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Friday 14 December 2012

Happy thoughts

There will be no interruptions in the postings over the next full week. So keep reading. I am thinking happy thoughts. And this is on the EWTN website from two weeks ago.

 "Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones. Unoccupied, they cannot be."
   St Thomas More

"My sole occupation is love"--John of the Cross

St. John reminds us that we are not guaranteed the feeling or certainty of the Presence of the Bridegroom in our lives, but that does not mean that we give up on the quest. Absolutely not.
His second point as to the place where Christ rests and where God rests, is in the Trinity. The Indwelling of the Trinity in our hearts is the most ignored truth of our sacramental preparation.

The chief object of the soul in these words is not to ask only for that affective and sensible devotion, wherein there is no certainty or evidence of the possession of the Bridegroom in this life; but principally for that clear presence and vision of His Essence, of which it longs to be assured and satisfied in the next. This, too, was the object of the bride who, in the divine song desiring to be united to the Divinity of the Bridegroom Word, prayed to the Father, saying, “Show me where You feed, where You lie in the midday.”22 For to ask to be shown the place where He fed was to ask to be shown the Essence of the Divine Word, the Son; because the Father feeds nowhere else but in His only begotten Son, Who is the glory of the Father. In asking to be shown the place where He lies in the midday, was to ask for the same thing, because the Son is the sole delight of the Father, Who lies in no other place, and is comprehended by no other thing, but in and by His beloved Son, in Whom He reposes wholly, communicating to Him His whole Essence, in the “midday,” which is eternity, where the Father is ever begetting and the Son ever begotten...
5. This pasture, then, is the Bridegroom Word, where the Father feeds in infinite glory. He is also the bed of flowers whereupon He reposes with infinite delight of love, profoundly hidden from all mortal vision and every created thing... 
6. That the thirsty soul may find the Bridegroom, and be one with Him in the union of love in this life — so far as that is possible — and quench its thirst with that drink which it is possible to drink of at His hands in this life, it will be as well — since that is what the Soul asks of Him — that we should answer for Him, and point out the special spot where He is hidden, that He may be found there in that perfection and sweetness of which this life is capable, and that the soul may not begin to loiter uselessly in the footsteps of its companions...
7. We must remember that the Word, the Son of God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is hidden in essence and in presence, in the inmost being of the soul. That soul, therefore, that will find Him, must go out from all things in will and affection, and enter into the profoundest self-recollection, and all things must be to it as if they existed not...

Deny your will in all things....St. John of the Cross

Christ being born in a stable under a baldacchino

More from St. John of the Cross: this language may embarrass some Catholics. It is the language of God. That He calls us, each one, the Bride, is a revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Church is also the Bride.

Look at St. Peter's and the baldacchino.

The Italians know what the baldacchino is. It is the traditional covering of the marriage bed. The secret place of our hearts, as well. St. Bernard of Clairvaulx and St. John of the Cross understood this mystery of love and shared this with us. Here is more John of the Cross on his feast day.

Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me to my sorrow, O my Beloved!
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

You will still urge and say, How is it, then, that I find Him not, nor feel Him, if He is within my soul? It is because He is hidden, and because you hide not yourself also that you may find Him and feel Him; for he that will seek that which is hidden must enter secretly into the secret place where it is hidden, and when he finds it, he is himself hidden like the object of his search. Seeing, then, that the Bridegroom whom you love is “the treasure hidden in the field”27 of your soul, for which the wise merchant gave all that he had, so you, if you will find Him, must forget all that is yours, withdraw from all created things, and hide yourself in the secret retreat of the spirit, shutting the door upon yourself — that is, denying your will in all things — and praying to your Father in secret.28 Then you, being hidden with Him, will be conscious of His presence in secret, and will love Him, possess Him in secret, and delight in Him in secret, in a way that no tongue or language can express.

Courage, then, O soul most beautiful, you know now that your Beloved, Whom you desire, dwells hidden within your breast; strive, therefore, to be truly hidden with Him, and then you shall embrace Him, and be conscious of His presence with loving affection. Consider also that He bids you, by the mouth of Isaiah, to come to His secret hiding-place, saying, “Go, . . . enter into your chambers, shut your doors upon you”; that is, all your faculties, so that no created thing shall enter: “be hid a little for a moment,”29 that is, for the moment of this mortal life; for if now during this life which is short, you will “with all watchfulness keep your heart,”30 as the wise man says, God will most assuredly give you, as He has promised by the prophet Isaiah, “hidden treasures and mysteries of secrets.”31 The substance of these secrets is God Himself, for He is the substance of the faith, and the object of it, and the faith is the secret and the mystery. And when that which the faith conceals shall be revealed and made manifest, that is the perfection of God, as St. Paul says, “When that which is perfect is come,”32 then shall be revealed to the soul the substance and mysteries of these secrets.

The world's most expensive bed at 4 million pounds sterling

John of the Cross knew that one must give up everything for this mystery of love. Do not be afraid....

How do we make ourselves beautiful for God? For my sisters in Christ today

I have noticed, as a person getting older, that as the outer woman ages and decays, literally, the inner person grows stronger day by day.

St. Paul said this would happen, if we pay attention to the Life of the Holy Spirit within us.

Solitude would help. Silence at some point in the day is essential.

But, how does one become beautiful for God?

I was attractive as a youth. I weighed in between 98-108 pounds until I got pregnant and had my baby at 39. Before I was married and before I had baby, I was very conscious of my exterior person. Especially in graduate school, and when I was teaching, I kept up with the latest fashions.

When, I got married, baby and hubby came first. Thankfully, my husband did not like make-up and I did not need it. But, when I was young and single, I had the best.

All that time and energy and money spent on the outside person was wasted. Now, I see that if my priorities had been correct at an earlier age, my interior person would be stronger today.

The interior person is the Bride of Christ. How do we make ourselves beautiful for Christ? St. John of the Cross quotes the great St. Augustine. St. Augustine says: “I found You not without, O Lord; I sought You without in vain, for You are within,”

This makes it clear that the interior person must be beautified, purified, sanctified for the Bridegroom.

Do we not want to look our best for the one we love?

If I, at any time in my life, was going to meet someone I loved, I would spend extra time and money to look great for that person.

Christ is the Bridegroom. But here is the problem. We cannot make ourselves beautiful. The Bridegroom must make each one of us beautiful with His grace. 

Humility is coming to Christ in self-recollection and asking, humbly, for Him to make us beautiful. I pray daily for humility and purification. It is one prayer I shall not give up on until I am made beautiful for the One Whom I Love the most, Christ Jesus.

Only Christ can reveal to us our real beauty. Only He can create that beauty in us, the beauty willed by God for all eternity.

Only the perfect see be continued.

The Advent Manger

My mother had the manger out in Advent. If we did a good deed for one of the siblings, or obeyed here quickly, or did a chore without her asking, we put a straw in the manger. The object was to make a soft bed for Baby Jesus.

If we sassed back, or were mean to a sibling, or were lax in doing our chores, we had to take the straw out.

We tried to make Baby Jesus's bed as comfortable as possible. And, if we were really good, a small blanket was placed on top of the straw bed. Jesus was put in his manger after we dressed up like Mary, Joseph and a few innkeepers. The Mary and Joseph would knock on a door and the innkeeper would say "no".  Then, finally, after walking about the house, Baby Jesus was put in His manger and we would sing a carol.

Try it, Moms.

Ah the French; a dying democracy

There are many American cemeteries in France. Thousands of the greatest generation died for freedom-democratic freedom.

That freedom is crumbling before our eyes in France.........

The socialist/Marxist camp has won.

Minister Montebourg verbally attacked Lakshmi Mittal, head of a huge steel business which employs 20,000 people in France. Here is part of the article. 

Speaking for the first time since Montebourg’s outburst, Mittal - Britain’s richest man - told French daily Le Figaro he was taken aback by the venom of the attack, which was all the more surprising given his significant investments in France.
“Of course I was shocked, by these words, even saddened. I would never have expected to hear something so irrational from a minister,” he said.

It was not just me, the whole world was surprised,” he said. “If a country like France, the fifth biggest economy in the world talks about natonalisation in this day and age, that’s a huge leap backwards.
"These kind of threats will make an investor maybe think twice before putting his money in France."

St. John of the Cross-happy feast day to all the Carmelites

“Where have You hidden Yourself?” “Show me where You feed, where You lie in the midday.”  

The Perfection Series on my blog owes so much to St. John of the Cross.

Today, on his great Carmelite feast, I quote him again. One line in the beginning of the stanas strikes me.

The soul asks Christ, who is hidden in the heart--"Where are You?" This everyone must ask of God in order to find Him. For the baptized, He is within. He must be found within the heart.

Only is solitude and silence can this be done. This is hard, but not impossible for the lay person

The second question is a line from the Song of Songs, a sentence on which St. Bernard writes several sermons, to which I shall return in the new year.

This second line, after “Where have You hidden Yourself?” “Show me where You feed, where You lie in the midday,”  may seem like a contradiction.

If we are asking God where He is and then say, where You feed and where you are at noon, we must have an idea where He is.

He is in a resting place, as noon is the time of the hot sun in the Middle East. At rest, but where? St. John of the Cross states, "in eternity". The noon day sun is at its peak and there are no shadows at noon. This is a sign of eternity. 

All is bright. But, if God is in eternity and in our hearts, can we not say, with St. John, that when we find Christ within us, we find eternal life?

The answer is, simply, be continued.