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Thursday, 11 June 2015

More Tidbits from The Maritains

P rayer is simplicity and purity of mind reaching up to God and allowing Him to just Be with us. Too often, many things, thoughts, people stop us from that simplicity and purity. Modern life dictates against simplicity and purity. Go back into the perfection series for more on purity, but look at the small ways here in which one can break away from unnecessary complexity.

One of the great problems of those who are trying to become closer to God could be called, as the Maritains do, the "reflex of the mind". Too often, through habitual sin, or even the sins of families, one reverts back to such reflexes, which stop the growth of holiness. We fall into spiritual illusions. I talk to people who are on the right path, but fall into habits of mind, like judgment, criticism, negativity, scrupulosity,  spiritual sloth.

One of the most common reflexes of the mind which I have encountered since I have been back to the States has been identified by the Maritains as a psychological knee-jerk reaction involving "psychological curiosity".

Oh my, yes. Since January, I have heard numerous Catholics try and explain away sin in terms of psychological weaknesses. I left off on point four the other day regarding the descriptions and definitions of contemplation. As we continue to examine these, we see the opposite of "staring at one's navel" as we use to say in the seventies--the over examination of self. One cannot explain away sin. God will not allow us to explain ourselves when we stand before Him and see the depth of our failings. But, now, we can learn to do this type of contemplation of our nothingness and His Goodness.

Here are some more of the tidbits from the Maritains.

Point Six, "The contemplative life consists in a sort of holy leisure and repose...."

One must be still and seek solitude. God does not like rivals to His Person, His time, His ways.

Point Seven, "The contemplative life is related to divine things, and the active to human things; which is why St. Augustine says in the book De Verbis Domini: 'In the beginning was the Word, this is he to whom Mary listened: and the Word was made Flesh, this is he whom Martha served.'"

But, we can be so focused on the things of daily life, that we miss the small, still voice of God speaking to us in the midst of even chaos. To train one's mind to disregard such confusion is to break through the reflexes of the mind.

Point Eight, "The contemplative life is related to what is specifically proper to man, that is, the intellect, while the lower forces common to human and to animal life take part in the operations of the active life...."

One of my favorite psalms embodies this call-Psalm 24 DR. This is a good prayer for those in tribulation.

Verse 9 refers to those who allow God to humble them in the Nights.

Psalm 24 Douay-Rheims 

24 Unto the end, a psalm for David. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.
In thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.
Neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.
Let all them be confounded that act unjust things without cause. shew, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.
Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art God my Saviour; and on thee have I waited all the day long.
Remember, O Lord, thy bowels of compassion; and thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world.
The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember. According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness' sake, O Lord.
The Lord is sweet and righteous: therefore he will give a law to sinners in the way.
He will guide the mild in judgment: he will teach the meek his ways.
10 All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to them that seek after his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name's sake, O Lord, thou wilt pardon my sin: for it is great.
12 Who is the man that feareth the Lord? He hath appointed him a law in the way he hath chosen.
13 His soul shall dwell in good things: and his seed shall inherit the land.
14 The Lord is a firmament to them that fear him: and his covenant shall be made manifest to them.
15 My eyes are ever towards the Lord: for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare.
16 Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me; for I am alone and poor.
17 The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities.
18 See my abjection and my labour; and forgive me all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies for they are multiplied, and have hated me with an unjust hatred.
20 Keep thou my soul, and deliver me: I shall not be ashamed, for I have hoped in thee.
21 The innocent and the upright have adhered to me: because I have waited on thee.
22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all his tribulations.

more later....