Because in the school of the Spirit,
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting,
how to speak by silence,
how to live by dying.
-Johannes Tauler

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Clinging to the 'Something Greater' of Christ"

There is a daily meditation within the other resources the Magnificat provides, and yesterday's echoed the words of my heart, so I'd like to post it here. 

"The trouble is... the fact that you cling too fast to these doubts and fears. You concentrate upon the too much, instead of ignoring them and casting yourself upon God in utter self-abandonment, as I have consistently exhorted you for so long past. Only through this holy and happy self-abandonment can you ever enjoy an enduring peace full of perfect trust in God through Jesus Christ. Yet once again, what have you to fear in this self-surrender especially after so many plain signs of God's great mercy to you? You seek for conscious support in yourself and in your works and conscience, as if they provided more assurance and stronger support than God's mercy and Jesus Christ's merits, and under the assumption that these cannot lead you astray...
When we have reached the lowest depths of our nothingness, we can have no kind of trust in ourselves, nor in any way rely upon our works; for in these are to be found only wretchedness, self-love, and corruption. Such complete distrust and  utter scorn of the self is the one source from which originate those delightful consolations of souls wholly surrendered to God - their unalterable peace, their blessed joy, and their unshakable trust in none but God. Ah, would that you knew the gift of God, the reward and the merit and the power and the peace, the blessed assurances of salvation that are hidden in this abandonment; then would you soon be rid of all your fears and anxieties! "
                               Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.  
Father de Caussade (+1751) was a French Jesuit, a writer, and a revered spiritual director.

From:  Cameron, Peter John (Father, OP), ed. "Meditation of the Day." Magnificat 11.13 (2010): 339-40. Print.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"to infinity...!"

"Then he said to the crowd, 'Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions.'" Luke 12:15

As Thomas Dubay puts it, "We have no security in anything finite."

how many people ever stop and think about that? and what would it do to our mentality...to our society! if this consideration became a more routine part of our thought process? 

Recently, I've rid myself of something finite, something that provides ample opportunity for the instant gratification we are attempting to flush away this year:

yes, I deactivated my facebook account. 

I spent weeks weighing up the pros and cons of such a decision - I knew deep down that I needed to be rid of it, but it seemed as though every day, a new reason for remaining a member (all very well intentioned!) was placed before me. Finally, a conversation with a very dear friend the other night sobered me to the reality of this situation. She gently pointed out that poverty of spirit isn't usually something that is grappled with and carefully thought out, but that it is something that one commits to whole-heartedly, plunging in with wild abandon, trusting completely in the power of God and His Divine Providence. It's time to cut the ties that bind. The Lord will fill any holes facebook seems to leave: fill them until they overflow.  

You see, I think all the desires to keep facebook had something to do with greed and control. Is it really necessary to be 'friends' with every person I've ever known in my life and to have the ability to connect with them with just a few clicks at any time of the day or night? This is not 'friendship'. Instead, there is something very finite about the interaction facebook allows, and as I remove it from my life, I make room for more meaningful relationships. Now, if I want to get ahold of someone for whom I have no contact information, not only will it take interaction with other friends or family, but it will also take more time - more of an investment. In the fast pace of these current days, there's something about our time that, when gifted, lets others know we care. There's something within an email or an actual phone call or best yet, a letter in the mail(!) that allows us to know we are loved in a deeper way than a facebook post or message ever could. 

This has all at once been enriching, liberating, refreshing, even. Like moving a dresser (half-full of junk) from in front of a window and allowing the spring breeze to fill the room. So I'm taking a deep breath... 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

my iPod broke.

i've had it attached to my hip for the past 5 years, and when it almost broke 2.5 years ago in Sydney, I almost cried. Somehow, it's lasted this long, though, and I'm sure I should have upgraded by now...but you know what's strange about all this? 

I don't even care. 

There's definitely something larger at work this year.
At the prompting of a friend (thanks Brandon!) I read (in just 10 days!) Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Thomas Dubay, S.J. (one of my favorite writers!) and it has given a whole new depth to this year of voluntary poverty. Throughout the rest of the year, don't be surprised if you find me quoting from Dubay's writing...he has such a grand way of explaining things so that there's no arguing with him! 

It was, quite simply, the best thing I could have read towards the beginning of this journey. 
More on the book soon. 

More on the struggles and revelations soon as well.