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Archive for June, 2008

Quote by Mother Teresa

I received a book of Mother Teresa’s quotes for Easter and I enjoy reading them in the morning so that I can meditate on them the rest of the day. They are so fulfilling and thought-provoking that one a day sometimes is too much to handle! I would like to share them with you all so that you can think about them too during the day while you work.

There, in the heart of Jesus, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ and from love for each other. As much as possible, be alone with God so that you can listen to Him. He will speak in the silence of your heart.

~ Rose

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These Jelly Earrings are absolutely adorably quirky! Green chains dangle from brown lids to reach a total of 3″ long. Only $37 for a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings to wear during the summer.

I definitely think everyone should get in on the robot love trend! This tunic is an awesome way to do it! $25.

+Lily

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(Yes, I spend WAY too much time on Etsy! But you know, a girl has to have some unique accessories in her collection.) This online shop offers a host of different eco-friendly screen-printed items such as stationary, cards, and gift tags. I adore the animal-themed ones, for example:

(Click the photo to go to the listing on Etsy.)

I actually bought a card for my own stationary collection (anyone who knows me knows I have a fetish for stationary in addition to my disease-like shoe fetish) with a pair of gray elephants on it. The card says: “Let’s Grow Old and Wrinkly Together”. I can’t want to get it in the mail and add it to my “collection of love cards for someday/someone special” collection of stationary! If you want to get one like it, the seller should be listing a new one soon.

+Lily

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What is joy? And how does it differ from happiness? These questions have plagued my mind for a *very* long time. Yesterday, in the afternoon, I went and sat in Adoration for hour as I do every week, and – praise God! – Dear Jesus allowed me to see and understand in a little way the answer to these questions. It hit me like a “ton of bricks”, as they say. Joy, in a nutshell, is a grace granted the soul who loves God in the truest sense and possesses a deep understanding and knowledge that God loves that soul. Happiness, on the other hand, is an emotion that arises from possessing what we as human beings believe that we want. It may or may not have anything to do with the love of Christ.

This morning, as I was preparing to write this post, I googled “Joy” in the Summa Theologica online and found a passage in Aquinas’ work that eerily resembles the conclusions I came to yesterday (though I never read Aquinas on joy before):

I answer that, As stated above, when we were treating of the passions, joy and sorrow proceed from love, but in contrary ways. For joy is caused by love, either through the presence of the thing loved, or because the proper good of the thing loved exists and endures in it; and the latter is the case chiefly in the love of benevolence, whereby a man rejoices in the well-being of his friend, though he be absent. On the other hand sorrow arises from love, either through the absence of the thing loved, or because the loved object to which we wish well, is deprived of its good or afflicted with some evil. Now charity is love of God, Whose good is unchangeable, since He is His goodness, and from the very fact that He is loved, He is in those who love Him by His most excellent effect, according to 1 John 4:16: “He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him.” Therefore spiritual joy, which is about God, is caused by charity.

Another aspect of this fruit of charity that makes it different from happiness is that joy can be felt under all circumstances, including in pain, suffering, and yes, unhappiness. Happiness felt in pain and suffering is masochism.

Where do we find some examples of joy? There are countless examples in the lives of the saints and their writings!

Regarding Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, known familiarly as the Merry Mexican Martyr who never tired of jokes and from whom a rich fountain of joy continuously flowed and affected everyone who came in contact with him:

‘What I admired most about him was his spirit of sacrifice and his ability to forget illness [Fr. Pro suffered from horribly painful stomach ulcers] and the tribulations brought about by the social and religious miseries of the country [Mexico]. He knew how to keep everyone happy when he himself felt unhappy.’ He was to keep this quality all of his short life. he perfected it to such a degree that even when sufferings terrible physical pain, he could keep it so well concealed under a serene exterior that an occasional constriction of his face was all that betrayed him. It was momentary, and only his keenest observers ever noticed it.*

This is joy: a deep-seated knowledge of the love of God makes peace and fortitude possible even in the most painful ailments when happiness would not be possible.

From the life of St. Rita of Cascia:

One day as [her husband] Paolo was returning home from work he was ambushed and killed. The pain which this unexpected and violent death inflicted upon Rita was only compounded by the fear that her two teenage sons, moved by the unwritten law of the “vendetta,” would seek to avenge their father’s death. Rita’s only recourse was to prayer and persuasion. As it happened, the death of both boys from natural causes a short time later removed them from spiritual danger. Despite her great burden she could still thank God that they had died in peace, free from the poison of murder to which hatred and revenge might have otherwise drawn them.

At the age of thirty-six Rita pledged to follow the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine. For the next forty years she gave herself wholeheartedly to prayer and works of charity, striving especially to preserve peace and harmony among the citizens of Cascia. With a pure love she wanted more and more to be intimately joined to the redemptive suffering of Jesus, and this desire of hers was satisfied in an extraordinary way. One day, when she was about sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified as she was long accustomed to doing. Suddenly a small wound appeared on her forehead, as though from a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ’s head had loosed itself and penetrated her own flesh. For the next fifteen years she bore this external sign of stigmatization and union with the Lord. In spite of the pain she constantly experienced, she offered herself courageously for the physical and spiritual well-being of others.**

This is joy: a peace in the knowledge of the love of Christ that makes it possible to offer oneself as a sacrifice to relieve the pain of others despite the greatest emotional, psychological, and physical pain.

From St. Pio of Pietrelcina:

Ah! my father, you who know Him, tell me, I beg you, and do not throw back in my face my dispersion, my anxiety, and my wandering search for Him. Do not throw back in my face the abandonment of this spirit that nevertheless longs for the most blind and humble rest by divine consent. Tell me, where is my God? Where might I find Him? What must I do to seek Him out? Tell me, will I ever find Him again? Tell me, where must I rest my heart that is extremely and mortally ill and which I instinctively feel is in a continuous, breathless, and painful search.

O God, O God, I cannot say more: Why have you abandoned me? This spirit, justly stricken by your divine justice, remains amid such intense contradictions without any resource or sign but which the short-lived glimmer of light that sharpens the pain and the martyrdom. I feel I am dying. I am burning with thirst. I languish with hunger, O father, but it seems to me that my hunger is now being reduced to one sole longing for conformity to the divine will exactly as He wishes.***

This is joy: a soul and spirit in incredible spiritual pain and distress which is at the same time a soul that knows the burning Love of the Divine Lover and desires only to do the will of that Lover.

And finally, with the expectation of that Easter Sunday:

THIS IS JOY.

May we all pray for the virtue of charity and the fruit of joy in our souls.

+Lily

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*Taken from With Life and Laughter: The Life of Father Pro by Gerald Muller, CSC, page 40. Italics mine. You know I had to bring in my best saintly friend somehow!

**Taken from the Book of Augustinian Saints by John Rotelle. Italics mine.

***from a letter to his spiritual director, Fr. Agostino. Taken from The Secrets of a Soul: Padre Pio’s Letters to His Spiritual Directors, pp. 148-149. Italics mine.

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A Welsh hymn

This hymn has always been a comfort to me; in fact, there is a copy of it hanging on my wall over my bed as a reminder. A reminder of what? you may ask. A reminder that even when it feels like the shadows are suffocating, God is near. A reminder that Love made us so we are and always will be His. A reminder of the Pope’s message of hope and how “those with hope live differently”. A reminder of death, mortality, and at the same time the mission of the Christian life. I hope it offers a little comfort to our readers.

Day is done, but love unfailing

Dwells ever here;

Shadows fall, but hope, prevailing,

Calms every fear.

Loving Father, none forsaking,

Take our hearts, of Love’s own making,

Watch our sleeping, guard our waking,

Be always near.

Dark descends, but Light unending

Shines through our night;

You are with us, ever lending

New strength to sight;

One in love, your truth confessing,

One in hope of heaven’s blessings,

May we see, in love’s possessing,

Love’s endless light!

Eyes will close, but you, unsleeping,

Watch by our side;

Death may come: in Love’s safe keeping

Still we abide.

God of love, all evil quelling,

Sin forgiving, fear dispelling,

Stay with us, our hearts indwelling,

This eventide.

+Lily

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The Craft

I am lost.

I no longer see the light.

My call is lost on the raging winds about me.

Darkness of pain shrouds me

from the sight of my brothers

who could not save me

whether the sun shone or not.

For they do not know what holds me

down in the crushing waves of original sins.

“Take heart” they would cry,

“You can be saved! We shall save you!”

But what could they do?

They are on the safe haven shores of hope

and confidence in salvation.

I am still lost at sea.

The stars do not shine a direction

and the sun always points opposite to the way I am going.

In the night I hear weepings

of those still lost from the dry lands of paradise.

As splinters of me creak against the strain

I fear that my disbelief will sink me into oblivion,

and no one will remember my name.

Feel pity for my mind,

lost to mortalities that shape realities

and no longer a weapon against the serpents

who run silent and deep below my craft of shoddy self importance,

once so strong and fair to behold.

Traveling but never landing

I have aged much.

And what once was real

has become mere dream to keep me busy

in my resting hours.

But even in my rest

I must be wary

of the murky evils that sit below my bow,

waiting for me to sleep too close to the edge

so to take me down

and fill my body with dying waters –

to turn me into one of them:

an acolyte to an evil that rules both sea and sky.

I was told that this journey would bring me back anew.

But, alas! my maps are long gone

and my compass is waterlogged.

See how I cry for something to quench

the dry soul that shrivels within my breath.

I sit along the black blood of others who failed before,

and I know they await my arrival.

And I fear.

If my maps are wet

and my compass cracked,

how can the world expect one voyager like me

to find God

in the tormenting waters of my self-doubt?

*Ivy

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Warning!

Three of the lilies – myself, Rose, and Honeysuckle – are going to the beach for a week beginning tomorrow, and will be incommunicado as I am leaving the laptop at home. 🙂 Miss you all. Have a wonderful week!

+Lily

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