See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Thursday, December 16, 2010

O God, do not rebuke me in your anger. - Ps. 6


Rebukes and reproaches - they are good for the soul.
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I like to repeat "O God do not rebuke me in your anger" whenever I'm conscious of deliberate sin or willful neglects.  However, sometimes our conscience must be pricked in order for us to be made aware of our obstinancy and pride.  If we ignore these unsettling reminders, our Lord oftentimes intervenes - with something we read, something we hear, and as a priest told me the other day - sometimes even by a reproach  by our 'enemies'.  If our conscience is closed, sealed off, sometimes a rebuke from another awakens us to recognize our faults - if we are able to accept humiliation of course.
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On the other hand, sometimes we suffer reproach for doing what is right - that is a special grace.  The other day someone reproached me for my fidelity to a Church which, as he said, 'doesn't care for people like you...' - let us call them, single people.  Today single people are told by marketing and pop culture that they can do anything - they can have sex with any one, any time, according to their preferences.  They no longer have to marry - unless they want to - and then they can marry just about any thing they want.  Chastity no longer means what it used to for secularized christians - celibacy no longer means living chastely, and so on.  Despite this liberality, single people who strive to live according to traditional Catholic moral teaching frequently suffer reproach and endure rebuke - not from God, but from others, sometimes even those who claim to speak for God. 
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The spouse of souls.
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Today's first reading at Mass from Isaiah seems to offer consolation for those who await the Lord's coming,  like the wise virgins, their lamps lighted with the oil of charity... their hope undaunted, their faith piercing the night:
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"Raise a glad cry you barren one who did not bear, break forth in jubilant song, you who were not in labor.  For more numerous are the children of the deserted wife than the children of her who has a husband, says the Lord.
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Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.  The shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember.
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The Lord calls you back, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, a wife married in youth and then cast off, says your God...  with enduring love I take pity on you, says the Lord your redeemer.
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Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, my love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you." - Isaiah 54: 1-10
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+Prayer+
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Jesus, you decided to become a child, and I'm coming to you full of trust. I believe that your attentive love forestalls all my needs. Even for the intercession of your Holy Mother, you can meet my necessities, spiritual as well as material, if I pray according to your holy will. I love you with all my heart, all my strength.

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I beg your pardon, if my weakness makes me sin. I repeat with the Gospel "Lord, if you want you can heal me." I leave you to decide how and when. I am ready to accept suffering, if this is your will, but help me not to become hardened to it, rather to bear fruit. Help me to be a faithful servant and for your sake, holy Child, to love my neighbour as myself. Almighty Child, unceasingly I pray you to support me in my necessities of the present moment.
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Grant me the grace to remain in you, to be possessed and possess you entirely, with your parents, Mary and Joseph, in the eternal praise of your heavenly servants.  Amen - (Fr. Cyril of the Mother of God, OCD)
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Image:  Infant Jesus of Cebu.

5 comments:

  1. "If we ignore these unsettling reminders, our Lord oftentimes intervenes - with something we read, something we hear, and as a priest told me the other day - sometimes even by a reproach by our 'enemies'."

    This is certainly true - but how do we distinguish between what God is trying to tell us and what is simply sending us into needless spasms of worry? Certain contributors here, for example, make me cringe in fear and worry every time I read what they say because they sound so convinced and pious - how do I know what's from God and what's not?

    By the way I am in the process of trying to find a spiritual director - I know I need one, a good one!

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  2. that's an ongoing prayer of mine, too: "Lord, if you want, You can heal me." i find myself saying it in the Communion line quite often. great post.

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  3. Mercury - I think the cringe you experience in fear and worry is usually a good sign it is not from God. Consider how David was not upset with Simei when he reproached the king - his attendants were, but David remained in peace. He wasn't sure God sent the rebuke, but he pondered it in his heart. I was rebuked the other day in a post I referred to, I accepted the portion which fit in with Church teaching, but understood that another part of it was delusion.

    The devil tempts souls on their deathbed in the same way - Therese of Lisieux was tempted against faith - mocked for believing there was a heaven, mocked for wasting her life - she suffered from these reproaches, but she held on to faith. If on the other hand the devil tells us we are proud Pharisees it is always best to confess our sins and repent, trusting in God's mercy. However, when he tells us our obedience to Church teaching is foolish and the Church does not care about us - we can be sure it is a temptation and a lie - and the speaker, no matter how good he appears, is lying. The Church is the Body of Christ, Christ is it's head, Christ is God, and God can neither deceive or be deceived.

    We are always safe with a good spiritual director, and safer to ignore blogs and commenters who know not of what spirit they speak from.

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  4. DB - And with each Communion he does. Little by little.

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  5. Thanks - I figured you'd say something along those lines ...

    "Admonish the sinner" is such delicate thing, especially for those who have recently started to reform their lives. Sometimes there are things I can tell my friends and family members, but I think I'd only be serving my own sense of righteousness, not God.

    Case in point: I know lots of people who don't keep a Eucharistic fast, or are not careful to prepare themselves with the Sacrament of Penance. But these people know me from when I was the same way not too long ago, so if I say something I sound like a hypocrite who all of a sudden got all religious. I'd be speaking with no authority in their eyes - I'm not the right person to bring the message. I feel bad not saying something, but I also know that I'd be doing nothing but serving my ego by doing so.

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