Loving the Unneighborly

Not every neighbor is lovable. When our Lord commanded us, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” he was himself addressing a gathering of neighbors—the Pharisees—who regarded him as an enemy (Mt. 22:34-46). “Hearing that he had silenced the Sadducees,” they might have paused to give thanks, but instead they took it as an opportunity to exposeContinue reading “Loving the Unneighborly”

Praying for Real

St. Catherine of Sienna warns us not to let our prayers consist “more in words than in affection.” The goal of prayer is for the soul to be “inebriated and set on fire and sated with holy longing, finding herself filled completely with love of [God] and of her neighbors.” Recognizing that “the soul isContinue reading “Praying for Real”

Rescued by an Ancient Arrow

Duke Vincentio, the cunning “philosopher-king” of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, reassures Friar Thomas that his motives for stealing away from prying public eyes are not basely amorous: No, holy father; throw away that thought; believe not that the dribbling dart of love can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee to give me secretContinue reading “Rescued by an Ancient Arrow”

Gaining Mastery of the World

St. Catherine of Sienna’s Dialogue with Christ begins with a question precisely opposed to the one  most of us would think of asking: “What can I do to suffer for you?” In response, Jesus affirms the generosity of her desire, but proceeds to instruct the saint on the true nature and value of Christian suffering.Continue reading “Gaining Mastery of the World”

The Test of True Virtue

St. Catherine of Sienna recounts to us how Christ explained the nature of virtue to her. Every virtue, he stresses, no matter how private it seems, is practiced in relation to others. First, every true virtue is given by God, and performed for love of him. Next, every virtue redounds in some way to theContinue reading “The Test of True Virtue”

All I Want is Love

Our Lord, speaking to St. Catherine of Sienna, comments on the unity of all virtues in the “greatest of these”—charity: Since love of neighbor has its source in me, the more the soul loves me, the more she loves her neighbors. Thus it will be evident that you have me within your soul by grace,Continue reading “All I Want is Love”

Hunting the Lord

To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words, and mayst overcome when thou art judged. For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thyContinue reading “Hunting the Lord”

My Heart, My Sacrifice

Here is my heart, beloved Jesus, which worships your divinity! May my sacrifice please you: I know that none other can please you as much. Hier ist mein Herz, geliebter Jesu (music) Cantata by Georg Philipp Telemann, from the album Perpetuum Mobile, by the Balthasar-Neumann Ensemble (streaming, CD, digital). What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, &Continue reading “My Heart, My Sacrifice”