Monday, March 30, 2015

Humility in The Desert. By:C.C.

"Where then is the man so stubbornly and mistakenly presumptuous of his own sanctity as to refuse to undergo the cleansing action of the remedy of penance? (…) I only wish, my dear brethren, that we, in our sinfulness, had the same humility as the saints have in their virtue."(William of St Thierry, On Contemplating God II)

   If we genuinely commit ourselves to our Lenten observances then the awareness of our sinfulness should come to us as a gracious blessing. Here is found the opportunity to do penance, to seek forgiveness, and to reconcile with our Lord. Through our fasting and alms-giving we undoubtedly stumble and fall. We may fall short of climbing the spiritual heights we vowed to pursue on Ash Wednesday as we entered the desert with our Lord.
   This experience of failure can increase our dependence upon God and the awareness of His providence if we approach it with humility. When we acknowledge ourselves as imperfect and among the sinful we can recognize our need for our Lord's love and mercy in a more profound way. We can better understand Christ's sacrifice on the Cross when we begin to walk the desert daily without presumption of our own sanctity. -CC

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Conditioned by Christ. By: C.C.

"For most of us sensitivity of soul is just not there for it has been loaded over with cares and concerns often far removed from integrity and truth. Our hearts are conditioned by the society in which we live far more than by the Gospel. It is what the Fathers call the clouding of the Image of God in the soul by the passions; and what we might describe in contemporary terms as the evident loss of integration in the human heart." (John Anthony McGuckin)
   Becoming attune with the life of our soul and acknowledging the counter Christ conditions that society imposes upon us takes great work. It is a task that we are called to as followers of Christ living within the world. It is not a work that should leave us overtly bitter or critical of our surroundings.  It is through the increasing awareness of our soul that we become equipped to recognize our place of responsibility as God's beloved in the world which He created out of love for all. 
   It is potentially easier at times and tempting to become cynical and bitter as we are faced with surroundings lacking integrity and truth. Giving into these temptations only highlights what McGuckin shares as a "clouding of the Image of God in the soul by the passions". These passions, often lead one toward judgement and do not help foster the Gospel message in our world. We cease being a light of hope and instead become darkened by pride and other vices that further cloud the Image of God, and fail to cultivate a culture of Christ within our society.
   The Gospel reminds us that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." (John 3:16) We can not serve Christ by hating the world that He served out of love for His Father and for all. Despite the condition of our society we are encouraged to turn fervently toward our Lord and live out the Gospel message of love. We must make integrity and truth our main care and concern and leave those things that cloud our hearts aside. If our ministry and mission is not driven by love then it is most likely clouded by self-centred concerns and not centred around Christ.. 
   The Lenten season invites us to a deeper awareness of the soul. It is an appropriate time to take the required space from our multitude of responsibilities and keep our gazes upon the Lord and His teachings. Let us continue this Lenten season aware of God's love and welcome the transforming graces that may come. (CC)

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Reality of God's Presence. By: C.C.

"There can be so much escapism in our striving for a "spiritual life". We often flee from the concrete, apparently banal reality that is filled with God's presence to an artificial existence that corresponds with our own ideas of piety and holiness but where God is not present. As long as we want to decide for ourselves where we will find God, we need not fear that we shall meet him! We will meet only ourselves..." (Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D. +2013

    The path toward holiness is one of humility and surrender. The desire to have greater union with God and to lead a life of service to Him requires that we step outside of ourselves and allow the Lord to slowly transform us the way that He wills- void of our own wants and selfish needs. 
  We can often make the mistake of thinking that we need to pursue holiness the same way we do daily tasks and goals. This approach can lead us to an artificial experience of God and one that is much rooted in our own need for control rather than in humble surrender. As Fr. Wilfrid reminds us, "we often flee from the concrete, apparently banal reality that is filled with God's presence". 
    To encounter God and allow His grace to mold and guide us requires our perpetual consent.It is not about finding an escape, but in opening ourselves more fully to the Lord and creating an entrance way.
  A spiritual life does not entail escaping the conditions of our reality, but demands that we become increasingly aware of God's extraordinary presence in our day to day ordinary existence. (C.C)