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Monday, 6 April 2015

Some clarity on oppressions, obsessions and possessions

Most of what I know is from Father Chad Ripperger. But, for those of you who have not listened to his talks or read his books, I can give a small synopsis and clarification on some points. Also, you can go back and look at the notes from Father Xavier's retreat in early March.

First of all, Fr. Ripperger rightly teaches that most of those who are baptized, in sanctifying grace, have the power they need to deal with most oppressions and obsessions. This was repeated by the priest, Father Xavier, at the retreat I attended in March.

A few bullet points:

  • Oppressions are demonic influences from years of sin and from families handing down such demonic influences through sinful lives. These can be dealt with by a person in sanctifying grace with the aid of a priest who is trained in such. Fr. Ripperger taught that one can identify these oppressions through prayer and turn against them. But, one must also repent of the sins connected to the oppressions.
  • Obsessions are similar but much more serious. For example, a person may be oppressed with a demonic influence towards lust, and can repent and pray against the oppression. But, an obsession is incessant, leading to greater temptations and "obsessive thoughts", and in this example. porn for example. One can also pray these away, as noted by the known exorcist, but only with great persistence in prayer. 
  • Catholics can be released and healed by daily Mass, weekly Confession and during Adoration.
  • There are few possessions, but these are becoming more and more common because of the growing involvement with the occult.
  • At the retreat I went on in March, Father Xavier noted many of the points above. Just follow the label for that retreat.
  • Both prayers against the demonic influences and repentance are needed in these cases of oppression and obsession. Please, please avoid the charismatics.
  • Without working on these, one cannot get through much purification and freedom from mortal and venial sin.


It seems that I am not the only person with housing difficulties. Please, in your prayers today, remember three hermits who have lost their home in their diocese. It seems that the laity do not want to come forward and help them. Too many really Catholic priests and nuns are not supported by their bishops. In fact, I would state that the majority of bishops in the world are liberal.


Indwelling Part Five

Two small blesseds, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reveal to us lives centered on the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity. These children are not called "blessed" because Our Lady of Fatima visited them, but because they responded to her request for prayer and mortification. How was this so without grace and the awareness that God dwelt within?

Jacinta became totally committed to the salvation of souls who were possibly going to hell. She had experienced the love of Christ through the Eucharist, the love of the Father through her own surety of salvation, and the love of the Holy Spirit through her choice of accepting suffering. A true intercessor, she took strength not only from her love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, but from Mary's message of the justice and mercy of God.

Jacinta shared with Our Lady the urgency of prayer and sacrifice because this little saint knew the love of God through Our Mother. Jacinta had two desires only-to save souls, and to be with God and Mary totally in heaven.

Simplicity, as John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila note, is the mark of purity of heart. Those with purity of heart, "see God". And, this means now, not only in fullness in heaven. The Indwelling of the Trinity is perceived, "seen" by the pure in heart.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Francisco, likewise, turned to penance and suffering in order to join with Christ on the Cross and enter heaven. He moved away from venial sin into a state of purity unknown to most boys his age. When he was dying, he asked Jacinta to tell him of any sins she remembered. After saying he was sorry for those venial sins, he said that if he did not die, he would never sin again. This could only be said by a person in the advanced state of being purified of even venial sins and the tendency to sin. This grace comes with Illumination and Union. His dedication to suffering was a joining of his own sufferings to Christ's sufferings. Only love could spur such a child on to deeds and prayers of intercession. Only an awareness that God was with him constantly could give such a boy courage, temperance, justice and prudence in the face of criticism and pressure to deny Our Lady had come to him and the two girls.

The Indwelling of the Trinity would have become more real to these children, whose way of salvation included seeing Mary, Our Mother. Mary visited them not only to have them share her message to the world, but for their own salvation. Like another visionary saint, Bernadette, their way was denial of self which flowered from their growing awareness of the God within, allowed them to grow in sanctity.

Simplicity is key. I am letting St. Teresa have the last word in this short series to which I shall return in the future, as the topic is inexhaustible.

“Each of us has a soul, but we forget to value it. We don’t remember that we are creatures made in the image of God. We don’t understand the great secrets hidden inside of us."

Indwelling Part Four

I can state absolutely that the biggest blocks to discovering God within are the seeking of comforts and the avoidance of suffering. Once one accepts suffering and stops looking for comforts, one begins to see the light within.

This seeking of either physical or spiritual comforts stops the self-denial of the body and soul. Running away from suffering is the denial of the Cross.

My son told me something a while ago now which resonated with me. He said, "Mother, you got more serious about things after your cancer operation." Such wisdom from a man who observed a spiritual change in his mum when he was 21...

Yes, I did, because I faced death, having had a death experience in a previous operation and realizing that I could very well not make it through another serious one...I detached myself from many things, people, places  even my life, then, but not completely. That is why I am still suffering purgation.

St. John of the Cross notes this, and I repeat the ideas, if not the exact quotations, as there are at least 134 posts on this saint alone.

"If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them...

How is it you dare to relax so fearlessly, since you must appear before God to render an account of the least word and thought?"

This saint states exactly what St. Bernard does--that one must fight the self daily in order to find God. Sin is merely the replacing of things, people, desires, for the God within.

One must be completely detached from all things, persons, places and self. God is within, but He wants to be found by the pure in heart. That is the end of purification. If one does not do this willingly, God may impose His Will upon us and send us great suffering in order to make one pure.

Even John of the Cross experienced great suffering at the hands of his own community. So did St. Padre Pio. So did St. Faustina. And so on...

St John of the Cross tells us that we shall not advance towards oneness with God until we get rid of ambition, desires, attachments.

But, God wills to be found. He waits within us. He waits for us to love solitude, holy books, meditation, contemplation. He waits until we guard our imaginations, memories, understanding and will to love Him more than anything or anyone else. St. John uses the word "guard", meaning that to pursue perfection, one must be "on guard".  There is, simply, no real rest until heaven.

A hard, but true thought from this saint..."The soul that walks in love neither rests nor grows tired."

We see an agreement here among the four saints mentioned so far, SS. Augustine, Teresa, Bernard, and John of the Cross for the need for purification and perseverance.

Teresa states, “God withholds Himself from no one who perseveres.”  

Augustine writes, "Holy Spirit, powerful Consoler, sacred Bond of the Father and the Son, Hope of the afflicted, descend into my heart and establish in it your loving dominion. Enkindle in my tepid soul the fire of your Love so that I may be wholly subject to you. We believe that when you dwell in us, you also prepare a dwelling for the Father and the Son. Deign, therefore, to come to me, Consoler of abandoned souls, and Protector of the needy. Help the afflicted, strengthen the weak, and support the wavering. Come and purify me. Let no evil desire take possession of me. You love the humble and resist the proud. Come to me, glory of the living, and hope of the dying. Lead me by your grace that I may always be pleasing to you."

Bernard writes, 

"But it will be well to note what class of people takes comfort in the thought of God. Surely not that perverse and crooked generation to whom it was said, ‘Woe unto you that are rich; for ye have received your consolation’ (Luke 6.24). Rather, those who can say with truth, ‘My soul refuseth comfort’ (Ps. 77.2). For it is meet that those who are not satisfied by the present should be sustained by the thought of the future, and that the contemplation of eternal happiness should solace those who scorn to drink from the river of transitory joys. That is the generation of them that seek the Lord, even of them that seek, not their own, but the face of the God of Jacob." On Loving God

and John of the Cross, again

"He will be unable to reach perfection who does not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that his natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquillity and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act."

The Indwelling of the Trinity is discovered by the pure in heart.

This is our goal, as stated clearly by St. John:

"The very pure spirit does not meddle with exterior attachments or human respect, but it communes inwardly with God, alone and in solitude as to all forms, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence."

to be continued...maybe

Peter Pams Revisited--Just Because...

Indwelling Part Three

Perhaps the saint who most explains the Indwelling of the Trinity is my favorite, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Those who have followed this blog know there are now at least sixty posts on this great saint of love.

His own experience communicated in the eloquence of his words helps us to draw closer to the understanding of the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity in us. One word stands out in his works--love.

One of my posts underlines the key to finding God within. We cannot find God unless we are willing to do violence to our own egos and self-will in order to see the love of God.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

"Man's Life on Earth Is Ceaseless Warfare" Perfection Series III

This title is a direct quotation from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the saint who has accompanied me for most of my adult life.

He adds to the truth that we are all called to perfection. In the first of his sermons on the Song of Songs, he notes this: "Before the flesh has been tamed and the spirit set free by zeal for truth, before the world's glamour and entanglements have been firmly repudiated, it is a rash enterprise on man's part to presume to study spiritual doctrines....'an unspiritual person cannot accept anything of the spirit of God.'"

He, of course, is describing what I have been trying to teach on this blog for years-that unless we allow God to purify us, we cannot approach the intimacy with God He wants each one of us, while on earth, to know.

God calls us all to love, to "the gift of  holy love, the sacrament of endless union with God."

In this union is the real renewal of our lives. How can we serve the Church without this renewal?

Again, there are too many worldly Catholics who have not allowed God to start the purgation, in order to make the hole in the heart for Him to fill.

I am starting the third series on perfection this week. This is the road we must all take now. The time for criticism and explanations of failures in the Church is over. I shall give warnings, but am backing off from the criticisms. We know what we have to do-become saints.

Indwelling Part Two

St. Augustine writes this small paragraph on the Trinity, as a description. It is not my intent to concentrate on the nature of the Trinity, but the fact that the Trinity dwells within the baptized who are not in mortal sin. From On The Trinity, Book XV:

Let us, then, now seek the Trinity which is God, in the things themselves that are eternal, incorporeal, and unchangeable; in the perfect contemplation of which a blessed life is promised us, which cannot be other than eternal. For not only does the authority of the divine books declare that God is; but the whole nature of the universe itself which surrounds us, and to which we also belong, proclaims that it has a most excellent Creator, who has given to us a mind and natural reason, whereby to see that things living are to be preferred to things that are not living; things that have sense to things that have not; things that have understanding to things that have not; things immortal to things mortal; things powerful to things impotent; things righteous to things unrighteous; things beautiful to things deformed; things good to things evil; things incorruptible to things corruptible; things unchangeable to things changeable; things invisible to things visible; things incorporeal to things corporeal; things blessed to things miserable. And hence, since without doubt we place the Creator above things created, we must needs confess that the Creator both lives in the highest sense, and perceives and understands all things, and that He cannot die, or suffer decay, or be changed; and that He is not a body, but a spirit, of all the most powerful, most righteous, most beautiful, most good, most blessed.

What prevents the baptized from realizing the Indwelling of the Trinity? St. Augustine indicates that our weak minds can hardly understand the Scriptural references to the Trinity, much less us seeing the Trinity in nature? So, how can one realize the Indwelling and what are the barriers?

A person's understanding is based on knowledge, the imagination and memory. Here, notes St. Augustine, we are limited. Both wisdom and love give us hints as to the Presence of God. Chapter 8 in Book XV presents us with part of the solution.

know that wisdom is an incorporeal substance, and that it is the light by which those things are seen that are not seen by carnal eyes; and yet a man so great and so spiritual [as Paul] says, We see now through a glass, in an enigma, but then face to face. If we ask what and of what sort is this glass, this assuredly occurs to our minds, that in a glass nothing is discerned but an image. We have endeavored, then, so to do; in order that we might see in some way or other by this image which we are, Him by whom we are made, as by a glass. And this is intimated also in the words of the same apostleBut we with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.Beholding as in a glass, he has said, i.e. seeing by means of a glass, not looking from a watchtower: an ambiguity that does not exist in the Greek language, whence the apostolic epistles have been rendered into Latin. For in Greek, a glass, in which the images of things are visible, is wholly distinct in the sound of the word also from a watchtower, from the height of which we command a more distant view. And it is quite plain that the apostle, in using the word speculantes in respect to the glory of the Lord, meant it to come from speculum,not from specula. But where he says, We are transformed into the same image, he assuredly means to speak of the image of God; and by calling it the same, he means that very image which we see in the glass, because that same image is also the glory of the Lord; as he says elsewhere, For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God, — a text already discussed in the twelfth book. He means, then, by We are transformed, that we are changed from one form to another, and that we pass from a form that is obscure to a form that is bright: since the obscure form, too, is the image of God; and if an image, then assuredly also glory, in which we are created as men, being better than the other animals. For it is said of human nature in itself, The man ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. And this nature, being the most excellent among things created, is transformed from a form that is defaced into a form that is beautiful, when it is justified by its own Creator from ungodliness. Since even in ungodliness itself, the more the faultiness is to be condemned, the more certainly is the nature to be praised. And therefore he has added, from glory to glory: from the glory of creation to the glory of justification. Although these words, from glory to glory, may be understood also in other ways—from the glory of faith to the glory of sight, from the glory whereby we are sons of God to the glory whereby we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. But in that he has added as from the Spirit of the Lord, he declares that the blessing of so desirable a transformation is conferred upon us by the grace of God.

Here one perceives that as each baptized person is transformed into the image of God more and more by grace, then one begins to understand something of the Indwelling of the Trinity.

As one is changed into a new person through baptism, the life of the virtues, purgation and purification, one begins to enter into that Illuminative state where one begins, ever so slightly, to sense the Indwelling of the Trinity.

St. Teresa of Avila writes this: "The best place to find God is within yourself." And, again, "To talk to God, all we have to do is to close our eyes and look at Him present within us."

And, yet again: "However softly we speak, God will hear us. We need no wings to go in search of Him: He is within."

One must be in sanctifying grace to find God within.

This awareness comes from grace and purity of heart. St. Teresa went through the Dark Night, into Illumination and finally Union. Her words show us that the way to God is prayer, first of all, But, this disposition assumes that one is in grace, living in the sacramental life of the Church. Grace illuminates the mind and the heart-the wisdom and love mentioned by St. Augustine.

But, so few people sense the Presence of the Trinity, even after moving away from mortal sin. St. Augustine states that we have to be healed of our infirmities-of our limitation owing to our own sinful natures.

Here we are back to Garrigou-Lagrange's graph on the predominant fault list. One cannot get away from attacking this fault, as it blocks illumination and union with God. What blocks us from sensing the Indwelling of the Trinity in us can be simply stated as venial sins and the presence of the predominant fault.

Garrigou-Lagrange wrote a prayer for us to say, pleading with God to help us overcome, destroy, this fault which stops us from realizing that God dwells within us. Here is his prayer to overcome the predominant or predominate fault. One must choose suffering, however. How can we refuse God this grace? Too many people say they will wait until purgatory to be rid of imperfections and tendencies towards sin. But, not to seek holiness now weakens the Church, and earns one a lesser place in heaven than what God intended. He wants us to become saints, now.

Lord, make me know the obstacles I more or less consciously place in the way of the working of Thy grace in me. Then give me the strength to rid myself of them, and, if I am negligent in doing so, do Thou deign to free me from them, though I should suffer greatly.

Lord, show me the principal obstacle to my sanctification, the one that hinders me from profiting by graces and also by the exterior difficulties that would work to the good of my soul if I had greater recourse to Thee when they arise.

"Lord, here burn, here cut, and dry up in me all that hinders me from going to Thee, that Thou mayest spare me in eternity." St. Louis Bertrand

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to Thee. Give me all that will lead me to Thee. Take me from myself and give me to Thyself." St. Nicholas of Flue

New Series Coming Up This Week: Part One The Indwelling

I shall look at St. Thomas Aquinas and others' thoughts on the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, Months ago, I wrote a blog on how I could not trust people who were not in sanctifying grace. The fact is that those who are in sanctifying grace have the Indwelling of the Trinity, and I can trust God in them.

Christ could not trust Himself to the Jews who did not listen to Him or love Him. They did not pursue Him, Who Alone could merit grace.

I can trust a person who is attempting to live in the Truth and not be content with egotism and self-will. I have time for those who really want to convert and be saints, but to those who are closed and do not listen, I can only pray and offer up penance for them. I cannot play God and force anyone to convert. We all have free will.

Those who are baptized with the Trinitarian form of baptism I can trust, as they are in God and God is in them.

God, states Aquinas, is not loved as a friend who is absent, but One Who is Present. The act of adoption, which happens at baptism, is an action of all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

Garrigou-Lagrange states this:

If the Blessed Trinity lives in the just soul as in a temple, [589] a living temple of knowledge and love even while the just man lives on earth, how wondrously intimate must be this indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the blessed who form the temple of heaven! [590].
This doctrine of the indwelling leads from the treatise on the Trinity to the treatise on grace. Grace is the created gift, brought forth and preserved in us by the Holy Spirit, who, by appropriation, is the Uncreated Gift, or by the Blessed Trinity, wholly present in us. Adoptive filiation, says St. Thomas, [591] comes to us, by appropriation, from the Father, who is the principle of natural filiation; but it comes also by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is the love of the Father and the Son. The act of adoption by grace, he says elsewhere, [592] though it is common to the entire Trinity, is appropriated nevertheless to each person singly, to the Father as author, to the Son as exemplar, to the Holy Spirit as imprinting on us the likeness of that exemplar.

The Father gives us grace and makes us His children, the Son shows us how to live in grace, and the Holy Spirit brings back the likeness gone through sin by imprinting this likeness on us, Who also gives us the gifts which come from the love between the Father and the Son. I merely repeat Church teaching.

As St. Bernard of Clairvaux writes, "We have been made in the image and likeness of God, but we have kept the image and lost the likeness."

This likeness is sanctifying grace.

Christ merited grace for us, points out Garrigou-Lagrange, on the Cross. We do not merit this grace of being returned to the likeness of God. The entire lesson of this past weekend has been about our debt to Christ Who merited grace for us to be adopted children of God.

One may ask, why do we not perceive the Indwelling of the Trinity?

to be continued...

Reposted Prayer I Wrote Last Year

Small Prayer to Mary by Supertradmum

Dearest Mother, today lead me to Jesus.
Open doors which sin and weakness have shut.

Our Lady of Fatima, give us hope.
Our Lady of Lourdes, give us healing.
Our Lady of Knock, give us peace.
Our Lady of Carafa, give us love.
Our Lady, Virgo Potens, give us strength.

Our Lady of Sorrows, give us patience.
Our Lady of  Guadelupe, give us life.
Our Lady of Good Help, give us our daily needs.
Our Lady of Kibeho, give us discernment.
Our Lady of Akita, give us obedient hearts.

Our Lady of Walsingham, give us purity.
Our Lady of Beauraing, give us the gift of prayer.
Our Lady of Banneux, give us faith in poverty.
Our Lady of Betania, give us honor for the Eucharist
Our Lady of Syracuse, give us holy families.

Still begging for this book...please

The Practice of Christian and Religious Perfection I, II, and III, by Father Alphonsus Rodriquez, S.J.

Please consider finding these for me.

Repeat....from another Lent...although Lent is over.

Encouraging those during Lent who are trying to endure either the Dark Night of the Soul, or the beginnings of aridity, here is a section from Uniformity With God's Will, by St. Alphonsus Liguori. One can find the entire book online here.

As my readers know, I especially like Rodriguez, and if anyone feels they can find his books for me, let me know. I read some of these in the convent two years ago. (Now three years!) There are three volumes. I have tried several times to download the PDF and cannot do it.

From St. Alphonsus: 

Lastly, we should unite ourselves to the will of God as regards our
degree of grace and glory.  True, we should esteem the things that
make for the glory of God, but we should show the greatest esteem for
those that concern the will of God. We should desire to love God more
than the seraphs, but not to a degree higher than God has destined
for us. St. John of Avila says: "I believe every saint has had the
desire to be higher in grace than he actually was. However, despite
this, their serenity of soul always remained unruffled. Their desire
for a greater degree of grace sprang not from a consideration of
their own good, but of God's. They were content with the degree of
grace God had meted out for them, though actually God had given them
less. They considered it a greater sign of true love of God to be
content with what God had given them, than to desire to have received
This means, as Rodriguez explains it, we should be diligent in striving to become perfect, so that tepidity and laziness may not serve as excuses for some to say: "God must help me; I can do only so much for myself." Nevertheless, when we do fall into some fault, we should not lose our peace of soul and union with the will of God, which permits our fall; nor should we lose our courage. 

Update: a reader said she is sending me two vols in softcover...thanks!

Because of a request from a reader, a repost from another blog I am on..

Monday, 21 July 2014

We cannot escape ourselves...…without each other and God

The difference between some bloggers and others is that some of us are born and bred journalists. 
We know that blogging days are numbered and we want to get in as much of the Truth on line before 
we are stopped by powers that be.

Singapore now demands that bloggers get and pay for a license. Nancy Pelosi stated months ago that 
bloggers were not real journalists and, therefore, most likely, did not received the respect or the rights 
of "real journalists."

But, we are real and we do have freedom and rights as of now.

But, there is another killer of blogs and that is ennui. Ennui can be caused by discouragement, or cynicism, 
or just plain being physically exhausted. Some bloggers have "turned in the towel" in order to pray more, 
be more silent in their days, or just concentrate on other things.

Some of us pray and meditate better, as Newman said of his pen, with a laptop on our laps.

To meditate or even pray better when writing is a sign of a vocation. One can be called to write and 
one can love the tools of writing.

When I was a child, in pre-computer days, I literally loved my crayons, markers, pencils, pens, pencil and 
pen cases, paper of all kinds and so on. A sign of a vocation is the love of certain tools.

The builder loves and respects his tools, so does the teacher, or the surgeon. Priests love their altar ware and
 vestments, if they are good priests.

Remember the Star Trek Bones bragging about his tools and degrading 20th century methods in the hilarious 
Star Trek IV?

But, when ennui sets in, one gets writer's block, a real deal, not a myth. Writer's block comes when one, 
like Psyche facing her chores in order to win back Cupid's love, sees a mountain of work, or data, and one feels 
overwhelmed with life, the universe, and everything.

I had writer's block for about two months in the middle of my doctoral thesis at Bristol. It was a terrible experience. 
I was just getting out of it when my advisor fell so ill, he could not continue working with me.

Blocks can be emotional, physical, even spiritual. The physical blocks can be overcome with more sleep and 
good food. The emotional can be overcome with reason, and the spiritual with prayer and sometimes, fasting.

Accidie was the common sin of the monastics, a sort of sloth brought on by the monotony of life in a monastery.  
Accidie is defined as  "a state of restlessness and inability either to work or to pray" in the OED.

Aquinas and others call it "sorrow of the world". It is a serious 
condition, which like the ennui described by the Existentialists as 
a listlessness, a tiredness of everything, a world-weariness, can 
lead to the deadly sin of sloth.

There is only on cure for this and that is the remembrance of the 
duty given to us in baptism as well as the call to be part of the 
Church Militant given to us at confirmation.

We do not have the luxury for ennui or accidie. 
We do not have the time for slack.

I pray for all bloggers who have worked so hard for years and 
may be discouraged.

Here is a thought for you and for me: we are all in this together and we need to pray for each other.

Ephesians 6:18Douay-Rheims 

18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching 
with all instance and supplication for all the saints.