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Tuesday 24 December 2013

My heart is in the monastery.....

Thanks, Emile! Pray for me, I am so homesick for Europe and my son.

Can you imagine the entire Arabic area singing this?

from an idea from Nervana Mahmoud. 

“The last time that happened, we fought a war over it.”

"...I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago."

and more from this second article...

On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSA’s capabilities as “almost Orwellian” and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional.
The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSA’s intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program.
and more....
But the NSA could not use PRISM, which was overseen once a year by the surveillance court, for the collection of virtually all data handled by those companies. To widen its access, it teamed up with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, tobreak into the private fiber-optic links that connected Google and Yahoo data centers around the world.
That operation, which used the cover name MUSCULAR, tapped into U.S. company data from outside U.S. territory. The NSA, therefore, believed it did not need permission from Congress or judicial oversight. Data from hundreds of millions of U.S. accounts flowed over those Google and Yahoo links, but classified rules allowed the NSA to presume that data ingested overseas belonged to foreigners.

For my cat lover friends-

Sunday, 10 March 2013  Repeat Post....just because....

OK--repeat of two out three of the most adorable cats in the world...

Posted by 

You can watch the spacewalk live...


How To Deal with Christmas Rejection

Some of my friends, for various reasons, experience great rejection at Christmas time. This time of supposed holiday cheer and family friendliness can be marred by rejection by siblings, parents, even a spouse.

Rejection may be old, occurring over and over again in families owing to dysfunctional relationships, sin, even malice. One person I know was rejected in the womb and is still rejected by her mother who hates her.

Rejection may be new, like the loss of a new boyfriend, or a divorce, or a death in the family.

How one deals with rejection leads either to bitterness or perfection.

For those who choose the road to perfection, I have a few suggestions, having experienced myself many types of rejection, all which come to a head at this time of year.

First of all, rejection hits at the ego, which is a good thing. One may be full of too much self-love and rejection reminds one of personal imperfections and sin.

Second, rejection can be a time for reflection and repentance. But, most importantly, times of rejection are times of forgiveness.

One must say, "Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do."

Third, rejection can be a time of spiritual growth, as God asks one to join Him on the Cross, the ultimate rejection. Rejection brings humility.

I have three friends who are highly educated, charming women who were always, through-out their lives rejected by their fathers, who openly wanted a boy, and got a girl instead for a baby.

These women feel the pain of rejection, even though they are middle-aged. Even at parties, which I have attended, the fathers and the mothers prefer the men in the families openly, to the point of undermining the dignity of the women. These women have told me of their rejection. They have lived with it.

Now, one might say, why do not these women avoid this rejection? That is a good question. In one case, the daughter does not want to hurt her mother, and in another case, the daughter believes God is asking her to love her father even though he is verbally abusive.

One can only make these types of decisions on one's own. Sometimes rejection is so bad that one must avoid the situations entirely.

But, to avoid pain may be a running away from the Cross.

Another woman I know is rejected deeply by her mother. The mother favors the sons, and the daughter is seen as a second-class citizen. Because the mother has treated the woman as such since childhood, the men in the family do not respect the woman either, taking their cues from the mother.

This woman decided to love and honor her mother at Christmas, even though the verbal and emotional abuse is keen. She told me that the family ignores her as a non-person at the dinners and that no one, neither the siblings or the mother ask about her life. No one cares. No one "sees" her as a person.

That this woman visits her mother is a question of heroic virtue in my mind. She is trying to love an unlovable person. This woman is an artist, and her mother wanted her to be a doctor. The mother has preached the Gospel of Failure to this woman all her life, as the mother determined what the child would be and do, not appreciating the talents God gave the person.

Nativity by Carl Bloch

Rejection is what Our Lord experienced the night He was born. His mother experienced rejection, as did St. Joseph. 

The Baby was born outside the normal customs of the time, outside the care of neighbors or family. For a moment in time, the Holy Family was "homeless", in a cave. 

I cannot give advice on whether one should avoid rejection or take it. If one is emotionally secure enough and if one is spiritually able to join with Christ on the Cross, perhaps one can put one's self in a position of being rejected.

This action takes prayer and reflection.

I pray sincerely for all those who feel rejected, and who are rejected at this time of year. I know too many men and women in this type of pain. The list is, frankly, too long.

I know that God can use pain for purification, as sins must be atoned for-each sin of ours and the sins of others. Perhaps God asks some people to join Him in His pain-in His Mother's pain and in the pain of St. Joseph on this holy night.

If you are one of those people who are rejected, I pray for you today and tomorrow. If you are a person who becomes depressed at Christmas because of years of family rejection, I pray for you. I know two people who get very depressed at this time of year, both men. May God comfort them.

Please try and join Christ in His rejection-the rejection of an All-Loving God Who gave His Life that we may live.

I do not say "Happy Christmas", nor do I wish you "Merry Christmas".

I wish you a "Holy Christmas."

Returning to the Perfection Series-- À la recherche du temps perdu

This is a toe in the water of the perfection series, mark two. The next few posts in this series will be more on the detail of the passive purgation.

St. Teresa of Avila was in the passive purgation for 18 years.

One must understand these long times of dryness which demand Faith.

I am finding a confusion among people, especially some young ones, who do not understand that the levels of prayer are connected to the levels of progress, from consolation to dark night, to the illumination stage and finally to the unitive.

A keen look at these stages again reveals that in the passive purgation, which demands the working of the virtues, one is not in a unitive state or illuminative state yet. There is also a confusion as to the term "affective prayer" which is used by many authors to mean different things.

In the passive purgation, vocal prayer is almost impossible. One cannot meditate, the great insights into the Scriptures or Mysteries of the Rosary have ended.

One can only look at God in a great simplicity. This is what Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta meant, when she said that in Adoration, she looked at God and God looked at her.

That was all she could do.

Please so not mix up nomenclature or confuse stages.

In the passive purgation, one can only turn to God in small prayers, in small acts of the will.

In this stage, one desire God, not people, and God is vague, not specifically Jesus, the Father or the Holy Spirit. Faith tells one that God is the Trinity, not experience.

"The will is fixed on God by 'a vague love and a secret instinct.' a dolorous and persistent need of a more intimate union with Him. It is as it were a longing, like home-sickness, after God absent, and assuaged thirst, which cannot do without Him; the soul would like to be inflamed with love, and, above all, to posses God; merely to love Him no longer satisfies her, she aspired to union with Him."

This quotation from  Lehodey's The Ways of Mystical Prayer reveals the mystery of the passive purgation.

One learns patience and humility, waiting on God and waiting for God.

One would love to be totally occupied in loving. One desires to love.

But, all the soul perceives is irritation and a new ennui, which is not directed towards anything but the realization of one's own sin and imperfections in the light of God's love.

One can honestly say, "All I want is you, Lord. And, if it is Your will that I go to hell, so be it. But, I love you."

One feels an indistinct unease about the spiritual life, as one does not know where to find God, as He has hidden Himself  in all the old ways.

One can only say, God has visited me before, He will not abandon me." The act of sheer will power towards faith, hope and love marks this period of passive purgation.

One learns to be patient with others, but most especially, with one's self. And, at times, one feels or even thinks one is on the way to hell.

Only hanging on to faith, hope and love give the soul any strength at this time.

Not every one must experience the reality of trials, such as illness, loss of employment, financial losses, loss of status, loss of family and so on.

God decides what suffering to send. And, some people suffer less than others moving towards the same end.

One cannot compare one's self with others at all. This is a waste of time, and dangerous.

To be content to be carried on the winds of trial is the best some can do.

The key is remaining focused on Christ and that little ember of past consolations of love which one may now and then remember.

to be continued....

Noisy Night, Unholy Night

Christ came to us in the silence of the night. We sing Silent Night, Holy Night.  Christ comes to us daily in silence. Do we meet Him in silence, or does He come and not find any, and leaves us to our noise?

Christ will not force Himself upon us. He will not come if our hearts, minds, and souls are full of junk. Noise is junk

The hymn provides us with a great lesson in prayer. Without silence, we hear only ourselves, and the noise of the world. Christ cannot come into a noisy mind or noisy heart. 

Listening to Catholics in the neighborhood talk about vacations, shopping, raises, money, investments, divorces, gossip is hard to avoid this time of year....I may go hide in the basement. Why do people talk about trivia?  Why cannot people be silent? Are they afraid of silence?

I retreat to my little cell I am working on in my heart, soul, mind...

Silence is a gift, so if you have it, do not ignore the beauty and grace therein. I am convinced that hell and purgatory are noisy.

Do not squander the gifts when you are given these.

If you are given silence, cherish it.

I am thinking of dear St. Catherine again--create a cell in your mind, heart and soul to which you can go.

1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 
 and with fear and trembling stand;
 ponder nothing earthly-minded, 
 for with blessing in his hand, 
 Christ our God to earth descendeth, 
 our full homage to demand. 

2. King of kings, yet born of Mary, 
 as of old on earth he stood, 
 Lord of lords, in human vesture, 
 in the body and the blood; 
 he will give to all the faithful 
 his own self for heavenly food. 

3. Rank on rank the host of heaven 
 spreads its vanguard on the way, 
 as the Light of light descendeth 
 from the realms of endless day, 
 that the powers of hell may vanish 
 as the darkness clears away. 

4. At his feet the six-winged seraph, 
 cherubim, with sleepless eye, 
 veil their faces to the presence, 
 as with ceaseless voice they cry: 
 Alleluia, Alleluia, 
 Alleluia, Lord Most High!