The Inner Struggle

Boundless Hope …

“An Taiseirl (The Resurection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

Our hope in God can never be exaggerated because it stems from God’s mercy which is infinite. If we sincerely try to do everything we can to please God we should not doubt or fear that our hope in Him can be too great.

Detach oneself from reliance in our own power, our own plans; detach oneself from every created thing and throw ourselves entirely into the arms of God, trusting totally in His infinite mercy and goodness. We are essentially powerless and any belief otherwise is just another manifestation of pride and self worship. Without Him we can do nothing.

Trust entirely in God’s power.  His power and desire for our good exceed our greatest hopes infinitely. As John of The Cross says, “The more the soul hopes, the more it attains.”  The more wretched and powerless we find ourselves,  when The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley,” (from “To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough” by Robert Burns), the more we should hope in God.

We cannot, and should not, expect to reach sanctity under our own steam and by our own effort; our own work is worthless without trust in God. But we should hope to reach sanctity through the omnipotent strength of Him who loves to bend over souls as a parent bends over a stumbling child, aware of their frailty, who loves, in the words of the Blessed Virgin, “to exalt the humble and to fill the hungry with good things“.

The sure knowledge of our weakness and powerlessness, as evidenced daily in all the frustrations, unrealized dreams, unexpected trials, and the plentiful vicissitudes of inter-personal relationships where we interact with everyone else’s plans, hopes, and dreams, should make us constantly aware of our need for God, God’s guidance, and God’s omnipotence. Our plans and our hopes in ourselves are simply temporal evidence of our attachment to ourselves, our self love and self worship.

“A soul that endeavors to apply itself with all the strength of its will to the practice of the virtues and the fulfillment of every duty, a soul that is determined to refuse nothing to Our Lord, should strive to maintain itself in an attitude of total trust in Him, in spite of inevitable falls. Yes, we should have complete confidence that God will come to sanctify us, regardless of our past faults, our present miseries, the aridity of our soul, the repugnance of nature, or the state of weariness and depression in which we may find ourselves.” fromDivine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. day 249, Boundless Hope, pp 723 first paragraph.

I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“,  it is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1. Read it daily. Save your soul.

Perhaps even save your life. This fasting diet which I have been following since January of this year has its roots in my decision to fast for spiritual reasons prompted and spurred on by this book. Who can say how God works in one’s life and how he makes his will known in the lives of his people. But it is for sure dead certain that listening to and accepting and following the guidance, the guidelines, of human authorities with all the attendant self interest and corruption leads to certain death.

And while it is true that everyone dies, it is very much up to each one of us how we die, and why we die, and whether we die in our soul or only in our body.

Cheers

Joe

 

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”

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The Inner Struggle

Simplicity of Spirit …

“Yamanakabushi” performed by Jean-Pierre Rampal & Yuzuko Horigome, from the album “Yamanakabushi: Japanese Melodies”, Vol. 3, (1982)

a tranquil streamSome thoughts today on “Simplicity”, the quest for which is an uphill battle which never ends in a world that worships the complex and “it’s complicated …” as a rationalization of every form of duplicitous, dishonest and even harmful behavior. The exploitation of “the other” for the benefit of “the self” necessitates an entire Olympiad of gymnastically complex contortions to protect our self image and to deny the reality of our conduct and intentions.

What is one to do in this duplicitous world? To approach in some way true simplicity of spirit we are required to avoid every form of duplicity. We must avoid duplicity of mind by a passionate search for truth. We must love and accept the truth even when the truth requires sacrifice. Sacrifice of beliefs, sacrifice of views, sacrifice of attachments to both creatures and ideas and modes of thought. How successful are we in this pursuit, even when embarked honestly upon it? How passionately do we desire peace?

Sacrifice also must be embraced when truth reveals our defects, and errors, and wounds our egos ,and harms our self love, revealing things, actions, and beliefs which do not redound to our credit, which even may detract from our self image and our public image. We are so wedded to ourselves and our narcissistic self image that even in prayer we often fall into delusional reveries about why we are “not bad people”. But is there peace in being “not bad people”?

To find peace, we must embrace the most candid, honest, sincerity, fleeing vigorously from every falsehood with the same intensity of passion with which we search for truth. This is not easy in our modern world where the entire focus of existence is deception and self aggrandizement. Our fear and avoidance of simplicity is perhaps the hallmark of our age, the leitmotif of our society and our culture.

William ShakespeareBut, duplicity poisons peace, and gives rise to our multiplicity of fears all stemming from our total lack of simplicity, the complex monkey on all our backs. William Shakespeare nailed it in Hamlet’s soliloquy:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub,
for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
must give us pause. There’s the respect
that makes Calamity of so long life:
Benedict Cumberbatch as HamletFor who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
the Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely, [F: poor]
the pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay, [F: disprized]
the insolence of Office, and the spurns
that patient merit of the unworthy takes,
when he himself might his Quietus make
with a bare Bodkin? Who would Fardels bear,
to grunt and sweat under a weary life,
but that the dread of something after death,
the undiscovered country, from whose bourn
no traveller returns, puzzles the will,
and makes us rather bear those ills we have,
than fly to others that we know not of.

(“Quietus” is an old English term for Death or suicide – could we call our Canadian Euthanasia bill the Quietus bill? It will certainly “quiet us”.  a “Bodkin” is a “blade” and”Fardels” are “troubles”)

Truth and true peace is to be found in sincere simplicity of spirit … in that simplicity no fears can arise to plague us … rejecting the complexity of our will and all the fears thereof, and embracing the simplicity of God’s will, the sincere pursuit of only good, not “our good”, but “Good”.

Cheers

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”

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The Inner Struggle

Healing the wounds of our Self-Love …

The Beatitudes”, from the album “Biscantorat – The Sound Of The Spirit From Glenstal Abbey” – The Monks of Glenstal Abbey – (2009)

Since humility is the foundation of all spiritual life, God wants the soul to be humble at all costs. To paraphrase Jesus, “be like me, I am meek and gentle”. So, (somewhat obviously) always assuming that we in fact DO want to be like Christ, should we not strive to accept (in the spirit He intends them) all the humiliations that God sends us? Why then do we struggle mightily to resist these manifestations of God’s will in helping us towards our own spiritual growth?

A most frequent source of distractions and impediments to spiritual peace and growth is a tendency, all unconscious, to try to heal all the wounds to our self love by indulging in thoughts, dreams and fantasies about what we “should” have said, or what “should have happened” if only … it’s too bad really. In ready acceptance of humiliations we are offered an important  opportunity for mortification and of disciplining the memory, the imagination and the emotions.

In giving free rein to our thoughts, imagination and emotions we indulge in dreaming and building castles in the air, the enjoyment of dwelling on old memories and old ways of thought, the fleshing out of our vindictive fantasies, in the replaying over and over again in our imagination of all the little videos of our hurts we draw ever further from God and God’s will.

Nursing old grievances and allowing our hurt pride to dictate our feelings, thoughts and actions delivers us inevitably to anger and resentment … no peace there at all, just more hurt and grief, more retaliatory strikes, more sin.

If we fail to refrain from airing grievances, proclaiming the wrongs done to us, looking everywhere for sympathy and even looking for opportunities for retaliation, then we fail in our developing relationship with Christ and God. Everything which would work against a new human friendship works against building a relationship with God.

For example supposing one is trying to impress a new boyfriend, or even a new girlfriend, would we indulge in the above behavior, complaining and virtue signaling at the top of our lungs – would that behavior help our new relationship?  I rather think not, just short term, short term, short term, and then a brand new EX-boyfriend or girlfriend and more hurt and more videos in our head.

Why then do we protest a desire to become closer to God and then almost in the same breath forget about the presence of God and start building our fairy castles of self justification – sometimes even in the midst of praying. Even at the most intimate moments, our minds drift to self justification and in so doing we refuse to cooperate with God’s grace and the plan He is implementing to develop our spiritual life and our ultimate salvation.

Look into the mirror and “turn your eyes back upon yourself, and see that you do not judge the doings and sayings of others. In judging others you expend effort for nothing, often are mistaken, and easily offend. But in judging and looking into yourself you work with good results.

We often judge things, actions and speech according to our own biases and beliefs, our heart’s preferences and desires. In this we very easily loose site of true vision and judgement due to private affections and personal preferences.” Thomas à Kempis

There is probably a post about psychological projection and transference in there somewhere but it has not risen to the surface yet. Maybe next post then …

Cheers

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”

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