Some thoughts arising from the CaFE course on Saints which tell us something about Catholicism
St Francis of Assisi: Living the Gospel
For Francis living the Gospel was simple – be as Christ-like as you can. So how is this possible in today’s world?
- Put Christ and the Eucharist first
- See God in all whom we meet, see them as brothers and sisters
- Respond to the call of God to the service of others, especially the poor
- Be obedient to God and, as Francis was, to the Church
- Let your life be characterised by humility
- Live a life of poverty – you can be wealthy while being poor in spirit – try to live with the minimum necessary rather than the maximum you can afford
- Respect creation, the environment both human and physical
What is holiness?
Benedictine view: Holiness is the process by which we integrate the
loose threads of our life into a whole tapestry of beauty and divine
grace. This is a creative task for the entirety of our lives. To become
whole in God means aligning our lives with God through such things as
seeing the world and ourselves through God’s eyes; forgiving others even
when the pain of hurt and betrayal sticks in the throat like hard, dry
clay; not judging others even when their behaviour makes our heartbeat
quicken and our breath shorten; having the courage to face evil and
overcome its power with the goodness that is foolhardy in the eyes of
the world; staying in the place of unconditional love even when love
seems imprudent and so difficult as to make us want to run away.
It means in this sense being the person God wants us to be
Catherine of Siena: Holiness is knowing who Jesus is and who I am –
recognising that I am nothing in myself but everything with Christ. With
him all is possible – if you were what you should be you would set the
Holiness is being who you are, who you are supposed to be whether a mother, a father, a humble member of the parish. Who did Christ call you to be? Every single creature is created by God in love and we want everyone to love Christ. We have to preach this love of God with every thought, every action, every movement – God loves so we should love.
Ignatian spiritual exercises
4 period process
- Stage 1 become aware of your own sinfulness and be aware that you are loved by God
2 reflect more on the life of Christ. What does it mean for you?
Reflect on a passage and your own relationship with it and engage with a
dialogue with the people in the story. The purpose is to enter into the
mystery of God, the God that Jesus reveals.
3 enter into the passion and death of Jesus. Explore your own sense of
loss and death and what we have to let go in our lives.
- Stage 4 enter into an experience of resurrection, the Pauline understanding that life always follows death. Read the last chapters of the Gospels on the risen Jesus and consider what they mean for us. God wants a personal relationship with each of us. Reflection on what God wants us to be. Recognise that God is there in every encounter we have.
Listen to yourself – stop your normal practices of the faith and listen to yourself. Take 5 mins of silence a day and let God be God.
St Therese of Lisieux: The Little Way
The only way I have of proving my love is to strew flowers before Thee--that is to say, I will let no tiny sacrifice pass, no look, no word. I wish to profit by the smallest actions, and to do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love's sake, and for Love's sake even to rejoice: thus shall I strew flowers.
The only way to advance rapidly in the path of love is to remain always very little.