One of my spiritual directors said to me one time that if a relationship improves my spiritual life, that relationship is a good thing. He also wisely said that if the relationship is not good for my spiritual life, move out of it.
Not too long ago, in another universe, I had a friend who made me a better Catholic. This happened not because of lectures or talks, not because of long philosophical discussions, which did occur regularly, but just because that person was that person.
God worked in my life directly through this person in a way I had not experienced before, except in my immediate little family. Every encounter was an encounter with God in some way.
However, that person and I did not continue in a relationship for many reasons, and I had to stand back and examine what God was doing in my life.
I learned many things, in reflection, getting over the loss of this important friendship in my life.
One, God chooses our friends if we are open to Him doing that. God has a purpose in every thing and every one we meet. Nothing and no one is an "accident", but a "God incident". So, even a temporary or ended friendship had a purpose.
People make mistakes in relationships is the second thing I learned. One can miss the mystery of the other and let things slide. Or, one can be so intense as to scare away a timid soul. Either way, our imperfections get in the way of friendships. However, God is in charge of healing us and He can use both the presence and absence of friends in order to do this. God is in charge if we left Him be.
Another thing I learned was that we can be so attached to someone that they become a barrier to our relationship with God. God is, indeed, a jealous God and He wants, rightly so, to be the first love.
We can be reminded in failures of friendship that God is our first love, not another person.
God puts people in our lives, and we can choose how to relate. But, we must do this with prayer, and not merely in emotional knee-jerk reactions.
Lastly, I learned that to be open to love is to be open to rejection. There is no other way around that fact. The old saying, "It is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all" is completely true.
Love is the life of the soul. God is love and His desire is that we share His love, purified of our own selfishness and neediness, with whomever He puts in our path.
I celebrate love, both found and lost. As St. John tells us,
1 John 4:7-21Douay-Rheims
7 Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity.
9 By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.
10 In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
11 My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us.
13 In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit.
14 And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him.
17 In this is the charity of God perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world.
18 Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in charity.
19 Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.
20 If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?
21 And this commandment we have from God, that he, who loveth God, love also his brother.
People who have successful marriages know well that love involves suffering, sometimes great suffering. So, too, with some friendships. And, the greatest love is sacrificial love, love which sacrifices for the other's welfare. Such is the love of Christ in us. Sacrificial love is the love of the Cross. There is none higher. When one goes through the purification of the Dark Night, it is exactly love that is being purified of all selfishness. God only wants us to love Him and others with real love, His love.
And, to be very honest, we cannot even love without God loving us first. We learn to love in and with God.
Once we are loving with God's love, things happen. Before that, we are still mired down in self-seeking love.
So, if you have experienced either the end of a friendship or unrequited romantic love, look and see if God is telling you something about the way you love. Is your love pure? If not, rejoice in the opportunity for love to be made holy. Rejoice that God is showing you how to love without any thought of having love returned.
That is the kind of love which will be in heaven, but rewarded with God's eternal love.
Imagine, God is giving us all chances to love with heavenly love now.
My God is Love and His Love is most evident when I see His image on the Cross.
Stay near Golgotha, stay underneath the Cross, and you will learn to love freely and in Christ. To be Christ in this world means to love without expectation, freely, willingly, strongly.
One should not talk one's self out of love as all love, if it is good, is from God for His purposes.
As for me, once I love someone, I love them forever. I keep love in my heart even for those I have not seen for years. Love to me is something of the eternal, of holiness. I cannot love without God, so if I do love, it is from God and not myself, as I am incapable of love as a gross sinner.
Standing at the foot of the Cross is the place to be if you are suffering in a relationship which seems unloving. Until one gets into the Illumination State, this is our station, number twelve.
From St. Alphonsus:
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee. R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
Consider how thy Jesus, after three hours' Agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandons Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head, and dies.
O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the Cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death; but Thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet, and burning with love for Thee. I yield my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc.
Many bishops and priests have been in schism for a long time-at least fifty years, and especially since Humanae Vitae. The problem is that now it is becoming obvious.
I pray for those Catholics who will be confused as to the real teaching of the Catholic Church and who will go along with any bishop, archbishop or cardinal who rejects the ancient teachings of Christ.
We may see huge split, which has been hidden for years, but now is clearly to be seen. It will take several years for the Synod's final draft on marriage and the family.
Here are my predictions.
Some bishops, archbishops and cardinals will draft their own findings after the one, true, holy and apostolic Church changes nothing. This second or separate draft will look real but will not be.
Some will declare official documents null and void
Those bishops, archbishops, cardinals who stay with Rome will be THE REMNANT.
Americans will split like the Germans quickly and clearly-so will some Great Britain clerics
Jesus will guide the remnant, which will be VERY SMALL.
As to the Pope, no pope has ever said from the Chair of Peter anything contrary to the teaching of Christ. This is impossible, as the Holy Spirit runs the Church.
I spoke with a FSSP priest about this schism in 2000, as it was already obvious to me. He replied that it was inevitable, but that God was giving people a time of mercy to get their heads turned the right way around. THE TIME OF MERCY IS OVER.
And, confusion can exist in Rome and spill out over the entire world. But not from the true Church.
This confusion is already happening.
Pray daily for this pope, please. Pray for your bishops not to become schismatic.
Pray for the laity not to fall away from the Church in confusion. Schismatics most likely, as Dante notes, go to hell for disobedience and recalcitrance. This is not new, sadly, in the history of the Church.
And DO NOT TRUST THE MEDIA.
The secular world hates Rome, the only true Church and Christ.
This is warfare, pure and not so simple...........................
Humility is the key to holiness. All the saints state this but most of us do not take this seriously. Even those great saints who did not seem prideful, like St. Alphonsus, the seitheraint of love, and St. Bernard, another saint of love, asked for and received humility.
Humility is not just the absence of pride. Of course, all pride must be destroyed, including pride of name, place, status, accomplishments and so forth. Even pride of family can be and is a huge obstacle to God's love.
Humility is knowing one's complete abjection in the sight of God. We are nothing but we think we are something.
Too many of us have not grown up with realistic views of ourselves. We either think we are better and more than we are or we think we are worse, but in a way not realistic with God's view of things and people.
God loves us, but His love is so beyond what we can imagine that we need to study the Gospels constantly, learning, believing that Christ shows us the Father.
Humility is knowing we are creatures and that we have no grace, no gifts, not even love , without God.
Total dependence, total realization of our inability to do or be anything but "damned".
In three years, we shall celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima remains one of the most popular of all apparitions in the world.
What I have been ruminating on today is the world then and the world now of Portugal. Portugal has a Catholic "membership" of 81% of the entire population, but only 19% or so attend Sunday Mass. Same sex marriage and abortion are legal in Portugal. The government is socialist. The apparitions are being forgotten in the very place where Mary appeared.
I have thought for a very long time that Medjugorje takes attention away from Fatima, which is the key set of apparitions for our time. The revelations from Mary are not "nice", not "comforting". The discussion on purgatory and who is in it and for how long bothers many modern Catholics. But, Fatima haunts our collective consciousness, especially in Europe and America, where more and more people are returning to prayer, fasting, mortification, all asked for by Mary Our Mother. At Fatima, we hear clearly the voice of Authority, of the Theotokos challenging us to get ready for tribulations, some of which have already occurred and some of which are to come.
Today, stop and think of Fatima, of Portugal, the apostate nation, of the youth who no longer pay attention, as did Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, to the voice of Our Lady. Fatima remains a sign for these times.
God gave me tremendous will-power. This meant that during my life, I could choose to go on in the face of trial and suffering. I had to, as I was a single mum contra mundum, without help.
But, God wants more than for any of us to use our natural gifts. He wants us to rely totally on Him.
This total reliance is the trusting in Divine Providence. One cannot be a saint without this total leaning on God.
In the lives of the saints, many ways have been described concerning this total dependency on God. For some, like St. Therese, or Blessed Jacinta, illness made these two young saints rely totally on God.
Part of the Dark Night is the taking away of natural gifts and the ability to do things on one's own, so that one is forced, and invited to "lean on Jesus".
But, the leaning takes place at the foot of the Cross.
In the movie The Passion of the Christ, one of the most poignant scenes occurred when Mary kissed the bloody feet of Christ. She begged Him to let her die with Him. This cry from her heart came from the most profound love any woman ever experienced for God.
Our Blessed, Sorrowful Mother shows us the way when we think we cannot go on anymore in the face of suffering. We can beg God to take us, or lean on Him, kissing His feet, smearing our faces with the Blood of the Lamb.
Therein lies our strength and the Dark Night teaches us this essential lesson.