Archive for December 2009

Advent takeaway

December 30, 2009

During Advent I encountered this exhortation from St Anselm to take time for personal prayer:

Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts.  Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about your tasks and labors.  Make a little time for God and rest a while in him.

Enter into your mind’s inner chamber.  Shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek him; and when you have shut the door, look for him.  Speak now to God, and say with your whole heart:  I seek your face; your face, Lord, I desire.

It’s from the non-Scriptural reading in the Office of Readings for Friday of the First Week of Advent.  If it doesn’t sound familiar, it’s probably because this year it coincided with the Memorial of St John Damascene, which had its own non-Scriptural reading for the Office of Readings.  This excerpt now occupies a prominent place on my desk at home.  I may need to go further, and attach it to my computer monitor, my checkbook, my DVD player, etc., etc…..

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Know any men in the Chicago area?

December 28, 2009

If so, you can email them and encourage them to attend the first men’s conference of the new year.

Our Supreme Shepherd on the shepherds

December 26, 2009

Pope Benedict’s homily from midnight Mass on Christmas is a masterpiece!  It must be the fruit of his own personal lectio divina.  He extracted so much meaning from those shepherds!  (The Gospel reading was Luke 2:1-14)  And he presents it like a father teaching his family.  In fact, because a couple of my teens have hit a bumpy patch with some of their friends, I even read this excerpt during the family prayer time that we had before opening gifts on Christmas morning:

The first thing we are told about the shepherds is that they were on the watch – they could hear the message precisely because they were awake. We must be awake, so that we can hear the message. We must become truly vigilant people. What does this mean? The principal difference between someone dreaming and someone awake is that the dreamer is in a world of his own. His “self” is locked into this dreamworld that is his alone and does not connect him with others. To wake up means to leave that private world of one’s own and to enter the common reality, the truth that alone can unite all people. Conflict and lack of reconciliation in the world stem from the fact that we are locked into our own interests and opinions, into our own little private world. Selfishness, both individual and collective, makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another.   (emphasis added)

He also issued this challenge:

For most people, the things of God are not given priority, they do not impose themselves on us directly, and so the great majority of us tend to postpone them. First we do what seems urgent here and now. In the list of priorities God is often more or less at the end. We can always deal with that later, we tend to think. The Gospel tells us: God is the highest priority……The shepherds teach us this priority. From them we should learn not to be crushed by all the pressing matters in our daily lives. From them we should learn the inner freedom to put other tasks in second place – however important they may be – so as to make our way towards God, to allow him into our lives and into our time. Time given to God and, in his name, to our neighbor is never time lost. It is the time when we are most truly alive, when we live our humanity to the full.

There’s plenty more, so please do read.

Christmas Carols

December 26, 2009

Our friend, Raymond de Souza, has some very talented children:

Rejoice

December 25, 2009

Rejoice, Virgin Birthgiver-of-God.  Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have given birth to the Savior of our souls.

Christmas wish list

December 24, 2009

Just received an email from Santa’s Logistics elf advising me that they were unable to fit my two requests on his sled this year:  the Livescribe Smartpen and the Alurunner sled.  Bummer!

What’s on your wish list?

A couple pre-Christmas reflections

December 23, 2009

Fr Philip, the abbot of Christ in the Desert (Benedictine) monastery, shares some of his personal thoughts about Christmas in his weekly journal.

Fr Mark, of the Vultus Christi blog, shares some observations on the dissipation of Catholic faith and family life over the past few generations, and relates it to his Christmas wish.