Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the watchful woman . . .


And God said to me, Paint: 

Time is the canvas 
stretched by my pain:

the watchful woman, 
the wounds of Christ, 
the city’s sad bacchanals, 
the madness of kings. 

And God said to me, Go forth:
 

For I am king of time.
But to you I am only the shadowy one 
who knows with you your loneliness 
and sees through your eyes. 

He sees through my eyes in all the ages.

Rilke

Pondering in her heart: The Divine Motherhood of Mary


     Today's feastday recalls to our minds a fundamental truth of our faith - the Divine Motherhood of Mary.  And to aid our reflection upon this truth we are presented with a picture of Mary listening attentively to what the shepherds were saying about her newborn son.  Luke tells us that Mary kept all the things she heard, "pondering them in her heart." 

      It is in this action of "pondering" that we see the nature of Mary's motherhood.  This pondering suggests something dynamic and active; it's more than a mere mental warehousing of words.  Mary keeps these things within herself.   In her humility, she receives and carries all the words of God - -  the words that the angel spoke to her, then the words with which the shepherds narrated what they had been told about the Child.   After giving birth she has not stopped bearing God's Word within her.


      Mary had received God's Word, bore it within her own womb and gave it birth - but her motherhood continues.  She wants to hold in her heart, like a mother holding a child in her arms, every word of love God desires to send her and entrusts to her care.  She ponders the seed of every mystery in her depths until it comes to life God's own time.

     It is for this reason that Mary in her motherhood has been described as the "inexhaustible vessel of memory" for the entire Church.  She knows most profoundly about all the events and feasts we celebrate.   The mysteries of Christ must be venerated through her eyes and her heart in order to understand them in their depths.


      The feast of the Mother of God, then, is not something sentimental; rather, it is the door through which we must enter in order to understand God's saving mysteries.  To place the year under the protection of Mary's motherhood means that we are asking her to guide us along the way of salvation; a way which she knows so well - for it is her son.


Whoever has been as lonely as Jesus

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842
How strange that you too should have been drawn to the image of the Entry into Jerusalem!  It has been in my mind these past days in these two aspects: that for most, their enthusiastic acclamation of Jesus as Messiah disguises from them their repudiation of what messiahship means.  As soon as it involves, not just death but degradation, to be driven "outside the camp bearing His reproach", they reject Him.  They cannot believe that holiness is without beauty and majesty.  And Jesus knows they can't.  This aspect is so poignantly portrayed in your picture - the grave tranquillity of the still centre where Jesus sits, amid the threatening swirl of friends as well as foes.  He understands our heart and how little able it is to realize truth and adhere to it - and it is this clear vision that gives His love its aching utterness.  Whoever has been as lonely as Jesus, perhaps lonely in proportion to His total love?  We can so easily think that love brings us into a warmth, an emotional companionship with others - and I think this is not so.  It is the sacrificial reality of love that they are looking for.

No one ever came to our dear Lord without knowing that here was Someone to whom he or she mattered, who would gladly die on their behalf - and I think that is what we must ask Him to achieve in us.  And the cost of coming so close to Him may well be an increasing isolation from the stream around us.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

He will not let you have any God but Himself

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I am writing again, because I'm not quite sure if my last letter was any good to you.  My dear, I do believe all you say about your state, and I both compassionate and congratulate you - in the Latin sense, suffer with you and rejoice with you.  Because in your heart, where you can't see Him, Jesus rejoices: He is more you than you are yourself.  But the experience of this is exactly back-to-front: precisely because He is there, so close, we see ourselves in all the agonizing truth.  How the human heart longs to see beauty and grace in itself - to be "as god" in some way - believing this is so as to become more receptive of Him, to be our own support - and in His passionate love for you, He will not let you have any God but Himself.  Can you see that, if you could feel this, could joyously write off your sense of sinfulness as proof of His nearness, then it would fail of its kenotic power?  You can't feel it, but you can live by it, which is all He wants.  You can tell Him that if He is pleased, you are pleased - and that you trust in His love so completely that you know He would always let you know if there were something practical He wanted you to do.  When He wanted you to appreciate your lack of true love for and interest in His children, He asks me to speak for Him and this is something His own fidelity will always see to.  And when, at His time, you come, be assured I'll tell you if He has any specifics to be done or endured.  But at present He says: Be comforted, be comforted, my darling child.

That sense of being alien is not really caused by your station in life, - it is a sign of "I live, not I", though we think that a change of context would dispel it; the feeling of not-belonging, an out-of-tunedness, with nobody sharing your deepest ideals.  Life must press like this - it did on Jesus, ("how long a time must I suffer you, how long a time must I be with you?").  And don't think either, that you hesitate or grudge Him.  You do neither, but you are truly learning for the first time at depth, what love means and how helpless we are, of ourselves, to respond.  When you know this to your inmost core, Jesus "takes over".  So I do indeed rejoice in your temperament and in everything else that exposes you to Him!

P.S. There is a true sense in which I don't suffer and pay no cost because it all comes from God
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
26 June 1975

Monday, December 29, 2014

A blazing surge of hope and gratitude

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I was so glad to hear from you, and nothing in your letter was unexpected: you have been much on my heart these last weeks.  I knew you were intensely wretched, but felt I should wait until you yourself had found the ability to set it down.  Dearest daughter, that loveless slum you see in yourself is quite truly you - I won't pretend otherwise, but it is you seen in the light of God.  The "you" that He passionately loves, that He chooses to be most intimately possessed in a love-union - that you is the poor thing you experience as your true self.  So, despair is the last thing to feel, rather a blazing surge of hope and gratitude that His love doesn't depend at all on our beauty or goodness.  But there is even more joy to it than this, because we just can't see our poverty unless He shows it.

So to see it is clear proof that He is present, lovingly and tenderly revealing Himself to you.  It's the contrast you are experiencing - can you understand?  How do you know you are weak and unloving?  Only because the strength and love of Jesus so press upon you that, like the sun shining from behind, you see the shadow.  This is the surest way to Him.  These are the only two essentials the soul can see - in this life we can't encompass both.  Either we see all in the light of Him, and primarily self, or see only Him and all else is dark.  It means we lose ourselves in Him - or die - nothing else really has been left.
I do so hope you can believe me.  I know how very much He wants you to accept this, but I can't find the luminous words that reveal Him . . .
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
18 June 1975

Now is the future

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About the future: you should know that God shows me nothing specific, only that the future is pure Love, is Himself.  So, pace your private pythoness, I'm not "preparing" you in the usual sense.  But what comes home to me very strongly is that now is the future; no link in the chain is subordinated to another.  All God wants is to give Himself now, and it is this moment that makes the total gift still to come possible, or not.  I think we can lose momentum by unconsciously regarding His great designs of Love as being somehow "in preparation", and they are not: in Jesus they have come.  And they have come most surely, for you.  When I look at you in him, I get a great sense of God beating down on you.  He has given you a painful vocation, both in its setting, geographical and temporal, and also in the demands He makes on you in Himself.  But believe me, my dear daughter, there is no other way of setting you free from your selfhood.  You have a deep grasp of this selfhood - the very characteristic that makes it possible for God to enter into full triumphant possession - but as yet, no longings or strivings of your own can pry loose that grasp and let God take!  But it is being done - God is doing it exactly in the sort of - I won't say "life" - but in the day He gives you.

I liked what you said about daily bread.  Only for you it may taste like ash-cake, moistened with gall.  Oh, but what it is achieving in you! - I can see such growth in liberty and sweetness!  Turn your mind, often and eagerly, to the way He gives Himself to everybody.  All are infinitely dear to Him, really dear, worthy dying for.  That's still your most rigid area.  I don't know whether I do need people, strictly; but He has shown me, more and more that, in Him, I need them to my depths.  We need them because of His need.  The heart of Jesus broke because He could not bring all His brethren into His Father's house; He was not Himself, not fully and wholly Jesus, until He had made that homecoming possible.  Open your heart, dear daughter, to receive from the Spirit this glad, agonizing, self-forgetful Love of Jesus.  Then one day you will turn round and find your own imprisoned self has vanished and there is only God's love keeping you alive.  He gives it when we want it enough, and all it means.  You are so near, I pray constantly and very happily.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
1975
Spiritual Letters

See nothing but only Jesus

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I was going to say: open your heart ever more totally to the Suffering Servant, and I do still say that, but in the cramped confines of a letter, it could sound over-precise.  Because what He wants is for you to see "nothing but only Jesus" - whether He comes in glory or in humiliation should hardly impinge - and yet I deliberately say "Jesus" rather than "God", because He is the Man of Sorrows, crucified in weakness - the Jesus we see in Hebrews, "crying aloud", and in John, "greatly troubled".  "God" can sound as if holiness took us into glory, whereas it takes us, with Jesus, into the garden and on the Cross, conscious only of the Father.  Hope you can understand my poor stammerings.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
20 January 1975
Spiritual Letters

Sunday, December 28, 2014

the only real criterion of the past: where has it brought you?

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Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
So often we let both our past and present plague us or weigh us down, but Sr. Wendy reminds us of two important criteria in this regard.  Remember, that the only thing important about your past is where it has brought you and if it has brought you to the Heart of the Beloved now then rejoice!.  As to the present, your task is to stay close to Beloved's Heart until your own beats as one with His.

. . . If you think about it, my dear, you have listened to God's Word with all that is in you, as total a listening as you could, and the Word called for a response from all that is in you, a response so total that you really haven't room for any more, have you now?

This is mostly just to say a very loving thank you above all and primarily, for the joy you gave me in your openness to Jesus-as-He-is, the poor Jesus who takes us into His poverty, which alone can have the capacity to receive the Father's love from the Spirit.

Certainly don't feel anxious about yourself, your past or your present.  The only real criterion of the past is: where has it brought us?  And yours has brought you to His Heart.  And all the present demands, (all!!) is to keep lovingly, longingly, close to that Heart until Its Love beats within your own.

Goodbye for a little stretch of time that only unties us in surrender to Our Blessed Lord.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
28 September 1974

Saturday, December 27, 2014

knowing nothing but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified

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I know your sole purpose . . . is to become more united to God and it seems to me impossible that He won't fulfill that desire.  But it means, you know: "knowing nothing but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."  You remember the bitter realism of Isaiah: "Without beauty, without majesty: we saw Him, and we turned our eyes away."
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
24 September 1974
Spiritual Letters

Your trembling insecurities

1872 Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy (Russian painter, 1837-1887) Gir with a Tress 1872

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
Again, Sr. Wendy Beckett places her finger here on how God must free us from the grip of our own insecurities and self-reliance.  We often seek the approval of others - a human measuring stick for our spiritual progress; but it is only when these are lost to us and when we are thrown wholly on God and keep our barren self before Him that we are freed from such self-concern.    

God is detaching you, in the only way He could ever do it, from your deadly grip on your own "justice".  I know that's an unfair way of putting it, but your trembling insecurities are kept in balance by a sort of hidden self-reliance that you intellectually repudiate, and would indeed practically repudiate, to the best of your power.  But these deep, deep clingings are beyond your power - they can only be broken by the mystical action of the Spirit . . .

As along as you have a sense of Him to sustain you - as long as you feel that your prayer is achieving something in you - or even that you are a happy and fruitful woman - let alone the question of external recognition and success, which means much to you precisely in its implicit "approval" of your spiritual course - well, as long as there are even some of these supports, you can never be thrown wholly on God, however earnestly and sincerely you desire it.  All you can do now is hold your poor barren self constantly before Him, thanking Him for loving you, and believe that all you suffer is love.

I don't know if this is any help, or only makes things worse.  I feel very strongly that you are drawing very near to God, that He is taking you deep into His mystery - but you must endure and want to endure the pain of it.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
20 May 1974
Spiritual Letters

Accepting that you are the beloved

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Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
In this brief letter, Sr. Wendy Becket captures the very life of prayer and the deepest fears we often have about being loved and wanted so deeply by God.  To be one who prays is to be willing to accept suffering and feeling defenseless in the face He who is Desire.

. . . What we cannot accept is that we are the beloved, or, to put it more concretely, speaking as Everyman, that I am the beloved.  God longs for me, He presses on my heart with a tender, humble, hunger for me.  He wants to possess me: when I let Him, it is prayer.  Always His love drives Him to possess - one might call this the praying of living?  And when we have time, He enters into His own like a king - what one might call pure prayer.  The pain of prayer is frustrating His love, and the joy is assuaging it, however feebly.  To be so loved and so wanted is so terrifying and so awful that we can see why we shrink from believing it.
Another thing we are chary of believing is that prayer is gift.  We don't choose our own prayer (or it might be different!).  God is the prayer, the Pray-er.  All He wants is that we accept, suffer, be involved, be left defenseless.  I think one might easily die of it, yet what could be simpler?
 
Sister Wendy Beckett
August, 1970

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ceasing to be afraid of fear

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Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
Often anxiety can be paralyzing but in this extraordinary albeit brief reflection, Sr. Wendy Beckett reminds us that by its very nature it can also direct us to God in a powerful way.  Experiencing our fragility we can learn to reach out to the Beloved and step out of our narrow self-focus and learn to have Jesus alone the source of holiness.  God can work through all things, including moments of trial and turmoil.

Worry is a canker. And it’s self-regarding. Whereas all our real life is in Jesus. The function of anxiety is surely to alert us to our dependence on him and to the fact that he alone matters. It is a most useful feeling. It says: You are fragile, unrealized, not in charge of your life, in danger of…therefore turn wholly to Jesus. The feeling may or may not diminish but the direction out of self’s narrowness into his love has been conquered. We have to go on and on until finally we live out of self, in him…

The great thing to grasp is that to feel “relaxed/happy” or to feel anxious is unimportant. Feelings only matter as an occasion for love. Happy, secure feelings prompt us to praise him; sad, anxious feelings prompt us to express our faith and pray for him to be all in all to us. The feelings themselves tell us nothing about our “state” which is God’s secret and God’s work. We don’t base anything on ourselves but only on him, on his goodness, knowing, as Paul says, in whom we have believed. Why are we anxious? Let’s will to have Jesus as our holiness. Gradually even the feeling vanishes, but that is unimportant.

We can feel that growing in love should make life “easier”—that there is some failure in our fear, temptation, struggle. Not so. In fact the tempest may blow more severely as we near the harbor. Jesus could never know a psychic respite, as the Gospels show. But our attitudes change. We cease to be afraid of fear; we open our arms to the will for the Father to give us whatever he will, knowing, in Jesus, that he gives only “good things.”

–Sister Wendy Beckett, from “Spiritual Letters” (Orbis Books)

Since I am yours, you are rich

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“I went into church saying, ‘Lord, your little nothing is coming in.”

“Who is anything beside the infinitely great God? And you, particularly chosen to be showered with blessings—you are nothing but wretchedness. I feed this wretchedness every morning with My Eucharist because I want to keep you in My friendship, for I am drawn to the weakest and the poorest. Give Me everything that you blame in yourself, since I am the one who transforms even the ugliest, the lowest, the most vile. I transmute everything into the gold of My glory. How can this be done? By love.”

“I should so much like to do something for You! Even in giving all of myself, I give nothing. What can I do?”

“Take Me and offer Me to Myself with all the trust I always expect from you. Since I am yours, you are rich. You are only poor when you count on yourselves and expect to act in your own unaided strength. How destitute you are then! But if you lay hold of My merits with humility and hope, what a priceless fortune is yours? And above all, never doubt Me. I won My merits only to give them to you. My poor children. You don’t think of this, because you are living in the mists that veil the delicate touches of your divine friend—the touches full of charm.”

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

Never fail to lean on Me

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“Tell Me that you are beginning to be more certain of the power of My love, although you know you are unworthy. Tell Me this to comfort Me for the ones who do not believe. You will give My heart ease. Let us make an alliance between your poverty and My riches. Never fail to lean on Me. Have no confidence in yourself, not even for a moment. Where would it lead you? Does one call upon nothingness to help nothingness? Who better than a father can understand his child? My eleven children in the Upper Room knew that, and they were so deeply touched during their thanksgiving that some were in tears. And what about My own emotion! Adore it. It comes from my tenderness. The next day at the same hour will I not already have died for them? For you . . . Aren’t the last moments of a man sentenced to death lived more intensely?”

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

Longing for the dawn

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“All night long I waited for you in My Eucharist—waited to give Myself to you in the morning. Why should this astonish you? You believe in My presence in the tabernacle, don’t you? You believe in My immense love? Then put the two together. And when you wake up during the night, look at the one who is already longing for the dawn to bring you to Him. This will quicken your love . . . ”

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

Ordinary people of the streets - Extraordinary love

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Madeleine Debrel provides an interesting model for those living in the world yet seeking to be wholly consecrated to God.  She could see clearly the need in her own day for "real faith" - that is, the faith that has as it's primary concern the handing of oneself over to Christ.  Only this allows the Good News not simply to be held but truly proclaimed.  

Peter Casarella (2001) captures the fundamental focus of Madeleine's life as follows:
"Madeleine grew up without a Catholic upbringing in a middle-class, French family. By the age of fifteen, she was by her own estimation “a strict atheist” and felt herself to be in an increasingly absurd world. The biographically arranged collection, We, the Ordinary People of the Streets, accordingly opens with the earnest musings of a seventeen year-old entitled: “God is dead…Long live death!” Once her family moved to Paris, she became steeped in the intellectual life of that city and was soon attending philosophy lectures at the Sorbonne. Then suddenly she underwent an unexpected conversion at the age of twenty. In spite of her attachment to reflection, her conversion was not just the discovery of a new idea: “By reading and reflecting I found God; but by praying I believed that God found me and that he is a living reality, and that we can love him in the same way that we can love a person.” Enthusiasm on the part of a new convert is hardly atypical; however, Madeleine, a self-described “reporter of God’s eternal newness,” maintained the vibrancy of this initial encounter for the next forty years of her life. Few aspects of her very busy life make sense without recognizing in them the lived conviction that Christian faith was for her an all or nothing proposition. In 1933 she arrived in Ivry-sur-Seine, a hotbed of Communism in the suburbs of Paris. She remained in that city for most of her life, laboring at first privately and then on the city’s payroll for the ordinary people of the streets. Starting in 1941 she served as a lay advisor to the French bishops’ Mission de France, a seminary whose main apostolate was to re-evangelize the country. In 1943 Cardinal Suhard founded Mission de Paris, an effort to form bonds of lay and clerical solidarity with the urban working class. These activities fueled Madeleine’s conviction that Christians today are called to be “missionaries without a boat.” 

For Madeleine the focus of evangelization was neither a formal system of apologetics nor the platitude that the witness of an individual life suffices. She recognized that the principal threat was not the vocal denial of the idea of God but the systematic and quiet filing away of the Creator into a realm remote from all thinking and acting. “By a strange act of substitution, creation has taken the place of the Creator…[we live] in an age in which God will no longer be denied or forced away, but simply excluded.” Such a frank avowal of the practical “a-theism” of contemporary culture sets both an internal and external agenda for the Church. In terms of Christian self-examination, this insight forces the issue of distinguishing between what Madeleine termed “a Christian mentality” and real faith. In a situation where everyday a-theism is not confronted, excessive moralism, overly restrictive political commitments, and the adoption of certain lifestyles and customs dominate the Christian consciousness. Ecclesial obedience is thought to be sterile and lifeless. The freedom that derives from handing oneself over to Christ is secondary. “When faith is faith,” by contrast, “it holds firm.” A faith distorted in favor of its own naturalization cannot evangelize in atheist milieus. A Christian mentality is not firm enough to grasp the full consequences of life without God, for the Christian mentality reduces the challenge of evangelization to a discussion of variant religious outlooks. For such Christians the Good News is held but not proclaimed because even to the Christian there is a self-conscious worry that the news might seem old."

Below are quotes from "Ordinary People of the Streets" that capture how living in the extraordinary love of Christ transforms the simplest actions of our day into moments in which heaven is given to us and through which we are able to given heaven to others.

We, the ordinary people of the streets, are certain we can love God as much he might desire to be loved by us.

We don't regard love as something extraordinary but as something that consumes. We believe that doing little things for God is as much a way of loving him as doing great deeds. 

Besides, we're not very well informed about the greatness of our acts. There are nevertheless two things we know for sure: first, whatever we do can't help but be small; and second, what­ever God does is great.

And so we go about our activities with a sense of great peace.

We know that all our work consists in not shifting about under grace; in not choosing what we would do; and that it is God who acts through us.

There is nothing difficult for God; the one who grows anxious at difficulties is the one who counts on his own capacity for action.

Because we find that love is work enough for us, we don't take the time to categorize what we are doing as either "contemplation" or "action."

We find that prayer is action and that action is prayer. It seems to us that truly loving action is filled with light.

It seems to us that a soul standing before such action is like a night that is full of expectation for the coming dawn. And when the light breaks, when God's will is clearly understood, she lives it out gently, with poise, peacefully watching her God inspiring her and at work within her. It seems to us that action is also an imploring prayer. It does not at all seem to us that action nails us down to our field of work, our apostolate, or our life.

Quite the contrary, we believe that an action perfectly carried out at the time and place it is required of us binds us to the whole Church, sends us out throughout her body, making us disposable in her.

Our feet march upon a street, but our heartbeat reverberates through the whole world. That is why our small acts, which we can't decide whether they're actio­n or contemplation, perfectly join together the love of God and the love of our neighbor.

Giving ourselves over to his will at the same time gives us over to the Church, whom the same will continuously makes our saving mother of grace.

Each docile act makes us receive God totally and give God totally, in a great freedom of spirit.

And thus life becomes a celebration.

Each tiny act is an extraordinary event, in which heaven is given to us, in which we are able to give heaven to others.

It makes no difference what we do, whether we take in hand a broom or a pen. Whether we speak or keep silent. Whether we are sewing or holding a meeting, caring for a sick person or tapping away at a typewriter.

Whatever it is, it’s just the outer shell of an amazing inner reality: the soul’s encounter, renewed at each moment, in which, at each moment, the soul grows in grace and becomes ever more beautiful for her God.

Is the doorbell ringing? Quick, open the door! It’s God coming to love us. Is someone asking us to do something? Here you are! … it’s God coming to love us. Is it time to sit down for lunch? Let’s go … it’s God coming to love us.
 
from "We the Ordinary People of the Streets"
by Madeleine Delbrel

Since I can put up with you, certainly you can put up with yourself

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Daughters, at times the greatest burden that you will bear is yourselves.  Sometimes the experience of your own poverty and weakness, your sin and inability to pray will cast a pall of despondency over you.  But allow this to be not only a means to humility but an opportunity to entrust yourself more fully to God and His grace.  If you cannot bear yourself be sure that He, who sees through you and knows all there is to know about you, loves you more than ever when you turn to Him.  Despite the turmoil that rages inside you, know that He rests in your heart.

“If you have to make sacrifices to reach Me, don’t worry about them. I’m in you. I’ll shoulder their weight. If you find no words to express your love, keep silent and I in you will speak to Myself. If you can’t keep your thoughts on Me, come back to Me as soon as you notice this, gently, without bitterness against yourself. Since I can put up with you, you can surely put up with yourself. Transmute this into an opportunity of being humble. Oh, never miss one of such blessed opportunities. My little girl humble . . . What a joy for Me!

“You understand, I see all that’s going on inside you. I can fathom you. Don’t parents see right through their little child? And I . . . Shouldn’t that hearten you? Shouldn’t it help your inner life? I’m at rest in your soul.

“At the beginning of Creation, God walked in the Garden of Eden and talked with your first parents. There was God and there was man. Now it is the God-Man, and He is in you, still nearer, since He took on human nature. What oneness, My child! Think of it. If you understood better, your heart would melt with love."

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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Weaving Him into the very warp and woof of your day

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“Lord, I have never deserved any of Your favors. Change me.”

“Change yourself by patiently beginning over and over again. Watch and pray. You do pray, yes, but pray in another way, seeing everything through Me, full of confidence, with a sense of your poverty. Then I’ll help you, My poor crippled little girl, paralyzed by so many weaknesses from birth, and you will travel along new paths. You will leave behind your old slavish attachments, for My yoke is gentle. You will no longer be the one you serve; Christ will be the one you serve. What a difference! And because you will serve Him and not another, weaving Him into the very warp and woof of your day, He will call you His bride, He who was your servant.”

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

Unfold your soul

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“Come before My face. Now unfold your soul. Stretch it out like a fabric remembering your stains. Yesterday’s and today’s. You show them to Me without saying a word, and yet this is a prayer. You are humble before the display of your wretchedness and this is the most eloquent of prayers. The voice of the just rises day and night and how can his cry be anything but humble? You see that even your shortcomings can bring you closer to Me. Use them; you can transform them into the love that makes amends, the love of contrition. Everything should lead to love. In this way you will meet Me. And won’t I have gone more than half way along the road?”

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

I go on creating you

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“Do you fully realize that you need trials in the spiritual life, our life together. Life on earth is not yet the life of heaven. It’s only love’s beginning. Love grows in trial—even in the very little ones, but it doesn’t notice this; its hunger is never satisfied. What joy it gives Me to help you! . . .

“Come along with Me then, keeping close, and we’ll talk together. You will hear Me, and humbly you will translate My words into daily living. I know how to take a soul captive. I don’t speak in vain. So just work together with Me since I’m leading you to the Father.

“My little girl will grow, not by herself but by Me. I go on creating you. In our intimacy this evening before you go to sleep, when your heart is close to Mine, won’t you give Me its most tender thanks?”

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

Let yourself disappear in Me

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“Of course, even in a season of dryness when life seems to have lost its savor for your mind and heart, I take you. Don’t resist; just let yourself disappear in Me. You’ve seen something floating on the vast ocean at the mercy of the waters? I am the Waters. I am the Immensity. Can you see where I’m taking you? What else is there for you to do but to set yourself adrift on Me. Hope that your course may bring Me the greatest glory. Hope to be balm for My heart. Haven’t I the right to privileges, to your favors? To be the chosen one, the most beloved of all?

“When you say to Me, ‘Beloved Jesus I give you my entire life,’ do you realize that at the same time I’ve given you more, since even what you are giving Me is what I’ve given you? Admit that everything you have comes from Me. It’s all a gift from Me, not to display My power, not chosen at random, but by My most attentive love—chosen especially for you, My children—for your path in life, in order to help you to reach the goal that is yours.

“You have everything you need to perfect the Daughter I dreamed of in creating you. Did you watch Me creating you? You see you can have no idea of the tenderness that I pledged to your soul so long ago—from all eternity. Then I ask you not to consider Me exacting if I say to you, as I do so often, ‘Give Me everything.’ ”

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

Make it possible for me to love You more

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“Yes, I know what you want most to confide: ‘Lord, I don’t love you as I want to. Make it possible for me to love You more.’

“This suffering of not loving Me enough—offer it to Me in pure reverence, straight from your heart. Offer it often. Don’t grow weary. I’ll heal this poor suffering of yours. Perhaps by sending one greater still, one that brings with it a piercing ecstasy such as you have never known. ‘O precious wound!’ is the cry of those who have felt it. Haven’t you often asked for this Seraphim’s dart?”

Lord, may I not die before it pierces me!”

“Humble yourself to obtain it. Sacrifice yourself. Keep looking at Me. Do your utmost to tune in to My thoughts. Approach love, and love will take hold of you.”

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The simplest, most delicate way

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Daughters, it is the Spirit alone that will bring order out of the chaos of your hearts and the Spirit alone within you that can speak of the love you have for God.  Let go of your feeble attempts to control the realities around you and yield to the direction of the Spirit; for in yielding you will also know His strength.

“My beloved Jesus, I come to receive Your word and above all Your love—Thursday, this day dearest to my heart of all the days of the week.”

“Enter into my courts. Ask the help of My mother. Go farther, still farther. Leave material things behind. Go right into the most secret shrine. There, where there is silence, the freedom of inner knowing, the flame that burns to burn more brightly.

Then ask the Spirit to brood over you as He brooded over the waters before the end of Creation.

By yourself you are chaos. Do you fully realize this? Do you try to keep it in mind? Have you humbled yourself today in thought or deed? Not to cause you distress nor diminish your strength, but to tighten your hold on the power of your God, who is only waiting for your call.

And now, possessed by the Spirit, what else could inspire your words but love? Tell Him, the Spirit of love, to speak for you. Don’t you think that it will be in the simplest, most delicate way?  For the Spirit also adopts the language of the little ones. Wasn’t My very humble mother overshadowed by Him when she answered the angel, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord’?”
 
Excerpt From: Gabrielle Bossis. “He and I.” 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It is in your power to give Me alms

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Daughters, like Gabrielle, withhold nothing of yourself from God; for He thirsts for your love and waits in hope for you to offer it to Him.  He is jealous for your love and makes Himself a beggar at the door your heart - waiting to meet you and to receive your love as if you were giving Him alms.  His inexpressible joy will overflow as abundant blessings for you.  

I had seen flowers of all kinds at the edge of a ditch.

“You see how insurgent the spring is! Let a springtide of love in your soul blossom out in good deeds of every color. I shall look lovingly at them just as you looked at the flowers in the underbrush. Tell yourself that love alone can make fresh wonders spring forth.

Then give yourself to love so that love may possess you. Don’t divide yourself into two—one part for you and the other for Me—since I long to have all of you and cherish this hope. Your love quenches My thirst. I am most demanding: you see I want My children to be wholly and utterly Mine at every moment. So don’t withhold a thing. Don’t take anything of yourselves away. You would steal from Me if you did, because everything is Mine.

If I require this of you it is because My yearning for you is a consuming fire. And My yearning is born of My love. Do you understand? Do you at last believe? Do you acknowledge My power to love? And if Mine is a love beyond all others, then how could you fail to go beyond your usual ways of loving to make your home in the higher realms—the realms where all is simplicity in our oneness. Above all when you know that it is there that I’m waiting for you and that great is My need to meet you.

Meditate on this need of Mine and you will call to mind that it is in your power to give Me these alms. Then remember the value of a free gift - the gift of oneself when offered out of tenderness. What inexpressible joy will be His who receives it. He will multiply His blessings so that the one that receives them will be lost in wonder and gratitude. ‘What have I done to deserve the kindness of my God?’ she will ask. And I shall reply, ‘You loved Him with all your strivings and you let Him love you.’"

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