St Jane de Chantal

Simple practical ideas

Thinking about orders, charisms and ways of contemplative worship, St Jane de Chantel’s efforts aligned with St Francis de Sales arose to prominence. Reflective examining, here are some ideas detailing the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary.

The order accepted women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age.  Elder women were welcomed.

The Visitation Order was founded almost 400 years ago in Annecy, France, by Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal. It is a cloistered order, committed to an apostolate of prayer and characterized by a spirit of humility and gentleness. There are no severe corporal penances such as fasts, long periods of prayer at night, sleeping on boards, and so forth. Because of the lack of external austerities, a greater emphasis is placed upon purity of intention, charity, patience, and control of one’s inclinations, self-will, and feelings. It is a life “hidden with Christ in God” and quite ordinary in the eyes of men. –From the Visitation Monastery in Alabama website.

The Monasteries of the Order of the Visitation are dedicated to a life of prayer and sacrifice in the Church for the people of God and for the glory of God….In founding the Visitation Order, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal wished to offer to women of their day an opportunity to consecrate their lives to God by embracing a fervent life of poverty, chastity and obedience in a loving community. They developed the Visitation Way of life which emphasized interior transformation into growing more and more each day into the image of our Savior, rather than external austerities that were prevalent in religious orders during their time. Knowing so well the unconditional love of God, the Founders wished the sisters to form a community of love in which they would embrace fidelity to the two-fold commandment of love of God and love of neighbor, faithfully living the Constitutions and Spiritual Directory of their Order and lovingly practicing their CHARISM of profound humility toward God and great gentleness toward the neighbor.  —-From the Visitation Monastery in Washington DC website.

– See more at: http://visitationgallerycommunity.org/#sthash.W8rGUujR.dpuf

The best known saint of the Visitation Order is St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who received the revelations of the Sacred Heart.

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Simple unromantic adroit words followed by a fantastic image and then words of a journey

Saint Francis de Sales used to say that we did not know what was the true service of God; that the true way of serving Him was to follow Him and walk after Him in the highest point of the soul, without the support of consolation, or of feeling, or illumination other than that of bare and simple faith. – – St Jane de Chantal writing about her spiritual director.

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THE better known a road is to us, the more we frequent it; the more people we know therein, the more willingly also we journey thereby and the more easily: but still by such roads we are more slow in arriving at our journey’s end, because, having many acquaintance, here we speak to one, there to another, here we enter into somebody’s shop, there we stay to talk with a friend. For the consideration of God no track is more beaten, known, or familiar than that of corporeal things, amid which we live; no way is more easy in itself, but also no way has more distractions. When I meditate on God in the angel, who is an invisible thing, and one in no way familiar to me, it produces in me but few fancies and distractions: but if I consider God in man, my imagination descends from the universal to the particular, and under the name of man represents to me Peter, Paul, or somebody doing with me this or that thing. Hence while in this way which is so familiar to us we stop at all the shops of our acquaintance, we arrive at our journey’s end either late or never. – – St Francis de Sales on the Canticle of Canticles

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Flowers blossoming within a garden

No, my very dear daughter, it is not necessary to be always and at every moment attentive to all the virtues in order to practice them; that would twist and encumber your thoughts and feelings too much. Humility and charity are the master ropes; all the others are attached to them. We need hold on to these two…

…I’d like to say more about your prayer, for I reread your letter late last night. Go on doing as you described. Be careful not to intellectualize, because this can be harmful, not only in general, but especially at prayer. Approach the beloved object of your prayer with your affections quite simply and as gently as you can. Naturally, every now and then, your intellect will make an effort to apply itself; don’t waste time trying to guard against this, for that would only be a distraction. When you notice this happening, be content simply to return to acts of the will. –St Francis de Sales

I am captivated by the letters of St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal. It is more than the direction tendered. The mature fellowship–overflowing with intimacy, interest, intelligence, care, cordiality, concern, kindness, and gentleness–provides a saintly example of individuals interacting on a higher Catholic plane.

St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal, along with Visitation sisters.

St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal, along with Visitation sisters.

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Fortitude within labor

The whole inferior part of my being is frequently in revolt; and this causes me much distress. I can but bear with it, knowing that through patience I shall possess my soul. Moreover, I have an ever increasing weariness of my charge, for I cannot endure the labor it entails, and I am obliged to force myself to do the necessary work which is wearisome to both mind and body. No matter how I am occupied my imagination gives me a good deal of trouble, and it all makes me sick at heart. Our Lord permits me besides to have many exterior difficulties, so that nothing in life gives me pleasure save only the will of God…. –St Jane Francis de Chantal

St Jane Frances de Chantal

St Jane Francis de Chantal

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The same prayer song twice

Let’s repeat words regarding prayer from St Jane Francis de Chantal, musing, applying to others as well: …full of faith that He is more in us than we are in ourselves… Is that saying if we quiet–soothing and healing emotional and psychological disturbances and complexities associated with identity, and remain in a state of grace, we will reveal God within prayer? I am one confident I need the sheltering of the Eucharist when making myself so vulnerable. I remember Franciscan Holy Hours, evenings especially for there were two, being blessed with extreme immersion in the sanctity of the Franciscan chapel. Absorption, losing one’s self, sensing Father David Mary seated above, a seemingly soaring, roaring eagle protecting. May we always remain under the mantle of the Queen of Heaven and the Church, abiding, obedient to priest and religious, calling upon the saints and angels, especially the defender St Michael. Let us not wander aimlessly where angels fear to tread. I advance never without the presence of the Eucharist.

Sacrifice of the Eucharist

Sacrifice of the Eucharist

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An Act of Abandonment

0 sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God!
I abandon myself forever to Thy arms.
Whether gentle or severe,
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt;
I will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass,
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me.
My soul finds no rest without the arms
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence,
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart.
Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance,
0 my Saviour,
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances,
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that;
but I will blindly follow Thee
according to Thy Divine will,
without seeking my own inclinations.
Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee,
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms,
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire,
to will, to wish.
I offer Thee this desire, 0 my God,
beseeching Thee to bless it;
I undertake all it includes,
relying on Thy goodness,
liberality, and mercy,
with entire confidence in Thee,
distrust of myself,
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity.
Amen!

St Jane Frances de Chantal

Patience, perseverance, prayer, a plea for mercy, and a recognition of love, the presence of Divine subsistence.  Lord, You were there the whole time.  Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7

“We should go to prayer with deep humility and an awareness of our nothingness. We must invoke the help of the Holy Spirit and that of our good angel, and then remain still in God’s presence, full of faith that He is more in us than we are in ourselves.” –St Jane Frances de Chantal

St Jane Frances de Chantal

St Jane Frances de Chantal

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Expunging priority, trusting in everything being conducted,

I am sitting down upon the front porch, retiring for the evening. An enjoyable walk and dinner at Cain Park, followed by conversation at the bicycle shop right around the corner, learning of a bike co-op close by. I point this out to stress I am enjoying life, finding myself easily falling into conversation with others, absolutely coming into life in all aspects. Carter and a former roommate visiting for the weekend sit in the living room conversing, watching a movie. The weekend visitor I enjoy. He is an Indian gentleman, a young engineer at thirty now employed in South Carolina. He is an energetic young man, thrilled to be visiting, overflowing with conversation and invitations for entertaining and leisurely activity. My home in Cleveland Heights is truly a blessing. I state all this to clarifying the following entry. It may seem obsessive and it is within a full life. Today at work, I was left alone, instructed to do nothing except oversee contractors installing a crane. I felt the time was God given and what exploded when I sat down at the computer, a serious expunging, did not surprise me. Feeling no need to defend, nor justify, confident, I acknowledge it is obsessive, yet in a healthy cleansing manner, a man being who he is, exercising strengths and characteristics in order to love God greater, to come into serious fruition in contemplative efforts. It is myself planning and layout a fuller deeper presentation. With no further ado, I open what burst forth, editing and presenting.

I am backing up, deciding to stop editing. I am going to place trust in the Lord not editing, allowing a cloud burst to rain forth. The idea of the expunging relates to a new concept I am embracing through Dr Nichta and that is the conserving of energy, properly focusing my contemplative efforts so that God gets the greater part of me. Not worrying about being wrong, while being who I am, always present and precise as can be before the Lord. The wasting of energy is an affront to God. I must learn how to store, build, and properly utilize the energy God graces. I feel I expressed myself in this vomiting, yet I refuse to give it anymore time.

In prayer, with penetrating insight provided through consultation with Dr Nichta, paying, honor, tribute, and expression to our sessions, I am going to explore my relationship with my former spiritual partner. I have used the term mockingly, warm heartedly insulting, while paying homage to the fact our relationship was based upon a contemplative coupling of a man and woman pursuing a transformative advancement in unifying efforts with the divine. In truth, we were never partners. From here on out I will simply address her by her birth name Ann. Gratefulness is first acknowledged. Through my relationship with Ann a lifelong battle with alcoholism was put to rest, victory achieved. God is all powerful, possessing the mightiest of two edge swords. For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword. I possess a greater peace, the Holy Spirit invited within, the invitation answered with a delightful holy infestation. However it is imperative to properly understand what happen with Ann. I saw her Thursday at St Paul’s and the sight of her fills me with disgust, an intense consternation calling for me to crush her. I know I can. I cannot celebrate mass with her and maintain proper composure. Dr Nitchta and I have determined I would state my case against Ann in writing, prepared to present it to proper Church authorities. Whether that will be done remains a mystery. I know it is his intent that it goes no further than his professional wise Catholic compassionate eyes. I am allowed the luxury of believing I can supply my efforts to a priest I am confident is willing and ready to deal with Ann based upon a temperament influenced by previous entanglements.

An essential aspect of my exchanges with Doctor Nichta Is the identifying of my unique individualism. God created me as a specific man, providing characteristics singularly my own. Understanding who I am is vital to spiritual and natural fulfillment. Know thy self as the Greeks were philosophically prone to saying. The Devoted personality is my core being, the fundamental element that must be utilized to come into greatest growth. God is a God of order. He made me a devoted man for precise reasons. There is no choice. Either I blossom with the characteristics of a devoted man or I am crushed by the disorder of dependency, futilely dependent upon alcohol, a person, or creative efforts, forced to resort to fear, anger, depression, and complete frustration, a King Saul seeking out a David to play his lyre for me. A devoted man sees the world through a specific prism, searching for loyalty, love, and the opportunity to praise and cherish, to nurture and support. As a man of God, coming into proper prosperity, I desire intimate romantic companionship with a woman centered upon the example of Tobiah and Sarah, and this is proper, aligned perfectly with my devoted disposition. Any other type of intimate companionship is an affront to my core being. It will never work, driving me nearly insane. Regarding Ann, everything we endured would demand that I desire a relationship with her based upon the high Godly ideals established in scripture and within personal experiences as God clearly spoke through priest during mass homilies. I examine my experiences with Ann and the sickness is rampant, her cruelty astounding Pleading with her that I love her, being greeted with a promised evening together casually dismissed from another room as she announced she was opting for attending a singles dance, a man of fifteen years and broken engagement dementedly hanging around—the strange old man being told I am a cousin, the insistence of dating, again identifying me as a cousin, lying to Church authorities I was a cousin, the insulting and belittling of my manhood, an absolute barrage and warfare upon my devoted personality type. As Dr Nichta says you may as well have been living with someone who carried around a baseball bat, randomly blasting you in the head. There was an intense attack upon your core being God blessed you with, an assault upon the virtues and values able to bring profound meaning into your life. Vulnerable from hitting bottom as an alcoholic, you were like an orphan child possessing the ideals of a proper family, being told he was being adopted by an ideal family, shown photos of the family and their home, playing with the children, respectfully spoken to by the parents, and then into the orphan’s first week with the family, seated for dinner amongst the family, the mother enters the dinning room serving topless, her tits exposed, preceding to set the food down, then making out with the father. The orphan child’s very perception of what is right and wrong is shattered. He really has no hope of maintaining tranquility. When Ann and yourself went to a nightclub together and seated amongst others, preceded to laugh, telling everyone she would never have anything to do with you romantically, informing them you were an alcoholic she was saving, she may as well carried a club with her and belted you in the head in front of everyone. She continuously attacked the very essence of the gift of life God provided you with, the loving personality of a devoted being. When she toured a home with you speaking about purchasing together, she may as well have chained you to her car and dragged you around her neighborhood. She was exploiting the very nature holding the key to unlocking your personality. Dr Nichta stressed my role in everything, ‘and yet you put up with it. Don’t you see what a victory you garnered when you declared, this is insane, unCatholic, and unholy. I must leave’. Ann was brutalizing you on a sadistic level. Spiritually you were absolutely shit upon, yet all that means is you leave Ann behind. To seek victory is vengeful and a waste of energy. The proper people know who Ann is, allow them to know who you are’. Words of Dr Nichta. I will cover in greater depth my spiritual confrontations with Ann in my presentation for the church. I would like to quickly cover two points of contention that arose during yesterday’s session, a moment in speaking when I began screaming with anger. It was the point Dr Nichta pointed out how angry I was and provided the affirmation that truly I was spiritually shit upon. It involves Ann’s continual insistence that she absolutely derived nothing from her relationship with me. She absolutely felt nothing for me. Everything she did for me was done for God and since her love for God had attained such a high state she knew nothing of the inferior tainted emotional bullshit love I selfishly imposed upon her. Her superior spiritual state of being on the deepest level could only naturally feel nothing for me. Dr Nichta, I proudly write became animated in his response, agitated by Ann’s proclamation, declaring it ignorant, even taking the conversation to an unexpected area of investigation, one I will explore in a moment. First back to Ann’s declaration of sheer indifference. With respect to my Devoted personality values, she was the mother serving dinner topless, waging violent and harsh war upon the deepest center of my human being. Fired up in explanation to Dr Nichta, I related matters to St Jane Frances de Chantal, a saint, a sister in community enduring years of spiritual darkness, a true and proper indifference toward all worldly matters. I declared that St de Chantel did not walk around the convent tell the sisters she got nothing from. She did not eat with the sisters reminding them she only felt indifference for them. She did not tell friends of the community she felt nothing for her sisters. Ann possessed indifference for me, yet she loved dating, loved worldly materialistic things. Just by stating such ignorance was negating its veracity. My anger reached a boiling point when the doctor calmed me, acknowledging I was spiritually shit upon, that no serious mature devote Catholic would ever make such a statement to another human being. He went even further saying that, even more important, completely disregarding whether Ann was right or wrong in her appraisal of spiritual superiority and this ignorant proclaiming of holy indifference, I must recognize the flagrant affront it was upon my devoted nature. Your need to love, care, share, and nurture could only be devastated. She may as well have detonated a neutron bomb in front of you. No wonder you feel the need to crush her, and yes someone who would make such a statement needs to be crushed for their own good, yet that is for God’s doing. You let everything go, stop wasting energy, focus upon your prayer life and the discerning of God’s will. Your prayer life is your strength. Side note, I acknowledge my prayer life is my greatest gift from God. I am happiest, most confident, enjoying peace most intensely during prayer, thoroughly relishing communal prayer, especially the Rosary. I have never prayed the Rosary with Ann. I have never seen Ann pray with another person. She will dance at secular single dances with others, talking freely, letting her hair down, yet she will pray with no one. She has always challenged my prayer life, insulting and calling into question my humility and therefore authenticity. Again the insistence to attack my core being and means of proper unification. Without a doubt my prayer life has regained invigoration, confidence and application. It was sheer insanity, arrogance and delusion for Ann to raise herself above it. This leads nicely into my second point of contention, and the unexpected avenue of exploration pursued by Dr Nichta, that being proper Catholic spiritual interaction for those pursuing deeper penetration. I defended Ann’s twisted ideas on indifference, a complex and profound spiritual idea reduced to absurd shallowness, excusing the erroneous embracing due to dependence upon Myron, her cherished, unquestionable spiritual director. I cannot even think of reproaching Myron as that would involve myself becoming the mother serving family dinner topless. Dr Nichta went aggressively after Myron. We discussed him previously. He is remotely familiar with the man. Dr Nichta used the word perverse upon Myron, attacking what he described as my cultish tendency to surround myself with single people defining, instructing, showing off spiritual prowess to one another, toying and immaturely conceptualizing Catholicism. He described the endeavors as absurd, declaring the spiritual life is more than becoming a self-avowed big shot of Catholicism, more than telling each other how to live as everyone moves through life as broken singles, never able to attain either higher Catholic lifestyles of consecration through the Church or marriage. Kids doing whatever the hell they please. People stuck in an immature lifestyle of selfishness, running around telling each other about truth just for the fun of it. No matter how profound, well studied or scholarly the effort there was still an absurd nature to everything. It is funny the one person I find holy I have met through Ann is a person whose spiritual life she criticizes, declaring the woman is spiritual stifled, a showoff always performing for others in Church. The insult that Lauren and I should get together since our spiritual life was the same, nothing but pretentious and attention seeking. I feel I have an understanding of Lauren, while really not knowing her. I am attracted to her, finding her silence, sensitivity, and prayer life impressive. A truly prayerful woman, a deep contemplative, she is not shallow, nor consumed with making others think she is holy. It is an immature insult. There is more to the poison spewed her way regarding spiritual direction that I will leave to the presentation for the Church. I am throwing this together fast, not sure of quality, praying the spirit expresses itself in order for all to grow and learn. I am going to turn my concentration upon Lauren. I have been texting her, probably annoying her, hopefully not bothering too deeply. In fact, I am going to text her to read this blog entry. My attraction to her is on such a deep level. I admire her silence. It is a highly intelligent silence of penetrating consideration. Mature in spirituality, she is extremely sensitive to proper behavior and speech, powerfully concerned with not hurting anyone, attempting her best to spiritually assist everyone she encounters. She places great holy demands upon herself. Her silence states that she cannot say anything because she becomes confused. She must be careful, deeply careful, always maintaining her presence before the Lord, absolutely fearful of imposing self-will. I say all this, yet I must state, I turn it over to the Lord. I must completely baffle her. I spoke with Dr Nichta about the depth of my attraction, feeling proper in that I do not fantasize romance, nor place undo conditions upon my thinking about her. I simply and truly admire her spiritual life, hoping she opens the door for greater communication, entertaining, and interaction. Dr Nichta scolded me, declaring it was my dependent personality side, the side of me that speculates too much about what is going on in other people’s head. Why can’t you just interact with her and not proscribe all these attributes to her. Your interior life is wild in thinking thoughts for others. It does not matter if you are right or wrong. Stay out of other people’s minds. Defensively, I thought I cannot help it. It is my writer side, attempting to ascertain insight into the minds of others. I truly admire Lauren’s mind, and I have thought deeply about her ways. I want a woman to explore that is religious, prayerful, and deep in the ways I am. I am confident she is like me. I sent her a text about tears. I know what it is to be so filled with love that one can only cry, heartbrokenly completely trusting in God. Her tears possess a spiritual maturity, a conceding to the necessity of trusting in Jesus, the strength to show weakness, a heart hurt, able to only express itself through tears, words being shallow, meaningless on the deepest level. I know Lauren is truly a prayerful woman, a serious contemplative, one truly most contented within a church and mass. Dr Nichta would say: there you go, running crazy and dramatic in your thoughts, settle down. Maybe you are right. Who cares? The devoted side of you wants to run crazy. You must learn to control it, to conserve your energy. If you are serious about Lauren back away from her. Let her come to you. You have no idea what is going on in her life. Stop pushing yourself on her. Let God bring her to you, if that is God’s intent. I justify my ways, explaining I am not dependent upon Lauren in the least regard, honestly not knowing her. I stammer, explaining there is also Carol, a woman I am also becoming close with, a friend of quality adult Catholic companionship. I am healthy in my socializing. Dr Nichta agrees, although he is concerned about my thoughts toward Lauren. I pray, honestly opening myself to nothing, anticipating nothing, admiring, while always holding to faith, hope, and charity, enamored with the ideal Tobiath and Sarah embody within scripture. I plead with Dr Nichta, what is so wrong with wanting to be married, we have established that my deepest nature is to love, care, and be loyal to another. The question was posed, ‘what if you have been mishandled, improperly formed throughout your life for a divine reason, the intentions all along of God for producing something special within you. Look at you. I agree you were spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally shit upon by Ann, yet look it saved you from killing yourself with alcohol. Within the madness you developed an overwhelming desire to love. You learned something powerful, passionate, and penetrating on the deepest spiritual level. You are unmasking yourself, exposing a man of might, integrity and determination. Maybe God has been prepping you for something beyond your wildest dreams. You are properly starting to discern, now work on the patience and the subduing of anger.

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