About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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"This was first breach in the walls of a fortress, centuries old, stoutly built, strong and robust, but no longer capable of responding to the spiritual needs of the age." [N.B. the "fortress" is a liturgy which nourished countless great saints.]
— Annibale Bugnini (19 March 1966)

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From Pope Benedict and other insights
published 22 April 2013 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

In 2007 I was reading Pope Benedict’s first book on Jesus. Here are some things I loved:

HE Beatitudes are, first of all, says Pope Benedict, about how the disciples are poor, hungry, persecuted. He mentions that after the Babylonian exile 90% of the Jews were poor, so that it could no longer be thought that goodness leads to riches as many thought before that.

Writing more about the Beatitudes, Pope Benedict says that anawim means meek. I thought that since anger is pseudo-power I need to be much more meek. Jesus wants to build a kingdom without power.

He notes that the diaspora (the Jews spreading out over the Mediterranean and other areas during OT times) was to make space for God in other lands.

Abishag, the Lady of the Song of Songs, is a novel of Pat Looper (a member of our Christian Writer’s group) wrote while in our group. At the end where after many adventures Solomon and Abishag speak out the Song of Songs in context, I cried. I realized that my Song of Song times with my husband were real; that my hopes gave way to disillusion didn’t mean the ecstatic love wasn’t real. Like Ecclesiastes, – a time to sing, a time to mourn. In emphasizing that fantasy and idol worship leads to fallen idols etc. I had lost the memory of the joy in that romantic love.

In that same year of 2007, a friendsuggested I do a 365 meditation book since she likes daily meditations.

First sample meditation:

CONTROL vs. RELEASE

“…that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will.” (Philemon: 14)

Parenting, managing a work place, or policing, are examples of necessary control. Micro-managing or trying to fix everyone, however, is excessive and inappropriate. Why is it wrong to try to straighten people out? Isn’t loving concern a virtue? Yes and no. Wishing others to do what is good is right. The fault lies in trying to override their right to make free decisions.

God, whose judgment is perfect, rarely coerces us. When Eve ate the apple and Adam followed suit, God did not blast the apple out of their hands or reduce the serpent to ashes. At the Passion, God did not annihilate His son’s torturers. So why do we think that we have the right to badger others? “Let go, let God,” is a phrase we need to tell ourselves frequently, so that we can release others into the hands of the Lord.

Prayer: Father God, you are the Lord of our lives. I want to release to you each person I try to control. (List each person) I release (name) ____________ into Your heart and hands. Forgive me for my controlling habit. If you want to use me to help them, show me a way not to command but to suggest in a gentle and loving way. Please pour out Your graces on them that they may be ultimately saved.

It is important, I think, that when we look at ourselves in the mirror or in photos that we look to see if our expression is loving vs. do we look good. It helps me to think of how beloved the old lines face of Mother Teresa is. We should also think of how the Ascended Jesus must have looked down at Mary’s face on earth which was surely older than her face when he looked up at her from his babyhood!

More quotes:

Von Balthasar: The Three Fold Garland: “When giving her assent Mary was alone, since at receiving one’s decisive mission for life, everyone must stand alone before God and say yes.”

From Conchita (Ven. Concepcion de Armida, a 20th century venerable) – A Mother’s Letters:

“Love achieves all things! Love is giving. When this donation is not yet perfect it is desire; when it is accomplished, love is peace; when it is eternal it is bliss.”

from Seasons of the Soul:

“In wintertime, the soul does not have to wander, but to recollect herself…for veteran souls, I might say, it is the period in which they fly to the tabernacle with greater enthusiasm, and there they allow the poison to drain away, the bad blood to run off, burning at the feet of Jesus all the wood that has been pruned, watching it kindle, in the pain, but at the same time consoled for these pieces of the heart are incense for the Beloved.”

Something I wrote that same year:

Ragpicker Priest

We clutch our rags of sin

tightly around us

as if adornments

or, at least, necessities.

Our priest deliberates:

tear off those rags?

I’ve power and wit

But, maybe not.

Naked, they might rush

to buy but another

tattered coat

from Satan’s supermarket.

I prefer to weave

a cloak of hope

and offer it from

Jesus’ bargain basement.

Sundays,

I invite them:

“Come and get it,

Confession is at 4.”

“Robes of hope

for rags of sin,”

The rags they shed

I offer to the Prince of Peace

For nothing less than heaven!

Only I know what you need to be unified, so lie still under the knife of life as it comes to you.