Saturday, January 26, 2008

Application, Synthesis

Just trying to put into practice some of the concepts of St. Siliouan, St. Francis de Sales, Canon Beuadenon (on humility), the Virgin Mary, and Jesus! It is not so easy until one begins to see all the details--everything that is happening in one's daily life--as practice lessons.

The thought that "I deserve" this (when there is a difficult challenge) has now come to mean something far more rich. A simple look-up of the word [deserve] brought light in a different way: to serve well or zealously.

This is what all the above writers, what Mary, and what Jesus try to explain, over and over.

Today at noon Mass, the priest explained the translation of a familiar verse in which it is said that (to encapsulate) people thought Jesus to be out of His mind or crazy. Well, this priest said the word actually translates better to mean that Jesus was full of passion and zeal, so full of love for the people that his zeal was overwhelming.

It seems that to serve well or zealously, one must be able to "turn on a dime." Thus we get into what Fr. de Chautard penned: the sacrament of the present moment.

A friend met in Avila, Spain, e-mailed that during a winter stay in a warm climate, various relatives had come to visit and being elderly, they so enjoyed the socializing aspects of gathering with this person. The person, however, wants quiet to pray and says the two cannot seem to happen at the same time. The person wants simple peace.

This is a form of suffering: to have in mind and desire one thing, and the opposite at our doorstep. Self-abnegation (throwing oneself down) would be to do as the hermits are to do: drop what one is doing or thinking, and be hospitable. Of course, St. Colette of Corbie had so many visitors that her guardian and spiritual father told her she had to limit it to two hours per day--or her prayer time and quiet would otherwise be ruined, along with her health!

Frustration becomes a type of anger when one's will is up-ended by God's will. We have to to discern: whose will? Does the devil have a will? It seems so. Never thought about it much, but yes, it does seem that the devil has its own will, for it wills to do evil and tries to seduce others to do evil.

Many aspects of serving well (or serving zealously) can be factored. The suffering comes when there is not peace in the choices made and in living them out. Once one has accepted a turn of circumstances willed by God, even if for five minutes, then there can be peace, as one has made the conversion in God's will. One must be willing to drop all that had previously been so peaceful, for if God wills otherwise, then one must shuffle quickly.

Perhaps it isn't so much that we are asked by God to take on this or that which is cumbrous, such as this person being sensitive to relatives who desire more social time during her winter get-away, but rather of a turning-on-the-dime when the two or three hours take place, and to serve well.

Someone has awakened from a nap, and the suffering of lifting and interacting is amerliorated with the thoughts of Jesus' self-abnegation, of His choosing to deserve the suffering: to serve well, to serve zealously. He said that Mary of Bethany chose the better part, and that part was to focus in love, on Christ.

One must now, turn on the dime, and gather the little one, lift up, focus attention, and serve well. The suffering is not then a suffering, but a joy. It is a joy to serve well in the order of the present moment. The only other option is to fight it, to not serve well! That's where frustration enters.


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