Monthly Archives: April 2017

Sayings of Light and Love

O my God and my delight, for your love I have also desired to give my soul to composing these sayings of light and love concerning you. Since, although I can express them in words, I do not have the works and virtues they imply (which is what pleases you, O my Lord, more than the words and wisdom they contain), may others, perhaps stirred by them, go forward in your service and love — in which I am wanting. I will thereby find consolation, that these sayings be an occasion for your finding in others the things that I lack. Lord, you love discretion, you love light, you love love; these three you love above the other operations of the soul. Hence these will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, of light for the way, and of love in the wayfaring. May there be nothing of worldly rhetoric in them or the long-winded and dry eloquence of weak and artificial human wisdom, which never pleases you. Let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love that do indeed please you, removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error — poor souls who think they are right in what concerns the following of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, imitating his life, actions, and virtues, and the form of his nakedness and purity of spirit. Father of mercies, come to our aid, for without you, Lord, we can do nothing.


The traits of the solitary bird are five: first, it seeks the highest place; second, it withstands no company; third, it holds its beak in the air; fourth, it has no definite color; fifth, it sings sweetly. These traits must be possessed by the contemplative soul. It must rise above passing things, paying no more heed to them than if they did not exist. It must likewise be so fond of silence and solitude that it does not tolerate the company of another creature. It must hold its beak in the air of the Holy Spirit, responding to his inspirations, that by so doing it may become worthy of his company. It must have no definite color, desiring to do nothing definite other than the will of God. It must sing sweetly in the contemplation and love of its Bridegroom.


Perfection does not lie in the virtues that the soul knows it has, but in the virtues that our Lord sees in it. This is a closed book; hence one has no reason for presumption, but must remain prostrate on the ground with respect to self.

St John of the Cross


St Dominic early morning Holy Hour

The maturity of this communal prayer supplied during the St Dominic Holy Hour soothes with the profound.  At first, I was turned off, due to the simplification of speculating upon an exchange between God the Father and God the Son.  I am convinced Divine Communication must not be lowered down to human understanding.  The danger of reducing Jesus’ method of prayer down to a relatable human level, making Jesus just like all other humans, put me in a defensive mind state.  I am convinced Jesus’ spirituality must be praised in mystery.  Yet hearing the entirety of the prayer verbally read aloud, my heart and mind opened to the message, appeased by the serious humble message.

Reflection.  Jesus prays.  Jesus spends a whole night in prayer with His Father.  No doubt they discussed who should be among the apostles.  They went through the options one by one, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the men who would be chosen.  Jesus interceded for His future apostles, begging His Father for the graces they would need to carry out the mission they were going to be given.  Jesus calls me to follow Him as His apostle.  The call is not a half-hearted or hasty decision.  Jesus has pondered well my strengths and weaknesses before He calls me.  He knows me inside and out and still He invites me to be his apostle and share in His mission.

Called by name.  Imagine what it was like for the apostles to be assembled before Christ in the early morning and hear Him as He called out their names one by one.  What would it have been like to hear your name called?  When Jesus calls out your name the words are more than just an identification tag.  He is calling the whole person, the whole you—with all your personal history, your talents, and defects, your sins and virtues, your daydreams and generosity (your selfishness and pride).  Relish the beauty of this call.  Jesus wants you—the you that reaches from the depths of your soul to your outward appearance.  He wants you to be His apostle.

The mission to heal.  Christ’s call has a very concrete and distinct purpose: the salvation of humanity.  Humanity cries out for healing.  People come from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon thirsting for the truth of Christ’s words and the powerful touch of his grace.  This mission that Christ invites you to share in.  What a privilege!  What an honor to be chosen to be part of the team who will help rescue mankind from the misery of pride, sensuality and egoism, who will bring them to the fulfillment of a life of love and generosity.

Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and reflection.  Many times I forget what you have called me to.  I forget that I am just an individual acting on my own behalf but an apostle acting as your emissary.  I know you have called me with all my defects and weaknesses, but I do not want to use this as an excuse not to grow in virtue and overcome the obstacles of my human frailty (let me not wallow in self-loathing, or become attached to prideful shame). I will work to be a better apostle but at the same time I will have the serenity and peace of knowing that you know perfectly well who I am and whom you have called.

St Dominic receiving the Rosary from Our holy Mother



Learning to filter influences and associations, allowing freedom from such things as social media, political meanderings, and casual socializing.

There is a demon, known as the deluder, who visits the brethren especially at dawn, and leads the intellect about from city to city, from village to village, from house to house, pretending that no passions are aroused through such visits; but then the intellect goes on to meet and talk with old acquaintances at greater length, and so allows its own state to be corrupted by those it encounters. Little by little it falls away from the knowledge of God and holiness, and forgets its calling. Therefore the solitary must watch this demon, noting where he comes from and where he ends up; for this demon does not make this long circuit without purpose and at random, but because he wishes to corrupt the state of the solitary, so that his intellect, over-excited by all this wandering, and intoxicated by its many meetings, may immediately fall prey to the demons of unchastity, anger or dejection – the demons that above all others destroy its inherent brightness.  

Evagrios the Solitary ‘The Philokalia’


Prayer thoughts by an Eastern Orthodox Father

57. When the intellect no longer dallies with dispassionate thoughts about various things, it has not necessarily reached the realm of prayer: for it may still be contemplating the inner essences of these things. And though such contemplation is dispassionate, yet since it is of created things, it impresses their forms upon the intellect and keeps it away from God.

58. If the intellect has not risen above the contemplation of the created world, it has not yet beheld the realm of God perfectly. For it may be occupied with the knowledge of intelligible things and so involved in their multiplicity.

60. He who prays in spirit and in truth is no longer dependent on created things when honoring the Creator, but praises Him for and in Himself.

62. When your intellect in its great longing for God gradually withdraws from the flesh and turns away from all thoughts that have their source in your sense -perception, memory or soul-body temperament, and when it becomes full of reverence and joy, then you may conclude that you are close to the frontiers of prayer.

Evagrios the Solitary ‘The Philokalia’


A master’s nudge

The communications of knowledge of the Creator are touches and spiritual feelings of union with God, the goal to which we are guiding the soul. The memory does not recall these through any form, image or figure that may have been impressed on the soul, for those touches and feelings of union with the Creator do not have any; it remembers them through the effect of light, love, delight and spiritual renewal, etc., produced in it.


The heart and the joy of will is withdrawn from all that is not God and concentrated on Him alone. In this elevation of joy in Him, God gives testimony of Who He is. “In a desert way, dry and pathless, I appeared before You to see Your power and glory.” (Ps. 62:3). The soul is exalted in purest faith, which God then infuses and augments much more abundantly. As a result the soul enjoys divine and lofty knowledge by means of the dark and naked habit of faith.


“Because wisdom pleased you more than any other thing…” I give you everything. Pray in our secret chamber, or in the solitary wilderness, and at the best and most quiet time of night.

St John of the Cross ‘Ascent of Mount Carmel’

José García Hidalgo, Levitation of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross at the Monastery of San Juan de la Cruz. Discalced Carmelite Fathers


Putting aside wrath

When our wrathful power is aroused in a way contrary to nature, it greatly furthers the aim of the demons and is an ally in all their evil designs. Day and night, therefore, they are always trying to provoke it. And when they see it tethered by gentleness, they at once try to set it free on some seemingly just pretext; in this way, when it is violently aroused, they can use it for their shameful purposes. It must not be aroused either for just or for unjust reasons; and we must not hand a dangerous sword to those too readily incensed to wrath, for it often happens that people become excessively worked up for quite trivial reasons. Tell me, why do you rush into battle so quickly, if you are really above caring about food, possessions and glory? Why keep a watchdog if you have renounced everything? If you do, and it barks and attacks other men, it is clear that there are still some possessions for it to guard. But since I know that wrath is destructive of pure prayer, the fact that you cannot control it shows how far you are from such prayer. Evagrios the Solitary ‘The Philokalia’

Homer opens the Illiad in what will become the essential passion for the way of the warrior, the song of Alexander the Great, a carrying voice in the ancient world before Jesus Christ.

Achilles sing, O Goddess! Peleus’ son;
His wrath pernicious, who ten thousand woes
Caused to Achaia’s host, sent many a soul
Illustrious into Ades premature,
And Heroes gave (so stood the will of Jove)
To dogs and to all ravening fowls a prey,
When fierce dispute had separated once
The noble Chief Achilles from the son
Of Atreus, Agamemnon, King of men.

Evagrios the Solitary


Living Flame of Love

The feast of the Holy Ghost is celebrated in the substance of the soul, which is inaccessible to the devil, the world, and the flesh; and therefore the more interior the feast, the more secure, substantial, and delicious. For the more interior it is, the purer it is; and the greater the purity, the greater the abundance, frequency, and universality of God s communication of Himself; and thus the joy of the soul and spirit is so much the greater, for it is God Himself Who is the author of all this, and the soul doeth nothing of itself…  –St John of the Cross ‘Living Flame of Love’