Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Octave of Easter and the importance of Reverence in the Liturgy …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Continued on from my last post. First of all it appears that that large noisy crowds from the Easter Sunday morning Mass were actually not Catholic, that is they actually were a couple of families worth of non-catholic visitors attending for the rather large Easter First Communion of a couple of kids who are Catholic. That kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for unchurched secular modernist “none’s” who have no clue about appropriate behaviour in a church or place of worship. This morning the reverence and quiet returned together with the more normal behaviour of the congregation absent the unchurched sports bar crowd.

For the remainder, the regulars, the remnant, the Truth of our faith is that The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a memorial of his death and resurrection. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

The Last Supper, Da Vinci, 1495-1498, oil/tempera on plaster, in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

The words that Jesus used during the Last Supper about the unleavened bread and the cup echo what He had said after He fed the 5,000: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink” (John 6:35; 51; 54-55).

Da Vinci’s “last Supper” masterpiece (image above right) was commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza for the refectory of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. I am quoting much of the following from an interesting web site about the Italian Rennaisance.The scene we see comes from the Gospel accounts on the night before Christ’s Passion and Death when Christ and the apostles are together in a room for supper. We are watching them at a point in the “Supper” narrative after which Christ has made a great revelation to the apostles that one of them will betray Christ (“One of you is about to betray me”, Matthew 26:21 ).

He is, of course, referring to Judas, but at this point in the Gospel there is a great outburst of emotion as all the apostles want to know who the betrayer is. We can see this emotion in the various apostles, who are linked by their hand movements. Emotions range from protest (Philip, #8) to sadness (John, next to Christ) to acceptance (Christ).

Judas, 3rd on the left from Christ is, however, shadowed and turned towards Christ so that we only see part of his face while he clutches his money bag, presumably containing the 30 silver pieces. At the time this was painted, Judas was normally arranged across the table from the other apostles in Last Supper depictions, but here he is depicted in the same grouping as John and Peter.

All of these figures would go on to play prominent roles in the Passion of Christ (Judas in the betrayal, Peter with his denials, and John who remains with Christ at the cross)“. But the point I am trying to emphasize here is that this is the evening when Christ Himself gave us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, the “Real Presence” living with us in every tabernacle in Christendom.

Sacro cuore di Jesù (“Sacred Heart of Jesus”), Pompeo Batoni, painting on the altar in the northern side chapel of Il Gesù in Rome, 1767

So we believe that Salvation comes through Christ and the sacrifice of His physical body on the cross. Recalling the words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest.

The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins.

This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. The real presence of the Creator of the Universe and everything in it including us, and who keeps us in existence moment by moment because He wills it. And we ignore this at our peril.

Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:51-55). This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called “real” not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real (cf. Catechism, no. 1374).

The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The important point here is that GOD in the person of Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe and everything in it, is truly and actually present and residing in every Tabernacle on every Alter in the Catholic world. This belief is one of the defining understandings which makes a Catholic believer “Latin rite Catholic”.

If one does not believe this tenant then one is, by definition, not a “Catholic”. That person who does not believe in the Real Presence may be Christian, they may even believe that they are indeed Catholic, but they are not a Catholic Christian. They are, at best, an ecumenical “smorgasbord” catholic in the same way that a member of the Anglican communion are catholic.

So what if one’s church turns into a spiritual “Sunday Smorg” similar in intent to the ubiquitous Sunday “Chinese Smorg” found in many small Alberta towns. What is one to do if one discovers that their particular church is drifting away from “revealed truth” into some sort of modernist quasi-spirituality arrived at by means of a popularity contest amongst competing “personal” truths?

This is an important question to some of us.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sheds more light on this mystery thus:

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What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine? How does this happen? The presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery that the Church can never fully explain in words. We must remember that the triune God is the creator of all that exists and has the power to do more than we can possibly imagine.

USCCB headquarters in Washington April 28, 2011. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) (April 28, 2011)

As St. Ambrose said: “If the word of the Lord Jesus is so powerful as to bring into existence things which were not, then a fortiori those things which already exist can be changed into something else” ( De Sacramentis, IV, 5-16). God created the world, in time, in order to share his life with persons who are not God. This great plan of salvation reveals a wisdom that surpasses our understanding.

But we are not left in ignorance: for out of his love for us, God reveals his truth to us in ways that we can understand through the gift of faith and the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are thus enabled to understand at least in some measure what would otherwise remain unknown to us, though we can never completely comprehend the mystery of God.

As successors of the Apostles and teachers of the Church, the bishops have the duty to hand on what God has revealed to us and to encourage all members of the Church to deepen their understanding of the mystery and gift of the Eucharist. In order to foster such a deepening of faith, we have prepared this text to respond to fifteen questions that commonly arise with regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We offer this text to pastors and religious educators to assist them in their teaching responsibilities. We recognize that some of these questions involve rather complex theological ideas. It is our hope, however, that study and discussion of the text will aid many of the Catholic faithful in our country to enrich their understanding of this mystery of the faith.”

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And there are, in fact, other “Catholic” churches, other rites in communion with the Latin rite.

Because we believe in “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church,” some might object, “There is only one Church, so how can we speak of many ‘Churches?'” It’s helpful to consider an analogy used by the Church Fathers: While there are three distinct Persons who share the One Divine Essence, there are likewise many autonomous individual Churches that make up the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. As it is with the Triune Godhead, we must be careful not to blur true and important distinctions of the individuals in order to emphasize their unity.

Eastern Catholic Churches, 2019

When Christ founded His Church, He commissioned the apostles to go out into the world to preach and baptize. Most Catholics are familiar with the founding of the see of Rome by Peter.

The primacy of that Church was sealed with the blood of Peter and Paul, and the succession of bishops continues to the present day. What many do not know is that the other apostles themselves founded churches, and that their own successions of bishops continue as well.

As presently defined, there are 24 Catholic Churches that can be grouped into eight different rites. A rite is a liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony of a distinct people manifested in a Church.

While each Catholic Church may have its own rite or customs, in general, there are only eight major rites. History, language, misunderstandings, nationalism, and basic human weakness have resulted in the current communion of 24 Churches. And then there are additional sources of orthodoxy in the form of  Prelatures, Ordinariates, and so on in which licit Masses and Sacraments can be found.

So, if one’s own particular church falls into unbelief and heresy either by active denial of a critical truth, or by passive denial in the manner of their lack of affirmation of support of said truths;  by their conduct against  or lack of conduct in support of a critical belief, are there then any other rites readily available to us and are they a viable alternative path in order to fulfill our obligations?

More to follow as I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Last Sunday …Easter Sunday & The Octave of Easter …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Notre Dame de Paris … not the only fire in the Catholic Church. The uncontrolled flames of the “Modernism” heresy seem to have gutted her.

A week ago, on Easter Sunday morning, at Mass in my parish church, the MOST important Mass in the entire liturgical year, I had an epiphany.

Now, to be clear, my understanding of “epiphany” is: “derived from the Greek word epiphaneia, epiphany means “appearance,” or “manifestation.”

In literary terms, an epiphany is that moment in the story where a character achieves realization, awareness, or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light in the story”.

My epiphany was a sudden clarity of perception at the point when the Mass was ended and priest blessed the congregation and instructed them “Go forth the Mass is ended”. And the congregation responded “Thanks be to God”.

This would “normally” be the moment when many parishioners would kneel and pray for a while thanking God for all His blessings and benefits, and for once again coming into our lives personally.

Even more people, perhaps the majority of those present, would file out onto the steps of the church to discuss how things were going in their lives and shake hands with the priest, and generally turn things into a social occasion for chatting after Mass with people who had not been seen for a week and so on and so forth. That would be pretty normal and has been the scene after Mass in the Catholic church in Canada since I was a kid.

What actually happened, what I really noticed this time around, is that the church suddenly turned into a loud sports bar with people turning to their neighbour and shaking hands and just in the space of a breath the quiet of the Mass was completely wiped out by loud boisterous voices  yelling and talking and shouting over each other and over the Recessional music which is reasonably supposed to hint at an orderly and respectful egress from our Lord’s Presence and from the place of worship.

The Last Supper, Juan de Juanes 1523 – 1579, oil on panel (116 × 191 cm) — ca. 1560, in Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I noticed it this time probably because I was in the midst of the shouters instead of actually singing the recessional from the ambo as cantor. The parishioners didn’t even try to leave the pews and meet outside on the church steps .. they just couldn’t wait to share their “Good News”.

Everyone turned their back on the Lord in His tabernacle and ignored and profaned the most important and revered person in the universe to get on with their social gathering.

And this continued for the better part of half an hour. Everyone ignored our Lord, real and present in His tabernacle behind the alter before gradually winding down and moving on to a better venue, perhaps with beer and wings or wherever – the grocery store, Sunday dinner, whatever.

And the epiphany was that I realized that my fellow parishioners were/are not actually Catholic. These parishioners (rather obviously) do not believe in the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

And the more I thought about it the more I saw the truth of it. Almost no one believes in the real presence, no one believes in confession, no one believes in the importance of reverence in liturgy, no one believes in the traditions which have kept the faith alive for more than 2000 years. Our parishes have become nothing more than “Social Clubs”, much like all the Protestant parishes around us.

This is the norm in most Protestant sects, now so noticeably fragmenting and in decline across our land, but this is the first time that it hit me like a hammer blow to the heart that our nominally Roman Catholic congregations seem to share this lack of faith … they are, really, no longer “Catholic” in the most important matter of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist … no longer Catholic.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Here in the early years of the 21st century the Catholic Church here in my normal modern parish is dead. This parish, perhaps this Archdiocese, perhaps the entire Canadian Catholic Church, is no longer “Catholic” by any traditional definition of “Catholic”.

So what is Joe supposed to do now? I don’t really know … I am at a loss and the ideas are not coming freely at this point.  So let me tell a short story about Joe. Well, as gentle reader no doubt knows, this blog is Joe’s blog, so it is no surprise that a story about Joe comes up.

I will continue this in my next post, perhaps … I need to pray and think on this and perhaps consult other more level heads as to what is appropriate to discuss and what is not.

More to follow as and when I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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The Inner Struggle

Confusion Fosters Doubt … unless we trust God’s plan

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Mary of Jesus of Ágreda (Spanish: María de Jesús), OIC, also known as the Abbess of Ágreda (2 April 1602 – 24 May 1665), was a Franciscan abbess and spiritual writer, known especially for her extensive correspondence with King Philip IV of Spain and reports of her bilocation between Spain and its colonies in New Spain (now New Mexico and Texas). She was a noted mystic of her era.

Venerable Mary of Agreda Incorrupt Body

Venerable Mary of Agreda, In 1909 her casket was opened for the first time after her death in 1665. Her body was found to be completely incorrupt

A member of the Order of the Immaculate Conception, also known as Conceptionists, Mary of Jesus wrote fourteen books, including a series of revelations about the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Her bilocation activity is said to have occurred between her cloistered monastery in rural Spain and the Jumano Indians of central New Mexico and West Texas, and inspired many Franciscan missionaries in the New World. In popular culture since the 17th century, she has been dubbed the Lady in Blue and the Blue Nun, after the color of her order’s habit.

I am currently reading Venerable Mary of Agreda’s “Mystical City of God”.  It is four volumes and possibly the biggest book on my Kindle. I have discovered, in Volume One, Chapter VI, an articulate recounting of a view of the perennial controversy amidst various schools of thought and theological points of view within The Roman Catholic Church and within Christendom at large.

The Second Vatican Council, Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council, Vatican II

It would appear that ever was it so, and even I myself in my own lifetime have seen the controversy and confusion arising out of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II at the end of the 60’s as a result of the agendas and narratives of various participants in the Council, including the infamous “Spirit of Vatican II” by which some parties, even those who did not participate, sought to append their own agendas onto the body of genuine theological work which the Council produced.

Pope Francis,

Pope Francis,

These days, and for the last several years under Pope Francis there seems to be a never ending stream of controversy emanating from Rome with respect to this or that fundamental doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. The sides are drawn up, the Pope stands in the middle, and while saying nothing dogmatic one way or another seems to have adopted a position of “We neither confirm nor deny” whatever the latest controversial topic may be.

So, as controversy seems to be “status quo” for the Catholic Church for many centuries, I expect we should not judge, not take sides, but simply have Faith and Trust in the King’s plan about which we really don’t know anything – it is, after all, “Above our Pay Grade”. This situation appears, quoting from “The Mystical City of God” to have been the case for centuries, and hopefully this quote will shed some useful light on “The Plan” which we are expected and commanded to Trust:

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“74. “And in order that thou mayest better understand the answer to thy doubt, remember, that there is neither any succession of time in my decrees, nor any need of it for the perception and the execution of them. (ed. God exists outside time in the eternal now)

75. “The existence of different opinions regarding these sacraments and other mysteries in the Church, arises from the fact that I manifest and give light concerning one set of mysteries to some teachers, and illumine others concerning other mysteries; for mortals are not capable of receiving all the light. It is not expedient: that the knowledge of all things be given to one man, as long as men are viators (travelers or pilgrims in this world).

For also in the state of comprehensors (one who comprehends; one who has attained a full knowledge), they obtain them in parts and according to the state and the merits of each. … mortals receive it neither entirely, nor is it always given so clearly, as to assure them altogether. Therefore they must acquire it by means of study and the use of letters and science There are also many truths revealed in holy Scriptures and to some men light is given from above.

Yet, as I leave most men to work by their natural light, it must follow, that they understand these mysteries in different senses, and that there exist different explanations and different meanings regarding the different passages in Scripture; for each adheres to his opinion according to his understanding. Many have a good intention and the light and truth is essentially one, but it is made use of with diversity of judgment and inclinations, so that some adhere to these teachers, others to those and so the controversies arise among them.”

77. “Take notice also, my spouse, that very often I permit and cause differences of opinions among the doctors and teachers. Thus some of them maintain what is true and others, according to their natural disposition, defend what is doubtful. Others still again are permitted to say even what is not true, though not in open contradiction to the veiled truths of faith, which all must hold. Some also teach, what is possible according to their supposition.

By this varied light, truth is traced, and the mysteries of faith become more manifest. Doubt serves as a stimulus to the understanding for the investigation of truth. Therefore controversies of the teachers fulfill a proper and holy end.

They are also permitted in order, to make it known, that real science dwells in my Church more than in the combined study of all the holy and perfect teachers, and that she can make them wise above the wisdom of the worldly wise; that there is above them One, who is the Prompter of the wise (Wis. 7, 15), namely, Myself; who alone knows all and comprehends all; who weighs and measures, without ever being measured or comprehended (Wis. 9, 13); that men, although they may search my judgments and testimonies ever so much, cannot attain them, unless I give the intelligence and light (Job 32, 8), who am the beginning and the Author of all wisdom and science.

I desire that men, in acknowledging all this, give Me praise, exaltation, confession, supremity and glory forever.”

78. “I desire also that the holy doctors acquire for themselves much grace, light and glory by their earnest, laudable and sacred study, and that the truth be more and more clearly detected and purified, and be traced to its source, By humbly investigating the mysteries and the admirable works of my right hand, they come to be partakers of them and of the bread of the understanding, the holy Scriptures (Eccli. 15, 3).

I have especially shown my Providence in regard to doctors and teachers, although their opinions and doubts have been so diverse and for such different ends. Sometimes, for my greater glory and honor, sometimes for earthly purposes, they are permitted to dispute, and to contradict each other; and there is a great inequality in the manner in which they have proceeded and do proceed to show their emulation and earnestness.

But with all this I have directed, governed and enlightened them, giving them my protection in such a manner, that the truth may be investigated and clearly manifested. The light has spread out, so that many of my perfections and wonderful works have been made known, and the holy Scriptures have been interpreted according to high standards, which has been very pleasing to Me.

For this reason the fury of hell, with inconceivable envy (especially in these, our times), has raised its throne of iniquity, pretending to engulf the waters of the Jordan (Job 40, 18), and obscure the light of holy faith by heretical doctrines and seeking to sow its false seeds by the help of man (Matth. 13, 25).

But the rest of the Church and its truths are in most perfect order; the Catholics, although much involved and blind in other respects, hold nevertheless the truths of faith and its holy light without diminution. I call all men with fatherly love to share this happiness, yet few are the elect, who choose to respond to my call.”

79. “I also desire thee to understand, my spouse, how well my Providence disposes things in such a way, that the teachers, by the diversity of their opinions, and by their own diligent exertion and study, scrutinize more deeply my testimonies and thus lay bare the marrow of the holy Scriptures to wayfaring men.

But it would be very pleasing to Me and in harmony with my service, if learned persons would extinguish and do away with pride, envy and ambition after vain honors; also all the other passions and vices, which arise from them, together with the bad seeds, that are likely to be generated from that sort of occupation (Matth. 13, 25).

But I do not root out this bad seed at present, in order that the good may not be rooted out with the bad.”

Venerable Mary of Agreda. The Mystical City of God: Complete Edition Containing all Four Volumes with Illustrations (Volume One chapter VI, para 74 – 79). Veritatis Splendor Publications. Kindle Edition.

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So, something to think about, Trust, perhaps the most difficult of virtues in a singularly distrustful, self-reliant world which has come to worship “Self” above even God.

I think some of us have an unfair advantage. It is easier for those of us with a military background, after spending years sometimes, following orders without knowing the big picture, to accept that the “Plan” is above our pay grade and to Trust that the King knows what he is doing. Military personnel give up worshiping themselves or they simply don’t last.

It has been my experience that modern society, especially our academics, progressive bureaucrats and the “Brights” of our day look down from their tower of self, on we military, serving and vets,  as “stupid” and “brainwashed” because we, the dogs in the back yard, learned honor and integrity, and volunteered to “go in harms way” to serve and protect others, even when those others hate us for our service … hmmm … the long haired screamers still offend even in their old age.

But we know that we chose to let ourselves be brainwashed, if that is what it is. To willingly accept the breaking down of the childish self and the rebuilding of that individual self into a member of a team with a purpose greater than the sum of the parts. To accept the uniform code of military conduct without having to think about it, to make a habit of all the little sacrifices daily in order to advance unit integrity, effectiveness and putting the mission first. Service and sacrifice Ad Aeternitatum.

That is really the essence of self-sacrifice, even in the world at large. Just look at what any loving mother or father go through for their children, even when the children don’t recognize or understand the sacrifices. And look at the daily sacrifices involved in simply trusting God’s plan.

The Brights and their progressive societal hangers-on are more deeply brainwashed and simply can’t see their reality because it’s all dressed up in bright shiny cool stuff that folks hang on their “I love me” wall. Everything and everyone that doesn’t agree with their world view is simply branded as “stupid” and Bulverised into oblivion. We just know that we are right, isn’t that so Justin?

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

But “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophyHamlet, Act I Scene v.

And Trust in God’s plan is an important constituent in charity, that is Love in the Agape sense. That charity which accepts that the right things have to be done even though some will not thank you and will ridicule you even while accepting your protection and help. Trust in God’s plan lends patience and kindness even to trying situations.

4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; 5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. 12 We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. 13 And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Cor. 13: 4-13)

Cheers

Joe

Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatum

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The Inner Struggle

Silence … Seeing God … The Gift of Tears …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

I recently came across several writings and snippets about the gift of tears. Some comments on some posts referred to people who said they weep freely at Mass when they never used to, or they perhaps became emotional unintentionally.

I am one of those who find themselves often with tears running at Mass, and also when doing daily spiritual readings and thinking about these readings and meditations and how I apply them in my daily life. It seems at first glance to be more to this mysterious spiritual phenomenon than merely crying unexpectedly.

Some commenters seem to feel that this phenomenon (what I am experiencing) is a “gift”, and it is not merely because I am emotional, or easily moved. Some writers see it as a physical manifestation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is formally known as “the gift of tears.”

The commenters go to some length to reassure the reader that I/we should not feel anxiety over this experience but recognize it as a great gift.

Father Bartunek , author of “The Better Part”, which I have referred to previously and highly recommend, explained in an  article that this gift is one that has been explained through tradition rather than official documentation in Scripture or the Catechism. He defines this spiritual grace as an unbidden gift from the Holy Spirit that is bestowed on someone through the healing flow of tears shed.

The fruit of such tears leads both the recipient of this gift and others who witness it to joy and abiding peace. (He cautions that) … This definition supplants the mere notion that the gift of tears includes anyone who cries from a touching spiritual or emotional sentiment.

The gift of tears is considered a charismatic gift, a manifold of spiritual blessings to whomever the Holy Spirit grants it.

People who receive this gift may experience it only once or perhaps multiple times, but the gift itself is not an indication of one’s level of holiness or the achievement of perfect union with God. Many saints declared the importance of accepting with gratitude an unexpected source of consolation or perhaps divine insight, but they warned against the distraction of loving the gift rather than the Giver.

In other words, we should not focus our attention on any spiritual charism that happens to bless our lives but instead approach it with sincere and heartfelt thanksgiving while allowing it to become a fleeting memory.

Natural tears are often mistaken for this supernatural gift, especially when they occur during or after an intense spiritual experience. One must recognize one’s tendency toward weeping or the expression of deep emotions through tears in order to differentiate between the natural versus spiritual gift of tears.

The best distinction of the spiritual gift is by the resulting fruit. Is the person filled with an abiding peace or greater love for God? Are the people around him or her moved by the tears in the same manner? We must always remember that by our fruits they will know us. (read more here)

What seems to be common to all these experiences (for me) is that whatever the experience is, whether a moving spiritual reading, a meditation, a prayer, a great musical experience like chant, or a performance by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, (at top of post) or some of the work of Mozart, or Bach, or Renaissance Choral Music by, for example, Tallis or Allegri,  whenever I have these experiences, the place I am at in my head at that moment during the experience is one of blinding realization of humanity’s place, that is, my tiny place, in God’s eternal now. It is just overwhelming.

So am I just a labile, highly sensitive, emotional cry-baby, or am I experiencing an important glimpse of reality, a momentary consolation along my path to spiritual growth? I don’t really know, but it is certainly greatly uplifting and peace inducing (and sometimes embarrassing afterwards as I fall back into old habitual modes of seeing).

Today my thoughts turn to the need for silence, God is calling to us continuously, and eventually, God takes us all home, willy-nilly, regardless of our desires and our interest. He takes us all home to our just end and we all find what we truly seek.

Our society puts little premium or credence on received wisdom. We value derived wisdom which we struggle to develop as we find it useful and productive but we disregard received wisdom, the wisdom of tradition and human experience. We receive God or Self, depending upon to which we give priority. Being still … being silent … accepting and understanding received wisdom, received reality … is unpopular in this busy culture, this noisy culture.

We need to understand reality NOT as something we achieve through hard work, labor, and suffering, not as something we create, but rather we need to understand reality as something we receive, something we are gifted with. In the understanding of this gift we must put aside our busy striving noisy self to embrace stillness, silence, and the gift of God’s creation through which we come to understand our own place in that creation and our true purpose … which is union with God.

We must embrace the putting aside of ourself, the discarding of our attachment to ourself, to make room for God in our soul. Be at rest, be still, and know God … “Be still, and know that I am God”.  God is continually calling us home and we are too busy  talking about ourself to listen to God and to gaze upon Him.

Perhaps this deafness and blindness to reality is a result of the ways, means, and modes of thought to which we are accustomed to turn, when working, when striving,  in our society. These modes of thought are the tools by which we learn about and understand our reality.

But any tool is only as good as the thinking mind of the tool user. Tools of the mind condition the way the mind works. A “hammer”, and “hammering”, exclude other uses of hand and arm. What are we not doing, not thinking, because we are so busy doing? To what end are we so busy doing?

Psalm 40: 6-10

6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened— burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll.

8 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know.

10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.

Cheers

Joe

 

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