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We are not mere beasts. We are rational creatures in the image of God who long for union with him. The spiritual works of mercy are founded on the knowledge that man does not live “by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

-from The Work of Mercy

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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”             (1 Peter 1:3a )

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“It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken.”

— St. Francis Xavier

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“When in your life of faith you are confronted with the deeper mysteries it is natural to become a little frightened. When this happens, take heart faithful Christian. Do not raise objections, but ask with loving submission, ‘How can these things be?’ Let your question be a prayer, an expression of love and self-surrender to God. Let it be an expression of your humble desire not to penetrate his sublime majesty, but to find salvation through the saving deeds of God our Savior.”

— Abbot William of Thierry

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“Christ comes to us through innumerable creatures, since all creation is sacramental. One of the sacramentals bringing us Christ is our neighbor—especially the least of our neighbors. The stunning truth is that Christ is present in all those you meet. How you treat them is how you treat him. Your neighbor is God’s gift to you, a sacramental through whom Christ works in your soul.”

-from The Work of Mercy

I am so glad I believe this.

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“Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight.”

— St. Francis of Paola

God works through sacraments, most assuredly. But sacraments are given as sure encounters with grace, not as reducing valves designed to make sure the unbaptized are excluded from God.

-from The Work of Mercy

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Letting Go into God by Richard Rohr

 

It is said that Francis’ great prayer, which he would spend whole nights praying, is “Who are you, God? And who am I?” Contemplative prayer helps us to live into these questions.

Who am I? As we observe our minds in contemplation, first we recognize how many of our thoughts are defensive, oppositional, paranoid, self-referential, or in some way violent. Until we recognize how constant that dualistic mind is, we have no motivation to let go of it. We learn to say, “That feeling is not me. I don’t need that opinion to define me. I don’t need to justify myself or blame someone else.”

Gradually, we learn to trust the wounds and the failures of life, which are much better teachers than our supposed successes. It’s all a matter of letting go and getting out of the way. Thérèse of Lisieux would call it surrender and gratitude. She said, “It is enough to recognize one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child, into God’s arms.” Until we discover this “little way,” we almost all try to gain moral high ground by obeying laws and thinking we are spiritually advanced.

The non-dual mind can accept and surrender to the mystery that I am to myself; it doesn’t need to quickly categorize this mystery as sinful, wrong, and evil or as good, meritorious, and wonderful. It just is. When I can no longer hold myself up, I fall into the Mystery of God and let God hold me. When I no longer name myself right or wrong, I let Someone Else name me. This is the beginning of true spirituality, of the true mutuality of the God/human love affair.

Who is God? When I allow God to keep revealing the deeper Mystery of Mercy and Grace and Love to me, I don’t categorize or hold God too easily, too quickly, as if I understand God, as if I’ve got God in my pocket. Those who allow God to reveal God’s Self are the very ones who know that God is Love. They know that God is not a harsh judge or conditional lover.

Those who experience the depths within contemplation know that God’s love is an endless sea of mercy and unconditional acceptance. The deeper you go, the more you fall into the Mystery. As you fall into the Mystery of an ever-loving God, you are able to accept the mystery of yourself. And as you accept the mystery of yourself, you fall into the Mystery of God. You don’t know–and it doesn’t matter–which comes first. People who love God love themselves and everybody else. People who love themselves and everyone else also love God.

You see, love is one. Love is the whole. Love is an endless sea that you fall into. And once you fall into it, you can’t fall out. It’s not something you do. It’s something that is done to you, and all you can do is let go.

“The battle for purity ultimately is fought deep in the recesses of the human heart. Our hearts were made to love, but since the Fall, they have been tainted by a desire to use others. Chastity is so much bigger than simply saying no to certain sexual actions we may commit in the body. In the end, chastity is a matter of the heart.”

-from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love

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“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.”
— St. Francis de Sales

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Scott Hahn's photo.

Can you believe it?  Today marks the tenth year that Windows Toward the World has been in existence.

Ten years ago today, I published this poem:

Windows Toward the World

The earth spins and spins
beneath the snowy sky,

while the flarfists
search their search engines

for language of the world’s
modernity.  The world—lovely

from my window—awaits
in the low light of the hidden sun,

where God hurls snow, love
toward a whirling earth.

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And thus, it began.

The blog was a place to share my poetry and let readers know what was going on in my life.

Since that time, I’ve published the following books and chapbooks:

Chapbooks

Paper Snowflakes, Southern Hum Press, Layfeyette, LA, August 2006. ISBN: 978-1-4243-1493-3 OOP.

Mansion of Memory, Rank Stranger Press, Mt. Olive, NC, February 22, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-59948-367-2 Limited availability.

Kaleidoscope World, Collaboration with Miki De Goodaboom. First Edition, https://helenl.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/kaleidoscope-world/ July 27, 2009.

Second Edition, http://www.mikidegoodaboom.com/art-books/kaleidoscope-world/, July 2014.

Books

Better With Friends, Rank Stranger Press, Mt. Olive, NC, April 14, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-59948-195-1 Available at http://www.amazon.com/Better-Friends-Helen-Losse/dp/1599481952/ref=la_B002TD0P6A_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402235408&sr=1-1

Seriously Dangerous, Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC, April 12, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-59948-289-7 Nominated for 2012 SIBA Book Award. Available from Main Street Rag. http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/seriously-dangerous/ and at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Seriously-Dangerous-Helen-Losse/dp/1599482894/ref=la_B002TD0P6A_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402235408&sr=1-4

Facing a Lonely West, Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC, April 28, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-59948-464-8 Available from Main Street Raghttp://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/facing-a-lonely-west/

and lots of poem in litmags and anthologies.

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In May Every Tender Reed will be out from  Main Street Rag, Charlotte, NC. . ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-59948-571-3 Available from Main Street Rag.  It’s already available for advance order. http://mainstreetragbookstore.com/?product=every-tender-reed

I’m working on anew project, working title Today, Father. 

My how time flies when you’re writing poetry!

 

The virtues remind us of the higher moral standard we are called to follow. This reminder should inspire us to give more of ourselves in the pursuit of virtue and live more like Christ, rather than living life enslaved by our passions.

-from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love

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Despite our many sins and failures, God remains committed to us, looking at us patiently and mercifully in the face of our faults. He loves us even when we do things that hurt our relationship with him.

-from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love

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God can cleanse us of any sin, but only if we first seek His mercy!

I Love My Catholic Faith by MyCatholicFaith.org's photo.

“You must accept your cross; if you bear it courageously it will carry you to Heaven.”
— St. John Vianney

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God’s mercy is transforming my heart, even now….

Catholic-Link English's photo.
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Gospel Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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Striving side by side toward the good life and encouraging one another in the virtues, true friends are primarily concerned not with what they get out of the friendship but with what is best for the friend and with pursuing the virtuous life with that friend.

-from Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love

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“Worship in Poetic Shadow”

worship in poetic shadow

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