Saturday, September 25, 2010
First New Member
The Lord surely desires this addition to process, for now there will be two test subjects, better in implementation. Of the two samples, one is single, parent of adult children, Catholic convert, physically disabled, lives alone. The other is married, parent of adult children, cradle Catholic, spouse non-Catholic, employed full-time. Would be desirable from an empirical standard to have even more in the test group, but whatever God wills.
In other moments today, an important point comes forth. After Mass a person shared briefly that someone recommended a book by a contemporary, popular Catholic writer. I mentioned that the book may be fine, but that perhaps the one to do the reading is really at a level of something more challenging, such as a book on the same topic by a saint. St. Francis de Sale's Introduction to the Devout Life came to mind, so suggested it. The person is capable of the saint's writing, and would reap quality by reading it. The book by the contemporary author is filtered. Why not get it straight from a saint who had union with Christ and is in the Communion of Saints?
Our new member to the Order of the Present Moment mentioned determination to practice meditation each day and is going to go to the car during lunch break at work, to enter into prayer with God through St. Teresa of Avila's advice on meditation. This good practice caused me to re-read St. Teresa's writing on meditation, also termed mental prayer. Yes, I have prayed thus, but perhaps over time am slipshod, not formally practicing mental prayer as much as its becoming meandering prayer. This other OPM member is already helpful to me personally! Gloria Dei!
Emphasize: It is not what I write that is good, but what I write about--the holy, outstanding books to read or holy practices to try--that may be helpful.
Last evening read in Pope Benedict's Behold the Pierced One, that prayer is the most important means to knowing Jesus. We enter into prayer and come to Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father, so we are also linked through prayer with and in Jesus, to the Father. I figure the Pope and all these saints know and live what they are writing about. As for the popular, current author, I assume he knows, but why take chances if one is (as our new member) wisely delving into St. Teresa?
And this is a point about our new member that may be helpful to this process. Our new member is now reading not only about St. Teresa, but also what the saint and Church Doctor explains and instructs. Right now, we see that choices are ours to make, and good-to-better choices are preferred. We must take care what enters our eyes (the window of the soul), as it will be what our mind absorbs. What our mind absorbs will affect the inner seat of the soul which contains the intellect and the will. Do our best, we must, to learn to love, love of trying.
The message is also a reminder that people are in different levels of their spiritual journeys, and people's personalities and temperaments are factors. One person may be open to suggestions, another may not. Some may know about meditation and mental prayer, and others not. Some may currently practice forms of prayer, and others not. There is a variety of materials for various levels of learning. Reading is but one way to learn, but as the saints haves shown, reading is an outstanding way to learn, or they would not have written for our edification, or during their lives, read books by saints in order to learn. Another glorious advantage in reading holy, quality books is that they cite much Scripture!
As St. Mark the Ascetic writes, "...grace may be hidden in advice given by a neighbor. It also accompanies our understanding during our reading, and as a natural result teaches our intellect the truth about itself. If, then, we do not hide the talent given to us in this way, we shall enter actively into the joy of the Lord."