Advent fellowship

“One can in truth,” St Louis de Montfort says, “reach divine union by other roads; but it will be by many more crosses and strange deaths, with many more difficulties, which he shall conquer with greater difficulty.  He shall have to pass through dark thorns, and frightful deserts.  But by way of Mary, the passage is more sweet and tranquil.  On this road, in truth, are great combats to be fought and great difficulties to be overcome; but this good Mother takes up her position so near her faithful servants to sustain them in their struggles and difficulties that in reality this virginal road to find Jesus Christ is a road of roses and honey compared with other roads.”

St Francis of Assisi in this connection is well known.  One day the saint saw his sons trying to reach Our Lord by a ladder that was red and very steep; after climbing a few rungs, they would fall back.  Our Lord then showed St Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose sumit speared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis: “Advise my sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.”  –Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange ‘Three Ages of the Interior Life: Devotion to Mary in Proficients’.

Exiting mass yesterday, carrying ‘Three Ages of the Interior Life’.  I was asked what I was reading.  I showed the inquirer the author’s name.  They were not familiar with Father Garrigou, asking about his writing.  I started to read the passage above, moved when reading before the Eucharist.  The listener scoffed a bit at the words, mentioning they did not seek a sweet and tranquil path.  I smiled.  I knew their words were presumptuous, self-glorifying in the need to appear heroic, wrong on many levels.  I responded, “Ohh don’t worry, you will get your wish.  The crosses and difficulties will come”.  I said nothing more, steering the conversation toward family life, gatherings, and the holiday season.  I am tired of speaking about religion with others.  Transcribing the quote above, further words of Father Garrigou arose relevant:

To neglect the Mediators whom God has given us because of our weakness, shows a lack of humility.  Intimacy with Our Lord in prayer will be greatly facilitated by frequent recourse to Mary.

I will comment no further, rather focusing upon a dryness I am experiencing regarding the voice of others.  I am tired of talk, fatigued from socializing in general being the basis of the spiritual life.  The spiritual life has always been an interior endeavor for myself.  Inherently possessing its own dangers and difficulties, an interior—a concentrated prayer life calls forth boredom, unromantic times of being alone.  If one does not know one’s self, if one is not at peace, the life is too much.  And then even within an advanced knowing of one’s self, it is difficult, lonely and empty, complicated by the instinctual desire for intimacy.  Even the desert hermits would come together, meeting with one another, supporting, nourishing, and confiding.  Ann is removed from my life, therefore her ways of fun, lunches, entertainment, and people gathering are passed beyond.  They never were my way.  I know her elimination is appropriate, a prayerful life emerging significant, a centering within my mission through the Hospice and more. I thought of Father David Mary once stating the necessity of Joseph being removed early from Jesus and Mary’s lives in order for them to complete their salvific mission. Joseph, the worldly father and protector, would have tried to dominate and save his son from being crucified. He would have consoled his wife, attempting to alleviate her sorrow.  During Advent, I am experiencing the call to become detached from spiritual sharing; conversation rooted in fellowship demonstrates too much casualness, chattiness, irrelevance and irreverence, all centering upon vanity and the need to establish identity, to be someone special through faith.  Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk…..

The blessed thing is God supplies companionship through the Hospice, proper fellowship nurturing my contemplative life.  Yesterday began a wonderful Wednesday routine.  I will be assisting a couple in Willoughby, Ohio, a small community east of Cleveland, resting upon Lake Erie.  The wife needs someone to sit with her husband, while she goes with her daughter-in-law shopping.  I am enamored with the opportunity, identifying it as a gift to establish routine.  I was also blessed on the drive home, stopping at a bagel and coffee diner, locals gathered aplenty, an obvious lively community gathering place.  I fell into conversation with the owner and several gentleman regarding politics, and the discussing of an event I witnessed covered by the news channel on the television before us.  The other day after mass, at Euclid and Fifty-fifth Street, a multitude of police cars flooded a gas station, crime scene tape dispersed, news crews filming.  I later learned I witnessed the aftermath of the severe tragedy of a failed car-jacking, a mother and her seven year old daughter shot to death.  The Bagel Buddy, on Lakeshore Boulevard, sits directly across from Our Lady of the Lakes, a church I will explore.  One of the gentleman and I fell into discussion about Catholic churches.  He reminded me of the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine close by and furthermore pulled out his camera, showing me a plentitude of photos from a recent pilgrimage to a Hungarian Shrine I knew nothing about, the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch.  It will, possibly this weekend, be an upcoming photographic excursion.  The Bagel Buddy is firmly entrenched upon my Wednesday itinerary.  I will be purchasing cookies and two cream cheese pumpkin rolls to take to my family for Christmas celebrations.  Back to the Willoughby couple, the woman is so grateful, she tried to extend money.  I could only smile, expressing how much her and her husband provided by allowing me to visit their lovely home upon the lake.  Driving away, I came to the conclusion I would ask for a favor from her since she is so insistent upon doing something for me.  I will ask her and her husband to attend mass with me at St Paul Shrine.  All in God’s hand.  During this Advent season, God presents fellowship, through the Hospice.  Another opportunity has arisen with a couple in Richmond Heights.  She would like to attend Catholic mass, needing someone to sit with her husband while she celebrates mass.  I will be blessed with this opportunity in the near future, hoping something of permanency develops, a Rosary partner existing within.  Bottom line, I will allow God to provide companionship through the Hospice.  I will not run around like a teenager attempting to fill my life with people.

I comprehend amidst the Advent season something emerging, the time of preparation presenting.  There is an individual I am going to provide privacy upon, protecting and sheltering his reputation and ways.  I recall my first meeting with him, shaking hands, being introduced to him with Ann by her friend Lauren.  I knew instantly upon shaking his hand he was authentic, a man of depth and calling, his ways beyond the ways of other lay people playing at the spiritual life.  Good people dedicate themselves to furthering and deepening their faith, yet a special few are being worked upon by God in advancement.  My time in the friary, and the grace of God, allows me to instantly perceive someone advanced within a spiritual vocation. Such individuals must be protected and supported, or at least left alone by those working on the natural and social level. The ways of God are dangerous to impose upon, spiritual competition and pettiness draining and defeating for someone whose spiritual acuteness has been heightened. Their sensitivities are not an overly-sensitive nature protecting ego and delusion, rather a rarefied sensitivity produced through divine influence and formation, inferior ways a harsh and brutal abrasion. I think of the scene from the strange movie ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ when St Francis shakes his head no, saying no, rejecting the celebration of mass as his parents know it.  I have been observing this man for months, ever since that first hand shaking, keeping distance, allowing God to guide.  I seem to see him everywhere.  Through time, during Advent, amidst a time of frustration, he comes into clarity.  I am convinced God is bestowing the advancing of ways.  I have no clue regarding details, no expectation, no agenda, no aspirations.  I simply, to the best of my abilities purely, adhering to my conviction that God is calling forth something special in my life, open myself to the influence of a gentleman I am convinced has something of a depth others are not only lacking, yet completely unaware exist.  I think the gentleman himself, as Father Reginald Garrigou-LaGrange details a true contemplative exists, is unaware of the depths of the Holy Spirit working within his soul.  The time of excessive talking is commenced. The time of inferior ways not engaged or confronted, rather dismissed, simply moved beyond.


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