Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love Is Suffering: More on Painful Realities as Spiritual Good

Am not yet discussing how suffering is love and love is suffering, other than to repeat:  love to suffer, and suffer to love.  Rather, this is more about discerning spirits and how to view painful realities as spiritual good.  Inherent in this view is the innate necessity of comprehending to some degree that to love is to suffer and to suffer is to love.  One must fly to other levels and dimensions to grasp this painfully good reality.

A friend called last evening, just after returning from confession.  I may encounter His Real Presence in this sacrament yet today.  The soul was jangled following yesterday's attempt in the baptism renewal.  Padre Pio aptly considered confession to be eminently important for the soul, calling it the re-baptism, linking the altar to the confessional.

There may be unrest following counsel from counsel or confessor.  If so, I turn to St. Ignatius' Discernment of Spirits.   Find it in the Fourth Week, Part II: Rules for the Discernment of Spirits, Week One and Week Two.

The friend above mentioned is reading a trilogy on the topic, written by a Jesuit priest who presents the information in three volumes in an attempt to explain for the lay person, how to discern between the good spirits and the bad.  I find that reading the few pages suffices with content; however, I am sure that the books on the topic give contemporary examples that may be more accessible in style.

In part, some experiences leave spiritual desolation.  This desolation is allowed by God when He wants to teach us and guide us, strengthen us.  Or, the desolation can be implanted by the evil one in order to disrupt and corrupt our virtues, aiming ultimately for the theological virtues of faith, hope and love.  Also, when there is a desolation that the soul recognizes and advances through with virtue and merit, there is a consolation coming.  But when we have a consolation (and this can be brought by God or smoothly inserted by the devil), the good purpose is to give relief but also to build the soul for further testing and trials.  In some ways, I suppose, this interplay is our spiritual ladder to climb.

The reasonable advice is given, and I share a nutshell version.  In desolation stick to the faith and stability.  In consolation, remain faithful, grateful and serenely humble.

As a personal example, I must discern if the riling of the spirit yesterday came as a result of considering continuing with one who so desires a call to make an appointment.  However, in the course of the conversation, the reality of incorrect direction and inability to grasp or research certain aspects of mystical theology, came forth once again.  The tremendous love is there, and the desire to have spiritual conversation as well, but it is one-sided in the latter aspect.  Sometimes we cannot break from tradition; and sometimes His Real Presence chooses to lead souls via unconventional routes.

Is this small example teaching an aspect of discernment of spirits?  How did the soul react following the encounter?  Was it torn between desire and love of what might or could be, and the painful realities of what was and is and most likely will continue to be?  Does this make it a bad spirit that is trying to keep the soul from continuing with the person; or is it God trying to warn the soul that it is unwise to continue?  The soul can stir and fret, as regardless, the devil loves to have a soul in unrest.

A simple resolution is for the soul to come to closure, to lay out the painful realities either in writing or in review personally and/or with a trusted friend who knows the path already trod in the situation.  Yes, in this case there have been outrages as well as physical harm, although the counsel may not have intended those outcomes.  Could it be that His Real Presence wants the soul to continue to have salt rubbed in the wounds and be at ready for more unintended but real agony?  Sometimes asking the questions brings resolution in the actual discernment.  Sometimes questions only increase tension.

Then the soul returns to prayerful consideration, and a plan evolves.  In this case, viewing the on-going harm done that interferes with daily activity, not to mention the upset, it seems best to consider other wise counsel.  Plus, know that emotions and feelings--especially good, warm fuzzies-- can ensnare us in the ring of emotions, and that ring is external to the center of the soul in which reside the intellect and will.  What one wishes often is not the reality of what was, is and will be.

For now, in this case, it is advised to kindly decline more meetings that tend to cause disruption of spirit as well as injury--even though the soul so loves the dear guide.  He has declined meeting for spiritual discussion, cannot break with tradition, and so best to let it gently reside in his own peace.  Love is suffering, and it is much suffering to let go of someone loved for the unknown, yes, of the Beloved.  It seems pathetic to admit that there is a fear of sorts, of the unknowns involved in letting go of lovely but painful temporal ties and placing the soul consciously in the mystery of His Real Presence.  However, if the letting go is a wrong move, His Real Presence will correct it over time.

That is what we must remember in love and in suffering, when we learn to suffer and suffer to love:  Take courage, take prayer, take discernment of spirits, then take steps always toward the Beloved even if it seems one is letting go of what one hoped would be perhaps the best temporal spiritual good.  His Real Presence knows; and He will collect and correct the soul if He intended not that step.

Write the loving note of gratitude but of letting go, at least for now.  Or do whatever step is necessary in whatever situation in which discernment has been effected.  It can easily be a gentle, small step; try not to lunge or leap but let go lovingly, softly, sweetly as possible.  But be firm with oneself if the pain is strong from much love.  The more love, the more pain.  Yes, in this sense, suffering is love and love is suffering...yet even that painful reality was not grasped by the other.

Let it go and wait for the Beloved in this matter.  The soul will know soon enough if it was right discernment.  There will be peace replacing the unrest, if so.

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