may we be released

2019 brought many changes: 8 months of unemployment and then a new job, a good deal of healing and coming to terms with my past, two trips overseas, seven trips domestically, another move (6 moves in a decade), the death of two of my spiritual mentors (Archbishop Harry Flynn and Bishop Paul Sirba) and all kinds of upheaval in the Church. It was a year in which my life was rearranged in many ways: in the process, almost everything was turned inside out. It was a very tumultuous and good year.

Along the way, I discovered this song by Carrie Newcomer. It’s my prayer for 2020.

May you bless the place you live,
And bless the spot you fell,
And let go of hidden stories
Too dangerous to tell.
Let there be no stones to throw,
And someone to watch your back,
And some prayers be never answered
For the things we think we lack.

May we be released;
May we be held dear.
May we listen to the wisdom
That we didn’t want to hear.
May we be released.
May we….

May you leave and walk away,
Kick the dust and shout unfair.
May we finally stop and think
Of the blame that we both share.
When you stand in gale force winds
And home a passing thought,
When the truth catches your eye
May you have the grace to stop.

May we be released;
May we be held dear.
May we listen to the wisdom
That we didn’t want to hear.
May we be released.
May we….

May you get fed up and finish
Old obsessions past their prime.
May you find the silent center
And leave all undone behind.
May there be bread and honey.
May somebody love your flaws,
Give a stranger your umbrella
And love a grateful dog.

May we be released;
May we be held dear.
May we listen to the wisdom
That we didn’t want to hear.
May we be released.
May we….

May we finally see
May we finally hear
All the perfect lies
That kept us here.
And all the skills we learned
Just to keep us whole
Be thanked for what they were
And finally let go.

May the unseen world be present
Invoked into your life.
May you have the strength to question
All the things you thought were right.
May you sense the light around
The very old and very young.
May you go ahead and quit
What you should never have begun.

May we be released;
May we be held dear.
May we listen to the wisdom
That we didn’t want to hear.
May we be released.
May we.

May We Be Released, from the album Everything is Everywhere

Juan de la Cruz

Cross_iconIt’s the feast day of St. John of the Cross, one of my favorite spiritual writers of all time. (Doesn’t sound very detached, does it? Still working on that nada doctrine.)

I’ve created a multimedia retreat with Saint John of the Cross — and his Sayings of Light and Lovehere. It works well on mobile devices… such as tablets and smartphones.

Also, I did a series of posts on John of the Cross during Lent of 2004. Here are the links:

Lenten retreat starts

Prologue to The Dark Night

Why is the dark night necessary?

pride

avarice

lust

anger

gluttony

envy and sloth

one dark night…

discernment of the night of the senses

how to respond to being placed in the dark night

fired with love’s urgent longings

Novena of Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen begins December 12

Venerable Servant of God Fulton J. SheenIn response to the postponement of the Beatification of Fulton J. Sheen, Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria has asked the faithful to participate in a special nine day novena to “petition God unceasingly” that the Cause may move forward to the Beatification and Canonization of Fulton Sheen.

On the 40th anniversary of Sheen’s death, Bishop Jenky decided to make known this upcoming special novena trusting in the “power of prayer” to move heaven as well as instill hope to all those saddened and disappointed by the delay announced so close to the expected Beatification.

The nine-day novena will start on December 12th, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe and include daily meditations on reflections from Fulton Sheen.  The novena is available in English and Spanish and will be carried on several Catholic television networks as well as social media sites.

Bishop Jenky asks the many supporters of Archbishop Sheen to give themselves over to prayer, which is always the best way to support the Cause.  Together, we seek God’s will in the ultimate judgment of the Apostolic See.

Vigil for Bishop Paul D. Sirba

Bishop Peter Christensen of the diocese of Boise, Idaho, delivered this homily at evening prayer during the wake service for Bishop Paul Sirba of the diocese of Duluth, Minnesota.

 

The following song was sung by the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus at the wake service for Bishop Sirba. It had been sung originally during his ordination as bishop of Duluth on December 14, 2009, the feast day of Saint John of the Cross.

 

From the website of the diocese of Duluth:

We anticipate that many mourners, both from the Diocese of Duluth and from outside of our diocese, will wish to attend our beloved Bishop Paul Sirba’s funeral Friday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that the resulting crowd may well far exceed the available seating at the Cathedral. Therefore we are grateful to announce that WDIO-TV has graciously offered to have the liturgy livestreamed on the Internet, making it accessible to all across the region and beyond who wish to see it.

The stream will be available on WDIO.com.

We hope this will enable as many people as possible to be united in prayer for the repose of Bishop Sirba’s soul and for his family and our local church and all who mourn.

As a reminder: Public vigil for Bishop Sirba will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral, which is another opportunity to say goodbye and pray for him. The vigil will then resume at 8 a.m. Friday morning and continue until the 11 a.m. funeral Mass.

the virtue of hope

SpeSalviLately I’ve been thinking about hope: in particular, hope as a theological virtue. Given all of the sexual, financial and theological scandal in the Church in recent months, and all of the political scandal in the culture, many of the temptations I face today are temptations against hope. The recent popularity of the movie Joker, for example, impressed me as a troubling bellwether of a climate of despair. And in the Church, even in quarters in which the virtue of faith seems evident, often a corresponding hope is not manifest. Sins against charity are usually easy to spot, but sins against hope tend to be more subtle. The days are dark, and the temptations to let the light of hope be extinguished are legion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines hope (and defects of hope) as follows:

2090 When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending God’s love and of incurring punishment.

2091 The first commandment is also concerned with sins against hope, namely, despair and presumption:

By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his sins. Despair is contrary to God’s goodness, to his justice – for the Lord is faithful to his promises – and to his mercy

2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit).

In order to explore the topic of hope more deeply, in the coming weeks I’ll be returning to meditate on Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi (“Saved in Hope”), which was released on November 30, 2007.

In 2008, I hosted three evenings of discussion of Spe Salvi. All three discussions were audio recorded and edited (roughly!) and are available as audio podcasts:

  • Spe Salvi, paragraphs 1-12: Introduction; Faith is Hope; The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; Eternal life – what is it?
  • Spe Salvi, paragraphs 13-31: Is Christian hope individualistic?; The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; The true shape of Christian hope
  • Spe Salvi, paragraphs 32-50: “Settings” for learning and practising hope: Prayer as a school of hope; Action and suffering as settings for learning hope; Judgment as a setting for learning and practicing hope; Mary, Star of Hope