435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips.
2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”16 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.
2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.” It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light. By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior’s mercy.
2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases, but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.’
[I’ve decided to start sharing some art on here. I think we undervalue and underutilise beauty today, and need to reverse that immediately]
‘Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
A child on its mother’s breast,
even so is my soul.’
God bless you!
The painting is called, Mother of Light, and it’s from http://www.artofamaryknollsister.com/Details.asp?ProdID=628&category=2 (but I found it through pinterest).
The Resurrection should be understood as a challenge to the world. Death has been overcome, and now, the children of God have nothing left to fear.
There’s a lot to leave us feeling hopeless in the world today. There’s war, poverty, loneliness, abortion, hatred, murder, human trafficking, racism, addiction, euthanasia, exploitation, ignorance, terrorism, sexual abuse, genocides, corruption, divorce, torture, and the list just goes on and on. We live, undeniably, in a culture of death and indifference.
And of course, a culture of death requires and creates for itself a culture of indifference. When we’re surrounded by so much death, the easiest way to deal with it is simply to die inside, closing our eyes and hearts. We package away the suffering in little boxes, which we’ll return to occasionally, to cry a little, give some money, and so relieve what’s left of our consciences a little bit. If we let our hearts open to all the misery and death around us, we’d be unable to let it go on. We would be compelled to stand against the forces of death that surround us.
But what use is it? Who can fight against the empire of death and win? Especially when death reigns even in our own hearts?
ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!
You cannot kill a Christian! We cannot die! God is on our side! God has justified the crucified! Nothing can ever overcome the children of God. Nothing can stop the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, we must live in a new manner. The dying things of the world no longer matter. Nothing matters, except the true life we have been given, the life of absolute love, the life of the children of God, the life of heaven.
Jesus is vindicated, and His way is proven right. And so we can accept Him, His love, His truth, in all His weakness. His death is only half the story.
And so we can and must walk in His ways, taking up our crosses, the pains and injustices around us, and entering them, transforming them, with a fearless love. Nothing, not even death, can stop the children of God, and that is what we are.
This is the freedom we must live out in the face of all the death surrounding us on every side. We must live in the victory already won.
God bless you! Christ is risen!
Mercy requires courage. Without courage, we can have pity, but not mercy. It takes the courage to open yourself to another’s wounds, and to be vulnerable yourself.
Without vulnerability, we may be a benefactor, but we can’t be a Christian. We must share our brothers and sisters’ wounds, all of their hurts and failings and sins, understanding them and uniting them with our own, and so with Jesus’.
Jesus suffered, to give Himself to us. He is utterly vulnerable, so that we can approach Him with all of our weakness and wounds. His wounds speak to ours, and replace fear with love.
We killed Jesus because of His mercy. His heart was open to all, and so He suffered with all the suffering, and was oppressed with all the oppressed. He never took sides, not even–so it seemed–God’s.
Jesus knows you, with all of your pain, and He loves you. He feels your pain more than you yourself, especially the pain of sin, and He loves you in it. We have no reason to hide from Him.
Jesus detests sin because it hurts Him when it hurts us, and above all because it separates us, His beloved, from Him. He can’t stand being apart from us. It drives Him crazy.
That’s why He can’t stand us judging each other. He can’t take us pushing people away from Him. Especially when we claim to do so in God’s name.
We must surrender to His merciful love. We must let Him love us in and through our wounds, our sins. Then these are transformed. Our wounds and sins become a holy place, the place where we find God. And then, with our vulnerability, our wounds, and the love of God in them, we can bring His merciful love to others.
Mercy requires the courage to take up the cross. It will be painful. It may get you killed. You will be exposed and vulnerable and mocked and attacked, even by the very people you suffer with and for.
But mercy is true life. Mercy transforms the world. Jesus’ mercy conquers the grave, turning death to life.
God bless you!
I’ve been feeling pretty adventy (adventurous?) for a few weeks now, so I’m pretty happy it’s now officially advent, and we’re all waiting together.
What I mean is, I’ve been feeling the need for Christ to come lately. There’s so much in the world that just doesn’t make sense, so much sin and meaningless suffering, and it’s been getting to me. I can’t stand it. And so I’ve found myself thinking, when is Jesus coming to sort this out? And thinking about how great it will be when He does.
Advent has confirmed this desire in me, for Christ’s glorious return and judgment, and has also reminded me, that He has already come, and He comes still, and we’re not just passive observers of His coming. I have to do my part. I must prepare the way of the Lord, into my heart, by repentance. And I must welcome Him, recognising His voice, His presence. And I must bear Him to the world with love, magnifying Him and rejoicing in Him.
Repent, welcome, and bear. Repent, clearing away every obstacle, filling in valleys and levelling mountains, so He can march straight in. Welcome, because He’s already here, so we must say our Fiat, let it be done to me, according to Your word, submitting to His will. Bear, carrying Him with us to the world’s sin and suffering, because He is already with us, and that is what He came for.
To repent is to turn towards Him, to welcome is to listen to Him, to bear Him is to live in love with Him.
And so, by His grace, with our preparation, He comes to us, to our sin and suffering, and makes sense of it by His love, by His life, death and resurrection.
God bless you!
At adoration this evening, I had some strange reflections on the Eucharist…
Every now and then, Catholics get told that eating Jesus’ Body and drinking His Blood makes us cannibals. But this is to seriously misunderstand. When cannibals eat human flesh and drink human blood, they’re consuming a dead person… It’s something violent. But the Holy Eucharist isn’t Jesus’ dead body; it’s His resurrected Body. Jesus in the Eucharist is far more alive than you and me.
In comparison with Jesus (especially after His resurrection), we’re hardly even half-alive. And so it is the less-alive, consuming the more-alive… like zombies. Except with zombies again, those they eat are killed/made into zombies in the process. Again, it is violent. But with Jesus, eating Him brings us to life, and makes us into Him. In zombies’ eating, death conquers life, but in the Eucharist, the eating of Christ’s resurrected Body, life conquers death.
When we eat normal food, the more fresh it is, the better it is for us. This is because everything we eat is dead, but the more fresh it is, the more its life remains with it, and the more we can take from its life. The act of eating something requires it to die, in order that it might be given away. So with the Eucharist, we are given Jesus’ Body, because He gave His life on the cross, and yet His Body is most truly alive, because He is the Resurrection and the Life, and His death is true life. So Jesus’ Body is the very best food, because despite being food, and therefore having to die, It is most truly alive, and therefore the very freshest and best food you’ll ever eat.
What do you think? Maybe I should just focus better during adoration…
God bless you!