Le saint de ce jour

„Raymond Kolbe naquit en Pologne à Zdunska-Wola, en 1894. Il entre au noviciat des frères conventuels franciscains en 1910 sous le nom de Maximilien, auquel il ajoutera celui de Marie à sa profession solennelle en 1914. Il poursuit ses études à Rome à l’Université grégorienne. En 1917, avec quelques confrères, il fonde un mouvement marial au service de l’Église et du monde : „La Milice de l’Immaculée”.

Prêtre, il rentre en Pologne et enseigne la philosophie et l’histoire de l’Église au couvent de Cracovie. Malgré sa santé fragile (il vécut avec un seul poumon à partir de 1921) et l’incompréhension de son entourage, il continue à propager la Milice de l’Immaculée.

Théologien, mystique et apôtre, Maximilien a trouvé l’unité de sa vie dans son culte pour l’Immaculée, qui se concrétise dans le don de soi.

Il lance un bulletin mensuel, Le chevalier de l’Immaculée, il crée à Teresin un centre de vie religieuse et apostolique appelé La cité de l’Immaculée. Il se rend au Japon et fonde à Nagasaki une seconde Cité et prépare d’autres fondations en Asie.

Déporté en Allemagne en 1939, le 29 mai 1941, il arrive au camp d’Auschwitz. C’est là qu’il s’offre à la place d’un père de famille, (qui devait être châtié) en représailles d’une évasion. Choisissant librement d’être condamné avec 9 autres prisonniers, il est enfermé dans un bunker pour y mourir de faim. Il meurt le dernier, le 14 août, veille de la fête de l’Assomption, après avoir réconforté ses compagnons. Jean-Paul II l’a canonisé en 1982.

Le F. Maximilien Kolbe en 1939. © D. R.


Maximilien, toi notre frère aîné dans la foi, tu as offert librement ta vie par Amour de Dieu et de ton prochain. Aujourd’hui, le don de ta vie nous interpelle sur nos chemins de foi, d’amour, sur toutes nos routes humaines d’ombres et de lumières.

Seigneur, à la prière de Maximilien, guide nos pas sur les chemins du don et de l’Amour vrai et libre, avec ta grâce. Que notre vie soit belle et simple, un peu plus chaque jour tournée vers Toi !”

Soeur Marie-Bénédicte, clarisse, texte paru dans la Croix, mardi 14 août 2018


„We were made for these times…”

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes – We Were Made For These Times

by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

„My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times…


„I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Source: grahameb


Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés is Mestiza Latina [Native American/ Mexica and Spanish], presently in her seventies. She grew up in the now vanished oral tradition of her war-torn immigrant, refugee families who could not read nor write, or did so haltingly, and for whom English was their third language overlying their ancient natal languages.

She is a lifelong activist in service of the voiceless; as a post-trauma recovery specialist and psychoanalyst of 48 years clinical practice with persons traumatized by war, including exilios and torture victims; and as a journalist covering stories of human suffering and hope.

Diplomate psychoanalyst [Certified by IAAP, Zurich] who developed an international psychological recovery protocol for, amongst other traumatic disasters, the Armenian earthquake rescue; The Mexico City earthquake, the Los Angeles earthquake, The Rocky Mountain and California forest fires and floods, and their aftermaths. She served at Columbine High School and community for 3 years after the massacre; and works with 9-11 survivor families on both USA coasts.

„Buddha: The Great Physician”

Buddha: The Great Physician

The Buddha is compared to a doctor because he treated the suffering that ails all of us. His diagnosis and cure, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer, is called the four noble truths.

„It is said that just as the Buddha was close to approaching awakening, his nemesis Mara appeared, desperately determined to stop him. Mara’s attack centered on the Buddha’s body, first with sensual temptations, next with threats of harm.

This lurid archetypical scene—the Buddha serenely sitting, Mara’s minions hurling arrows and flames—is the very image of the human drama. Our bodies are under attack. Flesh is vulnerable. And yet, if we are determined, wise, and strong, we can avoid defeat. Like the Buddha, we can not only endure; we can heal and transcend. We can become enlightened beings.

The Buddha is often called the Great Healer. He is the ultimate physician, providing medicine to cure the human disease. His four noble truths follow the classical medical model of diagnosis, treatment, and cure. In their classical formulation they are: 1. The truth of suffering (diagnosis); 2. The truth of origination (cause); 3. The truth of stopping (cure); 4. The truth of the path (treatment).

The diagnosis is drastic: “All conditioned existence has the nature of suffering.” That is, we human beings are inherently ill, even when we think we are not. What we think of as health isn’t really that, for beneath our apparent health, illness lurks.

The Buddha asserted that our disease can be cured.

Illness is the basic human condition. The cause of this condition is desire, which includes not only sensual desire but even the very desire to remain healthy and to stay alive. As long as we cling and grasp we will suffer, because nothing can be held onto. Everything changes, slipping away moment by moment.

Since we can never eliminate desire, our condition seems hopeless. Yet the Buddha asserted that our disease can be cured. That is, though desire can’t be got rid of, it can be clarified and transmuted. Healing is possible. The fourth truth, the path, outlines the course of treatment—a thoroughgoing way of living and understanding that will bring us to full health and wholeness, if only we practice it with diligence.

This straightforward program sounds good to us empowered modern people conditioned by generations of scientific know-how and progress.  We believe that health is good and illness is bad and can be eliminated. With enough effort and energy, and with good doctors and psychotherapists, we can, like the Buddha, overcome suffering. We can defeat Mara.

But notice that in the gentle stories of the Buddha’s life, as told in the Pali suttas, Mara is never entirely defeated. He appears throughout the Buddha’s lifetime, constantly trying to foil the great sage. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, in one traditional tale Mara becomes discouraged, and the Buddha tells him, “Mara, don’t quit! I need you. Without you I can’t be Buddha.” Buddha and Mara depend on one another.

What is health? What is illness? In the modern medical model, health is the default, the norm. When I get my blood test, I want to hear that all my indicators are in the “normal” range, which means I am healthy. Illness is, by this definition, abnormal.

But as the first noble truth implies, there is no ultimate physical health. The human body can’t be perfectly free of impediment. There is always something more or less wrong. Even a child has bumps and afflictions, and throughout our lives illness and health are constantly jockeying for dominance. What we call health is simply a brief period of homeostasis. Even a person who seems to have preserved this homeostasis for a lifetime will undergo aging, in which physical vitality gradually decreases until it breaks down entirely and death occurs. Health is an illusion.

“Health” and “healing” literally mean “wholeness.” Wholeness implies inclusion of everything—of well-being as well as illness, the good along with the bad—into a larger sphere. In spiritual cultures, notions of healing and health always evoke a category larger than physical and psychological well-being, though physical and psychological well-being are included in it.

People may imagine that after his awakening the Buddha lived a healthy, happy, trouble-free life. But the Buddha’s life after his awakening was not trouble-free. There were moments of frustration with fractious members of his community. There was the sorrow of trying and failing to stop impending wars. There were physical problems too. Later in his life the Buddha complained of bellyaches, backaches, and general weariness.

The Buddha’s fundamental and unshakeable well-being went beyond the condition of his body and mind.

So, the Buddha was not always healthy and happy in the conventional sense. But this did not obviate the strength and thoroughness of his awakening. For even in the midst of problems, the Buddha remained ultimately healed. He didn’t expect to transcend the limitations of his body and mind. In wisely accepting and fully understanding the vulnerability of his physical existence, he was whole. His fundamental and unshakeable well-being went beyond the condition of his body and mind.

This more profound sense of health is implied in the four noble truths. Notice their traditional order: suffering, cause, cure, path. This is counterintuitive. The natural order ought to be suffering, cause, path, cure. This is what we expect from the doctor—that once she figures out what we’ve got and prescribes medication, which we carefully take, we will be cured. But the end point of the Buddha’s analysis isn’t the cure, stopping. It’s the treatment, the path.

So, curing is not the goal; it’s an aspiration, a hope, a faith. The path goes on and on; it has no endpoint. The Buddha’s biography bears this out: he doesn’t stop treading the path after he awakens. He doesn’t just enjoy himself and go on to other things. Instead he continues to practice the Way for and with others for the rest of his life. He doesn’t defeat Mara. Their dance goes on. If there is a cure, this is it: delight in the ongoing dance.

Let’s return for a moment to the scene of Buddha’s awakening. In response to Mara’s physical attacks, the Buddha is said to have touched the earth. In doing this, the Buddha was not only calling on the Earth Goddess to be his protector. He was also saying, “The earth is my body. My body expresses earth; it’s produced and supported by her. So, as long as earth exists, nothing, even what looks like complete destruction, can threaten my body. Even if pierced and broken by your arrows and flames, even when succumbing to illness and death, my body continues to circulate and flow, returning home to its source and mother, the great earth, which has always embraced it.” With this earth-touching gesture, Mara and his forces were dispelled.

At the end of his life, old, ill, and weary, the Buddha was visited one last time by Mara, who tempted him this time with peace and rest. “Now is the time,” Mara said, “for your final nibbana [Sanskrit: nirvana].”

“You need not worry, Evil One,” the Buddha replied. “Three months from now I will take final nibbana.” And three months later, suffering from a severe bellyache with diarrhea, the Buddha laid down between two Sala trees. Surrounded by tearful disciples, he breathed his last. Mara finally won, as he always does.

Or does he?

The worldview of the Buddha’s ancient Indian culture was the opposite of ours. We are radical materialists with an impressive record of mastery of the physical world. This makes us life-affirming and optimistic. As best we can, we try to avoid the inconvenient fact that we die. We say, why obsess about it? Death comes later, after a long happy life. There’s no use spoiling things by thinking about it. That would be morbid. Anyway, science will stave off death for a long, long time. The best doctors can cure even the worst diseases, and they are discovering new cures every day. Perhaps we will even be able to eliminate death at some point. Who knows? Scientists are working on it.

The ancient Indian view of life and death couldn’t be further from this. In ancient India, life was not long and happy; it was brief and brutal. The daily struggle to survive was arduous and miserable. Disease, starvation, and crushing poverty were the fate of most people. And, as the ancient Indians saw it, even at the end of this terrible lifetime there was no escape. We leave this life only to wander for a time in hideous post-life realms from which we will be reborn into yet another miserable life. This diabolical process goes on and on and on.

The goal then, according to ancient Indians, is not to prolong life; it’s to end this painful process once and for all. This is nibbana: final peace, complete rest, freedom from the beginningless cycle of birth and death.

The word nibanna means “to blow out,” as in blowing out a flame and entering peaceful darkness. Nibbana isn’t death; it’s the opposite of death. Life and death are restless and painful; nibanna is completion, fulfillment. Though old and infirm, the Buddha did not succumb to illness; he transcended it. In entering nibanna he became whole.

For the Buddha, what we call death is ultimate healing. Though the metaphor is the mirror opposite, the nibanna proposed by the Buddha may not be so different from the Christian conception of heavenly eternal life after death.

To be sure, nibanna isn’t the only goal of early Buddhism. Even in the midst of life’s unpreventable difficulties, suffering can be reduced by following the Buddhist path. Though we can never eliminate illness and harm, we can reduce the self-inflicted suffering we ourselves produce when we take a bad situation and make it worse through our resistance and unwise behavior.

A lifetime of such exacerbation is normal for most of us. It leads to all sorts of bad effects, from making enemies we don’t need to make, to ruining our physical health with bad habits and too much unnecessary stress. If, on the other hand, we practice meditation, ethical conduct, and the other Buddhist virtues, living mindfully and harmoniously, we will have community, cooperation, peace, and love, which will promote and extend our life.

Even when the body can’t be healed, the soul can be.

Such is one view of the path set forth in the Buddhist scriptures. It’s the view emphasized in Western Buddhism and in the Buddhist-inspired mindfulness movement. Buddhism is good for you; it accords with the healthy life we all want.

And yet, in Asia throughout the ages, beginning with the Buddha, who nearly starved himself to death, sages put their lives at risk in pursuit of the Way. Why?

As we’ve said, in Buddhism, as in all spiritual cultures, there is an overlap between what we usually think of as physical and emotional wellness and the greater healing promised by ultimate commitment to the path. The Buddhist teachings, as they are interpreted in the West, accord with current scientific research, which has been influenced by them. But the traditional Buddhist canon is full of miraculous stories of physical and emotional healing effected merely by the Buddha’s presence. Jesus and other saints also had the power to heal the sick, and tent revival preachers still cause the blind to see and the lame to throw off their crutches and walk. Faith heals the body and heart by healing the soul. So yes, whether rational or not, spiritual traditions are concerned with our ordinary well-being.

But even when the body can’t be healed, the soul can be. Putting us “right” with our inmost hearts, regardless of our physical condition, is the larger goal of all religious traditions, including Buddhism. If we cling too tightly to physical and emotional healing as our goal, we won’t be able to find spiritual healing when we need it most. Like the Buddha, we can heal, we can become whole, even when we are ill, even as we let go of our life.

Widening the concept of healing in this way necessarily widens our sense of who and what we think we are. If we are the body, and the thoughts, feelings, and memories associated with it, then we’ll want to preserve the body at all costs, and, thus, ordinary healing will be of utmost importance. But all religions, including Buddhism, teach that we are more than the body and its associated mental and emotional states. In Buddhist terms we are also, perhaps most saliently, buddha or buddhanature—awareness itself, luminous consciousness.

The Buddha affirmed that “this Mind, O monks, is luminous, only it is obscured by adventitious defilements from without.” The path purifies these defilements, enabling the luminous mind to shine forth unobstructed. In the later mind-only schools of Mahayana Buddhism, there is much teaching about the nature of this mind, and there are deep meditation practices to help guide us to it, insofar as this is possible. Clearly, mind is not something inside our brains. It is not a state or a condition. It is inside, outside, and everywhere else. It exists and it doesn’t.

In the light of Mahayana teachings like this, the point of the path is to appreciate that this is what we are—as much as, and even more than, the body and its mental and emotional concomitants. To affect this identity shift will enable us to die as the Buddha did—fully and with perfect healing. This is the goal of the Mahayana path.

In Mahayana Buddhism, recognition of this ultimate form of healing, beyond the body and sense of self, has an altruistic and communal dimension. If my body is the sacred instrument through which I appreciate, as the Buddha did, that I am embraced by and identified with both life and death, then I will understand that my desire to be and have more is a painful projection of my fear and separation, born of the ignorance that has caused beginningless suffering. Feeling life in this way, I can’t continue to be selfish. I’ll be motivated by love for all sentient beings, who are my true self, and I will care for them, protect them, and grieve for their losses and pain. To fully live with such a spirit, regardless of my own condition, is the ultimate form of healing.

In Zen Buddhist lore and discourse, the enlightened sages are ordinary people, masters of “everyday mind.” There is, as the saying goes, “nothing special” about them. The implication is that to be a normal, fully functioning, healthy human being is to be a loving, caring, compassionate person, one who takes care of, without being overly concerned about, one’s self. The fact that in this sense almost all of us are abnormal should not deter us from seeking a path to simple normalcy and everyday health—what the Zen masters understood as awakened life. I think we all need to do this, for our own good and for the good of us all.”

The Ultimate Reality

„All wisdom traditions have something to say about four important matters: (1) the nature of ultimate reality, (2) the possibilities for human knowing of this ultimate human reality, (3) the nature of personhood, and (4) the goal of human existence. . . .

  1. However named, God is the Ultimate Reality. Language does not serve us well to describe this Ultimate Reality since it is so profoundly supra-human and trans-personal. . . . All names for this foundation of existence point to the same reality—a reality that . . . is both transcendent and immanent, not set apart from the world of humans and things but deeply connected to everything that is. . . .

    Ultimate Reality is the source, substance and sustenance of all that is. Nothing exists without it. To be removed from this vital connection would be to instantly cease to exist. We exist because we are in relation to Ultimate Reality, or, more precisely, because we exist within it. . . .

  2. The mystics of the Perennial Wisdom Tradition assert that direct, immediate knowing [of Ultimate Reality] is possible. They tell us that such knowing is not based on reason or deduction, but on communion. . . . Knowing is intimate, and this intimacy is transformational. We come to resemble that which we know. . . .
  3. There is a place in the depths of [the human] soul in which Ultimate Reality alone can dwell, and within which we dwell in Ultimate Reality. . . .
    The knowing that humans seek, in every cell of our being, is to know the source and ground of our existence. This, the Perennial Wisdom Tradition teaches, is the goal and meaning of being human. Life has a direction. All of life flows from and returns to Divine Presence. . . .  Union with Ultimate Reality is sharing in the divinity of Christ. It is participating in the Divine Presence. This is the fulfillment of humanity.”

David G. Benner, “Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living,”


A fost ieri seara! Semana cu ce-am vazut si serile trecute, incepând cu cea cu eclipsa.



35.8 million miles is definitely not what most of us would consider “close.” But in planetary terms, close is definitely relative! On July 31, Mars will be 35.8 million miles from Earth, which is the closest it has been to Earth in 15 years. What does this mean for sky watchers? It means the Red Planet will appear super bright, and with its orange-red color, will be hard to miss in the nighttime sky. From July 27-30, the point in Mars’ orbit will come closest to Earth, and will be closest to Earth before sunrise Eastern Time on July 31.

What defines a “close approach?” The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles and does not happen very often. Because Earth and Mars have elliptical orbits and are slightly tilted to each other, all close approaches are not equal. When Mars slowly approaches what astronomers call opposition, it and the Sun are on opposite sides of the Earth. Earth and Mars align in opposition about every two years (fun fact: this is why most NASA missions to the Red Planet are at least two years apart – to take advantage of the closer distance). Opposition to Mars is at its closest to the Sun every 15 to 17 years, when excellent views of the Red Planet from Earth can occur. This is what is happening on the early morning hours of July 31.

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.
Image credit: NASA

Is 35.8 million miles the closest Mars has ever been to Earth? Nope. In 2003, Mars was 34.6 million miles from Earth and the closest it had been in nearly 60,000 years. This type of proximity won’t occur again until 2287. But, there will be another close approach in October 2020 when the distance between the Red Planet and Earth will be 38.6 million miles.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, what does this mean for you, the novice astronomer or general sky-watcher? It means that if you have clear skies where you live, go outside on the overnight hours of July 30 or early morning hours of July 31 and look up. The planet will be brighter than usual and will have an orange or red haze. You can also look through a telescope. If weather is bad where you are, NASA will be streaming live from the Griffith Observatory.