Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

Weekend summarizing

When the Devil, that subtle serpent, perceives us contending to God alone, fortified against ordinary satanic delusions, he transforms himself into an angel of light; he urges us to attain perfection, hurrying us on blindly and without the least regard to our own weakness.

He fills our heads with devout thoughts, seconding them with passages of Holy Scripture and examples drawn from the greatest Saints, that he might provoke us into some shameful misstep through an indiscrete precipitous fervor. –Dom Lorenzo Scupoli ‘’Spiritual Combat’.

Once again, reviewing the weekend God has been gracious in granting exceptional spiritual exercises into my life, a plethora of socially pleasurable spiritual activities. Yesterday in praising the pilgrimages, I failed to mention the start of the Sabbath day, a five AM communal Rosary of three mysteries. I believe it was the largest crowd for the monthly blessing with fifteen in attendance. A magnificent start of a new month, an authentic expression of the pursuit of the expansion of faith, hope, and charity. Recognizing the sweet consolations within all the weekend activity, plus a Friday visit with Dr. Nichta, I comprehend a weariness, the realization I am transforming within my routine of daily mass at St Paul’s Shrine and personal disciplines within daily life. After the pilgrimages and a lengthy dinner at an excellent Chinese buffet, I felt exhausted, excited to return to my solitary path to God. I was pleased to drive the last woman home alone. Mary, an older prayerful Filipino, is one comfortable within silence. Adorable staring at nothing through her fashionable white sunglasses, content in the presence of God, a bit crazy by worldly standards, it was appropriate she was my final contact for the day.

Regarding St Paul’s Shrine, the greatest consolation sprouted sweetly within disposition. The last week of daily mass was difficult due to complexities involving Ann. I sought resolution with Father Roger, and Sunday everything came together. Wrath and nervous energy filled me before mass. During mass, it dissipated. Arriving, I knew she would be there once I realized the mass celebrated sixty years of service to a sister she favored. She arrived, another date in tow. Observing her during post-mass socializing, pity placated. Wrath existed, yet it was minor, easily quenched. She is putting on weight. Another comedy date, another ridiculous looking old man; add in arrogant behavior when in truth one spiritually attuned would have been uncomfortable. Within a deceived one arrogance and displayed self-confidence dominates. Those properly striving are able to rest in silence, peace, and awkwardness. They draw their strength from God, not from themselves, not from their rationalizing. I think of Father Roger, a humble holy priest, always a bit on edge during post-mass socializing. During the open house, he hid in a corner overwhelmed by the crowd, yet still shaking hands and extending warmth and fellowship. He feared not to appear awkward. Within everything I experienced over the weekend, it was obvious, Ann is a secular shallow woman, an individual living a life dominated by free will. There is no holiness through a dedication and devotion to the contemplative path. She is a confused woman of sixty living the life of a fifteen year old, even to the point of constantly on her phone texting. It reminds me of leaving the recent retreat on a Friday to celebrate mass with my mother. Within the peace and wisdom provided from the concentration upon God, it was easy to identify my mother being spiritually disjointed.

An insistence by Dr. Nichta has always been that a codependent relationship goes both ways. Ann screamed at me about an obsessive compulsive nature in regards to my attachment to her, for my declared authentic love, and also its consequence of hysterical frustrated behavior, yet in truth she is even more dependent than myself upon others distracting her from herself. I am positive her life has been subjugated to the pursuit of finding someone to focus upon: her neighbor, different dates, perusing single websites, single dances–it exhausts me to comprehend the extensive energy wasted constantly trying to bring new people into your life, and then just as easily disposing of them. She has simply never matured into a woman able to be content within herself, while also not possessing the wherewithal to engage in an adult female/male relationship. I am positive we had a good thing, a life together that should have transformed into an absolute concentration upon the pursuit of God. We were given to one another for a purpose, yet she could not acquiesce. I must accept and recognize her for who she is. Doctor stresses that in distinguishing everything that happen between us, I must understand: she got what she needed and I got what I needed. She received a life to focus on, diverting her from penetrating self-introspection, a life to dominate, someone vulnerable and weaker than her. While I received a nine month rehabilitation center. I have progressed beyond the therapeutic time, growing in strength, advancing in self-knowledge, fortifying through spiritual exercises, easily able to spend time alone, to care for myself, to be a friend to myself, in fact finding I prosper mightily when alone. I am not alone scheming and plotting, focusing all of my energy upon others. Beyond a concept, God alone has become a way of life, a hunger and a thirst being satisfied.

Mary statue adorning monthly early morning Rosaries for the conversion of the world.

Mary statue adorning monthly early morning Rosaries for the conversion of the world.


Identifying proper application, maximizing energy

Now that you are in a position to please Him more than ever, speak from the fullness of your heart and say: “It is the will of God that is accomplished in me. From all eternity God’s love has chosen me to undergo this suffering today. May He be blessed forever! …Recollection and attachment to God should be a normal attitude…Your chief activity will be the interior conflict with your vicious inclinations and the performance of acts of the contrary virtues…It must not be imagined that a multiplicity of exercises (spiritual) will produce any real progress in devotion. Although they may be good in themselves, their proper use may only serve to confuse the mind, increase self-love and instability and thus open a way to the illusions of the devil. –‘Spiritual Combat’ Dom Lorenzo Scupoli

An interesting turn of events has been occurring at work for weeks. There is a general panic, fear of lay-offs due to a reduction in workload. It has become personal for myself now that it has been announced my Saturday work will be eliminated, and weekdays reduced to eight hours. First, a bit of a pat on the back, I remain fearless, removing myself from gossip and speculation. What comes, comes, and God allows all things to happen. I trust in God. Everything is exactly as God wills at every precise moment in my life. I have to be more accepting as I grow closer to the One Who is the Most Accepting. My initial panic is a serious decline in my paycheck, yet in truth that is paranoid. All I do is hoard money, living remarkably cheap. God has placed me in a perfect temporary home, demanding minimal rent in a wonderful neighborhood. Where my mind quickly steers toward fear, there truly is nothing to fear. The challenge will be to discern properly the blessing of an increase in personal leisure time. That is why I quoted the above writing of Dom Scupoli. My tendency is too overindulge in spiritual activity, spiritual gluttony, yet that is a form of selfishness, promoting self-love. Maximizing energy in regards to greatest contemplative efficacy involves utilizing my time wisely.  Accepting my strongest battle is behavior and thought contrary to virtue, the realization centers that an increase in time will magnify the battle. Knowing myself, that I am a man of schedule and routine, a devoted personality always seeking to love, while easily slipping into dependency, I understand a battle plan will have to be instituted. I am not afraid of sadness nor boredom. I must not preoccupy myself with social superficial activity simply for the sake of avoiding proper unpleasantness, neither do I allow sloth and depression to overwhelm me. I am in a period of serious grieving, yet I move through it, learning from it. How can I use a serious increase in personal time, while staying aligned with the will of God, not becoming morbidly depressed or overly busy, exercising dependency, seeking out others simply to block brutal reality? Alcohol is defeated, yet life is still difficult. A strong prayer life does not solve all my problems, cannot fill all of my time. In fact, too much prayer activity will asphyxiate my prayer life. My blogging efforts are establishing and other activities demonstrating a love of writing and expressing myself. Authentically, I open myself to a proper reception of divine matters while writing, steering away from self-glorification, expanding faith, hope, and charity. I accurately demand accountability from writing efforts, while allowing myself the option of being wrong. Perfection is not demanded. Previously in life, I felt I had to be drunk to write. It is why so much of my fiction is difficult to expose. In my heart, I aspired toward goodness while opening the door to demons. It would surprise nonalcoholics how strenuously active alcoholics fight in drunkenness to remain righteous. A futile battle, insane warfare, the majority of drinking alcoholics focus on nothing but redemption. I think that is why so many become so devout in faith once they are able to sober-up properly. They have known the dredges of misery, clinging tightly to truth when they are finally able to live it. However going about spiritual matters in an excessive, obsessive manner is also dangerous. Extremes do not work. It is a difficult game, a balancing act involving the acceptance of pain and boredom. An increase in creative writing efforts, an older story temporarily titled ‘Man Tower’, predominantly written sober, explored in this blog, will be resumed.  I have been editing, rewriting, now I will expand into new areas, a strenuous endeavor as it involves incorporating scripture synchronized with Thomas of Celano’s ‘First Life of St Francis.  A historical fiction work, extensive research must be resumed, thus the further filling of healthy time. Yesterday, I played basketball, first time in three weeks. Performing horribly, making a handful of shots, while I never stop shooting. I lost every game. I had a blast. The men are such a blessing in my life. They were so happy to see me. I was moved by the gentleman who hosted the cookout at his ranch. Zoltran made a point of informing me his wife had the serving bowl I left at their home. The cookout was over two weeks ago. I said, ‘Zoltran the bowl cost me a dollar fifty at the dollar store. I consider it disposable’. He said, ‘so you do not mind if we use it to feed the chickens’. I could only laugh, thankful to be once again in his company. That is activity that accentuates my prayer life, my contemplative efforts. Daily exercise will be incorporated, utilizing the wonderful Cain Park. Overall, my new urban neighborhood offers a smorgasbord of social activity. It seems every time I go for a walk, or jog something interesting occurs. The other day walking through the park, I was admiring a freshly painted park bench when to my wondrous surprise I noticed a twenty dollar bill underneath. I retrieved the bill, seeking out the young redhead painting the benches, yet she said it was not hers. There is an attractive woman who was exercising near. I see her quite often. I will ask her if she lost anything the next time I see her. That reminds me. I received an e-mail from Father David Mary. It brings tears to my eyes to state that we will be conducting an ongoing effort of reconciliation. For all of our differences, I never for a moment questioned the man’s priestly dedication and awesomeness. His spirituality I respect to the highest degree. My prayer life was elevated to an incredible level under his guidance, a love of the Eucharist and an awareness of the power of Adoration firmly established. He is truly a powerful priest pursuing and fulfilling a unique mission. My heart is lightened to know we will be working together in spirit. That invigorates my prayer life, energizing my contemplative efforts. Regarding the maximizing of energy, filling time appropriately, my focus upon marriage must be clarified a bit. I spoke with my friend Carol and she laughed at me, saying you are not ready for marriage. It was said with all due regards to graciousness, complementary. I was not so much making a demand to be married right now, more than defining. Everything was so insane with Ann in regards to male/female interaction that I had to set everything straight in my mind. The marriage I seek may still be with the Church. I am encountering a Eucharistic based organization centered upon the ways of St Peter Julian Eymard, discerning participation. My experience with Father David Mary has enlightened me to the fact sensitivity is essential in regards to effective spiritual association. Charism and proper suitability for all involved essential to producing bountiful fruit. Thy will be done.

An image for soothing the mind.  A favorite Mary statue from the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, excuse questionable quality.  I love the strength of Mary in this statue.  I think of her as bold, proud, and strong in the presentation.  The size may not come through in the photo.  Our Lady, seated, stands I would approximate eight feet tall, larger than life. There is a tremendous might to her presence. It is located in a private setting allowing precious alone time.  The power she possesses as the crowned Queen of Heaven majestically comes through in the statue.

Holy Rosary Cathedral Toledo

Holy Rosary Cathedral Toledo


Waste time gracefully

…We must be discreet and humble. Our greatest ambitions must be to see the crucified Christ always before us. His life and death, what efforts He demands of us.

Seek nothing beyond this. It will please the Divine Master. His real friends ask only for those things that will enable them to fulfill His commissions. Any other desire, any other quest, is but self-love, spiritual pride, an encirclement of the devil.

Such a disciplined conduct is well fortified against the assaults of the devil. When the skilled opponent sees the fervor of persons beginning spiritual exercises and the fixed resolution of their wills, he insinuates his subtleties into their understanding. A break-through here permits him to push his way into the will. He is then master of both these faculties.

As a feint, he inflates their imagination in moments of prayer, suggesting elevated sentiments. He works particularity on those who are curious and discerning by nature, who are subject to self-conceit and are fond of their own schemes. His aim, of course, is to amuse them with idle dreams and the sensible pleasure they afford so that, drugged with a false sense of appreciation of God, they may forget to cleanse their hearts, to examine themselves, and to practice mortification. In this way they become inflated with pride, and they idolize their own understanding.

–Dom Lorenzo Scupoli ‘The Spiritual Combat’