“Listen with the ear of your heart.”
St. Benedict of Nursia
Be slow to anger, quick to learn, also slow to speak,
as St. James says, equally quick to listen.
Our technological society has no longer any place in it for wisdom
that seeks truth for its own sake, that seeks the fullness of being,
that seeks to rest in an intuition of the very ground of all being.
Without wisdom, the apparent opposition of action and contemplation,
of work and rest, of involvement and detachment,
can never be resolved.
Not the physical beating muscle within your chest that pumps life
sustaining blood racing throughout your body…
but rather I speak of the heart, the place where both your soul and
inner “being” each reside…
Is that heart, that place within your soul,
is that personal and private inner space a place of madness and confusion…
a place of never ending infuriating traffic?
Meaning… is your heart reeling, congested, frustrated, overwhelmed
and rife with rage?
or in contrast…is it…
a house of and for the omnipotent God…
that hallowed dwelling place of the Holy of Holies?
Is that very sacred place and space, is it a place where
the Great I Am can reside?
A place of interior silence, severe reverence and a place of
And thus I must ask…are we, meaning both you and me…
are we oddly and surreally more content with the confusion, noise, madness
and chaos…the frenetic swill of uncertainty…
Are we actually afraid of finding that long awaited
overwhelming silence…are we afraid to find that astounding reverence
and that most deafening Peace?
Should we not actually be willing, or rather pleading, to quiet the rage within,
detach from this world and recollect our true home?
“Man will not consent to drive away the money-changers from
the temple of his soul until he realizes that it is a Holy of Holies—-
not a house of traffic, but in very truth the house of God.
We thus reach two striking conclusions:
There cannot be entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance,
which is the true meaning of living in Christ, without complete self-renunciation.
There cannot be complete self-renunciation without the constant
underlying spirit of faith, without the habit of interior silence,
a silence where God is dwelling.
Many do not see the connection between thoughts about the King
and the service of the King; between the interior silence…
and the continual detachment…
If we look closer, it will be seen that there is a strong, close,
unbreakable link between the two.
Find a recollected person, and he will be detached;
seek one who is detached, and he will be recollected.
To have found one is to have discovered the other…
Anyone who tries, on a given day, to practice either recollection
or detachment cannot ignore the fact that he is doing a double stroke of work.”
Raoul Plus, S.J., p. 39-40
You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back.
Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness.
Let us love.
Let us run.”
Sometimes…we simply yearn to go back…going back, only to return to where
we first began…going, perhaps, full circle
“Much that is true of human relationships is also true of our relationship with God.
Human relationships of friendship or marriage need time, attention,
and care for them to continue and to grow.
The same is true of our relationship with God.
We have been called to union but we need to respond.
As we turn to God in conversion or in a deeper awakening,
besides turning away from deliberate sin—which deforms the soul,
blocks the relationship and offends the Person who has sacrificed His life
for us—we need to positively build the relationship by paying attention
to the One who loves us.
Prayer is at root simply paying attention to God.”
Ralph Martin, p. 121
An Excerpt From
Fulfillment of all Desire, p121
“You have not chosen one another,
but I have chosen you for one another.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“There is no safe investment.
To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact,
you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries;
avoid all entanglements;
lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable,
The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
“All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by
laws analogous to those of physical gravity.
Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces,
but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it,
and it is grace itself which makes this void.
The imagination is continually at work filling up all
the fissures through which grace might pass.”
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
Tossed within the surf of a sea churning with tumultuous emotions…
joy, sorrow and even regret now vie for prominence within my heart.
An engulfing crescendo of deep abiding love is gently offered…
yet is is overshadowed by the inward naysaying whispers of a past
that speaks of unworthiness.
Grace and Graciousness, along with open forgiveness,
have each been tenderly extended…
freely extended by the hands of unconditional love.
The very word unconditional has always made these eyes fill with tears.
Humbled by such a love leaves this heart feeling only more unworthy
and even trembling.
Ode to a child of adoption…the child who finds the unconditional
a foreign gift.
Condition most often becomes the wiring of the adopted one.
And thus the thought of such worthiness is oh so far away from anything
the adopted individual finds possible…
for the single sense unworthiness clings for dominance.
If you’ve ever visited this little corner of the blogosphere of mine very often,
then you know I’ve written at length about such feelings and that of
my own adoption over these many years.
The highs and lows, the battles and the healings.
With adoption, the notion of healing and that of worthiness each become
a lifelong quest.
For the one who was given up and given away…to be able to ever feel worthy
of accepting such a precious offering of true and abiding love…a gift given from one
freely to another, feels as a near impossibility.
And so a battle ensues…
The adult who has lived life and attained hindsight now fights with the
ever present child who was born of rejection.
Logic wrestles with raw emotion.
Yet what we know, is that in the end, love does indeed win.
Because we know that anyone who calls
themself a Christian, is adopted by Grace.
I am a child of Grace and I am a person who is so ever grateful
to that of the unconditional…
to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying, “Abba! Father!”
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation,
as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul
with the glory of God.
St. John Damascene
Submission of the soul.
For many of us, the notion of submission comes with great difficulty.
Submission is equated with the notion of weakness.
A giving up and giving in.
And yet we cling viciously to the visage of ego…that false image we hold high
and large against the humility of heart…a tenuous balance is struck.
We let that false visage block oh so many possibilities.
Hitting wall after wall, we wonder how much longer will we struggle.
So much heartache ensues because of that false visage of hubris.
Self inflicted wounds.
God is not one to be quiet when He knows what is required.
It may take years before we finally let go and submit…but when we do,
blessings will flow like a burst dam of water.
May those healing waters flow…
“The will of God gives to all things a supernatural and divine value
for the soul submitting to it.
The duties it imposes, and those it contains,
with all the matters over which it is diffused,
become holy and perfect, because, being unlimited in power,
everything it touches shares its divine character. …
The entire virtue of all that is called holy is in its approximation
to this order established by God; therefore nothing should be rejected,
nothing sought after, but everything accepted that is ordained
and nothing attempted contrary to the will of God. …
When God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity.”
Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, p. 15
An excerpt from
Abandonment to Divine Providence
“Always be impartial and just in your deeds.
Put yourself into your neighbor’s place, and him in yours,
and then you will judge fairly..
Frequently, therefore, examine your heart,
whether it is so disposed towards your neighbor,
as you would have his disposed towards you, were you to change places;
for this is the true test.”
St. Francis de Sales, p. 226
An Excerpt From
Introduction to the Devout Life
Ok, I think we can all admit we don’t like tests.
Be it the studying.
The fear of not measuring up…
The list is pretty endless.
And I suppose there is probably a slight percentage of folks out
there who don’t bat an eye at a test.
More power to you…all two of you! HA!
I was never a good test taker.
I never felt that the typical classroom test captured if I really knew
my material or not.
Math, well, that’s a whole different ball of wax…you either know it or you
don’t and I never did…
But we digress…
Today’s post was actually going to focus in on our disenfranchised police
departments and the woeful and shameful way in which they are being treated…
be it our Border Patrol, various State Patrol, city police or rural sheriffs…
their situations are all abysmal and we should be ashamed.
But I’m going to have to hold off on that thought today as several different
things came racing at me that I felt might need attention.
and if I think about it, it will also tie into how we are
treating our law enforcement as they are just another branch of the tree
of the trouble.
Today, especially today, I have kept reading, seeing and watching
something very troubling taking place between Americans…
and I bet we can all guess as to what that thing might just because
I know you’ve seen it too.
There is a growing and gapping hole in our hearts.
It is a widening gap in our lack of and ability to offer empathy.
Empathy, the dictionary tells us is:
‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’
And what we are witnessing play out in real time right here and now
is how very little in the way of empathy we have—
especially in the way of offering any of it to our fellow human beings-
In particular to those who we do not see eye to eye.
Loathing enters in.
Despise and resentment each set a hard rock in the midst of the heart.
We no longer want to hear the side, thoughts or feelings of those
who we disagree with because we have already rendered them null and void.
They might as well just disappear into thin smoke,
banished away from our presence, our lives, our world…
all because we don’t like their color,
their religion or lack thereof…
or their lack of vaccinations…
So instead we look at them sideways and glare…
we find ourselves wishing them ill or harm.
Some of us have even verbalized such to their faces.
“you need to die”
“you need to rot in hell”
“I hope you are raped”
It’s all actually quite anti-human, de-humanizing.
I see, with my own eyes, that there is a tremendous lack of care, patience
and or regard for our fellow man.
Be it the nurse or doctor who curses the patient who is deathly sick with
Covid, or something else, when they reveal that they had not been vaccinated.
Suddenly contempt and resentment quickly flows freely toward that sick,
and in many cases, dying individual.
Or that contempt is simply heaped upon the grieving surviving family.
Or upon anyone who has opted not to get vaccinated.
It is indeed the clean and unclean..
We are told to trust and follow the science but that science just
happens to be fluid because we are learning on the fly.
“they were foolish”
“they were selfish”
“they got what they deserved”
“they have caused great harm and wasted precious time and money”
“had they not been overweight, smoked, drank or…”
fill in the blank with any other poor habit that might have
contributed to them being sick and dying.
Then there are those who have lost loved ones and now publicly denounce all others
who are unvaccinated for, in their minds, they are the ones who caused
the death of this said loved one.
And maybe all that is true.
Maybe that pro-life person out there should be raped so they can
see first hand how decisions now must be made.
Maybe that person who choses not to be vaccinated should simply
get sick and die.
Maybe the young mother to 6 kids, all with different fathers
should be forced to live on the streets.
Maybe all white people want blacks to be slaves again–
so says Maxine Waters.
The list lengthens daily.
And so our society wrestles with its response.
We wrestle as individuals.
Overlook everything or we simply cherry pick the issues we find most egregious.
I know that I don’t agree with a lot of folks out there right now
about very much.
I can find many ills and reasons as to why I disagree or even get angry with
others and or their views.
Just as others do with me and my way of thinking or seeing.
Yet I still know that all of this is really all wrong, it’s flat out bad.
Maybe I can’t change your views or feelings and maybe you can’t change mine…
but I would not wish ill upon you or those you love.
I wasn’t wired that way and I don’t think you were either.
So that’s why I felt St. Francis de Sales quote, the one I offered at the
start of this post, was so moving and so on point.
We are to have empathy by walking in another’s shoes.
Yet, sadly, our culture is long past that notion.
I won’t walk in your shoes, let alone walk with you period…
that is our society’s current mindset.
Yet I know that empathy does not equate to buying in or giving into the sinful
or the evil—we are not to give such a free pass.
Accountability for our actions remains paramount.
Yet self examination must remain ever present.
Self examination…not hubris and pride, but real deep introspection…
It is most difficult to do because it begins to expose the cracks
in our own facade.
Yet it is what God requires of all men…
The being….to see, to look, to feel, to offer grace, to hold accountable…
but to do so by His rule of play and not our own.
He calls that Grace and He has given it freely…
I think we are to do so as well…
Would you pass the test?
I need to go study…
“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that
I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man:
or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner….
I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction:
how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom
I had been doing this all my life — namely myself.
However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed,
I went on loving myself.
There had never been the slightest difficulty about it.
In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man.
Just because I loved myself,
I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“Three things are necessary to everyone:
truth of faith which brings understanding,
love of Christ which brings compassion,
and endurance of hope which brings perseverance.”
“My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls,
and especially for poor sinners.
If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers
to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed
from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy.
For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy.
I desire to bestow My graces upon souls,
but they do not want to accept them.
You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take
these graces they do not want to accept.
In this way you will console My Heart.
Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness,
to so many proofs of love!
My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness
of souls living in the world.
They have time for everything, but they have
no time to come to Me for graces.”
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, p. 367
An Excerpt From
Diary of St. Faustina
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated,
I put before you the one great thing to love on earth:
The Blessed Sacrament…
There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity,
and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.
By the divine paradox, that which ends life,
and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste)
of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships
(love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained,
or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance,
which every man’s heart desires.”
J. R. R. Tolkien, p. 119
An Excerpt From
Manual for Eucharistic Adoration
“Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be,
and becoming that person.”
St. Therese of Lisieux
“However great our efforts, we cannot change ourselves.
Only God can get to the bottom of our defects, and our limitations
in the field of love; only he has sufficient mastery over
our hearts for that.
If we realize that we will save ourselves a great deal of discouragement
and fruitless struggle.
We do not have to become saints by our own power;
we have to learn how to let God make us into saints.
That does not mean, of course, that we don’t have to make any effort . . .
We should fight, not to attain holiness as a result of our own efforts,
but to let God act in us without our putting up any
resistance against him;
we should fight to open ourselves as fully as possible to his grace,
which sanctifies us.”
Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 14-5
An Excerpt From
In the School of the Holy Spirit