Thursday, September 23, 2010

Persevere with Schnackenburg and Pope Benedict

Staying focused in the Order of the Present Moment means battling the demons of dejection and listlessness, especially if one struggles with chronic illness or pain. The options for active charity are lessened if at all. 

Silence and solitude can play tricks, such as the other morning when the mind said the writing is dismal and pointless, tedious and not useful. Happened while brushing the teeth, preparing to leave for morning Mass. Caught the demon, thankfully, by the grace of God, and prayed Hail Mary's, chasing away the dejection.

Again, on the drive home after Mass, the demon of listlessness tried to suggest reading the more challenging books would be too much, and why bother? What point is this existence, anyway--this nothingness? But no, had already decided to begin anew, venturing forth to live the Order of the Present Moment, to describe the Order as well as write about the process, to seek and find Christ in the present moments and to climb the stairway to heaven.

A first task at this point (for have done other aspects of training the mind toward living omnia pro Deo) was to really get to know Jesus. After having admired saints who wrote and spoke, influencing souls for God by their use of Scripture, realized it best for me to know Jesus in Scripture, and then also then to absorb Scripture. But first, would begin reading about Jesus, and that knowledge will augment the knowing of Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass and in confession.

Recalled Pope Benedict XVI's referencing a Biblical scholar in his Jesus of Nazareth, and I purchased some volumes by that scholar mentioned. Yes, on the shelf in the small library room here in my small house, I pulled Rudolf Schnackenburg's book about Jesus in the Gospels. Decided to get the overview first, then afterward will begin the first of three volumes on the Gospel of St. John. St. John was "the disciple Jesus loved."

Schnackenburg's text is not a quick read, at least not for me, but I am reading at least 15 pages per day, before noon when mind more fresh. Have notepaper and dictionary at hand but thus far have only marked four words to define, and am taking minor notes on Scripture passages and basic themes. Realize that anyone could read this, and that is why I decided to begin. 

Visited the Da in the afternoon and mentioned that we must not give up seeking Christ in any way possible, learning about Him through quality reading. What is quality for the Pope should be good for us, right? Even if we are only able to read one page a day...or one paragraph.

Actually, once a person familiarizes with the author's style (after reading a few pages or more), the reading begins to flow. That is because Christ is in the reading just as He was in the writing when the author wrote the book. And Prof. Rudolf Schnackenburg spent his entire life learning about Jesus, so Christ is very present in this book. Therefore I am gaining quality fruit. Thanks be to God!

Then last night decided to read a book that a young seminarian had recommended. Bought it and a year ago gave the copy to a newly ordained priest, since he saw it and was interested. He suggested we read it and discuss it, so I purchased another copy. We never did follow up, and he has good excuse as he is quite busy. I have not excuses, for I am not busy and am given many present moments. The Lord has cleared my life for the purpose of living and writing about life in Christ in the Order of the Present Moment.

So again I went to the little library room here and pulled off the shelf Pope Benedict's Behold, the Pierced One. Read two pages or so at bedtime. Read a few more this morning. It is challenging, also, but once into His Holiness' style of writing, and praying before I read, asking Christ in the present moment to help me comprehend Him through what the Pope writes...the reading shall flow by grace. Truly. I believe Jesus helps us.

Perhaps the Da thought I was being self-righteous when I shared about how my life now must begin anew--since there have been vast dyings to various efforts and distractions of the past. He wasn't so sure about reading challenging books at his age, but by the end of our conversation, he agreed to read St. Bernard's St. Malachy the Irishman and finish the copy of Fr. Iaian Matthew's Encounter with God. The Da said the day before he had read two pages and got something good out of it--how God gazes upon us all the time. The Da is excited, too.

Sometimes the little steps seem not so much, and for some it might not be reading challenging books as much as reading any book about Jesus, or the saints, or the Church. To study and learn, by reading, is one major way to get to know Jesus and to know His Church and the Catholic faith. Just keep at it, bit by bit. Soon Jesus becomes known to us in ways we do not expect! 

Someone asked if living this was fulfilling to me. How could it not be? Living in the Order of the Present Moment, learning Christ, coming to know Christ intimately, seeking and finding Him in every present moment: this is and will be fulfilling! Persevere!

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