Friday, May 16, 2014

Love has all the rights of conquest

Offer even the rhythm of your breathing to Me. Not just that of the body, but the stream of your thoughts. This may seem nothing to you, but it is your entire life, and all of it belongs to Me, for love has all the rights of conquest. What sadness for both of us if you were to keep something of yourself from Me. From Me! Oh, My daughter, day by day tighten the bonds that unite us. Be My joyous captive. Some have found such sheer delight in My sweet bondage that they could say, ‘My heart overflows with joy even in the midst of trouble.’ For I faithfully accompany My faithful ones and give strength and comfort to those who want so much to suffer for Me. What they endure for Me I endured before them, for I have suffered all things in the sufferings of My friends. Don’t you suffer when you see someone you love suffer? Am I not the most tender of friends? Oh, believe Me, for this is a reality, and it will encourage you to love Me more. A little more each day—ever so gently, without taxing your soul.

More frequent holy desires. A little upsoaring of your heart to Me, an affectionate glance. Less time spent far from any remembrance of Me; a sunnier loyalty, a silence of humility; a kindness for My sake. And never cease to thank Me. I do so much for you, My beloved daughter. Don’t you see that? And there are all the other blessings you never see. Oh, don’t ever doubt. (In a tone touched with emotion.) Don’t doubt Me.

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

My grace is sufficient for you. Do you believe that?

. . . If you have failed in something, you say, ‘My dear all, I could have been more faithful today. Forgive me.’ You humble yourself most sincerely. And without your knowing it, I press you to My heart burning with love. That is what you call grace, and My grace is sufficient for you. Do you believe that?

This should be your one fixed desire: To live only for Me. Your life will be filled to the brim with good things. I’ve been waiting so long for the joy of giving you more. Help Me. Ask Me to do so. Stretch out your two empty hands to Me. Give Me a big place in your life. Give Me all of it. Do you realize that you are in exile, waiting for the return of the beloved? Listen from afar. Say to Him, ‘Breathe on this breath of mine which is yours. Your home shall be My home. I could no longer live without Your step in mine and Your voice in my voice.’

Don’t people pray, ‘Open Thou my lips’? That’s so that the Spirit will speak in you, daughter of God.

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The serenity of the one who has yielded everything to Me

“My daughter, can’t you understand that the trials I send you are all made to measure, exactly fitted to your power to bear, favors that draw you nearer to your beloved. Thank Me for a little trial as though it were a flower placed with new tenderness on your heart by your Fiancé. Doesn’t He find you more beautiful when you suffer with gentle patience united with His patience? Doesn’t your soul take on, as it were, a new expression full of love for Him? Be flexible and docile in My hand. Always humble yourself as though you had deserved to suffer. I am all innocence, yet I suffered everything imaginable. Wouldn’t you like to suffer everything too, so that we might be more one than ever? Do you think we’re close enough now? Wouldn’t you love to come closer? Has your love said its last word? Lose yourself and gain by coming into Me. There are many kinds of houses; the home where one lives in intimacy with the bridegroom is the dearest of all, isn’t it? And if you have understood this, why not make it your permanent residence? What could ever touch you there? You are in the arms of the incomparable one to whom you have entrusted everything—your honor, your belongings, your heart. He will use everything for your sanctification. This is the one great end: to love God and to please Him. What else matters, My poor daughter!

Don’t be afraid of trials. They only help you to go higher. They make you love Me more. And there I am, waiting for you at the bend in the road. ‘How will she overcome this difficulty? Will she ask Me to help her? Will she give Me her whole confidence at last in a childlike outburst of tenderness?’ Oh, the serenity of the one who has yielded everything to Me.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Won't you give Me the balm of your love?

“Don’t you have something to say to Me? Won’t you give Me the balm of your love? How the bridegroom smiles at the bride as she gets ready to lavish all her tenderness upon him; and if she finds words to express her love, I am the one who inspires them, for I am love and I am in her words. At least praise Me by your love-will, and long to please Me. Long to be My beloved companion, my attentive bride. 

Offer it to Me, Mary Magdalene’s love. It is yours by the communion of saints, for all time is present to Me. You find it difficult to believe in this treasure that your God devised for you. But just lay hold of it in all its magnificence, even though it is beyond your understanding. Above all, believe it. All that I have thought out for My children is for their good, not for Mine. Humble yourself in faith and love as Mary Magdalene did. Tell Me often in secret of all the ways in which you have grieved My heart. Be deeply sorry. You know how My heart listens. And if your heart is moved as you confess, what do you think Mine must feel?

Oh, My child, may love lift you above your usual ways. Like Mary Magdalene, learn to be a new woman, even to giving up your all. . . .

The sacrifice most pleasing to God is a cleft and contrite heart. What deeper pain could you have than to have little love? So take all the love of the saints and give it to Me as though for the first time. Ask Mary Magdalene to help you—she who loved so much.” . . .”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Give Me your joys . . .

“Why should My people offer Me only their trials?
“Don’t you think your joys would please Me just as much—that is, if you give them with as much love: your smallest joys with your greatest love.”
Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Run to Me as your father

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop
I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God’s desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity
Listen to the Lord’s appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no less to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.
Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.
How marvellous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate to God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly it is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.
The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ’s sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains alive. Death itself suffers the punishment. This is why death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.
Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thing: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice. God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Waiting for God

Again Weil challenges the metaphor so often clung to of the "search for God"; a search made by the efforts as it were of a muscular will.  To this Weil gives a categorical "No".  It is God who seeks us in his gratuitous love and we are to long and wait and renounce anything that would prevent our giving a full response.  

We shouldn't be tempted to think of this waiting and longing as less intense than searching.  On the contrary: Weil tells us "Attention animated by desire is the whole foundation of religious practices."  It is the mediocre part of our soul that wishes to make our meagre efforts and even our religious practices God - an action to be performed rather than a Love to be longed for and desired.  When we fall in to this trap, she states, we make the marvel of the Eucharist useless in our lives.  We seek to set up a worldly or psychological peace for ourselves, whereas as a true encounter with God casts us out of ourselves, severs us from the imitation faith we often construct.  

We must keep the reality of this pure love (Christ Crucified) constantly before our eyes and the eyes of the world and yet protect and keep hidden the secrets of the intimacy of God within the our soul and from becoming a mere curiosity to others.  In other words, we must not degrade this divine love but stripping it of what is most true to its essence or expose it in a prideful, immodest and exhibitionistic fashion.

“The Christianity of today has let itself become contaminated by its adversaries, on this point as on many others. The metaphor of a search for God is suggestive of efforts of muscular will. 

. . . in the parables of the Gospel, it is God who seeks man. ‘Quaerens me sedisti lassus.’ Nowhere in the Gospel is there question of a search undertaken by man. Man does not take a step unless he receives some pressure or is definitely called. The rôle of the future wife is to wait. The slave waits and watches while his master is at a festival. The passer-by does not invite himself to the marriage feast, he does not ask for an invitation; he is brought in almost by surprise; his part is only to put on the garment which is appropriate. The man who has found a pearl in a field sells all his goods to buy the field; he does not need to dig up the whole field with a spade in order to unearth the pearl, it is enough for him to sell all he possesses. To long for God and to renounce all the rest, that alone can save us.

The attitude which brings about salvation is not like any form of activity. The Greek word which expresses it is hypomene, and patientia is rather an inadequate translation of it. It is the waiting or attentive and faithful immobility which lasts indefinitely and cannot be shaken. 

This waiting for goodness and truth is, however, something more intense than any searching.  The notion of grace as opposed to virtue depending on the will and that of inspiration as opposed to intellectual or artistic work, these two notions, if they are well understood, show the efficacy of desire and of waiting.

Attention animated by desire is the whole foundation of religious practices. That is why no system of morality can take their place. The mediocre part of the soul has however a great many lies in its arsenal which are capable of protecting it, even during prayer or the participation of the sacraments. It puts veils between our eyes and the presence of perfect purity, and it is clever enough to call them God. Such veils for instance as states of the soul, sources of sensible joy, of hope, of comfort, of soothing consolation or else a combination of habits, or one or several human beings, or perhaps a social circle.

It is difficult to avoid the pitfall of striving to imagine the divine perfection which religion invites us to love. Never in any case can we imagine something more perfect than ourselves. This effort renders useless the marvel of the Eucharist.

A certain formation of the intelligence is necessary in order to be able to contemplate in the Eucharist only what by definition it enshrines; that is to say something which is totally outside our experience, something of which we only know, as Plato says, that it exists and that nothing else can ever be desired except in error.

The trap of traps, the almost inevitable trap, is the social one. Everywhere, always, in everything, the social feeling produces a perfect imitation of faith, that is to say perfectly deceptive. This imitation has the great advantage of satisfying every part of the soul. That which longs for goodness believes it is fed. That which is mediocre is not hurt by the light; it is quite at its ease. Thus everyone is in agreement. The soul is at peace. But Christ said that he did not come to bring peace. He brought a sword, the sword that severs in two .  .  .

It is almost impossible to distinguish faith from its social imitation. All the more so because the soul can contain one part of true faith and one of imitation faith. It is almost impossible to distinguish faith from its social imitation. All the more so because the soul can contain one part of true faith and one of imitation faith. It is almost but not quite impossible.  Under present circumstances, it is perhaps a question of life or death for faith that the social imitation should be repudiated.

The necessity for a perfectly pure presence to take away defilement is not restricted to churches. People come with their stains to the churches, and that is all very well. It would, however, be more in conformity with the spirit of Christianity if, besides that, Christ went to bring his presence into those places most polluted with shame, misery, crime and affliction, into prisons and law-courts, into workhouses and shelters for the wretched and the outcast. Every session of bench or courts should begin and end with a prayer, in which the magistrates, the police, the accused and the public shared. Christ should not be absent from the places where work or study is going on. All human beings, whatever they are doing and wherever they are, should be able to have their eyes fixed, during the whole of each day, upon the serpent of bronze.

It should also be publicly and officially recognised that religion is nothing else but a looking. In so far as it claims to be anything else, it is inevitable that it should either be shut up inside churches, or that it should stifle everything in every other place where it is found.  Religion should not claim to occupy a place in society other than that which rightly belongs to supernatural love in the soul. Moreover it is true also that many people degrade charity in themselves because they want to make it occupy too large and too visible a place in their soul. Our Father only lives in secret. Love should always be accompanied by modesty. True faith implies great discretion, even with regard to itself. It is a secret between God and us in which we ourselves have scarcely any part.”

Excerpt From: Weil, Simone. “Waiting on God" 

It is desire which saves

Lately, I have found myself, as many of you know, deeply intrigued by the figure of Simone Weil.  Her thought is at times breathtaking in its beauty yet deeply agitating as she relentlessly seeks He who for her was the "absent" God.  When I read her writing it is almost as if I am within the emotional and intellectual narrative being fashioned in her mind.  At times, it is nothing short of dizzying.  Reflecting on her complex spiritual journey one begins to examine one's own spiritual path; and sometimes it is rather discomfiting.  Unwieldy questions begin to surface: "Where do I find paradox or contradiction in the things I believe and do?  In what ways do I look to religious practice as a means of avoiding God?  Does redemptive suffering have a place in my life? If so, where? How do acts of solidarity with the sick, the poor, and the friendless make a difference in the world?  How does God use my weaknesses and shortcomings as a means of grace in the world?"  One admirer writes:

"An unlikely candidate for sainthood by anyone’s standards, Simone Weil was paradox embodied: she considered herself a Christian—a Catholic, to be more precise—yet she came from a secular Jewish home and was never baptized; she was a pacifist but fought in the Spanish Civil War; she was a brilliant intellectual known for her anti-intellectualism, a member of the bourgeoisie who worked on a French assembly line for a year, a person who loved life and yet in her deep compassion for the starving of Europe refused the necessary sustenance when recuperating from tuberculosis perhaps hastening her death.

What may be most admirable—and challenging—about Simone Weil is the ability she had to forego many of the assurances most of us demand. Content to live without certainty, she sought God in the darkness of faith, claiming nothing for herself. To Weil, what mattered was not finding or even seeking God, but simply waiting with open eyes, “looking” into the void." (Susan Hanson)

If you are willing to read to the following thoughts of Simone be prepared to be enter into that darkness of faith with her and have your beliefs be lifted up and cast down.  The journey is not for the faint of heart.

“The . . . Eucharist . . . is indispensable for man; the presence of perfect purity is indispensable for him. For man can only fix his full attention on something tangible, and he needs sometimes to fix his attention upon perfect purity. Only this act can make it possible for him, by a process of transference, to destroy a part of the evil that is in him. That is why the host is really the Lamb of God which takes away sin.

We are all conscious of evil within ourselves, we all have a horror of it and want to get rid of it. Outside ourselves we see evil under two distinct forms, suffering and sin. But in our feelings about our own nature the distinction no longer appears, except abstractly or through reflection. We feel in ourselves something which is neither suffering nor sin, which is the two of them at once, the root common to both, defilement and pain at the same time. This is the presence of evil in us. It is the ugliness in us. The more we feel it, the more it fills us with horror. The soul rejects it in the same way as we vomit. By a process of transference we pass it on to the things which surround us. These things, however, thus becoming blemished and ugly in our eyes, send us back the evil that we had put into them. They send it back after adding to it. In this exchange the evil in us increases. It seems to us then that the very places where we are living and the things that surround us imprison us in evil, and that it becomes daily worse. This is a terrible anguish. When the soul, worn out with this anguish, ceases to feel it any more, there is little hope of its salvation.  It is thus that an invalid conceives hatred and disgust for his room and surroundings, a prisoner for his cell, and only too often a worker for his factory.

It is useless to provide people in this state with beautiful things, for there is nothing which does not eventually become spoilt and sullied by this process of transference, until it ends up as an object of horror.

Perfect purity alone cannot be defiled. If at the moment when the soul is invaded by evil the attention can be turned towards a thing of perfect purity, so that a part of the evil is transferred to it, this thing will be in no way tarnished by it, nor will it send it back. Thus each minute of such attention really destroys a part of the evil.

What the Hebrews tried to accomplish . . . in their rite of the scapegoat, can only be carried out here on earth by perfect purity. The true scapegoat is the Lamb.

The day when a perfect being was to be found here below in human form, the greatest possible amount of evil scattered around him was automatically concentrated upon him in the form of suffering. At that time, throughout the Roman Empire, the greatest misfortune and the greatest crime among men was slavery. That is why he suffered the death which was the extremity of affliction possible for a slave. In a mysterious manner this transference constitutes the Redemption.

It is the same when a human being turns his eyes and his attention towards the Lamb of God present in the consecrated bread, a part of the evil which he bears within him is directed towards perfect purity, and there suffers destruction.  It is a transmutation rather than a destruction. The contact with perfect purity dissociates the suffering and sin which had been mixed together so indissolubly. The part of evil in the soul is burnt by the fire of this contact and becomes only suffering, and the suffering is impregnated with love.

In the same way when all the evil diffused throughout the Roman Empire was concentrated on Christ it became only suffering to him.  If there were not perfect and infinite purity here below, if there were only finite purity, which contact with evil eventually exhausts, we could never be saved.

When we have learnt to look at perfect purity, the shortness of human life is the only thing to prevent us from being sure that unless we play false we can attain perfection even here on earth. For we are finite beings and the evil which is within us is finite too. The purity which is offered to our eyes is infinite. However little evil we were to destroy at each look, we could be certain, if our time were unlimited that by looking often enough, one day we should destroy it all. 

One of the principal truths of Christianity, a truth which goes almost unrecognised today, is that the looking is what saves us. The bronze serpent was lifted up so that those who lay maimed in the depths of degradation should be saved by looking upon it.  It is at those moments when we are, as we say, in a bad mood, when we feel incapable of the elevation of soul which befits holy things, it is then that it is most effectual to turn our eye towards perfect purity. For it is then that evil, or rather mediocrity, comes to the surface of the soul and is in the best position for being burnt by contact with the fire.

It is however then that the act of looking is almost impossible. All the mediocre part of the soul, fearing death with a more violent fear than that caused by the approach of the death of the body, revolts and suggests lies to protect itself.

The effort not to listen to these lies, although we cannot prevent ourselves from believing them, the effort to look upon purity at such times, has to be something very violent; yet it is absolutely different from all that is generally known as effort, such as doing violence to one’s feelings or an act of will. Other words are needed to express it, but language cannot provide them.

The effort which brings a soul to salvation is like the effort of looking or of listening; it is the kind of effort by which a fiancée accepts her lover. It is an act of attention and consent; whereas what language designates as will is something suggestive of muscular effort. The will is on the level of the natural part of the soul. The right use of the will is a condition of salvation, necessary no doubt but remote, inferior, very subordinate and purely negative. The weeds are pulled up by the muscular effort of the peasant, but only sun and water can make the corn grow. The will cannot produce any good in the soul.

Efforts of the will are only in their right place for carrying out definite obligations. Wherever there is no strict obligation we must follow either our natural inclination or our vocation, that is to say God’s command. Actions prompted by our inclination clearly do not involve an effort of will. In our acts of obedience to God we are passive; whatever difficulties we have to surmount, however great our activity may appear to be, there is nothing analogous to muscular effort; there is only waiting, attention, silence, immobility, constant through suffering and joy.  The crucifixion of Christ is the model of all acts of obedience.

That we have to strive after goodness with an effort of our will is one of the lies invented by the mediocre part of ourselves in its fear of being destroyed. Such an effort does not threaten it in any way, it does not even disturb its comfort—not even when it entails a great deal of fatigue and suffering. For the mediocre part of ourselves is not afraid of fatigue and suffering, it is afraid of being killed.

There are people who try to raise their souls like a man continually taking standing jumps in the hopes that, if he jumps higher every day, a time may come when he will no longer fall back but will go right up to the sky. Thus occupied he cannot look at the sky. We cannot take a single step towards heaven.  It is not in our power to travel in a vertical direction. If however we look heavenwards for a long time, God comes and takes us up. He raises us easily. As Aeschylus says: ‘There is no effort in what is divine.’ There is an easiness in salvation which is more difficult for us than all our efforts.

In one of Grimm’s stories there is a competition between a giant and a little tailor to see which is the stronger. The giant throws a stone so high that it takes a very long time before it comes down again. The little tailor lets a bird fly and it does not come down at all. Anything without wings always comes down again in the end.  It is because the will has no power to bring about salvation that the idea of secular morality is an absurdity. What is called morality only depends on the will in what is, so to speak, its most muscular aspect. Religion on the contrary corresponds to desire, and it is desire which saves.”

Excerpt From: Weil, Simone. “Waiting on God"

The best of me is always You

 “If you could only see My splendor in the tabernacle . . . My power and My tenderness and the guard of honor formed by My hosts of angels burning with zeal. What reverence, what a sense of nothingness you would feel! . . . You would see the utter unimportance of everything that is not love. You would realize too, that nothing could possibly give you more joy than to give Me joy. And you could no longer cease to gaze on Me and on Me alone. For I am all attractiveness. I am Heaven itself.

Heaven is inside the tabernacle. Adore with all the heavenly hosts. Love with them. Sing. Praise. Never can you overdo it, since all you have is what I have given you and all My merits are yours for the taking.

Do you know about My merits? Only the Father knows them all. And do you realize that if it were necessary I would begin all over again? Find a new way of praising Me every day. Keep on exploring My hidden treasures. You can never come to the end of them. Discover, discover, until fires undreamed of are kindled within you, and you will say, ‘It was you, Lord. How blind I was! The best of me is always You.’

And while you are talking to Me, I’ll continue to heap blessings upon you, for My heart is filled with them, and to give eases it of its burden. It takes a mere nothing from you to make it overflow. If you only knew! My poor little ones, wake up to your power over Me. Get to know Me a little better. Stammer out your words of love. I’ll complete them. You’ve seen the great sun dancing in tiny mirrors? Who can bear its dazzling brilliance? But what is a mirror without the sun?”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Friday, May 9, 2014

Woman at the heart of Christianity

This quote from Pope Benedict XVI captures something important about the vocation of Spiritual Motherhood.  It is not simply a pious exercise or individual commitment but "an essential part of the Christian picture."  Only when the feminine element stands at that center of Christianity do we begin to grasp in its fullness the profound kind of intimacy God has established and desires with us in Christ.  Only through holy women do we fully understand what it is to be human and who God is for us.

Nowadays Protestants are making some timid efforts to recapture the figure of Mary. People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity.  Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion. And this is not in competition with Christ. To think of Christ and Mary as being in competition means ignoring the essential distinction between the two figures. Christ gives John, and through John all of us, the Mother. That is not competition, but a most profound kind of intimacy. The Mother and Virgin forms an essential part of the Christian picture of man.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World, 2002

Lord, shine through your daughter

“Lord, shine through your daughter and leave a trail of Your light and goodness for everyone along her path.”

“Let Me come in and take over everything. Give yourself to Me. Don’t let anything in you hinder Me from working through you. I act through those who put their entire selves at My disposal. Give Me your voice, your look, and go on your way with the firm resolution to let Me do whatever I want, since I’m living in you. Think about this often.

“Make all the preparations for a new life within you. Didn’t I give you your life? Then give it back to Me as a charming gift from you. When you were taking lessons in painting, sometimes the teacher gave your work an expert touch and made it more beautiful. This is what I do on the canvas of your souls when you yield them to Me. But you must give them to Me without trusting in any of your own little talents. Oh, the masterpiece taking shape in My loving hands! Am I not eager for your perfection?

“For love I take you. Give yourself for love. My daughter, every one of your actions should begin and end in love as all Mine did. My life was a hymn of love. You didn’t hear it. But My Father does and so do all the saints in heaven. Adore each one of my loving impulses in Galilee, in Judea, on those roads you yourself have traveled. Never mind if you don’t understand very well.  Already I loved you; I loved everyone without exception. Love Me for all of them—or at least offer Me your desire to do so.” . . .”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Awakening to what is eternal

There is something about Weil's analogy in this brief passage that I find captivating.  One rarely thinks so clearly as she about how deep the grace of God must reach into our souls; gradually to transform the way we perceive reality.  True light, the light of eternity, can only been seen, and true silence, the silence of the eternal Word, can only be heard, when we let go of the illusion of being in the "imaginary position as the centre."  Only the one who is willing to be a contemplative, that is, willing to humbly walk by faith, will suddenly recognize the Truth before them.

“We live in a world of unreality and dreams. To give up our imaginary position as the centre, to renounce it, not only intellectually but in the imaginative part of our soul, that means to awaken to what is real and eternal, to see the true light and hear the true silence. A transformation then takes place at the very roots of our sensibility, in our immediate reception of sense impressions and psychological impressions. It is a transformation analogous to that which takes place in the dusk of evening on a road, where we suddenly discern as a tree what we had at first seen as a stooping man; or where we suddenly recognise as a rustling of leaves what we thought at first was whispering voices. We see the same colours, we hear the same sounds, but not in the same way.”

Excerpt From: Weil, Simone. “Waiting on God" 

Love's Folly

“Can love’s folly in one of God’s children ever equal that of God Himself? Don’t be afraid of going too far. Seek Me. Call Me. You’ll find Me. I’ll answer. . . .

Don’t ever grow weary of Me, My friend. Fall in love with Me over and over again, and let your way of loving Me always be new. Don’t worry if you don’t hear My voice. Don’t begin to think I am far from you. I’m in the very center of your being with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Give yourself completely.  Surrender by getting rid of your self-love and even your self-awareness. Never mind if you don’t understand very well.

Everything you have is a gift from Me. You are absolutely nothing. Be sure that nothing is all Mine. I respect the human will—you know that. I wait.

Later on when you understand My love, you will be ready to return to earth for the sole purpose of yearning for Me even for a single instant. Ready to suffer, too, to the very end of time. Don’t refuse Me anything. Say: ‘My beloved, just as you wish.’ This will make Me happy, and the and the thought of My happiness will help you. Do your very utmost to be one with Me.

Come closer, always closer. Give up everything that separates us—the lack of confidence and hope. It is a great thing to hope. Hope for holiness. Would I ask every soul to be holy if it were not possible? Very well then, believe in My help. Call Me often, still more often. Don’t be afraid of being too insistent. Don’t you repeat the same prayer many times in the Rosary? You must persevere in your asking, poor finite one in the presence of the Infinite. And unite your words with the words I said to My Father in those nights spent on My knees in His presence. Let it be said of you, ‘She is a friend of Christ.’ The honor will be Mine and you will add to My glory.

You forget what you do for Me and what you say to Me; you leave it in the past. But all these things are eternally present for Me, and you will find them again one day exactly as you gave them to Me. Always stay very near to Me. This will be a token of your love.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Eyes of Love

I chose this reflection from Simone Weil because she captures once again something that often escapes us about our interactions with others.  We can serve others, reach out to others in their pain and affliction, but never really draw close to them or open our hearts to them - never really love them.  How difficult it can be for those in affliction to know that compassion is listening to them.  God submerges Himself into the misery of the other; something we cannot do or in our pride think we can do without His agency.  We must allow ourselves by grace to be brought into the affliction of the other - for they will see in our eyes not only if we are there but if God is present.

“God alone has this power, the power really to think into being that which does not exist. Only God, present in us, can really think the human quality into the victims of affliction, can really look at them with a look differing from that we give to things, can listen to their voice as we listen to spoken words. Then they become aware that they have a voice, otherwise they would not have occasion to notice it.

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.

The love of our neighbour is the love which comes down from God to man. It precedes that which rises from men to God. God is longing to come down to those in affliction. As soon as a soul is disposed to consent, though it were the last, the most miserable, the most deformed of souls, God will precipitate himself into it in order, through it, to look at and listen to the afflicted. Only as time passes does the soul become aware that he is there. But, though it finds no name for him, wherever the afflicted are loved for themselves alone, it is God who is present.

God is not present, even if we invoke him, where the afflicted are merely regarded as an occasion for doing good. They may even be loved on this account, but then they are in their natural rôle, the rôle of matter and of things. We have to bring to them a personal love. In true love it is not we who love the afflicted in God, it is God in us who loves them. When we are in affliction, it is God in us who loves those who wish us well. Compassion and gratitude come down from God, and when they are exchanged in a glance, God is present at the point where the eyes of those who give and those who receive meet. 

Excerpt From: Weil, Simone. “Waiting on God" 

Be like an exile lost along the roads of life

 “You are astonished by My love. There is only one explanation: God’s extravagance. So just believe in all simplicity in this love of an all-powerful being, a being totally different from you. And give yourself up to His infinitely delicate and tender omnipotence. Be taken captive by love, and ask for grace. Love Me with My love and be full of trust. . . .

Be like an exile lost along the roads of life. Think only of heaven, where I am waiting for you to celebrate our wedding day. Tell Me of your impatience and submission, your eagerness under My control, your intense desire yielded to My will; and your humility will wash you ever more clean, will purify you. And your last days will pass by—everything passes . . . And you will come.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

Even when you see no progress . . .

“Don’t you understand that I prefer someone who has fallen many times but who despises herself at My feet, to the self-righteous person who thinks she is without fault. My daughter, tell Me every day how sorry you are for any way you have pained Me. Take a steady look at your failures and stains, and offer them to Me so that I may wash them away. Tell Me how weak you are and how often you fail.  Say: ‘My great friend, help me.  You know only too well how helpless I am, but with You I can do anything.’ And then go on your way again, trusting in Me day by day. You understand?  Even if you see no progress at all, be more patient than ever.  Be ready to persevere to the very end. ”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

It is always possible to pray

“Daughter, it is always possible to pray, no matter what you are doing. When I was covered with wounds and bruises, I recited psalms. And staggering up the hill to Calvary in the midst of the yelling mobs, and on the cross, My poor cross. And yet you find it difficult to pray while doing your comfortable little tasks. Oh! Merge with Me.”
Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Allow Me to live in you

“I rose from the dead for you. Not for My glory, but so that you might believe and live in the hope of your own resurrection.

Never count on yourself, always count on Me, at every moment of your life. Allow Me to live in you at last, to take your place. Step outside of yourself. Be a completely new person—a soul gone bankrupt and then made rich.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Desire Me only in everything

“Rest on My heart, eat and drink. You must take life from this food that is beyond your power to understand.

Dare as only love knows how to dare. Stay on My heart and be sure always to wake up there. Do this for the sake of all humanity, as though it were in your power to give Me every living person in a single instant. Learn to desire this. Desire is a beautiful fruit; you can quench My thirst with it.

Offer Me this desire to see Me and Me only in everything. And I’ll take it as a gift from you. Let nothing else count for you any more apart from what grieves or what pleases Me. Sacrifice yourself in My sight to the point of not even noticing your sacrifice. And suffer with the greatest simplicity, since it is all for Me, your Christ, who suffered for you. What is life when one possesses eternity? You remember what you said about eternity: ‘It’s as though one were always just arriving, and the earth—no more than the faraway, fleeting dream of a moment.’ Take courage from this thought. And never suffer outside of My love, but let your suffering be like new accents of love for Me that say, ‘You know that I love You, that I am as incense burning before Your face with the utmost desire to please You, My friend.’ . . .”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Rest on My heart

“You remember when I called you in the Oratory's little chapel, how you wished that there were a chapel in every house. You didn’t know then that I was in you, that there was no sanctuary more secret than that of your heart. You do not even need to open a door, just a look, a longing, and you are at My feet. There I will tell you, ‘Climb higher. Rest on My heart, My friend, My chosen one, and breathe the air of the mountain peaks to take strength for a new upsoaring, My daughter.’ ”

Adapted from: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Allow me, Lord, to console You

“Allow me, Lord, to console You in Your agony as though I had been created for that alone.”

Direct everything in you to this end—all that I have given you, for it is I who gave you everything—your heart, your understanding, your memory. It is I who gave you an imagination capable of stirring your heart. Is it too much to expect that you will use My gifts for Me? When you offer them I forget that I have given them to you. I receive them as though they came from you, and My heart is so touched. If you only knew! I am like a happy father: ‘My little girl did that for Me.’ And I am much more than an ordinary father. But only in heaven will you see these delicate touches I’ve received from my children.

Let this encourage you to live very close to Me, to find life impossible without Me. Let Me share everything. Disappear ceaselessly in My heart. And be sure that I’ll replace you. Always act as though you saw Me, for I am really there. And aware of the great yearning, the intense thirst that I have for souls, surrender yourself unceasingly as though it were for the first time. For Me, it will always be like a first joy to receive you.

Don’t get the idea that it is the greatest number of prayers that touches your God. It’s the way you speak to Him. Be irresistible in love, abandonment, and humility. And when you ask Him for bread, He will not give you a stone, but a double portion . . . When you tidy your house, think that it is Mine and you will make it more beautiful. When you prepare your meals think that it is to honor Me. And when you rest your body, think that it is My body, My friend; and this is the reality, since all that you have is first Mine, isn’t it? You will see Me everywhere. I’ll be your host and your guest, the one who receives and the one received. The one who has taken your heart and asks the free gift of it. Two lives in one.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Hide Me in your heart

“. . . “How grateful I am to those who console Me for the refusal of others and to those who call Me and long for Me.  Yearn for Me often; I was going to say always, so eagerly does My heart wait for you.  O My daughter, let us have the same home on earth, since we shall have the same one in heaven!

Let us begin heaven. It would be such balm for Me. Do you want to give joy to your Savior-God?  Then let your thoughts forever turn to Me. . . .

Hide Me in your heart as though in this way you could save Me from wounding insults. For I receive them, above all in My Holy Eucharist. There, in your heart, thank Me, adore and console Me. Tell Me about yourself as I so often tell you about Myself, My daughter.  Be very little; the smaller you are, the more your great friend will in-dwell you.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”

Friday, May 2, 2014

The mosaic of your life

“Of course you often have to be busy with material things during the day. But do even these common tasks with Me, near Me, because I did them too when I was on earth, and because I am here. I never leave you . . .

Give Me everything with your will firmly intent on pleasing Me. How astonished you will be when you discover your treasures. It takes only tiny little stones to make flowers in magnificent mosaic floorings.”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Deliver me from anxiety about trifles!

“Keep in mind this prayer, ‘Lord, deliver me from anxiety about trifles!’ Everything is insignificant apart from God whose life in you should daily seek to increase. In the next life you will ask yourself, ‘How could I ever remain a single instant without loving Him?’

“With your merit in mind, I wanted you to seek Me in the darkness and to discover Me again in the half-light. Light untold will be for later on. Didn’t I Myself pass through dark hours when My divinity seemed to drift apart from My humanity? How I fraternized with you, taking upon Myself all your weaknesses, My poor little ones. I was indeed ‘a man’ among men. And even before My passion, I knew what suffering was. I loved it for the love of you, My children. Love it for love of Me. I’ll transform it into transformations for others, and into glory for you, since you find everything again in heaven. So take courage for suffering, My little children. There are some people who can’t do without suffering, so deeply have they experienced how it brings them close to Me. Although I love you unceasingly, I look with special love upon My children who suffer. My look is more tender, more affectionate than that of a mother. Of course . . . isn’t it I who made the heart of a mother?

“Then turn your sorrowful eyes upon Me. Show Me your suffering, My dear little ones. You are already in My heart even though you thought you were so far from Me, so far. Day by day, try to find Me in you, and there, like very little children, give Me the marks of tenderness that you would give to a mother or a beloved father. How happy you will be when you have acquired this habit. How sweet your life will become!

“And I’ll bless you, because you will at last have responded to My call . . . the call of the one who stood at the door listening to the life stirring in the house, and wondered whether it would welcome Him or not. For if He stands outside waiting, it is because He knows that He may be driven away. Sometimes they don’t even want Him to wait. They say, ‘Never will You come under my roof.’ As though He were an evil-doer, He who died for love of them[…]”“ . . . But when they say, ‘Come in, and stay with us,’ then this poor, lonely one knows the joy He describes as ‘His delight to be with the children of men.’

“This is something unknown to you, but God knows it. And you will learn later on how much delight you have given your Savior . . .”

Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.”