Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All Peace on Earth

All peace on earth!  All PEACE on EARTH!

So much has occurred, but the bulk is not to be shared--not that it is wrong to share, but that it would take long to write and many might not find it helpful.  But much has also been accomplished in a freeing nature, of releasing the soul from that which was hindering at a temporal level.

For one thing, finally an abbey phone call brought consultation by its recent abbot, who said the direction I was receiving was wrong.  The reason for the phone call was total upheaval in the spiritual life: chaos, upset, despair and darkness.  If anyone experiences such, and one's spiritual director does not respond or help, St. Ignatius writes well on the topic of discernment of spirits in his Exercises.  Otherwise, or additionally, confer with someone on equal or better experiential status as one's spiritual director if the director is not available or responding, and if the condition continues.  Well, this is what happened, and the remedy for this soul, at least.  And what a blessing!

Back to Mass, and also there was additional information gathering on the state, the ecstasies, during Mass.  This research resulted in better assurance that it has nothing to do with trance states.  The retired abbot had said as much, as well as a noted doctor familiar with the paranormal, but even though some said they were not bothered by it, they still could not grasp, understand, or be at peace with the occurrence.  Naturally, this causes the person experiencing such, unnecessary stress.

So all peace on earth; all PEACE on EARTH!  All peace in the soul!  His Real Presence chose what He wills during Mass.  Then a book stood out in the mind, one attained a few months ago, edited by Fr. Gabriel and Fr. Thomas, Discalced Carmelite priests.  This book contains essays written by various experts on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and cover the spiritual life as she illuminated the phases and experiences.  This is most helpful as a reminder; we always benefit by the spiritual wisdom of great mystics and by re-reading in different formats and books in different phases of our lives.  Yes, we might have read the works earlier, but to read again, filtered through others' writings, can be of great benefit, cyclically, on the journey.

The hermit life is discerned as definite.  The suffering is discerned, but it is not necessary to focus on being a victim soul or not.  It is best to love, to learn to love, and to learn to love to suffer, for while on earth we shall know earthly pain.

All peace on earth!  All PEACE on EARTH!  God bless His Real Presence in all souls!  His Real Presence, the Most Holy Trinity, creates all souls!  What a beautiful essay in the above mentioned book, expresses friendship with and in the Holy Trinity!  This is life and love in His Real Presence.  Enjoy.

Thomas, Fr. and Fr. Gabriel, O.D.C. 1963. St. Teresa of Avila: Studies in her life, doctrine and times. Westminster: The Newman Press.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Little Thought About Misery

I have been pondering many things, among them the novel by Stephen King, titled Misery.  In it, the fiction writer Paul Sheldon is held captive by a possessive Annie Wilkes, a deranged fan of Sheldon's fiction.  In the end, Sheldon realizes in order to live, he must make one final attempt; Annie comes to a height of rage, and he fights her for his life.

Sheldon succeeds.  Later, maimed by the ordeal, his literary agent asks him if he would be willing to write a non-fiction, detailing the horror he endured some two years prior.  His agent knew it would be a best-seller; the public wants to know such details of misery.

Sometimes it seems I should write of that which would be nearly unbelievable.  Those close to me say it is unbelievable if they were not here, seeing it occur, unfold, in the sheer horror of that it truly is.  At times I think I should struggle out.  But I am out, in actuality, in reality other than the attachment that is mine alone, deep within.  That deep within is what must be severed, for all else has been taken away.  Someday perhaps I will write about what actually has occurred, from start to finish, the persecution: misery.

Later: I have noticed, often truly, that persons or groups of persons who are persecuted often end up persecuting others.  Sometimes it is the very groups of persons who they feel persecuted.  This came up when I noticed someone belonging to a group who has been persecuted by Christians--some of them--put up an image of a sacrilegious nativity.  It is a good reminder, a great lesson.

To have the heart so wounded, one would think or hope that all the anger and bitterness would have been bled out.  Blessed are they who are persecuted.  Did Jesus say so they could turn around and persecute others?  It would also seem that for anyone who has suffered in the heart, deeply enough, that there would never be a desire to ever persecute others, no matter what.

The types of persecution of which I am thinking and write, are not the niggling little things, such as people disagreeing in minor ways over details, thoughts, opinions.  The persecution in mind, is that which wounds the heart (emotions and mind) and comes from deep exclusions, judgments, and swathing assumptions--even physical injury--that literally affect the daily lives of those persecuted.

Questions on the Most Holy Trinity

A reader has asked some very good questions.  They may seem basic to some, but the more I pondered and began to suggest some reference materials to read for more precise answers, the more I realized the questioner and questions are a gift from the Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) encouraging me to study once again and more in depth.  The spiritual life is like a spiraling double helix, and we grow intertwined and spiraling in a direction with increased awareness and understanding.  This comes from graces at a spiritual level which can in practical means include outstanding writings to read and ponder.

The questions from the reader are as follows: Are you saying that you can approach the Trinity without Jesus? Is not Jesus our portal to the Trinity? How do you conceive of the Trinity? When you pray, who/what are you with?

The initial answer: Perhaps I will write more in depth on this topic, although my other readers understand the Trinity, so it might be redundant for them. If you have a Catechism of the Catholic Church or could borrow one from a parish, please read about the Trinity in sections 232-256 (approx.). You will find that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; the Father is the First Person, and the Holy Spirit is the Third Person. However, they are Three in One. All three Persons would be considered portals of prayer and interaction, yet each have more distinct functions. I can't say that any of the Persons are portals "to the Trinity," for they ARE the Trinity. 

Another good resource that is fairly complete and detailed is Msgr. Adolphe Tanquerey's The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Tan publishes a paperbound copy, but online you may be able to purchase a used hardbound. The Blessed Trinity (Three Divine Persons) is detailed in sections 90-101. Specifically, when we pray, we are within the Trinity, which by grace draws us in by varying degrees dependent upon the state of our souls in any given moment. We are in prayer within the Three Divine Persons of the One Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While brief, I hope this helps. I highly recommend the other reading, though. Every now and then I re-read from books I have here, as I feel it helps me always to keep learning. I really like Garrigou-Lagrange's writings. He has a couple volumes just on the Holy Trinity. There's much out there to read by proven theologians and makes learning more about the Faith a joy for us. 

Then, considering that yes, most of the readers with whom I am in contact privately do understand the Most Holy Trinity, some may not.  Indeed, suddenly I realized that His Real Presence is graciously offering me an opportunity here, to pick up again in another level and phase of life a renewed study of the Trinity.  Recently I've been reading the homilies of St. John of Avila, recently proclaimed Doctor of the Church, on the topic of the Holy Ghost.  But this morning I turn to the hermitage library room and pluck off the shelves, Pere Garrigou-Lagrange's The Trinity and God the Creator:  A Commentary on St. Thomas' Theological Summa, Ia, q. 27-119.

I will continue ancillary reading in books on the Holy Spirit, since personally in my own Protestant faith earlier years provided mostly learning about Jesus and God the Father.  I thank the questioner, for this is providing me with the next foci of personal learning and growth as well as perhaps some assistance to readers who may not have easy access to some of the books or time for studying the topicI will share, hopefully, simply and warmly, as between personable seekers of God, rather than in a scholarly tone.  I personally prefer personable!

These few words from The Catechism of the Catholic Church (while there is much more others may read on their own), are what I will ponder this morning while doing some hermitage tasks:

"The Faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity;" and, "The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men 'and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.'"  [232; 234]