Isaiah We need to understand why we ought to say these four prayers, in what sense these are a constant reminder, a precise indication of the journey to carry out because of the Consecration we have made. They begin with the invitation to listen and to welcome the word of God which is written for us as a fundamental law of perfect love. They end with the proclamation of the Beatitudes which spring from the fulfilling of the law as it comes to be through the Christian life: at the end of the journey of our present life peace awaits us, the joy of God, which is Paradise. The four prayers follow the sequence in which the right places are placed in terms of this journey: we recall that the distance between us and God is infinite; yet, there is no journey except what God has established, joining us through the Incarnation, and this is the same road which we must take to him.
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Isaiah We need to understand why we ought to say these four prayers, in what sense these are a constant reminder, a precise indication of the journey to carry out because of the Consecration we have made. They begin with the invitation to listen and to welcome the word of God which is written for us as a fundamental law of perfect love.
They end with the proclamation of the Beatitudes which spring from the fulfilling of the law as it comes to be through the Christian life: at the end of the journey of our present life peace awaits us, the joy of God, which is Paradise. The four prayers follow the sequence in which the right places are placed in terms of this journey: we recall that the distance between us and God is infinite; yet, there is no journey except what God has established, joining us through the Incarnation, and this is the same road which we must take to him.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. You shall love your neighbour as yourself. These precepts I give to you this day, you shall fix in your heart, you shall repeat them to your sons and daughters, you shall speak of them when you are seated in your home, when you walk in the way, when you go to bed and when you get up.
You shall bind them to your hand as a sign, they shall be to you as a fringe about your eyes and you shall write them on the doorposts of your home and upon the gates of your city. Deuteronomy 6. The first prayer, Hear, O Israel, relates to obedience. And how can we learn it without being willing to listen with faith, humility, in silence, in contemplation. Our Lord, as a religious Jew, said this prayer every day, even three times a day; we only say it once at the beginning of the day.
God bows down to me to communicate his life to me. Perhaps we have not even once realized this mystery, this omnipotence of love! Given the impossibility of our giving to God total and continuous attention, this prayer at the beginning of each new day recalls us to that contemplation, to that attention which is never lazy for it involves all our powers: intelligence, memory, will, emotions, feelings.
Basically, the precepts the Lord repeats to us at the beginning of each day are one alone: you shall love your God and your neighbour. In the selection from Deuteronomy 6. This in fact Jesus did, as given in Matthew There should remain no empty space in our personal life and that in relation to others: all our life should be the realization of God in an exclusive love, so total that it consumes our life through him.
For us the precepts bound to the hand can indicate that our work should always turn to God in the activity of our mind, which is the greatest power we have. The precepts inserted on the doorposts - and precisely at the height of a man - serve to give all our social and political actions a decidedly religious direction. This chapter is taken from the addresses given at Brescia, January , Florence, 4 September From the Desert Fathers.
What prayer can be more true than the one which was profered by the mouth of the Son, who is the Truth? St Cyprian. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6. But it is also the prayer par excellence for each consecrated soul, to whom it shows how to achieve the divine will, and adds to that both for the beginner and for the one who has reached a certain perfection.
The identity of the form making exceptions for minimal variants witnesses to the fidelity of the tradition which next brought it to this Gospel. This prayer is so complete and inexhaustible that the Church has made it her own: in fact, it is recited once during Mass and twice during the Liturgy of the Hours at Lauds, Morning Prayer, and at Vespers, Evening Prayer and the Community also recommends it at the beginning of the day, immediately after Hear, O Israel.
But it is not enough to recite it: we must live it and that is much more difficult. After listening it is not enough that we ask God that he help us go out on the same street following him by his descending to us.
He speaks to us and gives us a law, but it would be presumptious on our part to believe that obedience to this divine law would be our work. The will which he manifests to us is God himself and God is love. It does not treat, therefore, of immediate action, but of prayer because through prayer all is granted and the realization of divine will is impossible without the grace which comes to be given to us to the measure that we pray. It would be a good practice to meditate on one each of the days of the week, because it is impossible to achieve this all at one time.
One could suggest a scheme for us with the practical translations of various themes, reminding ourselves that these are not drawn from one commentary alone: all the greatest Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints have written one; there is therefore an embarrasment of riches to choose from and who wishes can read more fully and in more detail.
Make it so that the holiness of God be truly seen through our life with which we ought to give witness to the holiness of God, holiness which ought to transform us if we wish our witness to be credible.
To us remains only accepting him whether within ourselves, righting the balance of our powers, disturbed by sin, or whether through our means, reshaping that unity through work, prayer and above all through suffering, the price to give for our salvation and for that of the whole world.
In fact, the Kingdom requires our presence not as single individuals, but as the Church and as a monastic Family. If we do not shape this holy kingdom how, we will no longer have a part in it, least of all after our deaths. Jolanda Pifferi. The words of the Our Father are of great simplicity and transparency, but also of infinite profundity.
The word of God turn to us, always considering our needs: body, soul and spirit; because bread nourishes the body, but is also the word of God which feeds the soul and readies it for receiving grace, spiritual life. Let us accept then as food for the soul all that is pleasing and displeasing during the day that he will give us.
The debt is not to be identified with the sin, but with its consequences. We can never repay adequately for an offense against divine justice requiring a reparation of infinite value. God alone can cancel our debt, because Jesus has paid for all. Like the Lord in the parable Matthew God permits trials and tribulations, contradictions, difficulties, humiliations which assail us from every side and which can do us great good if we can accept them as the means for purificaiton and of sanctification.
We cannot pretend to be saved while our earthly pilgrimage is being carried out, but we ought to await the necessary strength and grace from God to confront and transform these in deepening the spiritual life. The request is this: make it so that we are not overcome in the testing of our scanty faith and to free us from the evil which rules in the world in which we still remain.
The world can reveal and conceal God: the danger to us is of becoming closed up in things that attract by their beauty and which therefore cease to be the means for guiding us to him. From the address, Brescia, January Liturgy, Saturday, Second Week of Psalter. St Francis in found himself on the holy mountain of La Verna together with his favorite brother, Leo. Thus came about the thing requested, written in his hand, the Lauds of God and the words which he had in his spirit and at the end the blessing for the brother, and he said, "Take this little document and guard it with care until the day you die".
Brother Leo kept the miraculous writing until his death, which came about in , carrying it always about himself, then, as a sacred relic, it came to be treasured in the Basilica of St Francis, in Assisi, though it is now much faded and decayed.
But with the help of sophisticated scientific equipment at our disposal today, one can obtain a reading of the document that is much more faithful to the original. We first of all gain the impression of a collection of expressions, but the perfections and the attributes, all positive, with which Francis exalts and praises God, reveal the conscious knowledge he has of him.
The repetition of words can delude by their monotony: in reality the poverty of language witnesses to an inexpressible, incommunicable experience of God through pure concepts. His other writings are more or less legislative or exhortive; the Lauds instead are the gift he has made for Brother Leo - and to us his sons and daughters - of what he had most intimately: his prayer, his witnessing of his experience of God.
He puts it in the relation of love lived with God and he cannot give us a thing that is more precious than this communion of life. He then lived the pure praise of the angels and of the saints in heaven, joined to that pure transparency through which all of God was reflected in him: he praises God because God lives in him.
The soul, based in divine perfection, has no more need to ask for anything! You are strong, You are great, You are the Most High. You are Charity, Love, You are Knowledge. You are Humility, You are Patience.
You are Protector, You Guardian and Defender. You are Fortitude, You Relief. You our faith, You our hope. You are our great sweetness. You are our eternal life. Great and admirable Lord, almighty God, merciful Saviour. This prayer can be divided in two parts: the first as an introduction and the second giving us the testimony of the interior life of the one who prays. In the first part Francis contemplates God who lives, who works, God who in creation manifests all his greatness, all his power, his love.
God is above all that he has achieved. The true Lauds of God begin now with Francis drawing away somewhat from the created world, contemplates another creation: what God has fulfilled in his inmost being and the Lauds become therefore, now, more original, more authentically his and also more rich and more full. In fact, one praises God through what each one is and the praise of Fracis is the testimony of his life: he knows God not through what he is but through what God works in him. While remaining distinct from God, the saint loses in some way any consciousness of himself; he now longer sees himself, but God only, God who is his life eternal.
Charity is the active love of God which flows out from himself, overflowing infinitely into creation and comunicating itself to us. It is love, agape, free and provident and just for this end, that lifts the torpor of the mind, which, feeling itself loved without reason, remains suspended in a boundless admiration before the mystery that transcends it.
Such love sustains in us the desire, erotic love and is God himself who, making our response out of love, achieves our ascension to God, in a desire which impels us and consumes us without end to the complete destruction of self. It is an infinite desire, because even God, who is the object of our desire, is infinite. Thus, charity, the love of God is the overflowing of an infinite mercy into the abyss of creation; the love of God on our part is a desire, a passion which consumes.
That is the difference between the two terms used by St Francis. The wisdom in St Francis is God who makes himself known to us, is God in how much he is known. It is the taste of God. God cannot any more be the object of contemplation, but now fills us and transforms us and our life becomes simple and supreme sweetness.
Humility in Frances - and here is a great novelty, a marvellous discovery - it is the same revelation of love. God is love and love cannot but be humble. God loves us with the greatest discretion, staying to one side, half hidden. The greatest miracle is that all remains common and ordinary in our lives, even when he pervades all. Enough to consider the sacred elements of the Eucharist! He loves us and we cannot even recognize this, ourselves forgetting him, remaining indifferent to his love.
He lets us live our lives as if nothing were happening, with a timid love.
Tag: Don Divo Barsotti
We know only a little about her. What we do know is because of a book she has left us, The Showing of Love. She lived thus for decades in solitude, in silent contemplation, in humility and in profound joy. Julian could have had a certain amount of learning, but that culture would not have been gained through education, apart from that in a convent.
Divo Barsotti, un prophète pour l'Eglise d'aujourd'hui