Thursday, December 30, 2010

Experimenting in the Present Moment

Have been experimenting in the present moment, more out in the world, yet striving to remain in Christ's love.  Besides the humility of recognizing how difficult this is to accomplish, to successful degree, it also can cost in some materially and spiritually.

Today's Mass Scripture from St. John's first letter snatches and shakes the heart. 

"You must not love this passing world or anything that is in the world.  The love of the Father cannot be in any man who loves the world, because nothing the world has to offer--the sensual body, the lustful eye, pride in possessions--could ever come from the Father but only from the world; and the world with all it craves for, is coming to an end; but anyone who does the will of God remains for ever."

Visited the Da today.  Brought him St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls and St. Mark the Ascetic Hermit Peanut-Almond Crunch.  Then pulled out the gift set of O'Donnell's White Chocolate Bourbon Cream and a packet of Irish hard cheddar.  He opened the wrapped gift, a book by Fr. Leen of Ireland, of a time period when the Da was in seminary there.  Da has a story to tell about De Valera, a famous Irish president of the 1930's or so, and De Valera had quite a mystical experience in the presence of the holy Fr. Leen.  All told, the Da's countenance expressed pleasure in the gifts.

We spoke about some ideas floating in the head recently, and admitted took a long vacation from blog writing. Various tasks and some charity, pray so, accomplished.  Hopefully done, all in His love, and with such joy as not previously experienced perhaps since early childhood.

Yet am desiring the outer Nine S' to more coincide with the inner Nine S'.  Seems the inner ones not as sure and steady as would like to boast.  Cannot!  The inner silence, solitude, slowness, suffering, selflessness, simplicity, stability, stillness, and serenity ought surely infuse and overcome the outer challenges.  And in part they do, but seems not fully.  The Nine S' have lately been most solid during sleep!

But this certain idea has surfaced out of desire.  Love to donate, and did some, but the loss of the part-time editing job (as a result of computer automation) is now felt financially in not being able to freely donate.  So went off the budget.  Donated, gifted and spent on gifts for future giving. Spending cannot continue.  Expenditure cannot exceed income.

Is the venture idea, developing in the mind, the world and all it craves?  Is it pulling body, mind, heart and soul off focus?  Even the desire to give beauty and the delight in beauty may be a ruse of the lusting, temporal world. A soul living in Christ in the present moment must desire, delight and give truth, beauty and goodness that reigns authentically, lovingly, in the God-created world.

So am praying.  Am praying to be in the truth, beauty and goodness world of God and all He creates.  Am praying to have authentic, holy motives in all and in everything.  Am praying, pondering.

Am praying about the idea, the enterprise.  Someone in a quality-item clearance store  mentioned "The Prayer of Jabez".  Remember that?  An author twisted theology out of context in a verse from the Old Testament, and made a fortune selling his books and workshops on a "wealth and prosperity" notion.  The person telling me said to pray a certain thing and God will bless me with what I want.   

But I don't want that.  I want what God wants to give me or not give me, and what He wills, which could be nothing, or something, or that which I've considered or not.

What if God does not want me writing and developing this idea into the venture?  To remain in His love is to be in His will, and to be in His will is to remain in His love.  And the temporal world can be harsh on remaining in Christ's love and will.  Must learn to remain, strong and true.  Persevere!

After tasks in the busy world, one must settle back into earthly hearth and home, His heart.  Hibernate, pray, rest, and listen to the Lord not only in the dreams that sparkle in the new fallen snow, but pay attention to the dreams at night when He reminds of giving and using the inner gifts.

In our visit, the Da admitted he is miserly.  I admitted perhaps I ought to be.  He said he thought when I was developing the gardens that I was going overboard.  I said it is the price of a new, costly car, for sure...but the gardens are alive and beautiful, and my old, used car is not.  Then the Da said how beautiful are our churches, as are shrines and monasteries.  God desires and wills us to love beauty and enjoy beautiful things--but motivated through, with and in His love. 

The Da eyed his simple sofa table now laden with the celebratory gifts brought him, and said he surely loves the delicacies of our Holy Mother of God repast!

Home again, have no answers yet.  Am exhausted with another batch of St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls to make and gift, but not tonight.  To bed to pray, to sleep, to receive dreams.  No answers yet as to part-time job, what, or if, or of writing what, other than living in Christ in the present moment, living Christ!  There is such joy living in Christ!  

There will be answers from God.  More austere, less world, or more world but with inner solidity in His love.  However ways the Lord can use us, it must be for sure His ways, His truth, His beauty and goodness of His created world.  And we are not perfectly capable so experiment, and try, and hope and pray, and He is merciful.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two Worlds, One Love

Fascinating, traipsing back into the temporal world, blending in, living in Christ in the Order of the Present Moment.  This evening, re-read Pope Paul VI's selection from an address, reprinted in the Breviary Office of Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family.

He writes of learning about Christ's life in Nazareth, and that Nazareth in its own way, is a school for us, too.  Then we might learn to imitate Jesus from what He learned and how He lived. 

"Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is.  And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected His life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief everything which Jesus used to make Himself known to the world  Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of the Gospel."

The responsory with this selection, from 2 Cor 13:11, Eph 5:0, and Col 3:23, motivates the desires for God.   

"Have a rejoicing heart, try to grow holy, help one another, keep united, live in peace. Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts. What ever you do, put your whole self into it, as if for the Lord and not for men. Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts."

The errands, the gifting, the shopping necessary for supplies, the returns, the mailing and delivering--charity in its own way, and how requisite to offer all, even the most tedious and tiring, for Christ, for some aspect of prayer in Him, for others.

Perhaps this is the greatest gift this Christmas: the realization of joy especially when doing that which I'd prefer not, but doing what others who do not understand the joy of the Nine S', love to do. And how precious to sacrifice, and to do so joyfully and then learning to love the aspects of that which perhaps to a degree, I used to disdain.  It is all life, this is our culture, our language, our customs, and I am in the world.

Humbling, yes, to be in the world when I could remain out of it for the most part, physically.  The pain is a good reason, and the inner vocation.  But now the call is the Order of the Present Moment, to live the Gospel Rule, to remain in Christ's love, and to love others as He loves me. 

This, too, is the cross, depending upon the inner motives, and the distractions are meaningful when they are considered to be the nails.  Remaining in Christ's love humbles and also expands the view.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Joy!

So much to write.  Joyful Christmas.  Body worn out still, but minor detail.  Not sure if the Lord is pleased with the pace prior to Christmas, the last week or so of Advent Waiting.  Many challenges in the Order of the Present Moment, but staying true to what the spiritual director said prior to his leaving for ten days:  Keep this JOY!

The outer is even less what anyone would consider spiritual.  Am all the more blended in, and no one would suspect the undercover work in special ops for the spiritual life, for Christ!  However, may have become too this or that, and the Holy Spirit of Truth will surely let me know if over much, or if all this living in Christ in the present moment was truly my living in Christ in the present moments or if I took liberties and was living in the world instead.

Morning Mass, then post office, then drop a donation off, then pick up the Fontanini order for Christmases to come (gifts, hopefully wise use of funds, and hopefully won't have to do the shopping next year or after.)  Then a return for something I shopped for my relative's spouse.  Relative continuing in miracle mode and will be going home on Thursday!  Thanks for prayers!  Thanks be to God!  Then package to UPS, and then back to the little place here, and return to spiritual writing!

Am doing an Order of the Present Moment novena for Rev. Msgr., and am not sure he's all that thrilled with present moment stuff, but it's marvelous from the gifter's perspective.  

Today offered up a broken middle toe on behalf of  Rev. Msgr.'s calm and controlled demeanor.  Verbalized aloud here, several times upon stepping on foot with one toe bent under:  "I remain in Your love, Jesus! I remain in YOUR LOVE!"  It did hurt a bit, but due to constant overall chronic pain, have pain meds, so am blessed to have nothing separate me long from distraction by the toe.  Incidentally the inner toes are just left to heal on their own. I've broken a couple before.  But this time the pain meds have come in extra handy.

Christmas morning Mass, relished the depth of soul during Mass, and saw in the soul's view the painting that Seraphim had sent, which reminded him of Christ's request:  Remain in My love.  So from viewing the painting (posted a couple posts back) in the inner recesses of the soul, to thanking God for Christ the Newborn King, to praying for the gift of Seraphim's sending the painting, Christmas morning Mass set the day ahead.

God bless everyone!  We are one Body in the Holy Family of Christ!

From Seraphim's Sunday Walk in the Snow!

Beautiful photos of Seraphim's world.  All peace on earth!  Good will toward men!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas from Seraphim!

I found a painting from the french Artist Malel  he called " Laisse toi aimer" ... it such a good Illustration of
your last blog lines .... and  the title of this painting could be translated in : "Remain in his Love"

Seraphim w√ľnscht Dir von Herzen
eine gesegnete Weihnachtszeit !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gilded Seraphim Message

Just settled in after noon Mass, after three or four weeks' absence writing, and of intensive activity out in the beautiful yet bustling world. Have sucked fully of the Mother of Life's breasts, milk of Christ in others.  Discovered, also, some possessions that possess, to be given away in prayer and confession.

And now, along comes a gilded message from brother Seraphim, anointing the sunny afternoon, sharing Virgin Mary thoughts, Holy Spirit inspired through Hildegard of Bingen.

Christ Mass nearing!  Still Advent waiting!

O Virga Mediatrix: Alleluia-Verse for the Virgin

Hildegard of Bingen (1097-2079)

English version by Barbara Newman
Alleluia! light
burst from your untouched
womb like a flower
on the farther side
of death. The world-tree
is blossoming. Two
realms become one.


The conscious awareness of living in Christ in the Order of the Present Moment has had major challenges.  Between two or three weeks of intensity back and forth to the hospital and more phone calls than usual, by far, and the shock of the situation, the reality hits: this is how many people exist daily.

Then the guest arrived for four days.  Lots of laughter, food prep, shopping for food prep, coordinating more guests arriving for dinner, conversation, football games on television.  

It's quite a switch from the outer silence, solitude, slowness, simplicity, stability, stillness, serenity.  Did we leave out suffering and selflessness?  Well, the suffering continues regardless of being alone or having guests.  The selflessness holds a permanent place in the need-to-improve category.

Then came a week of appointments and some afternoon guests.  But at least could be at daily Mass.  Did we forget to calculate the ten days of nasty sinus infection that kept me home bound for eight of the ten?  And that reading and writing fled the scene other than reading and writing some emails.  

Then stuffed into the mixed bag is shopping for family gifts and such.  Go to one catch-all store that requires focus, effort, time, and yet yields bargains...comparatively so.  Then got the idea to purchase nativity figurines and such for Christmas gifts, at quantity discount.  Seems wise, for will not have to spend time and money for several years, and the gift will be heirlooms some day.  Then for some Christmas traditions:  Irish Porter cakes and St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls, and maybe some Fortitude Fudge.  Get the homemade herbal and concord grape liqueurs labeled, ribbon tied, and ready for gifting.

It is all so humbling to realize that it takes but a little, typical activity of most people's lives--for the focus, energy, and time dwelling consciously in Christ in the Order of the Present Moment to be compromised.  

In fact, when I wrote this, I was preparing to drive into the Cathedral for confession with my spiritual director, and I have much to confess on this very topic of humility, or lack therein.  Perhaps empathy has been lacking, also, or not being in touch with how most people must navigate the world with people around them not at all interested in such pearls as remaining in Christ's love.

Well, I got a good reminder, a good swig of how challenging is the spiritual life when any number of admixtures enter into the effort.  Definitely, as opposed to not being hospitable, not gifting at Christmas, not going in to stores, not involving with families in hospital, not cooking for guests, not dressing in clothing of the culture, not lots of things, is far easier to focus and establish oneself as austere and devoted.

But the Order of the Present Moment and remaining in Christ's love are for everyone, and the past three weeks or so have been outstanding reminders of the path of greater suffering, which is to sacrifice a kind of selfish wish to don a tunic and sandals, be au natural and dump other efforts required to blend in with the culture.  Could avoid smiling or human warmth, and discourage anyone from visiting in order to stay more spiritually focused. (Would I be prideful, and covet the freedom?)

I've tried both approaches in my life, and this path of blending into the mix, among people, being hospitable and accessible, approachable and more as an undercover agent for the Lord, is quite the supreme challenge!  Besides, the spiritual director is delighted with this modus operandi and the effect.  He says I am becoming who Jesus wants, and the joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit...and to keep it!

Admittedly, today am exhausted and thankful to be home after noon Mass, needing a nap.  I suppose for those who love the bustle and the image, to be austere would be far more the path of greater suffering.  But for one who tasted austerity and enjoyed how easy it was, and comfortable in its own way (far easier than the hassles of blending in, fitting in, and at least exteriorly conforming), this other is hard work, even painful work, and for me, by far the path of greater suffering.

It is also very humbling on the inside despite how the outer looks a certain part of the play.  Yet it is not a play.  It is life, and it is living life in Christ in the Order of the Present Moment, on the stairway to heaven even if challenged.  Christ the King puts His princes and princesses through some paces now and then. He asks us to step higher, increase the momentum, and be reminded of self-righteousness.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tomorrow, tomorrow?

Guest came and went.  Relative out of hospital, thanks to miracle, and now in rehab.  nothing recovering from sinus infection, but for a week able to get to Mass, then home, then errands, appointments, guests again.  Spiritual direction came and went.  Fabulous!  Much to write, much learned. Soon.  But Advent is our time of waiting....

Thanks for waiting with me, for whatever is next in the Order of the Present Moment, remaining in His love.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Receptive to Love

St. Francis de Sales, in The Love of God: A Treatise, subtitles Chapter 11, Book Two as, "It is no fault of God's, if we lack perfect charity."  What is this?  We may have lacked faith or reason to know we could possess perfect charity in this life.  But there it is, not only from this saint, but St. Paul said as much, and Jesus, also, and more, told us how.  If we believe in Him [faith], and obey His command to love others as He loves us, we remain in His love.

St. Francis de Sales continues to explain that the problem is our receptivity.  We must be fully open in faith to receive God's love.  Further, as somewhat expressed in the Ninth S: Serenity, clarity is key for the vast expanse of calm and tranquility within the soul to be open to faith and receive love.  Again, we need to be rid of whatever possesses us, that blocks our faith, so that we may be filled with love.

Surely this comes in degrees, for now that we know to remain in Christ's love, it is a process of our being willing, of opening our minds and wills to His love, and our heart's desire to His love.  We must not only be open to God's inspirations of love, but to act on them!  

This is what we do when we repeat our desires and will to remain in His love in every present moment.  Then our intellects and wills engage the memory, understanding, imagination, emotions and senses, from within to without, and begin making acts of love in thought, word, and deed to God and others!

As St. Bernard put it, the highest act of love is to love God in Himself, but along the way we begin in basic steps, moving from self-love to other-love to God-love with increasingly pure motives for our will to love.

Remaining in Christ's love, through our desire and will, and in faith, we go to the Heart of Jesus at the onset, and then we learn as the effects in our souls are worked out, which is a delightfully simple way to progress in love!  

However, as we are discovering, while the perfection of love may be ours, we must be faithful in full receptivity of His love.  No matter how great the challenges that not only are outer from the world but interior debris that comes to light, like particles in the air unnoticed until a sunbeam visually articulates them, we must persevere with faith and hope.  

Pray ask the Virgin Mary, our Mother Superior of the Order of the Present Moment, to instruct us in the love of her Son, our Beloved.  In faith and prayer, ask for all the graces God wills her to impart to us.  Pray ask the Holy Spirit of all truth to continually shed light on any obstacles to full receptivity of love.  Pray ask God the Father to protect us, keep us in Him and in His Son, bound eternally with the Holy Spirit, in perfect love.  Pray this now, simply, openly, and know that we will be given all we ask in Jesus' holy name, asking what God wills because we are remaining in Christ's love, and His will is His love.

Yes, there may be more clearing out for greater clarity and increasing humility, for God desires our love and sent His Son to secure our love.  He created the Virgin Mary, herself immaculately conceived, to conceive by the Holy Spirit, His Son, and birth Christ to redeem our souls, to love eternally!  

Are we aware now, that if we remain in Christ's love, we exist within His Sacred Heart?  Are we aware, also, that those who remain in His love, exist within His Sacred Heart have found the stairway to heaven-- that we are upon it now?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Message from "aspiring"

Again, another comment, this one from "aspiring", to share in more prominent space.  Thank you, aspiring, for inspiration!

I was sitting in the dark cold outdoors just now looking at the new snow on the ground and in trees illuminated by street and porch lights, in a chair in what I've come lovingly to call my spot - a spot in which I tend to become open and empty and quiet inside, and in which our Lord seems to see fit to avail Himself of my attention. Remaining in His Love came to mind. Just that. But then much more started coming. And so now, here I am.

Remaining in His Love. It can be likened to an immersion. He overcomes us and overcomes our limitations, and we become drenched breached saturated bathed penetrated permeated steeped infused imbued transformed, through and through, with His Divine Love. His Love enables and empowers us to love others. Sometimes we are mere channels for His love directly to them. 

In any event, while we are in His Love He loves through us, through our faculties. The distinct advantage being that He is all-knowing as it relates to meeting needs. Unlike us. It's as wonderful to be aware of His Love for me as it is being aware of His love happening through me on behalf of others. We can't love without Him.

I just recalled a quote I put at the top of my blog that is quite fitting here. I came across it earlier today while posting missing writings.
"It is God's work that has done it, not my work. I am like a pencil in His hand. The pencil has only to be used." --Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Also this, nothing, before I close. That you've had the prayer of Charles de Foucauld on your refrigerator to see for eighteen years is one of those things that, when I read it, jarred my whole interior with His knowing and His way of delightfully surprising me when I think nothing could surprise me anymore.

And to Ruth - Maybe I understand, maybe very clearly, and I'm very moved by your account of things. Affirmed, too, in some ways.

A Comment from Seraphim...
Thank you Aspiring for your very touching message ... My closing prayer for Laudes/Dawnprayer this morning: "Let us live in this Love and this Happiness, you and I and all of us, in the Love of Christ and in contemplation, for that is where we find ourselves and one another as we truly are. It is only in this Love that we at last become real. For it is here that we most truly share life of One God in Three Persons." Father Louis (Thomas Merton)

Message from Seraphim

Again, I find the comment box not obvious enough, so am emphasizing Seraphim's beautiful, loving words here.  Thank you, Seraphim.

Dear brothers and sisters,
This Sunday I would like to share a few lines from Thomas Merton's Book of Hours I prayed this morning with tears in my eyes:

"... Father I praise you, with all these my brothers and sisters,
and they give voice to my own heart and to my own silence.
We are all one silence, and a diversity of voices.

You have made us together.
you have made us many,
you have placed me here in the midst as witness,
as awareness, and as joy.

Here I am.

In me the world is present, an You are present.
I am a link in the chain of light and of presence."
May the fire of tenderness warm you up and lightful joy guide you ... specially you dear Ruth and Nothing and his "Relative" in the hospital ...

your silent hermit brother

from Germany

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Healing and Trust in Jesus' Love

Another intense week at the hospital and now am out of commission.  Relative not out of woods yet, but very receptive to prayer as two adult daughters and I knelt around her bed, placing hands on her.  In a nearby town, the patient's elderly mother knelt in prayer at designated time.  I prayed, remaining in Christ's love and repeated three times, Jesus, I trust in You.  Each person, including the patient, prayed, and we concluded with the Lord's Prayer.

I felt my work was done.  After another horrendous surgery and waiting longer than we expected, the surgeon explained the details, and I headed home.  A sore throat began to plague, and by the next morning knew my physical presence ceased for awhile.  I picked up a virus from the hospital.

It is amazing to have a first illness other than the chronic pain, and to experience the peace of living in Christ in the present moment, remaining in His love.  I could resent people who visit hospitals, ill themselves, subjecting patients, staff and other visitors to illness.  But there is no resentment for if the thought presents itself, I remain in His love!  I was in a lounge in which a woman visitor was hacking, and I'd been around a relative who brought a child with bad cough to the hospital.  I simply accepted staying home in bed, after a trip to the doctor to make sure it was not strep, and I pray for humanity to be sensitive to the needs of others.

"Ruth" has emailed a response to the healing that is going on in her heart, emotional wounds, and I found her perspective beautiful.   

As for healing, I expect for a broken heart, I have been healing quickly.  It took a good two to three weeks of suffering through, what I like to call, divine surgery.  It was longer than I would have liked, but with all the various facts being thrown at me, painful memories, and I am sure that hormones did not help, surgery took as long as it had to.  

You are right when you say that these healings free us. I haven't been this joyful and free since I was a child.  I know my husband loves it. I guess a happy wife really does make a happy family. 

I know that I have to undergo some more surgery soon, as more things have been brought to my attention.  But in a weird way I am looking forward to it.  At least these issues didn't cut as deep as the first ones and there is something to be said about a God who loves you enough to wants to clean out and stitch up your heart. 

"aspiring" left on a comment, the prayer of Bl. Charles de Foucauld, martyred on Dec. 1, 1916, a hermit living in the Sahara of Algeria, being Christ to natives of nearby village.  The prayer reminds me of a  Methodist minister who converted years ago.  I met him when a teen, as he and his family were neighbors.  He had become a nationally known columnist for the Catholic press, and in his final illness, a priest friend had mailed him this prayer.  I was not yet Catholic, but his daughter gave me the prayer after his death, typed on a small piece of paper.  It has been on my refrigerator for 18 years.  Am touched that "aspiring" brings the prayer to our attention.

The Prayer of Abandonment of Brother Charles of Jesus by Charles de Foucauld

"Father, I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You do I thank You.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
as in all Your creatures,
I ask no more than this, my Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You, O Lord,
with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, my God, and so need to give myself--
to surrender myself into Your hands,
without reserve and with total confidence,
for You are my Father."