Monthly Archives: November 2015

Volunteer formation

Some theologians thought the grace that was profitable to salvation is called efficacious, not at all because of leading us gently and mightily to consent to good, but because it is given to us at the moment when God has foreseen that by ourselves we would choose to accept it rather than to resist it.  The divine prevision of man’s response is what distinguishes efficacious grace from grace that is not efficacious.  In other words, this efficacy does not come from the divine will, but from the human will; the grace is efficacious not because God wills it so, but because man accepts it.  According to this idea, it may happen that of two sinners under the same circumstances receiving equal actual graces, one will be converted and the other will remain in his sin.  Hence this difference of determination between these two men springs solely from the human will, and not at all from the difference in the divine help which they received.  The same grace, which remained sterile in one, was efficacious in the other because he himself made it efficacious.  –Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross’

This paragraph made me think, swirling about an incident yesterday, assisting in the accepting within complete mystery of a telephone call.  I was removed from the case of my hospice patient, informed the patient is doing better, removed from the bedside vigil program.  My initial reaction was ‘He is not getting better.  They are not even feeding him’.  I inquired a bit, yet it was obvious the woman calling possessed minimal details, not even sure if he was being fed, or that he was not even being fed.  She was simply making a call.  The call disturbed me, causing me to consider the words of Ann that I must be very careful, not showing my spirituality too conspicuously.  I was praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, reading scripture and Catholic spiritual writing.  I studied my patient’s face closely, searching for signs of agitation.  I authentically focused matters upon his care, and not my agenda.  I conducted myself with silence for the most part, comfortable in everything I did.  Medical personnel walked in while I was praying, one finding me sleeping grasping my Rosary.  Did I show my faith, hope, and charity too much?  Did I overstep my bounds?  Was I improper?  I am convinced he is not getting better.  I doubt they resumed feeding him.  However, maybe I am wrong.  The bedside vigil program is based upon a forty-eight hour terminal caution.  He has been going for a week, and I always possessed the belief he was not close to death.  He was terminal, yet he was going to hang on.  I was positive he would endure for weeks, possibly months.  I would have continued, confident I brought him comfort.  The length of the time did not concern me, yet maybe that was what mattered to the hospice.  I am truly ignorant of the ways of the medical world.  I also considered my personal investment.  I truly enjoyed sitting bedside.  Did I become too attached to my consolations and internal rewards, thus prompting God to remove the blessing of sitting with the man?  Did the patient find me offensive?  What I was doing was important to me and now everything ends in mystery.  I accept the fact easily, yet thoughts and questions arise concerning proper formation.  As Father Peyriguere writes: While praising and loving the “mysteries of God’s designs,”…you must not strain to see these designs.  There is only one thing worth-while: to surrender yourself and your fortune to His will with the blind and total trust of a little child in his father’s arms.  I embrace the concept Ann presented, words she verbalized that strike from my own arsenal, that my presence is enough during the bedside vigils.  It is a being rather than a doing that brings comfort and spiritual bolstering.  Words and my efforts are not necessary.  If the patient is ready the grace will be efficacious.  The patient, in an acute spiritual state, will perceive the Christ I bring to his side.  I will be stealth in my future spiritual efforts while serving as a hospice volunteer.  I will also not become disgruntled with myself, a natural tendency of mine to be too hard on myself.  Possibly, I tried too hard, coming on too strong, naïve of the ways of the medical world, during my initial vigils.  It is ok.  God is good and all giving.  The efficacy of grace depends upon proper reception, however the dispensing of grace is not crushed by man.  God continues to give.  If I made a mistake, or even if the medical personnel were wrong, God will overcome, presenting future graces for me to serve those entering death.  Once again, God is good and all giving.


Father Albert Peyriguere Spiritual Direction

I love Father Peyriguere’s letter writing style.  The subtly of his straightforward letters deserves slow deliberate thought.  Matter of factually, he says things few are able to say and few are able to understand, and even less are able to live.

Yes, as you say, be full of gratitude.  Gratitude because you came out of the night, and also because you were plunged into it, abandoned to it, crushed by it.  Gratitude for everything in your life, since everything comes to you from God, and you know that God is your Father and Friend.  He wants only what is for our good.  He leads us along His own paths as far as He wants us to go.  And how good it is to let Him choose the paths along which He leads our steps toward Him

While praising and loving the “mysteries of God’s designs,”…you must not strain to see these designs.  There is only one thing worth-while: to surrender yourself and your fortune to His will with the blind and total trust of a little child in his father’s arms.  The child does not know where is father is taking him, and doesn’t even think of asking..

Yes, your duty of the moment is to be calm, peaceful, totally relaxed, and to question neither God nor yourself about what will happen next–and I mean by this not what will happen the day after tomorrow or tomorrow, but even today.

Welcome with great serenity the progressive return of light to your soul.  Do not rush at it greedily and impatiently.  Accept it as it comes, and in the measure which it is given to you.

Rest, rest, rest!  This is your duty for the time being.  Remember that in the life of the soul there is neither action nor inaction.  These words are meaningless.  There is simply acceptance of the will of the Father, and this is supreme activity.  Everything that does not come from Him, but that we have tried to wrest from Him by our desires and preferences, is agitation and,  therefore, useless.  

And so, for what has happened and what will happen, God be praised.

You want to hear about our work?  Yes, I accepted the help of a follower of Father de Foucauld, a sister who i now settled in Khenifra.  Do you know what I told her before she came?  Not to insist on having mass every day.  Father de Foucauld asks his followers to be ready to die of hunger.  And I, harsher still, imposed upon her a more terrible hunger than any other, a hunger for the Eucharist.  She is sure of mass and, therefore, of Communion only every two weeks.  She agreed.  To make up for this and to help her to hold fast, every time I go to Khenifra I tell her to repeat over and over again to the Eucharistic Christ in her chapel, “Just the same, if It were not here, you would not be there.”  And it’s true.  Without her, a little corner of the world would be empty of Christ.  Because of her it is full of Christ.

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld


Efficacy within inquietude

Inquietude: restlessness or uneasiness; disquietude.

“Inquietude proceeds from an inordinate desire of being delivered from the evil which we feel, or of acquiring the good which we desire; and yet there is nothing which tends more to increase evil, and to prevent the enjoyment of good than an unquiet mind. Birds remain prisoners in the nets, because when they find themselves caught, they eagerly flutter about to extricate themselves, and by that means entangle themselves the more. Whenever, then, your pressed with a desire to be free from some evil, or to obtain some good, be careful both to settle your mind in repose and tranquility, and to compose your judgement and will; and then gently procure the accomplishment of your desire, taking in regular order the means which may be most convenient; when I say gently, I do not mean negligently, but without hurry, trouble, or inquietude, otherwise, instead of obtaining the effect of your desire, you will mar all, and embarrass yourself the more.” –St Francis de Sales

Psalm 124

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, let Israel now say–
if it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Sister Mary Thomas assisted yesterday immensely. Her lingering effect proving stronger than her immediate. I experienced the resonating of ideas and concepts during my time with my friend. No work yesterday, I spent five plus hours with him. The St Francis de Sales quote arose appropriate as the first couple hours we sat in quiet, settling into our time together. I spoke very little, dozing at times. Nothing more than being together. Being still together. I do not want to embarrass myself, or burden my friend with over-attempts, appearing superficial and shallow in doing too much. I read his face and his eyes, allowing him to dictate relevancy. Efficiency is apposite, while personal attempts and agendas are superfluous. It aligns with a staunchness and firmness arising insisting upon the eliminating of fanatical/crazy, selfish, and immature faith. Relevancy, unpretentious and proper discernment, rules supreme. Everything is about my friend getting to heaven, and this is a simple thing, calling forth stillness, presence, and emptiness more than greatness, more than thoughts and words. Doing nothing usurps doing things my way. God is good and all giving. We are sharing together in order to allow God to reveal Himself, in order for God to bring my friend home. Once again, for the second time, Psalm 23 became pertinent, conceptualizing concretely. We hear it so much, it is bantered about so much, yet in moments of deep reflection it looms large. Psalm 124 also proved important. The meaning arose attached to an internal relevancy, the foes in the psalm being personal flaws rather than marauding men. I found it significant the flower’s net in concentrating upon the St Francis de Sales quote. I am experiencing subtle attacks by Satan, thoughts trending toward doubt, questioning that what I am doing is ignorant. Accusations that I am only doing this for myself. My efforts are a waste of time. I do not know what I am doing so I should just leave this poor man alone. In truth, that is why I sat still for so long.  It took me over two hours of doing nothing before I felt comfortable with doing something.  I did not know how to proceed forward, quieting myself until the subtle attacks from Satan subsisted. Waiting, being quiet, holding my tongue, stilling my mind, falling asleep a bit, I did not want involve myself in nonsense. Naturally, humbly, and simply, I extend myself. Another modest event yesterday assisted in my endeavors with my Hospice friend. Right before visiting him, I visited with a young couple regarding the purchasing of an elliptical exercise machine. I enjoyed my time with them immensely. They are from Turkey, Istanbul, enjoying their first child, a beautiful baby girl. Their home was immaculate and they welcomed me with such cheer. The elliptical machine is nice, top of the line. I smiled when the man mentioned with an undertone that his wife likes nothing but the best, and plus she used it only four or five times. I chuckled, acknowledging that what he was really saying was ‘I love my wife, she is beautiful and good, yet she is expensive’. His wife responded by informing me that isn’t it wonderful how clean she kept the machine. I am weak in the presence of kindness, gentleness, and goodness instantly agreeing to buy the exercise equipment, mentioning the money would be handy for them with the approaching holidays. The wife clapped her hands, exclaiming ‘yes it will’. The spirit of the young family carried me onto my friend. Putting my shoes on in order to leave, the father held his baby girl before their beautifully decorated Christmas tree, laughing and mentioning the delight his daughter displayed when looking at the tree. Avoiding the complexities of the world, putting aside all speculation, I could only admire the baby girl’s fascinated eyes as she cherished the blinking lights and shiny decorations of her family’s Christmas tree. Now I just have to figure out how to get the elliptical exercising monstrosity to my home.

St Francis de Sales

St Francis de Sales



  • Simple
    Easy does it mystic
    Nothing to prove
    No need little one
    One two three
    A decade of Rosaries
    Mysteries mundane
    Complete the circling
    Wagons arranging
    A cross
    Bloody boundaries decreased
    Talking diminutive
    Let me not live that fantasy
    Unity beyond being
    No images
    No imagination
    Nothing immense accomplished
    Nothing done needing undone
    Completing the bereavement
    All goodness
    Time less forgotten
    Begotten not made
    We are on fire walking
    A river crossing within sorrow
    A snow covered peak crested
    A nest of snakes disturbed
    Darkness never resting
    Riding a horse backwards
    Never forever invigorated
    Truth eternal
    One in being
    The Father
    Divine Master
    Love incarnate
    Divine Sacrifice
    The Holy Ghost
    A loving bridge
    Divine Mercy
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    Higher degree of humility

    The lofty perfection is that described by St Augustine and St Gregory; the perfection to which the twelve degrees of humility enumerated by St Benedict or the seven degrees counseled by St Anselm lead: (1) to acknowledge ourselves contemptible; (2) to grieve on account of this; (3) to admit that we are so; (4) to wish our neighbor to believe that; (5) patiently to endure people saying it; (6) willingly to be treated as a person worthy of contempt; (7) to love to be treated in this fashion.

    This great conception of Christian perfection and of the illuminative and unitive ways is the only one which seems to us to preserve all the grandeur of the Gospel and of the Epistles of St John and St Paul.   –Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross’

    Embarking upon a mission, I am speaking with others, opening myself, prying for counsel, discerning within my imperfection, not afraid of others.  I invite the judgement that I am shallow, doing good deeds seeking only attention.  I know myself, privy to my weaknesses and strengths.  Avoiding the subtle temptation to remain hidden, to slide through under the radar, I fear not the eyes of others.  I love the defining of humility to the severest degree of accepting, loving, the disdain and disfavor of others.  My spiritual endeavors aligned with God are not wearied by talk, comprehending to the greater and deeper degree the danger of a life lived in secret pride that everything I do is superior within stealth.  To remain aloof, prideful in the distance one keeps from others, judging and looking down upon those socially healthy in spiritual pursuits is a harsh path of cruelty upon one’s self and others.  It is more beneficial for everyone involved to be open and honest.  Works of God do not out smart themselves and others.  Works of God do not hide within closed-off cleverness.  Too often good deeds kept hidden are a statement of over-sensitivity, the reality that one cannot accept criticism.  The truth that if others are drawn into intimacy they will most likely not approve of what they discover, criticizing and gossiping.  An advanced humility fears not righteous or unrighteous condemnation, unafraid and inviting disparaging words while not seeking sweet consolations.  An advanced religious is not afraid to socialize and profess their mission.  Jesus speaks: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light.  Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness.  Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”  I had an incredible half-hour one-on-one counseling session with Sister Mary Thomas today after mass, drawn into the encounter through a rare set of circumstances.  God is good and all giving.



    Straight from the heart

    Love can be manifested in a variety of ways to God.  It can be a love shown in both prayer and action.  It can be the love of contemplatives, for example, in the religious life who pray not only for themselves, but in actuality more for others.  It can be a love of a very active spiritual nature in which the actions throughout each day can be offered up for the greater honor, glory, and love of God.  This is especially true of people of various occupations of work in which the very work they’re doing can become a prayer.  It can take the form of suffering in which the suffering persons offer up their suffering to God out of pure love for Him, for themselves, and others throughout the world.  The most vitally important thing about prayer is that it comes pure from the heart—without distractions if possible, and be devoid of self-love, self-seeking, or self-interest.  –St Teresa of Avila



    A basketball game breaks out amidst it all

    It is truly a blessing to exercise a blessing, a call put into action.  “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (John 15:16)“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope”  (Jeremiah 29:11).  God sends me forth and I experience joy.  Last night with my current patient proved remarkably pleasant, worth revealing and meditating upon.  When I arrived all apprehension disappeared, a sense of joy permeating my disposition.  It was grace.  God provided.  I was pleased to visit with the gentleman.  Unresponsive, eyes closed this evening, he exuded an overall sense of pleasantness.  His breathing was calm, his presence at peace.  This is the interesting part.  We prayed, talked seriously, for nearly three hours, yet during the majority of time we shared in a basketball game together.  Two friends sitting watching an excellent sporting event with one another.  I love basketball, and I felt my friend did also.  The Golden State Warriors overcame a twenty-three point deficit, winning by ten points to remain undefeated.  It was an incredible game.  I thoroughly enjoy watching the wily and crafty Stephen Curry light-up the score board.  He appears so innocent, unimpressive in physical stature, yet in performance and competitively he is a killer.  My friend and I enjoyed a basketball game together.  This is the intriguing part.  I felt Mary approved whole heartedly.  It was strange, the attentiveness and attunement I possessed while slowly praying a Rosary, talking with my friend, and also giving credence to the basketball games.  During exciting moments in the game, I would hold silence, pausing the Rosary, pausing prayer and deep focus upon eternity.  Both of us would give attention to the game.  The game, better still, life was appreciated, the living respected, sharing in the thrill of it all.  My friend and I did not overwhelm ourselves in morbidness, sadness, overly sentimental regarding the miracle of death.  A new beginning, eternity, was not approached in desperation, fear, and a rejection of life.  Mary smiled upon my friend and I while we deeply and respectfully called out to her while enjoying the game together.  I am so convinced of the fact.  God marked with a seal of approval my friend and I preparing for his entrance into heaven with the simple and good natured sharing of a basketball game together.  My friend enjoyed hosting a visitor and I was pleased to have a friend to visit.  It was perfect and an absolute joy to experience.  Our time together flew by in naturalness and benevolence.  I am utterly grateful and pleased to have a friend I am able to visit, to be serious with, to exercise a calling, while remaining simple in the pursuit of the enjoyment of life.  There is no reason to be overwhelmed by the inevitable happening of death.  Life is for the living and death is for eternal bliss.  God is good and all giving.

    Stephen Curry quote: There’s more to me than just this jersey I wear, and that’s Christ living inside of me.

    Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry heads down the court after making a three point shot during the second half of the Golden State Warriors 106-101 win over the Boston Celtics in an NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, March 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)