A Timely Continuation

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from Listen to the Silence: A Retreat with Père Jacques
Tr/Ed Francis J. Murphy

Whatever brings us to this point [obedience[ be it a superior or a sorrow, a sickness or a job, it is alway God who comes and speaks to us. When we embrace obedience, we embrace God. When we obey with a smile, we smile at God and welcome him joyfully into our home. To dream of profound prayer, like that of the saints, while withholding the obedience of the saints, is a contradiction.

It's remarkably simple. We cannot pray like saints if we do not live like saints. Or more simply stated, one cannot be a saint without being a saint. Period. One can't hope for deep, profound, unitive prayer while one is chasing every idle pleasure that passes by. Every licit pleasure is not necessarily something to be pursued or obtained. Licit pleasures should be used as a means to the end, which is God. A hike in the mountains should have as its end, a closer walk with God. A cruise in the Caribbean should have as its destination close communication with God. There may be any number of intermediate "ends," for example strengthening and revivifying the relationship one has with one's spouse; however, this in intself becomes a further means to closeness with God. All service, all leisure, all joy, and all sorrow should lead inevitably to the All in All. And one of the ways this happens is when we humbly obey.

What this leads me to is to ask myself, where am I lacking in obedience? Where do I fail God? He alone knows how many ways I fail in obedience, and in my prayer, if He is willing, He will show them to me one by one. Disobedience isn't always obvious. I have many clever ploys to protect myself and my habits from change. But if I wish to live in God, I must ask Him to reveal to me all these places where I fail in obedience.

Obedience is a critical means to the most important of Ends. What we start in obedience ends in growing love.

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Nice post, Steven. This leads me to wonder about the Super Bowl. Does this lead me closer to God, or is it just idle time wasted? I suppose if I make a party of it with my family, make some popcorn, have a few beers (moderation always), etc., then this is time with my family, time to share a common interest, to cheer and jeer together developing comraderie. Sure, this leads us closer to God. How about watching the game alone? These are just some random thoughts that I hope make sense given the haste with which I'm cranking this out.
God bless,

Dear Tom,

What you say makes perfect sense and points out the desperate need for discernment on the part of all of us as we engage in our daily activities. I don't think we need to go through endless omphaloskepsis (navel-gazing), but a good many of us would profit from a bit more of it. (I include myself foremost in the "us.")



The Super Bowl falls on Sunday. No matter whether watching the gladiators with friends, family or alone, one might not be keeping the day holy, according to the Commandment. Would the observance of keeping Sunday holy (by not watching unsportsmanlike behavior, partaking in the friendly, little side bet, praying for a particular victor) fall under scrupulosity or obedience, or something other?

Dear Psalm 41,

That's why it's so critically important to have a good competent spiritual director or advisor to turn to. These questions are very, very good. But I suspect that their answers turn on a great many variables that would differ from person to person. For example, I would tend to agree with you about the superbowl; however, I am inclined not to like violent conflict anyway, and so my view would be tarnished. I would have to seek from the person who wished to watch what exactly they gained from it. As Tom, at Disputations, has said, the value of Eutrepalia alone is not to be disregarded in such considerations.

But you ask wise and careful questions--things that puzzle me when I am asking for myself, but things which I often can help others discern for themselves.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 25, 2006 9:11 AM.

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