Friday, February 12, 2010

Something to consider.


Conduct of the soul in the 'dark night'.
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I think most people would agree the Church seems to have been in a sort of dark night for the last 40 years, and today we have the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI teaching us how to conduct ourselves, essentially by showing us the way of confidence and love.  His teaching accords beautifully with the doctrine of St. Therese of Lisieux - the little way of confidence and love.  Confidence = hope, and love = charity.  It is the classic attitude an individual soul must adopt in the abandonment of itself to God in the trials of the dark night.  The "path of confidence and total abandonment," in humility.
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Consider the early Christians - did they mock and scorn and revile the pagans?  Did they deliberately foment contempt and dishonor against their persecutors?  What converted so many pagans?  Was it not the charity and hope and joy the Christians exhibited amidst the most terrible sufferings?  Even in modern times, can you imagine Benedicta of the Cross, Maxmillian Kolbe, or Franz Jägerstätter shouting condemnations at their Nazi persecutors, hurling insults and demanding their rights?
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An attitude shift.
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Anyway, from one of the masters of Carmelite spirituality, I want share a few considerations  "On the Conduct of the Soul" in the dark night.  Perhaps it will make sense, perhaps you won't follow my association at all.
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"To reveal God as Love to souls is the central and essential point of the mission of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  This message has as its foundation the most important and deep grace of her life, namely, a very profound experimental knowledge of God inasmuch as He is Love.
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Divine Love does not want to limit His action to a few privileged souls, He longs to give Himself everywhere - to conquer the entire world.
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Confidence is theological hope wholly impregnated with love; abandonment is confidence which no longer expresses itself solely through distinct acts but has created an attitude of soul:  'We can never have too much confidence in the Good God, He is so mighty, so merciful.  As we hope in Him so shall we receive.'
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One must (accept to) be poor, miserable, and must lay open one's poverty (littleness, helplessness) to the enlarging power of Divine Love, in order to attract and satisfy Him.  Such is his Law.
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The secret of St. Therese is no different from that of St. John of the Cross.  The Theresian love of littleness and of poverty united to blind trust in divine mercy, is that not the same as the Joannine hope that is detached from everything and that God immediately fills?
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For St. Therese, trust and poverty are not simply virtues, like so many others, that one must practice at certain times; they are basic virtues, deep-seated dispositions, governing all the movements and attitudes of the soul.  They of themselves create and become a complete spirituality; they constitute, as the Saint proclaims, a way to go to the good God.
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Because the way of spiritual childhood offers us a felicitous example, in concrete and living form, for the practice of the virtue of hope, its teaching is particularly precious for the period that we are now studying." - P. Marie-Eugene, O.C.D. - I Am A Daughter of the Church, Chapter IV The Conduct of the Soul
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I would say, "particularly suited to our times".

3 comments:

  1. Terry"
    "Even in modern times, can you imagine Benedicta of the Cross, Maxmillian Kolbe, or Franz Jägerstätter shouting condemnations at their Nazi persecutors, hurling insults and demanding their rights"?

    Thank you. What a wonderful reminder, this post. In the end we will be judged in love,right?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Terry:

    "Even in modern times, can you imagine Benedicta of the Cross, Maxmillian Kolbe, or Franz Jägerstätter shouting condemnations at their Nazi persecutors, hurling insults and demanding their rights"?

    Thank you. What a wonderful reminder, this post. In the end we will be judged on love, right?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a wonderful meditation.
    Thank you, Terry.
    I needed this very much. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete


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