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