Friday, November 07, 2014

Proverbs 27:6

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ecclesiastes 3:12

Isaiah 41:13

Love letters from Heaven. Never turn your gaze away. Always ask to be drawn nearer and deeper into His presence. There is nothing, nothing, more beautiful than Him. He is everything. To whatever degree you are fearful of approaching Him is how far you have turned from His gaze. Turn back, contemplate His beauty, heart to heart, stay with Him.
Add"If you set your heart aright, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will entreat your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last." -Job 11: 13-20

Beautiful Things - Gungor Lyric Video

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Think and do nothing without a purpose directed to God. For to journey without direction is wasted effort.
St. Mark the Ascetic

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Dare You...

to accept everything, yes everything today with a grateful heart. Every inconvenience, every piece of burnt toast, dirty look, every mess, every smile, every kind or unkind word, every glass of spilled milk, the smallest portion, every misunderstanding, the last place, not being heard, or even acknowledged, as it comes to you straight from the Hands of our good Father in Heaven with a grateful heart.

"Let nothing trouble you, let nothing make you afraid. All things pass away. God never changes.
Patience obtains everything. God alone is enough."-St. Theresa of Avila

The Saints have a wonderful way of giving you those little epiphany moments because they walked so closely in Christ's footsteps.

In today's "modern world," (insert oh brother moment here) we might be tempted to think of these maxims as quaint outdated little sayings! Sweet, but not exactly appropriate to the time, place, vocation or whatever else. But the saints didn't speak unless they had something worth saying now did they. We can trust that or they wouldn't have lasted very long on the path of virtue because we all know what happens when we talk too much.

So when St. Theresa says, "Never complain of the food, whether it be well or ill dressed; remembering the gall and vinegar of Jesus Christ," and I'm tempted to think what a quaint little penance, (Lord open the eyes of my soul to see Your great Beauty in everything!) I remember the Saints are always pointing towards Christ, and get the feeling that there is more to this than meets the eye. I suppose all of these little mortification (or not so little for some like me) are tethered specifically to a special grace Our Lord is just waiting to pour into our souls. We clear the path by taking advantage of each and every one of these little ways.I don't know about you but it's not so easy shoveling the muck away from years of bad habits and sin. Confession helps me clear my sight yet it still seems I do a whole lot of shoveling. Sometimes not very wholeheartedly.

I recently had a dream -be wary of these and fear God Himself- in which our pastor of the parish was going around listening to different hearts of the faithful He would lean in and listen for a moment then give them one word, just one, to live by for a certain amount of time. He came around to me and said nothing. Nothing! I supposed he couldn't hear anything or what he heard was not good. So I followed after him and asked what about a word for me? He smiled and said you already know, you tell me. I was confused and irritated. I thought and prayed when one word did come to me and it was, Grateful. I ran to father and shouted, Grateful! He smiled, nodded and then walked away. You know what was funny, even in the dream I was ungrateful for that word. I wanted something spectacular like love, or poverty or whatever else. Anything that didn't seem so little.

I think God wants us to be grateful for every "little" blessing. The dishes, legos, the smell of ketchup ugh, the heat, pain, smiles, getting up in the middle of the night for the fifth glass of water, misunderstandings, embarrassments, slow progress...everything.

Tepid and dry souls you want more devotion? Increase you prayer and good works of charity!
You want to overcome lust? Fast & and pray. Deny yourselves little pleasures, especially those which please the belly.
You want to control your temper? Pray. Bless ALL who are unkind to you. Return EVERY unkind word with some kindness. Do not defend yourselves if unjustly accused, unless it would cause scandal not to do so. But still, tread lightly there, go carefully.
You want more energy to get all of your duties done? Spend yourselves all the more for the love of God.
Are you judgmental? Remember your faults, go and adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, count your blessings!
Are you vain? Do not speak much, be simple & sincere, take the lowest place, (always a good general rule) spend the money you would spend on your vain amusements on the poor. Turn your gaze to Our Lord and contemplate His humility.

Pray, pray, pray.

Thank God for His example in the Saints. I have no doubt they possessed a very real and simple common sense. Holy Simplicity in all of it's splendor can always be found in whatever charism any saint is known for. They never dared to pretend that they could walk any other way than in holy simplicity, willfully abandoning themselves in every moment to whatever God's will was for them. Holy Simplicity is quite a thing to behold. It is so lovely and attractive because of the soul's docility. These souls become mirror images of Christ and reflect His love in everything they do. They quite literally walked in Christ's footsteps and would not dare to tread through this treacherous world otherwise.

I also suspect there wasn't a passive resignation to the will of God as if they weren't laboring, or better yet heroically fighting a hidden war. None of the battles the saints won outwardly, that God was pleased to show men, started in plain sight. They had long been fighting a tremendous and victorious war in their heart, won by grace.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!" Isaiah 6:8

There are many who say to the Lord, "I give myself wholly to Thee, without any reserve," but there are few who embrace the practice of this abandonment, which consists in receiving with a certain indifference every sort of event, as it happens in conformity with Divine Providence, as well afflictions as consolations, contempt and reproaches as honor and glory. -St. Frances de Sales
Hebrews 4:14-16
Not as man sees does God see,
because man sees the appearance
but the LORD looks into the heart.
—1 Samuel 16:7

1 John, chapter 3


                                                               Jean Jacques Henner

Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ecclesiasticus 2:1–6

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I have found many articles on scruples that don't quite seem to grasp their nature. Maybe it is the nature of scruples not to understand what is written about them during the time a person is suffering under their dark tyranny. Maybe the scrupulous soul does not understand because God has made each soul as different as every sunrise of everyday that has ever come into existence. These souls do not fit into the boxes of another person's observations.
 How can a unique soul with different impressions, life experiences and graces fit into the model box of scrupulosity? Poor, poor souls and poor, poor fathers who have the task of guiding them. A scrupulous person feels like a leper inside and out. ( Scruples clouds the conscience and confuses the intellect but doesn't put blinders on our physical eyes. We can still see when people are annoyed.) I have heard that scrupulous people are very selfish, very self centered. This is true, as with everyone else on the planet. I suppose the irony here is that a scrupulous person will agree with that statement thoroughly. They may even make a very real effort to convince you of it's truthfulness if they perceive you are not assured of the fact that they are indeed selfish and self-centered. Only I suppose a scrupulous person needs to understand that they don't have to convince every person of that fact. They can't earn grace that way or any other for that matter. They just have to sincerely know their misery and trust in God's mercy.  If only to get past that fog, that choking fog. It is no wonder I suppose that the scrupulous are self-centered. Some souls leap from light to light in total darkness.  They perceive in a deep dark ocean that there is another light and then they leap. Sometimes out of fear of what is trailing behind or from the faint crisp breeze and warm ray of hope leading the way.  Sometimes out of obedience, all the while they sense, if it were only for Love, and knowingly, regretfully, falling short every step of the way.

Well, a warm ray of hope is not quite the right description. It is not something felt as warm and comforting in the dark fog of scruples. I suppose  this is because it is more like the  feeling of a distant memory, maybe too pleasant, too sweet and so long ago....storm clouds that have suddenly blocked the sun  cast a cold grey shadow on everything. The bright clear and warm light of the sun is now obscured with the realization that a storm is coming without the knowledge of  it's intensity or how long it will last.

A description of hope in scruples is like trying to keep your head above water and because of weakness and exhaustion going under. While under water they cannot breathe or hear the voices of direction because they are muffled when submerged in an intense fear. Then, the person remembers to stop panicking and is able to be pulled to the top and breathe. This is the stage people trying to help a scrupulous person may be the most frustrated by.

Trying to help a scrupulous person is like trying to give a child a life saving medicine that they will not accept. The taste is too bitter, they are afraid and do not see the good in the remedy. The medicine seems bitter because the person is not used to the taste of obedience and trust.  They already know and are familiar with their present suffering. They think the new remedy may not work, or cause more suffering. In truth they are very timid souls. They are used to the darkness even if it is an almost constant torture. I do have to add that a person on the outside ought to be careful not to paint scrupulous souls with a broad brush, rushing to the conclusion that they are timid, weak and ungenerous, which can result in cruelly discounting their very real suffering. I would also add that there are other extremes opposite of scruples like being indifferent and apathetic or presumptuous. Even though all of these spiritual sicknesses result from pride, they take different routes and end up in different places. Though no less dangerous and suppressing to the light of reason, maybe a bit less bothersome to the people who have to counsel scrupulous souls. Although, I do hear a lot of complaining about the impious (at best) behavior of fellow Christians.

There is another sense that I have been reluctant to share but maybe it might help some soul who stumbles upon this.

 For a person with scruples, there is a sense that one is in a very deep dark fog. I know I described that already, but to describe to what depths and lengths the darkness goes is impossible. In the worst moments it seems never ending. A scrupulous person may obey the advice of a good and trusted director but that does not mean this darkness disappears. Sometimes, it seems to get worse. The anxiety does not leave and that adds to the suffering an confusion. It is natural, at least I think it is,  for someone who has scruples to expect the darkness to dispel when they faithfully follow the advice of a trusted director. A scrupulous person needs to get used to trusting God. They need to be shown with patience and love that God loves them despite their imperfections. What also adds to the suffering and confusion is the implication or outright accusation that the scrupulous person does not want God's mercy. That they are rejecting His mercy. I have to say yes, in a way, a scrupulous person most certainly is rejecting His mercy.  Although,  I mean it in the way a person who does not correspond faithfully to God's will in any part of their life. Not just in the matter of scruples. Take for instance another situation that has nothing to do with scruples. A situation in which maybe every human being who has lived long enough has encountered. Say a person finds themselves in a moment where they sense danger, or that something isn't quite right. They act either by not listening to the warning and fall into the unfortunate consequences of that danger, or they do something and avoid the danger escaping tragic consequences. Scrupulous people get a sense of danger all the time. This is not good and terribly exhausting.

To what degree a soul is culpable when rejecting mercy who knows, not especially the scrupulous, only God. How can anyone know that except God who only knows Himself fully and understands what it is to reject His will. This rejection of God's will, His mercy, is in my experience where the scrupulous gets mixed up in the relentless torture of scruples until another light comes.

The very place a soul should find comfort, in God's omnipotence, in His justice and mercy which cannot be separated, is terrifying for the scrupulous.

 Even the person himself who rejects mercy -grace- by committing or omitting some act is blind to what extent they offend God. How can we know that when our human minds cannot even fully grasp what it is to reject grace through sin? Not to say we can't have a pretty good idea . We can see what it means by the effects of sin from the fall onwards throughout history. We can see personally what it does in our lives and we can contemplate the goodness of God. To see what extent we are culpable, well, I do not know for sure, but would say it takes a very special grace to see this way. How can we know this when we would have to know who God Is.  Though let me say that what He has given us is enough, more than enough. He has given us the Commandments, traditions and writings through the Church that enable us to more than sufficiently examine our consciences. He gives us good guides in faithful friends and priests. Thank God for faithful and patient priests.

  Okay to continue with my thought and say that for a scrupulous person, rejecting mercy does not at all feel like they are rejecting God's mercy in the thick of it. As a matter of fact, the scrupulous soul is begging for mercy, or so they think.
 The scrupulous soul has an instinct to be safe, which is good, on overdrive, which is bad, kind of like checking the locks obsessively.
I cannot stress enough that wanting and rejecting are two different things entirely. Even if they can exist simultaneously. To say a scrupulous person does not want God's Mercy is cruel especially when saying it to a scrupulous person's face. To say that or anything like it is adding fuel to feed the demon of scruples. Any person who has suffered this long enough knows and has been told that it is an an offense to God's loving kindness to not trust Him. To say that is to add another thing to obsess about. 
It would also be nice if some would stop implying that God gives more grace to those who are not scrupulous.  I think it may be that they accept grace more readily, and this is the difference that must be clarified for people suffering with scruples. People who are actively trying to do God's will and live a holy life and are not scrupulous may recognize a grace-filled moment a bit easier. The moments in their lives aren't filled with never ending torturous questions which the whole of eternity rests on! A scrupulous soul must learn to distinguish between the voice of conscience and reason and that of temptations and scrupulous distractions.  They must look deep into their hearts and strive always for sincerity. They must trust God that He will always be merciful when we act in sincerity. They need to examine their scruples on two levels. Am I sincere and do I trust in God's mercy? The attacks of the scruples in my experience have come from fear on those two levels. If a person finds they are re-examining their conscience they might want to ask themselves if they have been deeply sincere and if they trust God. They must trust God, that he knows their hearts, through and through. That He will not take them to task for following their conscience and sincerely striving to do what is right. Of course a conscience has to be well formed, but even then, when acting sincerely, God knows. He knows thoroughly the situation, along with our strengths and weaknesses inside and out.

We must learn to empty ourselves of reliance on self, of obsessive worry and examinations. Do not worry if we are being filled with grace if we are walking closely as long as we are sincerely striving to please God. This is all I have for now. It has taken me over a year to post my thoughts on this subject.

 If you are scrupulous and stumble upon this, I am praying for you and more importantly, God loves you!