…those called to salvation and those called to perfection. Whether you feel called to one or the other is unimportant. What is important is that you attend to your own calling and do not discuss or judge God’s designs in the lives of others. Do not meddle in His affairs: whom He stirs and calls and whom He does not; when He calls, whether early or late; or why He calls one and not another. Believe me, if you begin judging this and that about other people you will fall into error….If He calls you, praise Him and pray that you may perfectly respond to His grace….
Be at peace in your own calling. Whether you wait outside in meditation or come within by contemplation, you have no cause to complain; both are precious…..
…two kinds of evidence for discerning whether or not God is calling….interior sign is that growing desire for contemplation constantly intruding in your daily devotions…If they (devotions) are filled with the memory of your own sinfulness, considerations of Christ’s Passion, or anything else pertaining to the ordinary Christian way of prayer…know that the spiritual insight accompanying and following upon this blind desire originates in your ordinary grace…a sure sign that God is not calling you to a more intense life of grace…second sign is exterior (through the senses) and it manifests itself as a certain joyful enthusiasm welling up within you, whenever you hear or read about contemplation….if the joyful enthusiasm persists, remaining with you when you have left your reading. If it disappears immediately or soon after and does not pursue you in all else you do, know that it is not a special touch of grace. If it is not with you when you go to sleep and wake up, and if it does not go before you, constantly intruding in all you do, enkindling and capturing your desire, it is not God’s call to a more intense life of grace… –‘The Book of Privy Counseling’
I recall purchasing ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’ and ‘The Book of Privy Counseling’, along with ‘Secret of the Rosary’ by St Louis de Montfort, decades ago, yet I do not recall the readings. I know I read them, however my thoughts are not there. What were my impressions as a young man approximately in my twenties? I have no idea regarding specifics. What I do know is that an attraction existed, an affinity that could not be denied. I struggled mightily as a young man, yet when these books were in my hands nothing else mattered. Nothing else mattered when I read the books. Within the pages, my destiny reposed. The message was beyond the books. Other books also carried the message. The personal key was the unlocking of an interior door, the planting and nurturing of a seed by the grace of God. Now I read ‘The Book of Privy Counseling’ and everything crystalizes. I like the two signs for discernment in regards to distinguishing whether one is to pursue the contemplative life, or remain simply within the grace of salvation. I am convinced it is important to distinguish the calling of others. That is not a call to judgement, nor must the effort drain energy. The key is the preservation of energy and faculties in order to heighten contemplative efforts. Those who identify themselves as contemplatives, desiring to instruct, assist, and attach themselves to true contemplatives must be identified. Like an electrical short circuit carrying amperage directly to ground, wasting potential energy for work, the self-assigned contemplative is a destructive spiritual force. An individual working through sheer free will within a self-identified calling presents intense spiritual danger. Typically such individuals will be focused upon sharing, instructing, dominating the spiritual lives of others. They concentrate upon social and exterior efforts, rather than prayer; stuck in a meditative approach, dependent upon reason, imagination, and linear thought. They are doing everything based upon their desires and efforts. Satan will attempt to use them to destroy the authentic efforts of those being called to a deeper life. Without confrontation, the contemplative pursuing the hearkening of God must learn whom to trust, while loving everyone as equals. It is not only important to master self-knowledge—for it is only through humbly knowing my strengths and accepting my imperfections that I can expand upon grace—yet it is also being able to know and accept others for who they truly are. I must develop keen insight into others, allowing proper identification, able to distinguish those living lives of delusion.
Quickly for I am exhausted, the weekend has been interesting, complex on many levels. Friday night with the Benedictines at St Andrew Abbey, I was welcomed even further. Another brother I met from the open house ushered me in, insisting I sit amongst the monks. It was a blessed evening of prayer and adoration positioned amongst the religious brothers. Humbly, I felt empowerment within my prayer efforts. Friday and Saturday evenings, I viewed at the Cleveland Cinematheque the first two Bengali films in the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray. Incredible black and white Indian films intensely realistic in detailing the life of an impoverished Indian family. The images are incredible. The films provide a powerful contemplation upon the experience of being human. Regarding attached video: not the best quality, yet absorb these images and sounds. Music by Ravi Shankar
A final note. I endured another embarrassing wrathful explosion upon Ann Najjar that I would like to highlight. She proves to be an enlightening individual by demonstrating how not to conduct a deeper spiritual life. Once again, detailed above, it is vital for a contemplative expanding upon grace to comprehend those not called to the contemplative life. If God is not calling someone to the contemplative life, they should not be involving themselves in the contemplative life of others. Another important spiritual lesson, a teaching of Abbot Lehodey, is to understand that complexities, problems, and messes I make within my life are not spiritual crosses to bear. They are mistakes. Bad decisions leading to difficult consequences are not crosses to bear. There is no grace in suffering through them. It is pretentiously presumptuous and erroneously arrogant to think my blunders and ignorance are to be offered up as righteous suffering to God. I cannot inflict free will upon others and life and then when dilemmas arise from my poor choices and behavior play the martyr, informing everyone that I will endure the cruelties of life in order to love God greater. That is nothing more than the multiplying of spiritual waywardness. The spiritual lesson to be garnered is the understanding and attaining of virtuous thought and behavior–improving and transforming myself is the call of duty. My mistakes demand I make improvements. Errant thought demands I undergo a psychic change. Nothing more. Absolutely, no opportunity for playing the hero exists within self-inflicted wounds. That correlates with the idea of God closing one door in order to open another. It is a Dr Nichta thought, and a good one to think about. The majority of time when God removes us from a situation, it is because we have made such a mess of a situation that He is forced to create conditions allowing us a fresh start. I cannot leave disaster after disaster in my wake, arriving in new situations and environments with the mindset that what is important is to figure out why God placed me in a new opportunity, focusing solely on the new things in my life. I must understand my accountability for the messes God was forced to remove me from. I cannot be fired from jobs time after time, dealing with the situation by concentrating upon why God wants me in a new job, accepting the firings as harsh cruel realities of the world, seeing myself as a victim. The situation demands I figure out what in the world I was doing so horribly wrong. It was not God who had me fired. I got myself fired. I must comprehend and learn from my past in order to properly work through God within my future. All a part of the necessity of thorough self-knowledge.