Christian Life/Personal Holiness: October 2005 Archives


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Psalm 122 1:4

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:

Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.

In what should we rejoice?

In all things at all times. But we must not confuse rejoicing with happiness, contentment, or any number of other earth-bound "good" reactions to things. Rejoicing can take place in the midst of deep sorrow. Rejoicing is possible in deep pain. Rejoicing is even possible in the darkest of dark nights, when we are not even certain that God is there or ever has been--St. Therese of Lisieux showed us this. When sorely tempted against the faith, she rejoiced in the temptation and chose God.

I rejoiced when they said to me,
let us go unto the house of the Lord,
Standing there O Jerusalem,
In your gates, unto the house of the Lord.

Today I rejoice in all my circumstances. I rejoice that God spoke to me a word of rejoicing. I rejoice that He asked me in the midst of pervasive and terrible pain to turn my life around. I rejoice in what He told me to remove and destroy and in the direction He has laid out for continuing.

If the true and the beautiful is not present, there is no purpose to pursuing it. In accordance, I will be dramatically reducing my time on-line. And it may come to pass that I dramatically reduce time elsewhere in St. Blogs. I have gone looking for a fight, and goodness knows I've found them wide and far. It's time to go looking for the good. And I know that I will find that wide and far also.

Praise God and thank Him in all that you do. In praising Him is the source of all joy, because He comes to rest in our hearts and to carry us home.

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The Arrow of Desire


Flos Carmeli: Chains of Desire

I refer you back to this poem--published here previously. Today I delivered a talk to the Carmelites of my region gathered for a day of reflection on "St. Teresa and St. Ignatius." And I glanced at this poem before I spoke. Though it did not influence anything I said to those in the room, it did spark a thought I wanted to share here.

Desire is an arrow to God. God gave us this faculty for the express purpose of building in a homing signal. Our desires are disordered in this world, but all of our desires amount to one desire if we open our eyes to see it. Everything we want, everything we lust after has, at its core, one end--peace and security.

Desire, seeking peace and security, points directly at God even if we cannot see through the veil of things we want more than Him. As much as desire points the way, we thwart desire because we are afraid of what it will mean to want Him more than anything.

Desire points the way home. It misleads us, it betrays us, it confuses us. But it is the homing signal and it can be trained to truly home in on the One Thing Desirable.

Desire is good and honest and true, and we misuse it and pervert it and warp it, and yet we can never take away from it that if we learn to follow it truly, we will find the way home.

Desire is an arrow to God. It is a faculty for our good. It teaches us how to see Him, if we allow it to work with grace.

Our desires can overwhelm us, but not if they are directed as they should be. If we desire Him more than we desire anything else in the world, then desire resolves into the rocket to heaven.

I go on too long. But we must learn to train desire to seek the direction home, and then trust the Holy Spirit to carry us there.

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Suffrages for Hitler

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Or, the downside of the hope for universalism.

If it is possible that God saves every person, if we may hope for this, then it seems to me that the downside of this, the difficult part, is that there is an obligation on our part to see to it that these very unlikeable people are eventually prayed out of purgatory.

I know that I get slight queasy at the thought of praying Hitler out of purgatory. That's because I lack charity. I can apply suffrages to my mother, my grandmother, a friend's mother or other relative, even to people who I don't know well who served humanity in a neutral-to-good fashion. But, oh how hard it is to think about my prayers going to help Hitler, before say a lesser Mother Teresa. You see my point--there are so many who seem so much more desrving.

Well, what I amply demonstrate in this post is the type of judgment I am supposed to avoid. I have determined who is worthy and who is unworthy of the prayers for release from purgatory. I decide, I judge.

Lord, spare me from my own judgment. God alone knows who is "worthy" or who requires anything whatsoever, and it is He who decides how the trinkets we call prayers and suffrages are used in the economy of salvation. I am not allowed that liberty.

And so, it is best not to examine the matter too closely. It is best to pray our prayers and let God let them go where they go (except as they are especially needed for one of our own acquaintance.) When we pray for the poor souls in purgatory, it is better to cast a blanket of anonymity over the proceedings so that we are not inclined to judgment or to withholding the good we can do.

I know that no one ever gives this serious consideration. I haven't up until recently, and after this post, it will sink back down into the background. But I think the Lord raised the issue so I could be intellectually honest. My reaction to this thought shows me that I am not so inclined to hope for Universal Salvation if I must do something about it for those who I think probably don't deserve it. Or probably better said, for those who fall low on my list of people I would like to serve in any way.

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How to Accomplish Miracles


The reality is, we can't.

That's the bad news. The good news is, the reality is God can through us. In a post below one of the readers commented and asked how much of our time should be spent focused on the things we need to do to clear the way for God.

The answer is almost none at all. The miracle of divine union is accomplished by God alone. There is very little we can do to aid its progress. There is remarkably little we can do to achieve detachment. There is very little we can do to deepen prayer.

But our little is the widow's mite. We offer it out of our poverty. And it is the greatest treasure God can have from us. As a father, one of the most precious things my son can give me is something, however naively done that has taken him some time. He has produced reams of art the paper the wall of my cubicle and each piece is precious because each piece represents a time when he was thinking about his daddy. So it is with our Father in Heaven. No matter how poorly done, our little widow's mite is infinitely precious to Him. Praise God there are no cubicles in heaven, but if there were, they would be peppered with these little offerings, the signs of our attention to our Heavenly Father.

So, how do we accomplish miracles? We turn to our Father in heaven and say, "Abba, Daddy, Please!"

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Thoughts At Mass


God is passing by. He is not by passing. No, He is truly passing by in the great celestial parade. And that parade is eternal. But our time to join the parade is limited. God is passing by, every moment, every event, every heartbeat, every breath. God is passing by and calling to us continually--"Come, join the pageant."

Rev 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let him who hears say, "Come." And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Christian Life/Personal Holiness category from October 2005.

Christian Life/Personal Holiness: September 2005 is the previous archive.

Christian Life/Personal Holiness: November 2005 is the next archive.

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