Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Journey, continued

I mentioned earlier that I am doing the St. Louis De Montfort Consecration to Mary, and am still reading the explanatory chapters of the book. I have also been examining my conscience a lot lately, in preparation for Lent. I know where the stumbling blocks are in my character, but have had a great deal of trouble getting past them. I feel that I am cutting off my access to grace by not being able to change myself. I fall into the same errors, day in and day out, even when I know that I am doing it.  Intellectually, I understand how devotion to Our Lady helps us, but never could totally give myself over to it. Today, that door opened for me- and I truly believe that God has His own timetable for us, that we don't get to advance in grace until we are truly ready to absorb it.  I am ready for this Consecration at last.
It says in the book, "We make more progress in a brief period of submission to and dependence upon Mary than in whole years of following our own will and of relying on ourselves."  I think it was the submission aspect that has held me back for so long; the way I grew up made me fiercely independent, and the idea of depending on someone else is out of my comfort zone.  But today, I actually am welcoming,  and am looking forward to, completing this Devotion so that I may advance as I seek the Way, the Truth, and the Life- through the hands of Mary.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The beauty of silence

In my reading of the City of  God, I am finding some gems of advice from our Blessed Mother as she speaks to Mary of Agreda.
One of the things I find myself less tolerant of as I grow older is conversation for the sake of talking. My patron saint, Theresa of Avila, was known to not engage in idle conversation; it took me some time to understand this. After all, communication is the basis of human relationships, and if you don't talk to each other it is difficult to build things like trust, understanding, etc. What I think distinguishes idle conversation from that which benefits your soul is explained in this passage from The City of God; remember that throughout the Bible Our Lady didn't speak much, but what wonderful words they were! ( My favourite is from the wedding feast at Cana- " Do as He tells you")
Mary: To speak without moderation and forethought is a two edged sword, which wounds both him that speaks and him that hears, and thus in two ways destroys charity or hinders it in all the virtues. From this thou canst understand, how much God is offended by the vice of inconsiderate and loose talk, and how justly loquacity, and the tumult of disputation estranges His spirit and veils His presence. For, those that talk much cannot keep free from grievous sins (Prov.10. 19).Only with God and His saints can one speak with security, and even then it must be with forethought and discretion. With creatures it is very difficult to preserve the golden middle, without the danger of passing from the correct and necessary, to the imperfect and superfluous. 
The way to avoid this danger is to tend continually toward the other extreme, striving rather to reflect and be silent. For the prudent medium of speaking only what is necessary, is found more in reflection than in immoderate speech. Remember, my soul, that thou canst not disport thyself in self-sought conversation with creatures without relinquishing God in the secret interior of thy soul; and that which thou canst not do without impudence and insult in thy intercourse with other creatures, thou shouldst not do in thy dealings with thy Lord and the Lord of all. 


The concluding sentence in this chapter is ......"for to those that are alone and in silence does His Majesty speak."


I want to listen to the voice of the Lord in the silence of my heart, and it is in silence that I have found some of the moments when I have felt most in touch with the beauty of God's creation, when I have felt His presence  and even His love. It's why I love silent Adoration and Exposition of the Eucharist in our church, and those moments when I am the only one in the church and can sit quietly in His presence.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fr. Corapi newsletter

Once again, Fr. Copapi  tells it like it is in his inimitable, hard-hitting style. God bless him!


Death Wish! The Impending Suicide of a Once Great Nation
An excerpt from Father Corapi's book, Letters. 


A large number of endangered, unwanted, and unborn children held a town hall meeting on the 4th of July - alarmed at the brutal and untimely killing of millions of their brothers and sisters in recent years. That the murderous war waged on them had the full force and respectability of the law made their plight all the more terrifying. 


Their complaint was humble and it was simple. They were not distressed by rising gas prices, or the deteriorating economy in general. They were not even frightened by the exponential increase of natural disasters. The threat of global warming or global terrorism did not greatly disturb them. 


They had become an endangered species, and little had been done to answer their terrified and silent screams from the womb. They decided that the barbaric treatment that they and their fellow unwanted unborn human beings have had to endure for perilous decades was unconscionable and unbearable. They cried out to their Creator for inspiration and protection, and then unanimously they put forth a declaration. It began as follows: 


"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of nature and the Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS... 


THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE; THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE; THAT AMONG THESE IS LIFE!" 


The first and pre-eminent right is the right to life. This truth the Founding Fathers were sure of, and anyone with any common sense at all is equally sure of it. 232 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed the amount of common sense that seems to be operative in many spheres of influence - most notably the courts and the political arena - can easily be poured into a very small thimble. The United States of America seems to have a death wish, and we have traveled far down the road to having that wish realized. When law divorces itself from common sense and spawns the illegitimate offspring of distortions of law, resulting in illegal laws - based neither on the natural law nor divine law - this undermines law itself, generating disdain for the law. Erosion of trust in the courts, or the system in general, is inevitable. 


The genesis of the death wish is rooted in the fall of man that we see in the Book of Genesis. The substance of the fall is wrapped up in Lucifer's pride, transferred to Adam and Eve - "You can be like gods, knowing good and evil." The unholy, yet inevitable, consequence of that price is disobedience - eating the forbidden fruit. The ultimate end is death, as God said it would be. That's the way it was in the beginning. That's the way it is now. That's the way it will be until time breathes forth it's last moment. 


The prototypical sin is pride, the pride that seeks to exalt the creature above the Creator: 


"I can be like God." Then, subjectively and arbitrarily, man tries to assert himself, imagining that he knows what's good and evil for himself without reference to God and God's law. This was the fall of the angels and the fall of man. The attempt by creatures to usurp what is only the province of God. Only God knows what is good for His creation. 


In recent years it took the form of a self-inflicted heart wound when some dissident Catholics rejected the teaching of the Church, a teaching that clearly held that artificial contraception is intrinsically evil. Then, as Pope Paul VI had warned, it metastasized into abortion. From abortion it degenerated even further into partial-birth abortion. It was then a short and easy step to infanticide. 


It's hard to believe that we have degenerated to the point that we'll murder a helpless baby should it escape the violence of an abortion and be born alive. Can a Catholic vote for such persons? [who support abortion] We are told, "yes" for a "proportionate reason." What, I might ask, is the proportionate reason so weighty as to excuse supporting those responsible for what is tantamount to genocide? 


The judges and politicians that support such barbaric practices are truly guilty of genocide: genocide - the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, national, or social group. "What is the group so target?", you might ask. The group is unwanted, unborn children - tens of millions of them. The Supreme Court justices that gave us Roe v. Wade will have to plead temporary insanity in the court of history. There will be no defense in the highest Court that is the judgment seat of almighty God if they do not repent of the incalculable evil they have wrought. 


Yet, despite the life and death importance of this travesty of authentic law, there will be no serious discussion among political candidates, or anyone else. It is as if society has been bewitched, blind to the splendor of truth, deaf to the cries of the most innocent, most vulnerable, and most utterly helpless. 


From artificial contraception to abortion to partial-birth abortion, then on to infanticide we march toward the abyss of oblivion, a society marked for death... 


Fr. John Corapi, SOLT, STD