Saturday, June 28, 2008

St. Francis de Sales: Comments on Suffering

"First, accept the pain from His hand, as if you saw Him, Himself, putting and pressing it on your head.

"Second, offer yourself to suffer more.

"Third, beg our Savior by the merit of his torments to accept these little distresses in union with the pains He suffered on the cross."

"Next, protest that you wish not only to suffer, but to love and cherish these sufferings since they are sent from so good and so sweet a hand.

"Lastly, invoke the martyrs and the many servants of God, who enjoy Heaven as a result of their having been afflicted in the world...."

Such is the advice of St. Francis de Sales, on suffering. There is more, but this helps any Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be reminded, in steps, how to proceed with the good work. It is not easy to keep this focus on our own, but in the Holy Spirit, through prayer and trust, we can persevere and learn to embrace all as goodness and joy. We can expect the bar to be raised, one notch at a time. Or, like a vice grip around the head, as a kind of halo--we can see the angel of God and feel the tightening of the band. If we shriek out in pain and complaint, the angel might justifiably reply, "Well, you agreed to this!" So we have.

How difficult it is to accept not only physical pain, relentless pain, but more so, the suffering of a loved one, particularly a child. This suffering is taken on by the adult, in sorrow and grief beyond description. Yet we try to describe the pain of a child's suffering, without words. Yet even in such piteous suffering of a baby barely toddling upon his or her earthly journey, there is a sense of the holy. We can see the Lord, anointing the child with the oil of His sweet agony, sharing His glory and omniscient love with the most vulnerable of innocent life.

Consider the babies in the womb, destroyed by an abortionist's scalpel, rejected by his or her own mommy and daddy--often also by grandparents who do not want this grandchild to be born. Consider the many adults--Catholics among them!--who do not want the little baby to live, as they vote for senators and congresspersons, even presidential candidates--who pass "pro-choice" legislation! Yet these very legislators (and Catholic "pro-choice" voters) would be devastated if their two-, five-, or 20-year-old child was killed in an accident or died of leukemia.

To be sure, there is much suffering in our world--suffering not brought by Christ's loving hand but rather from the claws of intrinsic evil. The suffering from Christ's loving hand simply arrives: suddenly, unexpectedly, and without our bringing it on due to malice or misjudgment on our own part. This kind of suffering is just punishment or the consequences of our sins. Some suffering is the consequence of other persons' sins--violence and crime of abortion, drunk driving, drug abuse, sex abuse, emotional and psychological abuse. Deep down in the roots of these sins can be found often enough: sheer evil.

Yet if a victim soul suffers as a result of others' sins, that suffering can have merit and goodness. Depends upon how the victim soul bears the pain. For, Jesus suffered as a result of others' sins. See how He suffered? He suffered mostly in silence except for asking the Father to forgive His persecutors, His tormentors, His murderers. And He forgave those who abandoned Him, too.

When the suffering comes as the balm of inexplicable illness or accident, it must be suffered as such, as a mystery of our vulnerable, created life, so totally dependent upon God in all aspects. Not that any of it is easy. He never appeared to the mystic victim souls in a manner expressing that it would be easy. Often He showed Himself as the scourged, the thorn-crowned, the Crucified with gaping wounds.

Often His mother appeared to those called to suffer, with tears in her eyes or cascading down her cheeks, much like the dew drops on a Lady's Mantle, first thing in the morning. That is how suffering often comes: in the morning of our days, in the morning of our lives. We awaken to the agony and feel the sufferings of the world within our bodies or minds or hearts, and in all, for suffering encompasses our beings which dwell in His Wounded Sacred Heart.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

And Why Not Take on the Sorrows of the World?

And Why Not Take on the Sorrows of the World?

The screaming, crying, painful aches
of silent soul and reeling mind?

Eat the bread and drink the blood
and become the heart of every one?

Say good-bye to what is known and loved
in this our graveyard of frivolity?

Tear the bark from naked tree and clothe ourselves
like drapery
upon a cross of which we know nothing
and understand less?

Become the sword that pierces flesh,
skewers and entwines beloved,
twists and binds us to His wounds,

Oh Mary, cleft from child Jesus
broken at the cross,
let me feel your pain
and that of others who
suffer the sorrows of the world.

Good to look back over poetry written pre-Catholic confirmation, but very much well into the love and longing for the true Church, Jesus' Own.

And yesterday, it was good to remember the question that came to mind fourteen years ago on the 7th anniversary of the two back surgeries and death experience, in recovery room, necessitating being rushed back into the second surgery. And to reflect upon Who asked that question, and where I was fourteen years ago, and the pain, and the thoughts of a young, single mother of four children who was dying of cancer.

Yes, why not take on the sorrows of the world? It is, of course, the work of a Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is the work that Jesus offers and allows for those willing to eat and drink His blood and unite in His heart in the path of pain. Not everyone is called to this vocation, but many are called who do not respond affirmatively, and others are called who struggle against the fiat for a while, and God does with us all as He wills, if we will. And regardless, eventually suffering comes even if but an instant of suffering in the last breath--not to mention the suffering of all our judgments, when we face our Lord.

Yesterday, I spoke this truth to the confessor who happened to be celebrating the morning Mass. I told him that a Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus must be willing to take on the sufferings of the world. A victim soul must LOVE TO SUFFER AND SUFFER TO LOVE.

It is all done in love and desire, to be one with the suffering Lord, to love enough to suffer enough as He loves and suffers. And then, to resurrect in His love and in His heart. And it helps, also, to experience the suffering of the Sorrowful Mother, as she can teach us the humility necessary to endure pain--not only our own but that of others, that of her tears but also of her Son's redemptive agony.

There is great beauty in suffering with Christ. Much joy in the honor, truly--but not always so easy to maintain this conscious reality! Even a spinal headache fights against the human appreciation. Mother Mary helps if we ask. Jesus offers us His Sacred Heart and all purity and love within His Body and Blood to strengthen.

We are given all necessary to suffer well, to take on the sorrows of the world, in Christ.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Letter to the Da: On Being an Immolation

The spiritual da had much to discuss yesterday, during lunch out. He spoke of thoughts he'd read regarding our asking Jesus to enshroud us in His shroud during Holy Communion [and would be good all the time]. He spoke of how Jesus is inside [such as His Sacred Heart image, and wanting us nesting within His Heart?] and desires us to come inside to Him.

Then he spoke of deeper conversions, and also of his suffering. He spoke of his back pain and how many ibuprofens he takes, and is that too many? Then of an injection in his spine that did not seem to help, and was it right to seek after relief? Is this not his time to suffer and offer the suffering to God? And he spoke of the past couple of days of not feeling well at all, and of his heart not being quite right.

I reminded him of how four years ago he was in the hospital with heart problems, and that he 'd asked, "Pray for me poor heart! Pray for me poor heart." I had prayed very much for his heart. God heard our prayers, as many people were praying. And yes, he should not take so much of one over-the-counter medication, and that one could upset his stomach. And yes, it is right to seek some relief to the suffering, as he was not going to any extreme. The saints agreed to whatever simple and recommended means would help them endure. I also explained that the pain in his back could be radiating and causing nerves to affect other organs, such as his heart, causing arhythmia. So to try to take the edge off the pain might help his heart.

It was a rare conversation, for he usually does not open up about his suffering. Yet it was bothering him to the point of expression, and part of it is the acceptance of a possible reality of impending departure from this world. He then laughed and said he'd tried to make a bargain with God that he could suffer a few more years and be left here. The laughter was due to his knowing that we do not make bargains with God. So we both laughed.

Yet I understand more than I could express that I understand. Part of his point was to share what he is facing, and it wasn't helped in the temporal experience of the sisters having other priests come once a week to give father his "day off." He still celebrates Mass on his "day off", getting up his usually early and being at the altar by 7 a.m. Ten sisters or so come to this Mass.

Yesterday, they had a priest come who drove a distance to be there, and he is a rather forceful priest, very much an in-charge personality type. Father said yes, he had taken charge and even took charge in questions to father, a priest of two decades or more experience beyond the in-charge, guest priest's years. I reassured him that this is how this other priest is--his temperament.

Then the waitress patronized the da, sort of making fun without meaning to, directing comments to me, or asking me questions about what he would like, even though he was right there. It was so demeaning to him, and he responded with his own requests of what he would like to drink, even when she made comments about his not wanting water. No, he did not want water. Just coffee, with cream. And then she asked me, and I repeated. To her, he was just a tottering old man, and rather quaint with his accent, and she catered down to him.

He did not like it that I brought him dessert; he was not up for sweets, which is not like him. He then said, "Let's get out of here"--when most of the lunch crowd had left, but not all. So we discussed more his thoughts, which are always excellent, and yet some were good repeats; and when we pulled into the parking lot by his quarters at the convent, he said to just pull up by the door rather than to park, that he was going in to take a nap.

Later, I read some pages in the biography of St. Catherine of Siena. Jesus spoke to her, in what she had repeated to her confessor, and it pertained to the da's suffering--and the good of suffering, the good of being an immolation. So I called him in the evening, and told the da that I really do have concern, and reminded him again of other over-the-counter meds to relieve some pain, and that his doctor might give him something to help take the edge off from time to time. And I told him about the pages read and that I'd write it out and mail it.

Today I will write him a letter, expressing what St. Catherine reported of Jesus' message. It is all about being an immolation. Yet, perhaps I won't re-quote what she had to say. Not sure yet. Being an immolation sounds grand when in writing. In reality, it is inexpressible.

Being an immolation includes facing one's mortality. Being an immolation means being humbled through other people's patronizing tones, remarks, and attempts to hide the fact that one's capacities to do what one had previously done, are fading. In some cases, they are bleached out completely. And eventually, for all of us, the final bleach is inevitable.

Being an immolation is the greatest process we will ever experience in suffering. It is what reduces us to true nothingness. This is sort of what St. Catherine of Siena was trying to express, but not with these words.

Being an immolation provides the opportunity or many such, repeatedly, in which one ought only lower one's head and humbly say..."Pray for me".

The da later didn't want to talk about this level of bodily decline and said he is all right, but he said he'd seen the other over-the-counter that I suggested he try. Being an immolation is the greatest means of death to self that God so lovingly provides.

One simply must keep going within the immolation opportunity. There is no choice for a follower of Christ, keen on union with Christ, but to en-joy the immolation process.

My current immolation moments might preclude the letter to the da, but I will pray the thoughts, and the Holy Spirit might take it to him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

St. Dorotheos of Gaza on Doing Something According to God

This quote pulls two e-mails and my own current struggles to a good point.

"If a man is doing something good according to God, trial of some kind will come upon him, for trial and temptation either precede or follow all good. Neither is it sure the thing is happening according to God, unless it is proved so by trials and temptations."*

The Lord has brought two e-mails to help me to persevere in something that was painful to have to write out. The Bishop asked, and the confessor said that whenever the Bishop asks, I must do as he asks. Of course, I wanted to, but there were some doubts in this particular request, for it required writing out some aspects of another person's life. Yet, once it was done (and it was not easy to write succinctly about such matters, so it is narrative style to which I gravitate), the Lord blessed me with assurance that I am a huge sinner. It was awful to be judging another person's weaknesses, yet it was of concern and for the greater good.

The Lord then allowed reassurance, through the insights of an e-mail. The person could discern my gross tendency to have doubts--doubts which drain the energy and preclude better focus and work for the Lord in prayer and penance. Yet, the very doubts and second guessings are a form of suffering which must be offered to the Lord--even if one offers them in retrospect! God's time is before, now and beyond, so He can accept offerings from our view of time, which have already occurred. So, Lord, I offer all the time I have wasted in doubting and second-guessing!

I started to doubt if what I was doing, in writing out for the Bishop the weaknesses of this person's dysfunction. It seemed so judgmental, and who was I (a sinner!) to expose another's confidences and also my observations? But, it was to be in obedience, and my own flaws floated low to my soul, as I wrote.

Then came another e-mail, of which I'll share my response, for it seems to speak to my own issues--a pep talk to myself, pumped from what I could share with this other soul who is, by a priest's insights, validated in the vocation as a victim soul of the Sacred Heart. But yet, the person was accepted in a lovely community, to which the priest advised against. Doubts arose in the soul, and bits of confusions in looking back!

How well do I share in this type of suffering of looking back! The neck grows stiff and painful from the strain of looking back! Then energy is used in dealing with the ache! And none of it is all that necessary except, perhaps, to train us to strict obedience and humility. The quote of St. Dorotheos of Gaza, 6th century monk/hermit, reassures us that God's will is proved by trials and temptations, of which doubting and second guessing are soul temptation and trial, both.

So, for the response to this blessed soul:

You must do exactly as Fr. says. Victim souls, when called by the Lord, are often given a priest to guide them. A victim soul is to take the path of greater suffering, as that is our work. It is hard to remember this, though, for pain hurts! Internal pain hurts all the more! Spiritual pain is the highest of sufferings, or so it seems. The victim souls of which I've read who were called by the Lord to be in convents, were not externs, it seems. They seemed to be more hidden.

I tried to get into some religious orders, also. Actually, one priest told me that the life would be too rigorous for my health! He is right! The Lord needs victim souls to suffer, and if we do that which would shorten our lives due to our own wills, we limit the full reign of time for suffering while on earth.
Even the guilt you are sensing is a good suffering to offer.

Someone else just e-mailed me, insightfully detecting that my feelings of guilt over having comforts, books, lovely gardens--is depleting me of energy. This is energy that could be better used for others, for God, for finishing the manual projects so as to have more focus for that guidebook! So, I am going to try to have mastery over those feelings of guilt, and to not doubt. Doubt is a drainer that is not of God. Then, from whence does doubt come? Perhaps from another d-word?

Of course, if you had chosen to follow through with the acceptance at the convent, as an extern, God would have allowed, or so we assume, but with what outcomes? It is true that the Virgin Mary has told saints that graces can be lost. Also, Jesus and the Virgin Mary always told saints to do exactly as their superiors and/or spiritual directors said, even if it went against what they had asked, for obedience is valued highly.

In those cases, in which the saint then did do as the superiors asked, and not what Jesus had asked, Jesus worked it around so that the superior's will became the same as His will. But, the test was Jesus seeing if the victim soul would be obedient to his or her director. If we can be obedient to those who God has sent to guide us and counsel us while on earth, then Jesus is assured we will be obedient to Him--for we are to see Christ in our superiors. It is a means of training in obedience and humility.

The doubts, though, are actually good for us to a point. They cause us to see, hopefully soon, how they drag us down needlessly. If the doubts come from the Holy Spirit, they will register from the conscience, and also our spiritual directors/confessors will advise that our feelings are either simply doubts, or that we must heed them as nudgings from God that we are not doing quite as we ought. In your case, your priest has spoken, and you must obey, and cast the doubts out.

[I, too, must cast out doubts, for my Bishop, spiritual director and confessor have each assured on the seemingly comfortable life, the books, the trees and plants, the furnishings--and now the narration done on a sensitive subject. So I thank you and the other dear soul--both of you who have written in the Lord, as it will cause me to see God's validated good and not drown in doubts.]

Now, if a director is wrong, and is going against God's will for the soul, then it is still a win-win situation for the obedient soul. If God really wants you as an extern in the convent, then eventually He will make sure it happens. But to be obedient first, is always best. These are just my considerations based upon what I've read and how I've experienced situations--and am still learning about obedience, humility, and also about the devilish doubts.

I now notice, upon re-reading St. Dorotheos' maxim, that trial and temptation can precede all good. Not that doubts don't have their place in our soul's development, but if they try to interfere with what is all good, from God, and this has been discerned in prayer and in spiritual counsel, then the doubts must be tossed on the devil's dung heap.

And the photo is of one of the lovely blooms on a branch of one of the more expensive acquisitions in the Mary Gardens: the Stewartia Serrata tree. Without doubt, this tree is gorgeous not only in its vase-like shape but also in the glossy leaves, the summer blooms, as well as the red fruit that turns to seed pod and remains for the bird's delight into winter!

* Wheeler, Eric. Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourse and Sayings. 1977. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. p. 252-3.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Suffering Repeats Itself

Suffering is a double rainbow. A Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus does well to hold fast the image of the rainbow with its less visible reflected rainbow beside it. We are looking at light, after all.

And like reflected light, and refracted light in some aspects within a rainbow, such as that caused by prisms, too--we consider suffering of all types.

Suffering repeats itself.

We may learn to avoid some suffering. But other suffering comes as part of life. A victim soul learns to accept the sufferings as reflected light. Our sufferings are a reflection of the light of Christ's sufferings.

Last evening I accepted an invitation from a couple to dine out. They are moving away soon. We have good conversations, refreshingly Catholic conversations, and of worthwhile content. But the sitting has brought pain--some last night after the sitting, and more this morning in a kind of reflection. This week after Mass, driving back to Agnus Dei, there was an accident three cars ahead. A young woman driving a small volkswagon tangled with a heavy-duty pick-up truck hauling a large trailer--a contractor's truck. Thanks be to God there were no serious injuries. But I considered my own accident nearly 24 years ago, and prayed for the young woman's body, as the next day she no doubt felt all the pain of the impact throughout bones, muscles, nerves and tissues.

This morning I feel as if I've been kicked by a horse--in the back, and the head feels as if a vice grip has been tightened 'round. This suffering has been repeated many times over.

I made the choice to go to dinner, to sit, to enjoy the conversation--and to risk what could and most likely would come. I do not think about it much ahead of time, yet I do consider the reality and shove it aside. Then, later I think I will be more strict with myself in future, but then consider that the couple would be taken quite a distance out of their way to come to Agnus Dei. And, they do not comprehend the suffering as I do, although they are amazingly empathic people. So they understand in part, for they suffer other maladies which I do not comprehend as they do!

I also suffered the truth of having wasted $10 on a plate of pasta with a greasy sauce that I could not at all eat. So a salad was brought, and my stomach was unused to so much dressing. This suffering has repeated itself, also, and has developed from the basic (perhaps detached to some views) diet eaten over the past several years. Food has decreased in interest and is the necessity of an earthly body. Simple foods the body accepts best, at this phase, and meat (other than fish on occasion), does not abide well in the stomach!

So the suffering of this outing last evening is repeated from most other times out--if not all times. Thankfully, these times are fewer; yet in other ways, they are a blessing because I can now have something more to offer the Lord this morning. I have offered the bodily pain for a young woman who has moved away with her husband and children and is feeling the pinching pain of adaptation away from what had been a rather controlling parental situation (her parents). While she knows it was an unhealthy situation, she loves them and misses them, misses the place where she grew up, misses her siblings.

And, she repeats this suffering each time she thinks of them and considers the move. She does not comprehend how to offer this suffering. But I offer my repetitive suffering to Jesus, to utilize if He wills, for this young woman's suffering. Jesus knows. He might also use the little sufferings I offer this morning, for something else unknown to me.

So the offering repeats itself, also. A Victim Soul's work is to endure even the sufferings that repeat themselves--if by our own actions or if not instigated by ourselves! I know that when I sit on certain chairs or venture out on certain activities, that I most likely will have added pain. I tend to forget just how painful that pain can be, and tend to ignore the fact that it will cause me to have to struggle all the more to endure, as well as the added effort in controlling the emotions and thoughts that pain affects. I could also, at times, forget how to joyfully offer the pain, whether from my own choices or from situations beyond my control, to the Lord for His beneficial use!

Today I am not forgetting, however. And this is because the Holy Spirit is reminding me that pain repeats itself, and so too, the offering must repeat itself. And thus, the joy repeats itself, and also the work in strengthening the mind and soul for suffering repeats itself.

It is like the slighter image of the rainbow beside the stronger image of the rainbow, and knowing that the images are reflections of light, of reverberating light and refractive light, that the human eye can discern from a distance. And the beauty of the rainbow and the double of the rainbow, and pondering the glory of God in this sight, reminds the Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that there is much beauty and hope and glory in sufferings reflected, in sufferings offered, in sufferings appreciated for their value.

There was a value in accepting the invitation to dine out, in the levels of suffering produced, reflected, and offered. But it would be unwise to accept many such invitations, as the body has finite limits. There are other opportunities for suffering in this body, and just maintaining in daily life taxes the body. A victim soul must be responsible. That is why the saints suggest not taking on sufferings unnecessarily, for the Lord brings them to His victims of love quite naturally.

For someone to repeat sufferings unnecessarily, such as to rake over painful memories that will only bring more suffering (and the distinguishing point, it seems, is selfish suffering--suffering that pivots around self) is not loving suffering. That is unhealthy suffering. To keep drinking alcohol, or overeating, or smoking is an unhealthy repetitive suffering. Dining out, for me, although rarely, is becoming a bit like beating my head against a wall and forgetting that the head is going to hurt soon after!

So I may need to suffer not accepting an invitation, or of inviting others to Agnus Dei if they want to converse and suffer the physical effort in hosting--or of repeating the suffering of sitting to dine out and risk money spent on food that is not easily digestible.

It might seem odd to detail such thoughts on suffering, but the little details make up the threads woven into the daily fabric of one's life. These nuances are part of a victim soul's experience, and must be considered in the training. Jesus accepted suffering, for it was His mission. It is a victim soul's mission, as well, and what is the great work of that mission is the reflected and repeated suffering--and ultimately, how the soul offers the suffering, repeatedly.

Yesterday, in an unexpected conversation with the Bishop, he said to use the gifts for the Church. Yes, many forms of suffering are just that: gifts. And in using them for the Church, of course one is using them for Jesus, for He is the Head of the Body, the Church.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Holy Spirit Will Guide You

The confessor this morning gently reminded me of this, and am to pray to the Holy Spirit before I speak. The Holy Spirit will help me discern spirits, as well.

A dear soul has written another e-mail, encouraging. I did not post the first comment, due to her private identity information included. This one is helpful, and I post it for everyone, as it is a message to all souls who love God and who suffer in love, in desire to love and to be pleasing as a living, holy holocaust.

"Dearest Nothing: Sorry it has taken so long to respond, having computer problems... I can wait as long at it takes for the guide, just let me know when and how to obtain a copy. Am being brief. I don't know whether this message is on the blog for all to read. Want to repeat that your writings have been such a blessing - true direction, and a balm for the soul. With deepest gratitude and in the Sacred Heart. Sincerely, [code name which indicates a love for the day of Christ's birth]: (I love Christmas!)"

The guide is that re-write of the one I had started two years ago! I am praying to begin working on it when the heavy work of the Mary Garden is over.

So, dear lover of Christmas, thank you for the encouragement. It helps solidify the mission, to just adore Him, and to know that some are called out of the world, for very few encounters, in order to have the energy--yes it does take physical effort--to suffer, and to grow within the cocoon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to remain hidden, and yet to love. To love to learn to love.

How can the interior physical suffering be described? It is not necessary. God knows. The goal in remaining hidden is to not let it show exteriorly. Sometimes this brings misunderstanding, which is the point: to suffer misunderstanding as another offering of praise to God, in union with Him Who was misunderstood even in His suffering in silence when His followers did not comprehend, when He was surely weary not only physically but also from inner sight--of seeing and trying to say, but being misunderstood, and then of being quiet and still being misunderstood. He bore the sufferings of what He perceived; and He went off to pray.

There is a suffering of which perhaps I have not made clear. It is not so much physical suffering as it is some interior aspects. It is seeing with inner sight, and while some might think that would be wonderful, it is actually quite painful. And then, at times, those with that capacity desire to shut down to it, or to ignore it, and then the soul finds itself all the more in a kind of suffering from the effects of having ignored certain warnings or essences.

When capacities increase, there is a desire to hibernate all the more for protection from the world.

And, the spiritual suffering is eased by the nesting in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And, when physical aspects of suffering accompany the interior capacities (which years ago someone called "gifts") then the situation is such that the person realizes there is no choice, anyway, but to hibernate, to rest.

It is in the rest, the nesting within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wherein resides His mother, that the soul prays in the subtleties of God's realm. The Holy Spirit breathes in that realm--touches gently the soul's pale cheek, kisses the soul's unkissed lips so as to whisper God's assurances down deep into the heart where the soul has learned to think.

Think with your heart! Think with your heart! Think with your heart!

It seems as if I am not doing enough for God! Surely He is displeased with the way the hours slide by--His hours. When planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, pruning, transplanting--has the soul set specific intentions? The heart thinks so. The mind does not recall.

In this time of economic hardship for so many, is it right to purchase mulch to keep the roots of the trees, roses, groundcover, perennials, shrubs, and annuals cooled? The overworked employees in the garden section of a warehouse type store think so; it helps pay their salaries. But the ambiance of the place has altered, and people have lost jobs, gotten hours slashed, and those remaining are doing the work of two or maybe two and a half.

To drive 12 miles and back to the nursery that is out in the fields and woods--to browse on an overcast day, with maybe rain (and that makes it all the better) will cost $5 in gas and perhaps much more in the perennials possibly purchased. Yet it is a day for breathing the breath of God that flows sweetly in the moist breeze, to have a gentle encounter with one or two who might be there, far different from the rush of souls in large garden centers...or even at the noon Mass.

It has become best to go to early Mass, with the few people there to pray and worship, peacefully--and none rushing forward for position, either in physical steps or in sensate gestures seen within their souls. It is best to open up to God as He wills, yet to remain stilled and silent, taking God's time as He offers it, seeing it as He sees time, in a continuum of spiraling motion such as light within a rainbow's glimpse, eternally available.

Yes, God's time is eternal, and only God is forever.

Only within Him do we flow in the spiraling continuum of God's time forever.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Well-Timed Reminder

Someone wrote asking for the updated guide to victim souls. It is not completed!
My spiritual father had just suggested I keep writing blogs--but also write a book, but wait until autumn for the book as the gardens and hermitage need upkeep.

But the decision as to what to write is solved. The updated guide is in process--with a two-year cessation. A friend had just said she'd shelved a novel (with many redeeming qualities as a Christian-Catholic novel) for five years, and recently she has been reminded to continue the writing efforts. She must wait until they get moved, for now her time is busy with preparations.

I think I stopped because the style was becoming stilted--not deviating enough from the original, written 75 years ago, and then shortened about 60 years ago. Still a different style of writing than now, and my style might need some updating itself!

Something else has come to mind, and it has to do with the intensity of pain being in correlation to heightened intuition. This can happen sometimes, if a person's vocation includes this aspect. It is all up to God. But it happens in some early on, and in others, suffering frees the soul to listen to God. Once the Virgin Mary said: You will know Him in your pain.

This is so true.

The devil gets involved, also. The more one knows Jesus in his or her pain, the more one meets up with the devil since the devil does not want souls to know Jesus more and more intimately. In this, then, a demonic attack can be a kind of affirmation that all is well, and to simply proceed calmly, quietly, and yet carefully.

Sometimes the battle is waged at night when one is not as capable of fending off the devil, but this is as God allows, for then one has to rely on God all the more, and one's angel, to protect and defend. There are lessons learned.

For example, one can discern that one is in more pain than realized, and thus must keep the attitude in love and pray for all and any guidance in the waking hours. Also, it might help know the fine-tuned directions of one's vocations.

The Lord can teach us much through the assaults of the devil. Our souls can observe the assault as if watching the two forces battle back and forth, and take the content (sometimes symbolically presented) and review the components, gleaning much good advice. Pondering is required, prayerfully.

For example, the devil may try to paralyze the body, which can be frightening at first. Then the Lord may allow an image of a good physician one had trusted in the past, and that physician may give good advice. There may be confusions and exhaustions in the scene, and that can indicate too many distractions in the daily life, causing the soul to be unsettled.

If one simply stops at the body being paralyzed--or whatever other devices the devil is allowed to use to cause panic--and considers that not panicking but rather in calling upon the Lord, brings assistance one way or another. Then, one can consider that the devil would not be allowed to disrupt if the Lord did not see the soul needed stretching and strengthening, and some answers in its spiritual life.

Thus, such an occasion which otherwise might seem upsetting, can be seen rather as very good. The soul may review its course and make some increased efforts in love and prayer, and to keep the shoulder to the plow, not looking back.

Victim souls do seem to have these sensitivities, commensurate with the suffering. But one must not collapse into them, or allow them to become distractions. That is what St. John of the Cross advised with phenomenon. Don't become ensnared with the effects. One is to discern them. Take the good and leave the incorrect aspects; and either way, keep moving forth. Keep the focus on the cross and remain on the narrow path.

Last night was one such incident here, and it shows that the soul is beginning to fret some of the lack of energy and the multi-directional responsibilities in the vocation's physical aspects, such as maintenance of abode and maintenance of body. The pain has increased, and with that comes exhaustion, and with that comes less energy to maintain, to keep loving order in surroundings. With the increased pain (perhaps, just a supposition), it seems the sensitivities to souls increased, the heightened intuition "heightened", and this added some to the concerns, for it is not so easy to be in a group of souls, such as at Mass, for the sensitized soul can be like sponge absorbing this and that.

All must be kept in calm love, like looking down into a lake from a sailboat in a dulldrum. It is time to ponder and not fret if the wind is going to pick up or not. Keep the attitude positive and loving. Take the time, God's time it is, after all, to rest. Breathe deeply, eat what one can of healthy foods, do whatever simple means to help alleviate the pain, avoid those souls whose essence disrupt yet pray for them, remain with the sacraments and Scripture, offer everything of one's being to Jesus, and wait in gratitude.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Prayer of St. Faustina

A friend who suffers much with mental struggles sends quotes from the holy books she reads. This prayer of St. Faustina seems so good for anyone. It is true that especially, perhaps, with physical pain, the suffering becomes, also, one of mental suffering. Sometimes physical pain takes the mind to the brink! Loss of control over thoughts and words spoken, becomes a challenge!

"When I receive Holy Communion, I entreat and beg the
Savior to heal my tongue, that I may never fail in love of

At first I thought of praying to have my tongue curbed, but it can too easily drive away recklessly.
But to have one's tongue "healed" is something more effective and lasting. And, the healing is
to ensure that one loves others with words spoken.

Of course, much of a victim soul's work for Jesus is to not speak but to simply suffer in
silence. And by simply, it is meant with generosity which is a simple giving over.

The suffering itself might not seem so simple in the exactitude required!

It seems that using the tongue can be very exhausting for one who is suffering. The
energy is depleted by speaking. Best to learn to have the tongue healed in a mode
of not speaking, in silence. Most healing does come silently, does it not? Perhaps
all healing is a silent occurrence. Seems so. And often healing takes time; yes, most
healing takes time other than miraculous, instantaneous cures. And when healing
does not come in a physical or mental sense, there is always the spiritual healing
that always comes, sooner or later.

We must ponder more the supernatural healing from the supernatural realm in which
Jesus operates upon our members--physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

The body that this soul utilizes while on this earth, in this lifetime, has taken a dip in
energy over the past year. So especially, it needs to ponder the spiritual healing and
its vast benefits--and then consider the small sacrifice of the body. For it is a small
sacrifice in the full spectrum of life. The full spectrum is illuminated by the spiritual.
Too bad we are often blind to or blinded by such light and love!

This puts into perspective all the more the delight in having one's tongue healed so
that it can love the other and the Other, to greater effect and to spiritual fullness. To
speak with many tongues or other tongues, might be open to thought, given the aspect
of the spiritual view of communicating! Not much with words, and often not with the
bodily actions. There is a means of speaking spiritually, interiorly, and not even with
thoughts formed in words.

That is a healing of the tongue, surely!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bullfrogs Moaning

The bullfrogs moan a lullaby. It is the hour of the Divine Mercy (the one in the middle of the night), and the friend who suffers so from mental issues has recently been e-mailing quotes from St. Faustina's diary. This friend is alone now, for three days, spouse gone to a nephew's confirmation.

The rosary is here in bed, and thoughts turn to praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for a young woman, college student perhaps, who was in the Communion line and happened to approach where I stood, blessed to be holding the Cup of Christ's Blood. She received, and my heart prayed for her treatments, for she obviously has cancer struggles. Later, this was confirmed through additional observation--being in the place God had me at the right time to learn this. I would like to anonymously give her a saint book. Perhaps St. Faustina's diary? The Lord lets us know all that we need to know, even what books, what prayers, when.

The pain moans like the bullfrogs. It is keeping the body and mind awake. Perhaps an ice pack would help, or praying the Chaplet or praying the rosary. It has been difficult to pray in these modes for some time. The mind seems to more pray in the present moment, with some kind of thoughts, I guess, or something hard to describe. The mind goes where the soul takes it. Does that make sense?

Perhaps the body is hungry for some food? Pain does ask for food. And then I recall what the priest shared the other night after Mass: pain is actually and only "sensations." This is so. I do not mind the pain, but I have to corral the thoughts like the bullfrog moaning in the cattails, on Lake Immaculata's edge. The thoughts that could lead to be overwhelmed with what manual labor ought to be done, and with the desire to have this place in better loving order, and also the errands that loom and projects which ought to be completed--these thoughts must be subdued. For the "sensations" in the body are moaning that it has been out into the world a bit much, or perhaps talking too much, expending energy.

The body has been several days driving to the hospital, walking on tile floors, standing, sitting, and talking with the elderly couple, driving the woman to her town for some needed items, and talking with nurses, and then with family members at a distance. It is not much. An able body could do these little activities and many more. But a body desired by God to suffer "sensations" cannot jump outside its little pond, not even its corner edge of pond, without increasing the "sensations."

But even being awake in the middle of the night, moaning sensations, the praying becomes the moaning like the bullfrog's lullaby. It is a lullaby prayer, mostly for the college girl with cancer, thanking the Lord for her struggle to live, asking Him to give her strength and courage to endure, hoping she can have a full life and health, to turn all the more to Him. Then there are bullfrog prayers for people who read blogs, in general and specific, and for the elderly couple, the woman of which confides she listens to some all-night radio program that has her captivated. It is not a good program, and her adult children have concerns. It is one of those addictive type programs that feed on people's fears, and the host convinces them he has the answers. A talk show that preys upon people's minds.

So I pray for all the people who are lulled into that kind of program, or watch or read similar types of soul-infiltrating propaganda on the internet. Even the news stations that repeat over and over the latest crisis, and the more lurid the better to go into detail--these draw eyes and ears and mind and soul to the flashing images and words scrolled across the screens in hospitals, homes, nursing faciltities, restaurants, bars, airports--all over our world yet not where the bullfrog moans its lullaby.

Now a train slowly passes, across from Lake Immaculata, and there is an engineer on that train. The noise obliterates the bullfrog's moaning lullaby, and perhaps the bullfrog stops moaning, inhibited by the rumbling train. The human ear does not know, for it cannot hear the bullfrog through the train, even if the moans coincide.

This is how one can manage pain--or rather, sensations. They may be superseded by other sensations, such as thoughts, prayers, moaning lullaby prayers. Love of others which sings the lullaby in frog moans or train rumblings. There is room for both and all types of sensations, and prayers can be considered sensations, can they not?

Now, just as one train passes, another slowly churns by, a different rumble tone, more rattling. It is unusual for two trains to pass in the night, so close in sequence. Is that not like the bullfrog's on-going moaning lullaby? Is that not how prayer can moan sweetly, one thought following another, or passing each other on their way from mind to soul to God?

A victim soul constantly seeks prayer, for the "sensations" of suffering seek to moan the lullaby like the bullfrog sings. There was silence as the train moans distanced from the ear; the bullfrog was still. So that is answered. And now it takes up the silent space and fills it with first soft moans and now load lullaby moans. Not as predominant as before the trains, but yet filling in the silent night with its throaty vibrations. One can see with inner sight, the bullfrogs pale throat vibrating like a loose drum skin.

One can see with inner sight the vibrations of people's needs, their hopes, their sorrows, and the world's drawing souls in wrong directions.

The body will need its rest, and so perhaps the effort should be made to rise and walk to the refrigerator for an ice pack. Aren't we so fortunate to have so many luxuries and comforts as to be provided with means to distract one sensation, or perhaps create new sensations, overlapping one with the other, at least for a time.

And mercy! Amazing that now is a third train, this one approaching with announcement down the line at a cross road a mile previous, blaring a horn warning. It moves slowly, though past the woods, past Lake Immaculata, past the bullfrog now silent (or so it is assumed from the last train that revealed following, a stilled throat), past the victim soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, silently praying while bodily sensations vibrate, the prayers hoping to join moaning lullabys with the will of God.

Now for the ice pack, and why not hold the rosary under the pillow, and at least begin the more formalized prayer of Divine Mercy?