Sunday, December 13, 2009

The importance of spiritual joy and Gaudete Sunday.


Rejoicing on Gaudete.
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I love the image of Divina Pastora - Our Lady the Holy Shepherdess.  I took it (above) from Rorate Caeli blog - one of the better blogs online BTW - it is contained in the post:  Manila's Grand Marian Procession in honor of the Immaculate Conception  .  If I had grown up amidst such Marian devotion I would have died of love at a very early age.  Our Lady must love the Philippines very much.
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Devotion to Our Lady, who is called, 'Cause of our joy' - for obvious reasons, fills us with joy, even amidst the greatest sadness.  Try it.  Recite her Office, or go aside and pray a quiet Rosary while meditating the best you can on the mysteries - even if it just entails looking at the pictures of the mysteries.  If you are really little - just recite her litany.  If you do not feel anything, or do not notice that you feel different afterwards, you will at least notice an inner peace... a joy unfelt, if you will.  Although I am quite sure, Our Lady will not disappoint you and she will fill your soul with a joy the world cannot give.  She always does. 
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Spiritual sloth - the sadness which begets rancor and sadness...
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Although perfect love should be disinterested love, no human being is capable of sustaining such love - our human nature needs the consolation of spiritual joy - which is the 'fruit of generosity in the love of God.'  Disgust for spiritual things - authentic piety and devotion - when willed, may indicate the spiritual ill of acedia, or the grave sin of spiritual sloth.  Not to be confused with the trial of spiritual aridity of course.
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'Acedia is a disgust for spiritual things, a disgust which leads one to perform them negligently, to shorten them, or to omit them under vain pretexts.  It is the cause of tepidity.'
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Acedia or spiritual sloth, is a sadness of spirit which oppresses the soul and causes all sorts of evils... think of Ebeneezer Scrooge.  It is a capital sin which "is the root of many others.  Why is this?  Because a man seeks material consolations in order to flee from the sadness and disgust which spiritual things inspire in him on account of the renunciation and self discipline they demand." 
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"Consequently disastrous results follow disgust for spiritual things and for the work of sanctification - a sin which is directly opposed to the love of God and to the holy joy resulting therefrom.  From this evil sadness are born malice - and no longer only weakness - rancor towards one's neighbor, pusillanimity in the face of duty to be accomplished, discouragement, spiritual torpor even to the forgetting of the precepts, and finally, dissipation of spirit and seeking after forbidden things."  - (Everything in quotations/italics is from Garrigou-Lagrange, Three Ages, Vol 1: 29)  
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The Cause of our joy.
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To conquer spiritual sloth, a good, frank sacramental confession is in order.  It is overcome by genuine love of God exercised in true devotion of the will - authentic piety - which includes mortification and the practice of the virtues.  Even when sensible devotion be lacking - that too can be offered as a sacrifice in reparation.
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As Garigou-Lagrange ends this particular chapter:  "Thus instead of losing time which flees, we recover it and gain it for eternity.  And gradually we recover spiritual joy, that of which St. Paul speaks when he writes to the Philippians"  'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!' (Phil. 4:4-7)"
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Our Lady is the Cause of our joy because she consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer Who is all our joy, our love!
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Retablo: Source

Diorama:  Source and history.


Image Source.

5 comments:

  1. Well see there - you can help! Lovely and informative post.

    Guess what? I'm going to get dressed today (even though I don't have to leave the house). Then I'm going to make the trip to the tool shed (not to be confused with the barn), and haul out the rest of my Christmas stuff.

    Then it's on to the barn to make a new wreath and a Christmas arrangement for the house.

    Have a joyful Sunday...

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  2. Maria3:24 PM

    This was a fascinating post. Thanks, Terry. Happy Gaudete Sunday to you.
    Maria

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  3. I agree. What an awesome post. Thank you Terry.

    Can I ask, what may be a silly question, but I really want to be sure that I don't mix joy up with something that is not joy...can you say a bit about joy, what it is, what it's like?

    How do we know when we're genuinely joyful?

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  4. Love this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. Patrick - joy and sorrow ebb and flow - so you grow to recognize the authentic from the passing. Joy is accopanied by deep peace.

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