Please fast and pray every Thursday for the renewal of the Catholic Church in America. Please note: The Cybersociety will fast on Fridays beginning January 2013, in accordance with ancient custom.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Psalm 10

Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide in times of trouble?  (Psalm 10:1)

"Never forget the sweet presence of God, as do the majority of people. Talk to God as often as you can....Don't be afraid that you will offend God if you sometimes complain and say: Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide in times of trouble? Lord, it is you who must save me. I am ready to suffer, if that is your good pleasure, but you, for your part, must help me."
--St. Alphonsus de Liguori, A Way of Conversing Continually with God, 1753.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Psalm 9

"For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee." (Psalm 9:10)

"However often I call upon you, you are near, for to call upon you is to turn to you....You, O Lord, are my journey's companion. Wherever I turn, you are there. Nor do you forsake me in a time of tribulation." --Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464), On the Vision of God.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Psalm 8

"Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels..." (Psalm 8)
It has been testified, What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet....As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one....For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham...a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:6-9,16-17)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Psalm 7

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day (Ps.7:11)

Psalm 7, traditionally the "Prayer of a Man Falsely Accused."

"It is a curious feature of the experience of human living, that the public accusation of the sins or crimes which we have committed is easier to bear, emotionally and spiritually, than the false accusations concerning crimes of which we are innocent....The false accusation is harder to bear, because it brings with it the experience of injustice....Yet it is in the nature of false accusation, that whereas it may deceive and convince our fellow human beings, it cannot deceive God. False accusation never undermines a person's standing in the sight of God." (Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 19). Pray, please, for Father Gordon MacRae, the repose of the soul of Father Charles Engelhardt, OSFS, and all priests falsely accused and unjustly punished.

My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. (Ps. 7:10)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Psalm 6

"In addition to the grace of baptism and to the most precious gift of martyrdom, there are many fruits of repentance by which the expiation of sins is achieved...The burden of sin may be lifted by a loving disposition, for 'love covers a multitude of sins.' (1Pet.4:8). In similar fashion healing is furnished our wounds through the fruit of almsgiving, because 'just as water extinguishes a fire, so almsgiving extinguishes sin.' (Sir 3:30), Likewise, too, forgiveness of sins is obtained by the shedding of tears, for 'every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.' (Psalm 6:6).

"If because of some weakness of the flesh you cannot wipe away your sins by fasting...then redeem them with almsgiving. If you do not have anything to bestow on the poor...certainly you can be cleansed by correcting your behavior. But if you cannot acquire perfection of virtue...exercise a kindly concern for helping others to salvation. If you bemoan your inadequacy for this ministry...cover your sins by a loving disposition. If in this too some frailty of mind has weakened you, beg for healing through the prayers and intercession of holy persons....Forgiveness is also bestowed through the confession of sins....But if you blush to reveal such things to should not cease to confess them in constant supplication to the One from whom they cannot be concealed.

"You see, then, how many opportunities for mercy the clemency of the Savior has disclosed, so that no one who desires salvation should be broken by despair, when he sees so many life-giving remedies at his disposal." (John Cassian (d.circa 430), The Conferences, "Twentieth Conference: On Repentance and Reparation," trans. by Boniface Ramsey, OP)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Psalm 5

"It is necessary for the soul that is going to ascend to the Divine to drive out from itself every sin committed through deeds, as well as whatever sins lie hidden in the soul, escaping the notice of those outside, but bitterly consuming man with most malicious fangs. Whose bones did the Lord scatter? Whom does the Lord abominate? 'The bloodthirsty and the deceitful the Lord abhors' (Psalm. 5:7)"
--St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Christian Mode of Life, tr. by V.W. Callahan.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Psalm 4

"When I was in distress thou hast enlarged me (Ps.4:1). Some translations say "thou hast given me relief." I think an accurate sense would be conveyed by "space" or "breathing room." Cassiodorus (485-580) considers the psalm to be the prayer of the whole Church, so he gives this interesting interpretation: "Distress always enlarges the Church, since simultaneously confessors emerge and martyrs are crowned. The whole crowd of the just is ever increased by tribulations." (Explanation of the Psalms, tr. by P.G. Walsh). He goes on to say, beautifully: "[The Church] is not a ghostly fashioning of our hearts' imagination, like 'fatherland' or 'state' or something without living personality; the Church is the aggregate of all the holy faithful, one soul and one heart, the bride of Christ, the Jerusalem of the age to come." 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Psalm 3

"Worldly society has flowered from a selfish love which dared to despise even God, whereas the communion of saints is rooted in a love of God....This latter relies on the Lord, whereas the other boasts that it can get along by itself. The city of man seeks the praise of men, whereas the height of glory for the other is to hear God in the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own boasting; the other says to God: 'Thou art my glory, thou liftest up my head' (Ps. 3:4)."
--St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 14, Chapter 28.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Psalm 2

Many waters cannot quench love. (Song of Songs 8:7)
"He whom they sought was dead, but their hope of Resurrection was not quenched....They departed with joy, yet full of fear. Is this in Scripture? Yes, the second Psalm, prophetic of the passion of Christ, says: 'Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before him with trembling'; rejoice, to be sure, for the Lord who has risen, but with trembling, because of the earthquake, and the angel who appeared like lightning." -- St. Cyril of Jerusalem.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Psalm 1

"Depraved by prosperity and unchastened by adversity, you desire not the peace of the state but liberty for license....Though crushed by the enemy, you put no check on immorality, you learned no lesson from calamity; in the depths of sorrows you still wallow in sin." -- St. Augustine, City of God, I, 33 (tr. by D.B. Zema, SJ and G.G. Walsh, SJ)

Psalm 1: (5) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; (6) for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Lord is great in Sion and high above
 all the peoples. (Psalm 98)
"There is no aspect of the interior life, no kind of religious experience, no spiritual need of man that is not depicted and lived out in the Psalms....If we really make them our prayer, [we] let God pray in us in His own words." (Thomas Merton, Praying the Psalms)

Friday, September 30, 2016

He knew another place, a wood...

He knew a path that wanted walking;
He knew a spring that wanted drinking;
A thought that wanted further thinking;
A love that wanted re-renewing.

--Robert Frost, "A Lone Striker" 

Friday, August 19, 2016

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. (1Peter 1:24)

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others
 but whose place no one else can take."
--Cardinal Gaspard Mermillod

Friday, August 12, 2016

What the Pope Should Have Said

“Does it please you, O God, to deliver into the hands of these beasts the defenseless children I have nourished with your love? I beseech you, dear Lord, protect these whom I am now unable to protect.”

--Prayer of St. Clare when her convent was under siege by Muslim attackers. Her feast was August 11th.

Friday, July 8, 2016

By acknowledging your sins strip away your former self, seduced as it is by destructive desires, and put on the new self, renewed in the likeness of its Creator....Those whose sins still cling to them like a goatskin will stand on His left because they did not approach Christ's fountain of rebirth....Wash yourself clean, so that you may hold a richer store of grace.
--St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Friday, June 24, 2016

How lovely is thy dwelling place, o Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord…. Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the highways to Zion….Blessed is the man who trusts in thee! (Psalm 84)

"In a psalm, instruction vies with beauty."--St. Ambrose.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday -- Office of Readings: Hebrews 9:11-28

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Office of Readings: Hebrews 7

Now we have confidence in a better hope,
through which we draw near to God.
(Hebrews 7:19)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Office of Readings: Numbers 14:1-25

The Lord said, "I forgive them as you ask. But--as I live, and as the glory of the Lord fills all the earth--of all men who have seen my glory and the signs that I worked in Egypt and in the wilderness, who have put me to the test ten times already and not obeyed my voice, not one shall see the land I swore to give their fathers. Not one of those who slight me shall see it."

Friday, March 4, 2016

Office of Readings: Exodus 35

"And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel...and he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.

And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass.

And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in the carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work....

Then wrought Bezaleel...and every wise hearted man...all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Office of Readings: Exodus 19:3-4

And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Retreat Poem

Yet it is far from Christmas, when a star
Sang in the pane...
For now the light of early Lent
Glitters upon the icy step.

(Thomas Merton, "The Winter's Night")

Friday, February 12, 2016

Office of Readings (Exodus 2:1-22)

"I am a stranger in a strange land." (Ex. 2:22)

Even among his own people, Moses said, "I am a stranger in a strange land." Truly, as Saint Augustine states, "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in Thee."

Friday, January 29, 2016

St. Thomas and St. Francis

"There were of course many curious and complicated ideas in the philosophy of St. Thomas, besides this primary idea of a central common sense that is nourished by the five senses. Not only is this a Thomist doctrine, it is truly and eminently a Christian doctrine....There is a sort of popular parallel to it in the fact that St. Francis did not only listen for the angels, but also listened to the birds. In Thomas as in Francis there is a preliminary practical element which is rather moral; a sort of good and straightforward humility; and a readiness in the man to regard even himself in some ways as an animal, as St. Francis compared his body to a donkey, and St. Thomas was compared to an ox. Neither of them would have been too proud to wait as patiently as the ox and the ass in the stable of Bethlehem."
(from St. Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton)

Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, January 28.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Praying isn't...

"...a contest but the doorway
into thanks, a silence in which
 another voice may speak."

(Mary Oliver, "Praying" )

Friday, January 15, 2016

Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, cast us not off forever. (Psalm 44)