easter octave

The Lord of the empty tomb, the conqueror of gloom come to you. The Lord in the garden walking, the Lord to Mary talking come to you. The Lord in the upper room, dispelling fear and doom come to you. The Lord on the road to Emmaus, the Lord giving hope to Thomas come to you. The Lord appearing on the shore, giving us life for ever more come to you.
Celtic Easter Blessing

holy week

O God, I love thee for thyself, and not that I may heaven gain. Nor because those who love thee not, must suffer hell’s eternal pain. Thou O my Jesus, thou didst me upon the cross embrace. For me didst bear the nails and spear, and manifold disgrace. And griefs and torments numberless, and sweat and agony. E’en death itself, and all for one, who was thine enemy. Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love thee well. Nor for the sake of winning heaven, or of escaping hell. Nor with the hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward. But as thyself has loved me, O ever loving Lord? E’en so I love thee, and will love, and in thy praise will sing. Solely because thou art my God, and my eternal king.
Francis Xavier

the balm

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul. Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul. Don’t ever feel discouraged, for Jesus is your friend, who, if you ask for knowledge, will never fail to lend. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul. If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus, who died to save us all. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.
Harry Thacker Burleigh
African American Spiritual

the gift of prayer

The day was long, the burdens I had borne seemed heavier than I could longer bear. And then it lifted, but I did not know, someone had knelt in prayer. Had taken me to God that very hour, and asked the easing of the load. And he, in infinite compassion, had stooped down and taken it from me. We cannot tell how often as we pray for some bewildered one, hurt and distressed. The answer comes, but many times those hearts find sudden peace and rest. Someone has prayed, and faith, a reaching hand, took hold of God and brought him down that day. So many, many hearts have need of prayer. Oh, let us pray.
Monastery of the Precious Blood, Watertown, New York

to praise

To suffer and be happy although suffering, to have one’s feet on the earth, to walk on the dirty and rough paths of this earth and yet to be enthroned with Christ at the Father’s right hand, to laugh and cry with the children of this world and ceaselessly sing the praises of God with the choirs of angels—-this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.
Edith Stein

Do you know . . . Edith

Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Germany on October 12, 1891, the youngest of eleven children. Her father died suddenly before she reached the age of two. Her mother raised the children and took over and managed her husband’s lumber business. Edith was born into an Orthodox Jewish family, but renounced her faith in 1904 and became an atheist. As a student at the University of Gottingen, she became acquainted with Edmund Husserl and became interested in his philosophy, which sought to describe phenomena as consciously experienced, without employing theories about their causal explanation. Also at Göttingen, she first came into contact with Roman Catholicism. When Husserl moved to the University of Freiburg, he asked Edith to join him there as his assistant. She received her doctorate in philosophy (1916), worked as Husserl’s assistant, and established a reputation as a leading philosopher.
Attracted to Roman Catholicism, Stein returned on a vacation in 1921 to Breslau, where she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. She said “This is truth,” and was baptized a Catholic on January 1, 1922. She gave up her assistantship with Husserl to teach (1922–32) at a Dominican girls’ school in Speyer. While at Speyer she translated St. Thomas Aquinas’ “On Truth” and familiarized herself with Roman Catholic philosophy.
In 1932 she became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Münster but, because of anti-Semitic legislation passed by the Nazi government, was forced to resign the post the following year. In 1934, at age forty-two, she entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Cologne, and became Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. There she completed her metaphysical work “Finite and Eternal Being.” Other philosophical and spiritual works followed.
In 1938, with the Nazi threat growing, she was transferred to the Carmelite convent at Echt in the Netherlands, where it was thought she would be safe from persecution. There she wrote her treatise “The Science of the Cross,” a phenomenological study of St. John of the Cross,. Removal from Germany, however, proved insufficient to ensure her safety. The condemnation of Nazi anti Semitism by the Dutch bishops of occupied Holland (July 26, 1942) provoked Adolf Hitler to order the arrest of all Roman Catholics of Jewish decent. With her sister Rosa, also a convert who was serving at the Echt Carmel, Teresa Benedicta was seized by the Gestapo and shipped to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: “Come, we are going for our people.”
She was sent to the gas chamber where she died with her sister, Rosa. Survivors of the death camp testified that with great compassion, she helped others who suffered. The themes that seems to be most apparent throughout Edith’s life are her integrity, her search for truth and her complete trust in God. On May 1, 1987, she was beatified, and on October 11, 1998 she was canonized by Pope John Paul II
adapted from http://www.britannica.com/biography

ash wednesday

Today is the beginning of Lent, a liturgical season of forty days until Holy Thursday, and a time to reflect on our lives in the light of our eternal destiny. And so we pray: Dear Lord, please help me fast from judging others, feast on the Christ dwelling within them. Fast from emphasis on differences, feast on the unity of all life. Fast from apparent darkness, feast on the reality of light. Fast from words that pollute, feast on phrases that purify. Fast from discontent, feast on gratitude. Fast from anger, feast on patience. Fast from worry, feast on trust. Fast from complaining, feast on appreciation. Fast from negatives, feast on affirmatives. Fast from unrelenting pressures, feast on daily prayer. Fast from hostility, feast on nonviolence. Fast from bitterness, feast on forgiveness. Fast from self concern, feast on compassion for others. Fast from personal anxiety, feast on eternal truth. Fast from discouragement, feast on hope. Fast from thoughts that weaken, feast on promises that inspire. Fast from idle gossip, feast on purposeful silence. Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence, so we can be gifts to others in carrying out your work. Amen
A Lenten Prayer


When Christians believe God is in control, hope springs eternal. Hope helps us leave our life in the hands of God. There is an assurance that this is God’s world and he is more concerned about the people in it than they are. Hope is not a naive optimism, but rather a disposition that accepts challenges and suffering as a part of life. Although aware of character weaknesses and having no illusions about sin, a Christian is full of hope. The Christian way recognizes sin and does not despair because the Holy Spirit continues his work with each individual and leads him or her by the hand, very gently, toward the Father’s house.
from my book: Everyday Holiness

the pilot

Jesus, Savior, pilot me, over life’s tempestuous sea. Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treach’rous shoal. Chart and compass come from thee. Jesus, Savior, pilot me. Though the sea be smooth and bright, sparkling with the stars of night. And my ship’s path be ablaze, with the light of halcyon days. Still I know my need of thee. Jesus, Savior, pilot me. As a mother stills her child, thou canst hush the ocean wild. Boist’rous waves obey thy will, when thou sayest to them, “Be still.” Wondrous Sovereign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me. When at last I near the shore, and the fearful breakers roar. ‘Twixt me and the peaceful rest, then while leaning on thy breast. May I hear thee say to me, “Fear not, I will pilot Thee.”
Edward Hopper