THE PRESENT MOMENT

I think I have said before that one of my favorite authors is Jean-Pierre De Caussade, author of the book “Abandonment to Divine Providence.”  In it,  Caussade suggests that we obey the will of God from moment to moment and God will pour out his grace upon all souls who abandon themselves to him.

They say that 700. 000 people in Connecticut lost their power on Saturday night because of the snow storm.  Sunday morning at Mass at Holy Apostles Seminary and College in Cromwell, the Rector announced that the power at the school could be off for up to a week. That meant that the Seminarians who live there would be without heat and electric.

So he said there would have to be sacrifices but with sacrifices come opportunities and with the right attitude God could turn things around.  The rector mentioned opportunities for more prayer, more adoration, and spending more time with God.

I thought about my opportunities and I decided it was a good time to start obeying the will of God and live moment by moment.  It has worked beautifully and I find my self thanking God for all he does for me.  Some moments are not pleasant but I thank Him anyway and He shows me what he’s trying to teach me.

Caussade says:  “We can find all that is necessary in the present moment.  We need not worry about whether to pray or be silent, whether to withdraw into or mix with people, to read or write, to meditate or make our minds a receptive blank, to shun or seek out books on spirituality.  Nor do poverty or riches , sickness or health, life or death matter in the least.”

“What does matter is what each moment produces by the will of God.  We must strip ourselves naked, renounce all desire for created things, and retain nothing of ourselves or for ourselves, so we can be wholly submissive to God’s will  and so delight him.  Our only satisfaction must be to live in the present moment as if there were nothing to expect beyond it.”

It works.  Read the book.  It’s amazing.

Now a story to close with.  Our power went out with everyone else’s on Saturday night.  The house had started to get quite cool by Sunday afternoon.  We have a Club house here at our apartment complex with a generator.  So, Evelyn and I went there to say our evening prayer and pray the Rosary.  Another couple joined us and when we finished the last Hail Mary the lights went on in all the apartments.  What a blessing.  But then we had to pray for the thousands of people who didn’t get power until today.

It’s fun to live the “present moment.”  Caussade says;  Are we thirsty?  Then we have not far to go to find the fountain of living water.  It bubbles up near us at every moment.  How foolish it is to tire ourselves by searching for tiny rivulets which can never quench our thirst.  Only the fountain can satisfy us.  It is inexhaustible.  Do you want to think, write and live like prophets, apostles and saints?  Then you must surrender, as they did to the inspirations of God.  God bless you.

 

 

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ENCOUNTERING CHRIST IN THE MEDIA

I am reading a book “Infinite Bandwidth” for a class on media.  It is written by Eugene Gan.  He is an associate professor of interactive media, communications at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

I would like to share a quote about Facebook from the book:  “Social networking sites such as Facebook have a potential to point people in the right direction or the wrong one.  Over the years, I’ve witnessed students use their Facebook pages to post links to stories about the Faith, engage their non-believing high school friends in debate, and display videos they’ve made about prayer, the saints, and missions work.  Others use Facebook to spread the word about good charitable organizations, raise money  for cancer research, or spark discussions about controversial issues like abortion.  For them, social networking sites aren’t primarily about spying on classmates or accumulating as many”friends” as possible.”

“They’re not a forum for self-display or a place to garner attention.  They’re tools to inspire people to a fuller, richer way of life.  And when their activity on those sites is inspired by a respect  for truth and the dignity of the human person, they do just that.  When that respect is missing so is the inspiration.”

This a very good book on all forms of the media and the proper use of it.  The book is available at “Amazon”.  I hope you liked the quote.  Makes you think.  God bless you.

 

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TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE

One of my favorite subjects is forgiveness.  It may be the fact that when I first fell in love with Jesus Christ, I was led to forgive everyone in my life at that time.  I made a list of everyone who had ever hurt me and I forgave them for what they had done to me or hadn’t done for me.  The list was very long and included people who had already died.  But I forgave them all.  And everyday I would take out my list and go over it to make sure I had really forgiven them.

Then I made a list of everyone I had hurt or sinned against and I asked Jesus to forgive me for what I had done.  This list was even longer.  Some of these people, when I ran into them on the street,  I had to go up to them and ask them for forgiveness in person.

What this action did for me,  was to really open me up to receive the love of Jesus.  It was the basis for my conversion.

This past weekend at Hartford at the “Unbound Conference” at St Thomas seminary we heard a lot about forgiveness.  Neal Lozano, founder of the ministry shared a lot about forgiveness.  It is one of the “Five Keys” to “freedom in Christ” in the “Unbound” method of healing.

Neal gave us a list of 15 blocks to forgiveness and one of them was “a victim identity” which embraces helplessness and powerlessness.  Forgiveness requires us to give up our victim identity and accept who we are in Christ.

We have to ask ourselves:  “Am I going to let what someone else has done to me determine how I live my Life?”   We may be a victim,  of a tremendous hurt,  but that’s not who we are today.  You are son or daughter of Jesus Christ.  We have to give up our victim identity and take back the power in our lives.  And we do this with forgiveness.

Neal shared about a girl he knows who was abused for three years, from age 8 to 11. by her step father,  unbeknownst to her family.  Then she learned to pray to Jesus and he gave her the strength to tell her mother and she immediately took her daughter out of the house and away from the man and to her grandmother’s house where she was safe.  Her grandmother asked her if she could forgive this man and with the grace of God she was able to do this and set free.

Then Neal told the story of the shepherd boy who had quite a group of sheep.  One day he met a prophet who suggested he take a journey to seek his treasure.  The boy thought about it and then decided to do it.  So he sold his sheep and took all the money and sailed on a boat to a strange land.  When he got there he realized that he didn’t know the language and couldn’t find any one to talk with.  He looked for three days and finally found a man who understood him and he could talk to.  He really enjoyed that day but them discovered the man stole all his money.  So he sat down in the square of this strange land and had to decide:  “Am I going to be a victim or do I remain a boy who is seeking his treasure?”

How about you?  Are you a child of God seeking your treasure or a victim?

Forgive.  Willingness is all you need.  You may have been a victim but that’s not who you are now.  Overcoming helplessness brings on victory over hopelessness.  You can learn more by getting the book “Unbound” at “Amazon Books.” or at http://www.heartofthefather.com

God bless you.

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I’VE GOT A SECRET

One of my favorite books is “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Jean-Pierre De Caussade.  One of my favorite passages is where he talks about “loving and cherishing what each moment brings.”  He says that we should make use of whatever God offers to us.  “Everything leads you into a union with God.”  “Everything guides you to perfection except what is sinful or not a duty.”  Accept everything and let him act.  All is in the hand of God.”

He says the state of our health springs from his will.  Everything is the working of grace:  bodily conditions, your feelings, thoughts,  all come through the invisible hand of God.  So we have nothing to do but love and cherish what each moment brings.  God can only do what is good.

If we leave everything in God’s hands we should reach the highest peak of holiness.  Caussade says;  “if every soul lived, acted  and spoke under the guidance of God, they would have no need to imitate anyone else.  Each one of them would be a unique and holy being, made so by the most ordinary means.”

Closing this section of the book, Caussade says;  “You simple souls, who are quite without any piety, have no talents, are quite uneducated, understand nothing of the language of spirituality, and are filled with astonished wonder at the eloquence of the learned;  come and I will teach you a secret that will put you far ahead of these clever folk.  I will make you so well placed for achieving perfection  that you will always find your self in the midst of it.  I will unite you to God and you shall go hand in hand with him from the first moment you begin to do what I shall tell you.”

“This work in our souls cannot be accomplished by cleverness, intelligence or any subtlety of mind, but only by completely abandoning ourselves to the divine action,becoming like metal poured into a mold, or a canvas waiting for the brush, or marble under the sculptor’s hands.  We can receive God’s seal on our soul only by abandoning our will to him, not by any efforts of our reason.”

Our prayer:  “Forgive me for my faults.  I have not yet become abandoned  enough  to accept the brush of the strokes of your brush.  Yet I have found in you a beloved master, a teacher, a father and a most dear friend.  I will be your disciple and go to no other school than yours.  Like the prodigal son, I will come home hungry for your bread.  I will abandon all ideas and books about spiritual matters and have nothing to do with them unless they work together with your will .  All I want to do is love you and devote myself to the duties of each moment, and so allow you to act on me as you will.”

The Book is “Abandonment to Divine Providence”  by De Caussade.  God bless you.

 

 

 

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WHY PRAY?

Some people ask why should we pray when God, who knows everything, already knows what we need?  Before I gave my life to Jesus, I never prayed.  Well, maybe I might yell out “Help” once in a while,  but that was about it.  I didn’t have anything against God but I thought:  he’s up there and I’m down here and he’s doing his thing and I’m doing mine.  That was before I realized that everything I had was a gift.  Everything I had,  everything I was and everything I was going to be comes from God.  Everything was gift.

Saint Augustine, in this morning’s “Office of Readings” in the Catholic Church says:  “Yes God does want us to pray, but not because he wants to know what we want. but rather wants us to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us.  His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it.  That is why we are told: (Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.)”

“The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift which is very great indeed.  (No eye has seen it)  it has no color.  (No ear has heard it)  it has no sound.  (It has not entered man’s heart)  Man’s heart must enter into it”

“In this faith, hope and love we pray always with unwearied desire.  Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask of him who alone is able to give it.”

And from Jeremiah 9:  “You will seek me and when you seek me with your whole heart. you will find me.  You will pray to me, and I will listen to you.  I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for misfortune,  plans that will give you a future full of hope.”   God bless you.

 

 

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DESIRE FOR GOD?

“You are great, oh Lord, and greatly to be praised….You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”  (St Augustine)

Today we have an excerpt from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Man’s Capacity for God:

1.) ” Why does man have a desire for God?  God himself, in creating man in his own image, has written upon his heart the desire to see him.  Even if this desire is often ignored, God never ceases to draw man to Himself because only in God will he find and live the fullness of truth and happiness for which he never stops searching.  By nature and by vocation, therefore, man is a religious being, capable of entering into communion with God.  This intimate and vital bond with God confers on man his fundamental dignity.”

2.) ” How is it possible to know God with only the light of human reason?  Staring from creation, that is from the world and from the human person, through reason alone can one know God with certainty as the origin and the end of the universe, as the highest good and as infinite truth and beauty.”

3.) ” Is the light of reason alone sufficient to know the mystery of God?  In coming to a knowledge of God by the light of reason alone man experiences many difficulties.  Indeed on his own he is unable to enter into the intimacy of the divine mystery.  This is why he stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding,  but about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race , they can be known by all with ease, with firm certainty and no admixture of error.”

4.)  “How can we speak about God?  By taking as our starting point the perfections of man and the other creatures which are a reflection, albeit a limited one, of the infinite perfection of God,  we are able to speak of God with all people.  We must, however,  continually purify  our language insofar as it is image-bound and imperfect, realizing that we can never fully express the infinite mystery of God.”

So,  yes we all have a desire for God, written upon our hearts by God himself.  We all have a hole in our hearts that only God’s love can fill.  Would you like to go deeper?  God bless you.

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SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Isaiah 30:15  “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:  By waiting and calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies.”  This is a perfect description of what happens or should happen at Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Catholic Church.

My wife and I have a habit of spending an hour each morning after Daily Mass in the adoration chapel in our church.  You can also do so before the tabernacle in any Catholic Church.  What do we do?  We spend time in the Real presence of Jesus, worshiping Him, listening to Him.  Someone asked one man what he did and he said “I look at God and He looks at me.”

Something called mortification is a tool you can use to listen better.  St John Vianney said this: “If we want to reach God we will have to mortify  the soul and all it’s power.”  Mortification can covert our souls in the good soil that will bring the divine seed to fruition.  We have to weed out  and burn those thorns  that tend to flourish in the soul – laziness, egoism, envy, curiosity.

Anyone who intends to live his Christian faith seriously need to put off the old nature  with it’s practices inherited from Adam.

There are three main areas for daily mortification in our ordinary lives.  First all, there is the heartfelt and serene acceptance of the contradictions each day brings.  Things like a minor illness that affects our work and family life.  Other examples:  inclement weather, heavy traffic,  the difficult personality of a person at work.  We have to see these things as opportunities to love God even more.  None of these problems should take away our peace and joy.  If you want to get rid of frustration and irritability and sleep good at night we have to be able to turn these small setbacks into encounters with God.

Another area of daily mortification lies in the conscientious carrying out of our duties.  Here we find God’s Will for us each day.  We need to fulfill our duties with hard work, high standards and much love.  We persevere in our work not because we feel like it but because we know it has to be done.

The third area of our mortifications consists in those sacrifices that we make voluntarily in order to please  Our Lord to make our selves  better souls of prayer, in order to overcome temptations, in order to help our friends come closer to God.

These are good steps to take to improve our hearing God when we spend time with Him.  Try it you’ll like it.  God bless you.

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