Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Self Regard …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

So much of what I wrote, back three years ago when I started this blog, now seems petty, trite and selfish, considering the  following:

” … Let us consider how great a spirit of faith (is) necessary to accept from the hand of God all the circumstances which afflict and humiliate, contradict and mortify us.

It will sometimes be easier to accept heavy trials which come directly from Our Lord, such as illness and bereavement, than other lighter ones where creatures enter into play, and for which, perhaps, we experience greater repugnance.

The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride. … ”

“If you wish to see how far your love of esteem for God has reached , examine your conduct, and try to discover the ultimate motive of your preoccupations, fears, desires, and joys; if this motive is not God, but creatures, your own interests and satisfaction, you ought to acknowledge humbly that you have not yet succeeded in esteeming God above all things; for you weigh “in the balance against God that which … is the greatest possible distance from God” (St. John of The Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, I, 5,4).

Searching your heart more deeply, you will see that you frequently place on the same plane your will and the will of God, your tastes and His good pleasure, your interests and His glory, your convenience and His service.

Furthermore, although in theory you protest that you esteem God above all things, in practice you very often give the preference not to His will, desires, and interests, but to your own, and that is why you fall into so many imperfections.”

from “Divine 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.  pp 1027 & 1043-1044.

Cheers

Joe

“where there is true love of God, there enter neither love of self nor that of the things of self” (St. John of The Cross, Dark Night of The Soul, II, 21, 10)

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Passive Purification …

Inner Thoughts”  Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdelen

Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen

“… God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian, every apostle, every religious, there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the spirit.

These are the sufferings which God Himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them.

Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support, failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude — these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man (and woman), and which, we will find in ours.

Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica

We must understand that all such things are positively willed or at least permitted by God precisely to purify us even to the very inmost fibers of our being. 

In the face of these trials, we must never blame the malice of men, or stop to examine whether or not they are just; we must see only the blessed hand of God who offers us these bitter remedies to bring perfect health to our (eternal) soul. …”

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. Passive Purification, pp 1026 -1027.

As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“. 

It is available at EWTN. Mother Angelica really loved this Carmelite work on meditation and used it for over 50 years. http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/Home+Page/SPECIALTY/Mother+s+Favorites/DIVINE+INTIMACY.axd

and at Baronius Press  https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1.

Read it daily. Save your soul.

It greatly behooves the soul, then, to have patience and constancy in all the tribulations and trials which God sends it, whether they come from without or from within, and are spiritual or corporal, great or small. It must take them all as from His hand for its healing and its good, and not flee from them, since they are health to it.”  St. John of the Cross, (Living Flame of Love, 2, 30).

Cheers

Joe

few profit by (suffering) because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Year-End, Prayer, and Fasting … Lent

Yashi No Mi (Ohnaka), Jean-Pierre Rampal, from the album “Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies”, (1978)

Well, my Year End accounting efforts are bearing much fruit. For the first time in 8 years I am up to date and almost done on time.

This will be a first ever to be down to two months worth of accounting = about 2 weeks worth of work, and I am on track to get everything out to the accountants by mid April. WooHoo!

The fasting is progressing nicely alternating between total fasting for a week and 1 meal a day for a week. Have stopped all meds both for diabetes and blood pressure and the numbers continue to improve. Weight continues to drop.

All good on that front except that I wonder in passing if my pride at how well I am doing negates the spiritual benefits of atonement and and mortification.

Pride is such an insidious vice, informing almost every thought of every day.

A prayer for Lent – taken from my Carmelite meditation book “Divine Intimacy””

*****

“O God of my soul, what am I in Your presence! Have my acts ever been free from faults — my words, my will? But You, O Lord, are good and Your right hand is merciful.

O Physician of my soul, show me the fruits of my avowal. I confess because the admission of my miseries awakens my heart and keeps it from slumber; but even while saying I am incapable of doing good, my soul awakes again in the love of Your mercy and the sweetness of Your grace, by which every sick soul feels strong and becomes aware of its weakness.”

“I shall love You, O Lord, and return thanks to You and exalt Your Name because you have pardoned so many of my guilty acts.  If my sins have melted away like ice, it is the work of Your grace and mercy. All the evil I have not committed was likewise the work of Your grace. Was there any sin I could not have committed, I who have loved evil with so light a heart? I confess that all my sins have been forgiven, both those that I committed as well as those that, with Your help, I did not commit.” (St. Augustine)

O my God, You who by one single act of Your will created light — and light was made — speak again Your all-powerful creative word: fiat lux, and light will be created in my soul; and in Your light I shall be able to see myself as I really am in Your sight.

But light is not enough for me who am so weak and cowardly; I need strength, O Lord; I need a strong, resolute will to hate evil in all forms, to have a horror of my self-love, my pride, my sloth, to renew and strengthen my resolution to overcome myself for love of You.

Yes, Lord, with Your help I wish to conquer myself, not for the vain satisfaction of thinking that I am doing better, but solely to give You pleasure, to avoid even the smallest thing that displeases You.

O my God, infinite Perfection envelop and penetrate my soul with the reflection of Your holiness, and just as the sun illumines, purifies and makes the earth fruitful with its rays, illumine, purify, and sanctify my whole being.

Teach me to look at myself with Your eyes, to know myself as You know me, to consider my miseries in the light of Your infinite perfections, to open my soul to Your purifying, sanctifying light.”

*****

Cheers

Joe

Always remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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Life in a small town

Fasting, Year End, This and That …

Shakuhachi Flute Music”, from the album “Chinese and Japanese Koto Harp and Shakuhachi Flute” (2008)

001-a-tumblr_ofo3pky5rz1upvbufo1_540Peaceful mind, peaceful body, fasting, fasting is proving to be an interesting and surprisingly fulfilling experience. In my last post on fasting I mentioned completing a 7 day 24 hour intermittent fast session, supper only.

Then I did a 7 day total fast, water and broth only. Then a 14 day 24 hour intermittent fast eating only supper. I am now in day 4 of another total fast, water and broth only and am intending to see if I can go 14 days without problems.

I am now down 14 pounds, blood sugar is down to 8 MMol/L from 16 or 17, BP is 120 over 65, ketone bodies are at 16 MMol/L. Energy high, brain is sharp, and sleeping well.

I continue to take my vitamins and mineral supplements but I have stopped all diabetes medications (Metformin and Gliclazide).

DP130155, 2/7/06, 11:18 AM, 16C, 6856x8852 (180+693), 100%, Rona Copywork, 1/30 s, R93.8, G57.6, B56.4 Working Title/Artist: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji)Department: Asian ArtCulture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: 10Working Date: 1831-33 photography by mma, Digital File DP130155.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 8_17_11

Working Title/Artist: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji) Department: Asian ArtCulture /Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: 10Working Date: 1831-33 photography by mma, Digital File DP130155.tif retouched by film and media (jnc) 8_17_11

My blood sugars are much better fasting and not taking meds than they were when I was eating normally and taking meds.

I suspect that over time they will in fact reach “normal” levels in the 4 to 5 range as my body becomes less and less insulin resistant. 

This second fast event surprised me because I was expecting day 2 to be another death march to the refrigerator, like the first fast, as my body resisted the shift to fasting. Not so!

It seems it remembered that it would not die from lack of food (at least not immediately) and shifted smoothly into ketosis and using up fat stores of my own body.

I did not experience any of the difficulties I had with the first 7 day fast. I am looking forward to seeing how things go as I push this out to the 14 day mark.

As I mentioned in my first post on fasting I began fasting as part of a spiritual path much recommended in all the world faiths throughout history. In the Christian tradition, fasting and prayer are often methods of cleansing and renewing the soul.

000-st-john-of-the-crossSymbolically, believers empty their souls so that they may be ready to receive God. Fasting is about self-denial, mortification, sacrifice, atonement and also about reaching for a focused spiritual state where one can better  commune with God and hear his voice.

For millions of people, regular fasting is a commonplace part of life and has been a part of spiritual practice for thousands of years. In ancient times, before we discovered agriculture about 10,000 years ago, fasting was the natural way of life.

I am doing daily meditations on St. John of The Cross’ “The Way Of Nothing“. I am using a book “Divine Intimacy”, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. pp. 674.  Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, 2014 edition

It has been hard going because I am so attached to everything in this world. In fact the saint himself tells us that it is impossible to become completely detached from this world but we should be striving for detachment anyway.

“To reach satisfaction in everything, desire satisfaction in nothing.
To come to possession of everything, desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of everything, desire the knowledge of nothing.”
Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book One, Chapter 13″

“Àki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts” (2006)

This fasting exercise has given me my first tangible breakthrough to understanding on this path. The intimate understanding that food is not nearly as important as I believed, and that all of my interest in food, all of my attachment to food is nothing but a pursuit of pleasure.

Taste, satiety, social and communal experiences, praise for a good meal cooked and presented, self esteem about the food and my efforts and the experiences surrounding the creation of a “‘special meal” are all about worship of self.

I have discovered that not only is food not as important as I believed but I don’t actually need very much to keep going, and I am much sharper and more at peace when I am fasting. Wow, who knew?  This is the first material evidence that perhaps detachment is a lot more reachable than I first believed.

Meanwhile, back in the world, I have been busy as hell working on year end and for the first time ever I am caught up and current and only have a few more days work finishing everything up. On target to get this out to the accountants by end of March. Then I can blame them instead of making excuses why I am not done yet.

Idiots HappenAlso spending time these days arguing and emailing with one vendor about a bill from 2015 for $14,000.00 which they insist I did not pay and I insist that I did. Sigh! Not only do I have to do my own accounting but in the case of this vendor I have to do theirs as well.

If this particular vendor was not in my life I would have no problems, but we are joined at the navel since they are my POS and Management software provider. Oh well, into each life and so on …

In passing I include part of something which a contact sent to me on email.

A VERY BIG NUMBER

 If I give you $1 billion and you stand on a street corner handing out $1 per
second, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, you would still not have
handed out $1 billion after 31 years!! 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley chat prior to a roundtable meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley chat prior to a roundtable meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

Now read on.
A VERY BIG NUMBER 

This is too true to be funny. The next time you hear a politician use the word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending YOUR tax money. 

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases. 

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959. 
  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive. 
  • A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age. 
  • A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet. 
  • A billion Dollars ago was only 13 hours and 12 minutes, at the rate our present government is spending it. 

Stamp Duty
Tobacco Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Income Tax
Council & Municipal Tax
Unemployment Tax
Fishing License and Dog License Tax
Petrol/Diesel Tax
Inheritance Tax (tax on top of tax)
Alcohol Tax
G.S.T.  and  H.S.T.
Property Tax
Service Charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Vehicle Licence / Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
And now Carbon Dioxide Tax 

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? 

Not one of these taxes existed 60 years ago and our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world.  We had absolutely no national debt.
We had the largest middle class in the world. A criminal’s life was uncomfortable. Immigrants actually expected to work when they got here.
What  on earth Happened? 

I hope this goes around CANADA and beyond 1 billion times!

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertAlways remember, “be charitable in your judgements, never take yourself too seriously” and of course “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

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The Inner Struggle

The Way Of Nothing …

Saint John of the Cross (Spanish: San Juan de la Cruz; 1542[1] – 14 December 1591) was a major figure of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest who was born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.

001-el_monte_carmelo

El Monte Carmelo

John of the Cross was a reformer in the Catholic Carmelite Order of his time and the movement he helped initiate, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, eventually led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites, though neither he nor Teresa were alive when the two orders separated.

He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish Catholic literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-six Doctors of the Church.

001-the-way-of-nothing

Ascent of Mount Carmel – The Way Of Nothing

The writings of St. John of The Cross figure frequently in a wonderful book of daily meditations which I have been using now for several months. “Divine 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.

I really can’t say enough good about this book, and it has made a huge difference in my life. It is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1

In that book, near to the beginning, is a wonderful image which I have reproduced here. It is obviously derived from the original but is much easier to understand, especially if one is not fluent in Spanish.

Cheers

Joe

coptic-desertAlways remember to be charitable in your treatment of others and never take yourself too seriously.

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