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I am still waiting to hear a priest in the two churches where I go to Mass daily and on Sunday say something about the decision a week ago. The silent crushes the entire community of the faithful here
Full steam ahead! And while the helmsman is admiring the rapidity of his progress, God sees that, since the pilot does not know his job, the ship is off the course and is in danger of being wrecked. What Our Lord is looking for, above all, is adorers in spirit and in truth. But these activistic heretics, for their part, imagine that they are giving greater glory to God in aiming above all at external results. This state of mind is the explanation why, in our day, in spite of the appreciation still shown for schools, dispensaries, missions, and hospitals, devotion to God in its interior form, by penance and prayer, is less and less understood. No longer able to believe in the value of immolation that nobody sees, your activist will not be content merely to treat as slackers and visionaries those who give themselves, in the cloister, to prayer and penance with an ardor for souls equal to that of the most tireless missionary; but he will also roar with laughter at those active workers who consider it indispensable to snatch a few minutes from even the most useful occupations, in order to go and purify and rekindle their energy before the Tabernacle and to obtain from its Divine Guest, better results for their work.
Many, many years ago, two highly educated and non-Christian people, also very intelligent, but lacking in grace, told me that they thought Catholicism was a morbid religion, because we stressed penance, suffering, mortification. They wanted Christians to be like everyone else, agreeing with their views of a prosperous lifestyle, comfortable niche in this world, and freedom from restrictions as to how they lived.
Some Catholics believe the same lie of activity and deeds bringing about salvation. We call people "good" who are not "good".
God is allowing us all to face reality.
If I do not raise enough money for the small house of prayer, I shall continue in my life of suffering, mortification, and being a fool for Christ wherever I am. But, I shall not be able to devote myself to the daily discipline of prayer as I so desire-which is merely to be in the presence of the Bridegroom, offering up intense interior prayer, which can only be done in stability. Father notes, and this is noted later in this post, that one must be in control of one's environment in order to enter into contemplation. This idea is even more important now.
The state of mind which does not value this may be one reason why I have not succeeded so far. Where are the courageous ones who want to pray on the front lines of spiritual warfare? Where are those who want to support such a small, but necessary effort. But, it takes great effort to enter into the massive, unlimited activity of God in the world. This is partly what the contemplative does-join with God in the silent activity of His life in order to bring life into this world.
Father states in his book...There is no metaphor capable of giving any idea of the infinite intensity of the activity going on in the bosom of Almighty God. Such is the inner life of the Father, that it engenders a Divine Person. From the interior life of the Father and Son proceeds the Holy Spirit. The inner life that was communicated to the apostles in the Cenacle at once aroused them to zealous action. To anyone who knows anything about it and who does not contrive to disfigure the truth, this interior life is a principle of devoted and self-sacrificing action. But even if it did not reveal itself by outward manifestations, the life of prayer is, intimately and of itself, a source of activity beyond compare. Nothing could be more false than to consider it as a sort of oasis, offering itself as a refuge to those who want to let their life flow by in tranquil ease. The mere fact that it is the shortest road to the Kingdom of Heaven means that the text: “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away,” 25 is applicable in a most special manner, to the life of prayer.
How refreshing to find Father using the same phrase I have used over and over again on this blog from the words of Christ Himself.
"The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent bear it away."
Those who are willing to either do violence to their own wills and bodies through mortification, or those who allow God to work this out in their lives are those who "bear" the Kingdom of God away.
God takes us up into His suffering, His passion. We do not join ours with Him, that is arrogance. He invites us to be part of His work of salvation of souls on earth by carrying His Cross with Him, enduring suffering with Him.
Dom Sebastian Wyart was familiar with the labors of the ascetic as well as with the trials of army life, the cares of the student, and the responsibilities inseparable from the office of a superior, and he used to say that there were three kinds of works:
1. The almost exclusively physical work of those who live by manual labor, by a craft, or in the army. And he declares that, no matter what one may think about it, this kind of work is the easiest of the three. St. Benedict asks his followers for work, as it actually relieves the intensity of contemplation, besides being necessary.
The intellectual toil of the scholar, the thinker, in his often arduous pursuit of truth; that of the writer, of the professor, who put everything they have into the effort to communicate all they know to others; of the diplomat, the financier, the engineer and so on, as well as the intellectual labor required of a general during a battle if he is to foresee and direct everything and make the proper decisions. This labor in itself is, he said, far more difficult than the first kind, for there is a saying that “the blade wears out its sheath.”
Research, reading, finding and sharing the truth, writing has been mostly the focus of my work, even on this blog. This is hard, but a real joy, as these things have been my vocation as well as prayer. Of course, I have not earned a living from blogging, although some readers have helped me considerably. I have never wanted fame on this blog, only the relentless pursuit of truth and the saving of souls, as well as the leading of the saved to sainthood, including myself, through these efforts.
3. Finally, there is the labor of the interior life. And he did not hesitate to declare that of the three, this kind, when it is taken seriously, is by far the most exacting. But at the same time, it is this kind that offers us the most satisfaction here on earth. It is likewise the most important. It goes to make up not so much a man’s profession as the man himself. How many there are who can boast of great courage in the first two types of labor, which lead to wealth and fame, but who, when it comes to the effort to acquire virtue, are totally deficient in ambition, energy, or courage.
A man who is determined to acquire an interior life must take, for his ideal, unremitting domination of self and complete control over his environment, in order to act in all things solely for the glory of God.
This is key--which is why I am begging for the little house of contemplative prayer. I am not allowed to be in charge of my environment, as a fool for Christ. The glory of God on this earth is thwarted by the lack of discipline, which one can set up if one has the desire to do so.
To achieve this aim, he must strive, under all circumstances, to keep united with Jesus Christ and thus to keep his eye on the end he has in view, and to evaluate everything according to the standard of the Gospel. Quo vadam, et ad quid? he keeps saying, with St. Ignatius. And so, everything in him, intelligence and will, as well as memory, feelings, imagination, and senses, depends on principle.
This paragraph describes me. And, those who do not live by principle cannot and will not understand this interior search for the Indwelling of the Trinity
But to achieve this result, what an effort it will cost him! Whether he is mortifying himself or permitting himself some legitimate enjoyment, whether he is thinking or acting, at work or at rest, loving what is good or turning away in repugnance from what is evil, whether he is moved by desire or by fear, joy or sorrow, fear or hope, whether he feels indignation or is calm; in all things, and always, he endeavors to keep his course dead ahead, in the direction of God’s good pleasure.
Nothing without God, nothing without asking daily for His Will to be done in all things.....
At prayer, and especially before the Blessed Sacrament, he isolates himself more completely than ever from all visible things, that he may come to converse with the invisible God as if he saw Him. in the midst of his apostolic labors he will manage to realize this ideal, which St. Paul admired in Moses.
It is too easy to become distracted. Last year, someone I know said of me to a friend, "She is very focused". But, even I have to tear myself away from those I serve, those I love in order to pray, which is my first duty and call. This book encourages me....I pray you all do as well. The life of the contemplative by definition is one of being alone with God, but one needs the moral support of those who understand Father Chautard's message.
What a job! And yet it is not hard to understand how God rewards, even here below, with special joys, those who do not flinch at the effort which this work demands. “Idlers?” Dom Sebastian concludes, “Are these true religious, or these truly interior and zealous priests idlers? Nonsense! Let the busiest men of affairs in the world come and take a look at our life, and see how their labors compare with ours!” Who does not know this from experience? There are times when we might be inclined to prefer long hours in some exhausting occupation to half an hour of serious mental prayer, to an attentive hearing of Mass, or to the careful and intelligent recitation of the Breviary.
to be continued...