Reminiscing through North Dakota photos, appreciation for this photo blossomed.
Reminiscing through North Dakota photos, appreciation for this photo blossomed.
Conclusions leading to new beginnings,
Opening a new identity,
A countdown calling out through a life,
An alarm clock that never alarms,
Still rising, sun caressing,
Fecundity shrouds untidiness.
Becoming aside from myself.
Infused prayer is by its essence lasting: it alone by nature has that unity in duration that is lacking to all human meditation, even the most metaphysical. Until God gives us the experience of this living immobility, either directly or through others, we cannot even form an idea of it. This touches what is most characteristic of mystical prayer. Not only does the soul attain eternal objects; there is something of the divine even in the mode or manner or rhythm of its activity. We can say that this activity bears a mark or eternity, for it has in itself no principle of cessation or even of diminution. Quite the contrary, it is called by its inner dynamism to progress continually until the eternal vision, since it is totally enveloped by eternal love. By this infused prayer, then, we truly enter upon the life of the blessed.
…..we must not forget the condition of the recipient of this divine gift. He is a viator, a wayfarer. Throughout his life on earth the contemplative is on the way to eternity….The contemplative remains a wayfarer, and we must underscore this carefully. This accounts for his suffering, his being torn apart; also, for the discontinuity of his life. One the plane of knowledge and of intellectual consciousness, no equilibrium is possible for him. His only recourse is to dwell always in the present moment, in ceaseless conformity to the will of God. –Father Thomas Philippe ‘The Fire of Contemplation’
Noon of a summer’s day. I see a man in the fields—a wild, solitary figure—the only living thing in sight for miles. He is thinning turnips. Slowly a bell rings out from the chapel on the hill beyond. It is the Angelus. The man stands up, takes off his hat and bows his head in the ancient prayer of his faith. . . . The bell ceases tolling, and he bends to labour again. –Joseph Campbell
Albert Peyriguere, spiritually directing a religious sister through letters, while tending to the spiritual and practical needs of Berbers of the desert, strikes through concepts, driving home the piercing pike of the experiential superseding thought and outward expression. Ideas articulated like indifference, sacrifice—offering up suffering, infused darkness, asceticism, solitary austerities, the most sublime and deepest spiritual concepts are to be passed through. That which we hold to the highest ideal, must be abandoned in order to allow Christ to seize control.
We must no longer speak of what we like or dislike. No longer speak of what seems important or unimportant. We are no more, Christ alone is in us. In us and through us. He does what He wants, and it is what He wants that is good.
“Holy Indifference.” We have been moved beyond that and it has no more meaning. Everything in us is a vehicle for Christ’s life in us. How can anything be indifferent to us which results in more of Christ? Everything becomes a “joyous giving” in our lives.
…through the most insignificant of our actions, Christ…exists a little more. I’m speaking of the mystical Christ, who is also the real and personal Christ, and something more besides. The soul no longer knows how to say “no”; it no longer classifies things as painful or pleasant, as important or minor since everything in our lives is the clay Christ uses to mold Himself in us. This is very lofty spirituality, but clear, simple, practical. Not flights of romanticism which carry us into the land of dreams (or shallow outward expressions). –Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice From the Desert’
The previous day video is now posted. Photos have been added to North Dakota part 2 page.
I am under the impression that you are becoming simpler. You were very complicated, too intellectual, too much engrossed in trying to assimilate what you had read about the spiritual life. You still analyze yourself too much, watch yourself too much. Look away from yourself, and especially from your faults and weaknesses. When you turn your eyes inward, no longer see yourself, but see Christ present in you.
Undoubtedly something happen between you and the Lord—what, you don’t know, but He does and that is all that is necessary. Suddenly—and this is immense grace—Christ stood there before you, alive, as He really is. Not the Christ of theology this time, the Christ of doctrine, but Christ the living person who gave His life for you and who wants you to give Him your life. Christ has taken you terribly serious. It is no longer a rather abstract Christ with who you are dealing; you have encountered Christ, a living person. This has tremendous implications and you know that it can take you a long way. Something in you is afraid…afraid of Christ, afraid also of the one through whom Christ may speak, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps years from now. –Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice From the Desert’ (Book attained from Assumption Abbey library)
Brother Gregory gave me a copy of his favorite prayer when we toured his woodworking shop. His delightfully charming humble simple manner disarmed me completely. He showed me old photos of the abbey, including a full roster from 1989 when all monks abroad came together for a meeting at the abbey. The monks numbered well over fifty. Researching, I discovered the prayer he gave me is quite famous as a poem, written by Max Ehrman, a lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, a graduate of DePauw University in Indiana, the same college my roommate Carter graduated from.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
Speaking of Indiana, two other items come to mind. The Exodus painting gifted to retiring Father Damien from St Meinrad was uncrated. I took a photo and now post. Also, coinciding with my discernment at Assumption Abbey, I received an email from the friary in Indiana today. God is good. The community just welcomed ten new postulants. The email supplied a video celebrating ceremonies welcoming the new recruits. I could not help but be swept away by faith, hope, and charity. I am posting the video also in honor of religious vocations. The community is strongly in my prayers, gratefulness emanating from the depths of my heart. Joy reigns supreme.
Yesterday, we moved in a retired priest coming from St Meinrad Benedictine monastery, a seminary in southern Indiana, the tristate area including Ohio and Kentucky, along the Ohio River. Unloading the U-haul truck, the final two items we removed were a new casket, still in the box—one brother remarked ‘look it says body not included’–and a large painting packed in a wooden crate. The unseen painting titled ‘The Exodus’ was a gifted to the priest from St Meinrad’s for his years of service. It inspired and humbled me to realize the priest, shepherding a reputable career as monk/priest/teacher, appeared delighted to move into Assumption Abbey for his final years. Accompanied by his daughter, I believe, and her husband from Minnesota, the priest reinforced my conviction regarding the maturity residing at Assumption Abbey. These are solid religious men.
The community praying of the Divine Office proves efficient in bringing to rest my mind and soul. The reciting of the Psalms soothes, pointing a path to proper contemplation. I find the spiritual exercise physical in the sense of singing and speaking out loud, pacing breathe, focusing attention solely upon prayers, holding the body still, smelling incense, listening to readings rather than reading myself, and more prayerful experiences, coalesce to instill a physical training producing mental discipline, contemplation communally. It is more than religious and practical knowledge, theoretical knowledge . Father Thomas Philippe identifies affective knowledge, experiential, opening to grace, knowledge that affects the soul–affective knowledge…is made present to the intellect in and through the very act of love; mystical knowledge is of this kind. Internally during communal prayers, I am conscious of great unrest. The reading today wrapped me in its words like a strong hand coarsely massaging out tightness and stress–dreams last night of Ann immensely agitated. Father James, a voice continually emerging as substantial, conducted the reading. I am adding a link to a PDF file he guided me to. It is a trip Father James took to India with his sister Sharon. It is a visual treat, an intelligent intimate glimpse into a foreign culture. I will post the reading from today when I am able to locate it. I thought it came from the Liturgy of the Hours Office of Readings, however conducting research I discovered that was not the source. I spoke with one of the fathers, who steered me to Brother Alban as the one selecting the reading for the morning. I will gather information from Brother Alban and complete this post. It is relevant to my discernment. Now it is off to work with Brother Louis.
The vices of envy and jealousy destroy the soul. We should think, in this connection, of their minor forms: scandal-mongering and tale-bearing and spiteful gossip…which themselves lead, in the end, to the greater sins, and eventually perhaps to real hatred. We should beware here of unconscious motivations: it is so easy to persuade ourselves that what we say has to be said for the good of the persons concerned, whereas in reality we are only scoring over them or humiliating them. And what is the true use of the instinct here? You find in Saint Thomas’ courteously benign explanation of Saint Jerome’s advice to Laeta about her daughter’s education: “Let her have companions that she may learn with them, envy them and be nettled when they are praised.” “Envy,” he says, “here means that zeal with which we ought to strive to progress with those who are better than we.” There is such a thing as holy emulation, though no doubt it is not an easy thing to acquire.
There is the still worse sin of discord: still worse because if it is bad to hurt one of your brothers by destroying love between him and yourself, it is yet more diabolical–more characteristic of the devil–to hurt two or more of your brothers and destroy the love they have for one another. “Six things there are which the Lord hates . . . and the seventh his soul detests, namely, him that sows discord among his brethren.” –-Gerald Vann ‘The Divine Pity‘