Saturday, October 14, 2006

Chew on this...

A bit of what I've been reading lately:

Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Prayer:
"In the life of the Church, contemplation is surrounded by an atmosphere of despondency and pusillanimity. We would like to pray, but we cannot manage it. Our time of prayer passes leaving us distracted, and since it does not seem to yield any tangible fruit, we are not loath to give it up. From time to time we take up a book of "meditations" which presents us, ready-made, with the contemplation we ought to produce for ourselves. We observe someone else eating, but it does nothing to fill our stomachs. We may have read his "meditations", but what we have done is spiritual reading - not contemplation. We have seen how someone else had encountered the word of God, we have even profited by his encounter, but all the same it was his and not ours - and we ourselves have achieved nothing. Often becuase we are too comfortable, which is something that can be overcome. And often out of a fearfulness which robs us of the confidence to take steps on our own." (p. 7)

Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer

Normal people would tend to suppose that if a person basically loves God, is living in the state of grace and is therefore free from a serious alienation from God, his Origin and Destiny, he would be strongly committed to avoiding small offenses against this most magnificent of all loves. But the rude fact is that such consistency in the human race is rather rare." (p. 47)

There is a great gap for most people between prayer and performance. At our devotions we can say sublime things about loving God with our whole heart, and then ten minutes later divide that heart with selfish overeating - or any one of a dozen other petty clingings. (p. 49)

The gospel definition of love goes something like this: a self-sacrificing, willed concern for and giving to another, even if attraction and feeling are diminished or absent, and even if little or nothing is received in return - and all with divine motivation. (p. 68)

The gospel is not simply an improvement on secular-minded ethics. It is a revolution. (p. 69)

This new love is immersed in a prior love for God from whom all lovableness in creation and in persons flows. This is why when we love our neighbor as we ought we are loving God himself. He is always endlessly lovable even when the neighbor is ugly, hurtful, or an enemy. (p. 69)

We are born into this world utterly self-centered, and it is only after long struggling that some of us manage to get rid of it, partially or wholly. (p. 79)

When Saint Paul addresses the members of the early Church in Rome, he calls them "God's beloved" (Rom. 1:7). Since we are to love one another as the Lord loves us (Jn. 13:34-35), we conclude that other people are to be our beloved - in the most genuine sense of the word! (p. 87)

How does it happen that people who have given up deadly sins and basically do love God at least in some minimal way can yet continue to cling to petty selfishnesses even if only in three or four areas? Why do they cling especially in matters that concern interpersonal relations and the pleasures of a comfortable lifestyle?...I should like to think that this type of person usually does not positively decide "I do not intend to improve...I want my mediocrity...I don't want to get better."...but the fact remains that frequently in these people willed and habitual venial sins continue on in their lives. (p. 91)

"With divine aid, always offered but never forced, we can and should aspire to saintlinesss. This aspiration is called the virtue of magnanimity: aiming at doing great things for God and for those he loves so much - which means for everyone. (p. 92)

God pays us the compliment of calling us to live that life fully, perfectly, to be transformed from one glory to another (Mt. 5:48; 2 Cor. 3:18). We are meant to be filled with the utter fullness of endless Beauty...(Eph 3:19; 1 Cor 2:9) Willingly to be lagging on the way, knowingly to snuff out sparks of grace is an enormous reason for concern. (p. 93)

If husbands and wives really love each other and their children, the best and most effective proof that their love is not mere words is to get rid of their major and minor selfishnesses and to deepen their prayer lives...Outsiders can do us harm, but far greater damage is usually brought about by spouses who refuse to get rid of their sins. (p. 98, 99)

...humility offers practical know-how in solving wisely the thousands of nitty-gritty problems that come up in anyone's life, and espeically in one who is trying to avoid even small selfishnesses. (p. 100)

Psalm 45
You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. (v. 2-7)
Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father's house; Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. (v. 10-11)

Matthew 4
...Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And AFTER He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He THEN became hungry. (4:1-2, emphasis mine)

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (4:4)

Matthew 5, 6, 7


  1. It seems you're back and quite strong! Thanks for this post

  2. Wow, definitely not in the light reading department! I love Psalm 45...the Lord has used it many times to remind me who I am in His eyes.

  3. Dude! I've been trying to find song that goes:

    "See the way He holds the stars in His hand
    See the way He holds my heart"

    They play it on this Christian music station, but its AM, so the reception isn't that good. I thought she said 'See the way He holds the stars in the sky'

    Any ways I had all these meta engines searching for 'See the way He holds the stars in the sky' cuz thats what it sounds like. I was spending more time surfing the web than the waves out here (although the swell engine is down so I'm praying for good tidings and surf) and not findin' anything.

    But I was rolling in my homie's truck with the alpine and the quality was a bit better and I got the real lyrics. Google Dot Com brought me here.

    Sorry if this is long . . .

    Anycase I read about you wanted to join the intercessors group. My sister does that. She has to do lots of cleansing prayer and also her prayer community group helps her out in dealing with the "anomalies" of inteceding in prayer for those in need. Also the prayer community has a priest well versed in exorcism and dealing with spiritual warfare. You really need to be rooted in your prayer life and prayer intercession takes up alot of your time. At the local monastery, there is one brother dedicated to intercede for the missionaries in China and pray for the conversion of China. And the devil and his minions of demons torment them alot. But since they are disciples of Jesus, they look to the King for help and know how to deal with that arena. Also look for the Spiritual Warfare prayer (it shows how to break binds of the devil and cleanse your environment) and prayer to Michael the Archangel to add to the ones for the Holy Trinity. So God bless and take care with the responsibility you are about to undertake! Also speak to someone experienced in Christian spiritual warfare, as it will affect your relationships.

    Remember that being a mother is a great vocation. Children are most receptive to the gospel before they are teens and also must be taught to hang on to that truth for when they become teens, their faith in Jesus will be challenged. Especially if they go to college (secular or religious). I almost gave up my walk when presented with the human logical falseness being taught at college (Geology professor loved to do this physics / geology thing that the Noah's ark was impossible. Impossible for humans yes, but very possible for God.) And marriage is a vocation also. You are to bring the best out of your husband and he is to do the same with you. You are fulfilling one of the covenants that God gave to man (and woman) and the love of your husband to you is a reflection (and glorification) of love of Christ to his Church.


    Al in So Cal.