Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
One of the things that I really like about Saint Therese's little way is the resolve to smile, especially when encountered with a grumpy cashier person, a solemn librarian with a face of stone, or just someone who looks like they're having a bad day. Have you ever tried giving them just the tiniest, straight from the heart, joyful little smile? Trust me, it works, and it is soooooo much fun!! ^^ The grumpy cashier person gets all confused that you're thanking him in spite of his nonchalance, the solemn librarian's mouth starts to twitch about the edges ever so slightly at your bubbly enthusiasm for books, and the poor victim of that bad day quite stares at you as if you've gone mad (And guess what? They copy you in the end! Yes, everyone's gone quite mad. Score 1 for God!! XD).
It all starts with a little assignment my Little Way teacher once gave me and my friends:
"Yeah, Cy, it's all well and good when you're at the top of the world, but what if you just can't seem to put one foot in front of the other?"
Those days come. When I think of the martyrs who went to their often-horrific deaths with a radiant smile, I am like Saint Therese and feel like a pebble staring up at a mountain. I've got my own Cross to carry, and it's heavy enough without trying to help carry someone else's! Yeah, well, there was someone who pretty much had the same thought. And it just so happens that I'm named after him: Simon of Cyrene.
When you can't seem to compliment that grumpy cashier person because you're every bit as grumpy as he is, remember that time when Jesus was surrounded by those who shouted for His death on the Cross. When you can't seem to break the stoniness of your own heart and find the joy to share with that old librarian, remember the stoniness of the soldiers' hearts when they scourged Jesus and forced Him to carry the Cross. When you're having a bad day and can't find the strength to smile a ray of light for the person next to you, remember the day that Jesus had that Good Friday so long ago. And if not for the sake of the person next to you, for the sake of giving comfort to our Lord when all others had abandoned Him.
What would you do if you saw the suffering Christ in them?
Now I pass on to you the same assignment that I was given (see above picture). It's really nothing new, in fact, we hear it all the time. It can be summed up in two very simple parts:
1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind..."
2. "...and love your neighbor as yourself."
The easiest way to start? Start with a smile.
Have a very blessed Holy Week, friends, and may God give you the strength to carry your Cross so to be able to rise with Him on Easter morning.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
One of my favorite paintings is Rembrandt's Christ in the Storm in the Sea of Galilee. Whenever my boat is tossed about, I remember a homily that I once heard: Christ is sleeping at the stern, the part of the boat that sinks first. He watches over us even in His 'sleep'.
You are out to sea and a storm brews up. You can't do anything except call out: "Lord, save me!" (Mt 14,30). May he who walks fearlessly over the waves stretch out his hand, may he relieve you of your fear, may he set your confidence in him, may he speak to your heart, saying to you: "Think of what I have borne. Do you have something to bear from a false brother or from enemies outside? Didn't I have mine, too? Those who gnashed their teeth outside; the disciple who betrayed me inside." True enough, the storm is raging. But Christ saves us from "smallness of soul and the tempest" (Ps 55,9 LXX).
Is your boat tossed about? Perhaps it is because Christ is asleep in you. The boat in which the disciples were sailing was being tossed by a raging sea and yet Christ was sleeping. But in time these men realized at last that they had the lord and creator of the wind with them. They drew near to Christ and woke him: Christ commanded the wind and there was a great calm. Your heart is very rightly troubled if you have forgotten him in whom you have believed. And your anguish becomes unbearable when all that Christ suffered for you remains far from your mind. If you don't think of Christ, he sleeps. Wake Christ; call on your faith. For Christ sleeps in you if you have forgotten his Passion; and if you remember his Passion, then Christ awakes in you. When, with all your heart, you have reflected over what Christ suffered, won't you bear your trials steadfastly in your turn? And maybe with joy you will find yourself a little more like your King through your suffering.
Yes indeed, when these thoughts start to comfort you and give you joy, then know that Christ has stood up and commanded the wind; from this comes to pass the calm within you. As one of the Psalms says: "I was awaiting the one who would save me from smallness of soul and the tempest". ~ Saint Augustine