surviving the great hours of our life

We cannot assert that someone who is well behaved, devout, and virtuous in ordinary life, is also already certain of surviving the great situations where it is a question of life or death. The grace of such endurance is a grace that no one can merit by good behavior in ordinary life. But ordinary life is indeed the way in which we must remain ready for the decisive situations; it can be the way in which God wants to give us the very grace—which we cannot demand—of surviving the great hours of our life. We must be faithful in little things in order to be permitted to hope that God in his grace will also send us faithfulness in great things. – Karl Rahner, Words of Faith

accept whatever befalls

Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in [God], and [God] will direct your way;
keep [God’s] fear and grow old therein.
– Sirach 2:4-6

love your enemies

Especially difficult gospel reading given the shameful, heartless actions of our president.

Saint Matthew 5:43-48.
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

on Merton’s birthday

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But life is a gift I am glad of, and I do not curse the day when I was born. On the contrary, if I had never been born I would never have had friends to love and be loved by, never have made mistakes to learn from, never have seen new countries, and, as for what I may have suffered, it is inconsequential and indeed part of the great good which life has been and will, I hope, continue to be. – Thomas Merton journal entry, January 31, 1960

Looking for the key to the room of celebration

Christ came and declared a wedding feast, a celebration, at the very center of life. They crucified him not for being too ascetical, but because he told us that we might enjoy life. He told us that life will give us more goodness and enjoyment than we can stand, if we can learn to receive it without fear. But we are still in exile, without wedding garments, looking for the key to the room of celebration. Perhaps we need to be just a bit more earnest and sincere when we say the words, “your kingdom come!” – Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing