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Saturday 21 June 2014

More Thoughts from Cardinal Manning

There are still several more pages in the book by Cardinal Manning on the interior working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which I must read. The book I have, a gift from a friend, is literally falling apart in my hands, the pages crumbling into bits as I turn them.

However, like an exile on a desert isle, I am saving the pieces and keeping the book in a freezer, plastic bag for now. Can one imagine all the great Catholic books disappearing in this way? Decaying either from the elements or lack of use, or from the blindness of those who never read these commentaries on the mysteries of the faith.

Manning writes this on prayer, which is my theme from him in this post. “Meditation is the patient thought of wisdom musing upon divine things.”  As noted in the perfection series, through the writings of Garrigou-Lagrange, in which he indicates that meditation comes before contemplation. Meditation is best learned through the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who teaches us that meditation starts with pondering Holy Scripture.

One uses the Scriptures to concentrate on the life of Christ. Contemplation follows meditation. If one has trouble meditating, Manning tells us that there is a blockage,  something hindering the process of thinking and the use of the active imagination regarding the Scriptures.

Meditation involves the thinking of specifics in the lives of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, and Christ.

Contemplation is the active, and then, finally passive, reflection on the Attributes of God, God in truth and in love.

The Cardinal writes that the gift of Wisdom allows us to meditate and then to contemplate.  He makes a poignant distinction between the use of the gift of knowledge and the gift of wisdom. “…we see God in His creatures, and we ascend up by His creatures to Himself; but by the gift of wisdom we see God Himself, and, from the contemplation of his perfections, we descend to a knowledge of His works.” (p. 400).

One is an upward movement, and one is a downward movement.

Manning reminds us that we are all called to be saints and that detachment is a result of wisdom.  Wisdom is the last perfection of the soul.

He reminds us that the uninspired man has gifts which are oppressed. If one’s gifts are suppressed, there is a spiritual oppression. Manning quotes Romans 8:14, “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

Usually, the oppressions are sin. If the sins are serious, the gifts are “lost” and inoperative. If one finds that the Holy Spirit does not seem to be active in one’s life, a good spiritual director can help discern the blockages.

To be continued… 

Down in Adoration Falling

Attending a Holy Hour on Thursday in honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi, I heard a fantastic sermon, (although it was too long and there was little time for silence, which is the point of Adoration), in which the priest referred to a writer I did not know. In The Mysteries of Christianity, by Matthias Scheeben, a book from 1961, published in St. Louis, by Herder, the mystery of the Eucharist is examined. 

Here is one short quotation from this book, as offered by the priest.

“When set forth according to the norm of the Catholic faith, the Eucharist, like the Incarnation, is manifestly an astounding, supernatural work of God. It is a work hidden from the intellect, and is quite beyond our understanding…Its mysterious character is so readily acknowledged that the Eucharist is often referred to simply as the mystery par excellence… that the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood remains actually, truly, and essentially present as long as the appearances endure, yet in such a manner that it is present whole and indivisible under each species, as well as under any part thereof.”

The priest noted that in our day and age of “materialism”, in which most people simply do not believe in mysteries or the spiritual world, the doctrine of the Eucharist seem difficult for many people. This includes our Protestant brothers and sisters.

Scheeben notes that the “..substantial presence of the Body and Blood of Christ under alien species is plainly a fact at which we cannot arrive by reason alone, because we are naturally able to know substances only by their accidents and their outward appearance. According to the ordinary laws of thought, reason is quite justified in inferring a substance from the accidents that are naturally associated with it. Reason will not be led to affirm the presence of Christ’s Body for following its natural course; on the contrary, reason will pronounce without hesitation that it is not present. Faith is required, not only to assist reason by leading it further, but to bring its natural course to a halt. The fact of the mystery is utterly cut of from unaided reason, because it is a supernatural fact, one that is wrought not upon the surface of things, but in their innermost core.”

Faith is a gift given to all who are baptized. One of the theological virtues, faith opens the eyes and mind of the soul to accept and then to love the mystery of the Eucharist.

To be before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament gives each one of us time to be taken up in the Mystery of Christ’s Presence.

On Guardian Angels

St.Therese, the Little Flower, and St. Padre Pio, tell us that we can send our Guardian Angels to other people in order to speak words of consolation to them.

St. Therese wrote a lovely poem about her angel and bid him visit those friends of hers who needed comforting. She even mentioned that the angel should whisper her name to that friend.

St. Padre Pio told people to “send their angels” to him and that he would listen to the intercessions brought by the angel. One source indicates that St. Padre Pio would send one’s angel to another person to whisper thoughts, inspirations, and consolations to that person.

This teaching is not doctrine or infallible teaching, but one can see that two of the greatest saints of the last century believed and, indeed, had personal experience of sending angels to those they loved or who were entrusted to them.

I do this more and more, especially with friends or family members experiencing depression, unemployment, confusion, lack of confidence.  I send a guardian angel to St. Padre Pio and ask him to speak to the angel proper words of intercession for another person and then send the angel to that person. I trust in St. Padre Pio’s discernment more than my own, of course.

One of my spiritually mature friends uses her angel to send messages of consolation to others through Padre Pio. If any of the readers have any experiences concerning the employment of guardian angels, feel free to comment.

We do not use those loving companions of the angelic hosts enough. They are waiting for us to acknowledge their love and care.

I have had one experience of being awakened in the middle of the night with a message from far-away country. I did immediately pray for this person. Respond to such inspirations. Someone, through Padre Pio, could be asking you for prayer, as we are all connected in Christ.

Review Podding

Podding Possibilities

I have spoken with two friends in Christ recently who have referred to the posts on podding.

If you are in Louisiana or Nebraska, pray that you run into those who are interested in podding. I am not going to be a hub for podding on this blog, but ask that you trust in the Holy Ghost to lead you to those men and women who are really serious about podding.

The time for setting up pods is now.