Submission. I'm thinking about this critique that Christianity induces a state of passivity towards tyranny. Too much forgiveness or too much obedience effectively means being easy to exploit or enslave. It is true to a point. Yet, in the past, Christendom went to war in its own defense, and just war was considered a fair Christian choice. I ask myself if I am willing to kill in defense of the American constitution. Its no Christendom here, but we had, in America, a social structure that honored the psychological and social benefits of Christian practice. And it is, absolutely, under attack again. Likely, the battle will break out from politics into physical violence soon. Not sure what the answer for now. But that's the exterior despotism of the world. How about the interior tyrannies of the flesh: bad moods, falling metabolism, cyclical depressions, circumstantial anxiety, poor health, and/or neural dampening? Does Christianity also sometimes convince me to submit to these states? I think yes. I'm quite certain actually. What is this submission though? It is a faith-based assumption that I don't need to feel good to do what is right. However, it does seem that the Gospel message includes a sense of joy in doing what is right. A mysterious paradox. Accepting suffering, for me, is a way to raise my consciousness out of my flesh and into my spirit. Its only really possible though, at least in the moments of extreme pain, to do this in cooperation with the crucified God. Meditating on the wounds of Christ lifts us into the actual life of God, which is the Spirit Himself. In so doing, He gives life to our mortal bodies also, albeit in His own perfect time.
Happiness. Make money doing what you love? I do believe such a thing is possible, I just think we achieve success and we are given what we desire precisely in the surrender of these ends (success, happiness). Turning our focus to the cultivation of our gifts in service of others is rewarded by the Spirit (even the desire and the effort are rewarding). Maybe its not pleasurable in the way we anticipated, but also, it will be better than we anticipated. What I love to do really depends on what is needed by those I love. I take joy in meeting the needs of the people of God. Now in combination with the paragraph above, I ask myself, what do we need? Clearly God has been showing me this for almost two decades now, and the work is right in front of me. Catholicize and nuptialize the culture through a new renaissance of education. Some criticize my method as too feminine, but I think it is rather balanced, Marian and Josephite, assimilation into the body of Christ which is not ultimately made for this universe. The interaction of logic and love, propelled by relationship and work. Propertarianism is the latest philosophy I am trying to synthesize into my own blueprint. As I am coming to grips with the limitations of my present position, it might be wise to take this next project apart into daily pieces that I can share with you. I think I'll commit to it for my next 30-day session, as a monastic obligation of prayer for a special intention. I'm including you in my prayers! Please do the same for me!
Are we stuck seeing the world at low resolution? Ironic, in light of our perpetual pixel densening devices. Maybe our bodies are beginning to think screens are more real than nature. Do people realize how shallow the culture has become? Without a proper education in history, probably not. Progressive education claims everything is always getting better. Time itself is what is good. Not God. Not man. But is faster really objectively better? It is efficient for decision making I suppose, we move too quickly to appreciate the depth of every moment; in some cases, a superficial glance is all one can give. My fear, though, is that we are missing God when we live this way. Truth is paradoxical. If you can't learn to see two contrary ideas as simultaneous realities, you are bound to think you have to take a side where, really both sides by themselves are wrong. We are missing the third-option, the faith option. Faith frees us to take the time and do the work to see the other. Seeing in a biblical sense; the archenemy of screens.
I’ve been told that I am too intense by multiple people in my life. Each time, it has puzzled me. Are you sure? What does that even mean? I believe I am actually very lite-hearted. But it takes gravitas to have true levity, no? Perhaps I need to work on expressing my lightness better. Children help. I think what they are actually noticing is that I am looking and listening for the Lord. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? Could be. Then there are some folks who just aren’t comfortable digging under the surface of their behaviors or emotions at all, and are even offended by the idea that their initial judgment or feeling or intuition of a situation may be far from the mark. People feel entitled to fly on the winds of superficiality and don't want to be told that they might be flying into a lie, or landing in sin. They want to live from that safe balcony where the world is unabrasive and noncommittal. Like watching TV. I get it, and I do it too, but usually I am more concerned that the house is built on sand the balcony is about to fall. Reality requires a lot more work, discerning God's Will is an agony in the garden. We have to suffer it and take the propositions head on. Personally, I am really struggling to keep the collateral damage to a minimum. I don't want to use anybody else - through judgment or blame or anger or indifference, through rejection or withdrawal or manipulation or objectification - just to make it a little easier on myself. I'd rather be wronged, I'd rather consider them better than myself. God ends it when He wills.
I heard a self-help piece on vulnerability yesterday that basically asserted vulnerability for vulnerability's sake is stupid. It made me reflect because I have frequently responded to the superficiality of life by intentionally over-exposing my soft parts and conserving my strengths. Almost a shock-and-awe technique of getting someone to emotionally invest in me for a moment. I intentionally lead with my weakness. In this way, I can cut through the shallowness right from the start. It only works because my vulnerability is authentic too, I am actually exposed (this is where the stupidity comes in). If the other person isn't scared of vulnerability, the response is usually fun and often encouraging and strengthening. But some people see a weakness and go right for the kill. Fortunately, I am rarely surprised by that response anymore, especially from a stranger, and I can laugh off a fairly high degree of cruelty towards myself. I actually have a great deal of sympathy and understanding for hard-hearted people. They don't hurt me as much because I am very sensitive to the fact that its those who are hurting the most who hurt others the most.
So here I am. Bleeding all over my readers. Struggling with all my energy just to get through each day. Carrying a burden I never would have asked for. Because when I write this junk, even though I don't hear back directly much, it sculpts a monument of my vulnerable state to be judged by God, myself, and others. It allows me to view my state of being from a new point of being. Something to be held accountable for. Something that I can love, not because its superficially beautiful or morally flawless, but because it was made out of the most precious parts of myself. I will feel all the cruel thoughts you have in reaction to me. It will be worth it simply because I tried my best to be deeply, biblically real with you. Authenticity for God's sake. I boast of my weakness that I might know His strength. My vulnerability makes me a better man; its a self-crucifixion to the superficial, but a resurrection to the wise.
Terrible day yesterday. Late start today.
Still oscillating in this paradox of joyful suffering, suffering joyfully. My psychosomatic state fluctuates so intensely and frequently that I am struggling to hold onto much of anything that inspires me. Inspirations will come and lift me for an hour or two into a transcendent purposeful creativity and then dip out of my heart and plummet to an abyss like they never existed, leaving little to no trace or fruits. Writing has always been the way I capture them. Even so, they aren't captured in me; if I don't revisit them I forget even my favorite paintings, sometimes I forget the whole museum. But I have this room, with all these half-finished, just-started, and almost-finished sketches, lying about one on top of another. Looking at them all at once, its just somebody's garbage. Upon closer inspection though, here is a written picture of my brother and his wife on their wedding day, there is a action plan for my anxious friend who needs counsel, here is a mesh of the roses God collected for my vision, there is a poetic expression of the lessons I've learned in love. I am trying to become a child again, in order to be a leader of souls now.
Oh Love, sweet Love, Teacher of teachers, teach me to teach.
How do we reconcile these teachings of both present and future-mindedness: let the day be sufficient for the day and be anxious about nothing, but also, a wise builder measures out his resources and plans so to bring his project to completion. Despite the fact that I seem to have accomplished very little with my life by the standards of our culture, I have always been a very passionate and driven man, pushing myself constantly to take on and perfect new projects academic, pastoral, and relational. Those projects, each and every one of them, was a gift I built for my Lord. I knew then, and I still believe now, that even if no one else appreciates my works, they are the verses in the love poem of my soul to God. Still, I can't think of those gifts as collateral for some earned future or even as bribes to buy my way to Glory.
Lately, I feel as if I was so concerned about getting somewhere that I had been forgetting to take time to just be with God. My last relationship was such a gift for many reasons, not least that she took me back to a place of rest with God. In many ways, my love for her was a doorway into a higher sense of God's providence and presence. I never felt closer to the truth about who God really is than I did with her. Even if He says "don't cling to me" for a time, He is eternally a lover.
Grateful for a new day of prayer and work. Really working on responding more quickly and with more authority to the enemy's lies. They are so subtle and unexpected, hitting with the force of a proven truth. I can discern them at least in part by the way they make me feel. Unfortunately, the terrible feeling of these ugly words is just something I have to bear, but the feeling too will be cast out with the help of Love. How can I turn this moment into an act of love? That's the spiritual warrior's mantra. The turning is painful, it is a real fight, a real crucifixion. On the other side will be resurrection. Trusting in His mercy. Thanks be to God through the power of Jesus Christ.
In fear and trembling I share some of what the Lord spoke to me in the last 24 hours. I need to remember, to stay stronger for the next depression. I'm looking for a better way to take notes at work, I forget too much of what God speaks. Thanks to James W. Goll and you for all your prayers.
God knew I needed a day in the light. Walking in the light is knowing and feeling God's presence and power in me and around me and being present to Him as His eager son. When I am in the darkness He stays with me, but I can no longer sense Him or feel Him. I am tempted to blame some natural cause, something I ate, or that I didn't eat enough, or some mistake I made, or some lack of love on my part. The truth is that God withdraws at times for no reason that we can immediately comprehend. Withdrawing from our flesh, but not our spirits. In so doing, the flesh is allowed to rise up in prideful rebellion against our spirit. Remember, the love given in the darkness is even more powerful because it is more pure.
God calls me to prophetic intercession. I have known this for a long time. I am asked to bear a spiritual burden that is not mine as prayer for another. The darkness is sometimes training in this gift and sometimes it is the actual intercession itself.
The war is each and every day. Whether a war in the world breaks out or not, war is coming for every follower of Christ. If we gird up for the battle each day and to some extent expect to be attacked, then we will be prepared when it comes. This life is a spiritual war. But let us take on no more than the difficulties of a single day, lest we grow in pride. Until recently I think I was only fighting my battles in the hope to one day find peace on this earth. I don't think I expect that anymore. I will have peace when I die. However, the turmoil in my soul does not prevent me from being humble, pure, gentle, and patient. These virtues are my invincible shield against all suffering and all obstacles. They are virtues of grace, for especially in the dark, I have no strength of my own.
The weakness in my armor has always been this wound about not feeling known and loved by the people I have known and loved the most. I hear a hundred lies from them each day. It is most acute as regards to the women in my life. I always slide into feeling judged as impure in one way or another and unworthy of any lasting relationship. I cast no blame and I hold no unforgiveness (although I have to daily re-up my forgiveness with this). The wound wasn't given to me by anyone intentionally. It just is what it is, a wound with deep roots into my childhood and exacerbated by constant relational instability into my twenties. The devil came after this wound when I was most vulnerable - before my conversion and in the early naive years after my conversion. But even after God saved my life, I came under attack every time I threw my heart into a vocational relationship. Only a couple times did it end gracefully. Remember, suffering is the efficiency of love, so while the devil thought he would turn me from God by attacking at my weak point over and over and over again, God used it, and still uses it, to continually build new fortifications in this broken wall of my heart. The Lord stacks thousands of bricks of faith, hope, and love for Himself, and for my loved ones on earth, as well as all those who hurt me, into this breach. The result is that God made me more worthy, more pure, more holy each time, and when the one breach is filled, I will be ready for the fulfillment of the promise. It won't be an end of the wound, but it will be the day my wound becomes my wings. He shows me glimpses of the promise to renew my weary heart.
I do believe and hope in a vocational answer for myself. I long for a companion on this journey very very very much, to the point of tears many times a day, yet I cannot go after that desire anymore. He wants me to trust Him here and now to give me what I need for my daily bread. I don't need to do anything but send my love to her from where I am. I can add manageable challenges to my life and approach them as prayer commitments. Praying for people satisfies my suffering soul with the soothing blood and water of Christ's body. I have some family to take care of now. I can increase my giving and my responsibilities as I go. That's all I need. I'm done "working on myself". I don't care what my market value is. I'm not looking to be loved anymore. I just need to give my love away, that is it. God will continue working on me, but its not about me for me anymore. I am desperate to love my beloveds on this earth. Time and space are no hindrance to the realization of that dream. My dream of being a saintly lover is here. Sweet Love, be my love, always. Amen.
The light came back to my heart yesterday. I remember the promise. I must embrace the quiet and rest. Speak Lord, your servant is listening.
I know this blog is a bit of mess and I'm sorry about that. I need this block of time right now to brainstorm my interior life and so that is what I do here. The vulnerability helps substitute for a lack of intimacy and makes me feel connected, however distant and disinterested you may be.
One of the problems I have always had with the average lay Catholic lifestyle is that it is largely predicated on a stable social system. The problem for me is that the system is not stable. Some of the reason that I am in the state of life I am (single, poor, under the whip) has to do with my choices not to follow the mainstream. Growing up, I was one of those people who would avoid something simply because it was popular (pop music, pop entertainment, pop education, pop economics, pop religion, pop culture). Of course there was pride in this desire to take a different road, but I have learned much from it both positive and negative. The rebel spirit leads to ignoring a lot of pop wisdom as well and therefore to making a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided. Oh well. No regrets but sin.
For many years now I have attempted to submit to the 'normal' solely for the purpose of training myself in the Christian virtue of obedience. The advantage to having lived on both sides of the aisle are many. I understand people's motivations, I understand their frustrations, I see how God guides everyone and how the devil will pervert anything. And despite what may seem a grandiose imagination for the spiritual life, I am in disposition a very logical and practical man. I am instinctually efficient. The only question is what am I being efficient for? A long time ago I made the choice to be as much as I could be in service of the Gospel. A significant part of that mission involved interdisciplinary studies, so that I could in a sense survey the state of affairs in as many walks of life as possible. I understand the academic. I understand the athletic. I know the hipster and the gangster and the playboy and the prophet, the lawyer and the teacher, the priest and the soldier, the plumber and the chef, the physician and the psychologist. Implicitly or explicitly each one is bound to the other in the Body of Christ. Of this I am certain because this I have seen. It is my gift. To see God at work in every moment, in every place, in every state, with an eye to the future.
Returning to the theme of instability, because I see the Gospel playing out everywhere all the time, I recognize the fragility of each person's world. We are all destined for Crucifixion. That is the story. You see, we are caught up in the Love Story of God whether we like it or not. Everybody. Even the atheists. Suffering is the efficiency of Love. Our biggest issue seems to be that we don't prepare ourselves for it. We still think we are sinless in the garden, or else we think we can have heaven now. Well we do in Christ, but no where else. And we are always looking elsewhere, for life in Christ is humiliating, torturous, and uncompromising. Because suffering is the efficiency of Love.
I believe that the founding fathers understood this. They knew that self-governance was a privilege that had to be fought for and had to be defended. But we let our children forget and now they take it for granted. They do not see that history is war and war is always coming. A new civil war is upon us today. I am trying to discern how to prepare my family or at least myself, and that is the complication that makes my discernment so difficult right now.
It is generally taught that when we are walking in the truth of Christ and following His commandments, our desires can be trusted as part of the prompting of the Spirit of God. Reflecting on my own desire, I think about the Lord's desire for me. Does He want my love? He certainly doesn't need me. Yet He treats me as if I am eternally important and irreplaceable to Him. In loving Him, I love myself and others, and receive His gifts. But His gifts are not possessions. If He gives one for awhile, and takes it in His time, what can I do? What ought I do? Continue waiting and receiving, no doubt. What if I reject His gift? I would never do so intentionally. This is where I begin to distrust my desire, for my desire will often drift away from the burdensome and the difficult. Yet, clearly God calls us precisely to be burdened by His gifts, and to be burdened with joy. For in Christ the yoke is easy; the suffering is salvation. The more I plan and organize my life towards a vision, the more I learn that my vision is not complete. The future is not real. That doesn't mean He wants me to stop dreaming or to stop taking risks in faith for Him. The stakes keep getting higher though, and now I feel as if my very life and soul are on the tipping point each day. There is a prophecy for my life. How do I get there? Whenever my desires have not contradicted Him, I have pursued them with all my heart, and every time my heart has been broken. Why? I think because my trust has been too strongly placed in the thing or person desired instead of the Lord who I loved her for. This is what I mean about the idolatry of a vocation. The vocation itself isn't my strength, it is where I am supposed to spend my strength. So I broke because I was not strong enough yet. Strong in the power of the Spirit of Love to love without concern for my own needs, but only the Will of God. May I be ready soon to receive her soon, oh Lord. Soon please. I carry this image of myself, I know not why. The image of myself as the servant of a king. Not God though. A human king. And not merely a servant but a warrior-servant. A protector in the shadows and a counselor in the light. I've had this image for many many years. Perhaps it is a calling to the diaconate? I am meditating on this today.
There is a beautiful apostolate out of the Colorado-Arizona area named 'Companions of the Holy Spirit'. They have a teaching series called Hearing the Voice of God that is a powerful and prophetic set of lessons about prayer. It emphasizes over and over that God has a special mission in this world for each of us and that God wants us to discover this mission each day in every decision, We discover it through an active relationship, in which we ask to do the Father's will all the time. Its good for me to return to often, since I struggle with thinking that God wants to keep me in the dark, But that is not really the Father's way. The darkness is just to help me focus on that one light that is guiding me forward. My discernment is what the light reveals to me specifically.
H.O.W.S. Heart. Others. World. Scripture. This is their acronym for a good discernment.
The heart is perhaps the most difficult for me. I don't really trust my heart these days. But I'll come back to that. Suffice it to say, I want to give my life to the service of the Catholic Church. It can be vague for now. I love and belong to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Others have consistently pointed me to counselling, preaching, and teaching, none of which are significantly exercised in my current job. I have been trying to build a plan to begin reintegrating these skills, but it needs more substance still. The money issue got in the way for me for awhile. But it was good, I am becoming shrewder and wiser in regards to using money for the service of God.
The world is my history, the plot of the story and the present circumstances of my life. This is closely connected with my heart, because I am a philosophical personality and analyzing the logic of my life is second nature to me, I can't feel good about circumstances that don't make sense with my past.
The scriptures that speak to me of my mission are those about love between Christians. I seek to cultivate in my life a community that loves each other with healing Gospel love. That could be a family or that could be a different kind of religious life or it could be both... but I know it must include sexual integration between men and women.
We'll keep punching out this plan during this 30-days and find a way to start taking the necessary next steps. The Lord has blessed me with the idea of making all the individual steps/goals to be prayers for different intentions. It really helps me not to think about it as self-improvement, but rather as self-gift, so that the whole process itself is part of the love I give you. I don't have to wait until I reach some imaginary 'vocation' before I can be where I want to be in my spirit. That is the only reason that keeps me going, my love for my family and friends.
Life is all duty and little heart for me these past six months. God gives me a day or two a week maybe where I can feel the confidence of things hoped for, but mostly its a constant battle just to keep the inner ugliness at bay. Its clinical depression, at least in part. Waking up to a sensation like being punched in the stomach. I don't like talking about it. I loathe myself for wanting sympathy. I only write about it because I can't seem to get beyond it yet today, so its all I have. Can I give glory to God in it? Yes. I do. I suffer for the healing of myself, my family, my friends. That we may be saved from this sinful world. Our Lady holds me in her arms, though I cannot feel them. I forget too quickly. Humility. I deserve nothing. My desires for this world do not matter. My duties are a gift, so that I am not idle, and my prayers, however dry, are efficacious by law. Do I take pride in my suffering? Perhaps. But I repent. Whatever God wills, be it life or be it death. May I follow Him. I feel a constant oppressive anxiety to do something, but I don't know what it is. It may just be my will to escape, so I must trust and wait. I love Him and I love you. May He bless you with abundant bread today.
I have a lot on my heart. God give me the grace to be truly humble and silent while dangerous and even demonic thoughts come into my mind. They want me to commune with them. They present themselves as if they belong, as if they are essential to my person. Distraction isn't an answer, it just leaves them in a waiting room in line to become conscious at any moment. The silence creates a distance from where I can see them as separate from myself, and thereby discern them as the enemies of Love and reject them. In the authority of Jesus Christ, this is my right. Father, bless me, send me your Holy Spirit, I am only evil without You.
Twenty years ago, my human father, gave me a book called 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad'. I began revisiting the updated audio-edition yesterday at work. The book is now very famous and presents two opposing worldviews about finance. The poor dad who thinks money is the root of all evil, and the rich dad who thinks poverty is the root of all evil. The poor dad works for money, the rich dad makes money work for him. Both dads start at about the same place in terms of their initial incomes and work-ethics, but the poor dad dies in debt and the rich dad dies one of the richest men in Hawaii. Ok. I don't want to say too much more about it, at least until I have finished it again, but it seems to me that there are Christian errors to this Rich/Poor analogy on both sides. In my opinion, the rich dad still seems too disconnected from the lives of the people he hires. I understand that there is a personality temperament that is generally lacking in compassion for those who don't know how to take good care of themselves, but I don't know that any such persons should want to remain that way. I very strongly disagree with the present trend of off-loading our responsibility for the needy - of both soul and body - to the government through taxes, but I vehemently encourage us to give our own individual lives precisely to such charity. This is my essential conflict with the economic culture of the world.
I have been a late bloomer in life in many ways, but most of all in regards to financial literacy. After high school, I worked paycheck to paycheck like most people, and only as much as necessary to pay my bills, because I chose to preserve a great deal of energy for personal growth and devotion to prayer. When I realized that I had gifts unfed in a life of corporeal labor, I sincerely bought into the lie that a college education would put me at the doorstep of a career in a field more appropriate to my strengths and desires. I believe that I must be as good a steward of money as I can be, as an extension of the Christian duty to seek perfection in all endevours. But that doesn't mean I haven't any mistakes. My student loan debt was marketed to me as a necessary and normal step in modern professional life, the assumption being that the price of the education would be more than paid for by the work it was training in. I never ran the numbers for myself. I trusted the system. Now the work that I sought was for many years to be a priest in the Catholic Church, which requires several college degrees before the end. So as the debt piled on, I again assumed that this was the path that everyone had to take who didn't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare.
Today, I have a couple hundred thousand dollars of debt and have made no major inroads in my fields of study, Philosophy, Theology, and Education. I have two Master's degrees. I work a good paying day job with great benefits that I could have had without ever going to college. But that is merely the surface. Underneath the economic analysis is where I always existed, it is there that my engine of production hummed smoothly and efficiently refining me in many virtues and skills I could not have developed without those eight years detached from the rat-race. Not least of these blessings was the strong foundation of passion and potential for serving the Church as an apostle and a teacher. Praised be God, who writes straight with crooked lines. Two years out of graduate school, at the age of thirty-five, I now understand the in-and-outs of our economic situation fairly well and I am perfecting my stewardship of money even with the mess I have given myself to start with. My debt is slowly widdling away, I am saving money, I have some cashflow to work with, and at my present position my income will double in the next two years.
But the history still matters to the story God is telling in me, every event - especially the mistakes! - have a purpose and a lesson that not only teach but also shape the narrative of the hagiography. The theme of distaste for financial security remains in me. Again, a dislike of money does not necessarily mean irresponsibility with money, and this is my problem with the picture painted of the 'Poor Dad'. Christians must be responsible in every way. Poverty of spirit is not an excuse for impulsive spending anymore than its an excuse not to work hard. So why have a dislike of money at all??? Because in my experience, it very very easily becomes an obstacle to love. This is my problem with the picture painted of the 'Rich Dad'. He still clearly thinks of some people/employees as means to his ends. My own parents, whose sacrifices I never stop thanking God for, still spent too much time worrying about money to notice how starved of love I was in my middle school and high school years. Financial security was not enough, and I would have gladly traded it for some friendship. That darkness almost killed me. Thank you Jesus for saving my life! But if my emotional deprivation and extreme loneliness growing up taught me anything it is that I must never treat another person as a means to an end. I must never allow those I love to feel less important to me than my own security. Do you hear the radicalness of that love? Do you hear Christ in that proclamation? There really is a fundamental tension between the evangelical life and concern for earthly security. It was Christ who gave it up first, to the point of spiritual crucifixion, and it is Christ's doing that for me that saved my life. He still does it, in me, through me, with me, for me. I will not impede Him. When the time comes to choose between financial security and loving my neighbor, by the grace of God, I will to choose the other. I believe this confrontation is inevitable, even if one manages to do both for a time.
At this precipice, I now stand.
We are mysterious unto ourselves. In youth we are moved by the body and its passions as if by the very voice of God. The deceptions of the flesh are most convincing for kinesthetic types, such as I am, and learning to discern through them is a terrible purgatory. Today, several years beyond my physical peak, I am less moved but still amazed by the vast fluctuations of bodily/emotional states within myself. Some degree of control is gained in the regulation of fasting and diet, exercise and sleep, work and play. Yet, I am still often at the mercy of a flesh that sets itself against my will. A stubborn donkey, as Saint Francis called his own body.
The Book of Ephesians is a book about bodies and The Body. I am this morning caught up in the grandeur of participation in the Body of Jesus. It is about growing up into the full stature of Christ, being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, always speaking truth in love, leaving behind the old man of history in preference for the new man of heaven. The body is made of members, each given a gift. In my affirmation and visualization, I question now what it is I think I am supposed to be doing, besides that which I am already bound to do. Where are my undernourished gifts? In their continued cultivation, I will find, not only a degree of happiness and peace, but also my function in the Catholic Church, my home in the Body of God, even my unique and irreplaceable vocation.
The Lord has been so good to me. The true story of our love is so much better than any of the heroic and romantic fictions that flood our cultural imagination. He moves and stays my heart like a stringed instrument, I am at the mercy of his skillful hand. When He chooses, I am free, and only then.
Ten years ago, we were so self-contained in our love. I could not have cared less how anyone else saw me, I needed no other motivation, I had no unmet needs. I knew who I was and what I had to do. But it didn't last. The world broke me down, stripped my confidence, stole my identity, made a total fool of me, and added so many responsibilities I didn't want, leaving me to fulfill them without the strength I once so surely felt, Yes, I am much more pathetic in my own eyes these days. That is good. This moment's bread is all I dare request from Him. It is good. This is more authentic love, much more in tune with the suffering of others, much less about me. The romance continues. One love becomes many. Each wound a new kiss from the One.
I have had this thought of late that I may have been idolatrous in my quest for a vocation. As in making an idol of some imaginary future state of life. Some monastery or home where I would finally feel complete and know, from there, precisely the steps to take to heaven. There is some truth to it, I think. To know one's cross and embrace it. I am sometimes jealous that Christ knew exactly what to say and do in every moment, and the whole map of His life was laid out before Him. Step-by-step directions for the journey. But I don't actually believe that is how it was for Him. Not in his humanity anyway. God's freedom, like ours, is mysterious. Some answer hides in the Eucharist. He said it to Simon, and He says it to me: "Feed my sheep." Be bread. In prayer. In work. In word. Nourish others with your love. Be a sweet fruit on the Tree of Life. One single moment of love, one choice at a time, everything else is a source of fear and pain because God isn't there.
I am jumping right into this post this morning. I'm not going to edit these, so prepare for the crazy train of thought that is my mind.
I'll do 30 miracle morning posts starting today, as a prayer for a special intention and for reparation to the Sacred Heart of Christ. I share my prayers, and work, and self-development here, not to boast or to seek approval, but solely to inspire and lay down an example that I know could help someone. It also helps me to stay committed to the Lord from day to day knowing I have created this expectation in others and bound myself by the creative power of what I have told you I will do.
Here is a reminder of what S.A.V.E.R.S. means. Silence. Affirmation. Visualization. Exercise. Reading. Scribing. Every single morning from at least 3-6am before the work day begins.
The silence is the hardest part for me. I can shut out the noise of electronics and embrace the quiet of morning easily enough, but shutting off the dialogue in my head is beyond difficult. In the past, when I achieved a state of interior silence in prayer, I took it to be all grace and no effort, until recently. I listened to a fantastic lecture series on the Science of Mindfulness, in which I learned some very helpful techniques for cultivating this state. It does seem to hold that effort is not the way to go about it. Its almost as if the more I try the more agitated and frustrated my thoughts become. Ok, so here's the cliche: stop trying and just observe. Observing my own thoughts is nothing new to me, but observing without judgment or intention is the key. It releases control. The judgment is in order to categorize and synthesize, the intention is geared toward action and response. No need to understand. No need to act. Just be child.
Then I start to cry. I am with the presence of God and I lament my inability stay there. Again, judging myself. It truly is grace and never mere technique. The technique just disposes me to receive the gift. Its a paradox though. A constant letting go. Even in the midst of racing thoughts and physical activity during my days I try to do this. But the repetition can be humiliating. So what, right? Be humiliated then. Yes. Let go of the letting go. Just be child.