Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spiritual Motherhood: "Suffering alone can give birth to souls for Jesus"

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer, in this brief reflection, captures for us the essence of Spiritual Motherhood and one of its exemplars in modern times - St. Therese of Lisieux.  Though but very young she understood how important and beautiful it was to share in the motherhood of the Church - to give birth to souls for Jesus by sharing in his suffering.  Her zeal for those cut off from the Lord by their sin was unmatched and her faith in the conversion of those she prayed for took on a kind of certainty when she sensed very clearly the Lord's desire for it. How could the Beloved put such a desire in the heart of His spouse if He did not intend to realize it?  No, it is certain; for He desires to bring back the stray sheep more than we do!

Daughters - it is this confidence that you must foster in your hearts; for it is this confidence that works miracles!  Such certainty comes not from yourselves but rather from God.  Therese reminds us: "It is not our merits but those of our Spouse, which are ours, that we offer to Our Father who is in heaven, in order that our brother, a son of the Blessed Virgin, return vanquished to throw himself beneath the mantle of the most merciful of Mothers."

Therefore, do not waste the smallest amount of suffering.  Accept and unite it to that of your Beloved's.  "There is nothing more important than this.  This motherhood can be brought about by a verbal apostolate and by an apostolate of prayer.  However, suffering is the most effective means.  Moreover, it is the most effective form of apostleship, since the greatest nakedness, which is a humble means, is found in suffering.  In suffering, the Cross is outstretched the most."

Spiritual motherhood is realized through humble means because it is actualized by participating in Christ's death: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat;" and in His Resurrection: "but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12:24).  Before all else, sharing in Christ's death is achieved through the acceptance of suffering since it inflicts death on egoism; and participating in the Resurrection is putting on "the new self, created in God's way" (Eph 4:24), the image of Christ who is Love.  It is the apostleship of begetting Christ in souls.  It means that the apostle shares Christ who is present in her soul.

Our apostleship as a spiritual motherhood is, due to faith, a participation in the spiritual motherhood of the Church.  Through our faith, which fully manifests itself by the use of humble means, souls are reborn to live for Christ.  Spiritual motherhood is brought about through the living word that is the fruit of contemplative contact with God.  It is brought about through prayerful devotion to God and, in particular through sacrifice and suffering.

Two great sinners played a special role in the lift of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  When she was fourteen she learned about one of them, Pranzini, who had murdered three people.  Despite being sentenced to death, he showed no remorse.  Therese could not come to terms with the thought that he might die without being reconciled with God.  For a month and a half, she offered all of her prayers and sufferings for Pranzini.  Then God gave her a sign: this great sinner, in the last moment before his death, took a Crucifix and kissed the wounds of the Savior three times.  When Therese learned about this, full of emotion, she said to Celine, "This is my first son."  Therese being only fourteen, already had such a clear understanding of spiritual motherhood.  Later she wrote, "Suffering alone can give birth to souls for Jesus."  Pranzini was a prototype of all sinners, whom she wanted to offer here suffering.  She knew that prayer alone was not enough, that, in order to save souls, one has to offer the greatest gift to God: one's own suffering.

The more dramatic figure of a great sinner, according to the testimonies of St. Therese, was Fr. Hyacinthe Loyson.  His name is never mentioned in her autobiography, in Therese's letters, or in Story of a Soul.  Only twice in her letters to Celine does she mention, "he is really culpable" and "a certain Lily faded and withered."  We find out about her desire tree save this souls from the records of the process of beatification and canonization.  Hyacinth Loyson, a Discalced Carmelite, superior to the convent in Paris, was a great and unusually gifted preacher whose conferences moved audiences in all of France.  Even the Pope congratulated him on his successes.  But, a a certain point in time, this exceptionally religious man turned from being a great preacher into becoming an apostate - a fighting apostate.  He traveled across the dioceses of France and, despite many protestations, preached that the Church had moved away from the true Gospel.  He fought the Church in this way for forty three years.  This battle terrified the convent of Lisieux, so much so that no one had the courage to mention his name.  He was never directly mentioned, and that is why his name never appears in the writings of St. Therese, who offered her prayers and sufferings for him for nine years.  For Pranzini, a month and a half was enough for his conversion, whereas for Loyson, nine years seemed to be insufficient.  Father Loyson was excommunicated, and later wrote an open letter incriminating the Church and the Carmelite Order.  This provoked vehement protests and great indignation.  Therese, however, did not lost hope.  With great emotion she said to Celine that his conversion was her main desire.  "Dear Celine, he is really culpable, more culpable than any other sinner who was ever converted.  But cannot Jesus do once what He has not yet ever done?  And if He were not to desire it, would He have placed in the heart of His poor little spouses a desire that He could not realize?"  This is her often repeated statement: if Jesus gives us the desire for something, then it is not meant to remain unfulfilled.  "No, it is certain," she writes, "that He desires more than we do to bring back this poor stray sheep to the fold.  A day will come when He will open his eyes."

When we analyze St. Therese's faith, we see that her faith was a certainty.  She knew that Hyacinthe Loyson would be converted.  She wrote, "Let us not grow tired of prayer; confidence works miracles . . . It is not our merits but those of our Spouse, which are ours, that we offer to Our Father who is in heaven, in order that our brother, a son of the Blessed Virgin, return vanquished to throw himself beneath the mantle of the most merciful of Mothers."  Therese so desired to save his soul that she offered her last Holy Communion for his intention.  She died fully realizing that Fr. Hyacinthe Loyson was not converted, but the certainty of her faith remained unshaken.  The priest did die fifteen years later at age eighty five.  Jesus loved Therese so much that this time He did not have to give her any sign.  Jesus knew that she would not stop believing that Fr. Loyson would be converted.  When, in 1912, Loyson was dying, there was no Catholic priest with him and there was no confession.  It is known, however, that before his death he received a copy of a Story of a Soul and read the writings of St. Therese in one reading, which he described as "a follow and something quite shocking."  During his difficult death, those close to him heard him whisper the words, "Oh, my sweet Jesus."  This last act of love directed toward Jesus allows us to assume that Fr. Hyacinthe was saved - thanks to the prayers and sufferings of Therese.  He was also her spiritual son.

The statement by St. Therese that "suffering alone can give birth to souls for Jesus" shows us what spiritual motherhood consist in.  A mother is one who gives life and who supports that life.  A person fears suffering, but not one of us can free ourselves from it, just as we cannot free ourselves from the burden of each day.  However, the advantage of our suffering and difficulties can be wasted.  Only by accepting them and linking them with the Cross of Jesus will they allow us to enter the extraordinary mystery of spiritual motherhood.  Taking part in the royal priesthood of the faithful, we are called to this kind of motherhood.  We are called to gain and give birth to souls for Jesus.  Think about all the many things that are difficult for you: may poor health, domestic conflicts, rebellious children or some spiritual torment.  These things could be even more insignificant but, if they are accepted and offered, they cause you to participate in the spiritual motherhood of the Church, which means giving birth to souls for Christ.  There is nothing more important than this.  This motherhood can be brought about by a verbal apostolate and by an apostolate of prayer.  However, suffering is the most effective means.  Moreover, it is the most effective form of apostleship, since the greatest nakedness, which is a humble means, is found in suffering.  In suffering, the Cross is outstretched the most.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Gift of Faith

Sunday, December 13, 2015

the only hands and lips worthy to touch the Body of Christ

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Nowhere is the essence of spiritual motherhood seen and experienced than in Mary's intercession during our reception of the Holy Eucharist.  We often think of intercession as "praying for" but the etymology of the word is "a going between, coming between, mediation."  And nowhere is this kind of intercession needed more than when we receive the Eucharist; for our lips and hands are always stained by our sin.  Christ comes to us in a state of complete self-humiliation and the deeper our faith becomes the more we see how great the price of this self-humiliation is and its potential increase in our reception of his Body and Blood.  Such a vision of faith would cast us into utter desolation if it did not also allow us to see Mary interceding for us at that moment of reception - standing between us and Christ.  Fr. Tadeusz tells us:  "Hers are the only human hands and the only human lips that are clean and immaculate, that are worthy to touch the body of Christ.  When you strive to lessen the Self-humiliation of Christ by asking Mary to receive Him for you and through you, then you give praise to the kenosis of the True God and the True Man." Behold your Mother - who takes you in her embrace in order that you may worthily and with pure hands and lips receive her Son!

Dear daughters, in your spiritual motherhood, pray that Mary will be with the priests of the Church who daily take into their hands and receive with their lips the Body and Blood of Christ.  Pray that they may seek to stay close to Mary that they may offer the Sacrifice of the Mass with mind and hearts made pure through her loving and immaculate embrace.

Faith allows you to see that your hands and lips that receive Jesus are always unclean - even when you are in a state of sanctifying grace - because you are always a sinner, and the hands and lips of a sinner always remain unworthy and, therefore, unclean.  "How very unworthy I feel I am, of this grace of the altar, which I used to approach to body," Cardinal S. Wyszynski wrote in his prison notes of 7 April 1955.  Just think, you receive Jesus with your lips that can kill with words.  Your words sometimes wound and are the source of harm and unhappiness, instead of uttering blessings.  And yet, these sinful lips some into contact with the highest sanctity of God.  If you consider all of this, you will come to know the mystery that theology call kenosis (Greek: a complete humiliation).

The Eucharist is a kenosis - the Self-humiliation of true God and true Man, since Jesus in His utmost sanctity comes into contact with your sinfulness and your unworthiness.  This does not mean, however, that you should avoid the Eucharist, for when you receive the Eucharist, He makes you more worthy of receiving Him again.  Jesus waits for you with His love.  He wants to come into order to transform you, to sanctify you, and to make you increasingly more worthy of His coming.

St. John the Apostle said, "If we say, 'We are without sin,' we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."  We are all sinners, and we are all unworthy to receive Jesus.  Think of your lips as unclean, but you should also await the Eucharist to remove that uncleanliness - that leprosy of sin, that leprosy of egoism - from your lips and from your heart and soul.  Jesus desires this so much that He wants it to be done even at the price of His great humiliation, at the price of His kenosis.  It is in the light of faith that you will see how the Eucharist is the great Self-humiliation of Christ.  He strips Himself of His divine dignity and humiliates Himself by the very fact that His majesty and His humanity are hidden in the material form of bread and wine.  He strips Himself from His due praise and honor.  When you come to Him with your sinful hands, with sinful lips, and a sinful heart, this is a further kenosis for Him.

St. Louis de Montfort advises us to invite Mary to participate in the Eucharist with us.  The presence of the Immaculate Mary close to us, especially during the Eucharist, is a great mystery for us, and it is a solution to the problem of the kenosis of Christ.  Those who find it difficult to acknowledge the need and importance of the Marian way to Christ are convinced that Mary cannot stand between themselves and Christ, for she would overshadow Jesus.  However, in the light of faith, in the light of the knowledge of God's holiness, in the knowledge of your own great unworthiness and sinfulness, you will find that this situation is not the case.  When you ask Mary to stand between you and Christ, you become closer to Him because when you ask her to stand between you and Christ, you do it so that she may spare Him kenosis, His Self-humiliation.  Only her hands are clean and were never unclean; they were and always will be immaculate.  Hers are the only human hands and the only human lips that are clean and immaculate, that are worthy to touch the body of Christ.  When you strive to lessen the Self-humiliation of Christ by asking Mary to receive Him for for you and through you, then you give praise to the kenosis of the True God and the True Man.  You link the attitude of humility, an attitude of acknowledgement that you are a sinner, with faith in His incredible love for you.  This love, at the price of the Self-humiliation that is beyond our imagination, wants to bestow upon you the fruits of the Redemption.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Gift of Faith

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I have only you

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

As you draw closed to the Beloved and gaze upon His Eucharistic face, you will gradually see in his eyes a love beyond comprehension; a love that proclaims that you are everything to Him, that He only has you.  Although present to the mystical body as a whole, He draws you close and whispers "For you I died, just for you."  He takes care of the whole world and is its ruler, yet it is you who are priceless in His eyes. 

I am really shaken when I begin to realize that in the palm of my hand is He, the one true God who rules the micro- and macro-world, the One upon whom every nerve and tissue depends.  Finally I may get to see that He allows me to adore Him in the palm of my hands at least for a moment as He only has me.  He only has me.  I am everything to Him.  I need Him to be everything for me.  He comes to me in an unexpectedly riveting way.  I try to respond to these unusual words of His love.  After all, I have nothing, nobody; truly I have only Him.  If I lost Him, I would not be able to live.

Once I discover the reality of eucharistic presence; once I discover that this is the same love with which He loves me and only me, I will see that the Eucharist doesn't cease to be the gift for the mystical body of Christ.  Once I discover the amazing love of Jesus present in the Eucharist I will discover that the Eucharist doesn't cease to be homage of adoration.  In this adoration you can find a little corner, where He whispers: For you I died, just for you.  Yet I have only you.  I, the God who reveals to you my incomprehensible love in the Eucharist, am really present.  I, the world's ruler, am master of heaven and earth.  Still, I find you to be priceless.  I take care of the whole world yet I tell you, I have only you.

Maybe I will believe it because various events like human ways are by no means smooth and straight.  Yet these events, marked as they are with extraordinary victories of grace and my stubborn lack of cooperation, nonetheless keep telling me that He is ceaselessly burning with love for me.  At last I can get enraptured by this Eucharistic love.  I will see it is humanly speaking quite insane for Him to fall in love with the likes of me.  Yet this love express itself in transfixing words.  This infinity of God ruling from the eucharistic altar throughout the world, directing the smallest element of macro- and micro-history, and in this context, this constant whisper of His: I have only you.

It is not possible finally to fail to fall in love with this sacramental, eucharistic, incomprehensibility.  Worlds come and go, yet eucharistic love goes on forever.  Above all, it is all just for me.  This crazy gift is forever revealed in these words.  I have only you, I have only you.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Monday, December 7, 2015

Apart from You, the world does not exist for me

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

It is so hard to understand and accept the love of God; to receive that love as He desires to give it to you.  He wants you to know that He gives you everything and to experience it as if He has only you.  Despite believing that God alone can give you everything, you cling to much lesser images or place false hopes or expectations in other things or people as if they could satisfy that deepest desire of your heart. 

In silence let Him draw you to Himself and instill in your heart a greater trust.   He wants you to be conscious of His presence at every turn and to let Him invest everything in your life with love and meaning.  Allow yourself to be nourished upon His eucharistic love born from the cross and ceaselessly flowing to you from the altar.

Everything I am given comes from You.  In every moment, You never stop loving me personally.  Your love is hard to express.  You seem to say, "I am giving you everything as I have only you."

Only You are God.  This means that You alone give me everything.

I want to accept it in the silence of my heart.  God is the silence, so I will not hurry, as haste shatters the silence and impedes his presence.  I have to venerate Him in what He gives me.  This only one, I Am, is somehow present in His gift.  In taking from Him, I am somehow close to Him.

My ability to write, move my hand or leg, also comes from You.  It is thanks to Your love that I am able to get up in the morning.  It is You who give me contrition, the grace of forgiveness and pain when I am walking away from You; You give me my willingness to return.  You give me the grace to shake off all temptations to sadness and despair.  If I am drowning in temptations, I can call out: "You will save me!  After all, You have only me."

When I focus on Him and on what He gives me, it is difficult to sin since only He is in my consciousness.  He gives me everything.   Without Him and what He gives me, I just couldn't live.

There is only You, God.  Of course there is the world, the work of Your wisdom, Your love, where I meet You, where You give me everything abundantly.  Apart from this, the world does not exist for me.

I can't live on my own.  You give me everything.  You want to give me everything.  Your are the eucharistic mercy.

I can't love You.  I know that my "love" is to receive Your love, ever wider, ever deeper.

You give me everything.  This consciousness brings me peace, freedom from worries, unrest and fears.

Your love born from the Cross never stops flooding to me from the altar.  Yet I seldom take note of it.

You give me everything.  You arrange it so that attracted by Your love, I continually open my arms to absorb more of this eucharistic love.  It penetrates through and through.  Finally I will be completely absorbed and taken over by it.

He gives me everything but gradually He will want to show me there is a hierarchy of gifts.  Moreover, there is one miraculous gift that is the source of them all.  In opening myself each day to these I shall see something quite different.  I shall discover the gift of the redeeming cross, that gift of the Son's sacrifice for me.

I will then discover this reality of God on the altar.  Only then will I see the reality of this gift.  Then, among the prayers of the Mass I will find where I rest, one to One in eucharistic love.  Only then will I understand that divine whisper.  It is only for those who live in silence.  I have only you.  Those gifts were the gifts of daily life as I never cease loving you, but here, I have become the gift for you.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Friday, December 4, 2015

Everything else is as if finished

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Fr. Tadeusz provides us once again with the most extraordinary insight into how God comes to us in the Eucharist.  The Lord gives himself, everything, to us now.  If we but had faith, what power the words of consecration would have - how they would strike the heart!  Yet, perhaps it is only in the darkest moments that the light and truth of these words can shine:  "I have nothing.  Only He is really important.  He is importance itself.  Everything else is as if finished."  When our world is shaken, when our hearts quake, and our lives seem to crumble into ruin around us - He is recreating us!

Love, Fr. Tadeusz tells us, gushes towards us from the altar.  We must look for it nowhere else.  "More than reading books, you will best learn about God by receiving the Eucharist.  God comes to you in Holy Communion, accepting you as if speaking: You are receiving everything.  Do you need anything else?"

On the night He was betrayed, He took bread and gave You thanks and praise - he is lowering his voice, he is focusing on the Lord in the Upper Room.  Suddenly he is aware of increasingly strange moments and restlessness in the congregation.  He tries not to think about it . . . He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples - our incomprehensible one is coming to the altar - and said: TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU . . . the walls start to tremble - AND EAT IT.  He hears someone screaming out, "O my God, what is happening?"

He crouches as if to cling to the altar: THIS IS MY BODY . . . the congregation is obviously much disturbed.  Something is happening.  The wooden double doors creak and crack.  WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.  He raises the host.  A chunk of plaster falls nearby and covers one side of the altar.  With lightning speed he remembers that according the Greek Jesus says: which is being given up for you.  It is being given now!  He tries to avoid being aware of crumbling walls as he genuflects with increased adoration.  He feels glued to the floor.  The church empties.  He feels the tremor of the altar slab.  There is shouting coming from outside.  When supper was ended - maybe this is the last Mass - He took the cup - he is trying to speak slowly, adoring with deepest faith.  His unworthy hands are holding God himself.  He shows the chalice to an empty church.

Above, there is a raging gale.  There is another stronger tremor.  Plaster is falling on the altar.  He protects the sacred species by covering chalice and host.  He doesn't want them to be buried under the rubble.  May this sacrifice - saying the words, he is transfixed - advance the peace and salvation of the world.  The words strike with great force.  This is the sacrifice to the whole world.  What power is flowing from the altar!   Now he is alone, alone with God.  It is never been like this.

Hear the prayers of the family You have gathered her before You.  There is no congregation.  His throat painfully contracts.  He can't speak.  In a moment, the ceiling will collapse and crush him.  The left wall of the church is already cracking.  Debris covers everything with dust.  He has just enough time to cover the host.  Painfully, he utters the eucharistic prayer from memory.

"He was not in the earthquake," he told me half a year later.  "As with Elijah, God came in a silent breeze.  I found scared people huddled together in little groups.  I said to them, 'The Lord is with you.'  I showed them the corporal and consecrated elements.  They gathered around to receive."  I have brought you God.  He remembers the words.  May this sacrifice . . . advance the peace and salvation of all the world. What power flows from the eucharistic altar!  God has saved you.  I have a strange certainty that no one has died.

Everything comes from Him, the earthquake and the Elijah type silent breeze.  He is alive in these small hosts.

I experienced those moments of dread as though it were the end.  Perhaps you did, too.  But it was only the announcement.  At a certain moment when the darkness covered the inside of the collapsing church, I thought it was the end; yet it was also the beginning.  I have nothing.  Only He is really important.  He is importance itself.  Everything else is as if finished.

Everything Eucharist is the announcement of future life.  We should have all died.  Yet the sun is still there; the silent breeze is there too.  Yet more, He is giving himself to you.  Everyone of you is receiving God in your mouth.

It is a great grace to experience such "final" moments.  God can extract tremendous spiritual responses from them.  The power of experiencing that I am always alone before God, and everything else too, just like you, right now, today, is that He is always recreating and loving me.  He loves you and leads you through the narrow pathway He mentions, a pathway which certainly goes forever towards eternal life.

God's light is so strange; a collapsing church, a symbol of an ever transient world, the altar hardly scratched.  God is present there under the sacred species, the symbol of His endless power and love.  Love gushing from the altar.

More than reading books, you will best learn about God by receiving the Eucharist.  God comes to you in Holy Communion, accepting you as if speaking: You are receiving everything.  Do you need anything else?

I gave them God while their faces were strangely illuminated.  I looked back at the rubble and said: Everyone of us takes life for granted.  Let's live only for this One who through thick and thin, always creates and loves.  You give me everything.  God gives himself so that in himself there is the whole world and all creation, recreated.

Everything is given me from You.
You sin because you do not let Him you. 
When I am coming down steep stairs, You are present all the time.  You are present in every conversation, in every word that is uttered. 
My life is simplified to this: receive Your love whenever I can. 
You will never love Him.  You are to receive this love in things great and small. 
Live just to receive this love.

The Savior's love is the love of the eucharistic Christ.  In it you will find happiness and union with Him here and now, on earth.

The prayer, "Everything I am given comes from You," expresses the meeting of limitless love with your human love.  This limitless love is embracing you and your loving response.

You speak to me: "I have only you," which is why You give me everything.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Thursday, December 3, 2015

broken instruments in the divine concert

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Despite your having been drawn so often into the things of the world, you feel a deep yearning to break free.  Frequently, often unconsciously, you are yearning for something more; yearning for sanctity, for God Himself.  St. Paul says it simply yet eloquently: "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."  The darkness that hangs over the world like a shroud attracts even more of God's mercy and a flood of His graces.  

Suddenly you will find what you have been looking for.  It is in Christ's gift of himself in the Eucharist.  This is where He can touch you with his love.  Such is the activity of His grace.  It means that your contact with the Eucharist is as extraordinary as St. Gregory of Nysa describes it when he notices that finding God consists in ceaseless searching for Him.  You will see the benefit of searching in the very searching itself.  Your endless yearning will become more desirous the more it is satisfied. Despite all your misery and sorrow you have great opportunity in the Eucharist to help you to sanctity.  Through faith you will see another world allowing you to gain access by anticipation into that world of glory.

In your everyday life, the Eucharist will give you insight and guide you along the pathway; showing you the senselessness of chasing after earthly life.  Eucharistic graces and awareness of the Lord's coming will show you a different picture of reality and push you towards the eucharistic vision of the world.

I pray you will finally discover the Eucharist to be the real answer to your longing for sanctity.  The longing that exists despite your personal feelings of infidelity, selfishness, and sin.  The contrast is between the not very admirable self you see and God himself who is the quintessence of purity and love even to the point of loving you in your poverty and brokenness.  Such poor and broken ones He wants to lead through the event of the Eucharist, to the summits, to a deep bond with himself.

A famous violinist once stood before an audience, obviously expecting a burst of adoration for her genius.  But what happened surpassed everybody's deepest expectations.  In the tension of her performance, the violinist suddenly felt something break under the bow.  She felt the instrument wasn't responding.  She suddenly realized that one of the four strings had probably broken and this meant that someone must have cut it halfway through.  Then came another shock.  Another string broke.  Someone had cut that one too.  Someone wanted her downfall.  But she kept playing as if nothing had happened and finished the brilliant performance.  No one had even noticed the problem.

When the violinist lifted up the violin showing the two hanging strings, the audience was astonished. There was an eruption of rapturous applause one thought would never end.  To play an instrument with such perfection outshone everybody's wildest dreams.  Even more, the audience broke all conventions by rushing towards the violinist, unable to believe that such inspiring music could come from a broken instrument.  So the maestra's glory was even greater, the weaker the instrument she used.

The law of contrast is that the poorer the human instrument, the greater God's glory.  He can create masterpieces from poor human instruments.  Isn't it strange that God so much desires that I could serve like this?  Not only by surpassing imagination, He wants to surpass every analogy too.  He wants nothing less than astonishing communication of the glorious love He so wants to share.

I am naturally, deeply opposed to this contrast as I don't want to be a poor instrument in God's hands. In God's plans we are the become the basis for revealing the greater glory of this One.  This is what I find so hard to believe.  I just do not believe that He is leading me in this absolutely incomprehensible way.  He does not want this for himself.  He only wants this for me.  This is the only way I can discover more of His true face.  I find it so unimaginable that God is only deeply discoverable in every moment on any of this world's altars in what seems to be nothing less than insane love.

The more fully I adore God, the more I let Him discover within me my likeness to such a violin that no one can play.  He is looking for those who are unsuitable for anything, for those unwanted by the world.  He is looking for the poorest violinist so that His all embracing glorious love can brilliantly penetrate into our world.

Although I am a violinist who plays poorly, my relationship with the Lord Jesus is also poor though I don't see it.  Yet the Lord doesn't reject me.  If I can reveal my unbelief, then He himself will say within me, "my Lord and my God."  Thus I can make the greatest profession of faith in the whole New Testament.

God never ceases wanting to reach to the depth of human misery.  He shows it in the incident of the sinful Samaritan woman.  The deeper the abyss, the greater amount of God's loving glory can be transferred.  By filling up this human abyss with something humanly incomprehensible, He reveals the enormity of His abundant grace.  He wants me to realize the truth about myself.  Only that insight can lead me to closer union with Him.  God's economy is still looking for poor instruments; the poorer the better.  For God, the glory the genius received from the audience playing with two strings is nowhere near sufficient.  He wants to play the violin that has no strings at all.  Then the brilliant reality of His glorious love becomes apparent.  He himself cuts the strings halfway through to play the masterpiece of the divine concert. Then we humans quieten down and silently listen to God.  He who is love itself can thus share His embraces within that necessary silence.  Thus we begin to discover the extraordinary miracle of the Eucharist.

There are souls who humanly speaking think there is no way out of their traumatic situation.  They wallow in a mess of evil and sins of great negligence in their lives.  They seem so possessed with evil that there is nothing for them.  Jesus awaits them in the Eucharist, turning with special love to bring them to salvation.

And me?  I am so unworthy so You can save me, Jesus.  I am asking You, pleading with You: grant me Yourself in the Eucharist, unite with me by Your grace.

His searching for us is so strange, finding the worst of us in order to make them saints!  There is no greater thing than making saints of the most unworthy of us.

Thus, He reveals himself in all His glorious abundant love.  Nothing is impossible for Him, nothing.  So the most unimaginably indifferent or anti-God person, overcoming arrogant resistance, can by grace, if she doesn't put up resistance, become the most magnificent masterpiece of God.  That person can become a part of God's unimaginable brilliance on this planet.  The greatest glory for God are those who are particularly unworthy and yet allowed to be fully sanctified.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pounding waves against a stony heart

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

When it comes to prayer, do not give yourselves over to presumption.  If we were to see clearly both the immensity of the love of God and the hardness of our hearts, our sorrow would know no end.  Even when we come before Him we often labor under the illusion of fidelity; that we are opening our hearts to him when they are painfully closed.  We are preoccupied with other things - adoring other things or people.  His love washes over us like a wave; repeatedly crashing against the many forms of resistance that we have built up against Him.  Even our "focusing on prayer" can become a means through which the evil one draws us back to thinking about ourselves.  Yet God's desire for us is unending and he will work to dispel our illusions.

God's love for us is so great that through the Holy Spirit, He transmit it day and night.  His love is really special in the Blessed Sacrament.  He wants us so much.  His love is like a gigantic sea of waves pounding and demanding to break into our lives.  however, we have interior resistant walls resulting in inner conflicts.  These conflicts can cause inner pain.  These waves want to break down our interior barriers.

I once posed a question to myself about this mysterious eucharistic presence in the Mass continuing in the tabernacle.  If He revealed whites truly going on, I would probably get a shock or become rather dizzy.  I would see that between my kneeling in church and the tabernacle there is nothing other than an apparent silence.  That is because I have a noise, possessive preoccupation with and adoration of persons and things.   God's eucharistic love wants abundantly to be united with me.  It is like huge waves trying to penetrate and flow into my life.  He wants to use my weak faith to flow through me with enormous power, to share abundantly this marvelous grace to flush out that noise going on within me.  Then I will "see" that Real Presence.

God becomes great for me insofar as I hunger for Him, crying out, "I need You!"  Ultimately, the value of this prayer is related to the depth of my faith.

My life reflects the state of my prayer.  I need to dispel many illusions. I have to go through many trials of faith, much emptying of being wrapped up in myself so that my prayer gets much deeper.  These trials and purifications should help to intensify my desire for God.  It is not really surprising that this one whose only desire is that I desire and need Him will work in my life like huge waves striking the rocks.  They are striking, spraying foam everywhere, flowing in repeatedly just like the ocean shores.  One may wonder how it is that these waves never weary, endlessly smashing against the shores.  God's love is just like that.

It is really only after my death that I shall see how these enormous waves of God's incomprehensible love for me, overflowing from the altar or tabernacle strike my inner rock to penetrate and flow into my soul.  Which is more stunning, this interminable love of God, unweary like the ocean striking the rocks, or this strange resistance of the rock against which the waves endlessly strike so forcibly?

When I enter church and meet Jesus in the Eucharist, my senses deceive me.  What I see and hear tell me nothing about God's action in my life.  That is because I do not see these forceful big waves.  I do not hear their roar as they strike my rocky surface.  I think I am in silence now but that masks the reality.  How can God's crazy love leave me in my veneer of calmness?  How can it leave me in my anxiety to be somewhere else?

As I kneel with this idea I am in silence; my eucharistic God tries to crush this noise in my heart.  My earthly idols create it by my longings, desires and fears.  If I do not turn away from it, it may force its way into my heart so that although I am in church physically I am mentally far from Him.  Anxiety over earthly problems obscures God.  Planning important affairs covers Him up completely.  God becomes insignificant.  I may completely obscure Him in my preoccupation with problems.

Moreover, I am also taken up with faraway thoughts when I think I am so close.  I don't realize that I am preoccupied with idols.  I think I am craving to focus on prayer.  Yet even the words "focus of prayer" hide a snare of the evil one.  I can focus on prayer or just on God.  "Focus on our own praying."  "That is good," the evil one whispers.  I should remember that by focusing on my praying I am still far away, searching for idols that cause my distractions.  After all, so much thought about my idols and my prayer activity are both ways of being taken up with myself.

I can be physically present in the church but far away in spirit.  The obstacle is whatever is taking up my thoughts.  God has crazy love for me.  I am more or less crazily in love with everything that is not God.  Can we resolve the problem?

I visit church and nothing happens.  I say it is difficult for me to pray.  I think I do not know how to contact God.  My prayer is somehow not getting going.  I am like a blind and deaf man.  Yet God hidden in the Eucharist roars like those huge waves.  The roar can be so loud that it deafens my senses.  They don't heart the cannon boom on the battlefront.  God in the tabernacle under the species of bread roars like the waves: Your belief in me is too shallow.  That is why your prayer isn't getting through.  You don't believe that decisions are made right here before the altar or tabernacle.  You are blind because you eagerly seek human approval.  You are ready to kiss doctors' hands to save the life of your mother even though they do not decide what will happen to her.  Here, in the tabernacle, you have the one upon whom everything depends - your fate, your mother's, and the fate of these doctors. Yet still you rate the doctors more highly.

So God is still very unimportant for me.

God tells me, Your faith is so tiny it is hardly visible.  You are asking like that father in the Gospel: if you can, heal my son.  If you can?  With belief in the Eucharist, nothing is impossible.  Yet you do  not really believe in my strength and love.  So your prayer is not effective.  Your prayers don't come from much faith.

St. John of the Cross calls people like me sensual.  With my sight I just see the tabernacle doors, nothing more.  God is too unimportant for me because I overrated myself.  I think I can deal with my problems better than He.  Yet He is the one from whom I should seek help.  God's huge roar and overflowing waves can destroy my false prayer.  My prayer is little more than the movement of my lips with some feelings.  I don't have much faith.  If only I would admit this.  If only I understood what God is trying to tell me in my distractions.  He is broadcasting on a different wavelength.  He is broadcasting on the gigantic waves of mercy, and where am I?

There is no contact.  God bellows with the roar of huge waves as in the Apocalypse: "I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent." (Rev 2:5)  So to stop believing in myself,  I have to cease analyzing my prayer.  I am reluctant to admit it.  So much analysis focuses on myself and impedes grace.  I need to open myself to the striking eucharistic truth that God's loving heart is being just for me.

When we watch ocean waves, we can feel the fury of them, the powerful upheaval that would like to break something.  Yet it is not like that in God.  There is simply amazing love for me that is not getting through.  Still, perhaps I can manage to accept the grace of faith and then something from that roar will hit my stony heart.  Perhaps I shall then start asking forgiveness, I shall humble myself before this astonishing love which like those waves is continuously running towards me from the Eucharist.  Maybe there will be a miracle so I will become smaller.  Maybe my hard heart will soften.  Huge waves will no longer be painfully striking the hardened surface of my heart, but they will gently flood over these crumbling stones from which my heart is now being reshaped.  Perhaps they will be really different, more gentle, more humble.  The waves won't strike with force.   They will flow over and into me.  They will wash me.  They will penetrate my being.  They will shape something unusual from me - something I would never have begun to imagine even in my wildest dreams.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My heart is cluttered with thrones and pedestals

 Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Guard your hearts and allow them to adore only One - the Beloved.  Let Him be the Love He desires to be for you and not simply what your desires, your loneliness or your wounds seek to make Him.  As much as you seek Him, there will be parts of yourselves that hold on to false images or lesser images of Him.  These will not always be obvious or even necessarily evil.  In fact, it is often the best of things in this world that we cling to the most or that we are tempted to exchange for the true freedom and intimacy He offers.  It is the silence of faith that will reveal these things to you.  It is in the silence of the chapel - adoring His eucharistic face - that you will be lifted up and your love renewed. 

I may not realize that wherever I kneel in church, I always bring my own "altar" to the altar.  This altar doesn't occupy space, but it is pretty full.  It varies from person to person.  It involves what in reality I am consciously or unconsciously worshipping in my life.  That altar is really what I place on the altar to adore.

I often speak of what I adore.  "To adore" in any language does not imply trying to throw God from His throne.  I use it out of habit.  In a natural way, although almost unconsciously, I am relegating God, whom I should really adore, into the background.

The situation is odd because I can see the altar from my pew in church - but what do I actually see?  Not the true altar but this one in my mind.  I have brought it with me.  It obscures the altar of the most holy sacrifice.  I don't realize that I simply don't see it.

So the silence I try to have as I kneel before the tabernacle cannot be real.  God wants to grant me real liberation - not in the sense of choice between good and evil but in freedom from desires, from fears and obsessions.  He wants to grant me true interior silence that is both freedom from hindrances and peace coming from union with Him.  This one who grants me peace, frequently calms my sense of loss and loneliness.

The silence of faith leads to grace.  This consists in quietening the passions and desires.  It is about the silence of the will so that I have fewer and fewer yearnings.  The less I pursue desires, the more I find peace.  God magnetizes the emotional forces into tranquil pathways free from clingy attachments.  Instead my love is magnificently renewed.

In Holy Communion I unite myself with Jesus - or so it seems to me.  But do I really unite myself with Him?  He comes into my heart yet He finds it cluttered.  I may find this hard to imagine.  How many temporarily unused thrones are cluttering my mind that I do not want to throw away, thinking they will come in handy later.  My psyche is cluttered with thrones and pedestals.  This lumber is the reception room for the eucharistic Lord.  How must God react?  "It should be known," writes St. John of the Cross, "that God dwells secretly in all souls . . .  . Yet there is a difference, a great difference, in His dwelling in them.  In some He dwells alone, in others He is not alone.  Abiding in some He is pleased; in others He is displeased.  He lives in some as though in His own house, commanding and ruling everything; in others He is like a stranger in a strange house, where they do not permit Him to give orders or do anything."

I am uneasy as I reluctantly think about this.  Perhaps I owe an apology to Him because He had to come to such a cluttered place.  Besides, the Church encourages me in this moment to be like the humble centurion or the repentant prodigal son.  So I can ask before the Holy Communion: Lord, only say the word, so that I am healed, sanctified, and freed from the lumber of noisy yearnings and deafening desires silencing the voice of Your love.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

from frenzied anxiety into the peaceful embrace of eucharistic love

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Haste has been described as a modern form of violence to the person.  Indeed, as we are carried about in a frenzied fashion through the activities and the demands of our life, our interior life can become fragmented.  What is this but violence against the self?  The anxiety-ridden mind and heart become incapable of experiencing the peace of Christ, incapable of receiving his love. 

This makes something a simple as slowing down the pace of our lives, reducing our activities, an act of faith; making room for and making way for God's presence.  It allows for silence to shape all that we do and say and give meaning to our experiences.  It also prepares us for the moment of greatest intimacy when we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist; to understand that He has come for us . . . 

I don't often realize how much haste disturbed my journey towards the invisible one.  Haste dominates the desire so that I am overtaken by the event and over-anxious to get what I want.  So much of me is nervously frenetic, feverishly making plans with hectic effort to get a move on, racing hastily towards my goal.  This kind of activity simply impedes my discovery of eucharistic love.

Perhaps I should begin by slowing down every step I take.  Every moment is a time when i can receive God's love.  I can only assimilate this love if I let go of feverish activity, frenzied anxiety, my attempts to put my personal seal on everything I do.  That is the way to be really prayerful.  It is enough for me to slow down the pace of my activity so that I make way for God's presence.  That is how I prepare the way for peaceful eucharistic love.

If my words about God are not immersed in a sort of silence as they are uttered, they come from a godless mouth.  What is more, no one will listen to me.  To hear God we need silence like Elijah on Mount Horeb.

When I am pressed for time, slowing down itself can be an act of faith.  With an activity that is more paced, I can begin to pray.  I do it for Him.  This slower activity is a proper preparation for my reception of Him in the Eucharist.

When I drive a car, I try to pray in the act of driving itself, just by touching the steering wheel or the pedals.  I will somehow bring God into that activity.  It is enough that it is being done differently, and on account of this one who is waiting for me with an abundance of eucharistic graces.  Every attempt to slow down or do it differently becomes an act of faith as it is directed to this one who craves nothing more than continuously to be communicating His grace on me.

"My daughter, I too came down from heaven out of love for you; I lived for you, I died for you, I created the heavens for you," said the Lord Jesus to St. Faustian.  Yet don't these words also apply to me if I accept His mercy just like St. Faustian?  He also descended from heaven out of love for me.  He lived for me.  He died for me.  He created the heavens for me.  This is God's amazing love as if He were talking to me personally: for you I am coming onto the altar.  It is for you that I am bringing about this miraculous transformation.

I am sometimes tempted to think it is all very well for St. Faustian with her special vocation, but that is not for me.  I don't want it.  Yet doesn't that reveal a hidden resistance on my part to God's grace?  After all, it is He who chooses.  Didn't He choose the twelve apostles, who were just ordinary people?

Slowing down involves coming into silence.  Within this silence, I can discover God.  I can only live the sacrament of the present moment by this silence.

This sacrament discovered in daily life leads to the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament that is the peak of Christian life.  We can say that since the Eucharist is the sacrament of faith, then everything that holds back the growth of faith in me holds back the flow of redeeming grace flowing either in holding the Eucharist or by God's presence in the tabernacle.

Faith means seeing what is invisible.  My participation in the Eucharist is a prayer of humble faith.  It draws me into humbly exercising more constant loving attentiveness to the invisible one.  He is really present under the species of bread and wine.  Yet is it so easy to stand by in loving attentiveness?  My prayer during the Eucharist, the prayer of humble faith, is actually generally distracted because until now I have not clung to God.  If I am completely preoccupied by something during the day or totally immersed in something, then it is not possible for me to be focused when I am coming into church or when Jesus appears on the altar.  My attitude during the Eucharist reflects my divided life in which I so often forget God.  The reality is that everything that happens to me during the day revives when I am trying to pray before the altar.

I am not only often preoccupied by events, I am also taken up with my vivid imagination.  As St. Teresa of Avila says: "Since it sees itself alone, the war it wages is something to behold - how it strives to disturb everything.  As for me, I find the memory tiresome and abhorrent.  I often beseech the Lord to take it away during these periods if it is going to bother me so much . . .  . The only remedy I have, having tired myself out for many years, is . . . to pay no more attention to the memory than one would to a madman."

So how can I learn concentration?  I need humbly to ask for it and often to practice greater concentration throughout the day.  This concentration means living more carefully, more slowly, not hurrying towards a future constructed from mental patterns under the influence of something in my past life.  The rule is: do whatever you do without overstitching yourself, not expecting to finish what you have begun.

However we shall not fulfill our expectations either during prayer or at Mass.  We are never free from distractions.  So I shall be continually beginning it but never actually finishing.  Searching is finding and finding is searching, teaches St. Gregory of Nysa.

God is silence.  When I try to be still, pushing may way towards the invisible one, I am entering the extraordinary circle of His amazing, saving, eucharistic presence.  With this He will be embracing me more and more.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Monday, November 23, 2015

God pushed to the background

 Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Religious people are not above having their illusions; including the illusion of being religious.  Even while maintaining the semblance of virtue and perhaps working very hard to do so, one can all the while keep God at arms length.  Religious sensibilities can be very strong as well as religious feelings, but they may have nothing to do with God.  They satisfy a personal need for security or comfort, but involve no true surrender to God or closeness to Him.  God is kept in the background; never at the forefront of one's life where He can disturb one's commitments and pursuits.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  We crave normality; to be in sync with the world around us.  If God were to get too big we would no longer be "in control" and so we make compromises. We keep God just close enough to maintain the illusion of goodness - He is in the background yet only to illuminate and give a radiance to our own pursuits.  May God pull us away from our egocentric desires and fill our hearts with deep contrition and increasing faith. May He makes us know our need for His Eucharistic mercy.

In the attitude of the tax collector I admit that You are still too little in my life.  Everything around me attracts me, absorbs me, involving me in the sphere of its actions as if beyond this world nothing else existed at all.  By this attitude, I am far away from You.  The horizon of what I see is hidden by the river of sensations I am looking for, to which I am surrendering myself, in which I am losing myself. These sensations and feelings have nothing to do with redemption.  Likewise they have nothing to do with the Eucharist that makes that redemption present.

Isn't there a kind of a drama going on in my life so that You are actually pushed to the background of my thoughts and actions?  You are only in the background, not in the forefront.  I push You far away. I may be doing something for You, but in fact I am not very interested in You.  You are always second, third, or even tenth in my scale of importance.  After all, I have so many friends, members of my family, so many urgent matters.  If I work it out, will I say You are seventeenth?  So this makes You very much in the background.

Because of this scenario, I need You so much.  You have come to me today and keep coming all the time.  You are really present in the Eucharist.  Chasing after an elevated place, courting the avarice of possessing, searching for pleasure and bodily comfort - all these things will destroy me.

I can still see that You are only in the background.  Even worse, I prefer not to remove You from this background.  I need it like that.  I would even feel bad without it.  I keep You just in the background of my life, small enough not to disturb me in my commitments and pursuits.

How obstinate I am.  Yet it is hidden in me.  It is somewhere deep in my subconsciousness.  It is unmistakably there.  I am ashamed to spell it out, but the fact is I feel good keeping You small like that.  You fit just nicely in my scheme of things.  You keep just where You are.  I like to be "normal" and if You were to get big and great in my life, there would be an upheaval.  I would not be able to cope.  I can't allow that.  That just won't do at all.  I would not have my peace of mind, the comfort that's granted to me by the compromises I've made.

Despite all this, grace still breaks through to me.  More and more I can see that I need You.  I need You so much.  You are my redeeming God.  You have come to sinners like me.  That is why You come in the Eucharist to save me from my obstinacy against which I am so helpless.

If you are in the background, I am big and important in the whole scenario.  I am sitting on a really big throne.  I am actually on a throne with God in the background.  The radiance is coming from that background giving a new dimension to everything.  Human relationships are almost radiant.  Even my thoughts if they have You for their background, take on a brilliantly new significance.

Yet You can see that in reality it is You I desperately need - really desperately.  By treating You subconsciously as the background I am actually destroying myself, my family, my friends, the world. This truth I discover in the act of contrition is so transfixing that I am now racing to You with even greater passion.  With the attitude of the tax collector I am crying out, "God present in the Eucharist, save me!"

How perverse this all is - the apostolic work for You may be very reassuring; I may get a lot of satisfaction from this work.  After all, I convert people.  I speak about You so much.  I am like a sort of hero the way I work.  Yet this is only because of You.  If You disappeared from the background, then my whole missionary activity would make no sense.  So You have to be in the background as this is what makes my apostolate, my whole life sensible.  It gives me this unusual peace that I convince myself I am living for extraordinary things.  I do it - with You in the background!

Even the important matter of winning souls for You is contaminated.  Yet the fact that You show me this contamination should be a great light and grace for me.  Because then my crying out for You, God in the Eucharist, becomes stronger and stronger, and my need to cling to You gets stronger too.  The nearness of Your merciful love will, I believe, save me. Moreover, I see that the problem of the background is beginning to show itself differently.  What I used to see as background was all confusion, immersed in my ego.  I now clearly see that no one can help me.  I only have You.  The more dangerously confused I am, the more Your eucharistic mercy spills into me because You are love itself.

I need You, my God, I need you so very much in Your eucharistic mercy.  You want to forgive me all this.  You want to save me.  You want to sanctify me.  Despite my confused obstinacy, despite my immersion in egocentric desires, You are in love with me.  You are overlooking my selfishness.  The more You can grant me Your forgiveness, the greater Your glory.

In Your love, You only need my contrition and increasing faith.

God, working in the Eucharist by the power of the Holy Spirit, immerse my poor soul in the waters of contrition.  Show me it is really not worth focusing on myself, because I was Your special choice even before You made me.

You have made the whole world for me.  When You are speaking to me from the altar, I shall know better and better to open myself to Your love that wants to revive and transform me.  Transform me to the point where the world is in the background so that You become the center of my life.  According to the faith I receive in and through our Church, I want the Eucharist to be the source and the sense of my spiritual life.  I want You to lead me by my faith.  I want to be led to sanctity.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
The Mystery of Faith

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Defenseless Love

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

The following reflection is so full of meaning that I can't bring myself to comment on it. My hope is that you will sit with these words of one who sought in an exemplary manner to draw close to our Eucharistic Lord and for whom this search shaped the contours of his spiritual life. Let the words wash over you gently and prayerfully. They are deceptively rich. Fr. Tadeusz writes in such a simple style but there is something so deep and penetrating about his thought that one can only attribute it to the genuineness of his experience of and love for the Eucharist.  

Jesus in the Eucharist would like me to knock hard.  He wants to provoke my prayer and to be dependent on me, one of little faith.

I am wrapped up in myself.  That is how I like it.  I am standing at the door leading to Your Eucharistic Heart.  It is hard for me to be on the other side.  Teach me to knock hard.  I still want to try.  In fact, I have no hope the door will ever open.  Maybe I don't want it to.

It is not so easy to knock.  Even though it means being in touch with You, I don't know how to do it.  Teach me, hidden Eucharistic One, more and more to expect You and get in touch with You.  A child can knock by kicking at the door, but I am no longer a child.  I don't knock very hard since I only want a certain amount of You.

Eucharistic Jesus, help me see it is so easy to find myself on the other side of the door leading to Your Heart.  If by being small I get needy of You, You are ready to make the first move to open the door wide.  You hurry to open it more than I hurry to enter.

Actually, You have already opened it.  I keep shutting it.  I shut myself behind it, crazily running away.  Only Your Eucharistic presence can teach me how to calm down just for a moment, to listen so that eventually I find myself in your arms, convinced of Your reality.

I want to tell You, Eucharistic Lord,, that I can only knock because You allow it.  I should admit it is You who are constantly knocking.  I am the one who doesn't want to open the door.  It is amazing You want to be dependent on me, a sinner.  Such is my strange behavior.  You are exhausted looking for me, even to the point of the Cross, yet I am so indifferent and distant.  You die for me.  You come on the altar for me, giving me freedom to accept or reject You.  

You have to teach me everything; You have to teach me how to recognize Your defenseless love.  I have still not discovered Your true face.

St. Catherine of Siena tells us that if we were really convinced that God loves us more than we love ourselves, our anxieties would simply wither away.  

In the Mass, I join in those provocative words in the Our Father.  As I pray that most amazing word - Father - I am helped to remember what happens in the Mass.

To become a human father is to assume full dependence on a little child who is utterly dependent on father.  We get "omnipotent" over the father's heart!

We depend so much on people who depend on us.  The strong one is completely defenseless toward the weak.  The weak one trusts him so he can't be left.  To love this small child means to depend on him or her in an unavoidable way.  A child is given enormous power over the father.

With this analogy, I can get a brilliant insight of faith.  I can begin to see how God loves me in this demanding fashion.  He gives me power over Himself.  I am free to respond.  He suffered on the Cross because He loved me and lovingly gave Himself for me.

Faith's insight leads me to recognize the truth that the Eucharistic One is always "weaker" than I.  I can disavow and forget Him but He can't forget me.  I may cease to be a son.  He can't cease to be a Father.  Our Eucharistic Lord is always "weaker" than I because His love is ceaseless.

The ones who love become defenseless toward the ones they love.  By loving, I open myself to possible injury.  I can only be injured by one I love.  The more I love, the more I can be injured.

To understand a little of the greatness of this opening to injury in our Eucharistic Lord, we need to note the fantastic quality of His love.  In this mysterious Sacrament, the greatest love reveals: " . . . Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us 'to the end,' even to offering us His body and His blood."  I will never sufficiently penetrate this love.  I long to gaze onto the Eucharistic species, but the enormity of God's defenseless love open to injury remains a mystery.  Yet the Eucharistic Lamb wants to give me eternity to fathom this infinite love.  Then I will be at the source of eternal admiration and happiness.

If I start here and now, I will let the Eucharist fully operate within me so that His grace permeates me thoroughly.  To some extent I will discover the true face of Jesus, so defenseless and weak.  Perhaps I will be rather like St. Paul.  He the persecutor discovered that Jesus allowed him to persecute Him because His love is defenseless.  He discovered His crazy love.  His discovery of the Lord had him forever trying to communicate it.

"For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" (Acts 9:16).  Yet He also made him an extraordinary pillar of the Church.  Paul couldn't imagine what would follow.  Neither could He wish it.  He had no idea how he would be led to God.

Abraham too had no idea where God would lead him.  It turned out to be better than he imagined  During his life he saw Canaan occupied while still a nomad.  He was however gradually growing to such great faith that he was called the father of faith.  He was maturing in faith when he sacrificed his son in a way many Christians couldn't imitate.  His future was unimaginable and unexpected.  Such a dedicated one is a father of faith.

If I discover just a little of the Eucharistic Jesus's amazing love for me and wish to respond, it will be in a way I can't imagine or expect.  He will finally give me the grace of complete union with Him.  It will be granted in an unimaginable and unexpected way with my own consent and desire.  When we closely take notice of people greatly dedicated to God, the impact of His grace is visible.  Eucharistic graces greatly transform them.  In time of trial we can be greatly disappointed, apostolic efforts can be really unsuccessful on account of intrigue, greed, or meanness.

All these setbacks highlight realities from appearances.  Through the rubble and ruins, in the long, silent prayer of faith, it becomes clear that those setbacks were illusory.

Our unfathomable God on the Cross lost everything humanly.  Yet the regular renewal of this in the sacrificial Mass, compellingly inspires more and more dedication.  New saints appear all the time.  It is apparent that all the setbacks, lack of success, and losses were quite unreal.

We can receive light to understand that everything Jesus wants is best.  It is only self-will that leads to disaster.  We may think we are ruined.  It is not worth one tear.  It is just illusions.

Finally we can discover that our hidden Eucharistic God wanted the uselessness of our needless activity.  He doesn't need our action.  He doesn't wait for our results.  He needs us just to need Him.

Having nothing makes space for God's grace in acts of pure love.  As St. John of the Cross tells us, that means more than all the deeds taken together.

Look, our Eucharistic Lord says, your pride has failed you.  Nobody wants you.  You have no peace or happiness.  You pray with the words: Lord, I have nothing and have done no good in my life.

When I pray like this, our Eucharistic Lord answers by conquering souls in His calm usual way: You are My love and My glory.  You think nobody needs you.  I make you into a likeness of Me.  I look on you with unlimited love.  My crazy, amazing love inspires you in the most extraordinary ways.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
Amazing Nearness

Fr. Tadeusz was a Polish priest and the author of many books that have now been translated into twenty-eight languages.  He died in 2009 after a life dedicated to spreading spiritual life connected with increasing adoration and love toward the Eucharistic Christ.

In many ways this book, Amazing Nearness, is an exceptional commentary on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus Caritas Est.  It explains and helps us understand love in our relationship with the Eucharist.  Indeed, it is exactly here that we experience the affinity, communion, and mutual love that can transform us into This One who has first loved us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

you need my silence

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Look, God remains present for you in the "Sacrament of Silence."  All this noise, rushing around, tension, and enslavement to self will obscure His Eucharistic Presence.  Your sadness, anxiety, and haste impede your communion of life with Him.  He so much needs your interior silence.  He needs the silence of your will so that you only want Him.  

Your sadness, anxiety, and haste can all be subjected to redemption if you open yourself to God in the Sacrament of His Love.  Give Him those busy tensions destroying your soul and body.  Allow Him once more to forgive you everything on the altar in His redemptive Eucharistic Sacrifice.  He can then convince you again that there is no love like His.

It is in silence that God, from whom I so regularly turn away, comes to me.  For God is Silence.  He comes and speaks in silence.  I am full of interior noise.  I am full of noisy desires, passions, and curiosity.  I always want to know and see more, as the more I know, the more I am esteemed.

There is no real silence in me.  I keep on uttering needless words, asking needless questions.  I am too focused on what is unnecessary.  This all distracts me from my Eucharistic God.  He can't be in touch or talk to me when I am like this.  "After you have left everything," says St. Therese, invoking the Imitation of Christ, "you must above all leave yourself."

Curiosity may seem irrelevant.  Yet in striving to keep interior silence, small insignificant things are important.  Curiosity about the world, human affairs, and everyday happenings can be a big obstacle in my spiritual pursuit.  I need to find calmness in my excessive attachment to exterior things.  This mustn't, however, lessen my awareness of people in need of help.  The curiosity that needs curbing works in me like a constantly switched on TV.  I may not have a TV, yet needless curiosity acts as if there is one switched on inside me all the time.

I can reject this Silence by the noise of pushy pride, excessively wanting to please others.  This is often a terrible enslavement, confusing my spiritual endeavors.  Perhaps blinded by habitually acting like this, I see it as something quite different.

Haste is interior noise.  I am always chasing after something; I tend always to be on the go or clock watching.  Yet if I try to reduce my driving speed for God, it becomes a prayer.  If I try to let God slow me down, He can take me over.  Becoming interiorly silent creates the conditions for the Silent One to come to me.  My haste is a nasty thing, destroying my bond with Him who is all for me.  My haste simply pushes Him away.

Haste also destroys the body.  God's passionate love can speak to me through my body as it disintegrates, loses resistance, or becomes worn out with age.  Maybe I will get to understand that my sufferings and illnesses have a lot to do with my haste.  As I leave the Silence of God, I am highly prone to enter the sick world, the area of tormenting sicknesses.  So through ignoring God, which involves ignoring proper care of the body, many contemporary illnesses like backache, circulatory problems, allergies, and tumors arise in this feverish, senseless running around.  Opposed to the silence of God are haste and anxiety induced by over-ambitious images of personal greatness.

We so much need interior silence.  To find everything, we need to want nothing and nobody outside Him.  Yet even this depends on being in touch with His will.  Fulfilling God's will brings us to discover that this is the pathway to our salvation, soul and body.  It promotes love in every direction.

It is not always possible to pray mentally and with feeling.  The inner light of faith where God lives doesn't always reach the outskirts.  Most important is silence of will, interior quietness, a certain form of detachment when my will focuses overwhelmingly on Him.  Then I supremely desire His will, seek His presence, and want to serve Him.  When everything else ceases to have immediate value for me, my will and love are paradoxically enriched in every direction and concern.  Without this, there is neither interior silence nor good prayer.

Silence of will involves not planning too much.  I can find it by taking up the challenge of having more flexible plans.  By silence I am ready to have my plans thwarted.  Yet I am aware how much confusion and anxiety every disappointment causes me.  This is one of the biggest obstacles to finding real peace. . .  .

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
Amazing Nearness

Monday, November 16, 2015

Do you really want His coming in glory, now?

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

When you draw close to the Lord as He comes to you in the Eucharist, your hearts must also be preparing for His second coming in glory.  This expectations means living in a state of constant conversion, seeking to purify the eye of your heart so as to see in faith the Angel choirs surrounding the altar.  You must offer no resistance to His grace and yearn for heaven.  Let it be your greatest desire.  You must ask yourself often if you sincerely want His coming in glory now.  Are you ready for it?  Do you expect it?  

I often forget that the Eucharistic eschatological dimensions are extremely important.  They involve my need for conversion through the pursuit of personal Eucharistic Love.  As so few expect His coming, so few people prepare for it.  He will come in glory, but  how will his sudden coming find me?  Concentrating on Him in interior silence?  Or maybe preferring early illusions . . .  .  Expecting His coming in glory means desiring Him now as King of my heart.

As soon as Jesus comes onto the altar at the Consecration, the Church makes me expect His next coming.  On Christian thinker tells of a vision concerning the Lord's second coming.  He saw the priest raising the Host after the consecration and suddenly the end arrived.  Out of the elevated Host emerges Christ in His whole glory, surrounded by Angels.

In faith I should immediately try to discover the Angel's choirs surrounding the altar.  The Eucharistic celebration is participation in heavenly liturgy.  Angels cannot leave Jesus, for whom they were created.  In the First Eucharistic Prayer, the priest, just after the Consecration, bowing in the name of the Church, utters the amazing words: "alright God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high. . .  ."

Your glory is revealed when I offer no resistance to Your grace.  You find Your glory in sanctifying those whom You love dearly, for whom You shed Your blood on the cross.  "Lord Jesus, come in glory" means that I should have the beginning of a desire to see by faith the Angels around the altar along with my yearning for heaven.

The more sincerely I say these words, the more my focus will increase.  They ask: Do I really want His coming in glory, now?  Am I ready for this coming?  Do I expect it?  I should try not to be terrified by the thought of His coming or afraid of its disturbing my private world.  I should try mentally to live that reality.  For this glory will have to recreate my own earthly world and transform it into something new.

After all, Jesus coming in glory will involve a new heaven and earth, not this earth to which I desperately cling.  There will be a new earth and heaven.  The words: " . . . Lord Jesus, come in glory" invite me to radically change my outlook.  They invite me to want to bring the Lord's coming closer to earth and heaven here and now.  Faith already makes it clear that You, my Eucharistic God, wish to embrace me forever in Your incomprehensible glory.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
Amazing Nearness

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Only by being small

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

It is now when your Redemption is being accomplished.  Now you are at the source of all graces, being given the greatest of God's gifts.  Your Eucharistic participation gives you everything you need.  You will receive all this because of God's plan.  Now on the altar He gives His life for you.  Only He can distinguish which desires are good or bad for you.  Hatred and pride are everywhere.  Even during the Eucharist you can be tempted without knowing it. Only by being small can you defend yourself.   

The Blessed Sacrament is God Himself giving Himself.  He in His sacrifice, in His real presence comes inside me and wants to permeate my whole being with even a particle of His life, to illuminate it.  The Eucharist is light bringing light.  It wants to illuminate me with God's incomprehensible love, extraordinarily revealing Himself in this sacrament.  However, even after I receive this Sacrament, some areas of darkness remain in me.

How do I defend myself against the temptation and open up to the Eucharistic saving graces?  Only by being small.  Hatred cannot stand such attitudes.  It always builds illusory, elevated thrones.  Since I am blind to it, my pride induces me to build these illusory thrones at the behest of the prince of this world.  I have always to be small especially when I am in church before the tabernacle or when I am at Mass. The prince of this world fears humility.  He knows that when I am small I stand in the truth.  The whole power of Love surrounds me.  He fears this and has to run away.

If I am small, there is an absence of the aura of coveted greatness.  The Eucharistic Jesus is able to live in me because I will finally have opened my heart to Him in my tormented wandering.  I will then be amazed to see that when I was astray, I was being looked for by that Love that never abandons me.  Finally I will have opened myself to it, and It will be able fully to conquer me for its glory.

Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
Amazing Nearness