Monday, January 30, 2012

Adherere Deo bonum est (Ps 72:28)

We are to give back small love to God,
in order to receive great love from him.

Yet I was always in your presence;
you were holding me by my right hand.
What else have I in heaven but you?
Apart from you I want nothing on earth.
To be near God is my happiness (Ps 72).

We feel lonely, because we forget to be with him.
He is never alone, because he is always with us.

We think we have nothing in our hands.
But the reality is that he is everything for us.

We are looking for happiness every day.
While our delight is very close to us - in God.

The Lord is my shepherd (Ps 22)

But as for me, in the abundance of your kindness 
I will come into your house.
I will bow toward your holy temple in reverence of you.
Lead me, Yahweh! (Ps 5:7).
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing (Ps 22:7).

Thoughts during the Eucharist on the Feast of Saint Joseph Freinademetz.

It is worth to be a priest, even only for saying one mass.
It is worth to be ordained, even only for hearing one confession.
It is worth to become a missionary, even only for salvation of one soul.

It is necessary to be listening in such a way to hear only one word of God.
It is needed to be looking in such a way to see just only one deed of God.
It is wanted to be living in such a way to walk everywhere with God.  

One passage written by saint Theresa in her book
The Way of Perfection describes the next level of contemplation:
Such a person understands that, without any sound of words, 
he is being taught by this Divine Master. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Posuit super eum manus suas (Deut 34:9)

Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom,
for Moses had laid his hands on him.
I was sitting at home, when suddenly the hand of the Lord Yahweh fell on me there.
Something like a hand was stretched out and it took me by a lock of my hair;
and the spirit lifted me between heaven and earth (Ez 8:1-3).
What is good I will make known to you, man;
this is what the Lord asks of you:
only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God (Mic 6:8).
God touches us with his hand every time, but our eyes are closed and our ears do not hear him. However, saint Theresa asks: Do you suppose that, because we cannot hear Him, He is silent? Of course, not. She answers: He speaks clearly to the heart (The Way of Perfection). It is very good information for us. Always his hand is stretched out over us and his spirit lifted us above the earth - above our cares and daily problems. Often we are not able to feel it, but that should not stop us from acting justly, loving tenderly and walking humbly among people with grace of our God. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cum enim infirmor tunc potens sum (2 Cor 12:10)

Be strong, stand firm, have no fear of them, no terror, 
for the Lord your God is going with you;
he will not fail you or desert you (Deut 31).
However, I am weak and afraid every day, although I know that he is with me all the time and believe he will never leave me. And often I ask myself: Why? Why is my faith so fragile? What is wrong with me? Then this passage from saint Paul comes to my mind: For when I am weak, then I am strong. How can it be true? Only if I accept that my strength and courage is not from myself, but from my Lord. Only if following prophet Ezekiel I fall upon my face and hear a voice saying to me always: Son of man, stand up! I wish to speak with you. If I am able to listen to that voice, his spirit enters into me and set me on my feet (Ez 2). No longer I am faint-hearted, because his word and spirit support me. He provides everything I need.

Certa bonum certamen fidei (1 Tm 6:12)

Fight the good fight to win the eternal life.
He will feed his flock like a spepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with youngs.
(Is 40:10).
We are made to fight, but what happens when we do not have enough strength. Then, we are nourished by the Lord: we feel his gentle touch and we are carried in his arms. Like small babies who cannot walk but are carried by their mothers. Similarly, he embraces us and we can hear the beating of his heart. Moreover, his love flows abundantly and nothing can separate us from him.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meditation on Jeremias (Jer 50)

They will come weeping and seek the Lord their God.
Weeping is very important for us - human beings. Our tears can help us to clean our souls and prepare for the deep relation with God. 
The sheep have forgotten their resting place.
When we forget to regret and be close to God, there is no peace in our life. We feel lost and anxious.
The lions have driven them away.
Sometimes even we are carried by events and matters, but we do not want that. Nothing seems to be under controll and we do not know what is going on.
I will kindle the fire in their cities.
We need inspiration from God and His grace. We have to be kindled by His power from heaven, because we are like candles which are useful only with flames.
Make the arrows bright!
We have got some hidden arrows - the gifts from our God. If our life is not kindled, we even do not see them. But they are to be used.
With you I will do many things.
Do we really believe that God wants to cooperate with us in everything? Do we allow Him to do that?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Piscatores hominum (Mc 1:17)

We are like soldiers who, however long they have served, must always be ready for their captain to send them away on any duty which he wants to entrust to them, since it is he who is paying them (St Theresa, The Way of Perfection). 
At first glance we think that there is a big difference between Jesus' calling people to be apostles and recruiting to the army. But Saint Theresa is not afraid to name even her sisters in the monastary soldiers. She encourages them to trust more and not to worry about the future. For her vocation is like a struggle but it is worth it.
The standard-bearer is not a combatant, yet none the less he is exposed to great danger, and, inwardly, must suffer more than anyone, for he cannot defend himself, as he is carrying the standard, which he must not allow to leave his hands, even if he is cut to pieces. 
Saint Theresa goes further and compares the God's beloved to special soldiers who are in great danger. They have to suffer a lot with patience standing by the faith and keeping her strongly in their hearts. Sometimes it seems that following Jesus is easy and not demanding. But the reality is that listening to the God's words and  fulfilling our duties is always difficult. Therefore, first Jesus calls us to be fishermen and later when we are advanced to be his soldiers.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Women in the World

There are some very alarming statistics about women in the world I have never realized. For instance that in the United Kingdom one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute and 77% of victims are women. Moreover, in many countries, such as Egypt, Zambia, India or Ethipia women even accept that situation. So it is a significant problem of human beings who are subjects to torture, starvation, terrorism, humiliation, mutilation and even murder. Women very often suffer in silence and need medical treatment. Therefore, in many places shelters for battered women are being built. 
Nonetheless, one third of women in the world has been beaten, coerced to sex or abused in their lifetime. Furthermore, domestic violence sometimes culminates in murder. For example in Canada 40%-70% of all female murder victims are killed by their husbands or boyfriends, in Russia 32% and in Brazil 72% of total murders are also women killed by domestic violence. The statistics show that about 5000 women a year are killed by members of their families. In the Middle East and Southwest Asia it is called honor killings what means that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. 
Maybe, one of the reasons is extreme son preference which causes demographic distortion in the world, especially in South Korea, India, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan. As a result female infanticide and abortion is common in these countries. Girls are often seen as a lower economic value than boys. Consequently, from the beginning of life women are considered to be in worse position. They have usually very difficult start and even if they survive many dangers will wait for them in their future.  

Saint Theresa's Prayer

God deliver us from saying 'We are not angels', or 'We are not saint', 
whenever we commit some imperfection. We may not be; but
what a good thing it is for us to reflect that we can be if we will only try
and if God gives us His hand! (St Theresa, The Way of Perfection).

It is a wonderful prayer we should remember and repeat very often. We do not accept our weaknesses and too often think about ourselves that we are not worthy to be special. But actually we are. We are chosen by God to be holy and it is within reach for us. Let us give thanks God for His vocation and that  we are able with His grace to overcome our imperfection.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vita Sancti Antonii

Saint Anthony is a famous hermit because of his ascetic life and special God's vocation. His conversation with God could look like that:
God (speaking in his heart): Anthony, Anthony!
Anthony: Yes, I am listening to you.
God: Anthony, would you like to become my friend?
Anthony: Me? What should I do?
God: If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have. Then come and follow me.
Anthony: But, I have young sister and our parents do not live.
God repeats: Do not be scared, Anthony. Just come and follow me.
Anthony: My Lord, I am ready to leave everything, but what about her future.
God:  Do not be anxious about tomorrow. 
Anthony: So if you say that, I trust in you. And all my cares I hand over to you.
God:  Anthony, you will have riches in heaven.
Anthony: Thank you, my Lord. I will do all you wish.
God: Amen. Thank you, Anthony my friend.
Anthony bows his head, knees down and prays in the silence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Women Across Culture

One of classes I chose in this semester in the Divine Word College is all about women. We use three books in this class: Women Across Culture by Shawn Meghan Burn, A World Full of Women by Martha Ward and Monica Edelstein and The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. Why did I choose this course led by Jackson T. Zimmerman? The answer is: because I wanted to know more about them. Usually people say that women are mysterious, diverse and nobody can understand what they really think. There is even a joke that when woman says YES in the same time she thinks NO. But is it really true? I don't think so. I also don't like generalizations. So I am in that class trying to understand why Global Women's Studies takes a multicultural, intersectional, contextualized approach. Teacher speaks very interesting about feminism, ethnocentrism and persuades that women's rights are human's rights. It makes sense, but when I remind myself active feminists from my country - from Poland, I remember only aggresive women in the mass-media struggling with tradition, religion and demanding for the legalization of abortion. So I am concerned by feminism. Maybe my bad experience is the reason of that confusion. However, I had also met many wonderful and strong women in my life. And they had had an important and good influence on me. Therefore, I look towards the future with hope that there is a chance for wise feminism and intelligent feminists who will not fight with the reliable values but will build the bridges between men and women, between tradition and modernism, between the strong and the weak ones. I am certain it is necessary and such women would help us understand each other despite the fact that sometimes we have different points of view.   

Monday, January 16, 2012

One heart, many faces

The feast of Saint Arnold Janssen founder of the Society of Divine Word occurs in the Divine Word College. It is the special time in my life when I can see again with my own eyes that wonderful mission idea of our founder comes true. We are gathered together from about thirty countries, from all continents, from different races and cultures to celebrate the day of death of Saint Arnold. Usually here we speak English, but sometimes you can hear also many other languages from the whole world. During mass we saw beautiful procession led by Beninese student with the cross wearing white alb, two Vietnamese sisters clothed in national costumes followed him carrying candles and after them four other students, two from Africa and Asia brought the globe and the holy Bible and at the end the Carribean and American students offered bread and wine for the Holy Eucharist. In the background we were listening to the soft meditative song and our prayers were rising toward heaven. We thought of thousands of SVD, SSpS and SSpSAP missionaries in the world, helping people in needs, living with them and sharing everything with the poor, sick and abandoned.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

First Day

By his commands he sends the driving snow...
He scatters the snow like birds flying down...
He pours the hoarfrost upon the earth like salt...
(Sir 43)
Snow, snow, snow from the morning of the first day of the new semester in the Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa. People here have different attitude to the white snow. Some of them have seen snow first time in their life and are very excited, some do not like freezing weather at all and are sick when they only think about two more months with these falling down crumbs. However, when it is snowing and everything is covered with snow-white quilt we have possibility to meditate. When nature is sleeping and unpleasant wind blowing we realize that this season is also very important. Snow is like grace from the Almighty God. We are often dirty but he does not want to look at our sins. Loving God conceals our weak sites and bids the wind of Holy Spirit blow away what is bad inside us. Thank you my Creator for your kindness and this special time of recollection.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sancti eritis, quia ego sanctus sum (1 P 1:16)

God brought me forth into freedom, he saved me because he loved me (Ps 18).
Holiness comes from the love of God. If we know that there is somebody who loves us, we are happier and have strength to do many things. If we realize that holy Father in heaven is the One who loves us so much, we are the happiest people in the world and we have spiritual power to move the mountains, walk on the water and do many other miracles. Moreover, we are  able to love everyone who needs our sympathy. We can also share with others these gifts we got from God's grace. Each of us want to be filled with the special gift of God's freedom and love to take care of unhappy and distressed ones. Let's give thanks that we are loved and sent to love one another.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The ability to love is within each of us

Saint Basil the Great teaches us today that love of God is not something we can learn. God's love does not come by another's teaching. So we can be in trouble because of that. But saint Basil explains that from the first moment of our existence we have an innate power and ability to love. It is very good information on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus comes to us, receives our sins and becomes our friend. Our compensation for that is only to try loving him. Even if now we do not know exactly how to do it. Moreover in the Bible we read that we possess the Holy Spirit in our hearts who helps us to love and pray. Let us just spend every day some time being with God and repeating after saint Theresa of Avilla: Oh, precious love, forever imitating the Captain of Love, Jesus, our Good! (St Theresa, The Way of Perfection, 6). 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fortitudo mea et laus mea Dominus (Is 12:1)

Today's midday prayer is a prayer of the just man who places his hope in the things of heaven (St Hilary):
Let me dwell in your tent for ever and hide in the shelter of your wings (Ps 61). To pray in such words is very difficult, because praying person needs to have absolute trust in God. But nowadays people do not know how to trust. They do not trust each other and therefore they are not able to place their hope in God. Emmanuel is waiting for them in his tent - the church and wants them to find hiding place there. He would like to shelter everybody under his wings of love.  However, people do not go to him for help. They are unhappy and impatient. They like to find the answers to their problems in the mass media, but there is only a lot of noise. Sometimes it would be much better to take a stroll in the silence and say the rosary believing that the Almighty is very close to us. Hiding in the tree with the withered and rustling leaves as well as in the cross.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pax super Israel (Ps 127:6)

Yesterday we came back to Epworth from our Christmas holidays. We were welcomed by beautiful view. The sunset was gorgeous and the sky in wonderful colours. It was amazing that God prepared for us such a friendly greeting. Today I received one more gift from Him - sacrament of reconciliation. So I can sing with a psalmist that peace is around me and also in my heart. This is a special present which everyone needs everyday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's burning zeal to find you, grant by her intercession and example that we may always seek you with diligent love and find you in daily service with sincere faith. It means that we can meet God every day in the ordinary tasks if only we seek Him in sincere faith. Everything and everybody can be for us like a star devoutly observed, as a clear guide to the knowledge of the incarnate Word for us who are called according to God's purpose by the power of grace (St Maximus the Confessor, Centuries).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Omnia et in omnibus Christus (Col 3:11)

Saint Paul gives us today inspiration in his letter. He writes that Christ is all and Christ is in all. This is the mistery of the Word living in the world and also in each of us. He adds and teaches that to become Christ means to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. These teachings correspond with Saint Clare who said that poverty and humility are to surround her convents. If such walls defend us, both chastity and all the other virtues are fortified (cf. The Way of Perfection, Theresa of Avilla). So we have wonderful examples how to follow the Child Jesus in our lives. Only thing is to be compassionate, gentle and patient to others and overall to become humble in spirit and poor in our personal belongings, words and thoughts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Filioli mei (1 J 2:1)

Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you.
From the beginnig of the new year we hear the Word of God which gives us strong faith, reliable hope and powerful love. 
If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
God's Son is given to us. The most important task now is to keep intimate relation with Him waiting for us every day in holy Eucharist. Saints Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzen believed Him and accepted His promise.
And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
The question is whether we will do the same as the Doctors of the Church before us. Apostle John and many saints encourage us to remain in God and to have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming. 
Jesus is knocking at our heart and trying to get into with his peace, joy and grace. 
Am I ready to open?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pastores glorificantes et laudantes Deum (Lc 2:20)

After first vespers of the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God we had the last mass in the old year 2011 for the Polish community. Then a party started with wishing each other: Happy New Year 2012. In the morning we said another mass for American people in the church of St. John. Everyone wanted to be nice and to say the best wishes for the comming new year. One person wished us - KEEP SMILING! I think this wish will come true, if we remember that Emmanuel is always giving us his holy peace (heb. SHALOM). The deacon Walter explained in his homily that a special God's blessing is receiving this divine peace in our daily life. The third mass in this world's day of peace was for Korean community. Each of us was praying, glorifying and thanking God that He allowed us to start this new year in peace, love and happiness.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ecce ego ecce (Is 65:1)

We have visited the largest city in the state of Louisiana - New Orleans. The weather was beautiful with the temperature around 20 - 30 degrees Celsius (70 - 90 Fahrenheit). In this city we have seen many different individuals and customs. Everybody was looking around to find happiness and sensual pleasure. Crowded pubs, playing bands in the streets, girls dancing and many shops with jewellery and souvenirs. It was very hard to think about what is really important in our life. It was very difficult to think at all. Everyone was going somewhere, looking around and trying not to loose oneself. Of course, there was also a cathedral in this weird city, but its entrance was usually closed and nobody seemed to be interested in praying there. However, some devout individuals were walking through the streets and thinking why not long ago the Hurricane Katrina hit this area. Maybe the people here have forgotten that God wants to be praised and present in their lives always - also when they are having fun.