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Author: Eric Nicolai

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Meditations by Fr. Eric Nicolai, a Catholic priest of Opus Dei in Ernescliff College, Toronto. They are times of prayer addressed to men or women, with the intention of providing a personal dialogue with the Lord Jesus Christ present in their midst. They are usually preached in oratories of Opus Dei.
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I'm Ready for You Lord

I'm Ready for You Lord

2024-04-2130:47

This is a meditation preached by Fr. Eric Nicolai on March 15th 2024 at Ernescliff College. It is based on Wisdom 2, 12-20: Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.He professes to have knowledge of God,and calls himself a child of the Lord.He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;the very sight of him is a burden to us,because his manner of life is unlike that of others,and his ways are strange.We are considered by him as something base,and he avoids our ways as unclean;he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.Let us see if his words are true,and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries." This reality of what is to come serves as a principle of hope in our life. A principle of stability, a guiding post for meaning and purpose in all that will happen. Music: 'First Snow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com Thumbnail: Disputation of the sacrament by Raphael, 1509, Apostolic Palace, Vatican city.
Fr. Eric Nicolai peached this meditation at Lyncroft centre in Toronto on April 6, 2024. What is God’s will? Before the Lord was arrested, the apostles were with him, ostensibly to protect him, but they couldn’t stop the soldiers from arresting the Lord. Judas came with the chief priests. But the Lord was praying, and abandoned entirely to the Lord. Jesus is kneeling, he is sweating blood of anguish. But he said yes to God's will. When I work, I must be acting out of love and confidence on God’s will for me.
A meditation preached on April 3 by Fr. Eric Nicolai at Kintore College, Toronto. Today we get one of the most famous appearances of Jesus: His appearance suddenly walking next to the disciples of Emmaus. They were looking down, maybe hoping for someone to give them a lift, but no cars were passing. He managed to explain everything to them, and they recognized him. Thumbnail: Robert Zund, On the Road to Emmaus, 1877, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland.
The Victimae Paschali is an ancient sequence dating to the 11th century. It is an option to sing it or recite it during the Easter Octave. Fr. Eric Nicolai dives into this profound and ancient sonnet about the discovery of the empty tomb. Preached at Lyncroft Centre in Toronto, on April 1, 2024. Music: Chant of the Easter Sequence by Sisters of Aquinas Victimae Paschali Laudes. Thumbnail: Convento di San Marco, Resurrection and Women at the Tomb, fresco, Fra Angelico (ca 1400-1455). Photo taken by Catherine Pawluch.
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation in Kintore College, Toronto, on March 27, 2024. What a contrast between the gratitude and generosity of Mary of Bethany and the painful betrayal of Judas, one who was from his inner circle (Matthew 26:14-25). The searing and painful treachery of Judas' infidelity is a danger we must be aware of. Thumbnail: Kiss of Judas, fresco by Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, 1304. Music: VOCES8 'Ave Verum' by William Byrd.
A meditation preached at Lyncroft Centre in Toronto on Palm Sunday, 2024. All the witnesses of the events that occurred at the Passover of that year in Jerusalem preserved the searing memory of the most significant events suffered by the one whom they confessed as the promised Messiah. They recorded all this that was suffered by the Lord with the specific intention of extracting the salvific power, the sheer redemptive content and redemptive message of every word, every gesture, even the very braying of the donkeys, and the distant sound of the cock and a unique moment. It all had meaning.
A meditation preached on March 20, 2024 at Hawthorn School for Girls. We are closing into the end of Lent. Yesterday we celebrated the solemnity of St. Joseph. We have been meditating on this figure during Lent. Sometimes seen as the silent type in the corner, who doesn’t say much. He may have taught Jesus the art of carpentry, yes. But that does not mean he was silently stepping back in the background all the time. Jesus did know how to speak quite eloquently in public. He captivated people with his parables, and his images. Humanly hu must have seen that in Joseph. Perhaps Joseph was not just the silent type who doesn’t say much at the cocktail party. Maybe he also learnt from him great eloquence and language, and images. Crosses are covered now so that we can integrate the meaning of the cross in our life, more interiorly. That means understanding suffering and pain. Joseph guides us. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com Thumbnail: Commercial print of Joseph, from Sanctified Souls Shop
March 19, 2024 is the solemnity of St. Joseph, the foster Father of Jesus. On this occasion, Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation to Ernescliff College, Toronto. Today we go from the Trinity on earth, Mary, Jesus and Joseph, to the Trinity of heaven, Father, son and Holy Spirit. Matt 1, 20: But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” There, with this vision, we can immediately renew our vocation renew our yes to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, hand in hand with Joseph, who prompts us to do this, because he was so used to doing this in his life, it was a yes that coloured everything he did, a response to a call, a correspondence to a divine invitation, summons from the father to be there for his mission on earth. Matt 1, 24: …And Joseph awoke from sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, taking his wife to himself… Obedience made it possible for him to surmount his difficulties and spare Mary. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
Letting God Work

Letting God Work

2024-03-1324:23

Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation at Ernescliff College on March 13, 2024. John 5:17-30: Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal. He gives signs of his divinity, indicating that his actions are the work of the Father. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented this passage in 2002 on the occasion of a congress on Ordinary life, during the canonization of Saint Josemaría Escrivá in Rome. There were a number of articles published in Osservatore Romano, and his was the best: Letting God Work. He was struck by the name, Opus Dei. Our Father said he didn’t want to be founder of anything, that he had not invented anything, that the Lord had simply made use of him. Thus it was not his work, but Opus Dei. He was only an instrument with which God had acted. He let God work. Thumbnail: James Tissot, Christ Reproving the Pharisees, 1836-1902, in Brooklyn Museum. Music: Adrift among the infinite stars by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation at Ernescliff College, Toronto on March 10, 2024. We started Lent with the figure of the devil tempting Jesus in the desert. First , this is an opportunity today to ask for conversion. Like the 40 years of the Jews in the desert, or 40 days of Moses on the Mountain, or Elijah 40 days too. It must lead to conversion, we can’t just roll on and on and stay the same person without real change, without deep conversion. That is the first goal, but ultimately we already know the result: that Jesus conquers this evil, and we too will overcome our demons. Thumbnail: Juan de Flandes, Temptation of Christ in the Desert, 1500 collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation to a group of priests at the Manoir de Beaujeu, near Montreal on February 27, 2024. In one of his letters, St. Paul reflects his deep solicitude and his joy at seeing and experiencing the growth of the faith in the Ephesians. It moves him to thanksgiving and prayer. Eph 1, 15-20: For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, (...) Thumbnail: Rembrandt, Three Trees, etching, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 1643. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
The Chair of Peter

The Chair of Peter

2024-02-2320:23

A meditation preached by Fr. Eric Nicolai at Kintore College, Toronto, on the Feast of the Chair of Peter, February 22, 2204. Today’s feast is like the result of the prayer of Jesus, or better, the testimony that Jesus gave of his own prayer to the Father for Peter: “The Lord says to Simon Peter: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and, once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk 22, 32) That prayer was immensely efficacious. How could it not? God the Son, addressing God the Father. Peter, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation to a group of diocesan priests at the Manoir de Beaujeu, near Montreal, on February 1, 2024. Easter Vigil Gospel: Mark 16, 1-7 The women: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, had an important task. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. What are the things that are stressing us, and what are the stones in our life that are impeding our faith from moving forward? Photo: Fra Angelico, Fresco of the Holy Women ant the Tomb. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com.
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation on February 9, 2024 at Kintore College in Toronto. Base on the gaze of Jesus on the crowds. Mark 8, 1-10: A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. If I send them off home hungry they will collapse on the way; some have come a great distance.’ Here we see his mercy for the crowd. Mercy because they were unattended. They lacked food, but this was an image of the starvation of their souls, that they needed to fill themselves more with his salvific truth: the truth of the Gospel. Music: 'Undertow' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com. Thumbnail: Limbourg Brothers, from Tres riches heures du Duc de Berry Flemish, c. 1411, Musee Conde, Chantilly MS 65, fol. 168v
A meditation preached by Fr. Eric Nicolai at Lyncroft Centre in Toronto. Matt 5, 13-16: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world." And he warned us of losing our tastiness, our virtue of bringing out the good, the winder, the humour of life. Or even the spice.  The Nunc dimittis prayer by the aged Simeon can open our hope to being that light. (Lk 2, 25-32) Music: Adrift among the infinite stars by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com Thumbnail: Simeon in the Temple by Rembrandt, 1669, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation as the introduction to a retreat for priests of various dioceses at the Manoir de Beaujeu, near Montreal. It was preached on February 28, 2024. Mark 1:21-28: Today’s Gospel about the authority with which Jesus spoke in the synagogue of Capernaum. It was a place of quiet, to read the Word of God, and to pray. Jesus simply spoke. That is the power of his word. Just like with his word he could create the heavens and the earth. No need for special incantations, or long prayers, or formulas. But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. He tells him to be quiet. There is no way the devil could say or speak anything of value. In a certain way he is telling each one of us to be quite too, we need to stay silent, because he has much to tell us. Thumbnail: Jesus expels demon in Possessed man in Synagogue, by James Tissot, 1886. In Brooklyn Museum. Music: Adrift among the infinite stars by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation to High School boys at Ernescliff College in Toronto on January 27, 2024. It is a commentary of Gospel of Mark 4:35-41 about Jesus calming the storm from the boat of Peter. He mentions how we may have dark storms in our life, but we must confide in God's providence, who is always present next to us, even if he seems to be asleep.
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation at Kintore College, Toronto on the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, and the memorial of Our Lady of Peace, the advocation for the Prelatic Church of Opus Dei in Rome. This is where St. Josemaria rests, beneath the main altar. Peace can be sewn in our soul through ongoing formation. St. Francis de Sales excelled at this in a time of upheaval in Europe, during the 16th and 17th century. Music: Adrift among the infinite stars by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com Thumbnail: Portait Francis de Sales, by Attilio Palombi, 1898, Chiesa del Sacro Cuore di Gesu, Rome.
Lord, I am a Leper

Lord, I am a Leper

2024-01-2325:59

Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this Introduction to a retreat for High School Boys at Cedarcrest Conference Centre, north of Toronto, January 20, 2024. Saint Fabian and St. Sebastian. Two early Christian martyrs. Luke 5, 12-16: The story of the leper. He lived in isolation, cut off from normal contact with others. Unable to interact normally. Looked down upon because of his contagion. He was forced to do weird things, like wear bells, and holler out warnings to others, unclean, unclean…Many thought he was like this because he must have sinned. He was getting his just rewards. “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean”. Jesus stretched out his hand before even answering. Of course I want you to be clean. Of course I want you to be part of the community. He is not afraid of him. He is filled with mercy and compassion. Thumbnail: J. Kirk Richards Christ among the lepers. Music: Adrift among the infinite stars by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com
Fr. Eric Nicolai preached this meditation at Kintore College in Toronto, on January 18, ant the start of the Octave of prayer for Christian unity. Mark 3:7-12: Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him. And he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him from being crushed. For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he warned them strongly not to make him known. This is the account of the healing ministry of Jesus, and his universal mission to all those ailing people, physically damaged and hurting, but also afflicted by the demons, whose attacks were constant, divisive, agitated, pitting one against the other, loquacious and constantly seeking to break down the unity of Jesus’ plan. These words are good for us today as we begin the week of Christian unity. After this healing he chose his apostles to continue this task, in unity with Christ and among each other. We too continue. Music: 'Adrift among the infinite stars' by Scott Buckley - released under CC-BY 4.0. www.scottbuckley.com Thumbnail: Healing of the demoniac. Morgan Library Museum Medieval illustration from Strasbourg, 1430.
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