Monday, September 27, 2010

Some Present Moment Considerations

Obviously too much to write, how Christ is experienced in every present moment, but we are practicing the awareness of Christ in all matters, in all things, for He is in all and is All.  Some aspects of life become problems. Had bit of a big one yesterday and again today, and have turned it over to the spiritual director. Let him decide what action if any, and am praying to be totally submissive to his instruction, for the Lord is guiding him, this guardian of my soul.

However, I vented to three people about the situation unfolding, that involves someone who has become increasingly angered and showing the anger in passive aggressive ways that involve reception of Communion. But to vent to others besides my spiritual director, was wrong. One friend emailed: see #28 of Book Three, The Imitation of Christ,  Thomas a Kempis' wise counsel on "Slanderous Talk." 

While written from the standpoint of how one must deal with slander against oneself, and how not to lose inner peace, another aspect includes how not to react. "It is a wise course, when trouble comes, to say nothing, and to turn inwardly to Me, refusing to be upset by what men think of you."  Also, "If you are treading the path of the inward life, fleeting words will not carry much weight with you."  We must assume that fleeting actions ought not bother us, either. Christ teaches the humble stance in the Beatitudes. Blessed are those who are mistreated, misunderstood, etc. for His sake.

Thankfully, I only vented to three people. It could have been worse. But it could have been better had I simply left it to God and my spiritual director to know the situation and await counsel, while praying for the person involved. Am sure God will provide more practice situations so to learn humble silence. This includes humble thoughts, for we are to think more poorly of ourselves than others may think.

On another point, consideration is given to Pope Benedict's mention in Behold the Pierced One that we should address the Father as Jesus taught: Our Father.  In part, this is to remind us that we are part of the Body of Christ, one of many parts, and the Father is of us all, not just of one. Jesus may address the Father as His or My, because Jesus is the Son. We are children, and have many brothers and sisters in Christ, and thus Jesus instructs us to pray, Our Father.

A thought struck on other small counts. One is the use of some using the possessive pronoun my in regard to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady. I have heard the possessive used, such as my Jesus. Picayune, this may be, but after all, we are about fine tuning. Trying all the while to do better, to walk before God and be holy, as He has asked.  Perhaps it is best to address the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary as: our Father, our Jesus or our Lord, and our Lady or our Blessed Mother. In this way we are more conscious of our linkage with all other souls on earth, in purgatory and in heaven. For those souls who do not think of God in Three Persons or His mother, we are thus bringing them with us in our prayers and thoughts, anytime we address God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and Mary. A thought.

Another consideration has to do with spiritual directors. (Sometimes confessors take on the function in essence, of spiritual direction.) It seems in the readings of saints' lives, the spiritual directors (if not the confessor, always a priest) were always priests or monks. Only in recent times have I heard (usually) women mention they have a female spiritual director. This is becoming more prevalent with some women religious, even to the extent of their offering courses for lay people to become spiritual directors.

The context in which I've heard people speak of their women spiritual directors, has been that of a conflict or a problem in trust and obedience. It seems women have difficulty taking direction from another women, even if the woman is a traditional religious. Seems the one being directed may ask others for advice or feedback, and then might even agree that this is just what the director told them. One wonders why the person did not heed the director's advice to begin with? Then there has been the difficulty of the woman director's advice not taken at all, with some resentment following.

Archibishop Fulton J. Sheen mentioned flaws in female temperaments: envy, possessiveness and (I think) curiosity. For males, lust, anger and (I think) control. Besides these observations, we have the example of Jesus Christ as Teacher, Lord, Master, Savior, Son of God and Son of Man. The Father said: This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him. We have the Virgin Mary's words: Do whatever He tells you.

In personal observation and experience, it seems women tend to not take direction well if at all, from another woman. But when their confessor gives advice, or their priest spiritual director, obedience follows with peace of mind and heart. Some others have expressed this to me, of their spiritual lives. Perhaps it has to do with Holy Orders and Christ in the present moment of direction from a priest. Perhaps some is connected with temperaments, of women instinctively looking to and finding strength and solidity from a wise man's direction. (Note, wise. St. Teresa of Avila said it is better to not have a spiritual director if it is not the right one, a good one.)

We have many instances chronicled in the lives of women saints and through the example of the Blessed Mother, of the nurturing, wise, advising, encouraging woman figure. St. Teresa of Avila led and gave counsel to her religious sisters, as well as wrote avidly and wisely on the spiritual life and prayer through her books, letters and poetry. Yet she did not consider herself a spiritual director. In fact, priests and priest monks were engaged as confessors and spiritual directors to the sisters, as well as for herself.

In the Order of the Present Moment, we consider these facts from history and from the saints. Having a regular confessor is one of the fundamentals of the spiritual life, yet in our era we realize the scarcity of priests trained specifically in spiritual direction or with time availability to be spiritual directors to individuals within their flock. 

But I maintain that the demand will help create the supply, and suggest, advise, encourage, nurture, wisely enthuse those striving to live in Christ in the present moment, to pray for and begin regular confession with one confessor. Within that context of the Sacrament, much benefit is derived in graces and even some counsel. If fortunate to be given by God a priest willing to spiritually direct, may God bless him! Either way, confessor or director: be humble, pray, ask direction, listen, obey, give thanks. And return for more. 

Perhaps the more we express the need for spiritual directors, more will hear the call to priesthood, seminaries will see the need for more training in spiritual direction, and God will provide more priests with more time and training to spiritually direct. Persevere in going frequently to a regular confessor and asking for spiritual direction. Persevere in prayers for men of quality to enter the priesthood.

As for lay persons or religious order friends, women and men, and also the Communion of Saints: cherish each others friendship, pray for wisdom, listen to or read trusted advice, offer humbly your trusted advice, encourage, pray for, and nurture loving support, one of another. Do not ask them what your spiritual director or confessor has already advised you. If not in keeping with the Church in faith and morals, then find another confessor or spiritual director. However, it does not seem the tradition or wise for women to take on the role of spiritual director, nor for women or men to seek women (or men without holy orders) as spiritual directors. 

 [These are my prayerful, studied, and experiential insights.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Author cannot enter into discussion and/or debate with readers on topics. The purpose of the writing is to offer this author's insights, thoughts, and experiences. It is a web log, spiritual in nature.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.