Meditations by Msgr. Bernard Powers
Priest of the Owensboro, Ky Diocese
(Click to read)
Sr. Rose Marie, CP - 1st Profession Homily
Diary of St. Paul of the Cross - Meditations
Solemn Commemoration of the Passion-2009
Sr. Mary Bernadette, CP - Wake Homily
Where Are You?
Profession Homily August 6, 2006
Homilies on Letters: St Paul of the
Cross to Mother Mary Crucified
Blessed Trinity Homily
The Ascension of Jesus-Homily
Grace of Fidelity
Our Lady of Sorrows
Paul of the Cross
Mystical Poem of St. Paul of the Cross
I Will Lead You Into the Desert
A Gospel of Suffering
Msgr. Bernard Powers
by Msgr. bernard Powers
Sister Rose Marie, CP - 1st Profession Homily
Greeting: Mother Catherine Marie and Sisters…. Members of Sister Mary Bernadette’s Family: We the faith community and friends
ask a share in your sorrow that your sorrow might be lighter. We offer a share of our faith that your faith might be greater. Introduction: The rich Liturgy of Holy Saturday helps us in our gathering tonight. On Holy Saturday we remember salvation
history….. the Passion of Jesus and we await the Resurrection. Tonight we remember the salvation history…. the
Passion…. of Sister Mary Bernadette
and we await the Resurrection celebration
tomorrow. Body To know the Passion of Jesus is to have divine wisdom . To contemplate the Passion of Jesus is to be in mystical prayer. To live the Passion of Jesus is to live the way of love. To love the Passion of Jesus is to have union with the Crucified Spouse. Sister Mary Bernadette was a woman of the
Passion: “In this holy school
(of the passion)
learns true wisdom. Here is where the
saints have gained true knowledge.”
Bialas 209 n. 212
For her, the
Passion was love: “The passion of
and most stupendous work of divine love.”
Bialas 201 For Sister Mary Bernadette,
the passion was prayer: “the soul that God
wants to draw into deepest union with Him by means of holy
prayer must pass through the way of suffering.”
For her, the passion was union: “I say to you, the
best and holiest thing is to think of the most holy passion of
our Lord and to pray over it because this is the
way to arrive at union with God” “It is the door
through which the soul enters and is sled to intimate union
with God.” Bialas 209 n.212…. p 212 Tonight we find ourselves in the memory of Sister Mary Bernadette….the Passionist One who lived the
Passion…profoundly. One who knew the Crucified
Christ….. personally. Tomorrow we celebrate…. but tonight we remember. As a young woman ( at the age of 19 she stood before the world. The world, “charged with the grandeur of
God”……………..(Gerard M Hopkins) offered her power, possessions, and pleasure.. She chose the God who created
both the world and the grandeur. In the life and the death of Sister a woman is seen in the dignity, honor and greatness that God has destined for women….. a woman with a faith that was the
fiber of her being….. a woman who knew humility in
“yes” to God.. a woman committed to love that was a joy a woman with a sense of humor
that enabled her
to laugh at the funnies of life… and a seriousness that could find the values
in the complexities of life. Here is a woman with a vision: to fish in the infinite sea of
the Sacred Passion of Jesus. She embraced this vision and made it a way of life. Like Paul of the Cross she shared in the Passion to the depth of
Even more, she accepted the Passion as the
gift of love. Here is a woman with a dream: to climb the Mountain of
Calvary. It tool 87 years to make the
ascent. But once there, she knelt in the mystery of
suffering for seven years…..….
…..the time of
fullness. Here is a woman with a goal: to be immersed in the sea of
the most holy passion which is the greatest and most
astounding work of divine
love. Bialas p215 The attaining of such a goal…. full union with God…… was both gift and acquisition……
She strove well
in the acquisition… She received humbly in the giving. A woman of love so exciting and so captivating that she gave herself totally in the mysterious crucible of religious life… A love that demanded nothing less
than total giving….. absolute trust…. and the surrender
of a “fiat.”. A love that offered
nothing less than espousal union
with God. A life of love so startling that anyone who witnessed it was brought to an awareness of
God….. the God of love. A woman so dedicated to Jesus that her will would be His will in sacrificial obedience… her self-emptying would be his radical poverty in self
giving… her love would be His love in consecrated chastity.
Dedication was vowed commitment. Here is a woman… a religious… with such a hunger for God… such a burning desire for the
holy… that only a cloistered life…… here in this monastery….. with its silence and its solitude… its recollection and contemplation would give the freedom to the soul’s “ soaring flight
into union with God.” Bialas 215 A woman touched by God with such a share in charism of Paul of the Cross that she knew the Suffering Christ as her Crucified Spouse. As a daughter of the Sorrowful Mother, she shared in the sorrows of the Virgin Mother by “ throwing herself into the
arms of the most holy Mary and running to her as the
Mother of Mercy.” Bialas 216 She knew the fruit of the Maternal love
of Mary a fruit that transformed her own
sorrow and her sorrow into love.” …….. Bialas 201 Her sharing in the Charism of Paul of the Cross had the depth of missionary, a burning zeal for the conversion of sinners…. a spirit of atonement that took her before the Blessed
Sacrament crying for mercy. O, and it was this missionary spirit that brought her to the Church in Western
Kentucky… the diocese of Owensboro where she helped in founding this
community The woman of prayer….
prayer: a spirit gift within the soul setting fire… ravaging the soul…. plaguing the soul with a consuming desire for communion and union with God. Her prayer was based on the
principles of Paul of the Cross: “True detachment…. perfect
nakedness of faith… Interiority….. and harmony
within.” …………. Bialas 128 . Her prayer: mystical Only by enduring the thirst in the dryness… Only by fidelity in the emptiness…. Only by desire in the darkness… could she find some ease to the burning desire
for the hidden
God dwelling within. What a woman. Beautiful before the world, but not of the world. The woman who chose God for ninety five years. Today we remember and share. Tomorrow we remember and take the cup of salvation and give thanks.
Where Are You? Sometimes in the Scriptures there are questions
In today’s reading God asked Adam:
The same can be asked of us:
Sister Mary Bernadette, CP - Wake Homily
For her, the wisdom of the Passion was the science of the Saints.
raised by God….. These questions can be rather pointed….
somewhat challenging…. perhaps even put one on the spot.
Where are you ?
Where are you ?
Where are you in your self knowledge?
Mother Catherine Marie and Sisters….
Members of Sister Mary Bernadette’s Family:
We the faith community and friends
ask a share in your sorrow
that your sorrow might be lighter.
We offer a share of our faith
that your faith might be greater.
The rich Liturgy of Holy Saturday
helps us in our gathering tonight.
On Holy Saturday we remember salvation history….. the Passion of Jesus
and we await the Resurrection.
Tonight we remember the salvation history…. the Passion….
of Sister Mary Bernadette
and we await the Resurrection celebration tomorrow.
To know the Passion of Jesus
is to have divine wisdom .
To contemplate the Passion of Jesus
is to be in mystical prayer.
To live the Passion of Jesus
is to live the way of love.
To love the Passion of Jesus
is to have union with the Crucified Spouse.
Sister Mary Bernadette was a woman of the
“In this holy school (of the passion)
the person learns true wisdom.
Here is where the saints have gained true knowledge.”
Bialas 209 n. 212
For her, the Passion was love:
“The passion of Jesus is
the greatest and most stupendous work of divine love.”
For Sister Mary Bernadette, the passion was prayer:
“the soul that God wants to draw into deepest union with Him
by means of holy prayer must pass through the way of suffering.”
For her, the passion was union:
“I say to you, the best and holiest thing is to think of the
most holy passion of our Lord and to pray over it
because this is the way to arrive at union with God”
“It is the door through which the soul enters and is sled
to intimate union with God.” Bialas 209 n.212…. p 212
Tonight we find ourselves in the memory
of Sister Mary Bernadette….the Passionist
One who lived the Passion…profoundly.
One who knew the Crucified Christ….. personally.
Tomorrow we celebrate….
but tonight we remember.
As a young woman ( at the age of 19
she stood before the world.
The world, “charged with the grandeur of God”……………..(Gerard M Hopkins)
offered her power, possessions, and pleasure..
She chose the God who created
both the world and the grandeur.
In the life and the death of Sister
a woman is seen
in the dignity, honor and greatness
that God has destined for women…..
a woman with a faith that was the fiber of her being…..
a woman who knew humility in “yes” to God..
a woman committed to love that was a joy
a woman with a sense of humor
that enabled her to laugh at the funnies of life…
and a seriousness
that could find the values in the complexities of life.
Here is a woman
with a vision: to fish in the infinite sea of the Sacred Passion of Jesus.
She embraced this vision
and made it a way of life.
Like Paul of the Cross
she shared in the Passion to the depth of living it.
she accepted the Passion as the gift of love.
Here is a woman
with a dream:
to climb the Mountain of Calvary.
It tool 87 years to make the ascent.
But once there,
she knelt in the mystery of suffering for seven years…..….
…..the time of fullness.
Here is a woman
with a goal:
to be immersed in the sea of the most holy passion
which is the greatest and most astounding work
of divine love. Bialas p215
The attaining of such a goal….
full union with God……
was both gift and acquisition……
She strove well in the acquisition…
She received humbly in the giving.
A woman of love
so exciting and so captivating
that she gave herself totally
in the mysterious crucible of religious life…
A love that demanded nothing less than total giving…..
absolute trust…. and the surrender of a “fiat.”.
A love that offered nothing less
than espousal union with God.
A life of love so startling
that anyone who witnessed it
was brought to an awareness of God….. the God of love.
A woman so dedicated to Jesus
that her will would be His will in sacrificial obedience…
her self-emptying would be his radical poverty in self giving…
her love would be His love in consecrated chastity.
Dedication was vowed commitment.
Here is a woman… a religious…
with such a hunger for God… such a burning desire for the holy…
that only a cloistered life…… here in this monastery…..
with its silence and its solitude…
its recollection and contemplation
would give the freedom to the soul’s “ soaring flight into union with God.” Bialas 215
A woman touched by God
with such a share in charism of Paul of the Cross
that she knew the Suffering Christ
as her Crucified Spouse.
As a daughter of the Sorrowful Mother,
she shared in the sorrows of the Virgin Mother by
“ throwing herself into the arms of the most holy Mary
and running to her as the Mother of Mercy.” Bialas 216
She knew the fruit of the Maternal love of Mary
a fruit that transformed her own
“love into sorrow and her sorrow into love.” …….. Bialas 201
Her sharing in the Charism of Paul of the Cross
had the depth of missionary,
a burning zeal for the conversion of sinners….
a spirit of atonement that took her before the Blessed Sacrament
crying for mercy.
O, and it was this missionary spirit
that brought her to the Church in Western Kentucky…
the diocese of Owensboro
where she helped in founding this community
The woman of prayer….
prayer: a spirit gift within the soul
setting fire… ravaging the soul….
plaguing the soul with a consuming desire
for communion and union with God.
Her prayer was based on the principles of Paul of the Cross:
“True detachment…. perfect nakedness of faith…
Interiority….. and harmony within.” …………. Bialas 128
. Her prayer: mystical
Only by enduring the thirst in the dryness…
Only by fidelity in the emptiness….
Only by desire in the darkness…
could she find some ease
to the burning desire
for the hidden God dwelling within.
What a woman.
Beautiful before the world,
but not of the world.
The woman who chose God
for ninety five years.
Today we remember
Tomorrow we remember
and take the cup of salvation
and give thanks.
Where Are You?
Sometimes in the Scriptures there are questions
In today’s reading God asked Adam:
The same can be asked of us:
Do you know your greatest desire … that is, the thing you want most ??????
Are you pleased with it
Is it God-centered…… Is it God…..
(to help you to answer this question, see where you place your
greatest efforts….. and most consistent efforts.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR TWO BASIC FAULTS… VICES ?
WHAT ARE YOU AFTER IN THIS LIFE
DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO
WHERE ARE YOU IN REGARDS TO GOD
Is He really first? Is your life a commitment to God?
Do you feel and act accountable to God ?
Are you really in love with God :
Is your goal to be a living saint….. or just to get to heaven
WHERE ARE YOU IN REGARDS TO PRAYER
do you really want to pray?
are there sincere practices in your life that enrich prayer ?
are you getting any help in your life of prayer ?
does prayer really affect you life during the day ?
is there some kind of prayer structure in your life?
WHERE ARE YOU IN RELATIONSHIP TO PERSONS AROUND YOU…
IN RELATIONSHIP TO YOUR PARTNER
are all your actions life-giving ????
ARE YOU GROWING IN THIS RELATIONSHIP
DO YOU PRAY TOGETHER
WHERE ARE YOU AS A PASSIONIST OBLATE
just something to belong to…… or is it making a difference in your life
is it a challenge in your life……
do you know the
purpose of the oblate program
WHERE ARE YOUR ATTITUDES
TOWARD THE NEEDY IN DAVIESS COUNTY
TOWARD SUFFERING…… CROSSES
WHAT IS YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOSPEL
FROM BAPTISM……….. FROM CONFIRMATION.GOD ASKED ADAM; WHERE ARE YOU ?
REFLECTIONS: JEREMIAH 15:16
Spirit of God,
You call us into the sacred word,
the inspired word.
What an amazing call.
Your word is a treasure found in a field,
a treasure of great price.
A treasure worth the selling of all
to purchase the field and have the treasure.
How wonderful your words,
so full of life and sweetness.
Indeed a meal.
Lead us into this word found.
As we feast on this word
give joy to our hearts.
Loving Spirit of God,
because we bear your name,
let us eat well.
Opening the Scroll
Loving Spirit of God,
sometimes I find myself standing with John
raising the question: “Who will open the scroll?”
Yet as I question, the scroll is handed to me
for the opening.
In the opening there is the finding.
In humility and faith I accept.
In reverence and attentiveness I open.
With hunger do I eat, I eat of the word.
To my mouth it is sweet, delicate, and tasty.
To my stomach it is bitter and sour.
Yet this scroll, this word, handed to me is from the Source of Life,
from the very hand of God.
In opening the scroll, I find the word,
the word for me, the word for my nourishment,
the word I need. I eat; I devour; I consume.
There is self surrender of my will
to this word. There is the dying to myself
to this word.
There is an obedience to this word
is an abandonment,
a submission total and complete.
There is a dying and a rising. There is resurrection.
Where and when the Scroll, God’s word,
becomes the food for my spirit and the food for the journey,
than I live.
As nature gives the nutrients necessary
for my living and for my temporal journey,
so the Scroll, the Word,
gives light to my mind,
strength to my will,
energy to my heart,
freedom to my spirit
and love to my whole being
for my spiritual journey.
I stand with John accepting the Scroll,
finding the word,
Text of Jeremiah 15:16
“When I found your words,
I devoured them;
they became my joy
and the happiness of my heart’
because I bore your name.
O Lord, God of host.”
New American Bible
“When your words came,
I devoured them;
Your word was my delight
and the joy of my heart.;
for I was called by your name,
Yahweh, God of Saboath”
“Your words are what sustains me;
they are food
to my hungry soul.
They bring joy to my sorrowing heart
and delight to me.
How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord.
The Living Bible
Finding the word
Most Holy Spirit,
my life is in your hands;
my heart is in your love.
You place in me a need,
a hunger… The appetite rages.
You who set me on a journey
as I move through life.
There are the sufferings and the crosses..
There are the joys and the celebrations.
My soul, my spirit, hungers.
Today the hunger is named.
I long for the Word.
I long for your words to empower me
to keep me moving .
I need just one word at a time,
a word that lifts up my heart
and my spirit in song.
On many occasions the word is found,
and I eat of it abundantly. I feast on a banquet.
I find and devour your word.
The word is not the roaring, raging thunder,
nor the crashing, falling rocks…
neither is it the earth quake
shaking the mountains to their foundation.
Your word is the whisper of the cave
heard, found deep within me,
deep in my being.
I find your word:
crumb or feast….
I eat… I feast… I devour
and there is the living.
I rise and come down the mountain.
The word heard in the whisper
is the word found and devoured.
Loving Spirit of God,
You continually invite me to
the Table of the Word.
It is an invitation
to eat frequently..
As the stream can never run dry,
neither is your word
completely consumed by the eating.
It was You, O Lord, who made your words a banquet,
words giving life and spirit.
It was You, O Lord, who gave fruit and fruitfulness to your word.
He who hears my words
and keeps them is my mother
and my sister and my brother.
How important is the searching;
How necessary is the finding;
How essential is the devouring.
Should we not search for your word?
Should we not devour them when found ?
They are life giving.
As the tree absorbs the rain
and takes the nutrients from the soil,
so does my soul take nourishment from your word.
There is life and refreshment within.
as I devour your word
my faith grows…
and hope soars.
There is union.
My spirit is refined
and there is courage and perseverance.
I can walk the journey of the day.
Yea, even more,
your word sustains me;
I walk into the night.
What a banquet!
Sometimes the Word
Sometimes the word
is like a delicate wine,
an elegant sip is a delight
and a pleasure to the palate.
Let me find this word.
Sometimes the word
is like a fresh, ripe peach,
delicious in taste,
rich with the ray of the sun.
Let me find this word.
Sometimes the word
is like a piece of jerky,
cold, salty, tough, hard
Let me find this word.
Sometimes the word
is like salted peanuts,
one leads to another, two wants more.
One is not enough, and a handful is not sufficient.
Let me find this word.
Sometimes the word
is like a glass of water,
refreshing, cooling, life-giving,
quenching the thirst.
One is alive.
Let me find this word.
Loving Spirit of God,
sometimes my soul is in celebration,
in music, in song. There is an excitement.
From Your providence, Loving Spirit,
there comes forth a word,
a word filled with spirit and life,
with energy and aliveness,
with melody and rhythm.
Perhaps form the Canticle of Love
or the Gospel of John
or a jewel from a minor prophet.
It is your word, found,
that floods the whole experience
with the freshness of the spirit,
or the touch of a November chill,
with life and living,
with love and loving.
In the word, found
there is an invitation to eat.
It is a banquet
I was seated at table
by the Master
and with the Master
and we supper together.
Words bring joy
your words are amazing.
Some bring great joy to the heart.
They are filled with life…
They ring with excitement.
They touch the heart.
As I read your word,
some stand out clearly:
“today a Savior is born to us.”
“Behold the Lamb of God.”
I came that you might have life
and have it to the full.
Come to me you who labor
and I will give you rest.
This is my Body, eat.
This is my Blood shed for you.
I have loved you with an everlasting love
therefore I have drawn you to myself.
My gift to you is
the gift of love.
I will speak to your heart.
Although your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be white as snow.
He who eats this Bread
will life forever.
I call you friends.
Watch while I pray.
Go and sin no more.
I will never abandon you.
I will be with you always.
I am risen
Give me a drink
Go into the whole world
Come, follow me
What can I do for you
Behold I stand at the door and knock.
I found your word,
in a poem, in a letter…
in the song of a bird,
in the chatter of a squirrel…
In the beauty of an apple,
In the simplicity of a grape…
in the power of the storm…
in the gentleness of the dew.
I found your word
as a fragment,
old, without a date.
It was a joy to my heart,\
a truth to my mind.
Your word preserved in nature,
rich in value…
full of life.
a word found
and I devoured your word,
It was a banquet.
so long in darkness
knew an enlightening
that took me to my knees,
adoring and believing.
felt a joy
that took me to song,
had wondered aimlessly amidst the stuff
now took wings
soaring to the heights…
a contemplative silence, the silence of union.
Loving Spirit of God,
Your word states: “When I found your word…”
This statement startles me.
How is it that I found your word?
Have I not known it before?
Have I not had it before?
Has it been complete lost in my life?
How is it that I found your word?
Was I looking for it…. searching for it?
Was it an accident that I found it?
I am sure it was a grace that I found it.
The finding was your gift to me.
Did I stumble upon it by accident?
The treasure found in a field probably was just accidental.
Is my experience with your word the same?
I wish to reflect upon this experience of “finding your word.”
Life is interesting and surprising.
Sometimes I find things when I am not even looking.
Sometimes I find a special something while looking for something else.
there are times when I am reading
and your “word” appears. It is startling, shocking.
It makes me notice. It grabs like a briar in a forest.
Like a clap of thunder or a bolt of lightening
the word is there.
There are other times when it is your word
and I ignore it, treat it as any other word…
I walk away, skip over it, pay no attention.
But immediately there is a pain,
a hunger, an inner disposition that is different.
Loving Spirit of God, give me an eye and an ear for your word.
As the skilled hunter can see
what does not want to be seen…
so I see.
see your word when it appears.
Loving Spirit of God,
help me to notice, to see. to find your word.
Finding the Word - Nehemiah
sometimes it seems I am carried into captivity,
away from my roots, my homeland,
my values, my temple, even You, My God.
What a joy to me
when the word is found…
as was the Scroll and Nehemiah
and your chosen people.
What a joy when the word
is found in the rummage, among the things,
in the demolished walls of my plans,
in my ruined temple
What a joy to my soul when the word
is found and I am called to come,
to assemble, to join with others
to listen and to hear the word.
I come and stand,
perhaps even kneel
as the word is read,
from morning to noon, from noon to evening.
So for my soul
when I return from the secular experience
or perhaps from a period of sinful mess…
I return from my captivity
and find the scroll, the word,
buried beneath the stuff in my life.
I embrace the word with love.
I open the word with reverence.
I listen with faith.
I feast and devour the word.
Sorrow touches me;
I beg pardon.
A spirit of conversion enters my heart.
There is an awareness of my sin and my sinfulness.
I cry out: “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
However, your word is the word of mercy.
There is the Father, running to me,
clothing me in a robe, placing a ring on my finger,
putting sandals on my feet.
My heart rises in gratitude
for the word found and devoured
is a banquet.
The search was long,
The hunger was deep,
The journey was into the night,
No answer was given.
Only the emptiness, the dryness, the dark.
The darkness came quickly.
Thoughts whirled, snowflakes in December..
The journey was toward the source.
If one could only find,
there would be plenty,
but there were miles to go.
I listened for the word,
but there was only a piercing silence.
I looked for the word
but only the darkness, emptiness.
I searched for the word,
but only the nothingness.
The listening, disposed the heart.
The looking purified the soul.
The searching freed the spirit.
God, who prepares the soul for the finding,
in his owe time,
would permitted the finding.
I would search and wait,
wait for the finding.
Loving Spirit of God,
there is a spirit within me
that makes me search;
that set me on a journey of adventure.
Sometimes I have misplaced something
and there is a need for it.
All demands a searching, a seeking.
Sometimes there is an emptiness within…
an emptiness that needs care.
I start the journey of searching, of seeking,
hoping to find… always the hope.
The need has to be met,
the desire has to be addressed.
Loving Spirit of God,
help me in identifying my need,
to name my hunger,
help me to submit my need to your guidance
and to your grace.
When I am hungry, I am vulnerable.
When I am aware of a need that I can not exactly name,
I am is a very delicate attitude, most vulnerable.
There is a danger of succumbing to pleasure, to gratification.
Guard me! Guide Me!
Loving Spirit of God,
You know me and You know my needs.
You know my potentials and my weaknesses.
Guard Me ! Guide Me!
When I am searching,
I am vulnerable.
Protect me from without. Protect me from within.
Protect me from myself.
Help me to find what I need.
Found Word: Liturgy
today I came to the Liturgy.
My feelings were twirling, my thoughts tumbling.
My attitude was yucky.
As You know, Lord God, I didn’t feel like being there,
and perhaps I should not have been,
but I was.
I was not in a good mood…
but we won’t go into that, at least, not now…
I came to the Liturgy.
The opening music did nothing for me,
except perhaps add some heat to the fire smoldering within me.
The first reading… I guess you could call it a reading…
meant absolutely nothing.
However, Lord, that was not my fault.
The lector was a complete disaster.
If one could murder the word,
a murdering took place today.
It was awful.
Loving God, You amaze me.
Dare I say: “You are sneaky at times.”
In the first reading of which I heard not a word,
you got my attention away from me;
You got it “out there.” You got my attention to an other.
What a grace You poured into my being.
I stood for the Gospel with an anger adrenaline alertness.
I stood with an awareness.
The Gospel astounded me.
Your words amazed me.
You served a banquet.
I ate well.
I gathered a basket of fragments.
Found Word in Sacred Liturgy
Most Holy and Loving God,
when I found your words,
what a delight.
Today I found your words in the Sacred Liturgy.
They were not what I expected,
but indeed what I needed.
Your care and concern for me
is greater than my care and concern for myself.
You know me better that I know myself,
and your caring and concern is in proportion
to your knowledge of me.
Today. in the Liturgy, You gave me words
that we beyond the needs I was aware of within myself.
You gave words that flowed from your gracious love for me.
The finding was a shock, a surprise.
Once I was moved out of my day dreaming,
my sleepiness, my drossiness
and became attentive, listening,
what a discovery.
I found your words.
Your words touched my heart
for they were words that flowed from love.
They inflamed my spirit.
They enamoured my heart.
Your word recreated.
I was different and the difference what your work.
I was in a different world, I was with You.
It was not so much that I found your words,
but that your words found me.
Today I will live
and my living will be that
of giving flesh and blood to the words.
It will be an incarnation.
when I find your words
and devour them,
taking them deep within my being,
When your words become
the food of my journey,
sustaining me in life,
giving energy for my tasks,
May these words,
these inspired word,
these words filled with life,
filled with spirit and fire
soak in like the rains
in the parched earth.
Even here, bless me.
May these sacred words
enter deeply into my heart,
the very core and center of my being.
May these words take me
to this inner depth
where I am most alive,
where I am most myself.
May they take me to the inner center
where You, My God, dwells.
May they take me to that point
to which only You can take me.
May these words not only give happiness to my heart,
but may they give a union with God
that is most sacred, most holy.
Loving Spirit of God,
as I contemplate your words,
I beg that You
“create in me a clean heart”,
a heart worthy of You.
Take me to this deepest point of being
that I adore.
only your word takes me to the
truth of your indwelling.
Only your gift of faith
enables me to believe this amazing truth.
May the feasting on your words
increase my faith.
What a blessing to the soul
to be plunged into the mystery of Jesus,
to be baptized.
It is a God action
and the seal of the Holy Spirit is impressed
upon the soul.
One belongs to God.
God has redeemed in the precious blood of Jesus.
God has reconciled; there is peace between God and Creation.
God has restored fallen man to his sublime dignity.
One belongs to God.
A seal is set;
one bears the name of the Lord,
the God of hosts.
One is Christian.
Loving God, to bear your name
is to be like You,
to reflect your truth,
to manifest your goodness,
to witness hope.
All is possible because your words
are taken into our being,
into our hearts and minds.
There is forgiveness and reconciliation,
there is transformation and union.
All are acts of conversion;
all are acts of redemption.
Gracious loving God,
my heart is your dwelling place.
Feed it on your word.
Seal me with your spirit.
Let me bear your name.
FIRST PROFESSION SR. JEANNE MARIE -Homily August 6, 2006
The Proclamation of the Gospel
on this feast of the Transfiguration
startles the mind….. and thrills the heart.
It opens Christ’s profound teaching
and reveals Christ’s amazing love.
So does this Religious Profession.
It shocks the world…..
It excites the heart…
It reveals Christ’s amazing love.
In the Gospel
Christ speaks to us
about his Passion
and he is transfigured before us.
He reveals his Sufferings…. the Cross.
He shows his glory…. the Transfiguration.
The life style
that Sister Jeanne Marie
is accepting in this Monastery
through her profession
also reveals Christ’s suffering
and shows His glory.
In the gospel
we find Jesus at one of his greatest moments:
“Jesus is thinking of the Cross.
and in this cross his virginal love for the Father
and for all mankind will attain its highest expression.
In the Cross His poverty will reach complete self-emptying…
In the Cross His obedience will be the self-giving of his life.”
The Consecrated Life p.37
This gospel of the Transfiguration
is a proper setting
for this religious profession.
a revelation of the Passion
and a manifestation of the glory of Jesus.
In the Transfiguration,
All is mystery.
All demands faith.
All is a call to love Jesus.
in his Passion and
in his glory.
So in this Religious Profession:
All is mystery.
All is faith.
All is a call to love Jesus
in the Passion
and in his glory.
Oh yes, how good for us to be here
present in this two-fold mystery:
The Transfiguration of Jesus
and the Religious Profession of Sister Jeanne Marie.
We are on the mountain of mystery,
lead here by Jesus.
If you asked Sister Jeanne Marie
what she is doing today in this Profession,
she would have to say:
Mystery covers me like the cloud
and I am making an act of faith….
Personal graces have been abundantly given
and I am accepting them.
My heart has been touched with love
and my response to love is to love.
All is mystery,
and no mystery can be explained.
It can only be believed and lived.
All is a call;
a call of the heart,
and the call of the heart is the call of love.
And who can explain love?
Love can not be explained.
Love can only be written about in poetry…
Love can only be expressed in total gift…
Love can only be accepted and lived.
Love takes lovers
for all time and beyond….
into a silence
that is contemplative…
into a gift
that is total.
Love takes one beyond question
to complete union.
It is a grace,
and grace is an action of God.
No one can explain a grace of God.
It can only be accepted and lived.
The person who lets her soul
be seized by love
must abandon everything
to embrace.. (Mk 1: 16-20)
to be with the Lover…
and the Lover is the Divine Lover, Jesus..
How fitting a feast for this Religious Profession.
The Jesus who led Peter, James and John
up the mountain
is the same Jesus
who leads Sister Jeanne Marie to this Monastery…
to this sacred moment of mystery
… to this Religious Profession.
Jesus will speaks to her
about his Passion and His death
and reveal to her his glory..
She will know the goodness as well as the suffering
of being “here”.
For her to be “here”
is to be caught up in the Passion….
is to be with the Crucified Christ….
Such is the call to the Mountain.
By the grace of God….
By the choice of love…
By the consent of this Community..
today sister Jeanne Marie makes her vows.
Hers is the sincere promise
to live the Paschal Mystery…
to embrace the Crucified Christ…
to stand at the foot of the Cross in loving attentiveness…
to proclaim the Passion of Jesus to the world….
All this by her life style
as a Passionist Nun.
Today Sister chooses
to live, detached from all things,
and in a spirit of amazing trust
hoping for eternal life….
She will live in radical poverty.
She will reveal a Christ in complete self-emptying….
giving us infinite fullness.
to live unselfishly
and in complete generosity to each and to all.
She will live in consecrated chastity.
She will reveal a Christ in virginal love for the Father…
giving us Divine Presence.
to live in total surrender to God’s will,
an unconditional yes to the Cross.
She will live in sacrificial obedience.
She will reveal a Christ in obedience that is the giving of his love..
giving us eternal love..
Her actions are acts of love
and thus beyond comprehension.
Her actions are acts of faith
and thus beyond explanation.
Faith can not be explained.
And love needs no explanation.
Both are God’s gift.
Both are acts of the heart.
Both flow from grace.
Yet if one stills calls for the meaning and the purpose
of religious life… the life here at this Monastery…
the Church says:
The religious life
offers to a person the exciting opportunity
to follow Christ………….
through sufferings and joys,
through darkness and light…
through dryness and refreshing waters…
to follow Christ
into the fullness of life in the Triune God.
If Sister Jeanne Marie’s desire
is to follow Christ alone,………… and in such a radical way,
who can question her choice?
who would dare?
The Religious Life here in this monastery
offers a person a way of life
to be with Christ ,
to devote oneself completely to Him…
to live with Him… to die with Him…
and to rise with him.
One comes to religious life
to live intimately with Jesus,
to open one’s heart and one’s conscience to Him…
to live a sacrificial life as holocaust… an immolated victim of love.
Consecrated Life pp.283 ff
One comes into Religious Life
to live a life style
that is an expressive and emphatic way of saying to the world
that Jesus Christ is the whole meaning of life….
that Jesus is worth it all.
Consecrated Life p. 38
Sister Jeanne Marie
comes to this Monastery
“to stand at the foot of the Cross of Christ
and there more immediately and more profoundly
experience the truth of God
who is love.
And her standing is not in vain
for “to the one
standing beneath the Cross
the beauty and the power of God’s love
Consecrated Life p 38
Just as one can not stay on the Mountain
caught up in the glory of the Transfiguration,
but must come down the Mountain
and enter into the Passion of Jesus,
Neither can Sister Jeanne Marie
stay caught up in this celebration.
She too must come down the Mountain
and enter into the living of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Let us come down the mountain with her
as she enters her religious profession.
BLESSED TRINITY - Homily June 11, 2006
“O the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God!
How inscrutable his judgments,
How unsearchable his ways.
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
Who has given Him anything so as to deserve return/ ?
For from Him and through Him and in Him are all things.
To him be glory forever.”
These words of Saint Paul proclaim the mystery of the Blessed Trinity
And we are caught up in the love of a God whom we can not see.
Today on this feast of the Trinity
The church calls us in adoration, praise and honor
And we find ourselves saying:
“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.”
To God alone be honor and praise:
To God who is Father, praise.
To God who is Son. praise.
To God who is Spirit, praise.
All hail, adored Trinity!
All praise, eternal Unity.
O God the Father, God the Son
And God the Spirit, ever One.
Blessed be God the Father
And His Only begotten Son
And the Holy Spirit
May our Triune God be praised and glorified..
We find ourselves with Moses
Who plunges us into the question
“Did anything so great ever happen before?
“Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from such depth…….from such fire….and live?
“yes, we have heard the voice of God
and we live… we live beyond our greatest expectations,
we live in the Blessed Trinity.
The revelation of the Trinity gives meaning to all life.
It assures us of eternal communion…
It opens to us everlasting joy’
It embraces us in infinite love.
Saint Paul the Apostle assures us”
The Holy Spirit pours into us the grace of adoption
And we become children of God
Crying out: Abba, Father!
We become heirs of God and God’s riches,
Joint heirs with Christ, His Son
Through whose sufferings we enter into the life of this Triune God.
How humbly, yet how profoundly do we proclaim:
“Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
To this Triune God be honor and praise and glory and worship.”
We are a people of God, a people of the Blessed Trinity.
We are embraced in the love of the Trinity.
We share in the life of the Trinity.
We partake of the fellowship of the Trinity.
It is God the Father who gives life.
It is God the Son who shares life.
It is God the Holy Spirit who breathes life.
In Baptism we are given life in the Blessed Trinity.
The sacred waters are poured and the priest proclaims and prays:
I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
What a life we are to live:
We are to grow in life
Because we have God the Son.
We are to celebrate life
Because we have God the Holy Spirit.
We are to reach fullness of life
Because we have God the Father.
As the air around us sustains us.
Much more does the life of the Blessed Trinity sustain us..
In daily living,
If we want to step from this mundane world
Into the world of the spirit, the world of God,
We do so in the name of the Trinity..
Through the Sign of the Cross.
We go to the Trinity in the doxology::
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
If we want the greatest in prayer
We go to the sacred Liturgy. .
And we are greeted in the fullness of the Trinity:
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the Love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Sprit be yours.”
If we want the fullest of worship
We take the Body and the Blood of the Son
And through the power of the Spirit
We offer infinite sacrifice to the Father.
We are a people of the Trinity.
We believe in Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We say to the world:
If you want to know of our noble beginning
Look to Baptism; we are plunged into the life of the Trinity.
If you want to know the dignity of our lives
Look at our life style,
We live in communion with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If you want to see us at our greatest,
Come to our liturgy
Where we in worship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If you want to know our faith at the end of our lives on earth
Come, stand at the bed side of the dying.
You will hear:...
Go forth O Christian soul
In the name of God the Father who created you….
In the name of God the Son who redeemed you…..
In the name of God the Holy Spirit who sanctified you.
if there was ever a people who had heard truths greater than
they had heard.
Today we answer Moses: We say “yes”
We have heard a greater teaching than they heard.
We have heard the revelation …
God is Father… God is Son… God is Spirit.
God is one God and Three Divine Persons.
We believe! We adore!
We pick up the poetic proclamation of George Herbert:
Lord, who hast form’d me out of mud,
And has redeem’d me through thy blood,
And sanctifi’d me to do good;
Purge all my sins done heretofore;
For I confess my heavy score,
And I will strive to sin no more.
Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity;
That I may run, rise, rest in thee.
Amen…………….Msgr. Bernard Powers
THE ASCENSION OF JESUS -Homily May 28, 2006
The graces of the Ascension of Jesus, the Risen Lord,
Filling our being with faith
And our hearts with gratitude and wonder and assurance.
Ascension=Jesus Returning to the Father with the
Redeemed Creation. Ascension is the Leading into
The Kingdom of Heaven
Jesus, the Son of God,
Born the Son of Man at Bethlehem,
Born of the race of Adam, born of the Virgin Mary
A man like us in all thing but sin
Is now seated at the right hand of God the Father
In glory, equal….. in honor, equal… in holiness, equal.
To the Jesus, ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father
Be honor and glory…. Be praise and thanksgiving…
Be worship and adoration.
Jesus, the Son of Man
Who walked the hills of Palestine…
Who knew the agony of thirst….
And hardships of human living,
Now is seated at the right hand of God the Father
In praise and honor and glory.
We can get to Heaven too.
The suffering and crucified Christ,
The Man of sorrows, the Man of the Cross
Who knew death in crucifixion
Is now ascended and is seated at the Right Hand of God the Father
In honor and glory…. The Lamb once slain is now raised to the right hand
Of the Father in blessing and praise and glory.
Today Jesus leads All Creation before the throne of God
In worship and praise – in this Feast of Ascension Jesus leads the
Souls of the Just into the Eternal Kingdom.
Jesus revealed the Father
And is now at his Right hand in glory.
Therefore, we must believe.
Jesus promised the fullness of eternal life
And is now at the right hand of the Father,
Therefore we must hope.
Jesus offered the way of love and union with God
And is now at the right hand of the Father,
Therefore we must love.
The Ascension of Jesus
Is the absolute assurance to the authenticity of Jesus.
WE need this feast and these graces,
If you question the value of sufferings in life,
Look to the Ascension.
If you question the importance of prayer in life.
Look to the Ascension.
If you question commitment and loyalty to Jesus in life,
Look to the Ascension.
If you question your Catholic Faith
Look to the Ascension.
What does the Ascension prove?
It proves that Jesus is right, necessary, loving.
Before Jesus ascended
He called his disciples together and gave them some directions and assignments.
( My dad was something like this. When he was going to be away from the farm
for a few hours or half a day, he would call us together and give us enough work
to keep us busy for four days…)
Jesus gives his apostles something to do;
Go into the whole world…..
Proclaim the gospel….
Cast out devils….
Cure the sick
Exercise power in the church….
Jesus gave these directions to his disciples on the day of Ascension.
He gives you the same directions and commands today:
You are to go into the whole world…Whitesville…Owensboro...
You are to proclaim the gospel… whether you like it or not.
You are to cast out devils. By prayer and fasting
You are to cure the sick…. Though love and care and attention
Jesus is ascended….. but He has left you with responsibility.
Jesus ascended into heaven:
At the right hand of God the Father.
Above principalities, powers, authorities….Choirs and classes of angels…
This human nature at the right hand of God.
What does he do:
Intercedes for us…
Acts as high priest..
Leads All to the Heavenly Kingdom…
Brings all the blessings of God to us…
I think the prayer of St Paul in the second reading today
Is also the prayer on the lips of Jesus at the right hand of the Father;
That we have the spirit of wisdom… and perception
That we have a full knowledge of God….
That the eyes of our hearts and minds be enlightened…so we hope
That we know the power of the Gospel…
That we know the power that raised Jesus from the dead..
This is a great day for us….a great feast we celebrate…. A day of graces..
We congratulate Jesus.
We look to where he is.
We have hope to be with him.
We raise our minds and our hearts to heaven, to things above.
Help us to follow Christ
Into the fullness of eternal life.
GRACE OF FIDELITY
For a long time
the daily time with God
was a joy.
I felt He was present.
We shared much.
All was delightful.
My heart felt sorrow
when duty called
For a long time
it was that way.
One day time was long,
this daily time with God
was no longer a joy.
I felt abandoned.
He shared nothing;
He said nothing.
My heart felt a joy
when duty called.
For a long time
it was that way.
Even though time was long
this daily time with God,
there was a fidelity.
I felt I had lost something
but the only way I could find what seemed lost
was to go back
to where I had found it in the first place.
I went back to that time,
that time set aside for God,
time given to God,
time dedicated to God.
For a long time
that daily time with God
was so empty, so silent,
even cold .
The silence was piercing.
The emptiness was draining.
The cold was agonizing.
My words bounced off a wall.
My heart ached for
one word… one touch…
one sensible sign…
For a long time I went
to the time for God…
to the emptiness where once there had been presence…
to the experience which now was nothing…
For a long time I went
to this hour of coldness, emptiness.
He was gone…
No reason why… No good-bye.
For a long time
He was gone.
For a long time
I went back day after day.
For a long time
I stayed faithful.
If He was going to abandon me,
I was not going to abandon Him.
What I had found was both love and life.
I would continue to go…
go to my time of prayer
even if I didn’t feel like I prayed….
go to that place
where we had shared much…
even made promises.
I would not stay away
even when every fiber of my being
except my heart
said it was so useless.
My heart was set.
Perhaps that is what love is:
a heart set on a Lover
and once set
would be faithful in loving
even if loving meant
coming without meeting,
searching without finding,
being faithful even if the other were not.
I would be faithful in coming
because I had promised
even though He may not come.
Even if He had not promised
I would be faithful to my promise
and if per chance
He did come,
I would be there, for I had promised.
after a long time
I was there.
It was as if
He had never left, never been gone.
it wasn’t as if he had left
and that today He came;
it was that
I became aware
that He was there all the time.
in gratitude that He had given to me
the grace of fidelity.
Msgr Bernard Powers…
Our Lady of Sorrows
The Solemnity of the Holy Cross
flows into the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
as the ocean into a river.
Christ who suffers the crucifixion welcomes
his Mother Mary so deeply into his sufferings
that she is one with Him.
The ocean and the river become one.
Jesus anoints his Mother Queen of Martyrs
and people of faith name Our Mother Our Lady of Sorrows.
What intense suffering: Queen of Martyrs.
What mystical sharing: Our Lady of Sorrows.
To celebrate this mystery
of Our Lady of Sorrows
is to unite ourselves with her
to such a depth
that our hearts are filled with compassion
and out spirits are alive in celebration.
Our whole being knows a prayer
that is contemplative.
For us to contemplate this mystery
is to enter into union
with Christ crucified
and Our Lady suffering.
Here we drink deeply of the wounds of Jesus
from the wellsprings of salvation.
Oh, what union ! Mystical.
Oh, what refreshment! Life giving!
To be in union through suffering
is to be in union with the source of life.
As Paul of the Cross says:
“Lose yourself completely
in the sea of the sufferings of your Spouse.”
Page 204 The Mysticism of the Passion
Oh, what a blessing!
To be one with Our Lady of Sorrows
is to one with the Suffering Christ.
Oh, what a journey,
this journey of sorrow and suffering.
It is redemptive.
One of the greatest sorrows to touch the heart of a young Mother
is a sorrow that comes
when the heart is full of joy.
The Virgin Mother knew this sorrow
when she took her Son
to offer Him in the temple.
Simeon, the man of God,
accepted this Incarnate Word from the Virgin Mother
and offered Him to God.
At the same time
Simeon accepted the Divine word form God
and gave it to this Virgin Mother:
“ Your own heart a sword shall pierce.”
At the moment when the sword pierced her heart
Mary knew a union with her Son
that would reach its climax on Calvary.
Her journey would be His journey,
the journey of suffering and sorrow.
A similar experience was yours,
O Daughters of the Passion,
on the day of your solemn profession.
when your heart was filled with joy
the Spirit gave you the Passion of Jesus Crucified.
You entered upon the journey of suffering
whose summit would be Calvary
a journey to the feet of the Crucified.
There you are to stand with Our Lady of Sorrows.
Oh, Daughters of the Passion,
know the grace of your call
and the depth of your union;
it is nothing other
than the heart of the Crucified Christ
with Our Lady of Sorrows.
In the words of Saint Paul of the Cross:
“ I say to you the best and holiest thing is to think
of the most holy passion of our Lord
and to pray over it, because this is the way to arrive
at union with God…”
The tender delicate love of a young mother
finds joyful expression in caring and protecting
a Baby’s welfare and life.
The Baby depends on the mother.
When danger threatens,
a maternal heart knows a fear
that is a suffering.
Such were the sufferings of the Virgin Mother
when Herod commanded the killing of babies
and forced the flight into Egypt.
Oh what suffering
in leaving a home at Nazareth.
Oh what suffering
in making an unmapped journey.
Oh what suffering
in journeying into the unknown.
You, women of the Passion,
daughters of the Sorrowful Mother,
know a similar suffering.
One can not stay at the point of comfort
on the spiritual journey.
One must suffer
as one is called
into the unmapped journey of the Spirit.
One must suffer as one leaves
the security of the known
and moves into the unknown.
The soul must accept
as did Mary
and make the Journey of suffering,
entering the “Cloud of Unknowing.”
Mutual suffering bonds.
In the company of the Sorrowful Mother
you make the journey of the Spiritual…
a journey beyond the senses.
One must go beyond the physical presence
and travel the journey of the spiritual presence.
….. A journey of suffering… suffering the absence.
Mary, our Mother,
walks before us on the journey
of suffering the absence of the one loved.
The suffering journey of faith.
When Jesus was twelve,
a physical separation happened.
Mary lost Jesus.
Pain, suffering, sorrow
filled a Mother’s heart…
a raging wildfire.
For three days there was a searching,
three days of sorrow, suffering, pain.
The sword of sorrow pierced
her heart and tore at its fibers.
“ Son, why have you done this?
Your father and I have been seeking you,
Oh, the suffering of a soul
when the Lover hides,
when the Lover seems to abandon…
when the Lover wounds the soul and flees.
Such a suffering heart
has the company of Mary,
the Lady of Sorrows.
There is the suffering of absence,
the suffering of searching,
and the suffering of not knowing why.
“ Why, O Lord, do you abandon me?
Why do You go into hiding.”
“Where have You hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
You fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling You, and You were gone.”
Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 1
John of the Cross.
The prophecy of sorrow
poured sufferings into the heart
filled with joy.
The flight into Egypt
filled a heart
with the suffering of fears
The three days’ loss of a Son
filled a loving heart
with the suffering of absence.
What more could a Mother take?
What more could love ask?
Yet Mary is the Woman;
she must walk not only the journey,
but must take each step of the journey.
The meeting of her Son
on his way to Calvary
tore at the fibers of her motherhood.
Her son was suffering.
She could not touch to console;
She could not bathe to comfort.
Only in spirit and love
could she reach toward Him
On your journey
you see others suffering
but you can not touch.
You stand at a distance, even though close,
and you can neither heal
nor stop the suffering.
What an awesome suffering,
yet a suffering that brings forth from the depth of your being
and compassionate presence.
+ + + +
All time centers around the “hour” of Jesus.
Mary had called Him toward this hour at Cana.
Now Jesus calls her into it,
this hour of his crucifixion and death.
Beneath the Cross stood Mary his Mother,
her sufferings so intense,
her union so deep
that she shared in the immolation of her Son.
“The Blessed Mother faithfully persevered
in her union with her Son unto the Cross,
where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,
enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim
which was born of her.”
The Church # 58
Woman, this is my hour
and your hour.
Mary is present in suffering at the Cross
because Mary is present in love.
Saint Paul of the Cross says:
“ The passion of Jesus is the most stupendous work
of divine love.
It is the infinite sea of love
and at the same time an infinite sea of sorrow.
Immersion of self in the passion
effects twofold suffering in the passion:
the pain of compassion
and the pain derived from the awareness of the connection
between the Passion of Jesus and Sin.
Love is permeated with sorrow
and sorrow with love.
Love and sorrow are blended, mingled with each other.”
Such was the sufferings of Mary, the Mother
for such was her love.
You, O Daughters of the Passion,
know a union with this Crucified Christ
and this Sorrowful Mother.
St Paul of the Cross says:
“Just as the passion of Jesus is a sea of love
and of sorrow, allow yourself ‘
when you are entirely penetrates with love
to become a mixture of sorrowing love
and loving sorrow.
The Mother of Jesus stood beneath the Cross
and immersed herself in the sea of love and the sea of sorrow
and she became “ a mixture of sorrowing love and loving sorrow.”
You, O Daughters of the passion
are invited into the sufferings of your Mother.
The grace that filled the soul of Paul of the Cross
will fills yours.
“ In my own soul there was the mingling of sorrow
and love, with many tears and delight.
If Paul of the Cross could write:
“ the soul, seeing the suffering Jesus,
remains in loving and sorrowful contemplation.” ….. page 200
What can our Sorrowful Lady tell you?
Love must touch.
Love must embrace.
They took the body of Jesus from the Cross
and placed the lifeless body in the arms of his Mother.
What loving embrace!
What an embrace of sorrow.!..
that gave love to the heart of Jesus;
A love that gave support
to the suffering Mother.
So frequently have each of you
knelt before the “Pieta”
in loving sorrow and sorrowing love.
The heart must embrace suffering.
We are finite beings.
We must have closure
lest the human heart be crushed.
With death there must be burial.
Burial too have its sufferings.
Mary with the others
placed the body of Jesus
in a tomb, in a borrowed tomb,
and a stone was rolled across the entrance.
Mary the Mother
must know the suffering of separation in death.
We are finite beings;
we know sorrow and suffering.
We also know that
sorrow and suffering
give birth to hope.
We join Our Lady of Sorrows
and walk toward the resurrection of Jesus.
Amen… Msgr. Bernard Powers
To celebrate this feast of St Paul of the Cross with you
is to share deeply in your rich heritage.
I stand on the fringe;
You are in the center.
For me, Paul is a name
and his teachings an instruction.
For you, Paul is a Father
and his teachings are a way of life.
On this feast of St Paul of the Cross
I call attention to phases of his life
to encourage you
to follow more faithfully...
to live more deeply...
to love more generously...
I call to your memory
some of his teachings
to affirm you in your quest for God
and console you in your struggles.
to set before you a depth to be plunged....
a heights to be scaled.....
Paul always takes you to Jesus:
" To make this wonderful flight of love
you must pass through the Door which is Christ."
"If you wish to be secure,
enter into that divine solitude by the Door
which is Jesus Christ
and His most holy Passion.....
Allow the soul to repose in God
with loving attention,
in the sacred silence of faith and love.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything." p. 50
Paul takes you to Jesus in the Passion:
"... In the Passion there is everything."
Tauler: " ... if all teachers were dead and buried,
and if all books were burnt,
we would find enough wisdom and discretion
in the example and life of the Lord and Savior,
no matter what the necessity,
if only we observed Him carefully
how He has gone before us ...
in every kind of most bitter affliction,
cross and sorrow." pp.53
Paul sets the example:
"In his life Paul hungered for only two things,
Communion and suffering. "
" If the soul is faithful in suffering
with patience, meekness, and deep resignation
the trials of body and spirit
that God permits,
accepting them immediately from His divine hands,
it is certain that the Divine Majesty will grant it the grace
to know how to contemplate
and to meditate on the sacred sufferings of Jesus Christ,
and to imitate His divine virtues.
This is a most perfect kind of contemplation." p. 57
Paul had daily attacks of
aridity... suffering.... desolation.
Yet remains aware of the purification of spirit
and loving union with the
The soul that God wants to draw
to a lofty union with
Himself by holy prayer
must pass through this way of suffering in prayer.....
and I mean
suffering without any sensible consolation..."
One great teaching of St Paul of the Cross
that gives an insight into his spirituality is his
MYSTICAL DEATH AND DIVINE NATIVITY.
This is a phase of his teaching
that deals with the interior life...
the way of perfection....
the spiritual and contemplative union of the soul with God.
His teaching on Mystical death and Divine nativity
contains the doctrine of highest perfection and sanctity.
" In deepest humility and centered on your nothingness...
but with a lofty and filial confidence in the Lord,
lose all in the abyss of the infinite love of God...
and be reborn to a new divine life,
a life of total love,
and an all -holy life,
and let the Divine Nativity be in the Divine word,
Christ Our Lord." p. 23.
This most wise teaching of St Paul of the Cross
flowed from the Sacred Scripture:
" The kingdom of God is within"
" You are the temple of the Living god."
Mystical Death and Divine Birth
is a dedication of one's whole life to God.
This great spiritual experience
at a moment called " introversion "..
is the act of withdrawal from all
to enter into the fullness of God.
It is an interior withdrawal,
" a quickening of faith
which makes the soul plunge into the abyss of the Divinity."
Here, death means
the highest grade of abstraction from everything created,
and birth means
the mysterious new life
which the soul
finds in God,
or receives from Him as if by a
This Mystical Death
signifies a transition
to a life of pure love;
It enables one to say that the soul is deified:
"You must die in Christ
with the mystical death of pure and holy love,
in order that your may rise again with Him to a
new, defied life,
and live a life of holy love,
in the purest love of the great King of hearts
and holy love."
This new life
takes place in the very depth of the soul:
" May Jesus cause you to be reborn
to a new life of holy love;
and if you are faithful...
this spiritual divine birth
will take place
in the interior temple of your Soul,
not only now,
You are the temple of the Living God.
Adore God within."
In the very depth of your soul;
" Immerse yourself in blind faith
in the interior depth of your soul,
at the very summit of the mind,
you will find God;
there you will find peace
and all riches. "
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
The sacred path into union with God
is meditation on the Passion of Our Lord.
Here we learn true wisdom.
Here you find joy .
Here the Heart comes to rejoicing.
Love is a virtue that takes upon itself
the torments of its beloved Lord.
Love is a fire
reaching through to the inmost soul
Love transforms the lover
into the one Loved.
Love intermingles with grief
and grief with love so that a blending occurs.
The loving heart rejoices in its sorrow
and exults in its grieving love.
Conceal yourselves in Jesus Crucified
and hope for nothing except
that all men
be thoroughly converted to his will.
Mystical Poem of St. Paul of the Cross
In pure faith’s dim vision only
Soul enamoured finds true joy
In the ever-present Being
Where it cleanses all alloy
“ Still the pinnacle of perfection is to nourish yourself on the divine will
in a spirit of pure faith and love.”
St Paul of the Cross emphasizes two principles:
“his intense Christ-centeredness and his emphasis on faith and love.”
“In all things may the divine will be your food; even more, take the gentle,
most holy will of God as you spouse and wed her this moment with the
ring of faith in which are set the other jewels of hope and love.”
“The person , on his own part, must be interiorly opened to God and,
‘in pure faith’ wholly immersed in the sea of Jesus’ passion.”
“When completely immersed in pure love, without images, in a most pure and naked faith , and … the soul in an instant finds itself wholly immersed in the sea of suffering of our Savior.”
“When the founder begins to speak of these deep interior relationships ,
which may scarcely be described in words, he stresses again and again that the happenings occur in ‘pure faith’ and ‘without images.’…..
All this is done with a simple glance in pure faith.”
“ Paul asks them to enter into ‘the interior solitude’ devoid of all images,
and to ‘plunge into God’ in pure faith and holy love.”
What is your vision of Jesus, crucified… of soul suffering…
that which is seen
to inflame with love.
“O living flame of love,
that tenderly wounds the soul.”
John of the Cross: Living Flame of Love
“ the soul feels that it is all inflamed in the divine union…
it is the fire of the Holy Spirit.:
John of the Cross ,,,p579
Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord;
like a hammer shattering the rocks?”
The soul is filled with a burning love…
The soul passionately in love… the soul loving with fire..
A fire in the soul
Joy a disposition of the soul … an excitement.
Joy is a gift of Jesus to the soul
Mother Teresa’s reflection on joy
“Surely the loving person continuously experiences a kind of joy, too,
when he abandons itself to the beloved,
when he is lost in another,.
Nevertheless, this love is necessarily painful ever if it is experienced as a joyful
Bialas p. 202
“ In fact Saint Paul was so convinced of God’s goodness that suffering effected in him a ‘kind of joy’ and he ‘embraced them’ because he knew they represented the will of God.”
What brings joy to your soul… your spirit… into your life….
See references to joy in
Spirituality page 93—94
“ In a practical way he met the call to contemplation by plunging the soul into a continual loving memory of the Passion, and stripped it of every accessory element of taste for prayer, concentrating its attention on the ‘Joy of joys,’ the supremely lovable God in His sorrowful humiliations.“
Never without God…..
Present in darkness, in suffering, in striving.. in the situations and things of life.
In the uncontrolled things in our life. ( Bialas p. 154)
“This spirit and life is perceived by souls who have ears to hear it,
those souls, as I say, that are cleansed and enamoured>”
Living Flame…page 581
“Before the divine fire is introduced into and united to the substance of the soul
through a person’s perfect and complete purgation and purity, its flame,
which is the Holy Spirit, wounds it by destroying and consuming
the imperfections and its bad habits. And this is the work of the Holy Spirit
in which He disposes it for the divine union and transformation in God
Living Flame of Love… page 586
Impurity Psalm 12 speaks of alloy…”The words of the Lord are without alloy.”
Lent calls us to purification… to cleansing…
Cleansed of all that is not God… from all that is in the way of authenticity..
Cleansing from all that is false.
Burning sweetly in that furnace
Held by hope above earth’s plane,
Humbled in His holy presence
Sweet abandonment she claims
Burning is a purification. No growth takes place in prayer or spiritual development
without some kind of purification from faults.
There are illusions within… improper desires… complaining to God when
Purification is a necessity.
Dryness… aridity… emptiness is a form of burning…
Any seeking of self or thing calls for the burning…
Any thing-seeking is an obstacle to transforming union with God, thus the burning.
There must be this burning in the senses and in the spirit.
We do some and God does some purifying.
The dark nights are the burning and the purification
Cf. Fire Within of Dubay, pp 159-160
“O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
not consummate if it be Your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!”
The Living Frame of Love… John of the Cross
Furnace is a trial…. the living of the vocation…. the Cross of Jesus…
caught up in a mystery…. a sickness or suffering…
an inner conflict with God where there is submission to God
God’s pure love……….. The Action of the Holy Spirit
The Living Flame of Love of John of the Cross speaks of burning and fire.
“The lamps of fire are living
waters of the spirit”
John of the Cross page 613
Deut 4:24 “Our God is a consuming fire.”
“Empty prayer is valuable, indeed indispensable, because in it and by it many imperfections are burned away: impatience, worldly inclinations, vanities, laxness.”
Fire Within…Thomas Dubay, page 22
Hope has to do with trust…. with vow of poverty… with submission to God.
Has to do with setting the heart on things above… on God…
Hope has to do with the faculty of the imagination.
Hope flows from the power of God and the goodness of God…promises of God.
“In this vast sea of the most holy passion, fish for the pearls of all the virtues of Jesus Christ. The divine fishing trip in the vast sea of the sorrows of the Son of God is made, however, without leaving solitude or interior silence.
Jesus will teach you everything, if you remain humble and dead to all”
Paul of the Cross……………….. Bialas p. 207
“First he wrote of the necessary humility one must have before God
and of entering into one’s own nothingness, a nothingness that must then become lost in the ‘all’ of God who is love.
“ The tereseian triad of indispensables: love of neighbor, detachment from all that is not God and a genuine humility.”
Dubay…. page 117
Saint Teresa: “ The foundation of this whole edifice, as I have said, is humility.”
Humility is honesty.
Humility is knowing who you are in the presence of God.
A created being… a finite being… one totally dependent….
“ A deeper humility and abnegation will be the most certain means disposing the soul for mystical grace.”
Humility is allowing God to act in the soul. It is admitting the need of God thus allowing God to prepare the soul for the graces that God wishes to give.
Indwelling…. God abiding within
“I feel that you are despoiled of every consolation, and I thank God for it, because now you will be more conformed to the Divine Spouse who was deprived of every consolation which he remained dying on the Cross. But in such abandonment, He made a great sacrifice, and perfected it with the final words which He spoke; and these were: ‘ Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’”
Spirituality: Page 89
“Purity of intention is easily discernible, and in prayer it is enough simply to say, “Father.” The full grace of abandonment and of the blessedness of the Passion
floods the soul of faith, and love, keeping it in serenity and peace.”
Spirituality page 89
“ In such a state you must remain in prayer in prefect nakedness and poverty of spirit, with the superior part of the soul attentive to God… in peaceful silence, without interior or exterior complaint, except I be an infant’s cry . as for example, ‘O my Father, Eternal Father, thus it is, whatever is pleasing to you is also pleasing to me…’ And having said this with Jesus Christ, breathe and die in Christ the mystical death of holy and pure love.”
“ Oh, blessed is the soul that remains crucified with Jesus Christ, without relishing o seeing Him, because it is deprived of every sensible consolation!
Oh, fortunate that soul which, in such abandonment of every consolation within and without , feeds itself on the divine will, bows its head and says with Jesus:
“Father into your hands I commend my spirit,’ and dies mystically to all that is not God, in order to live the divine life in God in the very bosom of the Heavenly Father, entirely clothed with Jesus Christ Crucified, that is, entirely united to His sufferings, which the Loving soul makes its own through the union of charity with the Highest Good.”
Introduction To the Spirituality of Saint Paul of the Cross
See Section III: Abandonment to the Father and
Full Mystical Death…….. page 84 ff
“The Lord will teach the soul what ‘ to be surrendered to Him’ means.
Spirituality page 85
“St. Paul of the Cross, once he is certain that fidelity in the exercise of virtue is not lessened, encourages and teaches the soul how to apply itself to the prayer of introversion, which is enriched with greater light, by revealing a new degree of configuration to Jesus Crucified: abandonment in the hands of the Father.”
Spirituality page 86
“Abandon your spirit, then, into the hands of God, and they you will see the marvels of love His Divine Majesty will work in it.”
“ Abandon yourself in the deep sea of divine Love, entering through the door of the most pure Heart of Jesus, in pure faith, without images. Hide yourself totally in that great Holy of Holies, and there lose yourself completely in the bottomless sea of the infinite love of God. Rise to the contemplation of the divine wonders, beauties and riches of the Highest Good; Take pleasure in Him, melt into the great fire like a small piece of wax; put yourself upon the bundle of spices which are the sufferings of Jesus, and there burn everything, reduce the whole holocaustal victim to ashes.”
“The greatest perfection of a soul consists in a true abandonment of one’s entire self into the hands of the greatest Good. This abandonment embraces a perfect resignation to the divine will is all the events which befall it.”
( The phrase in all events is understood to mean those occurrences
that are beyond the control of an individual.”
“Great perfection is found in resigning yourself in all things to the divine will:
an even greater perfection is to live abandoned with complete indifference to the divine good pleasure. Still, the pinnacle of perfection is to nourish yourself on the divine will in the spirit of pure faith and love. “
Paul of the Cross states three different degrees of fulfilling God’s will:
resignation to the divine will………
living abandoned to the divine good pleasure…..
to have as food the divine will in a pure spirit of faith and love.”
“Oh, what a noble exercise it is indeed to annihilate one’s self before God in pure faith without images, so that this nothingness of ours may be cast into that ‘all’
that is God and thus be lost in that immense sea of never ending love…”
“ In a life that is properly mystical, the soul is already conformed to the Passion of Christ by the complete offering of its own spiritual riches in order to attain true poverty of spirit and by the complete abandonment of itself to the Cross in order that it can quietly repose in the bosom off the Father…..
The passion is to be imposed upon the soul as a divine seal thus it becomes a personal
Spirituality page 93
As her ever-blessed portion
There, reposing in His love,
Heart and life and all she offers,
Brave detachment as a dove
That which God wishes to give
A sharing in something
One’s part of something
a share received by a gift or inheritance
What God has given……. a share in the Passion
a love fore Jesus Crucified
a desire for God…
Your portion: To live in the Crucified Christ
to live in the mystery of the Passion of Jesus
“In holy interior solitude… the soul, reposing in sinu Dei,
loses sight of the temporal and immerses itself in the eternal infinite Good
which it adores in spirit and in truth, and all its duties thus become permeated with holy love.”
Spirituality page 48
“ The ultimate goals of St Paul of the Cross’ spiritual doctrine were
‘ rest in the bosom of the heavenly Father
immersed in the infinite ocean of Divinity
in union with God through he mystery of the Crucified Christ.
“ There is only one way, only one door through which the soul can attain
This way is Jesus, better said, Christus patiens and crucifixus.”
“God rests in you and: God penetrates your whole being and you are entirely in God , and you are completely transformed in his love.>.”
“ For you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Consequently, being dead to everything with is not God,
keep yourself in deepest detachment from created thing,
in true poverty and nakedness of spirit with the greatest detachment from every sensible consolation in which our spoiled nature gets too entangled and becomes a robber of the gifts of God, a thing that is very dangerous and pernicious.”
“The first mystical death, effected by total detachment
from all creatures, has certain dispositions.:
‘Prayer must be made in a mode that is not our own,
but that of the Holy Spirit who is the true Sovereign Master.’
Dispositions for this prayer are:
Complete nakedness of spirit
self-possession and unity of the interior man.
Enter into this divine solitude through the door that is Jesus Christ,
and his most holy Passion, but without images, in pure faith…
The Holy Spirit will teach your everything…”
“This total detachment from every created thing already merits the name of mystical death.”
Lost within that Sea unbounded
She finds rest and for Him lives.
“Is it nothing to you , all you who pass by ?
Stop and see, if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.”
“For great as the sea is your sorrow.”
Saint Paul of the Cross used the symbol of 'the sea' many times.
It signifies charity, God’s love for us, the Passion of Jesus, the new Red Sea,…”
Jude Mead Source Book page 180
“I thank the Divine Mercy that He never withdraws the memory of the sufferings of the heavenly Spouse from your spirit. I wish that you would be entirely filled with the love by which He has suffered.
The short road is to become entirely lost in the sea of his sufferings, for, as the prophet says, the Passion of Jesus is a sea of love and of sorrow.”
“Ah, daughter, this is a great secret known only to the humble of heart. In this great sea the soul fishes for the pearls of virtues and makes its own the sufferings of its Beloved.
I have great confidence that the Spouse will teach you this divine fishing, and you will be taught by staying in interior solitude, removing all images, far from every earthly affection, inattentive to every created thing in pure faith and holy love.“
“… While the loving soul is swimming in this sea ( of God’s love)
it will be penetrated from within and without by infinite love and completely united with and transformed in Jesus Christ,; more than that, by love the soul becomes one with Jesus Christ.”
Bialas … p 168
St Paul uses the image of sea referring to God ( Bialas p. 199)
“Sea of infinite charity”
“the sea of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ. and these two seas become one for both are filled with the same water which is love.
There is the admonition of St Paul to the soul to “fish in the sea of love.”
“Besides, I want you to go fishing sometimes. How? I will tell you,
The most holy passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrow but at the same time a sea of love.
Pray to God that He teach you to fish in this sea. then dive into its depths.
No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.
Allow yourself to be penetrated completely by sorrow and love. In this way you will thoroughly appropriate the passion of Christ and make his sufferings your own.
Fish for the pearls of the virtues of Jesus. The divine fishing is done without words.; faith and love will teach you this.”
“Even more, lose yourself completely in the sea of the sufferings
of your Spouse.”
Bialas p 204
“ participate in the virtues of the suffering of Jesus.. thus to fish in the sea of the passion of Jesus.
Bialas p. 205
“And if , in such solitude. you are reborn o a new deiform life, that is, to a holy life, the Divine Spouse will lead you to fish in the sea of his most holy passion:
fish there, my daughter, allowing yourself to be wholly penetrated by love and sorrow and make your own the pains of Jesus.”
Bialas p 208
“ … immersion of the soul in the sea of his most holy passion which is the greatest and most astounding work of divine love.”
“Stay alone in your solitude , despoiled of all created things (let) your nothingness be cast by the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit into the immense sea of the most holy life, passion and death of our Jesus.”
“ … the best way to arrive at greater union with God is meditative self-immersion in the sea of the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“… the great sea of the pains of Jesus and of the sorrows of the most holy Mary…”
“The soul remains thus , languishing with a deep delight mingled
with tears and with the sufferings of her Spouse
infused into her.”
Bialas p. 230
“Oh a thousand times fortunate is the soul , if, espoused to God’s will,
she cherishes this Sovereign Spouse in naked suffering within and without”
Mother Mary of the Crucified…. p 10
“As brides of the Crucified, their most profound longing
is to “know Christ and the power flowing from his resurrection…”
Rule page 58
Consecrated as Brides of the Crucified through holy vows..
Mother Mary of the Crucified… p 47
“Even more, lose yourself completely in the sea of sufferings of your Spouse.”
Bialas … 204
“And if in such solitude you are reborn to a new deiform life, that is,
to a holy life, the Divine Spouse will lead you to fish in the sea of his most holy
Passion ; fish there, my daughter, allowing yourself to be wholly penetrated
by love and sorrow and make your own the pains of Jesus.”
“Prayer then should be continual, day and night, walking and standing, working and resting, etc. Such prayer is made in the deepest part of the sacred interior desert, in deepest solitude, in loving interior repose in God, totally absorbed and lost in that sea of Infinite Charity. You should never abandon the holocaustal sacrifice of your whole being to the Supreme and Infinite Good.
Such a sacrifice is to be made in the fire of Divine Charity…”
Letters to Mother Mary Crucified p.12-13
She finds rest in the Sea Unbounded,
the sea of his Passion; There suffering with Him she finds a rest
that flows from sharing and from unity and from compassionate contemplation
…Just being with the Crucified.
She lives in Him:
Christ is her life……..her conversation…… her breathing…. her love… her all.
He is in those she serves… His will is in the superior… His call is in the needs of the community…
Hers is to come
when He calls and where there is no call,
hers is to listen and wait,
to be in readiness, to be humble.. as the eyes of the handmaid are on the eyes of her master…
To the Spouse she gives herself;
Her gift is the gift of her body
that she suffer with him and the body becomes a sacrifice..
Her gift is the gift of the heart
which is only to love Him..
She is handmaid, she is spouse. she is lover.
She gives herself in surrender to be purified,,, transformed.
She gives herself in attentive presence, in longing for him..
O, that in this fire so holy,
I, by Love, might be consumed, ( Great verse; Action of Love on
And by this be changed entirely on the Soul)
To Christ’s Passion be transformed.
“Abandon yourself in the deep sea of divine love, entering through the door of the most pure Heart of Jesus, in pure faith, without images. Hide yourself totally in that great Holy of Holies, and there lose yourself completely in the bottomless sea of the infinite love of God.
Rise to the contemplation of the divine wonders, beauties and riches of the Highest Good; take pleasure in Him.
Melt into the great fire like a small piece of wax;
put yourself upon the bundle of spices which are the sufferings of Jesus
and there burn everything,
reduce the whole holocaust victim to ashes.”
“I desire that your heart will be more and more consumed as a holocaust to the Supreme Good in that Holy of Holies, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
letting the ashes of the holocaust fall into the infinite sea of God’s love… Your sufferings are compassionated in the Heart of Jesus, and the soul is bathed in His Blood which ahs the power of setting one on fire with love.”
“Hence these wounds are flames of tender touches;
arising from the fire of love, which is not idle,
they suddenly touch the soul.
These, it says, occur inwardly and wound the soul in its deepest center.”
Living Frame of Love … 582 ( John of the Cross)
“When He wills to touch somewhat vehemently
the soul’s burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world.
For He is an infinite fire of love.”
Living Flame of Love p.596
See Living Frame of Love, stanza 2
“I want you to make your prayer twenty four hours a day.
What do I mean by this” That you always remain within yourself,
totally annihilated in God, giving the soul freedom to make flights of the spirit as the loving breath of the Holy Spirit moves it…
Fly in spirit to the beautiful Heart of Jesus and place yourself there as a victim on the divine Altar on which the fire of holy love is always burning.
Let yourself be penetrated with those sacred flames to the very marrow of your bones; let yourself be completely consumed.”
Spirituality p 103-104
to be taken totally into the Lover;
to become completely one.
Be changed entirely
in ways of praying
in ways of loving
in ways of thinking
in degrees of believing
Be changed by the Lover.. so that one is made more pleasing.
Be changed and become new… a new creation
from sinner to saint… from isolation to union… reconciled…
Be transformed to Christ’s passion and victimhood..
Fire is the love of Jesus
the mystery of the cross and suffering is a fire…
Idea of “O”…. Look to John of the Cross
Verbs are passive, thus action on the Soul by Burning Love.: Consumes, changes,
In Holy Communion we consume the Body and Blood,
yet we are consumed by Jesus and become one with Him.
Changes in Attitude… thinking… conversion…
Transformed: (Look to John of the Cross for further information.)
Fire of Sacrifice:
Fire from heaven in Old Testament that came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice or offering and made it a holy offering to God.
Isaias is cleansed with the burning ember…
Pentecost is Fire……………….. Exodus is Pillar of Fire.
Sacred Fire in the Temple kept burning…
Ezekiel and the False Prophets and their altar was consumed even by Ezekiel ‘s God.
Five great verses….. God acts on the Soul..
“Maya the Love that is Holy Fire
consume me and change me and transform me
into the Passion.”
Prayer: “Change me as I need to be changed.”
Consume: to take into and make one with self… Participate in …
These verses speak of God ‘s action on the Soul..
The Passion is a Loving Action of Suffering
John of the Cross: Spiritual canticle: 497—498—512—547—548
Living Frame of Love 589--- 638—641--642
Ah, that His most sacred suffering
Could be always in my heart!
Ah, could I be ever praying,
Burning love my only part.
Sometimes the meditations of St Paul of the Cross end with the
expressive “ Ah…” which paves the way for contemplation, for memory,
for inquiry. And this is the next step when the soul endeavors to eliminate
from its own life every imperfection and attachment to the world.”
Exclamations are used to express dispositions in the heart that the heart
does not seem to have words for.
John of the Cross: The Living Flame of Love p.597
a great desire:
that the sacred suffering be always in my heart..
a great request , petition:
that the sacred suffering be always in my heart
by memory, by fruits.. by participation… by union..
a request that
the suffering be always in my heart
in remembering through the vow devoted to the Passion…,
transforming and uniting…
be in the will
Desire for Passion be in the heart and from there pulsating
through one’s whole being as one’s own blood.
sacred because he is God
sacred because God is in them
Sacred because they take to God. and they are filled with God.
Would that I be ever praying :
O how the soul longs for communion with God…
There is the desire to be in communion with God
by having the sacred sufferings in one;s heart.
Oh, the value of remembering the passion..
“Suffering is the means of her penetrating further, deep into the thicket of the delectable wisdom of God. The purest suffering brings with it the purest and the most
intimate knowing, and consequently the purest and highest joy, because it is a knowing from further within. Not being content with jut any kind of suffering, she insists:
“And further ,deep into the thicket, that is , even to the agony of death in order to see God.”
“The gate entering into these riches of His wisdom is the Cross, which is narrow, and few desire to enter by it, but many desire the delights obtained from it.”
John of the Cross The Spiritual Canticle page 549
The soul desires to pray
by burning with love..
“Would that my heart was
filled with a burning love.”
Paul of the Cross speaks of burning love:
Love of the Passion..
Love as a raging fire…consuming
yet bringing to new life as it burns.
New growth in Yellowstone Park..
Oh, if one could pray the prayer of burning love,
a prayer which is awareness of the sacred suffering.
Oh, to pray as Paul of the Cross.
May he help me to pray
the sacred suffering. Help me to give my heart in the gift of burning love.
What is in my heart
that keeps the sufferings of Jesus out?
My own desires……………… my own wants……… my own needs,
my own will
Not caring …..not thinking like Jesus…
Dispositions that nourish my ego…
My need to prove my point…. to show I am right…
Amazing Truth: Christ’s sufferings can always be in my heart.
Christ’s Sufferings are : Love,
generosity… honor to the Father, love for Mary… forgivness
Dispositions from the Cross
Therefore I know how to live and how to die
if I have the passion of Jesus in my heart…
Therefore, Listen to the words of the Passion in my heart…
Ask Jesus to help !
References from Living Wisdom Every Day by Kelley
Preparation for prayer…. p 39
Prayer during sickness… 32
Be Practical at prayer… 182
When prayer does not satisfy…. 165
Praying always… 145
Unconscious Prayer… 139
Yield to the Spirit in prayer… 135
Let Spirit vary your prayer… 121
Swim in the Passion… 99
Prayer when busy… 96
Constant prayer…. 94
Letting Go of the Past…. 25
Lose self in prayer…. 65
Love’s sweet victim crucified,
Lovingly He pleads for comfort,
for you love He sweetly died.
“In the first mystical death, the gifts were separated from the Giver
in the contemplative gaze.”
St. Paul speaks of a special grace and the understanding of this grace
brings the soul “ in God with such a loving and sorrowing gaze.”
Spirituality p 59
“Jesus Christ will teach you how to pray.
Put yourself at his feet like a poor, wounded beggar… and say to Him
with reverence and humility, ‘ Dear Jesus, teach me how to pray.’
Then approach His most holy wounds with faith and holy love, and with simplicity this about his most holy Passion, gently without forcing the mind. Jesus will teach it to you.”
“Go before the Crucified more to listen than to speak.”
“… the God who abides in the depth of one’s heart revealing Himself to
the gaze of faith with His divine crucified face.”
“… the gaze of the soul is still fixed on Christ Crucified in order to share in His inexpressible sorrow. We find again, it is true, the sorrowful cry: ‘ My God, My God, who has You forsaken me?’
But the gaze of the soul lifting itself to the Crucified no longer brings it gaze back to itself….”
“Consequently the gaze of the church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.”
Encyclical on Eucharist Pope John Paul II # 1
To gaze upon the Savior… the Victim… the Crucified Victim…
is to be so attentively present that there is a staying,
a searching, a looking, a hungering…
is to be drawn into the reality before you,
to enter into it and become a part of it.
to drink of its life and beauty and goodness..
to become so present that one is moved by it..
is to come alive to our Savior
where we hear his pleading, his pleading for comfort…
his pleading for my love, my attention,
even my begging for mercy…
yes, even his pleading for my sins…
Encyclical of on Redeemer #
“As is evident, this is also a right on Christ’s part with regards to every
human being redeemed by Hi: His right to meet each one of us in that key
moment in the soul’s life constituted by the moment of conversion and
Ency # 20.6
Jesus pleads for comfort:
We bring sins and he forgives..
and in the forgiving there is joy in the heart of Jesus
because we are filled with love and redeemed… and made holy.
“… fish intently for pearls and all other precious stones, since they are the virtues of the divine Crucified Bridegroom, in order to adorn yourself well for the purpose of being always a victim sacrificed in the holocaust of the fire of holy love.”
“the cross of Jesus is a complete surrender of the will to God.
or better still of total transformation in the divine good pleasure.”
“Have you understood My pleading,
Have you learned the lesson well!
Look upon your Jesus dying,
Live in Me, My Heart your cell.”
This verse is the prayer of the Crucified Jesus
to the soul .
“Jesus, Crucified, I humbly pray for the grace to understand your pleading.
You are pleading that I understand the lesson of the Cross.
Holy Spirit of God, help me to understand the pleading of Jesus
as He prays that I look upon Him dying. Let me enter this crucified Jesus
and live in Him.
Have you heard my pleading:
You plead for my love… my sins.. my loyalty..
my presence… my praise.. my commitment..
There is silence needed at the foot of the Cross
even to hear the pleading…/// the gazing is needed.
Jesus pleads: “Give me your heart, your love. Come to me with your heart.
Give me your sins.”
Jesus pleads for
compassionate presence… contemplative presence… sacrificial presence,
unitive presence… conversion, atonement, love.
Have you learned well
No, not too well….
Sometimes I don’t know the lesson…
Sometimes I don’t know what I should learn..
Learn well the lesson:
of love for the Father
of the evil of sin
of the meaning of suffering
Learn well the lesson of the Passion:
Sit before the Cross
Gaze upon the crucified Lord,,
Ask for the grace to believe..
Live the life of the Passionist..
Daily meditate on the Passion
“It’s true that the memory of the most holy passion of Jesus Christ
with the imitation of his holy virtues never be left aside,
even if you have a great degree of recollection and the highest gift
of prayer, since it is the door through which the soul enters and is
led to intimate union with God, to interior recollection,
and to the most sublime contemplation.”
Paul of the Cross asked of his followers daily
meditation on the Passion………
Self-giving……… total trust of the Father,,, union with the Crucified.. see the complete Paschal mystery… total love… evil of sin… depth of God’s love.
“throw one self into the arms of Mary…”
childlike simplicity and true humility…
. Bialas… 216
Sometimes I look and turn away for it is too painful….
Sometimes I look and fall in adoration and worship and atonement…
Sometimes I look with compassion, love and comfort…
Live in me…
Think as Christ thinks
act out of love
act in his Spirit
Obey the Father.
Live in Christ… the Crucified..
The only way to live in Jesus is through His sufferings and crucifixion.
“I also want to know whether the soul made her flight into God with
wings of faith and the fire of love, and also whether that flight was made
through the door that is Christ, our Lord, by the immersion of the soul
in the sea of his most holy passion, which is the greatest and most
astounding work of divine Love.”
“The Father must draw him..” John 6:44
“Consequently, the person who wills to undertake this ‘flight to the heights’
in God can best accomplish it through meditation and contemplation upon
Bialas .. 214
“Love lends virtue a ‘transcendental power’ and the practice of virtue becomes
a necessity, a sharing of the action of love.”
His Heart your cell..
I Will Lead You Into The Desert
Many readings of the Sacred Scriptures speak of God’s great love for you:
“I will lead you into the desert;
there I will speak to your heart.”
God will lead you into the desert,
there He will speak and you will
experience what it is to be a woman
there you will establish your identity as a vowed woman.
There you will stand alone,
wondering if any companionship can fill the emptiness
There you will experience a dryness beyond description
wondering if any reality can refresh you.
There you will suffer the urge to live,
yet wondering if life is possible.
You will know sorrow,
wondering if there can be joy.
You will know conflict
wondering if there can be peace.
You will know sinfulness
wondering if there can be holiness.
Your food will be locust from the heights
or honey from the depths.
The Silence of this desert will be shattered by a dynamic word,
and God will speak.
God will speak to your heart
God will set you free.
God will speak to your heart:
I will be present with you always.
I will give living water
I will give a joy that is full
and a peace that no one can take from you.
I will give you a holiness that will make you
a child of God.
What greater words does a human heart long to hear!
What more personal words could a woman want to hear!
To your womanly heart He speaks:
I will be faithful
I will never forsake you
I will be with you always
I will never abandon you.
What is mine, I will share.
Where I am, I want you to be.
God never ceases to speak to your heart:
I know that you need to possess,
come and share riches through poverty.
I know your capacity to love
come and give yourself through chastity.
Your heart longs for mysteries to ponder,
here is the mystery of my love.
Your heart longs for relationships to share,
here is my relationship with the Father,
both the love and the life.
Your heart longs for union,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If any man listens to my voice
and opens the door to me,
I will come in to him and will supper with him
and He with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
When He speaks, you shall respond as in the days of your youth
with generosity and blindness
with courage and faith
with a commitment that will make all stand in amazement.
Like Ruth, you will respond:
“Wherever You go, I will go.
wherever You lodge, I will lodge.
Your people will be my people.
wherever you die, I will die.
Your God will be my God.”
The words that Christ speaks to your heart are words of Love:
“I will espouse you to Myself forever.
You will be my people
I will be your God”
This will be a love relationship
This will be a life relationship.
It will be a presence
It will be a sharing.
It will be a life permeated with love.
It will be a union that is personal.
It will be a bond that not even death can break.
I will espouse you to Myself
in a commitment that is for all times
and even for eternity.
in a relationship that involves total persons…..
in a self-giving that knows no restrictions
and no reservations.
I will be your God.
You will be My People, My Religious.
I will espouse you to Myself
You will be “My Word”---“My Letter” to my people.
Through you they will come to know
the primacy of the love of God
the power of the Spirit
the reality of the Resurrection
the greatness of the Spiritual
Through you they will understand:
kindness rather than coldness
rejoicing rather than revenge
compassion rather than complaining
courage rather than cowardness.
You are written by the Spirit
sent by the Spirit.
Your message is authentic and vital.
May your whole message
be accepted by God’s people.
You are a word,
filled with the spirit
You are a word
expressive of love
In the words of Saint Paul ( 2 Cor. 3:1-6)
You are my letter,
known and read by all.
You are my letter
written by the Spirit of the Living God.
When He leads you into the desert
may you follow.
When He speaks to your heart,
may you hear.
When He sends you as His “letter”
may the whole world know
“That the Word is made flesh
and dwells among us.”
A Gospel of Sufferingby Msgr. Bernard Powers May, 2013
Pope John Paul II says
that there is a Gospel of Suffering....
a Gospel to be proclaimed..... to be believed...,to be lived.
Jesus revealed this Gospel
Jesus lived this Gospel
Jesus placed this Gospel of Suffering
in the hearts and hands of his disciples.
The first among these disciples was His Mother, Mary,
the Virgin of Nazareth and the Woman of Calvary.
The Virgin of Nazareth knew this Gospel of Suffering.
She shared fully in its fruits .... she is “full of Grace”
The Woman of Calvary knew this Gospel of Suffering.
“It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering reached
an intensity which can hardly be imagined
from a human point of view
but which was mysteriously and supernaturally
fruitful for the redemption of the world.”
Pope John Paul II AL suffering # 25
Mary supplemented the Sufferings of Jesus
Mary, then, is a Herald of the Gospel of suffering.
We listen to her proclamation...... and believe.
We see her example.................. and follow.
The Blessed Virgin Mary.... being the first disciple of Jesus....
heard the Gospel of Suffering and lived this Gospel....
At the Annunciation the Virgin Mary said “yes”
to God’s plan of redeeming the world.....
a plan that was filled with suffering.
Pope John Paul II says that Mary’s “Yes”
at the Annunciation was a “yes” to the mission of the suffering of Jesus.
In her “fiat” she embraced the complete Gospel of Suffering.
Yes to the Annunciation was “yes” to the whole mission of Jesus,
even to his suffering and death on the Cross.
The “yes” to your vocation was and is a “yes” to the Gospel of Suffering.
The Gospel of Suffering flows like a powerful, lazy river.
In the Temple, Simeon’s words pierced the heart of the Virgin Mother Mary.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
“The Mater Dolorosa, the mother whose heart is pierced
by a sword is an iconic image of this fundamental attitude
of compassion of Christian Faith.” Infancy Narratives p 87
In the Temple........as her First Born Son is offered to God
Mary hears the Gospel of Suffering:
“a sword will pierce her heart.”
From that moment, the Gospel of suffering
immersed her more deeply in the Cross and Passion of her Son...
… Mary knew a deeper union with Jesus, the union of suffering ...
Perhaps too this word of Simeon brought to the memory of this
Jewish woman the Song of the Suffering Servant in the Prophet Isaiah
Her heart knew to a greater depth the Gospel of Suffering.
The Gospel of Suffering had a physical dimension.
In this suffering the Young Mother Mary would be
the first to know this truth of the Gospel of Suffering.
Her Infant Son was in danger.
She must flee immediately into Egypt.
There would be a leaving.....
there would be detachment......
there would be the unknown.
Every soul on the spiritual journey
hears and lives this Gospel of Suffering.....
Detachment...... adjustment to the unknown.
The Gospel of Suffering has an inner dimension..... and inner suffering.
Jesus is lost at the age of twelve.
Mary is without Jesus......There is separation....
There is darkness......Mary is in sorrow...
Mary is living the Gospel of apparent absence......the Gospel of the Hidden God.
Every soul on the spiritual journey
hears and lives this dimension of the Gospel of Suffering/
a soul knows a dryness....
a soul knows an absence.....
a soul is in darkness....
God is hidden
Mary’s greatest proclamation of the Gospel of Suffering is on Calvary.
Pope John Paul II writes.
“It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering..... reached an intensity,
which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view
but which was mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful
for the redemption of the world.
“Her ascent of Calvary
and her standing at the foot of the Cross
together with the beloved disciple
were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming death of her Son.
“As a witness of her Son’s passion
and a sharing in it by her compassion,
Mary offered a unique contribution for the Gospel of suffering.”
Apostolic Letter on Suffering....Pope John Paul II....# 25
The Gospel of Suffering blossoms through Mary
at the foot of the Cross.
Paul of the Cross advised his followers to:
“run to her and throw yourself into her arms…”
There would be no better time to run to Mary
than at the time of the Crucifixion.
There would be no better place to run to Mary
than at the foot of the Cross.
Once we are in the arms of Mary
her proclamation is amazing….. refreshing…… life giving....
filled with love..... and loving.
At the Cross Mary proclaims the Gospel of Suffering:
She tells you that the meaning of suffering is LOVE
She proclaims that suffering has BEAUTY
She shows you that suffering brings UNION
She inspires you to respond to suffering with YES
She stands by you in suffering as MOTHER
Indeed at the Cross Mary proclaims the Gospel of Suffering:
The Crucifixion of Jesus is God’s greatest act of love to us.
The suffering and dying of Jesus glorifies the Father.
The Man nailed to the Cross is Giving the Holy Spirit to the world.
This Victim on the Cross is giving Salvation to the world
This Lamb of God is offered in eternal worship of the Father.
And Mary goes on and on proclaiming the Gospel of the Passion
However, to you, the Daughters of the Passion....
she proclaims the Gospel of Suffering as the Gospel of Love:
“This Jesus on the Cross
is your Beloved...... Your Bridegroom......your Beloved Spouse.
Embrace Him in love!
Amen Msgr. Bernard Powers