Luis Beltrán: Truly Seek Prayer, a Place of Retreat and Solitude Monday, Oct 14 2013 

Louis_BertrandOctober 9th was the feast of St Luis Beltrán (1526–1581).

“From the desert you should go forth as a good preacher.”

The Holy Spirit kept John in the desert, lest he see or come to know Christ, because of the importance of the testimony that he would give later concerning him.

John testified that he had never seen Christ until the moment that he saw the dove descending upon his head in the Jordan River.

I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

That was the place where the voice of the Father was heard speaking about the Son.

There the Holy Spirit adorned him with such great virtues – humility, meekness, and all the rest – that he came forth from the desert changed into that salt which would save the human race from corruption,

changed into that light which would illumine the blind, changed into a fortified city where the holy and virtuous would find refuge.

This is the high office of a preacher, and from this it is clear that it demands such a preparation.

Why should you wonder, brother, that your teaching does not bring forth fruit, when you come to preach not from the desert but from the confused tumult of your own soul, not from the vicinity of virtue but of pride?

From the desert you should go forth as a good preacher. If Christ our Lord spent the whole night in prayer to send out his disciples to preach and to have their preaching bear fruit, what can a preacher accomplish without devotion?

If you do not come from the desert, your preaching will not bear fruit. And because you have the voice of Jacob but the hands of Esau, concern yourselves with being effective preachers.

Truly seek prayer, a place of retreat and solitude, otherwise you can never attain the reward of good preachers.

God called John to be a preacher and this was a great penance for him, for every state of life demands a certain amount of penance, if it is received from the hand of God.

It is for God to place you upon that cross on which you ought to serve God.

Truly it is not up to you to choose that cross, because although you may choose a heavier cross, you might not be saved by it since God has not placed you upon it.

Luis Beltrán, (1526–1581) from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers, feast of St Luis Beltrán, October 9th.

Julian of Norwich: The Humility of a Sinful Soul is a Lovely Thing Tuesday, Oct 16 2012 

Our good Lord showed me the enmity of the fiend, from which I gathered that everything opposed to love and peace comes from the fiend and his set.

Inevitably we fall because of our weakness and stupidity – and just as surely we get up with even greater joy because of the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit.

Even if our enemy gains something from us when we fall (this is what he likes!), he loses very much more because of our love and humility when we get up again.

This glorious rising up gives him such sorrow and pain (he hates our soul so much) that he burns and burns with envy.

[…] The remedy is to be aware of our wretchedness, and to fly to our Lord. The greater our need, the more important it is to draw near to him.

Let our meaning be, ‘I am well aware that my suffering is deserved. Our Lord is almighty, and may punish me mightily; he is all-wise, and can punish me wisely; and he is all-good, and loves me most tenderly.’

And with the sight of this we have got to stay. The humility of a sinful soul is a lovely thing, and is a work of the Spirit’s mercy and grace, when we consciously and gladly accept the scourge and punishment given by our Lord himself.

It even becomes gentle and bearable when we are really content with him and with what he does.

[…] This was shown, with particular and loving emphasis, that we are to accept and endure humbly whatever penance God himself gives us, with his blessed passion ever in mind.

[…] Our Lord is with us, protecting us and leading us into fullness of joy. For it is an unending source of joy to us that our Lord should intend that he, our protector here, is to be our bliss there – our way and our heaven is true love and sure trust!

This is the message of all the revelations, and particularly in that of his passion where he made me wholeheartedly choose him to be my heaven.

Flee to our Lord, and we shall be strengthened. Touch him, and we shall be cleansed. Cling to him, and we shall be safe and sound from every danger.

For it is the will of our courteous Lord that we should be as much at home with him as heart may think or soul desire.

But we must be careful not to accept this privilege so casually that we forget our own courtesy.

For our Lord himself is supremely friendly, and he is as courteous as he is friendly: he is very courteous.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, 77, 6); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of Week 28 in Ordinary Time, Year 2

Nicholas Wiseman: He Came Down from Heaven as Our Divine Physician Saturday, Aug 13 2011 

Reflect how unreasonable it would be for a man, grievously sick, to send for a physician, and express his eager desire to be restored to health, and kept in it, and yet obstinately to resist every measure proposed, and refuse to take such remedies as the physician had been at the pains to prepare for him with his own hands.

[…] Precisely such, or worse, is our conduct as regards our sanctification, if we neglect to use frequently and well the sacraments which Jesus Christ has left us for that end.

He came down from heaven as our Divine physician; He knows all our weaknesses, sores, and ailments;  He has studied our case most minutely, and through His own painful experience;  He has made up for us sovereign remedies, in which His own Blood is the principal ingredient.

These remedies He offers to us in the sacrament of Penance.

Can we indeed be said to dislike and lament our state of illness, or to desire seriously our recovery, so long as we neglect to apply to that means of cure?

Further, our Lord has laid up in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood a rich and inexhaustible store of blessings and graces, pledges and instruments of eternal life.

Can we be said to desire earnestly the sanctification they are designed to bestow, if we are slothful, negligent, or cold in the use of that adorable institution to which they are attached?

Such, then, are the sacraments left by our Lord for the sanctification of His followers; and they are precisely such as are best adapted for the purpose.

For, first, the great impediment to our sanctification is our constant frailty, which by daily and hourly falls prevents the grace of God from fully possessing our souls, and reigning therein sovereign and supreme.

What could we hope for, unless God, in His mercy, had prepared for us a saving remedy, accessible to us as often as we need it; wherein our offences are forgiven, and their consequences repaired in our souls?

But besides this repeated diminution of strength by accidents, there is a constant evaporation and wearing out of our vigour, by our contact with the world, by the action of our passions and earthly desires, and by the very inertness of our mortal natures, which cannot long together keep steadily to what is good.

[…] God…hath given us a strengthening bread, a succulent nourishment, which confirms and consolidates the spiritual man, and pours new vigour into his soul, and restores all its wasted energy.

How then can we hope spiritually to live that is, to be in a state of grace or sanctification if we have not frequent recourse to this banquet, ever spread for us, in which grace and holiness ever dwell?

Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman (1802–1865): Daily Meditations, pp. 301-302.