Saturday, March 18, 2023
Her advice must cause us pause.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt 5).
Where the gift is, so too is the Giver.
LAETARE....Rejoice....."The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior Who saves.
And so, we can stand alongside our Beloved Mother, Mary. She will grasp our stiff fingers, pull our directionless arms high above our heads, bowed in sorrowful repentance, and she will invite us to join her in singing her own glorious song of rejoicing:
We become one of those generations who will call her blessed. And we will give God, Father, Son, Spirit deep delight.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
The Lenten Fire that Purifies
The Lenten Fire that Purifies is the Living Flame of Love.
This Flame is God Himself. It is a Flame that cauterizes and heals at the same time.
In the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, a discussion arises. There are as many interpretations hidden within this discussion as there are those who are reading. For some, the story may reveal the Source of mercy. The author proposes that to truly understand someone, it is necessary to crawl inside the skin of the other person and walk around with them.
This is what Jesus does. He adorns Himself with our skin, our flesh, walks around with us, looks at other through our eyes, loves with our heart, thinks with our minds, feels with our emotions.
When our souls are deeply purified, denuded of self, united with God, we can proclaim with St. Paul, “No longer I, but Christ who lives within me” (Galatian 2:20).
This is where Spirit Lord desires to take us through our Lenten purification. His mystical tool is His cauterizing Flame of Love. His desire... Nothing less than union with God Himself.
Our Lenten journey is continuing and we have chosen to keep moving toward Him, into Himself. We have said Yes to Spirit Lord's actions in our souls. He, Personally, is taking us on the road to perfection and union with God. This is the first step toward intimacy with the Trinity.
At this stage of our journey, He gives us the graces to work with Him, to actively remove any attachments that incite our appetites in our desires for worldly things. Spirit Lord is calling us to a deeper knowledge of God so our worldly pleasures which root us in selfishness and self-love must be purged if we are to enter more deeply into union with the indwelling God.
St. John of the Cross reveals that our worldly pleasures and attachments, while not mortally wounding to the soul, can become habitual appetites which “proceed from habitual imperfection" and must be conquered. Habitual imperfections include "being very talkative; a small attachment one never really desires to conquer, for example to a person, to clothing, to a book , or to the way food is prepared, or to other trifling conversations and little satisfactions in tasting, knowing and hearing.” These are deceptive pleasures and unhealthy desires that can become sinful if they are not purified. If we cling to the belief, for example, that money gives us security or if we crave particular foods, we become enslaved to these and other such disordered desires and deceptive pleasures.
God desires that our souls be freed from the slavery of our senses and through our Lenten purgation, we will come to know the beauty and dignity of our soul which He longs to reveal to us. Spirit Lord needs our permission to continue to transform our soul and when we say Yes, Fiat, He gives us the grace to help us to let go of disordered attachments which silence the voice of God within.
Our attachments and desires reveal where we live, spiritually.
Our Lenten journey right now may be filled with such moments of painful self-knowledge. We remember that without the grace of deep self-knowledge, we can't know the depths of God's love and mercy.
But the One Who has us firmly by the hand does....
"For God has revealed this to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, even the depths of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10).
The Spirit of the Living God is the Living Flame of Love.
Thursday, March 2, 2023
THE HIDDEN GIFT OF LENT
It has been one week since our foreheads accepted the ashes of a humility that was the chosen garment enfleshing the Savior. We may already have met Him in one circumstance or even in many moments when He hid Himself, the Holy One Who is our Lenten Gift. In the particular difficulty that we faced, He was offering His cloak to us but instead of enshrouding ourselves in it and embracing Him in His proffered gift of humility, maybe we denied Him. Already. As did Peter (Luke 22:24-62).
We may be feeling that we have failed Him.
Sorrow and discouragement lurk.
In this too, He is with us, speaking to us with loving tenderness. We spend time with St. Peter and we listen to St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face who offers us spiritual encouragement in our fog of regret:
"If you can bear in peace the trial of being displeasing to yourself, you offer a sweet shelter to Jesus... fear not, the poorer you become, the more Jesus will love you...
And suppose God wishes to have you as feeble and powerless as a child? Do you think that would be less worthy in God's eyes? Consent to stumble, or even to fall at every step, to bear your cross feebly. Love your weakness. Your soul will draw more profit from that than if, sustained by grace, you vigorously performed heroic deeds which would fill your soul with self-satisfaction and pride." (St Therese: Story of a Soul)
We join her in bold confidence that the Savior, like Simon of Cyrene, will lift us up again after our fall (Mark 15:21).
"Then my sorrow is not what cuts me off, but becomes rather a bridge to the agony of the Holy One..."
Anna Rae-Kelly OCDS
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