Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Carthusian: Why We Must Suffer

Perhaps it seems boring to any one soul or other out there who might stumble across this blog and read it--boring that I quote some of the deceased-but-spiritually-eternal souls that I come across in reading.

Have I shared my little rule within the Nine S' of my Rule of Life? It is that I do not read living authors (other than the Pope!), for all of us alive are in formation, and there have been too many instances of souls led astray. This may seem rude or mistrusting, but let the living authors die, their writings settle for a few decades, and be good for later generations. For me, I read the ones already proven by God, by the Church, by time and treasure. This proves efficient to me, for I can benefit from the souls who have succeeded in reaching the summit of the holy mountain.

It isn't that some of our contemporary writers won't become the spiritual classic authors of the next centuries. It is just that we do not know yet, for sure. Some may be solid today, but slip-slidy tomorrow. Those brilliant scholars who do know for sure, are not me. I have been misled by one such author, as I was reading along, trusting the writer's vein of thought, only to find myself up-ended in the worst sin of my pathetic life. So, it seemed best to not risk that again. Yes, I may be passing up some excellent living saints; but there are plenty who are already canonized who have written tomes for my study and edification.

People like me would have been saved the tricks of the devil, at least in some instances, had the Church retained what I have since learned was a list of condemned books. The current imprimateur helps, but it is not a surety in this contemporary Catholic field studded with literary landmines.

In fact, yesterday mention was made of a current living person or two, who two persons in my recent experience have mentioned in specific writings, and of which they are being influenced by either in Lent or in one case, using the ideas in homilies. My Bishop cringed. I would hope so, for one who is being espoused elsewhere is a known dissenter in the Church; the other has written much, is deceased, and yet the writings need filtering for they waft off into the hinterlands of questionable theology. Nothing to be preaching about quite yet, for already there has been a misleading of souls.

Now, some may find this approach to be narrow; but I make no apologies for desiring to be safe rather than sorry (again). I do not have the luxury of time, and I trust Jesus when He says the path is narrow and few are they who are on it. I want to be on that path, and I have spent far too much time in the past, exploring the brush to right and left. Give me the bedside book of St. Teresa of Avila, the book St. Francis de Sales kept with him for 18 years, the guides of any of the saints--and the Guide of all: Scripture. That ought to be good enough for the likes of me. Yes, add some poetry, lives of saints, writings of the best of (dead) spiritual directors (like A. Tanquerey and his outstanding bibliography): holy, holy, holy.

This Carthusian quoted, in the following, is already weighed in Mother Church's scale of time and thought, and assured a berth in orthodoxy. He writes yet more on suffering, and in this reflection: the why of suffering. Other holy souls have written about suffering, and to read the various thoughts creates a panorama.

In the Divine Plan, there is but one Man--'Ecce Homo'; but one truth, one way, one life. 'Ego sum via, veritas et viat...I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.' Everyman, loved by God, must become one with that Man, know that Truth, follow that Way, and enter into that Life.

To give that supreme grace to each one of us, God stops at nothing. There are times when He will turn the whole world upside-down if thereby one single soul may come to resemble His divine Son more. That is all He wants, that is all He can want: the whole plan of divine Providence is directed to that end. All that happens to us must be regarded in the great light of this final end. That is why we all suffer--to become 'other Christs'; to be Jesus over again, and, like Him, misunderstood, persecuted, and made to bear our cross. Looked at from any other point of view, suffering would be incomprehensible and intolerable. On the other hand, when we contemplate our divine Example--He, the Truth and the Life--suffering assumes a beauty which is the loveliest thing God has permitted here below, just as death is the most living of the realities of this life.

To find joy in sorrow, life in death--that is the great secret by which our wounds are healed...but you won't find it in any of your text-books!

2 Comments:

Blogger Solanus said...

I don't know if a 53 year old married man with children can become a victim soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or not. Actually, I don't know if I am even called to such. I already suffer so much that I don't know if I'm inviting more. Of course, Jesus would give me the grace to persevere. Since I was a small child, I was in love with the things of God. Nativities are the most beautiful things I had ever seen at 3 or 4. My dad made a beautiful outdoor life size nativity for me when I was 4 or 5. Every year I was in awe and found the Mary to be so beautiful. My father was a protestant minister.

Anyway, I converted when I was 18 and took the name Bruno as my confirmation name in 1972. I read his life and how he started the Carthusian order and I found that life awe-inspiring. I had a strong desire to join a monastery at that time but was shy and afraid of the world. So I didn't follow through.

In my 20s I fell into grave sin. Was married at 32 in 1986 and had a major conversion experience in 1987 through St Francis of Assisi and joined the tertiary Franciscans.

I've always wanted to be closer to Jesus, to hide myself in His wounds and fly from the world and all the evil influence it. I am weak and easily led astray.

I've suffered much throughout my life with depression but God has sustained me.

I too read lives of the saints and look for spiritual direction from their writings. But I am still very weak and fall into sin easily. When will I be rid of this body of death and be with Jesus? How much longer must I wait?

I'm rambling. I really just need your prayers that I will be converted and achieve final perseverance so I can be with Jesus and Mary in heaven for eternity. I try to offer my suffering but usually become impatient and irritated easily. I don't think I am able to do any of it with love. I know I have nothing good in me only sinfulness and a strong desire to sin, especially sins of the flesh which according to Our Lady of Fatima lead more souls to Hell than any other sin. If I do anything that is good and loving at all it is Our Lord acting through me, not I.

May God bless your efforts to save souls

4:02 PM  
Blogger nothing said...

Well, I found the comment had been published. Not so swift with the technological aspects of the world, am I!

A confessor the other day reminded me what the saints have said regarding the efficacy of suffering--that if the world realized how good it was for souls, more would be praying for suffering!

It seems you are and have been a victim soul, if you have been uniting your sufferings and offering them for the very evils of the world from which there is the temptation to flee. Of course, we ought to flee evil (and do good!).

A few years ago a priest told me I was "born for the veil". In some ways, as in you for the monastery, I have those strong inclinations as you do. But, in reality, it has proven out that God has desired the hermit life and a life of suffering for me. It seems this is so for you, also. God would have done whatever to get our attention had He willed otherwise, don't you think? Would He not have given you less fear and shyness had He really willed you to be in the monastery? He would have opened the doors when I knocked, also; but He did not.

Instead, came the awareness and desire to offer the sufferings and to accept the suffering as a sacrifice of praise; and then, also, to accept His desire for me to be a hermit. In these two areas, He has provided all that is necessary according to His will. Only my will remains to be honed and fired and then melded into His.

Another thing, on a different comment, I expressed that I was not made for the world of the Church. I should explain. The world of the Church, in what I mean, is that world of active apostolate which is so healthy and good and productive for so many who volunteer and do good works in the Church. I had tried to do these things, but God kept closing the doors on all activities, committees, whatever! I had to discern with my spiritual director's help, if it was the devil closing the doors--but it was God. Then He let me know He wanted me to be a hermit, and in that life as a hermit there is a kind of suffering, for with certain aspects of my spiritual life, there is a necessity which is best to be more alone, to accept this aloneness, and to live a kind of double life. Yet, to still look as one in keeping with a typical life within the Church, playing a role as a parishioner, albeit a very quiet one who comes and goes, smiles, provides conversation when required, but strives to have that conversation be of God or holy matters. And, to keep striving to work on the many imperfections, for like you, I am nothing other than what God does within me. And this is true of every human being, even if we don't always recognize the fact!

5:01 PM  

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