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

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Gospel and my life.



"Let him who has ears hear the Spirit's words to the churches."
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When I first returned to the Church/sacraments in the early 1970's, my confessor was a holy Capuchin named Fr. Gabriel Diefenbach whose spirituality greatly influenced my own.  He impressed me at the time as a personality similar to St. Peter of Alcantara, since he appeared to be rather recollected and presented a somewhat ascetic bearing.  My first penance from Fr. Gabriel was to read a chapter a day until I finished of the Gospel of St. Matthew.  I was delighted with the penance since from the days of my confirmation I had read the Bible regularly - that is, until I fell away in high school. 
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Shortly after my return to the sacraments and daily Mass, one of my spiritual directors continued to give me books of the Old Testament to study and pray over.  Thereafter I acquired the habit of making my daily prayer over the readings of the Mass of the day or the Sunday before.  The Charismatic Renewal was active at the time, and the Scriptures were naturally an important aspect of that spirituality as well, although I seemed to gravitate towards the monastic tradition.
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Over the years it seems to me that through the daily readings at Mass, this is how the 'spirit speaks daily to the churches'.  At any rate, it is how I practice my daily 'lectio' or mental prayer.  Contrary to what one expert on lectio says, I read just the passage for the day's Mass as provided by the Missal.  Rarely do I use the passages read before or after the selection for the day - unless I do so later, seeking a corresponding text that may have come to mind.  I'm not studying or memorizing, but praying and listening.  I prefer the poverty of taking only what the Church provides for the day - sort of how the early monks were with food - only enough for the day.
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Anyway - why do I write these things as to how I pray, or the role the Gospel plays in my life?  First, I'm simply just explaining that I'm not a Bible banger or evangelical Bible quoter, or trying to be all holier than thou about Scripture.  Rather it truly is my daily bread, and as Paul writes, 'all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness'.   It is a way I find to correct my conscience, a means wherein I allow myself to be taught - and it is the way I have been trained in the spiritual life.
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Secondly, many times it seems the Gospel comes to life for me.
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For instance, last night as I was thinking of Gaddafi's death, recalling details of the gruesome video shown on television and the celebration by his executioners.  All I could think of was, "You will all come to the same end unless you repent."  And then this morning, today's Gospel repeated that for me.  There is no great sign here, no hidden mystical connection I am claiming - it just is what it is...
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Yesterday I cut down my crab apple tree - it has been slowly dying off for the past few seasons - this year it more or less withered, though I had cared for it and pruned it and bound it's wounds.  Sometimes blessing it with holy water, and so on.  I finally took it down yesterday.  The ending of today's Gospel is about the unproductive fig tree and the man who instructed his gardener to take it down because it had yielded no fruit.  The gardener pleaded with his master to let him try to bring it to fruit one more time - and if it would not, he would then cut it down.
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As I was cutting my tree down I was thinking of that Gospel and how providential it would be if it were to be the Gospel for the next day.  It is.
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We will all come to the same end unless we repent.  God willing, I can make my confession today.

7 comments:

  1. I appreciate you sharing your prayer life and personal devotions. I find myself doing the same, but I don't always stay with the readings of the day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is a story at a wonderful blog for your consideration:

    http://bfhu.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/even-demons-believe-and-tremble-%e2%80%93-a-story-about-the-true-presence-of-jesus-in-the-eucharist

    Yes, I am two-timing you.

    I read other blogs.

    The story within the story about our attitudes is great.

    *

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whenever I throw some birdseed on my lawn, it attracts grackles, ravens, and my favorites, Morning Doves.

    "...As I was cutting my tree down I was thinking of that Gospel and how providential it would be..."

    This kind of thinking attracts angels, and even the Lord Himself.

    Has He ever dropped by and asked of you "Do you love Me?"

    Has He ever sat on your front step as you hurried to Mass?

    *

    ReplyDelete
  4. +JMJ+

    Nope?

    I'm disappointed in you, Terry. I thought you'd be so much holier than this.

    Next thing you'll say is that you've never levitated or bilocated or . . . you know.

    (Captcha is "graskind" because you're good to your garden.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was working in my garden this week and reflecting upon the parable about the seed and the type of soil. My soil was looking dry so I watered it - draw your own conclusions! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. lol@cathy.

    terry, i second what tom said. love what you post. yours is the only blog i visit every single time i have my computer on.

    hugs,
    DB

    ReplyDelete


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