Monday, December 31, 2007

An Ancient Meditation on the Sacred Heart

In continuing through a book of "ancient meditations" of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Medieval Carthusians, today this consideration seemed just right for the suffering of meanness in ourselves and in others.

Consider what must ahve been the emotions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when doing good to those who would only be ungrateful to Him; when healing the sick, or setting free those that were possessed by devils. O sacred Heart, the ingratitude and hardness of these people gave Thee pain and sorrow, but by this means we learn from Thy works, that the goodness and charity of Thy Heart could not be restrained either by the ingratitude or the unkindness of men. O my heart, wouldst thou be guilty of hardness, rebellion or want of gratitude towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Which has worked for thee so many miracles of grace?

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I adore all the impulses of Thy charity, so sorrowful, patient, compassionate, enduring and condescending, inviting and desiring the conversion of sinners with such inconceivable intensity that for them Thou hast become an exile of love and a slave of charity. O Heart so incomparably gentle, make mine susceptible to all the impulses of Thine.

Glory be to the Heart of Jesus, King of hearts; and may It reign for ever over all hearts. Amen.

We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged with our own meanness or the meanness of others. It is merely a suffering to be mean, a sickness of some sort, a vice that the devil is utilizing in us or in others. Sometimes it goes back and forth and rests with both or many.

The Bishop celebrated Mass this evening on the Vigil of the Feast of the Holy Mother of God. He said it is something to have Jesus in our Hearts--but we must place our very enemies in our hearts and love that of Jesus that is in them. And, of course, since God created all souls, there is that soul created by God that is in even the worst of sinners. So we can hold any soul in our hearts, and we should know that in faith we are ourselves genderless souls, in nothingness, nesting within the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

It helps, all this training in soul school, if we have fewer and fewer distractions. To eliminate the extras from our lives, and the noise, then we can be more mindful, more focused on what it is we must tend to within the interior life. We can then practice how to glorify God, how to exist and react and think and feel and pray as Jesus does, as does His Sacred Heart of Love.

Living without newspapers, television, radio, and not floating about the internet other than in what is going to edify our souls--is not the end of the world. It is the beginning of a new way of rich life. One finds that what is necessary to know about in the public world, is told us one way or another by God, through other people, prayers at daily Mass, or passing a news stand. Is a snow storm coming? Someone will mention it in passing or we will see the snow fall, and there it is! So? Is there an atrocity in the world or a child kidnapped? God will arrange to let us know through a friend, a stranger, a dream, a prayer. Even without these noises of life, there are plenty others such as appliances that break and maybe more appliances than what we need. Too much begets distractions, and it is like looking out the window and not heeding the teacher's instructions. The suffering of meanness sometimes comes from too much, too much.

The Suffering of Meanness

The sun is pleasant today. I am trying to ponder how Jesus managed people who didn't like Him. At one point He says to take back your peace and move on to the next town. Obviously, I cannot move from one who erupted in envy and meanness. But, does it mean to stay out of her way, to move on within my soul, to remain recollected and be as if moved on to the next town in spirit? In other places, He seems to have been rather oblivious, or at least put on the appearance of total recollectedness, of being one-Minded in focus, and remained in goodness as He is perfect.

Today I am going to write about the suffering of meanness. It is a suffering for those who are the recipients but also very much a suffering of the mean soul itself. What causes meanness? It is some kind of lack, like any sickness. Something inside is not at peace and suffers, and the vices then fester like infections.

It isn't the way the words were spoken and the actual words (and if the couple had not been walking on and my hearing her say to the person she was speaking with, that they had to leave, I would not have said, "Excuse me..." and then given her the compliement, which now I realize only aggravated the devil all the more in her. Yes, it is the devil who is in these vices and uses the vices to try to disrupt others and to take over the very soul of the person who is struggling with the vice itself. The person perhaps has a personality disorder in the great need to control and to feel important, to try to act so sweet to others and to the priests, yet to snarl like a mean black dog to someone who for whatever reasons, is disliked. It is the essence of others who aggravate. It was Jesus' essence which bothered people, and that is evidently what bothers people today, about other people. It is not a matter of the targeted person being one thing or another as in looks, activities, words, roles: It is essence. Don't you think?

The challenge is to glorify God through this situation, and I tried with a compliment to the mean woman and her quiet but complicit husband, but now I will pray about how to turn a negative into a positive for the Lord, besides Jesus' advice to pray for our enemies. In prayer for the couple, and then to ponder how Jesus existed in millions of encounters (and mine but one small situation!). The pondering of how Jesus acted and responded is a way of glorifying God, for it turns the entire soul toward God which glorifies Him in that effort. Then in pondering God, the soul does not notice the meanness of others but only notices the others who are goodness and whose souls love the Lord and bring light to the world through their love. Yes, I must train my soul to not notice darkness in souls, to be oblivious to dark souls and rather to turn to the light in the many souls who are goodness and light!

Perhaps, mean people are thus very good to us in that they help us to ponder how we can turn evil to good and thus glorify God in that turning to Him Who Is Goodness and Light. The mean person then becomes a gift in a way, and a means of helping the striving soul to seek God and turn from evil.

The meanness is a dark cloak of the devil, and it works against a striving soul when that soul is stunned or gives up what it was doing or how it was being, or hides its very essence of loving the Lord and striving to walk up the holy mountain. The devil would like for the striving soul to stumble back down the mountain or to hide in a cave and not come out. Perhaps one can rest in a cave along the mountain climb, to rest and pray, yes; but then one must step out and keep climbing. In the climb, the soul must train itself by the means of God's graces, of the Word of God, and of the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. The training is that of remaining recollected within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to not be wounded by the piercings from the lances of this world, and of mean people who hold those lances and stab any chance the devil opens to them. And it seems the devil opens most often to mean people, the occurrences of simple kindness being offered them. That makes the meanness all the more a suffering, not only for the person receiving the meanness, but truly more so, for the person infected with meanness.

It is truly a suffering, to be mean. Some are mean often or have a nasty disposition. Others, like the soul in the example, are mean selecdtively, and try to be mean in order to get the person who stands in the way of what they want and desire (in the case, what is it--territory, to be important in the eyes of others--especially in the Church?). The meanness then erupts in a way so as to make the suffering person in meanness, to be absolutely ridiculous, particularly if older than two or three years of age! Yes, to go along and not look when kindly greeted, to grimace in anger and huff, to lash out in dark words and snappy tone when given a kind word, to make comments loudly in resentment--can't the mean person see how foolish and visible their meanness is?

No! The devil cloaks his darkness all about the soul suffering from meanness. It veritably suffocates this soul and causes great suffering, even if that soul does not recognize it is suffering sorely from meanness. For to recognize the infection would mean to admit the envy or pride or neediness from its own insecurity, and this demonstrates a lack of holiness which is exactly what the mean person desires, truly, for all souls were created to glorify God and inherently desire the holiness with which to glorify Him.

Seeing the suffering of meanness for what it is, the recipients of a mean person can then have much compassion for the ill person. It is not then an enemy for which one prays, but a person suffering; and the enemy is but the devil, as that truly is the only enemy, when one unswirls the cape from any given negative. Always behind something bad is the devil sneering.

And sneering was the very tone and intent of the person who spoke in such meanness in the aisle of the Cathedral. What a seeming victory for the devil to utilize a most holy environment, and to incite a soul to meanness over envy of ecclesial tasks--small, silent, lay volunteer tasks.

Oh how the recipient of the meanness would love to simply withdraw from the tasks, but the greater glorification of God is not in the tasks but rather in the soul praying for the other but more so learning to remain recollected, to remain as a genderless soul in nothingness, nesting within the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From within His Heart, one learns to view those all about shimmering in the Light; and one learns to walk on to the next town of goodness and love, and away from noticing the souls that are at death's door of darkness.

Love them to health through prayer and through the essence of peace and joy, but not with contact. Do not speak to the devil in them; the devil only bites back. Do not in pride think you can please them either by giving what they want (your very annihilation!) or in correcting them or in jollying them into better spirit. Pray and fast for them and all who suffer in meanness. Rejoice for those who suffer from meanness of others, for this is a beatitude of union with the Sacred Heart. In silent love, let the essence of Christ's peace and joy and Light permeate your own soul, and remain meek and humble of heart within His Heart Who Is Love.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Friend Sends G.K. Chesterton Poem

A friend to the victimsoul blog sent a meaningful poem which suited us in pertinent points, and it seems best to post it for any and all.

Reading it over again, just now, elicits even more meaning and beauty. We are blessed with writers and helpful, interceding, holy souls such as G.K. Chesterton.

 "The Sword of Surprise" by G. K. Chesterton:

Sunder me from my bones, O sword of God
Till they stand stark and strange as do the trees;
That I whose heart goes up with the soaring woods
May marvel as much at these.

Sunder me from my blood that in the dark
I hear that red ancestral river run
Like branching buried floods that find the sea
But never see the sun.

Give me miraculous eyes to see my eyes
Those rolling mirrors made alive in me
Terrible crystals more incredible
Than all the things they see

Sunder me from my soul, that I may see
The sins like streaming wounds, the life's brave beat;
Till I shall save myself as I would save
A stranger in the street.

Sr. Josefa Menendez's Prayers Given by Jesus and Mary

Now for Sr. Josefa's prayers. It does me much good to re-type them. Even her photo reminds me uncannily of a loving young woman named Dolores who helped me years ago, after the back surgery, with cleaning. She was from Mexico. I don't know what happened to her, as I moved away but prior had moved the children and me into an interim small apartment and in tightness no one could do much cleaning, anyway. But later on, when a priest lent me the book The Way of Divine Love, and I saw Sr. Josefa's photo--I exclaimed: It's Dolores! Maybe it was Sr. Josefa come to help me even then, with the incessant suffering.

Josefa told Mary that she wanted to know how best to pray to Our Lord so as to give Him pleasure. This is Our Lady's reply.

What pleases My Son most is love and humility--so write:

"O sweet and dearly loved Jesus, wert Thou not my Saviour, I should not dare to come to Thee, but Thou art both my Saviour and my Bridegroom, and Thy Heart loves me with the most tender and burning love, as no other Heart can love. Would that I could correspond with this love of Thine for me. Would htat I had for Thee, who art my only love, all the ardour of the seraphim, the purity of the angels and virgins, the holiness of the Blessed who possess Thee and glorify Thee in Heaven.

"Were I able to offer thee all this, it would still be too little to honour Thy goodness and mercy. That is why I offer Thee my poor heart such as it is, with all its miseries, its weakness and good desires. Deign to purify it in the Blood of Thy Heart, to transform and inflame it Thyself with an ardent and pure love. Thus the poor creature that I am, who can do no good but is capable of every evil, will love and glorify Thee as do the seraphim who in heaven are consumed with adoring love.

"Lastly, I ask of Thee, O gentle Jesus, to give my heart the very sanctity ot Thy Heart, or rather to plunge it in Thy Divine Heart, that in it I may love and serve and glorify Thee, and lose myself in Thee for all eternity. I beg this same grace for all those whom I love. May they render Thee for me the glory and honour of which my sins have deprived Thee."

This is Josefa's prayer told her to say over and over againwhile at work:

"Oh my Beloved, who are also my God, make my heart a flame of pure love for Thee."

Holy Mother told her to say these words every evening before she fell asleep, saying the prayer with much respect and confidence:

"O Thou who knewest all my misery before Thine eyes were fixed on me--Thou didst not turn away from my wretchedness, but because of it Thou didst love me with a love mroe sweet and tender. I beg pardon for having corresponded so little to Thy love...I beg of Thee to forgive me, and to purify my actions in Thy Divine Blood. I am deeply grieved at having offended Thee, because Thou art infintiely holy. I repent with heartfelt sorry and I promise to do all in my power to avoid these faults in the future."

These are the words that Jesus told Josefa that she could say to His Mother that would please her:

"O Tender and loving Mother, most prudent Virgin, Mother of my Redeemer, I come to salute you today with all the love that a child can feel for its mother.

"Yes, I am indeed your child, and beause I am so helpless I will take the fervour of the Heart of your Divine Son; with Him I will salute you as the purest of creatures, for you were framed according to the wishes and desires of the thrice-holy God.

"Conceived without sin, exempt from all corruption, you were ever faithful to the impulses of grace, and so your soul accumlated such merit that it was raised above all other creatures.

"Chosen to be the Mother of Jesus Christ, you kept Him as in a most pure sanctuary, and he who came to give life to souls, Himself took life from you, and received nourishment from you.

"O incomparable Virgin! Immaculate Virgin! Delight of the Blessed Trinity, admiration of all angels and saints, you are the joy of heaven. Morning Star, Rose blossoming in springtime, Immaculate Lily, tall and graceful Iris, sweet-smelling Violet, Garden enclosed kept for the delight of the King of are my Mother, Virgin most prudent, Ark most precious containing every virtue! You are my Mother, most powerful Virgin, Virgin clement and faithful! You are my Mother, O Refuge of sinners! I salute you and rejoice at the sight of the gifts bestowed on you by the Almight, and of the prerogatives with which He has crowned you!

"Be blessed and praised, Mother of my Redeemer, Mother of poor sinners! Have pity on us and cover us with your motherly protection.

"I salute you in the name of all men, of all saints and all angels.

"Would that I could love you with the love and fire of the seraphim, and as this is too little to satisfy my desires, I salute and love you by your Divine Son who is my Father, my Redeemer, my Saviour, and my Beloved.

"I salute you with the purity of the Holy Spirit and the sanctity of the adorable Trinity. Through these Divine Persons I bless you and desire to render you filial homage constant and pure for all eternity.

"O incomparable Virgin, bless me, since I am your child. Bless all men! Protect themand pray for them to Him who is almight and can refuse you nothing.

"Adieu, tender and sweet Mother; day and night I salute you, in time and for eternity."

Jesus then told Josefa, "Now, Josefa, praise the Mohter with the words of the Son, and the Son with those of His Mother."

"Never," said Josefa, "had I seen His Heart so resplendent, nor heard in His voice such burning enthusiasm."


The hermit for awhile, prayed these prayers, took them to Mass, and prayed them before going to bed. This was several years ago. Then the hermit realized that perhaps Jesus and His Mother would like the hermit to develop a relationship so close and loving, that the hermit would learn to consider Jesus and His Mother in terms within the hermit's time period--that into our hearts are given ways to honor and love Jesus and Mary and the Holy Trinity, in just the intimate words that He gives us within. And sometimes these words and prayers come spontaneously or from others. There is no need to reinvent or improve upon what these mystics and saints have been taught to say.

So one may pray the prayers they were given, or one can pray spontaneously, or even very simply, "I love You."

One may be vigilant as to prayers Jesus and Mary give us through others. A humble monk (Brother Rene) gave me a prayer to pray that he said would bring joy. It has taken three years, but there is joy now, a quiet, unassuming, unnoticeable-to-others-joy. This prayer is from the Raccolta: Heart of Jesus, Victim of Love, vouchsafe that I become a living, holy, pleasing holocaust in Thy Sight."

The hermit repeats this often. Also there are some prayers the hermit prays during Mass, but not many, and not always. Some came from St. Louis de Montfort; another came from the spiritual da, but he couldn't recall from where he got it.

Finished the Book on Teresa Higginson

Completed it the other night. For a short book on her life of which the bulk is her letters, it was a long reading effort. Perhaps this is due to her writing style which seems florid, ebulliant, and rather a struggle to get the point across. (Much like my own writing, perhaps!)

There is yet another book added to the little library room here at the hermitage, and it is her letters but with another's commentary on her life. I may read it soon and complete the minor introduction into Teresa's life.

She wrote to her spiritual director, as he had asked, and thus she did not ask to be noticed or be read. She does display an urgency to have others know about the devotion to the Sacred Head (Seat of Wisdom, etc.). As has been commented, this devotion has yet to catch on with a bulk of the public. There is nothing wrong with adoring Christ's Soul, Intellect, Will, Mind and so forth.

The impression comes to me, only personally, that the manner of writing is an obstacle, and the devotion itself difficult in the description, for it is not simple--not seeming as simple as the Sacred Heart. However, this could be that the Sacred Heart is so known, that it just seems, now, more simply expressed and understood.

One thing that also red-flagged my mind a bit was Teresa's writing that the Lord would deal harshly with those who did not support this devotion. She also said that the Lord would grant graces to those who did, as well as to have particular favor on the spiritual director if he would get the devotion approved, etc. And all this may very well be so; although the spiritual director did not succeed in such a public manner as did St. Margaret Mary Alocoque's director or St. Faustina's director--difficult a time as they had doing so!

This is not to say that Teresa's private revelations are not valid. The Church is yet investigating, and if the Lord desires us to adore His Sacred Head as Seat of Wisdom, and to devote ourselves in adoration of His Sacred Soul, then Jesus will continue in another manner or yet again, to cultivate this devotion among mankind. Even trying to express the devotion, though, does not lend itself to simple clarity, somehow.

The best I've been able to do is to ponder His Mind, consider that Jesus had as Incarnation (and yet as God) a Soul with intellect and will, and emotions, and imagination with memory and understanding. In pondering the human will's capacity to will to love, and to comprehend that this willing comes from God but is given human freedom to choose to love (or not), then it is the soul that does direct the love which is somehow within the heart.

Personally, when settling down into deep pondering and love, the essence of my being seems to be in the area of the human heart--somewhere in that central vicinity. At times there is a sensation in the brow area, or at the juncture of the nose to the forehead, or in both that area and heart, but mostly in the heart area. Perhaps if the devotion to the Sacred Head were more expressed as the devotion to the Sacred Soul, that could be grasped. But then, where is the seat of the soul relative to the human body? Is it in the head or in the heart? The intellect seems to be in the head, but the will--where is that? It seems that the will is very connected to love, to the desire to love and then to be willed; and that seems to be in the human heart area, and where breath also emanates, and very little when in deep pondering. It is then that the mind seems more suspended, and the body functions slowed, and the love, the heart predominates.

One then wonders, does the Sacred Heart actually direct the Head? Are the heart and the soul relational one with the other in some kind of order, or directional hierarchy? Seems as if Teresa did mention the Trinity as example of the interweaving of elements such as God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit--and the interrelationship of these. Seems as if others have written that it is love that intertwines, and the Holy Spirit is the messenger of love, the flow of love that links the Trinity.

She links in her writing, but not maybe so clearly, that the Head, Heart and Soul of Christ in some ways represent the Three Persons of the Trinity.

Thankfully, the Church ascertains for us, these devotions, and clarifies when necessary. My personal stance has been on those who are being studied, is that if approved, they are for a future generation's blessed assurance. I thus have devotions already approved and fully fleshed out by the Church, over time. For example, there is Fatima and what the angels asked the children to pray, and what Mary asked us to pray and how to live. It is approved as valid. And if I did what she asked, that would be quite a bit.

I don't mind thinking about Teresa's private revelations, but as in the case of Luisa Picaretta and others, I figure I'm as well with what is set before me, proven by time and the Authority of Holy Mother Church. Medjugorge is another similar instance, and the controversy swirls, and such swirling takes much soul time (intellect and will), and often love is tarnished in the debates.

Teresa is my loving friend; I am counting on her prayers to help the priest who could just drop dead suddenly of a heart attack. This priest has a gifted and amazing intellect of which we all benefit, yet he has a weakness with food gluttony which has no doubt caused the heart and other bodily ailments. I am convinced she is interceding for this priest, as his mind is precious to the Sacred Head (and Heart!) of Jesus, as he uses his gift for our spiritual benefit.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thankful for the Fruit of Suffering

Am up after spending a couple hours trying to manage pain in bed. Took the strongest over-the-counter pain reliever, along with some yoghurt to coat the stomach, and will attempt lying down again in awhile.

At times when the pain soars like an eagle, the heart and mind desire to pray--such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy or Rosary--but only a line or two is repeated: for the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

That's about it. The mind simply allows thoughts to wing their way through the soul, and thoughts in these early morning hours have been of wondering if I really do love Jesus as much as possible, for I have such comforts, such luxuries, and life is so easy. I considered the lovely clothes which, although not so expensive, are very beautiful, and the bed to sleep on, and the marvelous encounters with people daily, either through e-mail or on an errand. I also thought about people who I do not visit or stay in contact with--perhaps as some think I ought. But I pray about them, and think of them, perhaps more often than what a visit would entail. My outer appearance belies the interior vocations and the suffering which begs its own attention.

Then, the mind considers this soul's motto: just adore Him. And, in all, especially in this early morning suffeirng and all the thoughts, the body and soul ponder adoration of Jesus. Of course, it seems never enough; and in this seeming lack, He is adored.

This soul is especially hopeful that the suffering is helping with some prayer intentions and requests! It is not for me to know, though; this is part of the training as a victim soul: Jesus, I trust in Thee!

This morning will be orchid-watering at my small but very lovely hermitage. Then noon Mass in which I am to lector. May all that I think, say or do be from within Jesus' Sacred Heart--and also, now, keeping in mind His Sacred Head, His Wisdom, His Mind with thoughts and memories and feelings--His very hopes for mankind and even for the unknown, anonymous individuals.

Yes, a friend had e-mailed about Ms. Bhutto, and since I am also a hermit and rather interiorized, I had this woman confused with the woman who has written a book and speaks regarding her tremendous act of forgiving those who massacred her people and her family while she remained with other women, jammed in a bathroom for months. She is a witness to hope, a witness to the power of forgiveness. But I happened across (when looking for an update on the little Madeleine McCann who is still missing) Ms. Bhutto's name, and read briefly of her being assassinated.

I e-mailed my friend to correct my error in confusion of these women, and commented that I guess my life is more relegated to the many of us unknown types except for when God breaks into my interiority with the knowledge of these public souls who are public as witness and for also more prayer. Yes, God creates our souls to glorify Him whether He calls us into public view or to remain hidden in His wounds.

Life is so easy in God. I also commented to this friend who suffers from mental trials, that our lives are so blessed, so comfortable, so easy--and this allowed truly due to our sufferings. If we did not have such suffering as we do, or any less, we would be called back out into the world of sufferings of a different kind. But God has given us the leisure to suffer in relative comfort, to have our main adoration of Him and our life's work to be suffering. In this, we have a blissful existence.

Through some of the complaints I edit for a consumer entity, the frustrations, anger and stress come through from people of all strata so cheated. But often, the cheating could be avoided by not consuming various products and services. When people write of their lives being depressed or Christmas ruined because their xbox doesn't work and the company won't fix it (whatever is an exbox?), my life of suffering seems so free and delightful, for it is not caused by some little machine that breaks down.

My suffering is from God, and it is returned to God, reflected for Him as best I can in love and hope that it is being used by God in reparation for the sins of the world. The people whose Christmas was ruined because they did not have this little box to play games on, are hopefully receiving some kind of peace from the very pain that this body bears--all the more now, in gratitude. I so much prefer to be wracked with pain this morning than to be frustrated by the sufferings caused in and by "the world." While those sufferings can surely turn a soul to God, often the souls do not choose to consider God as their only Saving Grace.

While in bed, prior to the easing of pain with this over-the-counter medication, I was thinking of my dad, now deceased six years. When I'd ask him, year after year, what he'd like for Christmas, he'd respond, "Peace and quiet. I'd just like some peace and quiet." I smiled in the pain, as I realized the peace and joy I experience in my dual vocations--in my finally surrendering to the hermit life with all its misunderstanding by most people--and having accepted the vocation as victim soul years ago, that perhaps my dad's desire for peace and quiet is what, truly, all desire, deep down in.

Suffering allows those fortunate enough to be blessed with and accept it, to be gifted with peace and quiet. Inside of pain there truly is peace and quiet for those who comprehend that God is inside of pain.

One time while praying before the Tabernacle, something happened which I won't go into, but there was a message, and it was from the Mother of God, and she said: You will find Him in your pain. It is so true. All us sufferers must pray that people want to look for Him!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christ's Mass Day and Octave; and on Ebulliance

So we take our suffering bodies (and minds, emotions, souls--whatever is suffering) through Christ's Mass Day and Christ's Mass Octave: days and nights stretched out before us on that road God prepared for us through this desert.

"Silent Night" is more real than ever before, this Christ's Mass. This hermit-victimsoul made choices and stuck with them, by God's grace. The choice was to practice the adopted rule of life, and God brought what He desired in form of hospitality.

Still, there remains the years of push, of negativity and criticism, of sorrows that are being touched by Jesus, then melted by His warmth, then flowing out His wound like a stream coursing through the desert but a short while before evaporating. All that strife, struggle, worries, effort to go and do and be--all is somehow deleted. The soul and body, mind, emotions--they rest.

Was reading (even the reading is slow and still, then sleep comes) toward the end of a short book on Teresa Higginson, Servant of God. Her letters display a rather highly enthused soul; she writes floridly, excitedly. I find myself skimming over, but appreciate the tension she feels, the urgency to express what is really inexpressible.

She is an ecstatic, and she writes with mention of stigmata (brief instances, for the most part), of bilocation (not often), of levitating and of being rigid in ecstasy. The point of her relatively few letters to her spiritual director include these aspects but mostly her tremendous love for God as well as the desire to have the devotion to His Sacred Head as Seat of Wisdom, be known and practiced.

The Church continues to investigate her, I learned upon doing some research. In the meantime, she is a new friend, and I do ponder the Sacred Head--and comprehend that all parts of Christ lend Themselves to our loving veneration and emulation. I had never thought much about Christ's actual Mind, His Will and Thoughts--from the standpoint of His Incarnate Mind. I am just now truly delving into what it is to be within His Sacred Heart. But it does make logical sense, and loving sense, to delve into the realities of His Head--Christ's holy brain! Yes, He had a brain, and from His Brain came the messages through His nervous system to His Body, to His Heart, to His voice and tongue, and eyes and ears and nose and fingertips!

It was His Mind which registered pain and suffering as feeling and emotion, and which gave reasoning power to His Sacred Intellect and Will. It was His Intellect which could compose parables to teach others His Way and of the Father and Holy Spirit. And He did all this by Love--the Love of His Sacred Heart and all of Him, for He is God and God is Love.

One detractor of Teresa Higginson commented that she suffered from being an hysteric, and thus dismissed her basically as an emotionally driven woman whose manifestations came from over-excitability. This same detractor dismissed St. Padre Pio and Therese Neumann, also.

While Teresa Higginson's writing style and self-expression differ from that of other saints' writings, it may be due to her not having matured through disciplined spiritual direction, as many of the mystics had the formation in religious orders. There they learned to hone the mystical phenomenon, to subject the senses to the furnace, and to detach, to put all in ordered love. They learned not to allow ebullience to boil and overflow the pot but to keep the lid on and submit themselves to a simmer: steady, slow, yet cooking all the same.

Today, victim souls of the Sacred Heart must learn this self-discipline of the senses. If one does not want to read the Collected Works of St. John of the Cross or Tanquerey's The Spiritual Life: a Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology, then pray for other assistance in various books and Scripture and spiritual direction to form the soul in ways beneficial in suffering, in subduing tendencies to excitability. The senses can become a distraction, and they do not aid in the work of suffering and in the soul's desire for union with God--for this union's goal is not for the soul but for the soul to all the better and to more perfectly glorify God.

Jesus exemplified this submission of the senses, of all of Him, during His agony in the garden. His body erupted in flow of blood from the external tissues; His agony came forth in this silent but visible sign, whereas all emotion was in check, within.

The Virgin Mary exemplifies such equanimity of body and soul. Yes, this is that word: longanimity, and it is well for victim souls to possess this fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, it is quite understandable how Teresa Higginson would write with ebulliance to her spiritual director of such marvelous manifestations of the love of Christ. It must have been frustrating wanting so for others to comprehend what she had experienced. The next step is St. John of the Cross' explanation of why and how to move beyond the excitability, for it can be a stumbling block to the very soul which experiences the wonders--and is a stumbling block then to others who may be distracted. Yet at a very human level: who wouldn't be excited by such imminent closeness with God? Do not the angels tremble at His Omnipotence; did not the Israelites fear death at the prospect of seeing God's Face?

Moses walked down the mountain; he did not run. He remained possessed of God and by God, but possessed in peace. Victim souls do well to remain calm in suffering, no matter the wonder and awe of the numinous, of God's Face in the midst of agony where He is seen and experienced most intimately.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Teresa Higginson, Servant of God: on Suffering

While reading a book purchased from England, a small leaflet fell out from the final pages. The hermit-victimsoul picked it up from the floor, and there was a short description of the life of Teresa Higginson, and a prayer for her process.

Teresa Higginson, it is learned, is a victim soul and mystic born in 1845 and who died in 1905. In between is a lifetime of growth: sensitive child loving God, simple school teacher, suffering victim soul with many graces. She had ecstasies, bore the wounds of Christ, developed in the ways of being an immolation for souls, and also wrote of the devotion to the Seat of Wisdom: the Sacred Head of Christ.

This devotion has obviously not caught hold, but it is coordinate with the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and it has been reviewed by theologians and is in keeping with the teachings of the Church; there is nothing illicit about it. In fact, it makes sense; and surely there are some who ponder this teaching; and I will do so, quietly, now that I am aware of it.

Regardless, Teresa Higginson wrote in a letter to her spiritual director, some aspects of suffering which are appropriate for victim souls to consider, as she relates the joy of suffering and the means and ways of suffering for Christ, through, with, and in Christ.

...that I feel now God has removed that mist and therefore that suffering which in His mercy and love He gives me as a pledge of His Love changes not in its nature but in its effect; I feel that He has given me an unfailing means of helping those souls for which He died and for whom, too, if it was His Holy Will, I would die as gladly as I accpet these favours. Pain, I mean, is not suffering; it is so sweet, such inexpressible bliss, to know it is His Will. And each pan makes me love Him more and more, for in it souls are saved and more and more glory given to the Lord of Glory....

O'Sullivan, A.M., OSOB. Teresa Higginson, Servant of God. 1924. London: Sands & Company, p. 118.

When this was written, Teresa had already suffered much from childhood on into adulthood. She knew and understood that she was destined to suffer, and she desired to suffer for souls, to suffer in union with Christ. She came to love Christ so very much, that it was in His suffering that she realized she would be as close as possible to Him, through Him, with Him, in Him.

She came to understand that Jesus glorified the Father through His suffering and death, for our salvation, and so it is that our own suffering, when united with Christ, can and does glorify God. Of course, we desire to glorify God to the best degree possible, and this is accomplished by learning to suffer as Jesus did on the Cross--very beautifully! He suffered with a long soul.

Yes, His soul is long and stretches out from before the beginning and after the end into eternity. In His incarnation, Christ was given a Soul just as He was given a Heart, just as He was given a Mind.

It is this Mind of Christ, as seat of Wisdom and Reason, that the Servant of God, Teresa Higginson, wrote to her spiritual director that Jesus had made known to her that He desired this Devotion to the Sacred Head (as seat of Holy Wisdom) and of His Holy Soul. Yes, the soul is made up of the will, the intellect (reason), and some include understanding--and the soul permeates our bodies. In the head resides the intellect and reason; in the heart resides love. It does make sense that in our time of intellectual individualism, that Jesus would desire us to reverence His Holy Head and thus His Soul, as conjunct with the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Fr. Bertrand Wilberforce gives a critical examination of this devotion which Teresa explains to her spiritual director.

Anyway, I had never heard of Teresa Higginson, but now there is another friend, another victim soul and mystic, to whom we may pray and ask guidance and help along our path of suffering. One can't have too many friends and helpers!

I have asked Teresa to help a certain priest who I have seen as dead--dead just as he is, which would indicate that he could drop dead suddenly, if he does not lose the excessive weight which is causing his heart to be troubled, and his lungs and other organs to be stressed. There is still time for him, as it would be a shame to die without conquering the vice of gluttony. This priest is exceptional in his knowledge of Scripture and of the Church, and his homilies enlighten all our souls: he is gifted in preaching. The suffering of gluttony (of any vice) brings its consequences, though, and I count on Teresa to be helping this soul to lose weight! Not sure why, but it seems that is what she is doing and will do in helping, for conquering vices can be facilitated by the use of the mind and of reason, yet the roots often are in the heart of the matter. This priest is very intellectual; somehow there is a connection that Teresa Higginson can make and in so doing, help him.

I like Teresa. I'm not sure why the Devotion to the Sacred Head has not taken hold. She wrote that Jesus would have it take hold against those who were resistant. I suppose it has not taken hold due to the fact that we are more enamored with the idea of the Heart, and that in our time period, we are so full of our own intellects, that we do not want to submit to the Sacred Intellect, Will and Reason! Is that not our perennial difficulty: submission to the Will of God?

Did not my agnostic friend e-mail: to each, his own? And that it is not this at all but rather: To God, His Will!

Peace and Joy Put to the Test

This hermit-victimsoul awoke with massive physical pain. The thought came of peace and joy: where were they now? Well, they are within the soul still, but nothing was showing on the exterior except a kind of nothingness, a lying quite still so as to not exaccerbate the pain. Finally, the body knew it had to exert effort to rise and find some medication, then requiring something in the stomach to buffer it, and then to ponder God and write about peace and joy, as if on cue.

Even in a dream, there was the pain, and laughingly, now--but laughing interiorly for there is no energy to laugh exteriorly--the dream is recalled, and the hermit-victimsoul was quipping to a priest about the name of the pain medication, in the dream.

Being still in the higher levels of pain, or perhaps in all levels of pain, the soul can then rest in the peace God bequeaths. Then there is a certain kind of quiet joy that the soul is not out of control, and there is an ability in the stillness to ponder Jesus on the cross, and to allow the body to consider its oneness with Jesus in this suffering. And then, since the mind and emotions are remaining subdued, in a kind of peace and joy the mind (made up of the will, intellect--and some add the understanding or memory) can also consider the joy of Jesus' utilizing this very pain in His work of reparation. So there is much to be grateful for, after all, in pain.

The mind started to wonder if the body would be well enough to go to Mass later in the day and to fulfill the glorious duties of Sacristan; but to think ahead was a tempation to jiggle loose the joy and peace, to disrupt it, as if one were shaking the branch, and the fruit might fall down to the ground and split open, and then be good for the birds and squirrels. But at least it would be good for that.

A victim soul must know that even if we come to times that we do not suffer well, and that we become distressed and out of control and seemingly lose that longanimity which means "long soul"--the ability to be calm in the face of suffering and to endure--we have not lost it but rather have simply become quite human and weak, and in this weakness we can resolve next suffering to try more to remain stilled. Yet we offer the dropped and split fruit to Jesus for creatures, all the same. Fruit of the Spirit is still fruit, and there is always use in it no matter if seemingly imperfect.

We thank the Lord for the fruit of peace and joy and all fruit of the Spirit. Yes, we pray for it, we believe we have it, for we do, and then we practice in the waiting and ripening of it, over and over and over. This in itself is a kind of joy, is it not? Yes! Joy is for the taking, even if the taking of it is merely a watching it on the branch--watching it develop, and knowing that it is beautiful at all stages, and marked for our souls to use in order to glorify God. All fruit is to be for His glory!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Touch More on Joy

I've been thinking more about joy. It is a fruit, after all, and fruit takes time to ripen on the branch or vine.

One can pray for joy and believe and then live it. This is true in concept, but the final part needs some fine-tuning, for joy is deep, and surface joy is not the joy of the Holy Spirit, for it is tenuous and of the emotions. Like peace, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and fruit takes time to grow and ripen; even after seeming ripe, it often requires more time to ripen on the counter! So, I don't want readers to be disappointed if they pray and believe--and wonder: where is the joy? We cooperate with God; God grants the graces and the ripe fruit of the Holy Spirit when He wills best. Even then, fruit can have all kinds of exterior (and even sometimes interior blemishes). But a peach is a peach, even with bruises and bird-pecks.

Fruit of the Holy Spirit are very interior for the most part. I suppose I started thinking more about joy given the recent comments, and yes, it is quite a gift. But the Carthusian I have been reading also mentions joy as well as peace, and he says that we must not be discouraged if the surface irritations continue; the peace (and) joy are still with us, in us. Yes, it is that the fruit is on the vine or branch, even if it is still yet very small and not noticed. I think this is the point the beautiful soul who encourages us to pray, to believe and to live the joy intends: that we must cooperate with God in faith, and to ask for these gifts, and that God will bring them. He gives the fruit through the Holy Spirit as gifts: God wants us to have them.

We all maybe know of persons or ourselves who tried to make joy happen, or make peace happen, on our own. It is good to practice and to have a joyful disposition through effort; but we often enough find that it is not enduring peace or joy, and what we saw or experienced was emotion, or the feeling of peace of joy for a short time. Well, this is better than not having peace of joy for short period of time. But what the person commenting is no doubt expressing, is that joy which is enduring. And this does take asking for it, and praying, and then, of course, we must wait for the grace to come from God, even if we do our best in waiting and cooperating.

The Carthusian emphasizes that even if we cannot go beyond what suffering does to our human bodies, or that we are weak and our exteriors do not always show peace or joy, that we simply can offer to God our weakness, our suffering, our negativities or lackings--and God is pleased with our offerings of our weaknesses and failings. For we have given Him our best and our only--and He loves whatever we give Him.

These fruit of the Holy Spirit more often than not come after a good growing season, and this can be more than days or months. The important thing to remember is to pray and ask, then to hang on the branch, and grow and wait, and cooperate with all the things that fruit do as they grow and ripen, and then don't be alarmed if your joy has some blemishes, inside or out; for this is natural. Fruit is natural, and the joy or peace or self-control or whatever fruit of the Spirit you've prayed for and in faith have received, and then waited for it to ripen to
fruition, might result in something you don't feel or don't see, or others might not see it; but you will know it is there, deep inside, for the pit is always in the fruit; the seed remains hidden but very real.

Or, others might see it, might notice, but likely they will just sense some kind of change. As Caryll Houselander explained, it is as well to not discuss too much, the growth, but to just let it happen and let it be. Yes, take all the fruit the Spirit has to offer! Taste and see! Does not this advice come in the Psalms? And similar fruit talk in the Song of Songs? I'm not sure, but it seems like there are many fruit references in that beautiful Scripture.

Joy is close to peace in how it might appear--softly, subtly, but surely. We are desirous of the joy that endures and is not topical joy, for with abiding joy we can glorify God more abundantly. Fruit that remains on the vine a good long time is matured fruit.

Yes, I think that the beautiful soul who reminds us to pray for joy, to believe that we have it, and then to live it, would agree with the waiting and ripening aspects, also. God knows best when the fruit is ripe for the plucking and tasting and sharing.

The Carthusian even points out in his writing on peace and joy, that sometimes it might seem as if we no longer have these, but they are there deep within, all the same; and again, we must simply offer our sense of being empty, our sense of not having joy or peace: offer it all to God as gift, and glorify Him with our weaknesses, for within our emptying there is fullness of love in giving all of our selves to God.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Suffering of Forgetfulness!

How marvelous to realize that the hermit-victimsoul has quoted the same passage written by "A Carthusian" not once, but twice--and a couple days apart!

In pain, the mind becomes at one with the pain. The will is in union with God's will in the pain. And where is the pain? It is in God; it is in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is where pain resides, where suffering becomes love and love becomes suffering, and love begets peace and joy and all the other fruit of the spirit.

What are these fruits? The numbed mind (for it is having increased suffering in the present moment) turns to Galations 5:22; the mind knows this location from years of re-mindings, and the will desires to remind the intellect once again with the contents.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit, delivered in every present moment to our genderless souls in nothingness, nesting within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, free of charge:

Begnignity (literally "well born"; not harmful in effect; gentle)
Longanimity (literally "long soul"; equanimity in the face of suffering and adversity; forebearance)
Continency (literally "holding together"; restraining oneself; exercising self-control)

Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified their flesh, with the vices and the concupiscences.

Aren't benignity and longanimity lovely words with beautiful meanings? Well all the fruit are luscious to the soul, and longanimity is especially beneficial to the victim soul. Yes, to possess a long-soul is a benefit.

To be a victim long-soul--what a treasure-in-vocation!

I know of someone who is stressed easily; she has a sensitive soul. She also is very fundamentalist in belief system, and yet fears much and uses the words "stress", "stressed", and "stressed out" frequently. I pray for longanimity for her. Recently, she has been stressed over a relative with Alzheimer's. She has come to the point of not being able to visit often if at all, and becomes quite stressed with reports by others who visit the Alheimer's sufferer.

So we come to the point here: the suffering of forgetfulness--and suffering, suffering, suffering.

What a gift it is to suffer--when the suffering is within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when the suffering is ripe and plump as the fruit of the Spirit. Forgetfulness? In the light of suffering, in the richness of fruitful suffering: Is it then something to be feared or a negative?

No. This is the point at which all suffering becomes meaningful, useful, and blessed: the lance point wounding the Sacred Heart--our hearts and Jesus' Heart where within we lovingly, peacefully, joyfully, patiently, gently, in goodness, mildly, faithfully, modestly, continently, and chastely nest. And we do so with long souls, in equanimity of all truth.

This is the truth: suffering molds the soul through the Wound and into the very form and fomenter [poultice, lotion; to heat and cherish] of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.

What is so painful about forgetfulness? It is humbling, yes; it demonstrates not remembering, of not being mindful--and of what? Most often, it is to not be mindful of the passing things of this world, of all creatures, and in this, meaning all created by God that is not God. Within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is God; and if the soul is within His Heart, then all else may be painlessly forgotten.

Now, of course, while in our bodies, we have earthly duties; but forgetfulness, as in any type of suffering, the soul can learn--can be molded--into mindfulness of God, and therein the fruit of the Spirit nourish the soul.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Melding of Victim Soul/Hermit Thoughts on Suffering and Joy

So much is interwoven: solitude, suffering, and then the fruit of joy as an outgrowth.

"A Carthusian" (see how hidden he remains, even after death?) writes something so helpful to hermits and to hermit-victimsouls:

There are souls who seek solitude merely in order to find themselves; there are others who seek it so that they may give themselves. Still, it remains to be lived!

Happy those who know how to put their whole soul into all they do. Because they are giving themselves, they will be able to bear much suffering, but their happiness will exceed their suffering, since the gift of self is the source and condition of life, and therefore of spiritual growth and joy. Go on, then, giving yourself: go on your joy inthat precious suffering that the gift of self entails. God Who became man knew no more excellent way than this when He was on earth.

The hermit finds that fatigue crops up in odd ways, and after seemingly "doing" little. Sitting is enough to increase pain. In the stillness, with little to do but put things into ordered love, God is teaching the hermit. A friend e-mails something: she says she is sensitive, naive, and is hurt by those who are more assertive.

The hermit agrees with the sensitive part. The naivete is something the hermit mentioned awhile ago to the confessor, and he responded that the hermit has been around enough to not be naive--has seen it all and experienced much of it. So perhaps the friend is expressing what the hermit was probably trying to express: shock--repeated shock and surprise--at the evils of the world, especially the lesser evils so rampant.

As for being hurt by those more assertive, the hermit has perceived this friend as being assertive, at least in her home setting. Part of this may be due to her illness, of a mental illness in which her voice becomes strident and delusions find root. But the point is: this is her perception, not mine. And when one has a perception about oneself, it becomes truth to that person.

Are we hurt by those more assertive, or do others more assertive hurt us? If it is us being hurt, then why? More assertive is a degree, and who knows if one is more or less assertive? It is all perception, and it is reflected from the self. When the self begins to consider being hurt, and being hurt by others, and being hurt by others who are perceived by the self to be more assertive--then it is self that is doing the hurting.

For, when the self asserts that perception, then those around that self wonder if it is they who have done the hurting--for such perceptions also can bring out the "self" in others. It becomes very self-centered, all these perceptions. One of the Nine S' is: selflessness.

During the night the hermit had a dream of much disorder and chaos. Family members of three generations were gathered, and they were to go to a Christmas program for the children. The hermit was caring for a small child, a baby with a bad cold and runny nose. So much stuffed in that little nose and hard to get it out. The house was cluttered and jammed with things and people. Loudness, movement, hustle, and criticism--for things were out of order and the parent figures were pointing out things that needed fixing. The dream neared nightmare point of frustration and tension, when the hermit looked out the door and saw it sleeting: and then mustered nerve to turn to one parent figure and say, "I cannot go. I simply cannot and will stay with the baby who has a cold."

From that instance, relief surged through even within the dream, and the dream dissipated into awakening.

Yes, it is very important to tend to putting things in loving order, and this includes if one is fatigued--even from doing very little. Put things in loving order within the soul, get the rest that is needed, if weariness is what is out of loving order. Tend to the physical body, if that is what is out of order. Put all in loving order. Give oneself in denying oneself.

The gift of self can be given in the offering to slow down, to not go, to not do more than what God asks, which is sometimes very little. What is it to glorify God? It can be as small and still and simple as blowing a nose and saying "I can't go, I simply cannot." That can be very loving, to love God by our complete surrender.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Joy

Some of these thoughts come on a snowy Gaudete Sunday morning and are both for hermits and victim souls. The hermit-victimsoul sometimes trudges, other times skimlets, through the snow of suffering, of learning and growing, now within the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then, following some of these thoughts, we share the meeting of the Servant of God, Teresa Higginson (d. 1905) but as all in the Sacred Heart, alive in death, no longer self, and desiring to be of service!

White came during the night. It thickens and brightens, blows its nothingness through and without. Hours shall pass before the hermit departs for Mass and the quiet Sacristan tasks prior.

Gaudete Sunday brings the fullness of joy. Of its own, joy is white; it is nothingness; yet we utilize the color pink. Sun shining on white makes it sometimes pink, if one stares awhile. Perhaps the eye begins to see through blood, and that make the white seem pink. Seeing through blood brings love into all, and pink is the color of love, it is said.

Joy is nothingness in the visceral sense. Most connect joy with an intellectual definition which is exemplified in emotional response to something the body and mind "like." But in its supernal nothingness, joy becomes as snow in the soul: a reaction of molecules affected by climate; tangible until touched, then melted into memory.

The hermit ponders joy, as someone who suffers has left a comment on the victim soul writings, relative to asking for joy, and in faith, in believing, the joy is given. Joy in suffering is particularly mystical. The commenter mentions having spent the second year of suffering, being silent. It was in that silence that the Lord taught her more of suffering, and also then bequeathed the joy.

Within the Sacred Heart, there is silence; there is snow; there is the nothingness of joy. No one can touch upon it without its melting into nothingness, so it is best to not attempt to grasp joy but simply to view it as a gratuitous wonder. The joy within the Sacred Heart often shows nothing--nothing emotional. Snow simply appears as a result of unseen molecular transformations under certain conditions. Such is joy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Now, A Carthusian Lit Upon Quite a Glorious Flame

The hermit-victimsoul copies this from the soul's hermit blog, as increasingly the three blogs being written touch one upon the other like a three-wicked candle's flame. So I share it again here--share this Carthusian's insights which are insights available to all of us; but perhaps he has an inner ear trained to the tune of which we are just beginning to hear.

Now here is yet another meditation for souls who desire to live all for God, and who suffer as victim souls, and who strive to live all for God and in their suffering, as hermits--and really, for all souls.

A Carthusian writes in silence and solitude, speaking to us in printed word long after he is dead not only to this world while alive, but dead to this world and dead in his body:

There are souls who seek solitude merely in order to find themselves: there are others who seek it so that they may give themselves. Still, it remains to be lived!

Happy those who know how to put their whole soul into all they do. Because they are giving themselves, they will be able to bear much suffering, but their happiness will exceed their suffering, since the gift of self is the sourc eand condition of life, and therefore of spiritual growth and joy. Go on, then, giving yourself: go on your joy in that precious suffering that the gift of self entails. God Who became man knew no more excellent way than this when he was on earth.

Now, the hermit-victimsoul-striving to be in genderless state of nothingness nested within the Sacred Heart, will cease the morning's writings, and reflect on these inspirations while putting a few externals into loving order about the hermitage.

A Carthusian Shares More on Suffering

It is in silence and solitude that we come to be befriended by suffering. It is in slowness, for it is a process of learning to love suffering: to love to suffer and to suffer to love. It is by suffering that we do learn to love, and we most of all learn to love suffering which means we most of all learn to love Jesus. It is in suffering within Jesus' suffering that we share intimately in His love, for we become one with His suffering and one with His love.

And what is His love? It is a love of God the Father; it is a love of the Holy Spirit; it is a love of all souls in all eternity: then, now and all to come. It is a love of souls we knew before and souls we know today and souls we shall meet. And these souls may be known then, now, and later, in Scripture, through books, through newspapers, through observations and physical encounters, through dreams, through all the ways God utilizes for us to meet souls.

It is in loving to suffer and suffering to love that we have union with God. This is what He Is About.

Did I share once how I peevishly asked Jesus what He was up to that day? I was tired of suffering, and bored, and without energy to do much else but think about what I could be doing if not suffering, and thinking surely Jesus was doing something interesting.

Well, He was; and He is. He immediately appeared, beaten and ragged, cross bearing down on Him and said to me, "I am suffering, and this is well enough for you!" So it was.

Part of being able to love suffering is to not expect to do lots of other things. It has to do with being a Mary and not the Martha who multi-tasked, for it was in her multiplicities that she became frustrated. If one is suffering, then that is well enough. In the stillness of suffering, one can learn to suffer well, to suffer better, to not scatter, bruise or crush the fruits of suffering which include peace and joy.

A Carthusian wrote these words expressing more of suffering--words come from silence and solitude and suffering experience:

Try to rise above suffering. It is a state of soul which springs from the best that is in us.

It comes from a desire to belong more and more wholly to God, and to fuse our very life with His. This desire is excellent, and we should grieve when we see it being realized so slowly and imperfectly. Our suffering, however, should always remain calm, and ever turned towards the tranquillizing rays of a joy superior to it. The suffering is due to our fallen state, whearas the joy comes from the goodness of God. Now God is good infinitely more than we are bad. The joy is the term and end for which we were made [to glorify God]; suffering is merely one aspect of the way. My peace I give unto you....These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. You know what the words "These things I have spoken to you" mean. Jesus had just said: As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. He says the same to us, and we respond to that love by desire and suffering. And suffering is an admirable response--the best, I think. Try, then, to unite yourself with the supreme suffering whereby we were redeemed.

Perhaps one might think that to try to rise above suffering means that we do not appreciate it or are trying to escape it. The Carthusian does not suggest this; rather, as all of us who are learning the peace and joy of suffering--and I mean learning it, for there is a school of suffering--we go into the suffering but do not dwell in the temporal aspects. In this way, as a molecule rises and transforms and unites with unseen elements to form a droplet of water--a tear, perhaps--we rise above suffering.

This rising is expressed in many forms: rise above ourselves, our spirits rise, our hearts are raised, He rose on the third day. It is a transforming, ascending motion enacted by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It is the operational affects of Love. We must then, love, strive to love in our suffering, and to love within the Sacred Heart Who claims and teaches suffering, and shares this gift to willing souls.

A Carthusian Sends Thoughts on Suffering

Once peace reigns in the soul, when peace is accepted by the soul (as it is desired by Christ that we accept the peace that He bequeaths to us), joy is sure to be accepted as well. We pray for peace; we pray for joy. In suffering, we must learn to desire that peace which passeth all our understanding, and this is the peace that comes from Jesus through the Holy Spirit Who is the Imparter of Love.

So the joy of Christ, imparted to us through God-is-Love Holy Spirit. This joy passeth all our human understanding, and it clasps supernal hands with peace.

Does this peace and joy ever leave? No. But we can leave peace and joy. We abandon them when we allow externals--the self--which is outside God alone, outside the Sacred Heart, glorifies the self instead of glorifying God. Peace and joy are created by God to be bequeathed by God to souls, for the souls to glorify God in His peace and joy gifted, fructated!

A Carthusian wrote the silent words which speak to us of suffering:

Part of its [the soul's] greatness is precisely its power to pass beyond all these ephemeral disturbances and to reach out and touch the eternal through what is merely passing. The causes--or occasions rather--of our troubles are only instruments; what we must try to do is to see the One Who is handling them--the God of Love.

It is the spirit of faith that sees this Love in suffering, and turns its darkness into light. This light of love--in reality the light of the Holy Spirit--is what imparts sweetness and goodness to everything. Our daily crosses are the disciplinary exercises by which the Holy Spirit develops in a soul the habit of using this light.

In another meditation, A Carthusian share more on suffering:

Suffering comes within the scope of God's will for us. By accepting it lovingly, the soul unites itself to that Will, and becomes one with Him Whose Will is His Being.

Why does God so often call us along this road, wehre we meet Him more surely than anywhere else? Because it is a mark of His special love for us. These are our "trysting-places" with Him. Thank Him for them, then, and be faithful in keeping them. To be faithful does not mean we shall not suffer. One of our greatest illusions is to imagine that we suffer badly because we suffer.

Suffering is, and always will be, suffering--that is, violence done to our nature. Even God cannot change that. "Thou has made us for Thyself...." It is in the "Thyself" that lies our happiness. Suffering is in opposition to the "Thou hast made" and to the movement towards our end, "Thyself."

By suffering with us and for us, Jesus has brought this opposiiton into the movement towards Himself. Suffering ahs become the way, but only (to use a philosophical term) "Per accidens". In its essence, and by itself, suffering remains in opposition, hostile. It is only when we have waged war against it and mastered it, and have proved ourselves superior to it by bearing it, that it becomes an instrument and a servant.

Go on, then, bearing suffering bravely, making it serve to enlarge your capacity for the divine life in you. Continue, too, to look upon God with love when He sends you these hours which mean so much for our spiritual growth--when our crushed ehart can do little more than utter its "Fiat."

Who Do We Find in the Sacred Heart?

As we rest within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, after awhile we sense others with us. Today it is St. John of the Cross, but also there are those others who quietly suffer within His Heart, and suffer the physical, emotional, and mental agonies that God has delighted in bequeathing to His bevy of little victim souls.

Marie's comments on joy and suffering--and of not considering it "I"--go along with the Irish Spiritual Da's letter that arrived yesterday. His sparse comments always hit the mark: He wrote in his 88-year-old, tidy scrawl, on yellow legal notebook paper: There is always the danger of us glorifying ourselves; putting the emphasis on ourselves when all must be for the glory of God.

He also brought up a point [one comes to these points in the awareness of the genderless soul, in nothingness, nesting within the Sacred Heart]--that came once more during Mass this morning, and at the moment of reception of the Holy Eucharist. The Da mentions it, also, in his letter. Would it be better if we spoke of Jesus receiving us (embracing us) in Holy Communion than for us saying we receive Jesus in Holy Communion?

Yesterday it bubbled in ideas when the priest spoke of how we are to take Jesus with us, where we go, and out into the world. But within the Sacred Heart, this genderless soul and victim of love, considered that it is Jesus Who takes me with Him, wherever He goes, and out into the world. And He does this mystically mostly, and sometimes physically by inspiring this body's movement--but always within His Heart-felt influence and will.

Thus, it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ Who has me in Him, and thus we are one, as the Father and Christ are One.

It is in the Sacred Heart that we come to comprehend it is not "my suffering" but rather it is His suffering, and we are simply nesting within His Heart, having been drawn up through the opening of the wound--drawn up out of the world from the point of a spear and tuck-pointed into the nest of His Heart.

[It seems odd, but the thoughts weave in and out the warp to the woof of three blogs, and so I may take these threads over to The Complete Hermit. How many different blogs would a victim soul, a hermit, or one striving to live all for God--write?]

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Message Via the Bishop

The Bishop in his homily on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception spoke of Pope Benedict XVI's newest encyclical on hope. Within his homily, he mentioned that the Pope brings back the older notion of offering up our sufferings in union with the Sacred Heart.

This brought once more to mind the book I was rewriting and perhaps not only rewriting but being led by God to include some additional aids, for those souls desiring and also called by Christ to be victim souls of His Sacred Heart.

Yes, this is the very title of the book, only partially completed and not worked on for nearly two years.

So this soul must put things in order, and get the library room of this hermitage, orderly, and to locate the rough draft and also the computer file, and take the original, scarce book off the shelf, and to continue writing.

After all, two blog readers have commented that they would find this book quite beneficial. Granted, the concept of victim soulhood is not a huge desire nor encompasses the interest of a major wedge in our current culture, but given the fact that a Pope in 1928, and a Pope in 1956, and now a Pope in 2007 have written encyclicals relative to offering sufferings in reparation and in union with Christ, the book must be completed--even if but one soul asked for it.

I may not be writing as much on the blog. I don't know yet. I do need to put the days and nights in better order and to settle down to the task. The hermitage needs more order, my distractions need to be disciplined and thus put in order--all needs to be ordered love in order to continue the writing and come to completion, and then let the Sacred Heart decide how to get a copy to the one or two souls who would like it.

More transpired yesterday, regarding the Bishop, but I have written about it on a different blogsite which also takes God's good and precious gift of time, for the victim soul is also a hermit, and the evolving nature of the hermit life and suffering require some expression, also. This hermit-victim soul prays for the ordered love in all matters of this life and of the supernatural life. Spiritual reading is a must; and the hermit-victim soul has begun a book on the interior life which is of immense benefit to any soul and must be read through from beginning to end, but slowly. It is called: The Interior Life, written by A Carthusian, and edited/translated by Fr. Tissot. Out of print, but still available on-line!

Pray for me, anyone who might happen to read this, that I finish writing/rewriting the book that may be of help to all of us victim souls.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

St. Gertrude the Great's Wounds

It is amazing to come across the many who are, truly, victim souls. They come in all ages and in known and unknown ways. Some are approached by Jesus in visible and audible ways; others ask Jesus to let them participate in Him, in His intimate sufferings--but always with the intent of love. They love Him and want to be part of all of Him, which includes, of course, His sufferings.

Then the rest is up to Jesus. But why would He deny anyone who loves Him that much to want to be part of Him, to be partly in Him or totally in Him? It is best to desire total inclusion, but often we begin in bits and pieces. It is not easy to let go of "ourselves"!

Yet, what the soul must comprehend and accept, is that Jesus determines the when, where, how, and what--as well as discerns the why of our desires.

He grants us His intimate Self according to what He desires and wills for us. In the case of St. Catherine de Ricci, He chose after some time of her having exterior sufferings of His Passion, to remove the exterior manifestations because (and she asked this) it was becoming an obstacle to the life and work of the convent and a disruption for the growth of the souls about her. People from the world, perhaps were missing the point, being distracted by holy externals of the wounds.

St. Gertrude the Great is a saint who also participated in Christ's sufferings--in the many ways that we do in our every day lives, for there is suffering for those who desire to follow Christ. (And, there is suffering for those who do not desire to follow Him!) The former is a holy suffering, a purposeful suffering, a beneficial suffering; the latter is a suffering of meaningless despair.

St. Gertrude suffered seven specific illnesses in her lifetime. But beyond these, she suffered the typical plights of typical souls, in her on-going work of being purified. It is written that she never was free of imperfections, that her impulsiveness continued to be a humbling sticking point all her life.

Four centuries previous to the manifestations Jesus made to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, Jesus favored St. Gertrude with much theology and prophecy of His Divine Heart.

It was early on in her life as a nun, at around age 25 or 26, St. Gertrude was blessed by Jesus to receive imprint in her heart, His Five Precious Wounds. In her own words she writes:

It was during the winter of the first or second year when I began to receive these favours that I met the following prayer in a book of devotions: "O most merciful Lord, engrave They Wounds upon my heart with Thy most precious Blood, that I may read in them both Thy grief and Thy love; and that the memory of Thy Wounds may ever remain in my inmost heart, to excite my compassion for Thy sufferings and to increase in me Thy love. Amen."

I thought attentively on these things, when I perceived that the grace which I had so long asked by the aforesaid prayer was granted to me, unworhty though I am; for I perceived in spirit that Thouh hadst imprinted in the depth of my heart the adorable makrs of Thy Sacred Wounds, even as they are on Thy Body; that Thou hadst cured my soul in imprinting these Wounds on it; and taht, to satisfy its thirst, Thou hadst given it the precious beverage of Thy love.

St. Gertrude, from a beautiful prayer she found written, repeated that prayer and Jesus answered. Her love of Jesus was already at a stage of tremendous devotion: of single-minded purpose and full attention, to give a full or large part of one's time and focus on a person. The person is Christ, and within Him, and of Him, His Sacred Heart.

When did Jesus' human heart, also Divine, become Sacred? Was it at the moment of the Wound--of the piercing? It is at that moment when the Holy Water flowed to usher in the Church and in souls to purify and cleanse. It is at that moment the Precious Blood flowed to ensure our salvation and to pour forth the Sacraments.

A soul might pray and pray and pray for such graces as to participate in the sufferings of Christ--but to have in the soul's intellect and will, certain sufferings. Did St. Gertrude have in her imagination or intellect an image of exactly what she prayed--of the specific wounds or how that might become a reality? We don't know. Probably not. She simply prayed, but she prayed with deep love and desire and devotion. Jesus chose to grant her the imprint of His wounds on her heart. Prior, she had contemplated much His sufferings, and loved His Heart to a point in which Jesus obviously met her prayers as they had met God's will.

So, if one prays for His wounds to be imprinted in one's heart, the means of this may come in unexpected ways. Perhaps the soul will be required to suffer in ways known by God to better prepare the soul in further detachment and in complete surrender to His will. It may mean taking insults or slights, or in doing daily duty with love, or creating better order in the objects and possessions, in eating or other modes of earthly life. This does not mean that Jesus will not grant the desire to suffer in union, to have His wounds implanted, but it may mean the victim's heart is simply not ready. Or, the wounds may be implanted, but the victim may not be aware, for it could be that the victim's intellect and will are not purified enough to sense this grace. Or, it may be that Jesus has some other sharing in His suffering to be His will.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thoughts on Suffering by Caryll Houselander

Caryll Houselander, mystic and suffering servant, died at age 51 in England in 1953--but not before she left tremendous writings, including her autobiography Rocking Horse Catholic and the classic, Reed of God.

In the chapter on "Advent", Caryll touches upon suffering. She dwelt in the Lord's "house of suffering" much of her life, in one way or another, so her thoughts on the topic are rather inspired.

"People sometimes get disheartened because they have read that suffering ennobles and have met people who seem to have come out of the crucible like pure silver, made beautiful by suffering; but it seems to them that in their own case it is quite the opposite. They find that, however hard they try not to be, they are irritable; that astonishing stabs of bitterness afflict them, that far from being more sympathetic, more understanding, there is a numbness, a chill on their emotions: they cannot respond to others at all; they seem not to love anyone any more; and they even shrink from, and dread the very presence of, those who are compassionate and who care for them.

"They say that in their case suffering is certainly a failure.

"The truth is that they are too impatient to wait for the season of Advent in sorrow to run its course; a seed contains all the life and loveliness of the flower, but it contains it in a little hard black pip of a thing which even the glorious sun will not enliven unless it is buried under the earth.

"There must be a period of gestation before anything can flower.

"If only those who suffer would be patient with their early humiliations and realize that Advent is not only the time of growth but also of darkness and hiding and waiting, they would trust, and trust rightly, that Christ is growing in their sorrow, and in due season all the fret and strain and tension of it will give place to a splendor of peace.

Is this not beauty and truth? I marvel at the images, at the hiddenness of suffering. Caryll next writes of joy, and of the same time that must be allowed for joy to bloom. We often hear the mystics and victim souls write and speak of suffering becoming joy--of loving to suffer and suffering to love, of joy and pain being on the same plane, interchangeable in a spiritual conundrum.

This is true, but it takes time--the time necessary for each individual soul to relinquish fear in pain and embrace trust in pain. This is usually done in darkness, in silence, in the final death of self-will. And, as in the seasons of seed-planting, gestation, growth and harvest, these deaths of self-will are cyclical and deepening, as a spiral boring into the heart of Love.