As the Father is Perfect

Be perfect, You say.
"Be perfect, as the Father is perfect."

"Perfection" is held before our eyes,
Hung in the heavens, like a star,
Like a luminous star,
As a star going before us,
Beckoning to us,
Inviting, "Come follow me."

In the dark of Your Mystery,
We make ready,
We journey forth,
Answering a call,
A call written on the heart,
Engraved, as by prophetic fathers,
Beyond imagining,
More certain than Death’s curtain,
Far, far, greater than the cost.

"Perfection" begins life as a babe,
Bound in swaddling,
A law conceived in the soul,
Bidding trust,
Coaxing obedience.
"Come, follow Me"

Journey through the Night.
When you have done all,
Spent all,
Lay down your dreams,
Your treasure,
For the rest lies with the Heavenly Host.

Touching the earth once more
In celestial wonderment,
With a loving caress,
And a word of command,
Fulfilled, as it is spoken,
"Be perfect, as the Father is perfect",
Angels whisper you home.

 

Copyright 2015 Joann Nelander

Mary stored up all these things in her heart

From a sermon by Saint Lawrence Justinian, bishop Mary stored up all these things in her heart

While Mary contemplated all she had come to know through reading, listening and observing, she grew in faith, increased in merits, and was more illuminated by wisdom and more consumed by the fire of charity. The heavenly mysteries were opened to her, and she was filled with joy; she became fruitful by the Spirit, was being directed toward God, and watched over protectively while on earth. So remarkable are the divine graces that they elevate one from the lowest depths to the highest summit, and transform one to a greater holiness. How entirely blessed was the mind of the Virgin which, through the indwelling and guidance of the Spirit, was always and in every way open to the power of the Word of God. She was not led by her own senses, nor by her own will; thus she accomplished outwardly through her body what wisdom from within gave to her faith. It was fitting for divine Wisdom, which created itself a home in the Church, to use the intervention of the most blessed Mary in guarding the law, purifying the mind, giving an example of humility and providing a spiritual sacrifice.

Imitate her, O faithful soul. Enter into the deep recesses of your heart so that you may be purified spiritually and cleansed from your sins. God places more value on good will in all we do than on the works themselves. Therefore, whether we give ourselves to God in the work of contemplation or whether we serve the needs of our neighbor by good works, we accomplish these things because the love of Christ urges us on. The acceptable offering of the spiritual purification is accomplished not in a man-made temple but in the recesses of the heart where the Lord Jesus freely enters.

Hold Fast To God

From the treatise on Flight from the World by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Hold fast to God, the one true good

Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one. Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength, and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy. Let us reach out with our hearts to possess that good, let us exist in it and live in it, let us hold fast to it, that good which is beyond all we can know or see and is marked by perpetual peace and tranquillity, a peace which is beyond all we can know or understand.

This is the good that permeates creation. In it we all live, on it we all depend. It has nothing above it; it is divine. No one is good but God alone. What is good is therefore divine, what is divine is therefore good. Scripture says: When you open your hand all things will be filled with goodness. It is through God’s goodness that all that is truly good is given us, and in it there is no admixture of evil.

These good things are promised by Scripture to those who are faithful: The good things of the land will be your food.

We have died with Christ. We carry about in our bodies the sign of his death, so that the living Christ may also be revealed in us. The life we live is not now our ordinary life but the life of Christ: a life of sinlessness, of chastity, of simplicity and every other virtue. We have risen with Christ. Let us live in Christ, let us ascend in Christ, so that the serpent may not have the power here below to wound us in the heel.

Let us take refuge from this world. You can do this in spirit, even if you are kept here in the body. You can at the same time be here and present to the Lord. Your soul must hold fast to him, you must follow after him in your thoughts, you must tread his ways by faith, not in outward show. You must take refuge in him. He is your refuge and your strength. David addresses him in these words: I fled to you for refuge, and I was not disappointed.

Since God is our refuge, God who is in heaven and above the heavens, we must take refuge from this world in that place where there is peace, where there is rest from toil, where we can celebrate the great sabbath, as Moses said: The sabbaths of the land will provide you with food. To rest in the Lord and to see his joy is like a banquet, and full of gladness and tranquillity.

Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain? Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. Let my soul say to this fountain: When shall I come and see you face to face? For the fountain is God himself.

The Dying of the Little Flower

From The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Ame):
The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, by Therese Martin (of Lisieux)

At last dawned the eternal day. It was Thursday, September 30,
1897. In the morning, the sweet Victim, her eyes fixed on Our
Lady’s statue, spoke thus of her last night on earth: “Oh! with
what fervour I have prayed to her! . . . And yet it has been pure
agony, without a ray of consolation. . . . Earth’s air is failing
me: when shall I breathe the air of Heaven?”

For weeks she had been unable to raise herself in bed, but, at
half-past two in the afternoon, she sat up and exclaimed: “Dear
Mother, the chalice is full to overflowing! I could never have
believed that it was possible to suffer so intensely. . . . I can
only explain it by my extreme desire to save souls. . . .” And a
little while after: “Yes, all that I have written about my thirst
for suffering is really true! I do not regret having surrendered
myself to Love.”

She repeated these last words several times. A little later she
added: “Mother, prepare me to die well.” The good Mother Prioress
encouraged her with these words: “My child, you are quite ready to
appear before God, for you have always understood the virtue of
humility.” Then, in striking words, Therese bore witness to
herself:

“Yes, I feel it; my soul has ever sought the truth. . . . I have
understood humility of heart!”

. . . . . . .

At half-past four, her agony began–the agony of this “Victim of
Divine Love.” When the Community gathered round her, she thanked
them with the sweetest smile, and then, completely given over to
love and suffering, the Crucifix clasped in her failing hands, she
entered on the final combat. The sweat of death lay heavy on her
brow . . . she trembled . . . but, as a pilot, when close to
harbour, is not dismayed by the fury of the storm, so this soul,
strong in faith, saw close at hand the beacon-lights of Heaven,
and valiantly put forth every effort to reach the shore.

As the convent bells rang the evening Angelus, she fixed an
inexpressible look upon the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, the
Star of the Sea. Was it not the moment to repeat her beautiful
prayer:

“O thou who camest to smile on me in the morn of my life, come
once again and smile, Mother, for now it is eventide!”[15]

A few minutes after seven, turning to the Prioress, the poor
little Martyr asked: “Mother, is it not the agony? . . . am I not
going to die?” “Yes, my child, it is the agony, but Jesus perhaps
wills that it be prolonged for some hours.” In a sweet and
plaintive voice she replied: “Ah, very well then . . . very well
. . . I do not wish to suffer less!”

Then, looking at her crucifix:

“Oh! . . . I love Him! . . . My God, I . . . love . . . Thee!”

These were her last words. She had scarcely uttered them when, to
our great surprise, she sank down quite suddenly, her head
inclined a little to the right, in the attitude of the Virgin
Martyrs offering themselves to the sword; or rather, as a Victim
of Love, awaiting from the Divine Archer the fiery shaft, by which
she longs to die.

Suddenly she raised herself, as though called by a mysterious
voice; and opening her eyes, which shone with unutterable
happiness and peace, fixed her gaze a little above the statue of
Our Lady. Thus she remained for about the space of a _Credo,_ when
her blessed soul, now become the prey of the “Divine Eagle,” was
borne away to the heights of Heaven.

(From the Project Gutenberg Ebook)

The Light of the East – "Breathe With Both Lungs"

Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Orientale Lumen, the Light of the East, asserted  that “the venerable and ancient tradition of the eastern churches is an integral part of the the heritage of the Catholic Church.”  The pope called upon all Catholics to become “fully acquainted with this treasure.”

I checked out ngchase’s recommendation Eastern Christian Media.  It looks beautiful and full of promise. Nelson says “there are some wonderful pieces on different aspects of the Eastern Christian faith! It also has a nice video of Fr Moses -of Holy Resurrection Monastery- cooking a nice meal. (I have had his cooking before and its great!)”