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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Sometimes, do we not feel very small in a big world?

Me on the steps of the little church in St. Paul's Bay, Malta. Sadly, the church was locked when I got there, (not today). I shall have to go again, soon.

I love London in the rain, but not Malta in the rain...

I am in Malta for one more week and the weather forecast is dire...four more days of rain. Rain here is heavy, with lightning and thunder. The charming, but uneven pavements, (sidewalks to Americans), cause one to get splashed up the legs with water and mud. Icky.

My clogs are not the best thing to wear, as water gets in the backs sometimes, but at least I do not slip and slide and can avoid getting the feet all wet.

At this moment, in my neighborhood, it is so quiet one could hear a pin drop. This is highly unusual for this noisy, boisterous country.

I shall not get to Church today for two reasons. One, my foot is still not healed and has swollen up today, plus the ugliest church in the world is the closest one. Oh well..I need a quiet, down day and I am getting it.

Malta in the rain...but is is clearling up, for a bit....It is 72 Fahrenheit and it will be up to 80 on Tuesday...this is nice, very nice.

But, the rain, oh well. Here is a little information for those facing wintry temperatures.


Pray for one of these poor souls today, please

Keeping the Goal in Mind in The Dark Night

Before I move on to more on the Dark Night of the Senses and Spirit, I shall share a positive goal, which many need to remember when going through such suffering.

Here is St. John of the Cross on this goal.

If a model for the painting or retouching of a portrait should 
move because of a desire to do something, the artist would be unable to 
finish and the work would be spoiled. Similarly, any operation, affection, 
or thought a soul might cling to when it wants to abide in interior peace 
and idleness would cause distraction and disquietude, and make it feel 
sensory dryness and emptiness. The more a person seeks some support in 
knowledge and affection the more the soul will feel the lack of these, for 
this support cannot be supplied through these sensory means.

10.6. Accordingly, such persons should not mind if the operations of their 
faculties are being lost to them; they should desire rather that this be 
done quickly so they may be no obstacle to the operation of the infused 
contemplation God is bestowing, so they may receive it with more peaceful 
plenitude and make room in the spirit for the enkindling and burning of the 
love that this dark and secret contemplation bears and communicates to the 
soul. For contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and 
loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit 
of love

These blessings are attained when by means of this night the soul 
departs from all created things, in its affections and operations, and 
walks on toward eternal things. This is a great happiness and grace: first, 
because of the signal benefit of quenching one's appetite and affection for 
all things; second, because there are very few who will endure the night 
and persevere in entering through this narrow gate and treading this 
constricted road that leads to life, as our Savior says [Mt. 7:14].

On The Dark Night Again....series continued on purgatory

The passive purgation of the soul is just that-passive. One is not in charge and one does not direct one's own path.

Let me compare this with being in purgatory. At the particular judgement, one meets God and sees the great imperfections and sins in the soul. One is then allowed a time to be purified outside of the Presence of God. One has actually been in the Presence and now is cast out. 

How much pain this must be...

And, so it is in the Dark Night. One is in the pain of feeling the separation from God, whom one loves and who one desires.

But, God removes Himself, as one is not pure enough for His sustained Presence.

Passive purification means that one is not in control, period. Christ allowed Himself to be at the mercy of men, and they were not merciful. 

I have experienced this more and more in the past week, with details I am not free to give at this point.

God takes over the will, the mind, the memory, the understanding and the body.

If one is humble and lets Him do this, there is merit and growth. If one rebels, one is set back even years.

There is no consolation at this point and no one can look for it.

Such would be the state of purgatory. Purgation on earth or purgatory...choose.

This section is from St. John of the Cross

I shall continue later....

Yet until a soul is placed by God in the passive purgation of that 
dark night, which we will soon explain, it cannot purify itself completely 
of these imperfections or others. But people should insofar as possible 
strive to do their part in purifying and perfecting themselves and thereby 
merit God's divine cure. In this cure God will heal them of what through 
their own efforts they were unable to remedy. No matter how much 
individuals do through their own efforts, they cannot actively purify 
themselves enough to be disposed in the least degree for the divine union 
of the perfection of love. God must take over and purge them in that fire 
that is dark for them, as we will explain.

apologies for spacing problems--router goes on and off here...

any privacy left....?

What is detachment from venial sin?

In my long perfection series based on Garrigou-Lagrange and on the great Doctors of the Church, I have referred to the need for perfection in this life in order to go straight to heaven, a call for all people.

Today, on All Souls' Day, one can obtain a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory by fulfilling certain criteria found on the websites of the previous post.

But, I want to highlight one of the criteria for such a gaining of that indulgence-the detachment from venial sin.

Detachment is learned in the Dark Night of the Soul. This detachment is a complete rejection of the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil, which take us away from our goal of being one with God.

Detachment must be sought and willed. One cooperates with grace given freely.

This state of detachment is hard, but not impossible.

Working on one's particular, predominant faults helps one break away from detachment to venial sin. Those posts can be found in the perfection and dark night series.

But, one must understand what venial sin is in order to become detached. Venial sins are usually habitual sins, learned even in childhood. Such sins as lying, selfishness, vanity, anxiety (not trusting in God), negativity and judgement towards others (which is a common sin in Great Britain, unfortunately, almost a national weakness), eating too much, drinking too much, buying for the sake of buying, and so on.

It is possible to become detached. God gives His grace for destroying these detachments. But, one must cooperate.

I have found that surrounding myself with people who want to do the same is helpful, and that being around those who do not care to be perfect can be deadly. This is a challenge.

A great priest I know told me last year that to be around the rich and famous for a person he knew was a horrible temptation. The rich and famous, he told me, have so many attachments that it is a hard life from which to remove one's self.

I know a rich and famous person who has virtually become a hermit in order not to become involved in attachments to sin. She has overcome many obstacles in her family to try to strive for holiness.

Another person I know is working on attachments, but because of habits of attachment from years of great prosperity, this is a hard journey for him.

Another man I know in Ireland was a millionaire. He lost everything a few years ago, including his wife, who left him after his business failed. Now, he is an apartment maintenance man. God is detaching him. And, do not judge the homeless or those who have failed. God is working in and with them for their benefit and for yours.

Hopefully, this man is cooperating with grace. Daily mass and frequent confession help.

Cooperate with grace. Pay attention to those small warnings and ideas which come into one's head as reason helps us with the way of perfection. Those who are detached from venial sin gain plenary indulgences for others.

A good reason to strive for perfection.....

Praying for The Dead

Many people are confused on the meaning and value of praying for those who have died. We can pray for anyone who has died.

We should especially pray for members of our families who have passed on and having masses said are the best prayers of all.

Plenary indulgences may be gained for the souls in purgatory. So can partial indulgences. Make sure that you are reading the new indulgences from the changes under Blessed John Paul II, as indulgences have been made a bit harder to obtain than before.

If you are a reader in America, plenary indulgences are explained here in this book, which is published by the USCCB and costs quite a bit, which is unfortunate.

Sadly, there is a lot of outdated and false information on the web.

If you are not in the States, phone your chancery office for details, or look at the websites of your particular countries bishops' conferences. Father Z has a helpful blog this past week on indulgences found here.

Do not assume that indulgences are the same for all bishops' conferences or the same as before the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.

Do not ever, ever fall into false practices concerning the dead. Even in England, a friend of mine met someone in Walsingham who claimed she could get in touch with my friend's dead grandmother. This is a serious mortal sin of necromancy and that person is more or less a false seer. This happened at a charismatic conference.

The other thing one must not do is worship the dead. Again, especially among our Hispanic brothers and sisters, there is confusion on this point.

St. Ambrose forbade St. Monica from putting food offerings on the graves of the dead. This had been her custom and she was corrected.

More correction needs to be done on this custom, which confuses many.