Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bit About Adel

Adel is the new member of the Order of the Present Moment. Gave permission to share some. May be helpful. She is married to a non-Catholic who does not hold favorable views of Catholicism.  Adel's plight is all the more interesting as a can-do example of spiritual soaring. 

Adel and spouse have two adult children, both reared in the Faith but somewhat lapsed, one divorced and living at home, seeking employment, sometimes accompanies her to Sunday Mass. Adel is lifelong Catholic. Year or so ago did not understand some aspects of the Faith, such as when daughter married outside the Church. Perhaps that time period helped her realize and desire more, along with having decided that year to choose a saint for the year.

This is a marvelous practice. "A" chose St. Francis de Sales. Read something about him, possibly online or remembered something about him. Adel began reading Introduction to the Devout Life--great saint and book.

Also during this time was going to Eucharistic Adoration at parish, weekly, and desired more. The Holy Spirit began working in her soul through the prayer and reading, as well as having kept up with weekly Mass and occasional weekday Masses, tucked around full-time work and trying not to upset the spouse. St. Francis de Sales worked in Adel's soul, as well. She became aware of The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Procured copy and volume of Christian Prayers (Morning and Evening Divine Office). Began reading/praying.

Adel was encouraged by a friend to get a regular confessor and go to this Sacrament more often. Had been going a couple or so times a year. She didn't know what priest, so the friend advised one over another due to insights on the situation. Adel was bent upon the one not advised. But she prayed about the unadvised one, and kept receiving inner "no" signals, as well as other external signs that convinced her to ask the other priest. All unfolded well, and she is thankful for praying, listening and heeding. Adel has been going to confession every two weeks for over a year with much benefit. 

Adel, however, remained connected emotionally and temporally to a popular apparition site and messages, spending time reading from an online group following a "sister" who led the internet group.  She was advised to not continue with this and was given facts as to why not. Yet Adel was not willing to give it up, including following some of the external practices that the internet group "sister" advised. 

Although also influenced to the group's validity through a book about the purported apparitions,  Adel finally broke from the grip of the group for two reasons.  A friend had said the spiritual friendship would have to cease due to her continued involvement in what is not valid, and Adel began praying to Mary, asking for guidance. Immediately she received an answer to turn to Our Lady of Lourdes. Adel did this, with more positive benefits.

Having ceased involvement with the purported apparition site and the internet group followers, Adel's spiritual life took a definitive change for the better. She increased daily Masses and spiritual reading, ceased viewing TV programs and filled in with religious reading or DVD's, or simply attending to more household matters, praying silently while doing so. 

Adel wisely followed the confessor's advice to sacrifice more outer spiritual acts in order to acquire peace in the home, as the spouse was becoming wary and upset by her increased time spent in visible religious endeavors. Still, her spiritual interior continues to grow and adapt, in accordance to humility, obedience and charity. 

At work Adel used to try to mentally pray the rosary but interruptions frustrated the attempts. It was suggested that she instead repeat one Hail Mary, or better, focus on the encounters with people in the work situation, and interiorly pray for them, be lovingly present to them--the pleasant as well as the difficult persons. This practice has yielded excellent results. She recently added going to the car at lunch break to practice meditation. 

Adel read about meditation (or mental prayer) by choosing St. Teresa of Avila as the saint for this year, although St. Francis de Sales described it, also. The St. Teresa book, while not the saint's own writing, was a short biography. She is now reading a fine author's explanation of St. Teresa's teaching on prayer.  Adel has learned to research authors to discern if the book is worth the sequestered time she has for reading. Once she became aware of St. Teresa's own writings, they are next on the list, and Adel is keeping St. Teresa as focal saint for another year. After St. Teresa's major works, she considers reading St. John of the Cross' Collected Works.

Adel continues to practice living omnia pro Deo (all for God), and has in various ways, for a long time. While doing household tasks, she sings within the heart, a short, original a song to Mary. Adel also takes time to praise God spontaneously, speak loving words silently or aloud if alone, and now practices the newly learned ways of meditation.

The practice of affective prayer is not formally known to Adel, but she is already praying with the affections, by inner prompting of the Holy Spirit--a grace probably given due to her genuine desire and efforts to know and love Christ in the present moment.

In the course of little more than a year, Adel has come to the point of desiring to climb the Stairway to Heaven all the more. A hallmark virtue in her attitude and disposition, is that of humility and the ability to take advice or even subtle suggestions, pray, then incorporate or make changes accordingly. This is the mark of a docile soul--docile to the will of God through the confessor, saints' writings, the Virgin Mary, and trusted spiritual friends. 

While Adel experiences trials and brief stumblings, the remedies are grasped firmly with quick turn-around made. More could be shared, such as her learning patience and discernment in quiet witness by befriending Chinese workers, or the gains made in consideration of the spouse's feelings and concerns, but this is enough to give example of a loving soul who is practicing Christ in the present moment, desiring the Stairway to Heaven ascent.

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