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Sunday 8 June 2014

Called to Be A Cell Within A Cell

The journey into contemplative prayer is hard work. Beginners need guidance. I am a beginner.

The pitfalls are discouragement and pride. But, one must go forward and not falter. Contemplative prayer begins with hard work, and for the proficient, ends up in infused contemplation.

This type of prayer leads to the infused knowledge of God, but begins with acquired contemplation. One cannot confuse the two, and Garrigou-Lagrange is clear on the definitions.  But, this is the prayer which begins when one gives time to God in order to meet Him as He wants to be found. One cannot rush this type of prayer, nor expect God to work in every person in the exact same way. Yet, we are all called to this.

Because intellectuals have such active lives and imaginations, time must be set aside for the emptying of memory, understanding, and will. I have written on this before on this blog.

The happy correspondence of this type of prayer for me is that it follows a life of reading and thinking in overlaps involving the Maritains, Garrigou-Lagrange, and, of course, Thomas Aquinas.

We are all called to this type of prayer, but I could not arrange my life to answer this deepening call until today. My health did not let me stay in Tyburn, but i still need the door to open for me to be in a place where I have the freedom to follow this call. One needs strict privacy and time to be with God, to wait on God. I can become more of a cell within a cell in quiet but not in noise or interruption. As a beginner, I want to share the trials and tribulations of contemplation.

I shall share insights with you all as I go along, as I am, always, a teacher as well as a pray-er.

This is not a prayer of visions, by the way. One moves into a mental and spiritual state where God can finally reveal Himself as He wants to be known. This is the way of emptying. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue the Bridegroom, Who removed Himself from me for a time. But, I need the space.

All preconceived ideas of how He meets us pass away. One is not in control of the relationship, but God is totally.

Here is the goal of giving this time to God.

Song of Solomon 3

In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.
I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.
The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?
When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.

Virgin of The Order of Malta

St. Flora, 1347A.D. Patron of abandoned, converts, single laywomen, and victims of betrayal. Flora was born in France about the year 1309. She was a devout child and later resisted all attempts on the part of her parents to find a husband for her. In 1324, she entered the Priory of Beaulieu of the Hospitaller nuns of St. John of Jerusalem. Here she was beset with many and diverse trials, fell into a depressed state, and were made sport of by some of her religious sisters. However, she never ceased to find favor with God and was granted many unusual and mystical favors. One year on the feast of All Saints, she fell into an ecstasy and took no nourishment until three weeks later on the feast of St. Cecelia. On another occasion, while meditating on the Holy Spirit, she was raised four feet from the ground and hung in the air in full view of many onlookers. She also seemed to be pierced with the arms of Our Lord's cross, causing blood to flow freely at times from her side and at others, from her mouth. Other instances of God's favoring of his servant were also reported, concerning prophetic knowledge of matters of which she could not naturally know. Through it all, St. Flora remained humble and in complete communion with her Divine Master, rendering wise counsel to all who flocked to her because of her holiness and spiritual discernment. In 1347, she was called to her eternal reward and many miracles were worked at her tomb. 

A reader gave me this tip. Now, Flora's feast day is either on June 11th or October 5th, but as I have been thinking of my single, laywomen friends, I wanted to highlight her today.

She is also a Virgin of the Order of Malta, which is highly interesting to me.

More here about her.

I think it would be very cool to be a woman saint of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

Almighty and merciful God, who wished blessed Fleur to love and live as a virgin in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, grant that, following her example, we also may love you more and more. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(From: The Missal with readings of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, & of Malta, London 1997)