PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Monday, March 31, 2008

 

Divine Mercy


Jesus, Divine Mercy, says, "The greater the misery, the greater is the right of the soul to My Mercy!"

**

"The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is - trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts." (1578)

http://www.catholicforum.com/churches/cathteach/divinemercy1.htm

(via Malou)


Thursday, March 27, 2008

 

Quotes


If you are silent, be silent out of love. If you speak, speak out of love. -St Augustine

"There is no place for selfishness—and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice." - Pope John Paul II

The patient has to start by treating his illness not as a disaster, an occasion for depression or panic, but as a narrative, a story. Stories are antibodies against illness and pain. - Anatole Broyard

We read to know we are not alone. - C. S. Lewis


Monday, March 24, 2008

 

Success vs. fruitfulness


There is a great difference between successful and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness. -HJMN


 

Happy Easter!


To show His love, Jesus died for us. To show our love for Jesus, we must live for Him. - Malou

We can't make all people understand us. We have to accept that having the opportunity to speak doesn't always give us the privilege to be understood.

In a joyful heart, something new is born. -HJMN

Sometimes, God breaks our spirit to save our soul. Sometimes He breaks our heart to make us whole. Sometimes He sends us pain so we can be stronger. Sometimes He sends us failure so we can be humble. Sometimes He sends us illness so we can take better care of ourselves. Sometimes he takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everythning we have. - from Mike

Solitude confronts us inescapably with what most bothers us -- our own masks and fantasies, sins and weakness and hastens the hard process of dying to oneself. This is the most radical heat surgery imaginable, but is a honeymoon too, because God is there. - via Malou

God's love in our heart gives us a heart for the lost. - via Tita Mitz

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting./God makes things beautiful in His time. - via Jim

View a negative experience in your life, like how you look at a photo's negaive. A single negative can create an unlimited number of positive prints.

Practice the PAUSE: When in doubt, pause; when angry, pause; when tired, pause; when stressed, pause; and when we pause, we breathe, clear the mind, view from a different perspective, smile, laugh, sleep, dream. Even our heart needs rest.

Today, don't think of saying any unkind word, think of the people who can't speak. Don't complain about the food you eat, some have nothing. Don't complain about life, many die young. When you're tired of your job, think of the jobless, the disabled, and those who wish they had yours. When sad thoughts seem to put you down, paint a smile on your face and thank God you're alive and you're still around. Life's a gift. Live it well.


Monday, March 17, 2008

 

The spiritual life


Then we discover what the spiritual life really is. It is not a matter of doing one good work rather than another, of living in one place rather than in another, of praying in one way rather than in another. It is not a matter of any special psychological effect in our own soul. It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the Center to which all things tend, and to whom all our actions must be directed. That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him, that the whole course of our life is foreknown by Him and falls into the plan of His wise and merciful providence; that it is absurd to live as though without Him, for our ourselves, by ourselves; that all our plans and spiritual ambitions are useless unless they come from Him and end in Him and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is His glory." - Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude


Monday, March 10, 2008

 

Happiness recipe

Happiness is somewhere between too little and too much. May you have just enough wealth to meet your needs but enough poverty to learn how to work hard. Enough blessings to know that God loves you but enough problems so you don't forget Him. Enough happiness to keep you sweet but enough trials to keep you strong. Enough hope to keep you happy but enough sorrow to keep you human.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

 

A paradoxical faith


Ten years in a Christian community, and what have I gotten into? Well, no less than novel experiences that brought me back to what I’d discover to be an ancient path. …Various new relationships that awakened me to the ones I've already got and have taken for granted all along. …Probing questions that can only find answers in an otherwise bigger question, the question of faith. If I sum up my faith experience in the context of the charismatic renewal, I’d say it’s a harvest of life-changing paradoxes.

First, a clarification on the definition of “paradoxical.” “Paradoxical” doesn't mean “contradictory” but only “seemingly” so. It's because the logic behind a paradox is deep that it is not readily evident. I'd say a paradox is "an enigmatic truth." Contradiction is mere irony, if not illogic. Here’s how Etymology Online defines the word, which originated in 1540: [F]rom L. paradoxum "paradox, statement seemingly absurd yet really true," from Gk. paradoxon, from neut. of adj. paradoxos "contrary to expectation, incredible," from para- "contrary to" + doxa "opinion."

Now, why the inordinate interest in paradoxes? Is the interest purely intellectual? Well, no. It just so happened that this thing kept on repeating and repeating along my journey until it became a curious pattern and brought me into this deafening conclusion: What I had was a beautiful experience of the mystery called life, in a faith replete with paradoxes.

Of course, this is not to reduce my journey into Christianity to a merely beautiful language. My point is just this: It appears that God loves to talk in the language of paradoxes, and that’s definitely not something to sneeze at. Let’s take just a random survey:

"We lose what we strive to keep and gain what we freely give away."

"Love your enemies."

"Jesus is risen from the dead."

"Jesus is son of God and son of man."

"It is when we are weak that God is strong."

"Whoever loves his own life will lose it; whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

"Zeal is strength under control."

"Believe in God in order to understand God; to believe is to see (not “to see is to believe”)."

"God's wisdom is foolishness to the world."

"Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more."

"Jesus' death on the cross is a symbol of conquest, not defeat."

"To set man free from fear, it is necessary that he cultivate in his heart that true fear of God, the beginning of all wisdom." (a paraphrasing of Pope John Paul II's words)

"Joy is perfected in suffering."

"One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving."

"We are saved not by good works but by faith alone. But we cannot be saved without doing good works."

"True freedom means 'freedom to do what we ought', freedom to obey God." (Pope John
Paul II)

Notice how each line is worth at least a whole day of reflection.

Now let’s take a second look at the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and note his unprecedented eloquence in expressing the Christian enigma: "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow your love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

In paradoxes, there is that constant opposition that seems to be resolved through careful balancing between the extremes. Isn’t that what they say about wisdom? In medio virtus stat: “Virtue lies in the middle.”

The Pope himself, in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, summarized the Christian faith in the same fashion, seemingly enigmatic at first, but beautifully truthful at the end: "To find life, one must lose life; to be born, one must die; to save oneself, one must take up the cross."

My experience with paradoxical thoughts and inspirations simply abound in my life in community. I didn’t even have to seek them; they just pop up, even in the most unexpected moments: Bible study, watching TV, reading a magazine, talking with someone, etc. Maybe paradoxes are God’s way of letting us plumb the depths of His wisdom, which is a well that, after all these years, remains to be explored for undiscovered spiritual treasures.

Meanwhile the beautiful, if at times perplexing, journey filled with paradoxes continues...

(Originally conceived 9.2000. Finished 3.7.2008)


Sunday, March 02, 2008

 

Txt msgs


A world without love is a world without God.

Living my life to the fullest calls for dying to self. (from Malou)

Preaching is to much avail, but practice is far more effective. A godly life is the strongest argument you can offer the skeptic. Hosea Ballou (via Mel)

The way upwards is the way downwards - from the golden saying of Br. Jairus, St. Francis' companion (via Malou)

View a negative experience in your life like how you look at a photo's negative. "A single negative" can create an unlimited number of positive prints. -? (via Joseph)

For me, to be a saint is to be myself, becuase the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. -Merton

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” - Thomas Merton

“The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt” - from Merton

"He became what we are that He might make us what He is." ... Saint Athanasius, 295-373

“Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body's deeper need, the need for genuine love. Every time you are able to go beyond the body's superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity.”
Henri Nouwen quote

"Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body's deeper need, the need for genuine love. Every time you are able to go beyond the body's superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity." - The Inner Voice of Love

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." - Out of Solitude

We always have a choice to live the moment as a cause of resentment or as a cause for joy.” (Here and Now, by Nouwen)

One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.” (Bread for the Journey, by Nouwen )

The man whose prayer is so pure that he never asks God for anything does not know who God is, and does not know who he is himself: for he does not know his own need of God. -Nouwen

God's presence is often a hidden presence. -Nouwen

The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error. Thomas Merton

The great illusion of leadership is to think that a person can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there. - Nouwen, The Wounded Healer


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