The Passion of Jesus and Mary for Lent

As we enter Lent in a few days, we need to spend some time contemplating the Passion, perhaps with the Stations of the Cross of St. Faustina.

Wonderful promises are also available to those who take a few minutes each day to reflect on the Sorrows of Mary [youtube video]. 

With the following powerpoint, say a Hail Mary after each reflection as you gaze at the beautiful icon of her sorrow.

SEVEN SORROWS OF MARY

 

These are the seven promises Our Lady made, through St. Bridget of Sweden, to those who are devoted to meditating on her Seven Sorrows:

1. “I will grant peace to their families.”

2. “They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.”

3. “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”

4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”

5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”

6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death. They will see the face of their Mother.”

7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

Additionally, as relayed by St. Alphonsus de Liguori in his classic work The Glories of Mary, Our Lord promised four graces to those devoted to the Sorrows of his Blessed Mother:

1. That those who before death invoke the divine Mother in the name of Her Sorrows will obtain true repentance of all their sins;

2. That He will protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and will protect them especially at the hour of death;

3.  That He will impress on their minds the remembrance of His Passion;

4. That He will place such devout servants in Mother Mary’s hands to do with them as She wishes and to obtain for them all the graces She desires.

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“Withdraw…”

For a couple of weeks now, after my post, “These eyes will behold…” I have continued reflecting on custody of the eyes, tongue, ears, etc.  To be watchful is to guard your senses.  Then I decided to do some research and prayerful thinking about hermits and anchorites.  Of course, everyone knows what a hermit is, but I mean a hermit of the Lord, one who withdraws from social interaction in some solitary place, someone who keeps to himself in silence in order to live more completely in the presence of God. As in the Middle Ages, a resurgence of this vocation is springing up and flourishing throughout Christendom, including in the Catholic Church.  Many vow poverty, chastity, and obedience to their bishop, to a simple rule which they themselves write, and which the bishop approves.

Less familiar is the anchorite or anchoress.  In the Middle Ages, such a person attached himself or herself to a church, chapel, or monastery, even to go so far as to construct the anchorage or cell to the outside of the church itself with one window opening to the interior of the church and one window opening to the outside, to the street.  Not entirely silent, the anchorite—usually an anchoress or woman—lived close to the Eucharistic Presence and attended Mass through the interior window, but was able to respond to people who might come for assistance in prayer or counsel through the exterior window.  The anchorite/anchoress was believed to be a true anchor of prayer for the church or monastery, and as such was welcomed by the priest, bishop, or community.

What both the hermit and anchorite have in common is a more intense withdrawal from the world in order to devote their life to God.  “The word anchoress comes from the Greek anachoreo meaning to withdraw.”

The times being what they are, I have come to the conclusion that I myself need to intensify my prayer life, to withdraw more completely from the world.  To severely reduce television time, secular reading, etc., to practice better custody of the eyes, ears, tongue in order to have more solitude of silence and a deeper prayer life.

On Jan. 30, I reflected on the word withdraw during Adoration. I visualized someone (like me) on the verge of exiting a building, a little house—but stopping, backing up, watching what is before her, stepping backwards, drawing herself within her house, refusing to exit her home, seeing what is out there, refusing to participate in it.  This is, of course, a crude image, but it states a truth, nevertheless. Watchfulness is certainly a part of the process, a discerning look at what is about, what is before me and around me. Custody of the eyes, the ears, the tongue constitutes the heart of this watchfulness, not to let the world in, people, yes, but not the world, not sin, not sinful inclinations. Not the territory, the atmosphere, the flavor, the fascination, the seductive draw of the world, the flesh, and the devil. To avoid anything that may be the least bit tainted.

It will take me the rest of my life to learn this life of withdrawal.  What I withdraw from is what is outside, what the anchoress perceives through her exterior window, if you will.

I am fully aware, also, of the role that memory will play in all of this.  The reality of the world has fastened itself in great, colorful detail to my soul through my memory, and it is probably this internal construct of the world that will give me the greatest struggle.  I can withdraw from the world, but will the world leave me if it lives within me?  It will require constant renunciation, vigilance, surrender to the Holy Spirit and Abandonment to Christ.

Then we have the other half—or more—of the equation.  If I am withdrawing [drawing myself within], to what inside am I drawn?  Here it is the interior window which is all important—the opening to the Eucharistic Christ.  To the extent I withdraw from, I must be equally drawn to:  To be crucified with Him and to be hidden with Christ in God—to be drawn, to be present to the indwelling Trinity.  This is the within.

To be an anchoress is not only to withdraw, but more significantly, to dwell within, to indwell. Physical separation and solitude give the walls.  Vigilance and discernment give the cloister. Interior silence gives the substance.

Today, I was reading St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, remembering her three levels of silence:  the silence of the walls of Carmel [exterior silence], the interior silence of her inner cloister, and the silence for which she most longed:  the great silence of God [the indwelling Trinity in the sanctuary of the heart].

The whole purpose of the life of anchoress is to live in all three levels of silence, especially in the silence of the indwelling Trinity. One thing that I have learned by reading online, is that today this vocation can take many shapes, enabling those called to an eremitical lifestyle to  fashion it in ways appropriate to their abilities and resources. This includes private consecrations or public witness of consecration according to Canon 603.

As we enter Lent, let us withdraw to the sanctuary of our hearts, to be watchful in prayer, to wait on the Lord.  What else can we do in the silence, in the separation, in the long hours of day or night, except to repulse every influence that is not from God?  To turn always, to be drawn to the Blessed Trinity who dwells in our heart.  It is enough that we are present and not distracted more than we have to be.  Let us practice being attentive to the burning Hearth and Fire in the center of our being.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Embracing the Eremitical Life

How I Became a Medieval Style Anchorite

Hermits in Diocesan Life–The Anchorite

Hermits and the Roman Catholic Church

How to become a Catholic Hermit

“What is the Glory of God?” – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

During a spiritual conversation with another Carmelite nun one day, St. Elizabeth was struck by a scripture of St. Paul which the older nun shared with her:  “praise of glory.”  The phrase occurs three times in succession in Ephesians 1:

Verse 5-6: “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the Beloved.”

 Ephesians 11-12 :  “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory….”

 Ephesians 3:13-14 – “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”

 Elizabeth was enthralled to discover her purpose, her vocation, her very name: “Laudem Gloriae,” Praise of Glory.  Years ago, as a young novice in my 20’s, I was equally enthralled.  But what is this glory?  I exist to praise His Glory,  so what is the glory of God?

This, Father M. M. Philipon, O. P. explains in his book:  THE SPIRITUAL DOCTRINE OF SISTER ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY.  [He wrote the book long before her canonization.]  This excerpt from his book is so beautiful I will quote it in its entirety [bold emphases are mine]:

1.  What is the glory of God? The radiant manifestation of what He is, the revelation of His infinite perfections.

2. There are two kinds of glory in God: His personal glory within Himself, and His external glory in the universe He has created.  There is no question here of His essential glory, that glory which God finds in Himself, in His Word, in the unique eternal Thought which adequately expresses all that He is in the indivisible Unity of His Essence and the Trinity of the Persons.  The Word expresses everything:  the inexhaustible fecundity of the bosom of the Father, the beauty of the son, the Love that perfects Them in Unity, the universe which has come into being by their creative might and which remains in the hands of God like a plaything. Thus the Father manifests His own glory to the Son. The Father shines out in the Word, the image and splendor of His glory; the Word manifests to the Father all that He is in Himself.  In Him, the Father and the Son know the Eternal Love that unites them.  Such is the essential glory of God, that personal intra-Trinitarian glory which is the Word.

 3.  The universe adds nothing to this infinite glory, and before the Holy Trinity even the very soul of Christ must acknowledge its nothingness. In the three-fold society of the divine Persons and the indivisible unity of their Essence, God is sufficient to Himself.  All that can come to Him from without, even from Christ, is only accidental.  And yet, notwithstanding, God claims it absolutely, because the hierarchy of values and the order of creation so requires.  To the Creator belong honor, wisdom, power, and glory.

 4. …[Elizabeth] understood perfectly that she was bound to become a saint in the first place for God; and to become as great a saint as possible because His glory was closely linked with her sanctity….She understood that the higher a soul is raised on the summits of transforming union, the better it will fulfill its office of ‘Praise of Glory.’ God is glorified in the measure in which ‘the beauty’ of His perfections is reflected in souls…

 5. The glorified souls, those who contemplate God in the simplicity of His Essence, have attained to this supreme transformation. ‘Then I shall know even as I am known,’ says St. Paul, meaning by intuitive vision….That is why…they are ‘transformed into the same image from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.’ Then they are a ceaseless praise of glory to the divine Being Who contemplates his own splendor in them… ‘God created man to His own image.’

 6.   Such was the plan of the Creator, that He might view Himself in His creature, and might see His own perfections and beauty reflected through him as through a pure and flawless crystal. Is that not a kind of extension of His own glory?

 7.  The soul…that allows the Divinity to reflect Himself in it…such a soul is truly the ‘Praise of Glory’ of all His gifts. Whatever happens, and during the most commonplace employments, it sings the canticum magnum [great canticle], the canticum novum [new canticle], and this canticle thrills God to His very depths.’ [pp. 90-91]

         No false humility in St. Elizabeth.  She determined to be a saint, and a great one, because nothing else would suffice to praise the essential glory of God.

         Several years ago I wrote another reflection, “A Plan to Praise His Glory.” In an emotional, ecstatic hour of Adoration, three years before I even read Fr. Philipon’s book, God gave me the grace to glimpse briefly what Fr. Philipon explains as the essential glory of God:

            “We tend to see the Glory of God as a static thing, brilliant Light, radiance, etc. such as Peter, James, and John saw to envelop Christ during the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Yet we should realize that His Glory is intensely alive with Divine Energy, ecstatic and personal, throbbing with incomprehensible Love, deeply shared, pouring out from Divine Person to Divine Person eternally. His Glory is Delight, enthralling, enrapturing.” 

             Rather than using Fr. Philipon’s words, “essential,” and “accidental”, I explained then that “Glory is not extrinsic to God, but intrinsic—essentially His from all eternity. We cannot give Glory to God; He IS Glory. When we say, “Glorify God” or “Give glory to God” we are talking about the praise of His Glory, giving Him what is extrinsic to Him, incidental, nonessential. If we are pure and acceptable to Him in Christ, it is as though we are holding up a spotless mirror to reflect His Glory–we don’t increase it, but merely reflect it.” 

An old hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” has always given me great joy, expressing so well the image of the eternal adoration by the angels and saints of the Trinity:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

 

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

             The line that always moved me was that of the saints casting down their gold crowns around the glassy sea.  Then the cherubim and seraphim falling down before Him—all in an ecstasy of adoration, in an extremity of prostration.  The “glassy sea” seemed a perfect mirror to  reflect His unspeakable light.  This kind of adoration was what I saw last Sunday morning.  An African woman, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, entered our church, went to the foot of the sanctuary, and in full view of the entire congregation, prostrated herself before Him, recognizing Him, laying her turbaned head on the lowest step, remaining for a long moment of singular adoration of the Blessed Trinity.

I wrote a post some time ago, “We are Underwhelmed by God.”  We are numb to Him.  We do not see.  We do not even genuflect well.  We flick our hands in trivial signs of the Cross. God forgive us.

Yet in paragraph 7 of Fr. Philipon’s excerpt, we read:  The soul…that allows the Divinity to reflect Himself in it…such a soul is truly the ‘Praise of Glory’ of all His gifts.  Whatever happens, and during the most commonplace employments, it sings the canticum magnum [great canticle], the canticum novum [new canticle], and this canticle thrills God to His very depths.’

             If we can be just a bit more mindful, if we take time for adoration on a regular basis, if we will prostrate ourselves in spirit, “whatever happens, and during the most commonplace employments,” our soul will sing the Canticum magnum, the Canticum novum—the new song of the Holy Spirit Who floods our entire being, “thrilling God to His very depths.” This is the song of the saints casting down their golden crowns in an ecstasy of adoration, the song of the cherubim and seraphim.  Even in the commonplace, the most ordinary and tedious moments of our lives, we will live adoring the intrinsic Glory of God, praising His Glory.

“REMAIN With Me” — Reflections by Lourdes Pinto

A couple of weeks ago, our spiritual mother, Lourdes, sent a beautiful reflection on the Joyful Mysteries to our community, “Remain with Me.”  I have been praying the rosary, meditating on the main ideas; but what stays with me are the beginning and part of the meditation on the Presentation. This I have entered deeply, or it has penetrated my mind and my heart in a way it never has before:

 “…REMAIN with Me as I continue to shed tears for Jerusalem… remain with Me in My continuous agony for souls, to participate with Me in the salvation of the world, as you choose daily to receive the brokenness of the souls I have placed in your lives and to suffer with Me for them.” [Emphasis mine]

 Also, during this time I have been watching some videos on GMO’s, [genetically modified organisms] which pervade our food, and fluoride, a toxic additive in much of the water in the United States.  [See also The Real Truth about GMO’s and Seeds of Death.] How are these two activities related?  Watching the videos, surveying the health damage to so many lives, the genetic destruction of creation, the animals and plants, my heart was pierced with sorrow, great heaviness hanging over me till I had to cry,  “My Lord, what have they done to You?” In her contemplation of Christ’s Passion, St. Faustina cried out:  “O eternal and infinite God, what has love done to You?….” [Diary of St. Faustina, #267]

Not only all of humanity, but all of creation suffers in agony and anguish from sin, since greed and corruption strike not only the people, all people whom God loves so much, but also His creation.  How can the Lord of all creation not groan when He sees what is happening?  St. Paul tells us:  “For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth…all things were created through Him and for Him…and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1: 16-17). And also, St. Paul tells us further in Romans 8: 20-22 that creation is a slave to corruption and “all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now” as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.

I can’t help but realize that Christ is weeping over Jerusalem, over His people, His whole creation now, every day; and that His suffering in us intensifies daily as even creation waits for its liberation and “we wait for the redemption of our bodies.”

The teaching from the reflection on the Presentation is this:       Remain with Jesus as our hearts are pierced. How? By REMAINING IN THE PAIN….enter, through deep contemplation, the sorrows of the brokenness of the souls we live amongst. This deep and hidden pain must consume the heart of a hidden victim soul so that we live more-and-more consumed in the pain and love of the Sacred Heart, until that subtle transformation is accomplished in us – no longer I live, but Christ’s pain and love lives in me.

            Remaining in the sorrows of Christ becomes our means to ‘pray without ceasing’!”

 Our community teaches us that we first have to enter our own wounds, core wounds, mother/father wounds, etc. To peel back the layers with which we have buried them, running away from them, denying them.  To cleanse from the wounds the lies with which Satan has infested them, the lies which led us into disordered reactions, defensive devices, even sinful ones.  First we must cleanse our personal  wounds through pure repentence and abandonment of our wounds to Christ.  Then only can we enter the pain and suffering of Christ. First, we must fully experience our own pain and suffering. We must remain in the pain.  Not block it, dodge it, or deny it. And we must continue to do this daily as we are wounded daily in so many ways.

To touch the wounds of Christ with our wounds is to touch His love. To enter the wounds of Christ through our wounds is to suffer as One with Him,  creating intimacy, Union.  We read in The Path:  “Lived this way, our wounds become a passage into His Sacred Heart.” [Simple Path, 3-A-1, p. 94]

I was amazed to realize that the sorrow and great heaviness that I felt on watching these videos indicated new personal wounds, and like all our personal wounds, I needed to enter through them into the suffering of Christ.

Through the intimacy of suffering with Christ, our personal pain is transformed into the pain of Christ for his beloved souls and for creation.

 It is, as Lourdes explains to us, that we must “enter, through deep contemplation, the sorrows of the brokenness of the souls we live amongst.” Truly, as soon as we become consumed by the pain and agony of the Sacred Heart, we become consumed by the brokenness of the souls who are the focus of His anguish.

 What to do with this pain?  REMAIN in the suffering of Christ.  For “Remaining in the sorrows of Christ becomes our means to ‘pray without ceasing’!”

St. Paul tells us in Rom. 8:17 that if we suffer with Him, then we will be glorified with Him.  The point is that we must suffer with Him first.

Lourdes refers also to St. Paul’s beautiful scripture in Galatians 2:19-20:  “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”  What she actually says is this:  …”no longer I live but Christ’s pain and love lives in me.” What has happened in the process of taking my wound to the wounds of Christ is transformation:  “we live more-and-more consumed in the pain and love of the Sacred Heart, until that subtle transformation is accomplished in us: no longer I live but Christ’s pain and love lives in me.”

Through this transformation into the Heart of Christ, we become His living hosts, suffering and praying ceaselessly for His entire creation, assuaging His anguish for the souls He so loves.

“Like a Bird to its Nest” – Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D

Since Friday when I read this—the Gospel was on the Presentation in the Temple, and Simeon—and again today, Sunday, the same Gospel, this phrase has haunted me, charmed me, teased me.  The quotation comes from the reflection by Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. in the Magnificat magazine.  It begins:  “When his parents brought the Child Jesus into the Temple, Simeon held out his arms to receive him.  An old man stretches out for the Child; the Child comes to him like a bird to its nest.” Here is a picture of what can be, of what should be. He always comes to waiting arms.” [“Simeon’s Waiting Arms, p. 433]

Simeon is an old man.  He has been waiting for years, promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Salvation of Israel.  Did he know to wait for a child?  If not, then what?  The tent of his heart has been pulled, stretched, till his very body stretches to receive the Child, the desired One of all the ages, thousands of years.  His is the Salvation which Moses did not see, not Abraham, not Elijah, not Jeremiah in his bitter Lamentations or even Isaiah who told us that the virgin would be with child—Emmanuel, God with us.

Waiting in the Temple, when he sees this divine Baby, old man Simeon stretches his very heart, stretches out his arms,  longing to enfold the Desired One.  And what of Jesus?  Like a bird to its nest” the Child nestles in the old man’s arms. To the longing heart, Jesus has come home.

Sister Ruth continues:  “Let us ask him to show us how our arms are kept back from stretching towards him.  Let us begin all over again to live for him.  Simeon’s selflessness is an echo of Jesus’ selflessness.  Simeon and Jesus suit one another.  Both have one mind, one will.  This is what can be, what should be….”

We all know that if our arms are full of packages we cannot stretch them out to receive a baby.  No, it is only the empty arms, the stripped heart and will that can stretch out to receive the Christ.  But what a delight for the devout who wait like the ten wise virgins—their lamps full of oil for the coming of the bridegroom; for those who pray without ceasing by living with great love in the Temple of their ordinary lives; for those stretched in longing in the tedious, humdrum days of all their years; for those reaching for Jesus who comes with all the enthusiastic joy of a baby cooing and waving his precious little arms, launching Himself “like a bird to its nest” in our hearts.

DIVINE OFFICE – Podcast

This week I have once again returned to the beautiful prayers of the Divine Office.  I own the four volume collection of Divine Office books, but for various reasons, over the last months, I had stopped using the full office, praying instead (not very regularly) the shorter version provided by MAGNIFICAT.  

What I found helpful is the PODCAST of the Divine Office, beautifully sung and chanted by divineoffice.org.  User-friendly, I can listen and pray along, reading in my book of the divine office.  Find the podcasts here, all free:  PODCAST OF THE DIVINE OFFICE.

Text and audio here:  DIVINE OFFICE.ORG

Have a most blessed Christmas.  Find a way to enrich your spiritual life this new year.  So many resources are available, online and elswhere.

CANTICLE of CANTICLES–St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons

Just a few days ago, I found a treasure online, a profound work by St. Bernard which I had never seen before.  However, the format of the files was so difficult to read that I was moved immediately to edit it myself, making it user friendly and scaled to fit on phone or tablet.  The Table of Contents is on p.. 16.  Pages are designated in blue; find titles in bold red.  Enjoy!

B-_ST_BERNARD_-Canticle_of_Canticles_Sermons

The Cloistered Heart – Nancy Shuman

Today I discovered a charming and deeply spiritual blog called “A Cloistered Heart.”  I can’t do it justice here without stealing some of Nancy’s thunder. Let me just quote this one little part:  “THE CLOISTERED HEART IS a way of living for God in the midst of the world. It is heart monasticism that can be embraced by married or single persons, religious or lay. It’s an analogy in which our lives can be “monasteries,” our hearts can live in the “enclosure” of Christ, and all things may be viewed through the will of God as through a “grille.”

This lovely mother and grandmother is a woman after my own heart!  One of her initial posts explains the cloistered heart in greater and more profound detail:  http://www.thecloisteredheart.org/2017/08/so-what-is-cloistered-heart.html

I return often to my own post, THE INNER CLOISTER OF FIAT–it’s the same idea which I captured from my beloved Conchita and of course, Love Crucified refers also to our “domestic monasteries.”

Enjoy her lovely artwork and the graphics.  She cites so well many of  the saints.  What a refreshing blog!

Pulse of the Holy Spirit

child playing in sand

The Holy Spirit has been much on my mind and in my prayer in the last couple of weeks.  Not only do I return to Him periodically, but I often write about Him because I don’t think we appreciate His great presence as we should.

In one of our Cenacles of Love Crucified, Pati told us that we should put a copy of our Covenant where we can see and pray it daily.  [Love Crucified is a Catholic covenant community, a community of lay men and women, husbands and wives in some cases, and ordained priests and deacons as well, all solemnly vowing to live in a covenant of sacrificial love as brothers and sisters helping one another on the path to Union with the Blessed Trinity. See: http://lovecrucified.com/ ]

Following Pati’s lead, I have been meditating on the covenant in the last few days, noting this part in particular:  “My Lord, I surrender myself to the Holy Spirit and vow to be attentive to His promptings and movements in my soul, that I may come to a deeper knowledge of  Christ and of myself….”

In the last few years I have become so conscious of the Holy Spirit, so thirsty to come to know Him and “to be attentive to His promptings and movements in my soul.” But how?  How does this look in every day practice; and specifically, what does one do to accomplish this in real time?

I determined to review the posts I have already written on the Holy Spirit and see if I could gain some perspective and insight.  Then I saw this article a few days ago on a Catholic website, Spiritual Direction, which published an article:  “Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling”:

“So, what does indwelling even mean? Indwelling is the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit in a person who is in the state of grace.’ … Christians are temples of the living God when they choose to cooperate with grace. St. Augustine says, ‘Although God is everywhere wholly present, he does not dwell in everyone. It is not possible to say to all what the Apostle says: ‘Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?’ He that is everywhere does not dwell in all, and he does not dwell equally in those in whom he does dwell.’” [https://www.spiritualdirection.com/2017/10/19/gift-of-the-holy-spirit-and-the-divine-indwelling]

The Holy Spirit dwells within us from the moment of our baptism and will leave only when we are no longer in the state of grace.  But St. Augustine tells us here that “he does not dwell equally in those in whom he does dwell.”  What does that mean?

What can it mean but that if we ignore the Spirit of God who Indwells us, we do not grow in grace, and that the more we cooperate with grace, the deeper and more profound the Indwelling. What could deepen the Indwelling more than “to be attentive to His promptings and movements in my soul”? Now it is clear to us WHY we need to be attentive; but HOW?

I remember a wonderful post by Mark Mallett a year ago, RAISE YOUR SAILS. He combined three aspects of spirituality:  the “strong driving wind” of the Holy Spirit,  abandonment to the Divine Will through the duty of the moment, and embracing the Cross, especially as we face the Storm.

My reflections on his post led to my own post , HOLY WIND.  This morning I was deeply moved again by Mark’s explanation:

“At each and every moment, trust the Holy Spirit who blows where He wills according to My plan….

Each and every moment the Divine Will of God blows in your life within the present moment. All that is required of you is to simply raise the sails of trust into the Winds of the moment and, turning the rudder of obedience, do that which the moment requires, the duty of the moment. Just as the wind is invisible, so too, hidden within this moment is the power of God to transform, sanctify, and make you holy—yes, hidden behind the mundane, the ordinary, the unglamorous; behind crosses and consolations, the will of God is always there, always working, always active.”

To respond to every impulse and movement of the Holy Spirit in the Divine Indwelling is simply to “do that which the moment requires.” If we look at our life, often hectic and confusing, paying attention to the Holy Spirit seems impossible; but Mark tells us: hidden within this moment is the power of God.” Obedience is needed in just this moment, one moment at a time, whether mundane, ordinary, unglamorous.  We are blind; but “the will of God is always there, always working, always active” in the moment.  All I need is to “do that which the moment requires.”

Isn’t this the way Mary, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, led her entire life?  Each moment was filled with a simple FIAT.

In UNDER THE GAZE OF THE FATHER, Ven. Luis Martinez reminds Conchita:

“Do not forget that because of the mystical incarnation the Holy Spirit moves you almost constantly, not only in actions which seem important, but in all actions, even in ordinary and small ones. Are there perhaps common actions for souls that the Holy Spirit possesses and moves? Even though you are unaware of it, your divine Spouse constantly moves your soul, and places His divine seal on your activity” [p. 179].

What that means for us is that as living hosts, other Christs, the Holy Spirit constantly moves within us, even though we may be unaware of it. He is the constant Pulse of our life as he places His divine seal on every action, “even in ordinary and small ones.”  Like Mary, spouse of the Holy Spirit, we are to submit our will in abandonment and fiat in each moment; like Mary, we too will be spouses of the Holy Spirit, as we grow in grace before God and man, yearning to be utterly filled with the Divine Indwelling.

If the Holy Spirit is not the pulse of your life, then who or what is?

*******

LINKS TO MY OTHER POSTS ON THE HOLY SPIRIT:

“The Holy Spirit and His Seven Gifts” – https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/soul-food-talk-8-the-holy-spirit-and-his-seven-gifts/

“Touching the Holy Spirit—Part 1” – https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/touching-the-holy-spirit-part-1/

“Touching the Holy Spirit—Part 2”- https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/touching-the-holy-spirit-part-2/

“Sensuality and the Holy Spirit” – https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/sensuality-the-holy-spirit/

“Unity in the Holy Spirit”-  https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/unity-in-the-holy-spirit/

“The Holy Wind”- https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/the-holy-wind/

POSTS ON THE SACRAMENT OF THE MOMENT:

“The Sacrament of the Moment”- https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/the-sacrament-of-the-moment/

“Abandonment to Divine Providence”- https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/soul-food-talk-5-abandonment-to-divine-providence/

“My Little Tabernacle of Ordinary Life”- https://soulfoodministries.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/my-little-tabernacle-of-ordinary-life-from-ammies-testimony-on-being-a-living-host/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Root of Spiritual Self-Love” – St. Catherine of Siena

Before Hurricane Harvey, before Irma, I wrote in my journal:  For the last few weeks I have been in somewhat of a spiritual Limbo—going to Adoration and Mass, yes, but rather dry, tired mostly from continuing insomnia.  I have felt myself pulling back. I don’t know how else to say it.  It was not from choice, but from feeling; I was, at best, only half conscious of this, but it grieved me.  I felt I was being unfaithful. 

            Then, this week, while trying to walk in the mall for exercise, I made an unwise purchase, a vanity purchase, a frivolous act which is truly not in character for me; and it distresses me, pushes me to repentance.  I ask myself and Jesus:  “What is happening here?”

            This dryness has physical cause, I know, the insomnia—but how did I come to this frivolous act so unlike me?  I say with the Gospel:  “An enemy has done this!”

            I am little and weak, Lord.  As with David, give me five stones for my slingshot:  humily, purity, simplicity, trust, and courage

            Mother, help me to live always in the inner chamber of Fiat.

Trying to work myself through this strange ennui, still confused about what I had done and why I had done it, I returned to a continual meditation on FIAT, reading and reflecting on this little paragraph which I wrote last spring on HARDNESS OF HEART:  “Mary’s FIAT was the unqualified, open response of a heart utterly divested of design, plan, or expectation–a heart free to receive the completely unexpected….” And also on THE INNER CLOISTER OF FIAT, Jesus tells Blessed Conchita:  “You are to live cloistered in the very inner sanctuary of your soul, for there is where dwells the Holy Spirit. …enter into the innermost regions of your soul…. The ‘inner cloister’ is essential for the sanctification of the soul wishing to be all Mine.”  The Holy Spirit then revealed to me:  ““In the perfect FIAT of my Mother, I find my inner cloister.”

I felt I had moved outside of God’s will—outside of FIAT, for as short time as perhaps it had been—that I had been unfaithful, having failed humility, prudence, and charity.  For what I had spent I could have sent much relief to Texas, and now Florida.  I determined that my penance would be to wear the cosmetic products, and every time I did, I would see and feel the humiliation on my very face, the shame, the disgrace I had brought upon myself—so well deserved.

Over the last few years, I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed with Blessed Conchita, her words from a holy hour [which I read and first prayed in Oct. 2014]:  “I want to live and die hidden in a sacrifice…immolation, far away from every human glance, burning myself like incense in the midst of my roughness, with a constant death to all my self-will.  Help me, my Life, to destroy within my heart every self-indulgence, consuming myself silently as the candle flame before your altar.”

Now God had hit me between the eyes with a 2X4, showing me my vanity—very much alive and well, my self-will, self-love, self-indulgence.              I have been humbled, so very humbled.

Then today the Holy Spirit led me to a little book, Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange’s book PROVIDENCE, largely based on Father de Caussade’s classic.  I came upon this quotation by St. Catherine of Siena:  If My servants are confused at the knowledge of their imperfection, if they give themselves up to the love of virtue, if they dig up with hatred the root of spiritual self-love… they will be so pleasing to Me… that I will manifest Myself to them…. My charity is manifested in two ways; first, in general, to ordinary people. The second mode of manifestation… is peculiar to those who have become My friends…. When I reveal Myself to her it makes itself felt in the very depths of the soul, by which such souls taste, know, prove and feel it”.

God consoles.  Yes, this servant is confused by the knowledge of my imperfection despite my love of virtue, and oh yes—I am digging with hatred the root of spiritual self-love…. Yet He promises to reveal Himself to me: “to those who have become My friends…. When I reveal Myself to her it makes itself felt in the very depths of the soul, by which such souls taste, know, prove and feel it.”

Certainly it is this root of spiritual self-love, self-indulgence or vanity on the sensual level, that trips us up and makes us fall.  I have crawled back into my little inner cloister of FIAT humbled and grateful to my Consoler. I continue to pray Conchita’s prayer because this love of virtue is the greatest desire of my heart.  The more fiery my desire for virtue, the greater the hatred with which I will attack the root of spiritual self-love. I have my five stones which served David well against Goliath:  humility, purity, simplicity, trust, and courage—and they will also serve me well.