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Friday, 19 December 2014

Awake and Asleep

Many, many times I have written about people who are ostriches and who are asleep, not seeing the signs of the times, as well as the need for conversion.

What is happening in Europe and the States regarding the erosion of rights, such as the new ruling in GB that senior midwives cannot say no to assisting with abortions, and the recent suppression of discussion on the sin of homosexual actions, cannot but get worse

I ask readers to consider speaking with family members with whom they may "have Christmas" about the signs of the times, the disappearing of protections for those who want to live their religion publicly.

As one who has not succeeded with bringing my own siblings to the truth, I understand the difficulties of spreading the Gospel of repentance to those we love. Sometimes, all we can do is pray. However, we can pray for "openings", for those hints in conversation that maybe someone is ready to hear more about Christ and His Church.

God does not create suffering in families, but He allows it to bring some people back to Him. He allows suffering to strip away the false idols and crutches people cling to desperately in their lives. He also allows it to purify those who suffer for Christ and His Church.

Pray for those openings. Pray for the protection of St. Michael and your guardian angels when visiting or having visitors come to your house for Christmas.

Remember, just as God revealed His Son to the lowly shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem, so too, He wants to reveal His love to all our family members.

Pray, pay attention, be patient, and do not ever pass up an opportunity to spread the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our Lord, Emmanuel.

American Travelers, Please Be Wise and Prudent

VIP Read This And Act!

What Is Dangerous

For years, pundits, priests and teachers have been explaining what things or people or ideas are dangerous to the Church's success in both evangelization and in maintaining Catholics.

Many things and ideas, like materialism, consumerism, and relativism have been pin-pointed as the greatest danger to the Church.

In my opinion, and this is merely opinion, I think the most dangerous single idea or problem for the Church is stupidity. That people refuse to learn the Faith and incorporate it into their daily lives causes the Church to weaken and even die in some areas.

Stupidity is caused mainly by two things. The first is the lack of study, (see post last week on the virtue of studiosity), and the second is sloth.

Sloth must be one of the most common evils among Catholics, both laity and clergy alike.

To not study the Faith, to ignore the overwhelming amount of information on the net and in books, CDs and DVDs cannot be explained away by a lack of time.

It is a lack of interest, or, simply, laziness.

I talk to people who watch hours of television per week, who talk to friends and text or spend time on Facebook, but never read the Scriptures or take time to pray.

This is dangerous and totally "fixable". In this last week before Christmas, examine how much time is wasted on temporal and ephemeral things, instead of on prayer and study.

Your soul may be in danger.

Bisy Bakson

Read some sustaining book today. I am bisy but will be bak son. I see some light in the sky here at 6:30 a.m peeping out behind some clouds.

The Desert Can Also Be Wet And Cold

How odd that I find it much easier to be a hesychast  when it is hot or warm and the sun is shining, and much more difficult when it is cold and wet.

The temperature and climate affect me, especially in counties where there is minimal temperature control.

But, why I should pray more easily when hot or warm is interesting. Perhaps the aches and pains of the cold and damp dampen my purpose as well and make me tired. It is tiring carrying around pain, as those who have such know. My fingers now hurt all the time with chilblains, and my feet most of the time.

I do not mind being in the real desert, but the desert gets very cold when the sun sets.

Yesterday, twice, I had to go out and come back again, Both times it was bucketing down with water, and the major roadway where I wait for the bus flooded both times. Both times, car after car rushed by and I was sprayed with water over and over again. I had never experienced being so wet, soaked through to my skin all over. No exaggeration. Every piece of clothing was very, very wet.

My wooden clogs, which I wear in the rain as I do not have boots, many, many hours later, are still wet-the wood soaked through.

I tried to think of Mary Our Mother, and forgive all those drivers who could have slowed down so as not to splash dirty water over those of use waiting for the bus. A few did.  One young man jumped up on a wall to avoid the sprays and splashes. I could not do that and nor could another lady.

Forgiveness and being humble enough not to be angry takes practice and, yesterday, I had a lot of practice. I try not to waste moments of humiliation. It got easier as the day worn on.

Then, I had to sit on the bus in drenched clothes for over two hours to get to a needed destination.

I tried to imagine whether Mother Mary ever was cold and wet. I think the answer was yes. I mentioned this to someone who told me that (at the age of 55), they had never in their life waited for or taken a bus. Interesting. They looked at me and judged me as being poor for being very wet and a bit dirty. Another humiliation. Someday, when I am perfected, these things will not longer bother me. And, that is God's plan in allowing me to walk around for hours in drenched clothing on a cold day.

It is practice....the practice of the virtues and the dying to comfort and vanity. God knows what He is about.

The desert can also be wet and cold.

Raissa's Journal Footnote Perfection Series VIII Part XXXI

Raissa writes something which pagans simply do not understand. I remember years ago at Notre Dame, one of my professors saying that the Catholic Church was perverse because of the teaching of celibacy and chastity, which encouraged suffering and self-denial.

Yes, it does. Our God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, died on a cross. He showed us the way to self-denial and redemptive suffering. He call us to love without return, to sacrificial love.

Raissa writes something which reminds me of St. Bernadette's comment that although she suffered terribly from tuberculous of the bone, the waters of Lourdes were not for her.

Raissa notes that she knows that God will not give her any happiness in this world. She was not created to be happy on earth, but to suffer. She writes that she will never have but moments of joy with God alone, and not human happiness, not natural happiness except in rare moments.

Some people may find this idea shocking, that God would, from the beginning of a person's life, call them to the via negativa, denying that person any human or Godly consolation while on earth.

The person who is called to live in suffering has a vocation which now is popularly called being a "victim soul". Raissa knew that she was a victim soul but expresses it in different words in her diary.

One cannot decide to be a victim soul, one just is. God decides that a person will live in a darkness and a loneliness. One is called to a complete detachment of normal human joys. One cannot expect human love.

That Raissa was Jewish, and that the Jews gave us the beginning of the Revelation of God, also allows her to understand the mystery of the unknown God, the God of the Burning Bush, the God Who wrestled with Jacob in the night, the God Who disappeared from Jewish history directly for several hundred years before Christ, when prophecy dried up and the world awaited the Messiah, the Revelation of God,  the via negativa was mixed with the via affirmativa. 

One who is centered on Christ may be called to times of both ways. But, one way usually is dominant. Some people are asked to be rooted in the joy of the Incarnation. Some have to rest in the Passion of Christ.

Years ago, I read The Philokalia, which includes some of the writings of Maximus the Confessor, a proponent of the via negativa. What we do not know about God is just as important as what we do know, especially when one is in the Dark Night of the Spirit. God wants to strip us of false images of Him. 

That God is hidden in the darkness of that spiritual time cannot be denied. He is and He is not present. One knows He is present, one senses the Presence of God by faith. This causes a suffering of denial even of desire, which is very hard, but not impossible.

Raissa needed Jacques' love although they were separated on a regular basis because of his work. She still had that basis, but God called her to Himself as the Bridegroom and her suffering was both purgative and redemptive. She did not use the term "victim soul" but she knew she was suffering for Jacques, who was constantly attacked by the liberal Catholics and secular philosophers, and for others.

The couple brought many people into the Church.

To be in the Presence of God which is also an Absence is a mystery which causes the person to live in faith, hope and love, in that order. It is the mystic way and the way of the contemplative.

I shall return to her Journal in a few days. I am taking a break from it for a day or two to read some other books and to ponder on these hard words, Here is Raissa in her own words. 

"Human felicity has not place in my destiny. I know very definitely that god will never allow me to belong to myself and to seek my own happiness. He has never allowed it. I belong to Him, and through Him and with Him to those whom He wishes. It is He who chooses any intimates for me. In the midst of all my sufferings, God has given me a very clear view of my destiny. I have a destiny, and that, in itself, is marvellous. For a destiny make the unity, the usefulness and beauty of life. And my destiny is not to belong to myself. God has granted Jacques and me the same destiny and, as a viaticum, a unique and marvellous mutual affection."

I wish God had given me such a companion in destiny, but it has not been so. She admitted later in life that for her to be celibate and without Jacques was much harder on her than him. Such was her intense love for him, but God did not allow her that consolation. That was all part of their mission in the world. 

I also wish that God would make it clear to many of us the destiny of our lives. In these days of chaos, so much like the times of the Maritains, we need direction to keep us focused. But, not knowing is also humbling and part of the suffering.

to be continued..