little flowers of faith: daisies
Le blog de la Bergerie
Un blog catholique et bilingue, franco-américain, sur la foi, la religion, le monde et la culture, avec des articles, des prières, des recettes de cuisine et des photos de nature.
A Catholic French-American worldview based on faith, reason and gratitude, with articles, comments and prayers, cooking recipes and nature pictures.
little flowers of faith: daisies

For a variety of reasons I have not updated this site recently as often as I wanted, although we just went through the most crucial, fundamental and formative moment of the year (and if you know me, you know I believe them all to be absolutely crucial) but the season of Lent, Holy Week and Easter? It is such an amazing feast of crucial moments, an avalanche of sign posts revealed along the way culminating in one life-changing moment: his Resurrection. The Victory of the Cross, the Glory of Easter, which is for all of us, believers (timid or not), the moment has happened and is still unfolding, for the world, for all of us, whether we realize it or not, whether we are showing gratitude loud and clear or not….

Life has many layers and they are all connected and intertwined and feeding each other:
1) The liturgical season of Easter 2017 is going on right now and will go till Pentecost.
2) The global Easter Season of our human race will unfold till the Second Coming…
3) The personal, private and innermost Easter Season of our own soul is played out in every breath we take and it will bloom when fed by love, hope and joy, compassion and forgiveness, less it shrinks and withers in their absence. But every one of our days on this little planet of ours is a new beginning. Our capacity to fall and get up again, to redress the course and aim for the highest good is within our reach, every day. Our freedom to seek one more time the good, the true and the just, our ability to want it and to will it, again and again, on our own and supported by the grace of the liturgy, carried on the shoulders of all the saints and all the angels, fed by prayers, our own or the ones of our neighbors, next door or across the globe, this is offered to us, every day. And the biggest gift is knowing that it is possible BECAUSE of the Passion and Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord…

*He* did it. It's done.
We only need to follow him, to listen to him, to love him…
Isn't this something? Joyeuses Pâques à tous! April 19 2017 San Francisco

  On options and freedom and faith

We have so many options, us, members of the Body of Christ, to be his hands and his feet, to be his voice to all the ones we meet…

One of the most amazing part of faith is that it brings freedom to our lives in so many new ways, it is quite a paradox to experience this reality and it is usually completely unknown outside of the believers' circles. But with faith comes freedom, with freedom comes the possibility to choose the good, the just and the beautiful, the freedom to choose life, to choose holiness. We get choices and options - and hope and trust - because we are all made in His image and because each one of us is unique, isn't this mind boggling enough? Then just add to this mix the reason why: it is because we are loved...

The life of a believer is a daily expression of this freedom, adapted to our positions in life, our GPS location, our age and our own faith journey, our family context and heritage, our work and play … Faith is both the journey and the goal. We are walking ahead and we are not walking blindly, we have the light of the Beatitudes, the Great Commission, the Gospels, the Pauline Letters, we are inspired by our Lord commandment to Love God and love each other…. We are encouraged and motivated by the saints, the spiritual leaders and the doctors of the Church who have deepened these commandments again and again with their own experiences and witnessing. Because we are weak, because of our human nature, we fail and we fall down. But there is this constant invitation to get up and readjust ourselves and our lives and aim high again. What a blessing it is to be Catholic, to belong to a religion with such clear directions, where the teachings and dogmas are public and accessible to all, especially in today's connected world. And to think that this offer is "open to all", that this offer is constant, that every day is a new beginning…

The invitation has been clearly outlined, in great details, for what it implies for each one of us, from traditional Scriptures to classics such as the "Imitation of Christ" or the Summa Theologiae, to today's Pope Francis tweets, the information and the invitation is out there and it is mainly a question of opening up our ears and our hearts. It is exactly one of the work of the Holy Spirit to "reveal to us the realities of the faith"! Yes, the options available to us on how best to follow Christ and be a Christian are innumerable because they exist for each one of us to live it out, supported by the communion of saints, embraced by the mercy of the Son, formed by the revealing counsels of the Holy Spirit and ignited by the wondrous and the astonishing grace of God…

The Marian option: Recently, I was very pleased to hear about "The Marian Option". Dr. Carrie Gress provides a thoroughly researched bird s eye view of the significant cultural and military events mediated through Mary on behalf of her spiritual children. From miraculous victories to the soaring heights of culture, you have never seen Mary like this before. Beyond the battlefield, The Marian Option also highlights the link between Marian devotion and high culture, showing how creativity and the arts painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature all flourish when devotion to her is strong.This enthralling chronicle of Mary s intercession makes clear that Christ s mother is indeed the most powerful woman in the world. Not only is she keenly interested in assisting Christians, she has the ability to do so, even in the face of the gravest odds. We just have to ask. From Amazon.com, read more here Another article expended on this: "Why the Marian Option is not optional": Part history book, part theological reflection and part apologetic defense of Marian doctrines, The Marian Option presents a fast-paced, hope-filled plea for the faithful to understand and utilize the powerful weapon Mary's intercession. The section entitled "Mary's Geopolitical Influence" is particularly enlightening, wherein Gress offers new insights on Mary's apparitions at Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima and sheds light on her influence in pushing back forces hostile to Christianity, including paganism, Islamic militarism, and Communism… From Aleteia.org, read more here

The Saint Francis of Sales option: Five lessons from Francis of Sales: for instance, do not run away from where you are, holiness is your calling wherever you are "Bloom where you are planted". The author says that "It's a fair bet that Francis de Sales would not have been a fan of flame wars on the internet, or politicians and talk show hosts who verbally burn their opponents at the stake. When he was asked why he never succumbed to anger, his reply was consistent and swift: "Would you wish for me to lose in fifteen minutes, what I have spent my whole life trying to control?" See more here
The Little Flower option: "Do everything with great love" such as the laundry (done by hand in those days, imaging washing sheets in cold water and trying to squeeze that water out of them afterwards), the daily cleaning and cooking, the singing in choir, the coughing of mucus and blood etc… The smallest and most mundane task can be done for the love of Jesus and the love of the Church. Therese started on this path praying for a fervent atheist murderer before he was executed. She lived it every day of her short life, she wrote about it, and in her last months, lying on the bed in the convent infirmary, dying of tuberculosis at 25 years old, she kept offering all her suffering to God. Her small diary turned out to be such a source of inspiration and encouragement for all, as she had said she would "spend her time in heaven sending a shower of rose petals on earth".
The Monica's option: Pour rivers of tears begging Heaven for the conversion of your intellectual (and mildly arrogant) son (actually, there is a name for this outpouring of tears, it's called the "gift of tears"). See your son convert (and become a Bishop and a Doctor of the Church), so will your own pagan (and mildly male chauvinistic) husband and for that matter the whole household too…
The French option: when all seems lost, when the culture wars seems to have defeated the faith and the church in a variety of evident ways, then God will rise a new wave of faithful and orthodox authors, saints, leaders, prayer groups or social justice workers… Read more here
The Abba Joseph option: A monk went to see Abba Joseph and said: "Abba, I practice the rule (of St Benedict), I do a little fasting, I spend time in prayer and meditation and, as much as possible, I keep my thoughts clean. What else should I do?" The old man stood up, stretched out his hands toward heaven and his fingers became like ten torches. And he said: "If you wish, you can become all flame".
The Carmelites of Compiegne option: climb the scaffold of la guillotine singing to God and offer your life for the end of the blood bath of the Revolution (which stopped within 2 weeks)...
The Opus Dei option: "God is not removing you from your environment. He is not taking you away from the world, or from your condition in life, or from your noble human ambitions, or from your professional work ... But he wants you to be a saint - right there!" (Saint Josemaría)
The writing in the snow option: Trust me, sometime the simplest statement can become a powerful witness, especially if it is the most you can do at that particular moment and if you are in an isolated place! But God's grace will heal any exhaustion and sooth every loneliness.

The season of Lent is right here and it is such a good time to think, to review, to reevaluate
and to start again...
The biggest shift in human history is about to happen,
it is quite a long journey (so much can happen in 40 days)
and it ends in glory but starts with such a simple
and humble thing: ashes on our forehead,
a very public reminder of our own frailty...

"On ne nous dit pas : Allez vers l'Orient pour chercher la charité,
naviguez vers l'Occident pour trouver l'amour de Dieu.
Non, c'est à l'intérieur, dans notre cœur
- dont nous avons constamment à chasser la colère -
qu'il nous est ordonné de rentrer";
lire ici extrait d'un sermon de Cesaire d'Arles pour le Carême.

April 2017 - Sharing the faith… in English:

To see what used to be here in this column, go to my Archives for 2016: here

I just saw a terrific movie last night: Ignatius of Loyola! I saw it in San Francisco and do check the trailer, do go see it, I loved it and found it so inspiring. Faith and hope, courage and discernment, are beautiful things, and very contagious too, which is why we should not keep them silent. Thank you, Star of the Sea and Ignatius Press! See more here on the early years of this amazing saint, his conversion from soldier to a beggar, a pilgrim, a preacher, shedding everything of his earlier life and becoming a true disciple of Christ, helping and guiding others toward Him .We are shown the very beginning and formation of his famous "spiritual exercises", in very moving scenes, his spiritual temptations, and a fascinating trial with the Dominicans... All the movie takes place before the actual founding of the Company of Jesus.

Gil Bailie offers his masterwork in God's Gamble: in it, Bailie shares the fruits of a lifetime of patient reflection upon the innovative anthropological hypotheses of Girard and also the fearless theological explorations of Hans Urs von Balthasar…In a spirit of humility, Bailie investigates what we can know about both the origin and the destiny of humankind, thanks to the revelation of the Trinity in history. It is a wondrous history that becomes all the more fascinating as we continue to learn more about it through evolutionary science, cultural anthropology, and theological contemplation. See here

I am weary of the storm around us nowdays, of the anger and fury swirling around, of the mean, vulgar and disparaging comments being hurled... and I'm not sure what to do. I am certain that I should not add oil to the fire, that I should not join in this particular dance, but I do know who to turn to for help! Saint Michael, my patron saint, pray for us today! The icon was in my room at San Damiano, last week-end, the border is my own, just to outline it more for this collage, the prayer and the quote below are from "St Michael and the angels" Tan publisher: St Francis of Sales wrote, three centuries ago, that "Veneration of Saint Michael is the greatest remedy against despising the rights of God, against insubordination, skepticism and infidelity"…

The people who challenged my atheism most were drug addicts and prostitutes. By Chris Arnade. "During that time I counted myself an atheist and nodded in agreement as a wave of atheistic fervor swept out of the scientific community and into the media, led by Richard Dawkins. I saw some of myself in him: quick with arguments, uneasy with emotions, comfortable with logic, able to look at any ideology or any thought process and expose the inconsistencies". Read it all here in the Guardian.

Stunned by Providence… by Michele Szekely. This is a short essay of mine on Divine Providence and how one line from a (very unusual) movie startled me. "But "Les Innocentes" is a little gem too, or so it turned out for me. I must admit I found a certain humor in the fact that my own faith in Divine Providence was deepened in that particular flight! I have known for some times now..." Read it all here .

Today's Gospel Matthew 6:24-34:
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

It is especially during troubled times where confusion is spread daily and panic, fear and anger seem to agitate and dominate so many hearts and minds and souls that we need to hold on fast to the words of Christ, him, the Word of God, the Prince of Peace, the Truth, the Life and the Way. It is certainly a good time to practice charity towards our neighbor, to concentrate on fortitude towards ourselves; to deepen our own trust in God the Creator of the world, grow in love of Jesus Christ, his Son, the Redeemer of the world, exercise openness to the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifyer of the world. O Most Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us all!

January: Last week-end I went to San Damiano, a Franciscan retreat center. I took some photos of the place and the grounds and I put them all together here with a few comments and the famous prayer of Saint Francis! I'm going back soon...

5 warning signs of a toxic faith (by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble):
- Do you have a hard time talking about faith without bringing up politics? I believe this is something that really pushes young people away from the Church (especially in the United States where neither party adequately represents the Catholic worldview). People who obsess about politics, make villains of political figures, and speak about their ideological opponents in a dehumanizing way do a disservice to their own spiritual life as well as that of others (…)
- Can you have a conversation about faith without mentioning the words "liberal" or "conservative" or one of the many other labels we use to disparage those we deem unfit to be Catholic? Do you regularly talk about the people or groups you consider to be your ideological enemies? If our faith life has become focused on other people who are doing it wrong, then we are doing it wrong...
(Read it all here on the site of aleteia.org)

No Silence for Christ! is my own commentary on Scorsese's last movie, which I have not seen and do not plan to see. I am not sure how useful such a commentary can be so it is better to call it a reflection on the horror of apostasy and the dangers of graphic violence, when all morphed together in a fascinating and attractive (I assume) story... You can read it here and you can send me comments via facebook.

If you have already checked some of the pages on this site, if you know me via facebook or in real life, then you must know I am prolife, pro children, pro family... But I was thinking of all this again today as I was reading an article on the French site of Aleteia. It is using one of the little story I myself used once in an article I wrote on this very subject (back in 2008):
- One I called The 3 stages of life where I described the stage in the womb, the stage in the world and the eternal life in ONE GOD.
- The other one Life continuum uses an ultra sound shot and an icône to illustrate the two stages (the one in the womb and the eternal one) which are a bit more "unknown" to us. I don't remember where I found this "twins in the womb story"but it is such a good one to illustrate the various stages of life.
Re-reading all this today, I thought that to be more precise I should say that: I am pro life, but before it all, I am pro eternal life! It is important to articulate one's world view very clearly and to put all things in the appropriate perspective, right? Well, lucky for us, young children have a way of reminding us of what is truly essential, sometimes in the funniest and even slightly bizarre manner (see photo of children in the snow). They had been working both on the snowman, then suddenly she throws herself on the ground and rolls around in the snow giggling so happily that it brings a smile to my face everytime I think about it... The smile of a child, their energy and innocence, the beauty of the snow and the mountains - or the immensity of the Pacific Ocean - and faith and prayers, all these work as terrific physical and spiritual reboots to me. In today's context (mid November 2016), this is exactly what is needed. I don't think I mentioned it yet but I am in the French Alps, I've been here 2 weeks already, and we are both going back to California in a few days.

For an alphabetical listing of articles and prayers on this site please see : Site Map

Avril 2017 - Le partage de la foi… en français:

Né entre 480 et 490, à Nursie dans les Apennins, en Ombrie. La vie de St Benoit : Introduction, par Saint Grégoire : "tout quitter pour le Christ" : Il y eut un homme de sainte vie, Benoît - BENEDICTUS - béni par la grâce et par le nom…
Son best-seller : Sa Règle. C'est au Concile de Latran en 1215 que cette règle devient la norme exclusive de la vie monastique en Occident. Ses Titres : Nommé " Patron de l'Europe " par Paul VI, en 1964. Il fut " un messager de Paix ", " un Maître de culture ", " un Hérault de la foi chrétienne ", et " le fondateur de la vie monastique en Occident ".
Ses miracles : Lire le livre II des dialogues de St Grégoire le Grand. Objet qui le caractérise : un livre. Les moines bénédictins ont recopié les codex latins afin de pouvoir les conserver et les transmettre.
Sa parole de Vie : " Ne rien préférer à l'amour du Christ ". En lire plus sur le site de l'Abbaye de Jouarre ici

Romain Duris : "Incarner un prêtre m'a interrogé sur la foi". Avec La confession, vous succédez à Jean-Paul Belmondo dans le rôle de Léon Morin, prêtre (1961). Comment vivez-vous la comparaison ?
C'est un honneur. Jean-Paul, avec qui je m'étais très bien entendu sur le tournage de Peut-être, en 1999, est un acteur que j'admire. Je sais juste qu'il s'est dit très heureux de me voir incarner le personnage à mon tour. Nous n'avons pas échangé au sujet du film. Peut-être le verra-t-il… De toute façon, La confession n'est pas un " remake " de son film mais une nouvelle adaptation, qui repart du livre de Béatrix Beck. En lire plus sur le site de Pelerin : ici

ASIE/SYRIE - Document du Jesuit Refugee Service six ans après le début du conflit en Syrie. Homs (Agence Fides) - Aujourd'hui, 15 mars, marque le sixième anniversaire du début du conflit syrien et, contrairement à ce que semblent indiquer les impressions superficielles sollicitées par certaines nouvelles fortement emphatisées par les circuits médiatiques internationaux, la Syrie " continue à souffrir " on estime que 13,5 millions de syriens ont besoin d'assistance humanitaire, sachant que la moitié de ce nombre est composé d'enfants. Les enfants ont perdu leur enfance. Près de 3 millions d'enfants syriens de moins de 5 ans ont grandi sans connaître d'autre réalité que celle de la guerre… En lire plus sur le site de Agenzia Fides ici

Carême 2017 : Retraite en ligne avec Mgr Jérôme Beau Chaque Carême, le site maVocation.org offre une retraite en ligne avec des méditations de Monseigneur Jérôme Beau, Évêque auxiliaire de Paris et Directeur de l'Œuvre des Vocations. Largement appréciés depuis 7 ans, ces extraits audio (3 minutes) de retraites adressées à des jeunes qui désirent devenir prêtres rejoignent manifestement le cœur de personnes de tous âges: ici

10 femmes devenues saintes par leur statut de mère:
Être mère, c'est à la fois une immense bénédiction et une lourde responsabilité, et cela aide parfois de savoir que de nombreuses femmes sont déjà passées par là. Ces femmes ne sont pas que des bons exemples à suivre, elles sont des saintes qui peuvent intercéder pour vous et vous apporter du soutien.
Sainte Françoise de Rome, dont on célèbre la fête le 9 mars: Sainte Françoise eut six enfants, mais son fils Baptiste fut le seul à ne pas mourir dans l'enfance. Adulte, il épousa une femme qui détestait Françoise. Alors qu'elle était régulièrement insultée, rabaissée et coupée de la vie de son fils, Françoise décida de ne pas baisser les bras et de continuer à se montrer aimable envers sa belle-fille. Celle-ci finit par changer de comportement et cela permit de retrouver l'harmonie familiale. Parfois, seule une mère est assez forte pour se mettre en retrait avec humilité et amour dans le but de recoller les morceaux dans une famille déchirée. Son conseil : soyez une source d'unité dans votre famille, et non de division. En lire plus ici sur le site de aleteia.fr

Priez pour le monde avec le Pape ! Rentrez dans le Réseau mondial de prière du Pape, avec le site Prier au coeur du monde ici et l'appli "Click To Pray" qui relaient son appel à tous les chrétiens à se mobiliser pour les défis de l’humanité et la mission de l’Église.

RCF Haute-Savoie nous partage cette bonne nouvelle : leur journaliste Victor Vasseur a décroché le prix François Chalais du jeune reporter. Avec son reportage sur une famille de Chrétiens d'Orient réfugiée à Cluses, il a convaincu un jury prestigieux où se côtoient des journalistes avérés et des patrons de grands médias. En lire plus ici .

Journée du patrimoine chrétien oriental à Paris samedi 21 janvier, les neuf églises catholiques orientales de Paris ouvrent leurs portes au public pour une « journée du patrimoine chrétien oriental ». Trois parcours-pèlerinage sont proposés à travers les rues de Paris à la rencontre des chrétiens d’Orient :
- Saint-Ephrem (des syriens-catholiques) - Notre-Dame-du-Liban (des maronites) - Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (des melkites) ;
- Notre-Dame d’Égypte (des coptes catholiques) - Notre-Dame-de-Chaldée (des chaldéens) - Sainte-Croix-des-Arméniens
- ou enfin Saint-Volodymyr (des Ukrainiens) - Saint-Georges-des-Roumains - Très-Sainte-Trinité (Russes catholiques).
Ces visites leur permettent de découvrir que l’on peut être catholique sans être latin, orientaux sans être orthodoxes, et donc que l’Église catholique n’est pas monolithique. »...
En lire plus ici sur le site de La Croix

L'icône de la Théophanie, église orthodoxe d'Estonie: L'icône de l'Epiphanie représente symboliquement le baptême du Christ au Jourdain, et illustre également certains textes scripturaires concernant le rôle de l'eau comme instrument et de la création du monde, et du salut de l'humanité. En la personne de Jésus-Christ, qui n'a pas connu le péché, le baptême n'est évidemment pas octroyé, comme dans notre cas " pour la repentance ", " en vue de la rémission des péchés" (Actes 2/38). Traversant la croûte terrestre, le Christ pénètre dans un "tombeau liquide", ce trou noir, lieu du "schéol" ou séjour des morts. Son baptême est essentiellement un passage dans la mort et la résurrection, comme le sera, à sa suite, notre propre baptême, ainsi que l'explique saint Paul : "Nous avons donc été ensevelis avec lui dans la mort par le baptême, afin que, comme Christ est ressuscité d'entre les morts par la gloire du Père, de même nous aussi nous marchions en nouveauté de vie " (Rom. 6/4). De plus, l'entrée du Christ dans le Jourdain a déclenché une véritable Pentecôte personnelle, la première manifestation du Dieu trinitaire. "Dans ton baptême au Jourdain, Seigneur, s'est manifestée l'adoration de la Trinité... " En lire plus ici .

Marie, Miroir des Vierges. Quoi de plus noble que la mère de Dieu ? Quoi de plus splendide que celle-là même qu'a choisie la splendeur ? Quoi de plus chaste que celle qui a engendré le corps sans souillure corporelle ? Et que dire de ses autres vertus ? Elle était vierge, non seulement de corps, mais d'esprit, elle dont jamais les ruses du péché n'ont altéré la pureté : humble de cœur, réfléchie dans ses propos, prudente, avare de paroles, avide de lecture ; elle mettait son espoir non dans l'incertitude de ses richesses, mais dans la prière des pauvres ; appliquée à l'ouvrage, réservée, elle prenait pour juge de son âme non l'homme, mais Dieu ; ne blessant jamais, bienveillante à tous, pleine de respect pour les vieillards, sans jalousie pour ceux de son âge, elle fuyait la jactance, suivait la raison, aimait la vertu. Quand donc offensa-t-elle ses parents, ne fût-ce que dans son attitude ? Quand la vit-on en désaccord avec ses proches ? Quand repoussa-t-elle l'humble avec dédain, se moqua-t-elle du faible, évita-t-elle le miséreux ? ... son attitude extérieure était l'image même de son âme, le reflet de sa droiture ... Bien que Mère du Seigneur, elle aspirait pourtant à apprendre les préceptes du Seigneur ; elle qui avait enfanté Dieu, souhaitait pourtant de connaître Dieu. (Extrait du De Virginibus, dédié en 377 par saint Ambroise à sa sœur Marcelline, religieuse à Rome) en lire plus ici sur le site des plus belles pages sur Marie


Pour une liste alphabétique
des articles & des prières
sur ce site: Site Map


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