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Sunday 8 September 2013

War Posts

I have about twenty-four posts on the possibility of war, but the search bar is not working. The tag is WWIII. Use the label chart at the side of this blog, and these will come up.

For Our Lady's Birthday-The Temple of the Trinity

Fr. Gabriels's book, referred to in the last post, is exquisite. His thoughts on Mary bring our imaginations and hearts to another level. Such is the gift of a good spiritual writer.

But, of course, this superb writing about the Blessed Mother stems, like that of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, from a great love for her. Being priests, the Lady Mary would be their lady.

Fr. Gabriel writes that the thirty years in Nazareth provided Mary with time to have Jesus as the total center of her life. She did everything for Him. As Fr. notes, all her affections, thoughts, all her actions, surrounded the needs of Christ. Her heart, states Fr., beat in "perfect harmony with His".

This is a description of the deepest love possible. Fr. Gabriel quotes St. Pius X from Ad Diem Illum: she "shared the thoughts of Christ and His secret wishes, in such a way that it can be said that she lived the very life of her Son."

But, Mary is part of the Trinitarian life, and was, in Nazareth. " She was (from the moment of the Incarnation), the beloved Daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of the Word...Thus Mary is the temple of the Trinity."

Fr. Gabriel then writes that Mary is the great model for those of us desiring intimacy with God. "She leads us to Jesus and teaches us to concentrate all our affections on Him, to give ourselves entirely to Him, until we are completely lost and transformed in Him. Then, through Jesus, she guides us to the life of union with the Trinity. By reason of sanctifying grace, our soul is also a temple of the Trinity, and Mary teaches us how to abide in this temple as a perpetual adorer of the three divine Person who dwell therein." 

How wonderful to be thus lost in God, totally....

For Our Lady's Birthday-One-The World's First Love

I would like to share, for Our Lady's birthday, two thoughts from two famous authors. One is Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, whose book Divine Intimacy I am borrowing for a short while. The other is Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Both have lovely meditations on Mary and today is a good day to share these.

First, Venerable Sheen. In a talk on Mary called "Mother of Jesus" from the book, Your Life is Worth Living, he gives a small but beautiful thought on the feminine principle in religion beginning as a dream, a dream of God's, of course. He writes, "All people have love in their mind and heart, a composite of memories, thoughts, dreams, ideals, and experiences. Then one day, someone appears. It's called love at first sight, but it is love at second sight. Every great love is a dream come true.  Did you ever see a dream walking? Well, I did. Love is very much like music. We hear music for the first time and we like it because we already have that music in our hearts!

When God became man, or when He willed it from the very creation of the world. He dreamed about a Mother who would decide the time of His birth, circumstances, and all of the detail. He thought of her long before she was born; the world's first love...God could make His own Mother the way artists can create...Almighty God pre-existed His own Mother and made her just as beautiful as He could. That is why she was immaculately conceived." 

What a beautiful thought we have here on the creation of Mary, from a love song in God. Such a thought will make us love Mary more and more.

For Fr. Gabriel's comment, you will have to wait for the next post.

Americans, are you worried, yet? You should be.

from the second article:

Meanwhile, additional data from Damascus about the actual chemical attack increases the doubts about Washington’s version of events. Immediately after the attack, three hospitals of Doctors Without Borders (MSF: médecins sans frontières) in the greater Damascus area treated more than 3,600 Syrians affected by the chemical attack, and 355 of them died. MSF performed tests on the vast majority of those treated.
MSF director of operations Bart Janssens summed up the findings: “MSF can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack. However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events — characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers — strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent.” Simply put, even after testing some 3,600 patients, MSF failed to confirm that sarin was the cause of the injuries. According to MSF, the cause could have been nerve agents like sarin, concentrated riot control gas, or even high-concentration pesticides. Moreover, opposition reports that there was distinct stench during the attack suggest that it could have come from the “kitchen sarin” used by jihadist groups (as distinct from the odorless military-type sarin) or improvised agents like pesticides

Humility is Humiliation, Gentleness, Modesty

St. Pachomius receiving the cenobite rule from an angel
"Be humble so that God guards and strengthens you, because God looks to the humble. Be humble so that God fills you with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, because it is written that He guides the humble and teaches His ways to the meek."  St. Pachomius wrote this. Most Catholics do not understand that to be humble is to be humiliated.

When one is poor, one meets humiliation daily, and it is hard. When one is ugly or sick, one is rejected daily. There is nothing nice or easy about being humbled by others.

When one can rejoice in that humiliation, when one can blame one's self and know that the humiliation is deserved, then one is holy.

A truly humble person does not care what other people think of him, as he knows his poverty is from God.

The world judges constantly and so do Catholics.

Recently, because I wanted to visit the States, I asked some relatives if I could stay with them. The answer was no.

Therefore, I changed my plans, as I cannot afford hotels. That is sad. 

Recently, as I needed to leave the country where I was, and go to another, I asked some friends who had said I could stay if I needed to do so, and they pulled back on their invitation. When they invited me for two months, they were not sincere.

People who are middle-class or wealthy assume that one is a sinner if one is poor.

That is true. One is a sinner

But, we are all sinners, rich and poor. 

And, if a poor, or sick, or ugly person is more of a sinner than you, does it make a difference?

To rejoice in rejection, one must face the pain first of all. 

A wise old priest told me a month ago that to be truly humble, one had to admit dependence on others and be dependent on others and God. He did not know me and he did not know my circumstances. He merely was talking to me about humility.

But, two things have destroyed the Catholic sensibility about humility. One is socialism. Socialism destroys how people look at individuals. Individuals no longer have a story, but are merely statistics with which the government has to deal. People no longer know how to help those who fall between the cracks. They assume there is a program, a plan, a government solution. This is not always the case.

Human dignity rests on the realization that one is capable of work in order to gain basic needs, to be earned by one's self. Human dignity is absolutely ruined by hand-outs from the State.

A person can avoid holiness and humility in a socialist state because everyone is treated the same. But, this hides the truth. We are not equal in gifts, nor in wealth, nor in looks, nor in status.

God decides those things.

Many people only want to be surrounded by beautiful people. The non-beautiful are excluded from their circles. This happened to me. Someone actually said to me, "Too bad we cannot be friends because of money." I did not answer. What could I say? I belong to the non-beautiful. No one can "get" anything from me except who I am. I cannot give wealth, or status, or security.

The second thing which destroys really accepting humility is pride. If one feels embarrassed, or stung, or hurt by rejection because of poverty or ill health or a lack of good looks, one is still harboring pride. It is only when one responds with complete freedom to rejection that one has come into holiness. It is only when one finally accepts one's degraded state that one is holy. Non-acceptance is rebellion and rebellion is pride. Blushing is pride. 

Humility is recognizing that God is in control even when people despise one for one's poverty, or ugliness, or ill health.

Yes, some people are despised because they represent failure or falling off the edge of society, which most people do not want to face. Security demands that some shut their eyes to pain and suffering.

Now, in Dublin, some beggars are almost professional. I have seen photos on line of the same persons begging years ago who are outside my church daily. Some pass the same baby around and beg with that baby. If one crosses certain streets, at different times of the day, one can see the same baby with three different "dads".  On another day about a month ago, I saw the same baby carriage with the same baby and two different women standing by the carriage with baby, begging at different times of the day. This is deceit, of course. 

However, some are truly ones who have fallen out of the system. Here is an interesting article from just less than a month ago  Heroin addiction is a huge problem here. I cannot find recent statistics, but in the past 11 years, Ireland has had twice the death rate from drug usage than the EU average.

Two days ago, I passed a man on the street who obviously has AIDS. I have seen AIDS patients before and in teacher training, we discussed this, studied these symptoms and those of  STDS. He was in very bad shape. He had the open sores on his face, and he was emaciated. I do not know why he was on the street. He looked terrified, as one staring death in the face.  Another man was with him, giving him water and praying with him. They sat on the side of the street near one of the churches. Because the sick man was being tended to, I did not have to intervene. The man helping him was young and strong and was obviously there to help. I am dirt poor, but when I can, I buy real beggars sandwiches and juice. I do not give money, as I have so little anyway, and I do not want someone buying drugs or alcohol. But, orange juice and a sandwich have never been refused by street people, of whom there are many in Dublin. I have not been able to do this of late, however.  C.S. Lewis wrote, "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." But, sometimes, like this summer, I just cannot help.

I know that beggar could be me. That beggar could be anyone of us. And, that is why some hate those who have not.

The poor are always with us, states the Lord, but too many people do not want to deal with poverty, or the ugly, or the sick.

These are the humiliations God has allowed in my life-all three. I pray that I do not miss the chances for grace and holiness which come with being rejected.

Pray for me that I can rise up to the occasion. I am still too proud. It hurts.When it stops hurting, and I accept humiliation graciously, knowing deep down inside I deserve it, then I shall have found that peace which passes all understanding. 

And Jesus saith to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the son of man hath not where to lay his head. 

Christ, the Son of God said this in Matthew 8:20. As He is my Bridegroom, my Love, I go where He has gone before me. He leads and I follow. 

Humility is being able to say, "I deserve every bit of suffering for my gross sins." Humility is being grateful for grace. Humility is truth...

Continuing on the theme of humility, I read this quotation. Ephram El-Souriany "Inside the meek and humble man, the spirit of wisdom rests." 

In my life, I have only met one truly humble person. This person was very young. She was modest, which is a sign of humility, and she was wise. I taught her many years ago, and she never contradicted me, or insisted on her opinions.

She was always willing to learn, and thought herself lowly and stupid. She had an IQ of around 160. You would never know that she was that intelligent, as she did not put herself forward.

I watched her with others, her peers, and the main virtue she always showed was great gentleness. She was truly meek. She never butted into conversations. She never lied, and she always deferred to others, unless asked point blank for an opinion. When she gave it, the rest of the class was astounded. How could this seemingly ordinary, poor (she was) girl be so discerning, so wise? Students started asking her for help. She always gave it. She would stay after class and help other students. 

She was humble. She honestly thought that all people were better than she was. She did not need to gloat or put forth her knowledge or grace. Being around her taught me so much. 

Humility is gentleness and modesty.

Few recognized her great soul and her great mind. She was one of the unnoticed. But, I noticed her 

Among her peers she stood out because she was always happy. 

She spent most of her life in hospital with a rare disease. She never talked about that. She was in pain constantly her entire life. No one knew. As teachers, we were told privately how to deal with her illness, but she asked for no special attention. She never complained, ever.

When I think of her now, this psalm comes to my mind. 

Psalm 130 

Canticum graduum David. Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum, neque elati sunt oculi mei, neque ambulavi in magnis, neque in mirabilibus super me. 

[2] Si non humiliter sentiebam, sed exaltavi animam meam; sicut ablactatus est super matre sua, ita retributio in anima mea. 

[3] Speret Israel in Domino, ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.

Psalm 130

Lord, my heart is not exalted: nor are my eyes lofty. Neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonderful things above me.
If I was not humbly minded, but exalted my soul: As a child that is weaned is towards his mother, so reward in my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth now and for ever.
May God bless her where ever she goes. She exuded grace and humility. I want to be like her.

Answer to prayers in Rome and around the world? Keep praying.