Monday, September 24, 2007

A Sample Vow of Consecration of Suffering

Yesterday on the Feast of St. Padre Pio, I renewed my vow of consecration of suffering. I renew this vow each year on this date, although the first time I made the vow was prior to St. Pio's canonization.

But it seems appropriate to have chosen his death date and feast day for renewal of this vow.

Last evening, after Mass at the Cathedral, I did not locate my confessor, so I asked another priest to please receive the vow. I knelt before the Tabernacle at the high altar, and proceeded to repeat the following:

"I [full name including confirmation name] as a lowly bride of Christ, offer as sacred all my suffering: past, present and future--pains of rejection, humiliation, insults, physical ailments and injuries, emotional distress, mental depressions, spiritual torments and doubts, remorse due to sins, loss of self-identity, ignorance, pride, and human failings. I offer all pain I have knowingly and unknowingly caused or will cause to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, the angels and saints, and any holy creatures or holy creation.

"I resolve to offer myself--body, mind, heart and spirit--as an immolation for Holy Mother Church, to consciously accept God's declaration that my suffering and the suffering of Holy Mother Church shall be made one. I offer to suffer now and forever, if this be the will of God, as reparation for the pain of infidelities, assulats, dissensions and indignities caused to Holy Mother Church by myself and any laity and religious persons in the past, present, and future.

"Henceforth, I shall choose whichever course of action in thought, word, or deed will provide greater self-mortification, including that which would prolong my life of suffering, and as approved vymy spiritual father, fo rthe greater fulfillment of my vow of consecration. I offer my hands, tongue, head and heart in seeking and responding to physical and spiritual opportunities to use my God-given talents and gifts in order to strengthen the foundation of the True Church, its Teachings, Traditions and Spirit.

"I pray to respond and react to all suffering with Jesus' love and to inspire wtih love, those who may be the cause of my sufferings.

"I make this vow of consecration to suffer for Holy Mother Church in the presence of God the Fahter, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Apostles, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux, Sr. Josefa Menendez, Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity, Bl. Charles de Foucald, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Padre Pio, my Guardian Angel Beth, my Spiritual Father, [and the name of the priest now receiving the vow], and any angels, saints and deceased relatives and friends who love, support and strengthen me by being holy witnesses.

"May the Lord be pleased to crush me in all my infirmities."

I hope this vow helps give an idea to anyone desiring to make such a vow. This year I left out another line which I realized was repetitive in bulk. The first time I made this vow was over seven years ago. Since then, the suffering has been increased, but not necessarily just the physical suffering. More so, there has been tremendous suffering of annihilation, of not having a place in the Catholic Church, of this sensation of being very much alone, unutilized, and set out on the peripheral, as if not a part. My confidence level with Catholic people has dropped, and it would be low with other people if I had opportunity to become close to anyone. So, this is a form of suffering which I did not expect or even know about.

Yesterday the vow was especially meaningful for I have hurt others with my honesty, with the feelings I express of my interior thoughts and perspectives. I repeated the vows with tears, and somehow it was all the more meaningful due to the darkness and sense of uselessness going on in my spiritual and physical life at this time. All is in the Order of the Present Moment, and so it is allowed by God.

If one makes such a vow, it must be understood at some point or another that God will take the vow and do with it as He wills. The response will vary, and this is how life is with the need to expect the unexpecteds.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chosen as Victim or Offered as Victim

In a blog site the point was made that Jesus calls and chooses His Victim Souls, and that it is not something one can offer unless chosen.

I disagree. While the writer of that blog cited my confirmation "saint", Sr. Josefa Menendez as example of Jesus choosing victim souls, I consider the revelations of Conchita of Mexico, to whom Jesus came and said He was desiring many willing souls to offer themselves as victims of love and reparation.

Also, Fr. Joseph Kreuter's work on victim souls is based upon the offering that anyone can make if they feel led and "called" to do so, within their hearts. Entire communities of sisters in France made their offerings as victim souls, offering to suffer in reparation for the sins of the world, the offenses against Jesus, to assuage His wounded Heart.

I would surmise that it is rare for Jesus to appear and to ask directly, although He certainly would put the desire in a person's mind and heart, and the Holy Spirit would lead that person to read more and to consider more the vocation of victim soul.

Given what Conchita revealed, and other victim souls, often the offering seems to generate from within the person, and he or she offers the suffering, or to suffer.

This is why it is important to keep the vocation of victim soul as a viable option for people who suffer, who will suffer, who are willing to suffer in their comprehension of the mystical elements of suffering in union with Christ.

Those who are specifically chosen and agree are victim souls. Does this mean that those who offer themselves without a crucial vision or locution are not chosen as well, and chosen by the seed planted within their hearts by the Holy Spirit? They are chosen but in a way not obvious. This victim soul may never realize that the invitation came but in a subtle manner. Yet the person offers to suffer, or offers his sufferings, for Christ and His Church (provided the person's intentions are pure and healthy) is acceptable as a victim soul.

Jesus told Conchita He needs many, many who are willing to suffer for love and in reparation.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Humility and Misunderstanding in Suffering

The pain rises, and yet the outer does not show how severe. The body is wrung out, and the mind cannot function all that well, or maybe more it is the emotions.

It is a time in which much encouragement is needed, but there is only silence thus far. Reading Bl. Charles de Foucald's meditations go into the brain and seem to come back out, shoved out by shrieking nerve pain traveling from hip to shin.

It is a new pain, recent, and from a normal cause: tight squeeze on an airplane trip. Well, it has been around for five months. Finally called a chiropractor, for a hip adjustment would unhinge the pinching, but no adjustment is possible due to rods in the back.

This is newer suffering that needs to be embraced as part of the family of pain already in the body and emotions.

The siege has gone on for two months, maybe more, and today it was time to stop most activity. That does not help the hip, though, for it is activity that keeps it stretched out. No exercises on the floor have been able to do what gardening does, somehow. But the body is worn out and the mind and emotions are drained.

People do not understand except the old, long-time friends who at least know that I have tried everything medically possible. I could really use a break such as in a high dosage demoral injection laced with vistiril, but I'm not sure finding someone to take me to the ER and then paying all the high prices, and then probably not getting the high dose that works, is worth it.

Today, for the first time, I am not pushing myself to drive to Mass. I am in my pajamas for the day, and I am trying to remain as positive as possible.

God is showing me how alone it can be, how much misunderstood is suffering by others who do not comprehend. I am reminded by the man who delivered the trees to be planted, and he said that he wished everyone could experience back pain just once in their lives.

I do not wish this. I do not wish anyone to experience it for an hour. But today I did think if my Bishop and Vicar General could experience it for a minute, then perhaps they would understand why it seems I have therapeutic needs! But no, God wills and ordains that they do not know, and that I suffer the effects of that, as well.

It is humbling, all this pain, and looking so fine, being able to fake it, which is actually the best way to be seen by most. Otherwise, one becomes a symbol of complaint and self-pity, even though one is not.

A priest told me I should read in St. Benedict's Rule about negativity. I have not located the section so wonder if it is in St. Bernard's writings. The St. Benedict medal fends off negativity, and thanks be to God I wear one always with my scapular, around my neck. How much worse would I be without? Thanks be to God for sacramentals!

My cousin called, and we chatted. She listened to my pain litany, and then I listened to news of her hurting her knees in a fall. Thanks be to God again that I could help her with what would help the swelling and ease the pain. She reminded me that I have so much to offer others.

People who suffer must remember that we do have much to offer, through our suffering, for others, in prayer. While there is no paycheck, no distraction, often no people about, it is good work. Humbling but good work.