The Lord Cannot Fill Up a Cup Already Full

The Lord Cannot Fill Up a Cup Already Full

 “A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse, and the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and all flesh will see the salvation of God.”

Entrance Antiphon for today (December 20, 2018) 

The season of Advent; this season of silence and stillness; the season of waiting is fast approaching its end. In just a few days we will begin our celebration of Christmas.  The glory of the Lord will once again “fill the whole earth” … or at least as much of it as we have given to Him to fill.  For the Lord cannot fill a cup already full.

This is the great challenge of Advent; in the stillness and silence to do some major de-cluttering in our hearts.  In The Reed of God, author Caryll Houselander has a provided some beautiful imagery to help us do just that in imitation of Our Lady.  She speaks of the virginal emptiness of Mary as an:

“emptiness like the hollow in the reed, the narrow riftless emptiness, which can have only one destiny:  to receive the piper’s breath and to utter the song that is in his heart.  It is emptiness like the hollow in the cup, shaped to receive water or wine.  It is emptiness like that of the bird’s nest, built in a round warm ring to receive the little bird.”  

She goes on to ask, “can someone whose life is already cluttered up with trivial things get back to this virginal emptiness?” Yes! So, too, can those who are too full of their own big plans, those who are “too set on their own conscious purpose in life… Zealots and triflers and all besides who have crowded the emptiness out of their minds and the silence out of their souls can restore it.  At least they can allow God to restore it and ask Him to do so.” 

If we have not yet captured the silence and stillness of Advent, it is not too late to do so.  With God, it is never too late.  Doing so is well worth the effort because as we learn from the example of Our Lady, into this emptiness rushes the Holy Spirit and in her case God is made man —  The Incarnation — The greatest event in human history.   For us as well, new life will be made in us when we make space for the Holy Spirit, when we carve out stillness and silence and dwell in expectant emptiness. 

We can also follow Our Lady further and continue to learn from her. Having received, Mary then gives.  “She had nothing to give Him but herself. He asked for nothing else.  She gave Him herself.  Working, eating, sleeping, she was forming His body from hers.  His flesh and blood.  From her humanity she gave Him His humanity.”  As Houselander points out, Jesus is formed as Mary moves through her daily activities.  “Every beat of her heart gave Him His heart to love with… Breaking and eating the bread, drinking the wine of the country, she gave Him His flesh and blood.”

This is where stewardship enters into our story.  In embracing this Catholic Way of Life, we allow God into all of our daily activities; we invite the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our lives; we allow Him to guide our daily activities, choices and work and He brings His life into the mundane.  Like Mary, we have nothing to give but ourselves.  And he asks for nothing else.  But when we give that which we have, he gives back life in abundance. 

I think sometimes our greatest barrier to living this life of generosity, of abundance, of dedicated discipleship is that deep down we really don’t believe that it works this way.  We doubt His generosity, we doubt our own ability to receive and then to give.  Deep down, do we really believe in God’s ability and desire to transform our lives; to make them holy?  Stewardship gives us concrete ways to bring God into the small, daily choices of life.  To allow Him to be made in the ordinary.  To live deeply in the mystery of the Incarnation. 

May the remainder of our Advent be filled with expectant stillness and silence. May we all experience the deep love of the Word Incarnate this Christmas.   Many blessings to you and to your family!

 

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“Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.”

“Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.”

“We do not bring God into time; He is the Creator of time. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word through whom the universe was created entered into time to re-create it from within!”

In a few weeks, we celebrate Christmas, the great feast of the Incarnation.  One of the ways the Church sanctifies time is through the liturgical calendar.  Entering into the rhythm of the church calendar, marking the seasons, celebrations and saints contained in it, can help us live a Lively Faith.  It also reminds us of the Catholic notion of receiving time as a gift from God.  The Catholic steward sees time, like all other things, as something given to us by God to be used for His glory.  “The Catholic Church proclaims that time is a precious commodity. In the insightful and allegorical words of St Jose Maria Escriva, the “Time is our treasure, the “money” with which to buy eternity.” (Furrow #882)

“Time truly matters. What we do with it truly matters. That is as true of the history of the world as it is our own personal histories. As that wonderful Saint reminded us, “A true Christian is always ready to appear before God. Because, if he is fighting to live as a man of Christ, he is ready at every moment to fulfill his duty.” (Furrow, 875)

One of the searching questions we should ask ourselves, in a blunt examination of conscience, is what are we doing with time? Do we choose to mark our passage of time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ? . . .

When we really enter into the Liturgical seasons of our Church, when they become granular and real, they offer a way to receive time as a continual gift and change the way we actually live our daily lives. Our choice to celebrate them helps us to grow in the life of grace as we say “yes” to their invitations. They invite us to walk in a new way of life which becomes infused with supernatural meaning; to enter into the mystery of living in the Church as the New World and thereby become leaven for an age which has lost its soul.

Human beings have always marked time by significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will mark time? What events and what messages are we proclaiming in our calendaring?”


The Liturgical calendar can be a useful tool for the Christian Steward; a way to order time according to God’s will and to acknowledge time as a gift given to us by Him.”


(Lengthy quote taken from, Deacon Keith A Fournier, Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org) 11/23/2014)

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CHANCERY OFFICE

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(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
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(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

The custom of making New Year’s Resolutions goes back thousands of years.  There is evidence that the Babylonians had a New Year’s celebration which included promises to pay debts and return any borrowed objects.  Similarly, ancient Romans made sacrifices to the god Janus and made promises of good conduct for the coming year. 

Merriam-Webster reports, “a 1671 entry from the diaries of Anne Halkett, a writer and member of the Scottish gentry, contains a number of pledges, typically taken from biblical verses such as “I will not offend any more”. Halkett titled this page “Resolutions”, and wrote them on January 2nd, which would possibly indicate that the practice was in use at the time, even if people did not refer to it as a New Year’s resolution.”

In 1740, the founder of Methodism, John Wesley created a service celebrated either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day that included readings from Scripture and hymns and provided a spiritual alternative to traditional New Year’s celebrations.  Today within evangelical Protestantism these services include making resolutions for the coming year. 

The January 1st issue of a Boston newspaper from 1813 reads, “And yet, I believe there are multitudes of people, accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behaviour, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults.” 

While clearly long-standing and popular, one cannot say the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions is very successful.  Forbes magazine reports that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions.

Why am I writing this to you on November 29th?  And what does it have to do with Living This Catholic Way of Life?  This Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent and with Advent we usher in a new year in the Church.  Why not consider making some “New Year’s Resolutions” to mark the season, and perhaps to look at our three pillars of Stewardship to focus your thoughts:

  • What is one thing I can do this Advent to cultivate Generous Hospitality in my life?
  • Can I commit ten minutes a day to some extra spiritual activity – reading or prayer as a way to live Lively Faith?
  • Is there a virtue the Lord would like me to grow in?
  • Can I commit to being more intentional about how I spend the gifts of time and other resources this Advent and thus become a more dedicated disciple?
In doing so, we have very little to lose and everything to gain.  Calling on the grace of God poured out to us each day and asking for the zeal to draw closer to Him gives us powerful assistance in beating the dismal secular failure rate of 92%.  Our New Year’s resolutions have a power behind them that purely secular good intentions do not.  And even if our efforts do not go as we plan, even if, in our eyes, we seem not to have “achieved” our goals, the Lord will bless our efforts.

St. Theresa of Calcutta is credited with saying, “God does not call us to be successful.  He calls us to be faithful.”

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
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(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

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VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

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“Become Who You Are!”

As we begin the season of Advent and this Year of Mercy, I would like to encourage you to receive the Father’s love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation monthly, if possible. As part of our celebration of the Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Rapid City, there are days set aside each month for extended times of reconciliation to help you encounter the love of the God the Father in his son Jesus through power of the Holy Spirit. Page fourteen of this month’s West River Catholic has more information.

So often in our lives, we let other things define who we are — especially our past mistakes, our past hurts, our past wounds, and our past sins — but deep down we know that is not who we truly are. Neal Lozano, in his book Abba’s Heart: Finding Our Way Back to the Father’s Delight, reminds us who we truly are through the invitation we receive from the Father: “It is also an invitation to become what we already are — the children of God. We have been invited to relate to God as Father, to learn from Him and identify with him. We are called to become like Jesus, the image of the invisible God and the Son who reveals Him.” This is who we truly are, beloved sons and daughters of the Father.

I encourage you to pray this prayer this week, opening your heart up to the Father’s love:

Heavenly Father, I want to let go of my past and allow You to redeem it. I want to know that I have been adopted and am no longer bound by what happened to me. Jesus, as You spoke those words over me, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” You have pulled the sword from my hand and the hatred from my heart. Lead me to a new way of thinking in a new way of living. I want to be free from my slaveries so that I can serve You, Lord. Father, pour out the Spirit of Your Son over me, that I might cry out “Abba Father!” from the depths of my heart.

Fr. Mark’s Musings