St Alphonsus Liguori

Accountability through counsel and Holy Spirit inspired recognition

the saints earnestly recommend…to discover our temptations (through counsel and fellowship), and it is for the same reason that the devil, who desires nothing more than to destroy us, hinders us as much as he can from understanding our temptations….nothing pleases the devil more than to meet with one that will not discover his temptations, for then, since he fights with him hand to hand, he is sure of victory, according to the words of scripture, ‘Woe to him who is alone; because if he comes to fall, there is no one to help him up.’ On the contrary, adds the saint, there is nothing the devil fears so much, and which gives him so much pain, as to see himself discovered, exposed to others. For then he loses all courage and hopes of gaining victory….Saint Ignatius…makes use of the following comparison: he says that when the devil tempts us, he deals with us as a man does who solicits to evil a young woman who has prudent parents, or a married woman who has an honest husband. The first thing the young man does is to hinder the young woman from saying anything to her father or mother, or the wife to her husband, and fears nothing more than to be discovered, because then all hope of effecting his wicked designs are lost; whereas, as long as they keep it secret, he thinks he has still ground to hope. It is thus, continues our holy founder, that when the devil would deceive anyone, the first thing he does is to hinder him from discovering his temptations through counsel, living alone in secret, as long as the temptations are concealed, the devil is sure to overcome and to obtain what he desires…On the contrary, the devil fears being exposed to a superior or confessor, ’whoever does ill hates the light’.   St Alphonsus Rodriguez ‘The Practice of Christian & Religious Perfection’

I posted this in regards to the dinner party last night and recent Hospice work.  Alone, or amongst spiritually unhealthy fellowship, we are abandoned to our own devices, fodder for the manipulative and clever Satan.  Extreme self-righteousness, the desperate need to be right, spiritual fanaticism are some of the ugliness willing to arise.  Subtly, the nuances of pride and brokenness allow us to pull the wool over our own eyes.  In darkness, a life lived in secret, or affirmed within a strangling crowd, trends severely toward delusion, self-deceit and thus a falling away from grace.  Counsel providing accountability does not have to be direct.  I do not have to pour myself out to everyone in order to receive enlightenment regarding faults and proclivities to temptation.  Remaining honest, open, and willing, the Holy Spirit will speak, an awareness for the wiles and ways of evil made apparent.  Words are not necessary for defining.  It is good to entertain myself amongst those seeking the refinement of their Christian life, having fun while staying attuned, unafraid and vulnerable to others while strong and independent in conviction and knowledge of myself.  Expectations held low, I listen to myself and others, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak loudest, all while enjoying life in simplicity and a lack of demand.

St Alphonsus Rodriguez

St Alphonsus Rodriguez

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Petition within patience

When Jesus comes to the soul in Holy Communion he brings every grace to it, especially the grace of holy perseverance. This is the principal effect of the Most Holy Sacrament—to nourish the soul that receives it with this food of life, to give it great strength to advance to perfection and to resist those enemies who desire our death….

Patience under contempt

St Teresa reminds us, “Whoever aspires to perfection must beware of ever saying: ‘They had no right to treat me so’. If you will not bear any cross but one which is based on reason, then perfection is not for you.”

…affronts, poverty, torments, and all tribulations…when they happen to a soul who loves God they become an instrument of closer union with God and more ardent love of God. However great and grievous trouble may be, so far from extinguishing the flames of charity, they only serve to enkindle them more in a soul who loves nothing else but God. 

St Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori

The above words from St Alphonsus Liguori in ‘The Holy Eucharist’ settle nicely upon the Matthew Gospel readings the last two days of mass, a personal exploration of necessity. However, I turned to them in regards to relevancy while discovering them searching for another idea. I wanted a saintly inspired meditation upon patience and the Eucharist. I am fascinated by slow developments in my life regarding the Eucharist. Several phone calls, phone messages, and now a conversation leading to an appointment with a priest form an opening to the Aggregation of the Blessed Sacrament aligned with the parish of St Paschal Baylon in Highland Heights. Nothing happening fast, patience gracing, respect to the uniqueness of charisms, marks the events with intrigue. The Sunday vigil mass of Corpus Christi I attended at the church allowed me to witness seven laypeople complete formation into the third order. Me being me, my mind races forward in fantasy and imagination, excited by the idea of socializing based upon the Eucharist. It was a quality crowd of Catholics. The entire third order stood during the mass, all seated together, as the seven new inductees conducted their formal ceremonies of graduation. In respect to Dr Nichta’s stressing that I function best in structure, routine, and order, I feel it appropriate to explore further. Thy Will be done. More Dr Nichta wisdom: Maybe this is the key to a healthy social life, and maybe it is not. Explore the matter realistically, patiently prepared for a yes or no. Most likely, the truth is somewhere in between. There is no reason to fear being wrong, nor no glory in being right. All is in God’s hands. Trust in the Lord. I am a dreamer and tend to get overly-excited. The opportunity of taking the Eucharist to the homebound, nursing homes, and whatever other opportunities exist surrounding the Eucharist may be just the spiritual and natural extending of myself necessary for further contemplative growth.  So many have assisted me in establishing where I am at today, it would serve perfection to serve others: allow me Lord to provide love-filled service to my brothers and sisters, teach me to see You, Lord, in all the lives that I touch.. A new social world, brothers and sisters in Christ, would soothe my heart, ease my awkwardness in life. Every day, through all complications, love amasses within me. I am not sure why God is not providing me an outlet for my love. Friends to share with are developing at St Paul’s, a spiritual home is revealed, yet could there be more to fill my mornings.  Taking inspiration from Janette, I do not complain, nor whine, grateful for the miracles in my life, yet I plead with God to use me.  Let me give back Lord.  I am a good man with a heart ready to explode. I am alone and hurting. My family is distant. I have no one close. Conducting the novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, I plead with my Holy Mother, the wisest, kindest and gentlest of all women, to allow me the opportunity to love and serve. Self-knowledge focused upon a devoted personality, I understand it is essential for me to love. Love brings meaning to my life. Root out my complexities, Holy Mother allow me to love properly. You know how much I enjoy my time with Janette. Are there other elderly people who can serve me so blessedly by allowing me to take the Eucharist to them, possibly even to share Rosaries together? Could such a miracle truly take place in my life? God, could You break my loneliness by allowing me to serve You? Could I truly have the opportunity to love on such a profound level, filling my mornings with the supplying of the body of Christ to those in need? I have known disappointment and rejection all of my life, I implore with proper intent and respect, God that You please grace me with the opportunity to serve You with, in, and through love.

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Necessities and patience

Jesus, I trust in You
Holy Presence I kneel broken, sincere, making the sign of the Cross,
Corpus Christi, resting exposed I repose blinded, overpowered,
Fighting within, struggling against pain and sadness, waiting,
Relishing moments of peace, capabilities, a monstrance, harvesting confidence,
Trusting, instituting patience, the Eucharist through, with and in the Church,
Lord, I am a weak, one filled with tears, arrest the anger,
I need You, bring me others to be near,

The just and the unjust must each carry his own cross. Carry it with patience to be saved; carry it with impatience and be lost….

…with this present life, those who practice the most patience have the most peace of mind. Let us be convinced that in this valley of tears true peace of heart cannot be found except by those who lovingly embrace their crosses to please Almighty God. “If anyone wishes to come after me,” says the Lord, “he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). This must be done, not by constraint and against our will, but with humility, patience, and love.

St Catherine of Genoa…”To attain union with God, adversities are indispensable. By them God aims at destroying all our corrupt propensities both within and without. All injuries, contempt, abandonment by loved ones, temptations and mortifications are necessary in the highest degree so that we carry on the fight until, by repeated victories, we come to extinguish all viciousness within us.”

“The patient man is better than the valiant” (Proverbs 16:32)…. –St Alphonsus Liguori ‘The Holy Eucharist’

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Corpus Christi novena on the feast of the Trinity

To prepare better for Holy Communion, a soul should be disposed on two main points: it should be detached from creatures, and it should have a great desire to advance in divine love.

1. First, a soul should detach itself from all things and drive everything from its heart which is not God. “Whoever has bathed,” says the Lord, “has no need except to have his feet washed” (John 13:10). This signifies, as St Bernard explains, that in order to receive this sacrament with great fruit we should not only be cleansed from mortal sins, but our feet should also be washed, that is freed from earthly affections.

St Gertrude asked our Lord what preparation he required of her for Holy Communion and he replied, “I only ask that you come to me empty of yourself to receive me.”

2. It is most meritorious in Holy Communion to have a great desire to receive Jesus Christ and his holy love. In this sacred banquet only those who are famishing receive their fill. The blessed Virgin Mary had already said this: “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53).

–St Alphonsus Liguori ‘The Holy Eucharist’

Mass downtown at the Cathedral today provided a blessing regarding communion.  Two young girls received their first communion together.  I found it moving to notice that the extensive families supporting and celebrating with the girls seemed unfamiliar with each other, yet the two girls possessed a special bond.  I felt they practiced together.  Called to stand aside the priest as he prepared to serve the congregation, prepared to be the first to receive, one girl called out to the other before advancing upon the sanctuary.  The two joined hands smiling with delight before ascending steps.  The priest spoke in his homily about the sanctity of receiving the body of Christ for the first time, the significance of advancement for a child within the Catholic Church. What a pleasure to witness two beautiful girls so excited to receive their first communion.  A true wonder for the entire familes gathered to witness two loved young ones advancing with, through, and in Christ.

First_Communion_girls

I thank You, Jesus, my Divine Redeemer, for coming upon the earth for our sake, and for instituting the adorable Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in order to remain with us until the end of the world.
 I thank You for hiding beneath the Eucharistic species Your infinite majesty and beauty, which Your Angels delight to behold, so that I might have courage to approach the throne of Your Mercy. 
I thank You, most loving Jesus, for having made Your- self my food, and for uniting me to Yourself with so much love in this wonderful Sacrament that I may live in You.

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Dr. Nitcha and Day 2 Corpus Christi novena synchronizing, a strange awful Caribbean Island sharing

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

Our most loving Redeemer, knowing that he must leave this earth and return to His Father as soon as He had accomplished the work of our redemption by his death, and seeing that the hour of his death had now come–“Jesus knew that His hour had come to pass from this world to the Father (John 13:1)–would not leave us alone in this valley of tears, so what did he do?

He instituted the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in which he left us His whole self.

–St Alphonsus Liguori ‘The Holy Eucharist’

I met with my spiritual director today, an impromptu visit, scheduled in during an idle week of therapy. Processing the return to Fort Wayne, Dr Nitcha left me with the contemplative thought that the best we can hope to do within a parting is to leave the other with a greater capacity to love. We accomplish something divine if we part from another having increased their ability to properly love. If we have crippled or crushed another’s sense of love we have imposed self-will, resorting away from Divine Will. The idea of Christ parting from the world and leaving the Eucharist behind became intensely profound.

After the session, graciously granted twenty minutes of socializing, I opted for adoration at a wonderful east side church St Paschal Baylon, a church Dr Nitcha referred me to. I am blessed with his guidance, saying no more, touched he invited me to his millennial daughter’s artwork display. Proud, humble, while hesitant to praise, he informed me his daughter, as a young adult, is recognizing and presenting herself to the world as a serious artist. I responded, ‘to be an artist is a blessing and a curse’. He quickly added, ‘that is the case with all things’.  I cannot not stress the invigoration he brings to my life, supplying confidence, a reassuring of my spiritual life, and encouragement on the natural level. I was able to share a personal experience that occurred before the Eucharist, a bit hesitant regarding the matter.

Also a strange incident with a new coworker, one haunting me throughout the day.  Jose is a man from Puerto Rico new to our Maintenance department.  He is engaging and intelligent.  I enjoy the minds of others and today I spent the day with him.  I must warn readers to proceed with caution.  Prepare yourselves, yet I feel this is important.  It was strangely and difficultly edifying when it occurred.  I could not avoid it.  Struggling with his English, Jose became excited, wanting me to watch a video from the internet.  He informed me it was taken by a webcam posted above the entrance of a nightclub from his country.  Several men were hanging out in front of the nightclub, when suddenly two cars came to a screeching halt, men jumping out, beating one of the men with clubs.  The other gathered men fled in sheer terror.  The most horrific thing happened as the attacked man’s arm suddenly dangled absurdly.  “Jose what are they doing?”  “They hit him with machetes.”  “I thought they were clubs.”  “No they are machetes.”  Making the sign of the cross, falling into prayer, aghast, I felt I had to watch, suffering intense compassion for the man being hacked to death, empathizing, trying to understand the insanity and shock that had to be gripping his mind, also feeling overwhelming compassion for the men doing the hacking.  If one were not strong with the Lord how could one expect to handle such an extreme travesty?  The brutality of the death would be impossible to handle properly.  What a horrific thing to do to one’s soul and mind to hack another man to death with a machete.  What a sickening hardening of the heart and sense of decency, an absolute blocking of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  What fear children must possess within their consciousness knowing such savagery is a reality and possibility, something they could endure or have to inflict, something their mind processes while alone in bed at night.  Jose, not being sensational, authentically telling me in a way that he felt I had to understand, told me about coming across his neighbor as a teenager after his neighbor suffered a machete attack by three men.  It was important for him to tell me the story.  He was working when he decided to return home for lunch in order to eat with his mother.  Walking back to work, he heard desperate cries, discovering his neighbor calling out for help.  His hands were severely gashed from trying to ward off the machete blows, and he suffered awful gashes upon his head.  Jose ran for the man’s brothers and they all wrapped him in a blanket and took him for medical help.  The man lived, still walking and talking the day Jose left his country.  It was not until prayers, a Rosary, and a Holy Hour could I be free of the video images and the story Jose told me.  The things people suffer in this life are immensely gruesome, overwhelmingly abominable.  Oh Lord please help us.  This is not an inconsequential game we have gotten ourselves involved in.  Lord please have mercy and assist us in this tremendous endeavor of life.  At times fearful, with courage and confidence, I plow forward in building a life complimenting my contemplative efforts, nurturing my prayer life.

Dr Nitcha had test results from a personality style test he gave me, a long hundred and fifty question test. The conclusion he presented: I am devoted personality type.  Devoted types care, and that’s what makes their lives worth living.  You won’t find anyone more loving, more solicitous of you, more concerned for your needs and feelings or for those of the groups as a whole.  At their best, individuals with this style are the loyal, considerate, ever-so-helpful members of the family or team…their happiness comes from the fulfillment of other’s directives and goals.  Devoted people are the ones who tell you, “I’m happy if you’re happy”–and mean it.

The negative side of the Devoted personality style creates the neurosis of dependent personality disorder.  People suffering from dependent personality disorder, the pathological extreme of the Devoted style, have the misfortune to experience themselves as helpless, weak, empty, and inferior.  By attaching themselves to another person they gain strength and self-esteem to survive.  Yet they live in fear of losing the person that is so necessary to them.  They can’t bear the very thought of being without the other.   

I just report what is given to me whether I like it or not.  Absorbing, moving forward, fearing not mistakes.  Building upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit, prayerful and mindful, may the Eucharist be glorified through a passionate novena allowing greater understanding.  All hail the omnipotence of the Trinity.

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St Liguori on the Holy Spirit

Holy_Spirit_007

Holy Spirit,
Divine Consoler,
I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace
and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins,
for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety,
so that I may serve You for the future with increased
fervor,
follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations,
and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge,
so that I may know the things of God and,
enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk,
without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude,
so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of
the devil,
and all the dangers of this world which threaten the
salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel,
so that I may choose what is more conducive to my
spiritual advancement
and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding,
so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries
and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts
and affections from the vain things of this miserable
world.

Grant me the gift of wisdom,
so that I may rightly direct all my actions,
referring them to God as my last end;
so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life,
I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in
the next.

Amen.

St Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori

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Unification

…let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to His divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever dispositions God makes of us. Conformity signifies that we join our wills to the will of God. Uniformity means more. Uniformity means that we make one will of God’s will and our will. In this way we will only what God wills. God’s will alone is our will… –St Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori

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