The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Anything but humility!

The other day I was having lunch with a few friends. The topic of humility came up. Here is a reading that came across my emails recently:
"Christ Himself taught humility of heart, and the heart must not remain idle, nor fail to product the necessary acts. And what acts of humility do you make before God? How often do you make them? When have you made them? How long is it since you made them? It would be absurd to hope for the reward which is promised to the humble without being humble, or at least making acts of humility; humility of heart without the heart's humbling itself—what folly! Are you foolish enough to believe that this can be done? ... it is necessary to humble ourselves when we approach God with prayer to obtain some grace, because God does not regard nor head nor impart His grace except to the humble ... When, therefore, you come to ask God for some grace of the body or of the soul, do you always remember to practice this humility? When we pray, and especially when we say the 'Our Father', we are speaking to God; and how many times when you are saying your prayers, do you speak to God with less respect than if you were speaking to one of your fellow creatures? How often when you are in church, which is the house of God, do you listen to a sermon, which is the Word of God, and assist at the functions of the service without any reverence? Humility of heart, says St. Thomas, is accompanied by exterior reverence; and to be lacking in this is to lack humility and is therefore a sin of pride, 'which excludes reverence.'"
— Rev. Cajetan da Bergamo, Humility of Heart, p.138-140

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Living in a wilderness?

Advent I – 2018

What are we to make of the Christmas story? The story seems quaint and romantic to many. A couple seeks shelter in a city filled with travelers responding to an edict to participate in a census. The woman is pregnant of unusual circumstances having been told she will bear a special child. This year I want to explore some of the possible meanings we might gain from this simple, yet profound, story.

The meaning of the Christmas story is that God has come to live among us. God has inhabited humanity. God has taken on human form and lived among humanity.


One of the stories of Jesus, the God-man, is a story of living in a wilderness. We all live in a wilderness –

a wilderness of our own making,
a wilderness of pain,
a wilderness of unfulfilled hopes,
a wilderness broken dreams,
a wilderness of unsatiated appetites,
a wilderness of empty promises,
a wilderness of rusted-out possessions,
a wilderness of wearied flesh.
a wilderness of out-of-date fashions,
a wilderness of sleepless night,
a wilderness of wearied flesh,
a wilderness of lost loves.

The story of Christmas is the story of a God who knows what it is like to live in our wilderness.

The search is over. Julian of Norwich is right: “Jesus is all that shall be saved and all that shall be saved shall be found in Jesus.”

I invite you to come to the manger and see, not a baby, but a man who knows your story because he lived your story. He wants to write a new story.

Ronald Friesen © 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Masters of our meaning

"Our freedom always has this marvelous power to make what is taken from us—by life, events, or other people—into something offered. Externally there is no visible difference, but internally everything is transfigured: fate into free choice, constraint into love, loss into fruitfulness. Human freedom is of absolutely unheard-of greatness. It does not confer the power to change everything, but it does empower us to give a meaning to everything, even meaningless things; and that is much better. We are not always masters of the unfolding of our lives, but we can always be masters of the meaning we give them. Our freedom can transform any event in our lives into an expression of love, abandonment, trust, hope, and offering."
— Fr. Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom, p. 58