Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just a Peak - A Child's Faith

Yesterday, a child pressed himself to the lower part of the cloudy glass door of the Adoration Chapel peering inside- perhaps he just wanted a peak at Jesus.

2,000 years ago that child would have seen more or less the same thing physically: Visible matter, whether in human form or bread form.  Neither in themselves really reveal what - or rather Who - is really inside.   The eyes can only see so far.

Though with the sight of the spirit - what we call faith - we, along with that child, can discern the unseen God hidden under the physical and the visual; the Invisible underneath the visible. 

Christ's physical body is the vehicle, the corridor, through which faith can arrive at His invisible Divinity because the Divinity permeats and is one with that bodily nature. 
The bread? It merely makes invisible what had previously already kept the Divinity invisible - His body.  So the bread hides the body which hides the Divinity.  Hidden, yes, but through faith we know: "There! There He is!"  Hidden but not unknown.

2,000 years ago men and women saw His body but many did not acknowledge the Person inside. Today, why would Christ again make Himself visible if so few even really want to know Who He is in the first place? He hides Himself out of mercy so that only those Who want to see His Person can while those who don't won't.

He can be seen now only by those who truly desire to see Who is inside - the child, pressed up against the cloudy glass just to have a peak at Who is inside:


"For now we see as through a glass darkly." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

"Amen, I say to you unless you turn abd become like children you will never enter (see) the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

Why? Because you wouldn't even want to be there - much less see it - unless you were a child.

"But to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God , to those who believe in His Name." (John 1:12)

"Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water." (Revelation 22:17)

Do you know how thirsty you are? Have you ever prayed for God to reveal to you the true depths of your thirst, your emptiness, your longing for more? As children let us never settle for "enough."  Let our anthem to our Heavenly Father resound, "More please!"

More than just a peak.

I want more of You, Jesus.

More, please.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Open the Door!...Please? Getting EXCITED about Advent (Quietly)

So imagine Jesus comes to pay you a visit

Expecting His knock at the door you begin to panic

Then He approaches, He knocks...

You don't answer.

So He waits...and waits...

and waits.

Why is it so hard sometimes to let the Lord into our lives, our hearts?

Why do we make God wait? Why do we keep Him locked out?

God - if He is not already on the inside of our hearts - will occasionally knock

He'll occasionally call out to us through the closed door, "Can I come in, please?"

But He's greeted with silence.

Silence is dangerous.  Silence is like a vacuum which longs to be filled.  That vacuum can be filled with the same old lies we cling to which have come to us from others, it can be filled with our own thoughts and imaginings (Heaven forbid we be full of ourselvds!) or it can be filled with the truth - God can speak into our silence.

Whose voice do you tend to listen to? What do you believe about yourself, your life, the world, religion, humanity's destiny etc.?  What fills the silence in you?

We all, after all, have to learn the truth.  A student needs to receive his lesson from the teacher and, in order to do that, he must remain silent while the teacher speaks.  The student could, of course, choose not to listen thus filling his own silence with his own thoughts.  That's dangerous if the truth is trying to be communicated.

In our world we are very wary of teachers.  We hesitate to give ourselves over totally, we hold back, we're not sure if we can trust everything we're told.  That can be appropriate sometimes with other human beings.  We do need to filter and evaluate what we're told from time to time because we can't be naive and ought not believe everything we hear.

But that can be so tiring in the spiritual life. Yes, we need to be on guard spiritually since not all spiritual insights that come to us are from God.  Sometimes religious teachers "get it wrong" or well meaning friends can be in error on something.  So where can we turn for sound, infallible truth about the most important (and frankly, most interesting) questions in life?

Is there anyone (or anything) which we can allow into the door of our hearts and simply drink in what we are told?  Sounds dangerous - I know - especially since many of us have often before been burned and we're tired of putting out the painful flames.

Isn't there anyone that we can allow access to the deepest parts of our hearts in order to learn the truth? Well, judging from the title of my post and the first few lines I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this.

But you'll have to wait for part II where we'll discuss more deeply how we can let God into our lives; even into the darkest, deepest, most silent corners of our hearts.

It is into that silence which Christ wants to descend.  The Word stands outside our doors anticipating to echo His truth and love through the halls of our hearts. 

 We are, after all, approaching Advent which is a season of waiting, of patient expectation.  We remain in joyful hope of Christ's coming in a new way into our lives.

Maybe this year we'll finally open the door to the Lord once and for all.

That is, I think, Jesus' joyful hope at least.

(to be continued...)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beautiful Churches, Camels, and the Poor.

These kids are so happy 

because they're riding CAMELS


Come on! How awesome is that? 

I think this was the first time I've ever seen a camel before (unless I've seen one in a zoo before but I don't remember.)

This picture above was taken outside of our window.  The locals were having a festival.  They know how to throw a party because there were camels there.

Tents were set up around town selling goodies.  Games and rides were strewn about. The merry-go-round looked fun.

And there were camels.

Here's some pictures of the inside of the Basilica.

Note the lack of camels.  Camels don't belong in Church.

They sure don't make 'em like they used to. Churches I mean.

There is a poor woman who sits and begs just inside the entrance of the Church with her little dog. (Dogs are allowed inside the entryway but not camels.)  Her name is Jaqueyln.  There is another man who often comes around asking for money for his next meal.

I'm glad they have a beautiful Church like this to pray in if they want to.

It's available if they want it.  It's like God - always available if anyone wants Him.

Because, after all, this Church belongs just as much to the poor as it does to anyone else.

They have a beautiful place to go and pray.   That, to me, is beautiful.

They are poor, yes.  I don't know why.  I don't know why they have to beg for their next meal from people they don't know.  

Sometimes people say the Catholic Church should sell beautiful Churches like this or sell the beautiful artwork inside and give the proceeds to the poor.

I think that would be stealing from the poor. The poor also have a spiritual hunger (as everyone does) which beauty helps alleviate because beauty lifts the mind up, like those high Church ceilings, to God.  

This Church/Basilica belongs just as much to the poor as to the rich; perhaps even more so.  The poor need beautiful places to go especially since they don't have a beautiful family to welcome them and a beautiful house to go home to like so many other people.

So I say we allow magnificent Churches to remain where they are - on hills where their glory and beauty can give light to all; especially for those most in need... if they want it.

God, help us to want it.

But keep the camels out.  Camels don't need beautiful Churches.


Monday, November 18, 2013

He is THERE! He IS there! HE is there!

Pointing to the tabernacle where Jesus in the Eucharist reposed, Pere Jean Vianney exclaimed:

"He is THERE!
He IS there!
HE is there!"

Descending the pulpit the Cure of Ars has made his point in perhaps 
the world's shortest sermon.

(I tend to listen to people whose bodies are still incorrupt after hundreds of years.  They probably knew what they were talking about...just sayin')

"He is there!"

Jesus - God Who became man, the Savior, the Lord - is there in the Eucharist.

Here's a link to a video on Eucharistic Adoration.  It's part of a new series called 
"From the Visible to the Invisible."

The young Eucharistic martyr certainly would agree with St. John Vianney:

"He is there!"

May this post, like St. John Vianney during his sermon, point you to Jesus in the Eucharist.

"He is there!"


(I had difficulties embedding the video into my post but would love some comments on what people think of the video, the stories/testimonies, etc.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Part II: Just Buyin' Time - The Other Side of the "Widow's Mite" Coin

"Dear Matt, who are these people and why is their picture on your blog?"
-Sincerely, Your typical blog reader


An excellent question and a perfect lead in to my topic for today.
Mah-wijh is waht bwings us togeva tooday

(If you've not seen the movie "The Princess Bride" then you probably think I have A.) I have a terrible spelling problem B.) I've been looking at too many "lolkatz" or C.) I've completely lost it

"A" is not the case (I loved spelling in grade school!)
"B" is also not true (though lolkatz are one of my favorite things)
"C"...maybe least some days

MAH-WIJH! (i.e. Marriage) is a beautiful thing.
But it's not for everybody.

It was, though, for those two people pictured above. The very devoutly Catholic Duke of Luxemburg and his bride chose to get married here at the Basilica of St. Mary Magdalene (St. Maximin, France.)  In fact, one of them has a degree (or is pursuing now, I can't remember) a degree in Catholic bioethics! Wow.  They got married a couple weeks before I first arrived here so I couldn't attend the wedding. 

"But that's not the point of your post, Matt!'


MAH-WIJH is a beautiful thing.
But it's not for everybody.  Some are called to consecrate their whole lives to God.

"Matt, that's crazy!"

Yes.  By the world's standards, that is crazy.

To believe God became a human being in Jesus Christ.
To believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
To believe Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist; in every tabernacle 
within every Catholic Church.
To believe everything Jesus Christ has revealed to the world through the Bible and the Apostolic Tradition of His Church.
To believe the Catholic Church is - simply put - the oracle of God in the world.

Yes.  By the world's standards, that is crazy.

But to become a Saint I think you have to be a little crazy.  Only someone mad with love becomes a Saint

The souls that totally consecrate themselves to Jesus are out of their minds with love.
They want, no, they need to be near Him - like Mary Magdalene needed to be near Him.

Even to the point of going to be with Him at the Cross.

"Where He is I want to be." That is the Magdalene motto, the philosophy of a consecrated, Eucharistic soul.

Jesus is in the Eucharist.
So they want to sit at His feet there
As much as possible

The Widow from the gospel passage I quoted in my last post gave from her poverty.  The busy Catholic lay person, the married person, those who are very active - when they give an hour to Jesus in the Eucharist weekly, even daily - they give a LOT because they give from the poverty of their time.  They have their many duties and so they do not have much spare time just like the poor widow did not have much spare money.  But when they give all that they can spare to the Lord they often are giving more than those of great wealth - whether that wealth is measured in terms of their finances or their free time.

Do you follow me so far? The poor widow and the busy Catholic give a lot when they give what little they can spare - whether what they give is money or time because it's from their poverty.

But some people are rich.  Rich in money, rich in time.

The souls who feel called to consecrate their whole lives to Christ are called to become very wealthy spiritually.  They are given an abundance of time.  

They inherit a great wealth of time.  They choose to renounce marriage, they choose to live a contemplative life to - all so as to pursue the "one thing necessary."

Again, like Mary Magdalene.

They trade the world's goods (money for example) and natural goods (like marriage) so as to buy a tremendous amount of time.

The consecrated, Eucharistic soul sells all that it has to buy time - time with Jesus in 
the Eucharist.
The Pearl of Great Price.

Do you feel called to buy time with Jesus?
He'll give you eternity in exchange.
What would you sell in exchange for constantly being with Him? To get that Pearl?
The rich young man from another Gospel passage went away sad because he couldn't bring Himself to sell all that he had (for he was very rich in worldly goods) in order to follow the Lord.

Don't come to the end and go away from this life sad wishing that you had sold everything to buy all the time in the world to be with Jesus.

When St. Margaret Mary (the Saint to whom Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart) asked Jesus what in her most displeased Him, Jesus responded that it was her inattentiveness to His real presence in the Eucharist.  He said that in the Eucharist He thirsts to be loved.  That is where He said His Sacred Heart thirsts to receive mankind's love - in the Eucharist.

Do not go away from this life regretting decisions not to pay a visit to Christ in the local adoration chapel, or to stay 15 minutes after Mass to abide with Him in Holy Communion, or to arrive 15 minutes before Mass to prepare for the feast.  Don't come to the end of your life having never tried to eradicate Jesus' greatest displeasure from your soul - inattentiveness to His real presence in the Eucharist.

He is there.  Buy time wherever you can in your life, trade what you are able to and 
with that time go to Him!
He waits for you. 
Just for you.
He thirsts for your love.
Only you can quench His thirst for your particular love.
No one else can console Him like you can.

We must not torment Jesus anymore! We must reciprocate His love.  He burns to have the consolation of your real presence in front of Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

Buy as much time as you can.  Pour out your life like sweet smelling oil at His feet. Anoint Christ's Eucharistic presence with all of your life - with all of your time.

If you give Him all of your time He'll give you all of His eternity.

O sweet exchange!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Mitey Widow

Do you remember the story of the Widow's Mite?

Mite means a very small contribution

It might be all you have to give

If so, mite makes right.

When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."
Luke 21:1-4

Perhaps you feel that what you give to God

Just isn't enough

Perhaps you think

That it just doesn't measure up

I want to encourage you

God wants your mite

Not your might

He wants you to give from your poverty

Not from the abundance of your strength

Will you give one hour to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?

Will you keep watch and keep Him company?

"Could you not watch one hour with Me?" -Matthew 26:40

At least one hour?

He is, after all, setting the minimum.  

The mite.

Can you who live in the world

Who work at your job

Who take care of your kids

Who are busy with so many good things that you have no


Can you give Jesus the mite of your time?

One hour?

I think that those busy about the Lord's work

Busy about their God-given duties

Actually give God much more than they know

Because they give from their poverty

He waits for your mite

He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Eye See You! - Fruitful Faith

Why is this Polish seminarian holding two little oranges up to his eyes?


Well, because I asked him to.


Faith is fruitful!

Is your faith producing fruit in your life?

What fruit should we expect to come from faith? I think we have an ideal model in the one who is "most blessed among women" - Mary, the Mother of Christ.

Once when Jesus was out preaching a woman called out from the crowd to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!" Jesus responded (perhaps after a brief pause coupled with a smile,) "Rather (the Greek could also translate "also") blessed is the one who hears the Word of God and obeys it!" (Luke 11:27-28)

Jesus, fully aware of the fact that His Mother is "most blessed among women," (Luke 1:42) highlights the higher grace - the grace which led to her being His Mother in the first place - Mary's faith.

Mary's faith was fruitful. Her unconditional "Yes" to God in faith led to a reception of God's Word in such a total way that God's Word became incarnate in her womb.  Her faith was so fruitful that she became the Tree of Life and bore the most blessed fruit possible - the incarnate Son of God, the Savior.  "Blessed are you among women" and "Blessed is the fruit of your womb"


Faith lets one see as far as God sees. Faith doesn't block God's "vision" for our lives. Faith always say yes to God.

Mary's faith allowed enough room for God - in His fullness - the enter into her very body.  He Whom Heaven and Earth cannot contain willed to enter His creation first through the faithful and fruitful heart of an Immaculate Virgin, whose vision was unsullied by the world's way of seeing and whose soul only ever received God's Word. As an aside, THAT'S why she's an Immaculate Virgin- she only knew God's pure Word. She knew not sinful man, nor the sinful world, nor the author of sin - the Devil and his lies.  Her virginal soul, a "garden enclosed" (see the Song of Songs) admitted only God and His truth, His Word.  "You are all beautiful, my love, and there is no flaw in you." (Song of Songs 4:7)

Her faith was fruitful because within her heart she made room for the seed of God's Word and this Divine Truth was born of her as a fruit is borne of a tree.  Because she is the Spouse of God the Holy Spirit she becomes Mother of God the Son.  

If you gave yourself over to God completely imagine what He could do through you.

"If you are what you should be you will set the world on fire." - St. Catherine of Siena

Mary, our Mother, sets us an example and teaches us her children how to be a Christian, how to be God's beloved daughter or son.  She also shows us what happens when we finally and completely say "Yes!" to God.  

"Let it be done to me according to your word."(Mary's words in Luke 1:38)

Where in your heart does God not have access to? What door do you still need to open for Him? Believe, make room in the "Inn" of your heart for Christ to be born anew - Don't turn Him away as the Inkeeper of Bethlehem. "There was no room in the Inn."

But a Marian soul is different - a Marian soul means "room for God alone."

Become like your Heavenly Mother ("Behold, your Mother" John 19:27) and "prepare the way of the Lord."

"I mean to stay at your house today!" (Luke 19:6)


Monday, November 4, 2013

There can be nothing greater than that

We had a pretty darn good time.

We shared a meal.

We laughed.

We didn't cry though... Well, that's not exactly true.

Mother Myriam is known for crying when she starts talking about God.

She loves Him so...

A couple weeks ago during a visit from Mother Myriam's (Rosalind Moss, a Jewish convert) new community (The Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Hope of Israel) we here in St. Maximin were blessed to hear words similar to the following from a tearful spiritual Mother terribly in love with God:

"Do you understand the implications of that statement?? GOD... became a MAN! If you don't realize that there can be nothing greater than that then you don't know what that statement means." 

GOD...became a MAN!
There can be nothing greater than that.

The Christian challenge to the world has always been that
the greatest possible thing that could have happened has happened

GOD...became a MAN!

I would say that if that realization hasn't radically changed our lives then we have, in fact, not really realized it at all.



a man.


Your move.