My search for true peace has led me down quite the path from that man who once was angry at the world for being so unjust, obtuse, and self centered, all the while not noticing just how self-centered I was being in my anger at the self centeredness of others.
On page 127 of the little book “12 Steps to Holiness and Salvation” St. Alphonsus Liguori writes “Humility of the intellect, as we have seen, consists in acknowledging that we are nothing and deserving only of contempt.
Humility of the will consists in the desire to be despised by others and in the pleasure such contempt affords us. Humility of the will Our Lord had especially in view when He said: “Learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart.” (Matt. 11:29). , . The Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation (p. 127). Saint Benedict Press and TAN Books.
Paul Thigpen wrote a book called “A Year With The Saints” with which I was gifted this Christmas past. Here is one of the entries from page 162. Saint Catherine of Siena recounts in her book “The Dialogue” a conversation with Christ. In this quote He tells her that she must know herself truly, as she truly is, and to do that she must know Him.
Imagine a circle drawn on the ground, and in the centre of the circle, a tree growing with a shoot grafted onto the trunk. The tree is nourished in the soil contained within the circle, for if the tree were out of the earth, it would die and bear no fruit.
Now think of the soul in the same way: It’s a tree that’s created for love and can live only by love. In fact, without the divine love that is truly perfect charity, this soil cannot produce the fruit of life, but only the fruit of death.
It’s necessary, then, that the root of this tree, which is the soul’s love, should grow up within the circle of true self-knowledge that is contained in Me. Like the circle, I have neither beginning nor end. Within the circle you can go round and round, never finding a beginning or end, and always remaining within it.
This knowledge of yourself and of Me is grounded in the soil of true humility, which is as wide as the breadth of the circle. If your knowledge of yourself were not contained within Me, it wouldn’t be a complete circle. It would have its beginning in knowledge of self, but would end in confusion.
The tree of love, then, is nurtured in humility, bringing forth from its side the offshoot of true discernment. The heart of this tree of loving charity within the soul is patience, the evidence that I am in the soul and the soul is in me. Pleasantly planted, this tree produces fragrant blossoms of virtue, with a great variety of scents; and its fruit is grace and usefulness to her neighbors. (St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 10 ... from : “A Year With The Saints” Daily Meditations With The Holy Ones Of God, by Paul Thigpen.)
So I have been praying sincerely to my Guardian Angel to “Show me how I appear to God, all my faults, all my vices, all my failings, all my sins”. And imagine my surprise when my Guardian Angel has up and got onboard with this request with great enthusiasm. Its like he exclaimed “I thought you would never ask!”. It has been both painful and humiliating, and yet I cannot imagine a better way to learning “humility”.
I have had a few Recollections (Retreats) and Reconciliations (Confessions) where I just knew that I was, and am, a great sinner but I could not for the life of me come up with anything specific to confess. My mind would go blank, and I would be left mumbling about knowing that I am a sinner, and being sorry for my sins, and so on and it was, well, very uncomfortable. So thank you my guardian Angel for clearing up the fog of battle and giving me lots to focus on.
Then I found some very enlightening and bracing talks by Fr. Chad Ripperger, two talks on “Self”, and then a third talk on “Stages of Attachments”, and a fourth talk on “Impediments to Holiness”.
Very humbling and very, very helpful. I’d bet finding these talks at this time was also the work of my Guardian Angel but who can fathom how that actually works.
Anyway, the talks are here:
THE PROBLEM WITH SELF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3_M-ychkTA
STAGES OF ATTACHMENTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woHJtSz_KEw
IMPEDIMENTS TO HOLINESS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPWOGL7JP60
I suppose those are going to be a huge discovery for some of us, I know they sure were for me.
Take care and may GOD bless you and keep you.
I’m NOT crazy … really, I’m not …