Sunday, September 21, 2014

Abbey Roads contra blogdum ...

Go forth and proselytize the living hell out of them!


The spiritual desolation generated in blogdum does not come from the good spirit.

I almost got sucked down that vortex of negative speculation and gossip and the sky-is-falling.  I strongly urge readers to go to confession, talk to your spiritual director, or a good, solid, holy priest.  Don't go to strangers online.  Don't listen to me or any self-guided apologist/evangelist/mystical twit online.  A few days ago a good priest with a blog said to take the miraculous stories associated with a certain saint 'with a grain of salt'.  I say take his blog with a grain of salt.  Take my blog with a grain of salt.  Take those who cajole and condemn the bishops and even the pope with a grain of salt.  If you have a simple, ordinary pure faith and deep piety - avoid reading blogs written by the disgruntled and the rude rad-trad-gic alienated grumblers - be they ordained or un-ordained disorderly.

"Discernment of spirits is a challenging task. It requires maturity, inner quiet, and an ability to reflect on one’s interior life."
Spiritual desolation, in contrast, is an experience of the soul in heavy darkness or turmoil. We are assaulted by all sorts of doubts, bombarded by temptations, and mired in self-preoccupations. We are excessively restless and anxious and feel cut off from others. Such feelings, in Ignatius’s words, “move one toward lack of faith and leave one without hope and without love.”
The key question in interpreting consolation and desolation is: where is the movement coming from and where is it leading me? Spiritual consolation does not always mean happiness. Spiritual desolation does not always mean sadness. Sometimes an experience of sadness is a moment of conversion and intimacy with God. Times of human suffering can be moments of great grace. Similarly, peace or happiness can be illusory if these feelings are helping us avoid changes we need to make.
For people who are trying to live a life pleasing to God, the good spirit strengthens, encourages, consoles, removes obstacles, and gives peace. The evil spirit tries to derail them by stirring up anxiety, false sadness, needless confusion, frustration, and other obstacles. - Discernment of spirits.
Now about those bishops.

St. Alphonsus Liguori had some things to say that may be helpful to consider in our time.  There have always been problems in the Church, bishops and pastors have been exiled, founders of religious communities kicked out of their own orders, and so on.  Christ promised us everything - 'and persecutions besides'.  We need the perspective of God - we judge as humans judge and fail to see the divine purpose behind his providential designs.

As regards my opinions concerning the present state of the church with relation to the election of the new Pope, what opinion of any weight could a miserable, ignorant, and unspiritual person like myself possibly give? There is need for prayer and much prayer. All the human science and prudence that there is cannot extricate the church from the present state of relaxation and confusion in which every section finds itself; the all-powerful arm of God is necessary.
As regards the bishops, very few of them possess genuine zeal for souls. Almost all religious communities – and one could omit the “almost”– are relaxed. As a result of the present state of general confusion, observance has collapsed and obedience is a thing of the past. The state of the secular clergy is still worse: so, in a word, there is a need for a general reform of all clerics and ecclesiastics if there is to be any improvement in the present great corruption of morals among the laity.
I assure you, my friends, that I desire, like yourself, to see remedies for so many and such unfortunate situations. In all this matter a thousand ideas circulate in my head which I feel like telling everybody about. But, mindful of my own unworthiness, I have not the effrontery to publicize them lest I should appear to wish to reform the whole world. So I share these ideas with you not from any arrogance but for my own peace of mind. - St. Alphonsus


So knock it off.






As Bob and Penny always said:  We love you family!





25 comments:

  1. It is spiritually & mentally dangerous to visit some sites - not yours though!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful post, Terry. Thank you for this. I have been thinking of doing a blog post comparing the Catholic blogosphere to the old Twilight Zone episode, "The Monsters are Due On Maple Street." This episode concerns aliens who come to destroy earth, and their plan is just create suspicion and prejudice in the minds of people against one another and let them destroy themselves, which is exactly what happens. I believe that is exactly what Satan is doing in the Catholic Church. He just throws out negative thoughts and we do all the rest of the work for him.

    This is the epilogue from that Twilight Zone episode

    "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own - for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."

    ReplyDelete
  3. BTW, it is really good to have you back.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fr. Hardon said over and over to Catholic groups fighting for the truth that "discouragement is from the devil." It was certainly a welcome message to pro-lifers on the sidewalks outside abortion mills. I think there are few more difficult apostolates. Every baby we lost was like a personal blow. We had to constantly remind ourselves that even God did not save all the babies as Herod's murder of the innocents showed.

    "As regards the bishops, very few of them possess genuine zeal for souls."

    This quote from St. Alphonsus is actually consoling. Things have ever been thus! The descendents of those same lukewarm bishops still thrive -- at least here on earth. But what I'm curious about is the last line you quote.

    "I assure you, my friends, that I desire, like yourself, to see remedies for so many and such unfortunate situations. In all this matter a thousand ideas circulate in my head which I feel like telling everybody about. But, mindful of my own unworthiness, I have not the effrontery to publicize them lest I should appear to wish to reform the whole world. So I share these ideas with you not from any arrogance but for my own peace of mind."

    This sounds like an introduction to his "ideas" in a private correspondence. What, in fact, follows this paragraph?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was part of private correspondence - the entire letter is great. You can read it by clicking the link at the end of the quote.

      Delete
  5. Terry, thank you for echoing my sentiments of these past couple of weeks. You aren't the only young buck in Catholic blog land to be feeling this way. I was grappling with this myself too, and even posted on this at how sinfully damaging these bloggers are in what they do: http://torontotlmserving.blogspot.ca/2014/09/2-weeks-of-blogging-despair.html.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Take those who cajole and condemn the bishops and even the pope with a grain of salt."

    I trust you, Terry. There a few others that I trust and visit too. They do not belong to the group you mention either, the "blogs written by the disgruntled and the rude rad-trad-gic alienated grumblers - be they ordained or un-ordained disorderly."

    I have no patience for the above as I too know what it is like to get sucked in and why I left some popular blogs by these same folks. I don't bother with the "other side" either.
    Sad we even have to refer to "sides" but they unfortunately do exist.

    Let's remember who reigns and allow Him to reign in our lives all the more.

    In the meantime, we continue to pray, to hope, to live...in the real world and not online.

    Like you have told me, I tell you,

    Stay the course! <3

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so glad you're still here. After the "That Will Do" post, I was afraid you'd finally had enough and gone away. I used to post here, but stopped because it occurred to me to ask myself "Who do I think I am to think I've got anything worth telling anybody, other than the poor people the Lord's providence has appointed to have to listen to my homilies to make reparation for their sins?" But I have always checked your site daily. At Tuesday night Mass and Benediction I've prayed for you and your intentions for the past two years. I thank Jesus and Our Lady for men who have their heads screwed on straight -- like you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm blown away - and deeply touched. Thank you very much for remembering me is your Mass and prayers. You are in mine too.

      I can't thank you enough Father!

      Delete
  8. Paolo Nutini wants his post back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't he have a great voice?!

      Delete
    2. Once in a generation, even.

      Delete
  9. Thank you Terry. I needed this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is excellent. It expresses quite well what I've been thinking and feeling for some time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good post. I've pretty much broken up with the Catholic blogosphere, with 3-4 exceptions (this blog being one of them). I realized two things: 1) there were blogs that I loved to hate. I'd read them just to experience that mix of anger and superiority that soooooooo many people get off on (myself included, much to my chagrin), and 2) because my faith is weak, my hope in the Church was faltering because I was despairing of the laity. Not the laity I actually knew, but the fear mongering weirdos online.

    Unfortunately, I still relapse. This morning I fell off the wagon and read a blog on NCR that I solidly oppose in my heart and found myself writing an email to Jeanette Demelo about what an arrogant, terrible, fissiparous blog that guy keeps. I think it was my rock-bottom. I deleted the email and thought, "what is happening?"

    So much of the blogosphere is good, but what does it profit a man to gain the whole internet, and forfeit his soul? I wish I had the discipline of my wife: she reads only a few blogs and never reads the comments (!) (I told her I didn't believe such a thing was possible. She says it is. I think the jury is still out.).

    ReplyDelete
  12. After posting the question about what came next in St. Alphonusus' quote, I have to laugh because I included this same quote in my Spring 2014 Les Femmes newsletter. So here's what comes next:

    “So we have to pray to Jesus Christ that he would give us as head of the Church one possessed of more spirit and zeal for the glory of God than of learning and human prudence. He should be free of all party attachments and devoid of human respect. If, by chance, for our great misfortune, we should get a Pope that does not have the glory of God as his sole purpose, the Lord will not help him greatly and things from their present condition will go from bad to worse. However, prayer, which can provide a remedy for so many present ills, will move the Lord to put his hand to the problem and remedy the situation….[The pope] should use particular diligence in this choice of bishops since it is on them that the service of God and the salvation of souls mainly depends. He should pay great attention to informing himself beforehand about their moral conduct and their leaning, both of which are necessary for the good government of their dioceses. And as regards those bishops already in their dioceses, he should inform himself secretly from the metropolitans and others about their conduct, to ascertain if they are paying little attention to the good of their flock. I wish, furthermore, that he would let it be known to all and sundry bishops who are careless in their duties, who transgress in the matter of residence or in the luxury of their retinue or in excessive expenditure on furnishings, life-style, and similar matters, will be suspended or replaced by the appointment of vicars apostolic in order to remedy the situation. It is important to make an example from time to time. Examples of this sort will make other bishops take notice and moderate their extravagance accordingly.”

    I think this is pretty interesting in view of the pope's reining in some of the extravagant bishops. We'll see whether he reins in the heretics who undermine the doctrine of the Church as well. I'm starting a perpetual intention for all my Masses and rosaries for all clergy from the pope on down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew you'd like it. It's interesting isn't it. I always think our age is the only one that has gone through this turmoil. Not so. It's a curious sort of encouragement actually. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

      The wheat and the chaff really does get separated in the end.

      Delete
  13. ALL GOOD CATHOLICS MUST SET THEIR HAIR ON FIRE AND RUN IN CIRCLES SCREAMING THAT THE POPE IS A SERVANT OF THE DEVIL!!!!! As Jesus commanded, of course. Cuz it just helps everything so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're awesome too, Mark Shea!

      Delete
    2. You forgot to add: and take pot shots at Mark Shea every chance they get ha ha

      Delete
    3. Dude ... you just got the almighty Mark Shea to comment on here ... whoa .... Props!

      Delete
  14. When Mark Shea is saying you're awesome, something has gone awry.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jasper: God bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. By the way, Jasper, you're awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That opening photo and caption is fantastic!! Thanks for this post. It was really helpful and gave me a lot to reflect on.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.