Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spy Wednesday

Sycophant
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I was at adoration most of the afternoon - never search through YouTube videos before you go to prayer - I was distracted for the first half hour.  A line from a sit-com segment I watched last night kept surfacing...  it was Karen Walker complaining, "Sheesh!  Ya try to be nice to people!" and I kept cracking up.  (You had to see the episode I guess.)
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Anyway, Aside from the readings and psalms for the day, I was most impressed with the short introduction from Pope Benedict's writings for today's Mass in Magnificat.  (Considering all that is going on these days.)
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"Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion.  But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, 'Away with him!  Crucify him!'" - Pope Benedict XVI
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It is rather unnerving to ponder the betrayal of Judas...
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Art source.

9 comments:

  1. Judas was like most of us, I'm afraid...just too darned weak to carry out his mission.
    I pray that all of us, bishops, priests, consecrated, laity, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to remain faithful...no matter what.
    And prayer and penance are the only weapons, here, I'm afraid.
    And I am afraid.

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  2. Austringer7:38 PM

    Funny you should mention the intro from the Pope: I read that this morning and couldn't help but think, because of the earlier discussion here on the subject, of the destruction of the visual arts at the hands of "changing moods and current fashion".

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  3. Terry, I read this again and I'm laughing hysterically (by the way, not to scandalize anyone, but Karen Walker is just hysterical!)..we're in Adoration before the sun comes up..and let me tell 'ya...the things that go through this pea brain of mine at that hour of the morning!
    I just try to "turn it all to Jesus"...how effective that is will be be known at "my particular judgment"...will I lose points for liking Karen Walker??:<)!

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  4. Austringer8:24 PM

    Father, I'm actually a little relieved to hear you say that you are sometimes distracted...I'm having to fight that particular battle CONSTANTLY. At times I've wondered if aspects of the spiritual life -- contemplation, fruitful meditation, attentive prayer -- is simply out of reach for secular me. My priest once advised that I seek silence by turning off the TV and radio -- I had to tell him that they had already been off for years!

    Reminds me of the lyrics of the Paul Simon song -- "maybe I think too much..."

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  5. Austringer: From what I have read, from what I've been told, from what I've experienced...distractions in prayer are the part and parcel of trying to live a serious prayer life.
    We just can't help what goes through our mind...the important thing is to keep refocusing upon the Lord...St. Teresa of Avila had to have a book with her during mental prayer for years; I take this as a great consolation! When I've veering into "neverland" I just pick up my book and try to read...or pick up the rosary and begin again...God blesses us in our efforts.

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  6. As a Secular Discalced Carmelite I do lots of contemplation/mental prayer....what I found that REALLY helped was my yoga practice (i know i know...flames heading my way). I initially started it for my lower back problems, but the instructor that I had helped us learn to relax much as a cat relaxes, and how to "quiet the mind" from the concerns of the day. Even St Teresa of Avila had aunguish about "the mind being like wild horses." racing off in every direction.

    There is a BIG difference between "quieting the mind" and "emptying the mind." By quieting the mind you learn how to effectively deal with the distracting thoughts that turn your focus away on your primary thought. Emptying the mind of all thoughts is not the goal here as we want to be able to pray or meditate.

    An easy exercise is taking something simple--prayer like "Jesus--I Trust in You." Make sure you are in an environment where there are minimal distractions that will divert your attention. Make sure that you will not be disturbed by other people,telephone,etc. Adoration is perfect time as it is a quiet environment especiallyif you have noisy family. Focus on saying the words, what they mean, how you feel about them. Then..as the distracting thoughts appear--and they will--recognize them for what they are, and set them on a cloud or balloon, or turn them into a butterfly and let them float away. Then resume the prayer. The distracting thoughts are not good or bad, they are just there, and send them away kindly. Try this for like a minute..don't beat yourself up if you can't do more..it does take practice. As you get better at this you can extend this to Rosaries, Lectio Divina, etc.

    This "quieting of the mind" I believe is how you can get really good at contemplating and journey through the Interior Castle of St Teresa...

    Peace.. Sara

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  7. Austringer9:08 PM

    Thanks, Father and Sara.

    I was thinking too of St. Teresa's depiction of her straying thoughts as "wild horses". Of course, when I am reining in my own "wild horses", I often then get distracted by thoughts of reining in horses, as I grew up having horses and had my own a few years back...so off run the thoughts again...

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  8. Terry--you are so funny. I don't even know who this person is but this is what makes us human. I think Padre is right. He sees our efforts. As has been noted, some of the greatest of Saints struggled with prayer. I have a strange problem--I want to say the rosary an it is as if a force is keeping from it. If I start, then I am fine--but getting there can be really hard!

    Sara--That was very nice. Very helpful.Thanks.
    you.

    Austringer--You are amazing. No TV or radio. Wow. How do you keep up w/ our media madness??

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  9. Austringer12:07 AM

    Maria, you're looking at the answer -- the computer! One might argue that it's no different from TV or radio, but I would submit that there is a difference: it's silent, for starters, and also it's easier to fit -- in little snippets here and there -- into my schedule (as opposed to passively sitting in front of the TV, going by its schedule). Not to mention that I can narrow the focus of what I am being bombarded with, thus eliminating a lot of garbage.

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