ST. AUGUSTINE Marian Writings

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At the foot of the Cross he recognized her; yet, he had always known her. Even before he was born of her, he knew his Mother in her predestination. Before he, as God, created her from whom he would be created as man, he knew his Mother.

And so he created a Virgin, whom he had chosen to be his Mother; a woman who did not conceive according to the law of the sinful flesh…He chose her, to b created from her…He came into the Virgin, who existed before the Virgin. He chose the Mother he had created; he created the Mother he had chosen.

Because she had made a vow of virginity and her husband did not have to be the thief of her modesty instead of its guardian (and yet her husband was not its guardian, since it was God who guarded it; her husband was only the witness of her virginal chastity, so that her pregnancy would not be considered the result of adultery), when the angel brought her the news, she said: How can this be, since I do not know man?” (Lk 1:34). Had she intended to know man, she would not have been amazed. Her amazement is a sign of the vow.

She is clearly the Mother of his members; that is, of ourselves, because she cooperated by her charity, so that faithful Christians, members of the Head, might be born in the Church. As for the body, she is the Mother of its Head…Mary gave birth to our Head; the Church gave birth to you. Indeed, the Church also is both virgin and mother, mother because of her womb of charity, virgin because of the integrity of her faith and piety.

With the exception of the holy Virgin Mary, in whose case, out of respect for the Lord, I do not wish there to be any further question as far as sin in concerned, since how can we know what great abundance of grace was conferred on her to conquer sin in every way, seeing that she merited to conceive and bear him who certainly had no sin at all?

Because Mary says: ‘How will this happen, since I do not know man’ (Lk 1:34), calumniators might accuse her of having little faith. But she is inquiring about the “how” and does not doubt the power of God…

Zechariah, on the other hand, who spoke more or less in the same way, is reproved as unbeliever and punished by the loss of his voice. Why? Was it not because God does not judge according to the words we speak but according to what is in our hearts?

(Painting: Rembrandt ‘Nativity’)

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ANTIPHON FOR DIVINE WISDOM by HILDEGARD OF BIGNEN and MUSTARD SEED by MEISTER ECKHART

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ANTIPHON FOR DIVINE WISDOM

Sophia!
you of the whirling wings,
circling encompassing
energy of God:

you quicken the world in your clasp.

One wing soars in Heaven
one wing sweeps the Earth
and the third flies all around us.

Praise to Sophia!
Let all the Earth praise her!

Hildegard of Bingen

(painting Maurice Denis ‘The Visitation’)

MUSTARD SEED

I.

In the Beginning
High above understanding
Is ever the Word.
O rich treasure,
There the Beginning always bore the Beginning.
O Father’s Breast,
From thy delight
The Word ever flows!
Yet the bosom
Retains the Word, truly.

II.

From the two as one source,
The fire of love.
The bond of both,
Known to both,
Flows the All-Sweet Spirit
Co-equal,
Undivided
The Three are One.
Do you understand why? No.
It best understands itself.

III.

The bond of three
Causes deep fear.
Of this circle
There is no understanding.
Here is a depth without ground.
Check and mate
To time, forms, place!
The wondrous circle
Is the Principle,
Its point never moves.

IV.

The mountain of this point
Ascend without activity.
O intellect!
The road leads you
Into a marvelous desert,
So broad, so wide,
It stretches out immeasurably.
The desert has,
Neither time nor place,
Its mode of being is singular.

V.

The good desert
No foot disturbs it,
Created being
Never enters there:
It is, and no one knows why.

It is here, it is there,
It is far, it is near,
It is deep, it is high,
It is in such a way
That it is neither this nor that.

VI.

It is light, it is clear,
It is totally dark,
It is unnamed,
It is unknown,
Free of beginning or end.
It stands still,
Pure, unclothed.
Who knows its dwelling?
Let him come forth
And tells us what sort it is.

VII.

Become like a child,
Become deaf, become blind.
Your own something
Must become nothing;
Drive away all something, all nothing!
Leave place, leave time,
Avoid even image!
Go without a way
On the narrow path,
Then you will find the desert’s track.

VIII.

O my soul,
Go out, let God in!
Sink all my something
In God’s nothing.
Sink in the bottomless flood!
If I flee from You,
You come to me.
If I lose myself,
Then I find You,
O Goodness above being!

Meister Eckhart

(painting Paul Gauguin ‘La Soeur de charité’)

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SUNDAY READINGS JANUARY 21, 2018 WITH FR. ANDREW GREELEY HOMILY

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 JON 3:1-5, 10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’S bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, ”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm 25:4-9

R. (4a) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice
and teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Reading 11 1 COR 7:29-31

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

Alleluia  MK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
(El Greco St. John the Baptist, c.1600)

ANDREW GREELEY HOMILY ON TODAY’S Gospel READING (2012)

Background:

Mark’s gospel is often referred to as the Kingdom gospel, because it flows from the initial Kingdom proclamation found in today’s reading. We, like the listeners in Galilee, are invited to reform and believe. Immediately following this invitation, we have two examples of what the invitation requires. The first fishermen immediately abandon their nets, and the sons of Zebedee not only abandon their nets, they also abandon their father. Neither our possessions nor our families must stand in the way of our following the path that will be set forth in the remainder of Mark’s gospel.

Story:

We can go to Ireland for the summer, a mother and father announced to their children at this time of the year not so long ago. The response was underwhelming. The older teen said the Irish are creepy people, they talk all the time and they talk funny. Besides I want to spend summer with my friends, they’re a lot neater than Irish kids. It’s a great offer, the parents said. All the kids are free both on planes and in the cottage we’ll rent in Ireland. Cottage said the younger teen. I don’t want to live in any cottage. Is it air-conditioned in Ireland? Besides I have early football practice. You don’t need air conditioning in Ireland, said the parents and cottage is really a nice house and theirs a town near by where they sing all the old Irish songs. I don’t want to sing Irish songs, said the older grammar school kid. I want to hear rock and roll music (which, by the way is all you hear in Ireland these days too). You’ll have a grand time when you get to know Irish kids your age. I don’t want to meet any Irish kids my age said the younger. I like my friends in America. They’re a lot more fun. A crazy waste of opportunity, you say? How many opportunities have we wasted in life for reason that are pretty similar.

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HOLY WEEK AT GEONOA by Oscar Wilde & I CANNOT DANCE by Mechthild of Magdeburg

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HOLY WEEK AT GEONOA

I wandered through Scoglietto’s far retreat,
The oranges on each o’erhanging spray
Burned as bright lamps of gold to shame the day;
Some startled bird with fluttering wings and fleet
Made snow of all the blossoms; at my feet
Like silver moons the pale narcissi lay:
And the curved waves that streaked the great green bay
Laughed i’ the sun, and life seemed very sweet.
Outside the young boy-priest passed singing clear,
‘Jesus the son of Mary has been slain,
O come and fill His sepulchre with flowers.’
Ah, God! Ah, God! those dear Hellenic hours
Had drowned all memory of Thy bitter pain,
The Cross, the Crown, the Soldiers and the Spear.

Oscar Wilde

(Painting: Henry Ossawa Tanner “Mary”)

I CANNOT DANCE

I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.

Mechthild of Magdeburg

(Painting: Henry Ossawa Tanner “The Annunciation to the Shepherds”)

 

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Let Us Desire Nothing Else by St. Francis & Happy, indeed, is she whom it is given to share this sacred banquet by St. Clare

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Let Us Desire Nothing Else

Therefore
let us desire nothing else
let us wish for nothing else
let nothing else please us
and cause us delight
except our Creator and Redeemer and Savior,
the one true God,
Who is the Fullness of Good
all good, every good, the true and supreme good
Who alone is Good
merciful and gentle
delectable and sweet
Who alone is holy
just and true
holy and right
Who alone is kind
innocent
pure
from Whom and through Whom and in Whom is
all pardon
all grace
all glory
of all the penitent and the just
of all the blessed who rejoice together in heaven.
Therefore
let nothing hinder us
nothing separate us
or nothing come between us.
Let all of us
wherever we are
in every place
at every hour
at every time of day
everyday and continually
believe truly and humbly
and keep in our heart
and love, honor, adore,serve
praise and bless
glorify and exalt
magnify and give thanks to
the most high and supreme eternal God
Trinity and Unity
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
Creator of all
Savior of all who believe in Him
and hope in Him
and love Him
Who is
without beginning and without end
unchangeable, invisible,
indescribable, ineffable,
incomprehensible, unfathomable,
blessed, worthy of praise,
glorious, exalted on high, sublime,
most high, gentle, lovable,
delectable and totally desirable above all else
forever.
Amen.

Happy, indeed, is she whom it is given to share this sacred banquet

Happy, indeed, is she whom it is given to share this sacred banquet,
to cling with all her heart to Him
Whose beauty all the heavenly hosts admire unceasingly,
Whose love inflames our love,
Whose contemplation is our refreshment,
Whose graciousness is our joy,
Whose gentleness fills us to overflowing,
Whose remembrance brings a gentle light,
Whose fragrance will revive the dead,
Whose glorious vision will be the happiness of all the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem.

(paintings : El Greco -St.Francis and unknown artist-St. Clare)

WITH MY BELOVED by Rabia al Basri & WHAT IS LOVE by Paramahansa Yogananda

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With My Beloved

With my Beloved I alone have been,
When secrets tenderer than evening airs
Passed, and the Vision blest
Was granted to my prayers,
That crowned me, else obscure, with endless fame;
The while amazed between
His Beauty and His Majesty
I stood in silent ecstasy
Revealing that which o’er my spirit went and came.
Lo, in His face commingled
Is every charm and grace;
The whole of Beauty singled
Into a perfect face
Beholding Him would cry,
‘There is no God but He, and He is the most High.’

Rabia al Basri

(Painting: Kandinsky “Arab Cemetery”)

What is Love?

What is Love?

Love is the scent with the lotus born.

It is the silent choirs of petals

Singing the winter’s harmony of uniform beauty.

Love is the song of the soul, singing to God.

It is the balanced rhythmic dance of planets –

   sun and moon lit

In the skyey hall festooned with fleecy clouds –

Around the sovereign Silent Will.

It is the thirst of the rose to drink the sunrays

And blush red with life.

‘Tis the promptings of the mother earth

To feed her milk to the tender, thirsty roots,

And to nurse all life.

It is the urge of the sun

To keep all things alive.

Love is the unseen craving of the Mother Divine

That took the protecting father – form,

And that feeds helpless mouths

With milk of mother’s tenderness.

It is the babies’ sweetness,

Coaxing the rain of parental sympathy

To shower upon them.

It is the lover’s unenslaved surrender to the beloved

To serve and solace.

It is the elixir of friendship,

Reviving broken and bruised souls.

It is the martyr’s zeal to shed his blood

For the well-beloved fatherland.

It is the ineffable, silent call of the heart to another
heart.

It is the God-drunk poet’s heartaches

For every creature’s groans.

Love is to enjoy the family rose of petal-beings,

And thence to move to spacious fields –

Passing by portals of social, national, international
sympathy,

On to the limitless Cosmic Home –

To gaze with looks of wonderment,

And to serve all that lives, still or moving.

This is to know what love is.

He knows who lives it.

Love is evolution’s ameliorative call

To the far-strayed sons

To return to Perfection’s home.

It is the call of the beauty – robed ones

To worship the great Beauty.

It is the call of God

Through silent intelligences

And starburst of feelings.

Love is the Heaven

Toward which the flowers, rivers, nations, atoms,
creatures – you and I

Are rushing by the straight path of action right,

Or winding laboriously on error’s path,

All to reach haven there at last.

Paramahansa Yogananda

(Painting: Odilon Redon “Mystical Conversation”)

SACRED FEMININE WEDNESDAY: PLACE YOUR MIND BEFORE THE MIRROR OF ETERNITY & WHAT YOU HOLD, MAY YOU ALWAYS HOLD by ST. CLARE OF ASSISI

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Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!

Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance!
And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself
through contemplation!
So that you too may feel what His friends feel
as they taste the hidden sweetness
which God Himself has reserved
from the beginning
for those who love Him.

What you hold, may you always hold

What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you do and never abandon.
But with swift pace, light step,
unswerving feet,
so that even your steps stir no dust,
go forward
securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
on the path of prudent happiness,
believing nothing
agreeing with nothing
which would dissuade you from this resolution
or which would place a stumbling block for you on the way,
so that you may offer your vows to the Most High
in the pursuit of that perfection
to which the Spirit of the Lord has called you.

WHAT WONDERFUL MAJESTY, THE TREE OF LOVE, and NOT TO HURT by St. Francis of Assisi

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WHAT WONDERFUL MAJESTY
“What wonderful majesty!
What stupendous condescension!
O sublime humility!
That the Lord of the whole universe,
God and the Son of God,
should humble Himself like this
under the form of a little bread,
for our salvation”“…In this world I cannot see
the Most High Son of God
with my own eyes, except
for His Most Holy Body and Blood.”

The Tree of Love

The tree of love its roots hath spread
Deep in my heart, and rears its head;
Rich are its fruits: they joy dispense;
Transport the heart, and ravish sense.
In love’s sweet swoon to thee I cleave,
Bless’d source of love.

NOT TO HURT

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals)
Is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.
We have a higher mission:
To be of service to them whenever they require it.

St. Francis of Asissi

(Paintings : El Greco)

GOD WOULD KNEEL DOWN and CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES by St. Francis of Assisi

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God Would Kneel Down

I think God might be a little prejudiced.
For once He asked me to join Him on a walk
through this world,

and we gazed into every heart on this earth,
and I noticed He lingered a bit longer
before any face that was weeping,

and before any eyes that were
laughing.

And sometimes when we passed
a soul in worship

God too would kneel
down.

I have come to learn: God
adores His
creation.

(painting: Odilon Redon Mystical painting of girl and flowers)

Canticle of the Creatures

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility

SUNDAY READINGS JANUARY 14, 2018 WITH FR. ANDREW GREELEY HOMILY

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Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Reading 1 1SM 3:3-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Responsorial Psalm 40:2,4, 7-10

R. (8a and 9a) Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or offering you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
to do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Reading II 1 COR6:13-15,17-20

Brothers and sisters:
The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body;
God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
Avoid immorality.
Every other sin a person commits is outside the body,
but the immoral person sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body.

Alleluia JN 1:41, 17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We have found the Messiah:
Jesus Christ, who brings us truth and grace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.

(El Greco St. John the Evangelist and St. Francis, c.1608)

ANDREW GREELEY HOMILY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (2003)

Background:

Jesus had peculiar taste in friends. You put the whole crowd together and they were not as smart as one of the third rate philosophers in Rome. Maybe some of them could read and write. They were perhaps street smart, but you were going to announce the nearness of the kingdom of God would you surround yourself with folks that wouldn’t make assistant precinct captain? They were utterly insensitive to Jesus’s spiritual message and interested only in the power and prestige they were going to have in his kingdom (which they didn’t understand at all). One of them was a thief and ten of them cowards. Surely, even if he had decided to limit is choice to Galilee Jesus could have done better? Why these sluggards and nerds? Why indeed? And why do we pretend that our leaders today are better than they were? Patently the first Pope and the first bishops (if we want to use that analogy) were not sacred persons, but inept, often stupid human beings? Why do have to pretend that their successo! rs are any better? Why should they be immune from criticism? Have we missed the point somewhere along the line that the leaders of the church and the followers in the church are fragile, imperfect human beings and that Jesus chose them precisely because he wanted a human church. If he wanted something better, he should have turned it over not to the philosophers in Rome but to the Seraphim.

Story:

One upon a time there were a group of young men who idolized the quarter back on the local NFL team (no cities in mind in this story). He was a great passer, a gutsy runner, he played despite pain, he was modest at media interviews, generous with volunteer work, kind to kids, and signed autographs till all had been accommodated. He was humble and respectful and prayed before every game. He was practically perfect, it seemed, a great role model for kids in the city and around the country. Then one night he came into the tavern where these young men hung out. He was roaring drunk and abusive. He pushed a couple of women around, insulted the bar tender, picked a fight with a little guy, and sneered at our group of idolaters. They were shocked into silence. However, one of them, a bit of nerd, actually asked the QB for his autograph. He knocked the pen out of his hand, shoved him back against the bar, and cursed him out. What a jerk the crowd said. We’ll never cheer for him again.! He probably uses drugs too. He’s no role model for children. The team should trade. But, the nerd said, he’s only human. That’s no excuse everyone else agreed.