Monday, May 16, 2011

How Slippery the Stairway...

Read the Psalms this morning after Mass.  From Psalm 73 came an explanation to the past nearly four months of reaction to various factors, with no excuse other than the humility of learning that the stairway to heaven is slippery at times, and those times teach us humility and gratitude for God's mercy.

"And so when my heart grew embittered
and when I was cut to the quick,
I was stupid and did not understand,
no better than a beast in Your sight.

"Yet I was always in Your presence;
You were holding me by my right hand.
You will guide me by your counsel
and so You will lead me to glory.

"What else have I in heaven but You?
Apart from You I want nothing on earth.
My body and my heart faint for joy;
God is my possession for ever."

It is an amazing realization to learn that God does not desire works that seem so good and helpful, but rather He chooses as He wills for us, with His perfect reasons.  Yesterday a visitor to Agnus Dei asked if nothing was going to continue making fresh fruit salads for the funeral dinners?  Consider: the muffin making was an ordeal and absurd hassle, and nothing was disallowed all else, bit by bit, one way or another. 

No, nothing is not going to make the fruit salads.  There are many who bring in various items of food, including fruit salads.  Nothing has learned that God wills other avenues for helping the poor and grieving: prayer, counseling, writing note of consolation and encouragement, monetary donations. 

Tending Baby Jesus is quite a full life, requiring much physical exertion for one who suffers high degrees of physical pain.  Plus, there is the harp not being practiced enough, and to write about living in and with Baby Jesus in the present moment....The gardens need much manual labor from one who is exhausted more often than not.  And what about spiritual reading?  Baby Jesus likes to be read to!

Consider, also, St. Hesychios the Priest's words on watchfulness and holiness.

"Just as the angels do not concern themselves with property and money, so those who have purified the soul's vision and who have attained the state of holiness are not troubled by the evil ploys of the demons.  

"And just as the richness that comes from moving closer to God is evident in the angels, so love and intense longing for God is evident in those who have become angelic and gaze upwards towards the divine.  

"Moreover, because the taste of the divine and the ecstasy* of desire make their longing ever more intense and insatiable as they ascend, they do not stop until they reach the Seraphim; nor do they rest from their watchfulness of intellect and the intense longing of their aspiration until they have become angels in Christ Jesus our Lord."

[From The Philokalia: The Complete Text, Volume One, compiled by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, "On Watchfulness and Holiness" by St. Hesychios the Priest, p. 198.]

* ecstasy - a going out from oneself and from all created things towards God, under the influence of eros or intense longing.  A man does not attain ecstasy by his own efforts, but is drawn out of himself by the power of God's love.  Ecstasy implies a passing beyond all the conceptual thinking of the discursive reason.  It may sometimes be marked by a state of trance, or by a loss of normal consciousness; but such psycho-physical accompaniments are in no way essential.  Occasionally the term ekstasis is used in a bad sense, to mean infatuation, loss of self-control, or madness [Ibid., p. 360].


  1. nothing compares to nothing :-) herzlichen Dank für Deine Zeilen !


  2. That is something for nothing! And for which to be thankful. Spring has sprung here, but cold snap now. Love gray days. All the colors contrast; all stands out gloriously against the light slate backdrop of sky. Gray seems less nothing than black and white.


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