Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Me, And The Art of Contemplation


Walking across the floor of St. John Lateran Palace in the year 2005, in the quiet, I was stuck by the worn marble floor.  This was the very same floor that St. Francis of Assisi walked across.  In the silence I imagined myself to be him, walking across this very same path, walking in the same footsteps of a saint.  It was as if time and space for me were suspended and I entered into contemplation.  

Contemplation, St. John of The Cross says, is infused by God's grace, it is not something that we can enter into or bring about by ourselves--purely a gift.  

Well, only being Catholic for a period of four years at that time, it was a new and marvelous experience, not only did I feel a great peace, but a union with all creation and God Himself.  Eastern Spirituality, is an emptying of oneself--into nothingness.  But this Catholic Spiritual experience was quite the opposite, it was a filling of oneself--into something-ness.   

There are many "spiritual" guru's who explain how one could facilitate God giving one the gift of Contemplation.  Blah, blah, blah…many are all words, techniques of prayer, and cause more confusion.  Leading one to become much further removed from God in the process.  Causing great discouragement. 

Well,  have you ever come across anyone who is discouraged?  They whine, hate everybody and everything.  How is it, that one can become so discouraged trying to follow the Lord?  

Because they are looking for something besides God--they are looking for His gifts, and not for the Giver.  

Father Timothy Gallegar  says we need to ask ourselves these questions:
Does it come out of Christ and lead back to Christ? OR
Does it come out of Christ and lead me to myself?  If it comes to a Narcissism then there is something wrong with it.

 "Therefore, we are not discouraged…"  "This momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal." --Saint Paul

A self-absorbed Narcissist cannot comprehend affliction--they want God to do things their way, and are very unhappy when they are being "good" and God does not shower them with the gifts they assume belonged to them, because of their own awesomeness.   They fail to realize, that if they are awesome, it's because God gave them that gift.  Much like the root of a plant, the growth above the earth may be all glorious, but cut it away from the root buried beneath, and their awesomeness quickly withers and dies.  Don't forget Who gives the life.  

So, contemplation, St. John of the Cross is correct, contemplation is an infused gift, a grace given by God.  All we have to do, is raise our hearts in love to God, love the giver--The Art of Contemplation--it's really that simple :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fill The House With Christ!


Do you believe that "the struggle against the Evil One is easy?  It is not, but neither is the Christian with out powerful resources.  Christ is our principal ally, and His assistance assures victory.  As Matthew 12:43-45 warns, it is not enough merely to expel the demon from the house; if we do not fill it with Christ, seven more demons will take it over. "--Benedict's Rule commentary, Kardong

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy Feast Day of Maria Goretti

Happy Feast Day of the Patron Saint of this blog, Maria Goretti.  Jim obtained this relic of hers for me.  What I am most drawn to her for is her forgiveness.  She forgave the guy who only had ill intentions toward her, who stabbed her to death.  Yet, like Jesus, on her death bed, she forgave.  Years later--he converted his heart, and went to her mother and begged her forgiveness.  He was present at her Canonization, and stood next to Maria's mother.

Sometimes, I wonder, if the reason I was drawn to this saint--given to me by my parish priest--was I drawn to her, because our Lord knew one day, my husband would be shot in the head by an evil soul, and our Lord loves that soul so much that HE requires my prayers?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Alone With Himself



Saint Benedict was begged by some Monks who had lost their Abbot, to come and be their Abbot.  Benedict refused, said they were too different from him to be their Abbot.  After a great deal of pleading,  Benedict agreed and became their Abbot.

Well, the Monks were a bit "crooked" and did not take too kindly to Benedict wanting them to change.  Then, they plotted to get rid of Benedict, by poisoning him.  But, Benedict made the sign of the cross over the poisoned wine, and the glass broke, their plan shattered.  

Benedict said, "Did I not tell you before hand, that our manner of living could never agree together?", and he left them.  He returned back to the wilderness, and "dwelt alone with himself."

Pope Gregory the Great explained what it meant for Benedict to return to the wilderness, and live alone with himself:

If the holy man had longer, contrary to his own mind, continued his government over those monks, who had all conspired against him and were far unlike to him in life and conversation: perhaps he should have diminished his own devotion, and somewhat withdrawn the eyes of his soul from the light of contemplation; and being wearied daily with correcting of their faults, he should have had the less care of himself, and so haply it might have fallen out, that he should both have lost himself, and yet not found them; for so often as by infections motion we are carried too far from ourselves, we remain the same men that we were before, and yet be not with ourselves as we were before: because we are wandering about other men's affairs, little considering and looking into the state of our own soul. 

I find myself reading this about Saint Benedict, at the same time, I feel I too have been wandering about in the "infections motion" of Facebook, wandering about in other men's affairs, not doing anything good for them, but also carrying myself away from considering the state of my own soul.  

And, so, I have left "them" the poison of the world--and returned into the wilderness--to be alone with myself. 








Lou Gehrig's 4th of July Farewell.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grace and Justice

God is justice and creates justice.  This is our consolation and our hope.  And in His justice there is also grace.  This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ.  Both these things --  justice and grace -- must be seen in their correct inner relationship.  Grace does not cancel out justice.  It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value---Encyclical, Spe Salvi, No. 44  --Benedict XVI

Jim said to me today, "Tara, in the last year I think I have aged ten years."  It's been at least a whole year since I have placed a blog post, but I'm back….  Yes, I have reverted most all of my 1017 blog posts back to drafts.  Reading some of my former posts--OMG!  Did I really write those!?  It's been an unkind year, but we are now looking toward the future…

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Friends


Friends, see the beauty in our soul, the kindness 

in our heart, and they like to be with us simply for the 

joy of being in our company. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Holy Land 2013


Getting ready for a long flight.
Flying to New York
Karen and Noel met us at the airport in New York

Karen and Noel brought us lunch.
The Sea of Galilee at night from our hotel balcony.
Looking across the Sea of Galilee.
Mount Tabor
Camels by the sea of Galilee.
We had a nice air-conditioned tour bus.
Muslims used to climb these towers and call everyone to prayer, but now it's mostly recordings.
Walking to the Church of the Transfiguration.




Inside the Church of the Transfiguration.



Mass!

The very spot where Jesus was transfigured.
Elijah side chapel.
Moses side chapel.
Patriarch leading a tour group.
Everywhere we went there were masses of flower bushes in bloom.
Looking from the church at the top of Mt. Tabor.
Ruins of old churches everywhere.
Joan and Diane.
Saint Therese at the Carmelite Convent--we had lunch here.
Diane.


Cave of Elijah.


Saint John of the Cross suggests you go straight up to God,
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Prayers in Elijah's cave.


Peacock at the hotel.
Jim and I got married at Cana!
Angels are everywhere, sometimes we are just unaware. 




Jim and I renewed our Wedding Vows in Cana. Best Wedding EVER!


The ruins under St. Joseph's Church, where Mary actually lived.
Donated to St. Joseph;s Church from China.
Donated from USA

The Annunciation to Mary, by Gabriel.
St. Joseph's Church.
Our Tour Guide showed us great hospitality by inviting us to his home for dinner. 
Armageddon,  where the last battle is to take place. View from our guides house.
Mount of Beatitudes.















The exact rock where Jesus multiplied the fish and loaves--blackened from so many pilgrims touching the rock.



After the Resurrection of Jesus, this is the rock where Jesus was cooking a fish breakfast for his Apostles, while they were out fishing. 

The rock where Jesus stood on the shore--littered with prayer requests from pilgrims 
Standing by the sea, as Jesus did waiting for the Apostles. 





Saint Peter's house, no doubt Jesus hung out here. 
Next door to Peter's house was a synagogue, 
Jesus, no doubt attended at this synagouge.
When in Jesus's home town, what do you have for lunch?!
We took a boat ride on the sea of Galilee. 
In the Church of St. Peter by the sea.