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Posts Tagged ‘Fr. Bede Jarrett’


1 Timothy 2: Seek Equality

Annibale Carracci: The Samaritan Woman at the Well

 Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This letter contains some clear restrictions for women – they are to be silent and not speak out.  Men are put in charge of prayer and liturgy.  Women are meant to be on the sidelines in this ancient world.  Some men today wish women to remain so – as unequal partners.  Other men today are wise enough to understand that women have equal worth before God and it is indeed a woman who brings Christ into the world.  We can allow ourselves to be contained by these sentiments or we can rise above them.  Modern commentary points out that these injunctions against women are a sign that the Holy Spirit was clearly in motion, encouraging the oppressed half of humankind to speak up and speak out.  The oppressing half of humanity responds in the way it knows best – it calls for silence.  Equality, in the end, will be gained.  Women, as the oppressed gender, have the opportunity to understand and to know that as a part of the marginalized in society they hold a special place.

John Martin Borg: Woman Caught in Adultery

In the Gospels, Jesus pays attention to women – the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the woman (and we notice that the man is not brought forward) whom the men wish to stone for adultery (John 8), women suffering, women grieving, and his own mother at the time of his crucifixion (John 19).  Jesus makes wine of water at his Mother’s request.  Jesus includes women as his apostles.  Jesus values women as equal to men.

In Thursday’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation, Father Bede Jarrett writes: When we say God is everywhere, we mean that he is in all things because he made all things.  Not only does the whole world lie outstretched before his eye and is governed by his power, but he himself lurks at the heart of everything.  By him things have come into existence . . . Wholly is God everywhere, not as some immense being that with its hugeness fills the world, but as something that is within every creature he has made.

Rogier Van Der Weyden: Deposition or Descent from the Cross

We believe this to be so . . . and when we do, we believe that women and men are created as equals in a glorious, mysterious dance of opposites that resist and yet attract.  This marvelous tension draws us in to ponder the inscrutability of life.  This equality that is rejected by many is actually the foundation of life itself.  This union of contrasts is stronger than the binds which hold together like beings.

When the age-old conflicts of gender and sexuality surface, we might remember this: Wholly is God everywhere, not as some immense being that with its hugeness fills the world, but as something that is within every creature he has made.

Do we reject this different-ness from ourselves?  Or do we take it in and in so doing . . . welcome a Jesus we have yet to meet?

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 13.11 (2009). Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on November 13, 2009.

 

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2 Kings 6:8-33 and 7: Predictions

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A man is consulting a crystal ball to foretell the future of planet Earth. Earth image courtesy of NASA http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

Earth image courtesy of NASA http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

If we have found our examination of God’s uproar a bit overwhelming, we will want to look for signs of God’s peace as we did in this Favorite from May 4, 2010. When we consider Father Jarrett’s words below, we may find a channel for our own internal uproar.

So many times we wish our lives away wanting to know details about our future when all the while we really only need to remember one thing: The journey is the destination.  Just last night I had this conversation again with my granddaughter who wanted to know or predict the outcome of a particular experience in her life.  We talked about the human urge to lunge toward a final event as contrasted with savoring each step in our journey.  Instead of lurching from one episode in life to another, we might put aside our fascination with predictions; and when we harness ourselves to the present and not the past or future, we are better able to live the gift of life to its fullest, to appreciate each moment we are given.

In today’s reading we find ourselves in a story with good and evil characters whose lives intertwine in a web full of twisting and turnings.  When we change a few details we have before us a narrative we might hear on the evening news.  In reality, the human story does not change much over time.  We struggle for peace, thinking it to be something that arrives at the end of the story, and we forget that the serenity we seek is an inner state of being, a way of perceiving life, a way of taking each moment as it comes to us.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Father Bede Jarrett, an English Dominican famous for his preaching who died in 1934: The peace our Lord came to bring was dependent entirely upon an interior state of soul, and was wholly independent of external circumstances . . . The peace of the world was largely in its cause negative; it implied the absence, the careful removal, of every form of trouble, evil, distress; it was a peace through circumstance.  But the peace of Christ depended wholly, under the grace of God, on the attitude of the soul.  It was built upon a firm determination of the will never to be troubled or dismayed.  It was compatible with every form of suffering, with every privation, with failure in every line of life. 

peacestormThis reflection indicates that we must learn to live with suffering rather than eliminate it.  It tells us that when we cease our yearning for predictions and focus on living through the moment, we might not be so obsessed by outcomes.  We might be more peaceful, more serene.

This is something worth contemplating; it is something worth striving for.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.5 (2010). Print.  

Tomorrow, Pax Romana,

 

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Micah 4: Deception – Part VImicah 4-1

We have witnessed the dishonesty of corrupt rulers; we have seen the fidelity of fearful but courageous prophets. If we wonder how or when the faithful might be rewarded, we do not have far to look.

Consolation Foreseen

A Favorite from July 26, 2010.

I will gather the lame, and I will assemble the outcasts, and those whom I have afflicted.  I will make of the lame a remnant, and of those driven far off a strong nation; and the Lord shall be king over them on Mount Zion, from now on forever.

We are reminded by the prophet Micah that we are to be restored through the Messiah who will gather up the broken and the broken-hearted.  When we become discouraged, when we believe that even God does not listen to our plight, when we become confused and forget that God’s call to perfection in us is about persistence and not about living a life without flaw, then we might turn to Micah who reminds us that the best and only true hope is the Messiah, the Christ.  Infinite restoration, abounding rejuvenation, eternal redemption and limitless salvation are the gift he brings us each day . . . if we might persist long enough to ask for the strength to rise to this timeless hope.

Fr. Bede Jarrett

Fr. Bede Jarrett

Most of the difficulties of life come because man is so prone to lose heart . . . His faltering attempts at perfection disconcert him from any very persistent or long-continued service . . . He has given up hope; he is disheartened; he is too discouraged to go on.  He is very human; oh yes, but he is very foolish also: for when hope is gone, all is over.  Failure counts for nothing; defeat, disappointment – these matter nothing at all, so long as only hope sits patiently, stirring the embers, watching and tending the fire, coaxing the flame, never despairing and never leaving the wind to work its will.  That the clouds should come up over the sky, or that darkness should encircle the earth, brings no real terrors, for we are sure that the dawn will come out again and that the sun will break through with its golden glory.

 Father Jarrett – a British Dominican known for his preaching

MAGNIFICAT, July 26, 2010, Meditation of the Day

We are reminded by the prophet Micah that we are to be restored through the Messiah who will gather up the broken and the broken-hearted.   If today we have lost courage and strength, let us call on this only One who will restore us . . . so that we might coax the flame of our lives rather than leave our work to the wind.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 26.7 (2010). Print.  

For more on Fr. Jarrett, visit: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=50481038 or http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/spiritual-life/god-s-love-unchanging.html 

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jeremiah oracleFriday, October 10, 2014

Jeremiah 46-51

An Intimate Neighbor

God is the most intimate neighbor of the soul; no other power can creep so close to the heart and tangle itself so cunningly with the roots of our desire . . . Man, in other words, was made for love, the diviner part of him for divine love.  By sin is all this love dried up.  The parched and thirsty soul feels, therefore, the need of the dew of God, and rushes madly as the beasts that wander in the jungle looking for the water they cannot find . . . When I am feeling particularly the loneliness of life, perhaps the cause is that I lean too little upon God; perhaps it is that my sins will not let me feel that inward presence that is the sole real source of peace here below.  I was created for Love by love, and when by sin I act contrary to Love, my heart must necessarily feel his absence. 

This is a portion of the MAGNIFICAT Meditation for September 2 written by Father Bede Jarrett, a Dominican priest from England known for his lectures and writings on theology and spirituality.  Jarrett’s words ask us to look more deeply at Jeremiah 46 through 51, these oracles that pronounce doom against many peoples who had turned from God to become self-worshipers.  It is a litany of many ancient nations and yet today we might substitute individual names, the names of neighborhoods, sects, or communities of any kind.  We might even insert our own name into this list on days when we have gone too far into the world of darkness that so quietly, softly and persistently calls. Blessedly, we also have an intimate friend, an intimate neighbor who calls more persistently than darkness; yet we so often forgot this force for compassion and justice in the hubbub of the day and the weariness of the night.

When we feel parched and thirsty, let us depend on the dew of God’s word and learn to lean on God a little more rather than a little less. In this time of the solar year when days and nights are nearly equal in length, let us balance our lives and review this litany of those who have condemned themselves by their own actions. As we move from one season to another, let us turn to God who is our most intimate neighbor of the soul, and let us remind ourselves and one another that . . . perhaps we lean too little upon God

Adapted from a reflection written on September 7, 2010.

Cameron, Peter John, ed. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 7.9 (2010). Print.  

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watchmanforjerusalemTuesday, July 8, 2014

1 Chronicles 26:1-28

Gatekeepers

David gathers materials to build a palace and temple structure; he commands the nation’s leaders and priests to support Solomon; he prepares the liturgical cult, the treasurers and magistrates, the tribal leaders and overseers, and then the entire assembly for the coming of the new king. He readies the architectural plans, the offerings, and even his final prayer before he dies. David thinks of everything.

One of the groups he names and calls is the Gatekeepers. These are men who divide themselves among the city gates to take up the watches of those gates. They provide the warning call when enemies approach, because if the tent of the tabernacle is to be replaced by an immovable structure . . . the sentinels must take their work seriously. There will be no folding up and moving this Holy of Holies to safety. The task of gate-keeping takes on major importance.

THE ARQUEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE tells us on page 614 that these gatekeepers were not only the city’s security force; they also oversaw the city revenues and were in charge of maintaining the temple precinct. Lots were cast to determine the gate and the time of the watch. This method of selection prevented partiality and emphasized the divine nature of the decision, since the outcome of a lot was from the Lord.

We might think of the gate-keeping that happens in our own lives. Who are our sentinels? On whom do we rely to raise the cry when enemies approach? Are all the gates covered? Are there any watches that have too few guards? Are there any places or any sentries who have proven unreliable? What do we do when we realize that a gate has been breached? Do we rely on God alone to appoint the time and place for our gate-keeping assignments?

Yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT reflection was written by Father Bede Jarrett, a Dominican priest who died in 1934. He writes: Each one of us has some special work to do for God. God made his plans for us before we came into the world at all – for the work is of primary importance, it comes first in God’s thought, and we follow as instruments. When an architect is commissioned to build a house, he has to know first its destined use, its locality, and the weather conditions, etc. Every detail must be taken into consideration. Only then can he collect his materials and begin to work . . . God is the architect. He has made our souls a certain size and shape, to fit certain holes, so to speak. It is not for us to say that we are incapable, or unfitted for the work given to us . . . Nothing is ever quite what we anticipated. There is the interplay of circumstances on our desires. It makes known to us what is God’s will for us; and so we give up in our desires what does not fit in with God’s plan for us, content to do as he wishes.

And so we wonder . . . as God builds the great temple of creation, if we are called to be a gatekeepers, will we be happy with our duty post? Will we be content with the shift to which we are assigned? Will we stay awake when it is dark? Will we be alert during the day or the late afternoon? If we prefer the morning hour, will we be called to serve at dusk? And if we are, will we go without grumbling to our expected post? Will we be faithful gatekeepers?

Isaiah 62:6: On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; never by day or by night shall they be silent. 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 614. Print.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 28.2 (2009. Print.  

Adapted from a reflection first written on March 1, 2009.

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