heart: Peter Do you love Me?



Fourteenth Station

Peter Do you love Me?
Heart of Jesus longs to forgive.

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”-Jn 21:15-19

Reflection:

This final station, this final word from His Sacred Heart sounds so much like the first, “Do you love Me?”  The Heart of Jesus continues to cry out for love!  This time, His cry also restores and renews Peter as he now stands as the head of the Church.  Peter represents the Church before God and Jesus cries out, “People of God, do you love Me?”  Can we hear once more:

 “Behold this heart which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to the point of spending itself and being consumed to prove its love to them. And in return, I receive from most men only ingratitude because of their irreverence and sacrileges and the coldness and scorn they have for me in this Sacrament of love. But what offends me most is that hearts consecrated to me act in this way. Do thou at least console me by supplying for their ingratitude, as far as thou art able.”
His Heart continues to thirst, thirsting for love, thirsting to pour out those rivers of blood and water upon souls in need of forgiveness, of strength… of LOVE.
Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, we do love You.




Concluding Prayers:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.


Friday, November 16, 2018

13th Station of the Sacred Heart: Thomas places his hand into Jesus' Side



Thirteenth Station 

Thomas places his hand into Jesus’ side
Heart of Jesus desires to be touched and to show mercy.

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”Jn 20:24-29


Reflection:

His Heart is open.  His Body is resurrected.  Yet, there is still doubt among his closest followers.  Thomas places not just his finger, but his hand into the side of Christ. A man’s hand.  A hand grasping for physical proof, reaching out from a heart grasping for love.  This hand finds itself touching the beating heart of Christ.  Yes, Thomas drops to his knees and believes for he has just felt the pulsations of Divine Love in a heart pierced and raised from the dead. Here is the mercy of God, as He has reminded us through the revelations to St. Faustina.  Trust in Me and you too will feel the pulsations of my Heart, of my Divine Love.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in You

Friday, November 9, 2018

12th Station: Piercing of the Heart of Jesus



Twelfth Station 

Piercing of the Heart of Jesus
Opens the door of His Heart and Heaven

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down.So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs,but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may believe.For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled:
And again another passage says:

Reflection:

The piercing of the Heart of Christ, so very central to the Sacred Heart devotion that this wound is depicted in every image of the Sacred Heart. But why?  What is this piercing of this physical organ?  It is an opening of the Heart of God as a gateway to Heaven. The very first image of the Sacred Heart, drawn in the monastery where St. Margaret Mary lived, shows this wound to be as large as the entire width of the Heart.  Inside this gaping hole is found the word “Charitas”, Love.  Love which gives.  Jesus seems to remind us that this wound remains open.  It is still pouring out the water and the blood. Water to bring death to sin and blood to give us life in God.  This opening is a physical reality showing us the spiritual reality of heaven.  Love, now and forever more open to all humanity so long as they themselves are open to the cleansing flood which gushes forth from His Side.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, help us to open our hearts and to receive Your gifts

Friday, November 2, 2018

11th Station of the Sacred Heart: Gethsemane




Eleventh Station 

Gethsemane
Heart of Jesus chooses to suffer for humanity

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.”After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed,saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief.He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”-Lk 22:39-46


Reflection:

The anguish of Jesus, the pain of surrender which his human will feels at the final and complete submersion with the Divine Will.  This is experienced most fully by that physical, human organ where the two have dwelt together: the heart.  The anguish is so real that the heart beats with enough intensity to burst the capillaries of Jesus’ flesh and so, push blood-tinged sweat out of His pores.  Divine Love, expressed so eloquently in the priestly prayer in the Gospel of St. John, is made physically manifest in the work of the Sacred Heart to bring that prayer to fruition.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach us how to surrender to the Will of the Father




Friday, October 26, 2018

10th Station: the Last Supper



Tenth Station 

The Last Supper
Heart of Jesus gives Itself fully in the Eucharist and is heard by John as he rests his head on Jesus’ breast

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles.He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passoverwith you before I suffer,for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”Then he took a cup,gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you; do this in memory of me.”And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you. -Lk 22:14-20

One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,was reclining at Jesus’ side.So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?”Jn 13:23-25

Reflection:

The Heart of Jesus, the Flesh of the Eucharist, the desire to give Himself fully, the tenderness of the heartbeat heard by John.  This is the Last Supper.  We know from the multiple Eucharistic miracles that the Eucharist is the flesh from His Heart.  The Sacred Heart is seen both in its radical self-gift and in its gentle calling of souls. That very heart, gently beating to be unified with John as he lays his head on Jesus’ breast, is at the same time being given as food and feeling the sting of betrayal given by Judas.  In these moments Jesus’ Heart is tangible visibly in the form of bread, audibly through the ears of John, and spiritually as He conveys His ardent love for the disciples, exposing His Heart in such vulnerability in the midst of the disciples who will flee, betray, and deny Him. “Master, who is it?”  The question echoes in the hearts of all those present as they receive His Flesh for the first time.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, thank You for your Eucharistic presence, please grant us the grace to remain united to you and not turn our backs on You

Friday, October 19, 2018

9th Station of the Sacred Heart: Jesus Weeps



Ninth Station 

Jesus weeps for Jerusalem
Heart of Jesus weeps for the sinfulness of the people and teaches contrition for sin

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”-Mt 23:37-39

As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it,saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace but now it is hidden from your eyes.For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”-Lk 19:41-44

Reflection:

The Heart of Jesus weeps.  It is not only an external sorrow or a detached pity over the sins of these chosen people, living in this chosen city.  Scripture tells us that Jesus became sin (2 Cor 5:21), this is how far the unity of the Sacred Heart goes.  Here He weeps not just for Jerusalem, but also, in a sense as Jerusalem. Imagine Jesus standing before the throne of the Father full of shame and sadness.  He feels sorrow and contrition for all the sins of the world so fully and completely that He becomes those sins in order to offer due contrition to the Father.  This weeping for the city of Jerusalem shows the contrition of His Heart and, while it precedes His cry from the cross, “Father, forgive them”, it already cries out to the Father in sorrow.  He takes upon Himself these sins of the present and weeps in true contrition for them for “they know not what they do”.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach us true sorrow for our sins