Writings About Saints
Just inside the doorway from the abbey cloister to the chapter room, there hangs an icon of St. Joseph written by our own fr. Philip. Not unlike the secco in the center south shrine here in the nave, the carpenter of Nazareth is depicted with the Christ child on his shoulders. Just a few days ago I looked at the icon and thought, “Carries the Son of God on his shoulders for fun—Terror of Demons.”
Every year we hear this prophecy of Isaiah, and we instinctively know it was fulfilled in the virginal conception of Christ in the womb of Blessed Mary. And indeed that is true. It’s not just an adaptation of an ancient text to fit a mystery of our faith; this prophecy, even as it flowed out of Isaiah’s mouth, literally referred to the incarnation of the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. And yet, because the selection offered is truncated, we miss the wider historical context in which the prophecy was made, a context which only adds to the profundity of this prophecy.
God sometimes asks the prophets to do something that looks absurd in the eyes of men to teach a lesson about listening to and discerning God’s will.
A calling from our Lord was very serious business. So much so that, for James and John, His call left father Zebedee stranded at sea and for today’s saint, with just two words, our Lord left the local customs post with one less employee.
God’s providence reaches down and governs the most ordinary details of the life of His people. Cyrus, the pagan king of Persia, became the unlikely instrument whereby God would end the Babylonian Captivity, for instance. Even the civil rulers and all the vicissitudes of history are the tools of God’s almighty hand.
Writings For Spiritual Growth
Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13). My whole life has in one way or another revolved around the desires that make up the very core of this single verse. Sometimes intentionally, but most times unknowingly, I found that the direction of my life was set by the principles which form the bold application of this verse.
Even as his health declined, Fr. Leo continued to orient his life to the service of the altar, recognizing in the Holy Eucharist the source of every grace and heavenly blessing. At that moment, I knew that I, too, wanted to be a Norbertine priest, “lifting high the Holy Eucharist over the miseries and errors of this world.”
It can happen that when we desire something good with all our heart, and pray for it longer than we can remember, yet without attaining it, we can then enter a kind of malaise, a detachment so thorough that it enters natural despair. Sure, God could do it, but He obviously won’t. And then He does—so wonderfully, so amazingly, so unbelievably that our only reaction is to hide away.
“So marred was His look beyond human resemblance, and His appearance beyond that of mortals. There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him.”
Listen to the homily by Abbot Eugene J. Hayes, O.Praem.
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"A priest is not a priest for himself. He is a priest for you."
– St. John Vianney
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