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Saturday 19 October 2013

If you are in Malta....and in the Middle Sea

A friend of mine treated me to lunch at Rampila's today.

I can easily state that so far, this is my favorite restaurant in Malta. I am a retiring sort of person and to eat in silence without a band or canned music, in a cool place away from the hustle of Valletta, was a really calming experience. Also the sailboat race, which I missed the last two times I was in Malta, started today. I saw about half of the sailing ships go out of the Grand Harbor. 

For sailboat fiends, read this....  and a video of last year on the site here . Here is the last update I could find.

At 1500 local time on Day One, the Rolex Middle Sea Race tracker shows Morning Glory leading on the water, about a mile ahead of Alegre both yachts are averaging over 12 knots. The biggest ever edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is now underway. The race is notorious for producing surprises, so expect the unexpected.

More Dark Nights in October, 2013

My Dark Night series is growing and growing. I am trying to unpack St. John as well as share some personal meditations concerning this stage.

One of the great marks of the entering into the purification of the spirit is the giving up of spiritual lust. One becomes content with two important happenings.

The first is that a person stops judging others, as one can see how unholy and imperfect one is and that one has no right to judge anyone. One can judge objective actions, but not persons. This is the beginning of true love of neighbor.

The second happening is the realization that one must be content with the spiritual gifts God has given one. Although all people should strive for union with God and endure all the stages until that Unitive Stage, one must be aware that one may be the violet in the posy and not the rose. We are not to ask for gifts we are not given. This asking could be a sign of spiritual lust.

A violet is perfect in and of itself. So is the rose. So is the daisy, or the cyclamen, or the marigold. For a marigold to want to be a rose would be ludicrous.

We are all called to perfection but in the mode to which God has called us. If I am a violet, and allowing God to perfect me as a violet, I must not compare myself to a rose, or desire to be a rose. To desire to be the rose could be a sin of spiritual lust.

In the Dark Night, such humility becomes the mode of being.

To be continued....

Dark Night Series Continued

For those friends of mine in the Dark Night, I want to share some ideas from the writings of St. John of the Cross. For those who have not been following this series, just click on the tags below.

I want to highlight a few points only.

The first is St. John's insight that God did not reveal Himself to Job in prosperity, but only after Job was in abject suffering. Why is this? Job, like all of us, had to endure the purification of the senses and the spirit in order to meet God as He is. The sacredness of God's Presence is us is continually blocked by our sins and imperfections.

Just as Job had to be stripped of all prior conceptions of God, so too, we must be loosened from old habits of thinking and feeling.

Second, self-knowledge is the goal of the Dark Night. Without the stripping of all false gods on which we depend, even the false god of working in and for the Church, we cannot see our true self, as God sees us.

Self-knowledge blossoms in humiliating circumstances.

St. John referred to the verse in Exodus 33:5, where Moses instructed, through God's Word, the People of God to put off their festive clothing and wear the clothing of penance. Why is this? John tells us that if we continually rely on the outward appearances of prosperity and worldliness, we do not see ourselves as we truly are-full of sin and those particular faults about which I have written here. This is one reason why the Benedictines wear black-as a reminder of mortification and death of the body, allowing for freedom to pursue the life of the spirit.

Third, and this is very important for all people, it is only after the senses are purified that the intellect is free to come to understanding. The intellect is impeded by the senses, which is one of the huge problems with those who seek continual consolations from God. The intellect must apprehend truth, goodness, beauty-those attributes of God Himself and this cannot be done when the intellect dwells upon the senses.

Purification of the senses comes first and then purification of the spirit.

John of the Cross quotes St. Augustine many times, and one of this phrases which is worthy of memorizing is this: "Let me know myself, Lord, and then I will know You."

Such particular faults as pride and vainglory must be struck down in the purification of the senses. When one simplifies one's life with regard to clothing and things, one is virtually left naked before God.

This nakedness provides the basis for God to begin to show Himself in a new way to the person pursuing perfection.

to be continued...