From an old Magnificat…

February 12, 2007 § 1 Comment

 Some pious ramblings today.

There is not one avenue of sense or thought, but the figure of Christ stands in it; not one activity open to man, but the “Carpenter’s Son” is there; beneath the stone, and in the heart of the wood.

The more minute our search, the more delicate is His presence. The more wide our vision, the more illimitable is His power.

So, little by little as we go through life, following with a hundred infidelities and a thousand blunders, with open defiances and secret sins, yet following, as Peter followed through the gloom of penitence where Christ’s eyes could shine – as we go, blinded by our own sorrow, to the ecstasy of His joy, thinking to find Him dead, hoping to live on a memory, instead of confident that He is living and looking to the “today” in which He is even more than yesterday – little by little we find that there is no garden where He does not walk, no doors that can shut Him out, no country road where our hearts cannot burn in His company.

And, as we find Him ever more and more without us, in the eyes of those we love, in the voice that rebukes us, the spear that pierces us, the friends that betray us, and the grave that waits for us: as we find Him in His sacraments, in His saints – in all those august things which He Himself designed as trysting-places with Himself; at once we find Him more and more within us, enwound in every fiber of our lives, fragrant in every dear association and memory, deep buried in the depths of that heart of ours that seems most wholly neglectful of Him.

– Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

Personally, I think that is a beautiful piece, and my favorite meditation. I carry it around with me everywhere, and have practically memorized it at this point.

My other favorite:

God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I never may it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for his purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his – if, indeed, I fail, he can raise another, as he could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between person. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling.

– Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

This passage comes to my mind many times every day: every contact we make with another human being – even if it be so slight as looking in one another’s eyes or a smile as you pass on the sidewalk – is for a reason. We must always remain open to all of our fellow travellers on the journey through this life.

I can’t even begin to list the times in my life where a few minutes talking to a stranger or a friend has changed my life dramatically. One such moment came over the retreat two weeks ago, when I had a chance to talk with Deacon Jon, who I have mentioned before in these posts. What a blessed conversation! Honestly, it took my breath away. God was present in every word said: it really was incredible.

Believe me. Take Mother Theresa’s advice and just smile at others. It could be the only love of God that they feel today, a flood of sunlight in an otherwise often dreary and confusing existence.

Enough of my preaching. I need to work on my Newman paper…this time on Intellectual Sin. I think I will have a number of meditation to post on that over the next week or so.

§ One Response to From an old Magnificat…

  • Father Joe says:

    What Msgr. Benson meant was that Christ must be all in all. The believer lives in a Chrstocentric world. The universe is too large to embrace and love. God became a human being to make right the wrong of sin and to give us a way of truly loving the infinite and absolute. Long before Pierre Teilhard de Chardin stumbled upon the pseudo-science of his cosmic Christ, Msgr. Benson had been guided to the truth of Christ’s presence– the one who was the Word and the pattern for creation as well as the one who would speak to us from Scripture and feed us in the sacraments of the altar. Indeed, through baptism we were refashioned into God’s likeness, temples of the eternal Spirit but also new Christs, adopted sons and daughters of the heavenly Father. Because of the mystery of the Incarnation, the Christian can know an intimacy with our Lord and God unlike anyone else. Every story, including our own, becomes a retelling of the Christ-story.

    God’s providence cannot be thorted. Newman knew this and so should the believer. Even our failures cannot prevent what God desires from coming to fruition. Faith itself is a gift that he has given to us and he knows the names of his chosen elect. We live in the hope of our salvation, a sure and certain hope. It is not given us to always understand why or how a woman can have two sons, both given the faith, both nurtured and loved and yet– one becomes a saint and the other, a judas. And yet, if it pleases God, sometimes the judas himself becomes a saint with his last breath.

    These are my “takes” on your citations. I hope they might help in your meditation and/or reflection.

    Let me give you a few more quotations to ponder:

    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (THE DIVINE ROMANCE)

    There is perhaps no word in the English language that is more often used and more often misunderstood than the word that rang out from the Pulpit of the Cross on that day: the simple word, LOVE. LOVE as the world understands it means to have, to own, to possess: to have that object, to own that thing, to possess that person, for the particular pleasure which it will give. That is not love; that is selfishness, that is sin. Love is not the desire to have, to own, to possess. Love is the desire to be had, to be owned, to be possessed. Love is the giving of oneself for the sake of another. Love, as the world understands it, is symbolized by a circle which is always circumscribed by self. Love, as Our Lord understands it, is symbolized by the cross with its arms outstretched even unto infinity to embrace all humanity within its grasp. As long as we have a body, then, love can never mean anything else but sacrifice. That is why we speak of “arrows” and “darts” of love–something that wounds. (pp. 101-102)

    Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. (HE LEADETH ME)

    No, I was not helpless or worthless in that prison at Perm. I was not terribly humiliated because I was rejected as a priest. These men around me were suffering, they needed help. They needed someone to listen to them with sympathy, someone to comfort them, someone to give them courage to carry on. They needed someone who was not feeling sorry for himself, but who could truly share in their sorrow. They needed someone who was not looking for consolation, but who could console. They needed someone who was not looking for respect and admiration because of what he was, but someone who could show them love and respect even if spurned and rejected himself. As Christ had set the example for me, so could I be to them an example of Christian charity and concern. If nothing else, if they insisted upon shunning me, I could at least pray for them and offer up for them to the Father of us all the suffering and anguish that their rejection of me as a priest caused me. Christ had prayed for his persecutors, “Father, forgive them.” If I could do nothing else at this moment in the prison at Perm, I could do that….Nor was I powerless to do it, for it was within my power to do it and I could count on his grace to sustain me. And not the least of his graces was the light to see and understand this truth; to see that this day, like all the days of my life, came from his hands and served a purpose in his providence. I had to learn to believe that, no matter what the circumstances, and to act accordingly–with complete trust and confidence in his will, his wisdom, and his grace. (pp. 54-55)

    C. S. Lewis (THE PROBLEM OF PAIN)

    Now the proper good of a creature is to surrender itself to its Creator–to enact intellectually, volitionally, and emotionally, that relationship which is given in the mere fact of its being a creature. When it does so, it is good and happy. Lest we should think this a hardship, this kind of good begins on a level far above creatures, for God Himself, as Son, from all eternity renders back to God as Father by filial obedience the being which the Father by paternal love eternally generates in the Son. This is the pattern which man was made to imitate–which Paradisal man did imitate–and wherever the will conferred by the Creator is thus perfectly offered back in delighted and delighting obedience by the creature, there, most undoubtedly, is Heaven, and there the Holy Ghost proceeds. In the world as we now know it, the problem is how to recover this self-surrender. We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are, as Newman said, rebels who must lay down our arms. (pp. 78-79)

    If you find time, I would love to hear how you understand these passages. They are very rich.

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