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BarbaraTherese

Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

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BarbaraTherese

Having read and reflected on a different thread and forum, I decided not to post into it as it just might hijack the subject of the thread.

 

No matter one's vocation, one can be absolutely assured that The Lord is leading one to holiness and providing the necessary Graces.  And no matter one's vocation, one might look back or around and notice that one is really missing and feeling the lack of some things, which do exist in other vocations.

If one can get into the dynamics of the theology of St Therese (for one) she speaks to every vocation in life, no matter what that vocation might be and this to me is what our saints are all about - inspiration and motivation for us all with The Grace of The Holy Spirit as our own motivation and inspiration no matter what that might be.  Even those saints who performed outstanding wonders of one kind or another in their lifetime - it was The Lord who guided them and gave them the motivation and the necessary Grace.  The same Lord who guides, motivates and Graces each one of us according to His Will and Purposes.  As it is spelt out for us in today's Second Reading (Pentecost Sunday)

 
"Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit"

 http://dailygospel.org/main.php?language=AM&module=readings&localdate=20140608

 

I find that first line "No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit absolutely instructional and entirely humbling, amazing.  As St Therese noted "All is Grace".

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese

I have been noticing those who regularly crop up in props in this thread, and those who have posted more than once, those who have posted only once and thankful too for those who only read who are always present in our midst.  Most of all thank you for your prayers - they are being fruitful and I'd like to say a very big:
 

THANK YOU

FOR STAYING WITH ME

ON THIS JOURNEY.

MY HANDS ARE FOREVER EMPTY - I ASK  THE LORD

HUMBLY TO THANK YOU ALL FOR ME & WITH RICH CONSOLATIONS

 

IT ALL MEANS AN AWFUL LOT TO ME

 

"WHERE TWO OR MORE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME -

THERE I AM IN THE MIDST OF THEM"

Matthew 18:20

 

 

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BarbaraTherese

An implied question has arisen in a thread in VF - not directly asked but implied in what was stated.  I've decided to put my thoughts into this thread as it might be a consideration for those who might have impediments to other vocations and feel upset about it, especially those who may have been turned away after applying to other vocations in the publicly consecrated states in The Church.

 

Discerning between my own will and what God may will can be difficult - not always, but sometimes and on that broader question: "What is my vocation in life?".  If one has impediments to other vocations or is turned away for some reason, it is only human to feel at least quite disappointed - remembering that the human in us isvery often faulted and fallible and perhaps especially on the feeling level.

We know that negative events in our lives come about through God's Permissive Will (Church Teaching as stated in the Catholic Catechism).  We also know from these latter that God will only permit negative events in our lives in order to bring about a greater good.

Therefore, one can look upon negative events in regards to desired vocation (i.e.. turned away from a certain state in life or some other negative factor) as a real and actual negative event in one's life and one that can even arouse anger and anger with God (born of frustration that my will is not God's Will) - or at very least probably inner confusion.  But if we reflect on the Permissive Will of God in order to bring about a greater good, that ' negative light' fades and a new light enters in and one that gives Hope and positivity. Instead of remaining (immobile) in my own negativity - I start to search in Hope for the positive in the event.   In this latter process very often the person is untangling one's own will from God's Will.  That is to say, God has permitted the negative event in one's life in order to close a door and turn us from what is not His Will towards what it is, which is a greater good and on every level than what one had desired.

 

Having said all that, as long as one has an attraction to a particular vocation, one should pursue it I think for as long as it is possible - but common sense (the foundation of all virtue according to St Albert) tells us that at some point after many frustrations one needs pause and ask, am I desiring my own will or seeking to discern and follow God's Will.  Is The Lord telling me something in all these frustrations?  And it may take spiritual direction to discern that.

 

My own very strong opinion is that any person at all desiring to take their Faith and The Gospel, their spiritual life, very seriously, should seek out a sound regular spiritual director.  My Dad used to say "life is  full of pitfalls" - and very true to my mind.

 

It is only normal and natural I should think that one who desires to Love God and neighbour with all that they are might turn towards religious life as the best means of accomplishment.  God may have other plans - and for the good of The Church, the common good, salvation of all mankind and for holiness and sanctification of the person involved.  After all, if I truly Love God and neighbour, would I not desire the good of The Church, the common good, salvation of all mankind and my own sanctification?  In other words, desire what God Wills.  It can take much effort indeed to think of oneself and one's humble lowly life as having the ability to do all that.  In God's Grace, it does as mysterious and hidden as it most often is and probably will remain.  It is not oneself and one's life, it is the amesome power of God and His Grace that is the focus and leaven.

 

Do not disdain what 'the world' (worldly type thinking) might hold in disdain.  Did not Jesus come to us in human poverty and frail humanity in a stable ........ yet look what has blossomed from an 'out of work' wandering preacher executed as a criminal and His twelve followers.  And "no man can be greater than His Master".  Jesus has turned our concept of "greatness" in this world and in this world's thinking on it's head ........... the last are first, and the first last, if never in this world rather in the world that transcends this world and always with us.  We just need with God's Grace the courage to grasp and internalize it.....and then live it out daily. All is Grace (St Therese of Lisieux)

Mea culpa

Off me pulpit.......till next time :)

 

_______________

 

Catholic Catechism

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/798.htm

"798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body." He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: by God's Word "which is able to build you up"; by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body; by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts"; by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."

 

799 Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.

 

800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms.253

 


801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,"254 so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good."255


 

 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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Perigrina

I wanted to give this props when I first read it but I was out of them.  I tried to remember to come back to do it later and actually succeeded.  

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BarbaraTherese

Thank you, Perigina :) - I am keeping all those who are following me in this journey especially in prayer for both them and their intentions.  And my intentions are kept in prayer by two contemplative communities in different religious orders - powerful prayers.

Thank you again!

 

Regards.........Barb :)

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BarbaraTherese

Father John has advised that 5pm on Friday 15th August, Solemnity of The Assumption, is the time for the Home Mass and House Blessing.  I am hoping that there wont be any changes, but I do understand that Father is in a religious community and his religious duties and calls must come first.   I have a Plan B if there is some unexpected change.

 

Countdown

54 Days 14 Hours.
 

 

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bernadette d

I haven't followed this thread but I pray for God's abundant blessings on this momentous day and always.As Perigrina said, a wonderful day for it!

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BarbaraTherese

I haven't followed this thread but I pray for God's abundant blessings on this momentous day and always.As Perigrina said, a wonderful day for it!

 

Thank you, Bernadette :)

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nunsense

An implied question has arisen in a thread in VF - not directly asked but implied in what was stated.  I've decided to put my thoughts into this thread as it might be a consideration for those who might have impediments to other vocations and feel upset about it, especially those who may have been turned away after applying to other vocations in the publicly consecrated states in The Church.
 
Discerning between my own will and what God may will can be difficult - not always, but sometimes and on that broader question: "What is my vocation in life?".  If one has impediments to other vocations or is turned away for some reason, it is only human to feel at least quite disappointed - remembering that the human in us is very often faulted and fallible and perhaps especially on the feeling level.
 
...
 
We know that negative events in our lives come about through God's Permissive Will (Church Teaching as stated in the Catholic Catechism).  We also know from these latter that God will only permit negative events in our lives in order to bring about a greater good. Therefore, one can look upon negative events in regards to desired vocation (i.e.. turned away from a certain state in life or some other negative factor) as a real and actual negative event in one's life and one that can even arouse anger and anger with God (born of frustration that my will is not God's Will) - or at very least probably inner confusion.  But if we reflect on the Permissive Will of God in order to bring about a greater good, that ' negative light' fades and a new light enters in and one that gives Hope and positivity. Instead of remaining (immobile) in my own negativity - I start to search in Hope for the positive in the event.   In this latter process very often the person is untangling one's own will from God's Will.  That is to say, God has permitted the negative event in one's life in order to close a door and turn us from what is not His Will towards what it is, which is a greater good and on every level than what one had desired. [emphasis mine]

 

...

Having said all that, as long as one has an attraction to a particular vocation, one should pursue it I think for as long as it is possible - but common sense (the foundation of all virtue according to St Albert) tells us that at some point after many frustrations one needs pause and ask, am I desiring my own will or seeking to discern and follow God's Will. Is The Lord telling me something in all these frustrations?

 

Dear Barb
 
I have been following this thread and have been so happy for you that you will be able to renew your private vows in a semi-public ceremony - at a home Mass. This will certainly add even more joy to what must already be a happy memory for you - when you first made your private vows. You know that there will be many prayers for you on your special day.
 
You have had a long and often painful journey to reach a place of peace in your own understanding of God's will for you so I can see and understand why you have written what you have. But there are also different ways to interpret the Catechism when it talks about God's permissive will and the negative things that happen in our lives so I thought I would comment on some of my ideas.
 
Now please don't take this a debate because I don't intend it that way, but I do believe that one must be very careful when assuming that obstacles or difficulties - or even outright rejection - means that one is following their own will instead of God's, which is one conclusion that can be drawn from what you have written. I do agree that common sense should be applied whenever possible, but at the same time, many saints went beyond common sense in their pursuit of what they felt deeply in their hearts to be God's will for them, and some of them were even considered by others to be mad or simply following their own will at the time.Often, it is only with hindsight that we can see clearly what God's plan actually was.

 

I say this not to criticize your choices, which appear to make absolute sense for you, and are obviously supported by Church authorities in your life. And I agree completely that God can take what appears negative and use it for good. But there will always be certain situations in which things that seem almost impossible or frustrating are not actually indications that God wants to 'close a door' at all but that He will allow it to close simply because He has given free will to everyone and that means that not everyone will act according to His will. This free will dilemma means that each of us has an impact on each other - so while trying to do God's will, we  might run into difficulties from those who are going against what He wills. He permits it, but He didn't actively will it. So then he then set about finding another 'door way in' for the person. When the monastery closed the door on St Rita, God went so far as to bodily place her inside! Most of us aren't going to experience that, but we might experience some other pretty incredible things as He keeps opening up doors while others keep trying to shut them. 

 

The only reason I bring this up is because I don't want anyone to automatically assume that difficulties are a sign from God to give up a certain direction (or vocation). As you point out, spiritual direction is definitely something that can help in this case, but believe it or not, sometimes it doesn't help (St John of the Cross lamented 'bad' spiritual directors). 

 

In your case, I believe that you have responded to the events in your life with courage and faith and wisdom, and that your conviction in your own vocation as a lay celibate single person is now being supported by those around you - a vindication as it were. And I applaud you.

 

I am only speaking for those, like myself, who have found that the obstacles and roadblocks in the path of my vocation to religious life were not necessarily signs that I was trying to do my will rather than God's. In fact, many times along the way, I tried to believe this theory, wanting to give up and - like Jeremiah - forget about God, or like Jonah, run away from Him. But the Hound of Heaven pursued me relentlessly and, almost against my own will, once again He put me in His house.

 

So some of us are called to path of least resistance perhaps, while others of us are called to slog away knocking on door after door (or crawling through windows perhaps?? :) ) simply because we are trying to respond to what is being asked of us by God. One of my great inspirations is St Monica because despite all evidence to the contrary, she never gave up praying that one day her son would experience conversion and come to Christ. So, persistence and perseverance is the path for some, while for others, the right path is to change direction when one way appears blocked.

 

So all I am saying is that yes, I agree that God can use all things for good, but not all the bad that happens is an indication that He is asking us to change direction completely.We might have to adjust our course slightly while He trims the sails, but if we don't lose faith, then He will eventually get us back on track so we will end up where we are supposed to be.

 

Bless you on your journey of love and thank you for the support you have shown me in mine. I mean no disrespect by what I have written - each of us is just responding in the way that God made us - both equally valid and equally for love of Him.

 

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BarbaraTherese

Hi nunsense - good to see you out and about on Phatmass again and with some sound insights. :)

 

In closing a door through His Permissive Will, the very good God intends to draw out of the situation may not at all be apparent to one - indeed unapparent until one reaches Heaven perhaps.  That good may have nothing to do in a direct type of manner with oneself on whom 'the door has closed' and by one's efforts to open the door and to succeed in doing so, however it might come about, that good is accomplished whatever that direct good might be.........involving myself or some other or others, which it does anyway.

 

I think this can be one situation where spiritual direction can be so important: What is God asking of me in this situation?........ and all you have to state is quite valid.  In "closing a door" God may be asking the person to take a different direction, or it may be that the person must persevere in attempting to "open the door".  In most cases (not all), however, I do think that probably God is asking the person to take another direction that may or may not be connected with the initial direction and this again is where spiritual direction comes into very real importance.  At very least, common sense asks that it is a question I seriously ask myself - whatever my answer might be.

 

God will only permit negative events in our lives in order to bring about a greater good

 

 

Certainly the above is in the CCC and something to which I hold in all circumstances; however, the greater good God intends does not necessarily involve oneself directly - in the Love of God alive in a person, it is the knowledge that greater good will come about from negative circumstances whether one can sight that good or whether one cannot and the CCC in quoting some of our saints underscores this not directly, but indirectly. (http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p4.htm#324 See Para 313) I hold to this - however, if a door is closed and one is still attracted to what it offers, then I think that one should persevere in that direction for as long as that attraction exists.  At some point, I really do think that common sense and wisdom asks that I do ask myself some serious questions.  My final answer may be to head in another direction, or it might be to persevere.

 

Finally, if in my weakness and poverty, I screw things up completely, I can be assured as long as I am acting with integrity and a desire to accomplish God's Will, all will 'come out in the wash' and I can be assured I am on the road to holiness.  This takes total confidence and trust in God.
 

 

Having said all that, as long as one has an attraction to a particular vocation, one should pursue it I think for as long as it is possible - but common sense (the foundation of all virtue according to St Albert) tells us that at some point after many frustrations one needs pause and ask, am I desiring my own will or seeking to discern and follow God's Will. Is The Lord telling me something in all these frustrations?

 

 

As the above states, in some situations, common sense asks for some reason, that I ask myself some questions (again this is where sound spiritual direction is invaluable) - and questions is all that they are.  I might arrive at any conclusion and answer.

 

Re spiritual direction - it is very important that one feels that one has sound spiritual direction and the qualities I would seek are holiness of life, education (spiritual life and spirituality) and experience (in direction).  As I have said before, if one cannot find a sound spiritual director, one can proceed confidently alone and trusting in The Lord who will never allow one to go astray completely.  In fact, one is far better, to my mind, going ahead confidently with The Lord than to accept spiritual direction of which one is not confident.  I must confess that my own thoughts are is that if one happens to accept unsound spiritual direction and the result of such, which for some mysterious reason The Lord has permitted, there is no need to 'drop one's bundle' but to abandon the director and set about sorting oneself out - confident that there are good reasons involved though mysterious to oneself.  I certainly had this experience with one priest director (short time) and by the time I decided to abandon him, I was quite confused.  I eventually sorted myself out with seeking out sound resources, not on the internet, but priests and nuns I know who are sound resources but not available for spiritual direction per se.  I also checked out on the internet that my Catholic theology was sound and Father might have had things a bit screwed up in places.  Having sorted myself out in hope, I then moved on quite confidently without a director trusting in The Lord completely.

 

Undoubtedly, when I wrote, I had my own experiences in mind and writing from that standpoint.  I did try to put in some "perhaps" and "mights" etc. etc. where I thought it necessary and in an attempt to broaden the statements beyond my own experiences.

 

I have been very careful indeed throughout my journey to ensure that I was not simply following my own will but that there was evidence from others who were in a position to know (though not infallible) that I was following that path indicated by The Lord.  When I began this journey and quite some years into it, little to nothing was known about private vows - though a potential call from God from the very beginnings of The Church.  Certainly, my history (psychotic mental illness) is known in diocesan offices and the approval of the Vicar General and His Grace for the Home Mass for private vows was "the clincher"!  There are other matters surrounding the annulment of my marriage (35 years ago) in a letter from the Tribunal at the time that have been central in my journey and vocation.  At the time, I did seek out Monsignor Tiggerman in diocesan offices, who wrote the letter, in a private appointment to ensure I understood that letter.  Also important and vital have been the comments by His Grace in giving permission for the Home Mass.  The comments by both are linked and across some 35 years now.

 

I really would like to consider your post more, but this week is a pressing week and it begins today.  I have written this uncomfortably quickly. Perhaps tonight I might be able to return tonight - my hope is, however, that I have addressed your points.

 

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BarbaraTherese
In your case, I believe that you have responded to the events in your life with courage and faith and wisdom, and that your conviction in your own vocation as a lay celibate single person is now being supported by those around you - a vindication as it were.

 

 

I knew I had missed something in commenting.  My journey with private vows has not been a recent matter as it were, but a 35 year struggle and with encouragement and affirmation all the way by the few, very very few, whom I trusted in spiritual matters and who knew me well - certainly, our previous Archbishop as well and we used to exchange letters.  When I spoke to Father John about the possibility of a Home Mass for my purpose and he agreed to my surprise, he added "Well, it's not exactly a flash in the pan, is it?"
 I went 20 years without being able to find a sound director per se. After every Bipolar episode without fail, the moment I returned to 'normality', I again took up with conviction (rather regularly unfelt conviction - until recently mine has mainly been a journey in darkness with patches and stretches of light) the lifestyle I call "Bethany".  When Father John said that he had put the matter of renewal and receiving of life private vows to the Vicar General who was going to speak to our Archbishop, my heart sank and I was fully resigned to a negative response.  In my wildest dreams I never anticipated a positive response.  Years previously, I had a necessity to collate spiritual references for our previous Archbishop, I was really astounded at how much those writing knew about me since back in those days, I kept my private vows and the lifestyle of Bethany a very private matter between me and The Lord.  In fact, at that time I lamented that it was completely unfair that I was in fact so far 'out the closet' against my choice.  I only 'came out the closet' by my own choice on being given this computer and discovering Catholic discussion sites that there was contention abounding that private vows in the lay celibate state was a vocation at all.  I wanted to join in that discussion.   And in that process I learned an awful lot indeed theologically for one only with the internet and researching at my fingertips and without moving from my kitchen - and free of charge.  Previously, I could not afford to buy books etc very often at all.  They are very expensive here in Australia.

 

It has been a very long journey of much colour and experiences negative and positive - and the journey continues of course.

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BarbaraTherese

On a re-read, my post to which nunsense refers could have been taken other than how I would have meant it had I been consciously  commenting on the broader question of God's Permissive Will and our response.   I was commenting from my own standpoint and experience alone - but did not state this clearly enough in that post - and my failure.  I think what I really wanted to convey was a positive potential direction for any who may find that they have impediments and/or are turned away from forms of consecrated life or decide against it in some confusion.  Also, that the Permissive Will of God may on first 'impact' be a very negative type of experience but that there is a quite positive way forward and one of Hope providing one is seeking God's Will - and as nunsense rightly pointed out, the response to the Permissive Will of God in our life does not of necessity mean that one must embrace that negativity in one's life as 'set in stone' - a very positive response can be that, convinced of God's Will for oneself, one just keeps knocking with perseverance and persistence on that seemingly closed door - as evidenced in quite a few lives of the saints where they have been turned away from seminary or noviciate, and sometimes a few times.  And with perseverance and against the seeming odds, are eventually accepted. 

 

Nunsense, you were quite correct and spot on to my mind, and it needed to be pointed out.  Thank you :)

 

Taking this opportunity too to rejoice with you at your postulancy and admission into Carmel! 

 

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nunsense

On a re-read, my post to which nunsense refers could have been taken other than how I would have meant it had I been consciously  commenting on the broader question of God's Permissive Will and our response.   I was commenting from my own standpoint and experience alone - but did not state this clearly enough in that post - and my failure.  I think what I really wanted to convey was a positive potential direction for any who may find that they have impediments and/or are turned away from forms of consecrated life or decide against it in some confusion.  Also, that the Permissive Will of God may on first 'impact' be a very negative type of experience but that there is a quite positive way forward and one of Hope providing one is seeking God's Will - and as nunsense rightly pointed out, the response to the Permissive Will of God in our life does not of necessity mean that one must embrace that negativity in one's life as 'set in stone' - a very positive response can be that, convinced of God's Will for oneself, one just keeps knocking with perseverance and persistence on that seemingly closed door - as evidenced in quite a few lives of the saints where they have been turned away from seminary or noviciate, and sometimes a few times.  And with perseverance and against the seeming odds, are eventually accepted. 

 

Nunsense, you were quite correct and spot on to my mind, and it needed to be pointed out.  Thank you :)

 

Taking this opportunity too to rejoice with you at your postulancy and admission into Carmel! 

 

 

 

Barb - everything you posted was right - I wasn't debating it. I think what I was just trying to add was that even though God does permit negative things in our lives to bring about a greater good -- He doesn't dictate how we are to respond to that negativity in order to benefit from the good. I don't think we are disagreeing really, just coming at things from opposite sides of the same rainbow. :)

 

One person may experience a setback, and deep in their heart know that this means they need to change direction to bring themselves in alignment with God's will -  while another person may also experience a setback but know in their heart that this event is to be used to strengthen them on to greater efforts in the same direction.

 

We all know stories of people who have had to face adversity of some kind - say, for example, the loss of a limb or bodily function. One person might respond by changing direction (and perhaps their career) while the other might work even harder to continue on as before. The one who changes their career might discover a passion for a field they would never have entered had it not been for the accident, whereas the other returns, even more determined than ever before to their first passion.

 

An example of the first type of person might be the  Rutgers graduate who was blinded when his car was struck by a reckless driver. He renewed his passion for life through music (playing guitar) and by telling ' ... students who can’t wait to get behind the wheel that crashes such as the one that left him blind can be prevented.' 

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/rutgers-grad-blinded-in-crash-builds-new-life/ 

 

And the example that springs to mind for me of the second type of person is the surfer girl who was attacked by a shark, had her arm bitten off, but after she healed, she returned to professional surfing again! She had to make some adjustments obviously, but her passion for surfing was not dimmed at all.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethany_Hamilton 

 

When Job was tested by God, he didn't accept that he was doing something wrong - he insisted that God speak with him about his situation because he had done everything according to God's will and yet still he was beleaguered with adversity and suffering. God quite rightly made it clear that Job couldn't possibly understand the mind and wisdom of God, but he also chastised Job's friends for doubting him. Once Job had accepted that 'God's gonna do what God's gonna do', then everything was restored to him again. No change of direction, just a new family. [Personally, I still think that whole episode is a bit 'iffy' but then the whole story is a lot deeper than I am explaining it here.] 

 

So, the upshot for Job was that he didn't really change the direction of his life, but he did end up with a whole new family! Similarly, some of us might keep going in the same direction too, but just end up with brand new families! :P

 

I guess that's why the Serenity Prayer is so nice - it leaves room for each of us to respond in our own way, some to change direction, some to persevere, and all of us to have more wisdom.

 

 

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

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BarbaraTherese

Spot on to my mind, nunsense :)

God's Permissive Will does not ask that one always surrender to the negativity involved and every time - the very good God intends to come about may well be that one not so much 'fight against negativity' as to surrender to what one intuits as God's Will in the situation and this may mean the struggle against this negativity - as with sickness or injury for example.  The Permissive Will of God does not ask passivity and I have said this before in other threads, I just neglected it (wrongly) in this thread reflecting and focused only on my own experiences of God's Permissive Will in my own life - and yet, I did struggle against that negativity for one with the onset of Bipolar. My director and confessor at that time (priest theologian) visited me on a psyche ward and I said to him "Well, if God wants me ill and in hospital then I am content to be here" He replied: "One thing I can tell you for sure, girl, is that God does not want you ill and in hospital".  At that point, I began the struggle.  Years later, many years later, I came across the theology of God's Permissive Will and understood why Father was so confident of what he said.  God NEVER wants our difficulty or suffering small or great, He might however permit it and does not ask passivity for sure and passivity is not Catholic teaching.

 

Thanks again and congratulations once more   :woot:- in a way I really holy envy you, until I put myself realistically into your situation now  -  and know that I would be packing my suitcase by my own choice, and in tears.  Carmel is  a beautiful vocation and one that is highly valued in The Church for good reason.  I recall in college that the nun who taught me said that only the cream of Catholic Catholicism are accepted into Carmel.   She had me pegged for a Dominican noviciate - and that told me something about myself and her insight of me - which I struggled against clinging to the fact that God can and does perform miracles.  That miracle never happened. I do not and have never had those qualities inherent to a Carmelite vocation. You go, girl!   :)

 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese

Note: Woops again.  It is not only in illness and in injury (God's Permissive Will) that the response is not of necessity surrender to that negativity - struggle against negativity might apply to any negative situation and what one intuits as God's Will for one in that particular situation.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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nunsense

Spot on to my mind, nunsense :)
God's Permissive Will does not ask that one always surrender to the negativity involved and every time - the very good God intends to come about may well be that one not so much 'fight against negativity' as to surrender to what one intuits as God's Will in the situation and this may mean the struggle against this negativity - as with sickness or injury for example.  The Permissive Will of God does not ask passivity and I have said this before in other threads, I just neglected it (wrongly) in this thread reflecting and focused only on my own experiences of God's Permissive Will in my own life - and yet, I did struggle against that negativity for one with the onset of Bipolar. My director and confessor at that time (priest theologian) visited me on a psyche ward and I said to him "Well, if God wants me ill and in hospital then I am content to be here" He replied: "One thing I can tell you for sure, girl, is that God does not want you ill and in hospital".  At that point, I began the struggle.  Years later, many years later, I came across the theology of God's Permissive Will and understood why Father was so confident of what he said.  God NEVER wants our difficulty or suffering small or great, He might however permit it and does not ask passivity for sure and passivity is not Catholic teaching.
 
Thanks again and congratulations once more   :woot:- in a way I really holy envy you, until I put myself realistically into your situation now  -  and know that I would be packing my suitcase by my own choice, and in tears.  Carmel is  a beautiful vocation and one that is highly valued in The Church for good reason.  I recall in college that the nun who taught me said that only the cream of Catholic Catholicism are accepted into Carmel.   She had me pegged for a Dominican noviciate - and that told me something about myself and her insight of me - which I struggled against clinging to the fact that God can and does perform miracles.  That miracle never happened. I do not and have never had those qualities inherent to a Carmelite vocation. You go, girl!   :)

 
Barb - you are a good example of someone who has struggled against adversity for many years. Your direction hasn't really altered course, because it has always been focused on God, but you may have had to dodge a few dangerous coral reefs or sandbars. As for 'holy envy' - rubbish. You know your life is perfect for you and mine is perfect for me.I couldn't have endured the things that you have, and I doubt that you could have endured my trials. God permits for each of us just what we need to come closer to him. The danger (in my opinion) is that one always has free will to turn away and give up.That's why persistence is so important.
 
And when persistence and patience and perseverance have died in me (which they have from time to time), I have found that getting really angry at God helps.That might sound ridiculous - but for me it's a bit like Job - he didn't say 'My life is so horrible, there must be no God.' He said, 'Hey God! What are you doing to me and why - you aren't playing fair!' 
 
The last time I had to leave a convent, I walked across France and Spain for 200 kms, screaming at God almost all the way. I went to one confession (in Pamplona) but I don't think the priest really understood my English and I didn't understand the penance he gave me in Spanish! lol  So I went back to screaming at God whenever I was alone on the path (I knew I was crazy but there was no need to share that information with the other pilgrims was there?)
 
It has taken nearly a year to deal with the issues that this last 'failure' has raised in me - almost unbearable agony of heart and soul and shredded self-esteem. There were small moments when it seemed I might be able to get a glimmer of understanding but in the long run, I was Job, in a heap of ashes and dung, wondering how a God of love could allow such things to happen to someone who loved Him and tried to give herself to Him. As far as I was concerned, the vocation fire had been extinguished (in hindsight, I think God had only banked it).
 
What I didn't see happening, because it was being done on such a microcosmic scale, was the healing. I began a correspondence with a Carmelite nun that lasted nearly a year. There was no agenda for me, and at first we talked about gardening and weather and things of no deep significance whatsoever. Slowly, over time, I told her about my life, all of it, and of all the disappointments I had experienced trying to become a nun. There was no judgment, no criticism, no advice. She just accepted the things I wrote and her continued friendship was a source of comfort and support for me. 
 
When she suggested I visit her convent early this year, I nearly had a panic attack because of the pain of all my previous attempts at religious life. I made excuses. I delayed. I told God that the ball was in His court - I was having nothing at all to do with this new attempt. I had no money, no job and no way to make it all happen. I had accepted, like Job, that God was in charge and could do what He wanted to do, but I had already done my best and had nothing left to offer and wanted nothing more. My main thought was 'Just leave me alone, God. I finally have some sense of balance in my life and I don't need anything else. I'm an old lady. I've had a life that would kill a rhinoceros with all its hardship, and the last 7 years of humiliations trying to be a nun on top of it all. Just let me live out my life in peace and then fade away. There's nothing left for me to do; I've done it all.' I think I felt a little like Charlie Brown  whenever Lucy would offer to hold the football for him to kick. Every time she would promise not to pull it out, but every time she did, and Charlie Brown would end up in the dirt, on his back. I wasn't going to let God do that to me again. No, thank you.
 
But my dear, non-Catholic, sister (as always) encouraged me to visit ('What do you have to lose?' she said to me). There was no way I could explain to her just how much I had to lose by giving up my precarious emotional balance and very small, but growing, self-esteem that had been torn to shreds by my last convent experience. I knew I just couldn't face any more rejections and humiliations and failures,and that I would simply rather not try. But the banked fires were starting to heat up a little and events conspired (as they often do) to make the visit almost inevitable so I did go. And the result is that yes, I am trying again. Will the football be yanked out yet again? There is no way of knowing. So the focus for me now is day by day, just like that song from Godspell. And that is such a neat thing too because Day by Day is an adaptation of a prayer by Richard Chichester (whose feast day is the same as my birthday)...
 
Day by day,
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by Day.
 
As for '... only the cream of Catholic Catholicism are accepted into Carmel'  I really don't like that expression and I don't believe it either. It's not my personal experience and it's elitist and full of spiritual pride. I know that you are meaning it as a compliment - but it serves no purpose in my mind to place anyone on a pedestal or to elevate them higher than anyone else. We are all equally the cream of God's creation, but each of us flawed in our own unique ways. And Carmel is not one entity, each and every community is autonomous and unique in its expression of living the evangelical counsels. The nun who said that to you obviously valued the prayers of contemplatives, but comparisons between religious communities is odious IMO. And to carry it even further, I hate it when the conversation turns to the superiority of religious life over lay life - mainly because humans have a hard time understanding the concept of 'objective superiority' so it becomes a sort of 'competition' of holiness. "I must be holier than you are because I'm a nun." or "You must be holier than I am because you are a nun!" I shudder at things like this because I have witnessed so much in so many convents and I know lay people whose shoelaces I am not fit to tie in terms of their holiness. Some of the  most honestly and truly HUMBLE people in my life were not religious! The religious life itself may be objectively superior but that means nothing if the people who enter religious life don't live it.  And there is nothing stopping a lay person from being as holy and humble as any saint in heaven.

 

The fact that your private vows are being given a home Mass shows that you have the support of those around you, who value your prayers and good works. Remember when Jesus said that the widow gave more than all the rich people - because she gave everything that she had. Well? Aren't you doing the same thing with your life? None of us know just how much a person is giving because we don't know if they are giving from abundance or poverty. Who can know just how much you inspire others around you simply because of the life you have lived and are continuing to live?

 

Rejoice in God's calling to you and in the gifts He is showering upon you with this Home Mass. I don't know any other lay people who has been given this opportunity to renew private vows at a Home Mass. Pretty special stuff happening to you. Enjoy it! 

 

 

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BarbaraTherese

Thank you for the beautiful post - beautiful in every way.  I got another one of those pressing days, just commenting here on a few things only.

First, about anger with God.  Nunsense in my past I used to say to God "I hope you do have big shoulders, mate, because here I come again!" (furious!) and let out all my frustrations and anger.  I think I may have told a few times the true story related to me by a priest about a seminarian having a really hard time in the seminary. He prayed ardently daily about it with absolute no response whatsoever.  Finally, one day really cheesed off once more he went to the chapel, knelt down and really let it all out to God (anger) and included some quite common Aussie cussing, telling God if God did not help him wth some reprieve from all his problems, he was outta the place so fast no one would see him for dust.  Suddenly he woke up that he was furious with God and cussing at Him to boot.  Overcome with sorrow and fear he went off to the seminary chaplain and confessed the situation including the cussing and in the Presence of The Blessed Sacrament in the chapel.  Father replied "Congratulations, my son, you have probably really prayed for the first time in your life."  That seminarian was ordained though the seminary remained very hard yakka - and he went on to be dedicated and faithful priest.

God is our Loving Father and the best of Fathers - and all understanding, compassion and mercy.  Anger is a human reaction in many situations in life.  And I know and I am sure you do along with many others what repressing anger can do.  I tend to think when I am angry and let God know, He smiles and is quite happy that at least I am letting it out and where I feel safest to do so.  That is a compliment to Him I think. 

 

The other thing I will comment on here is about Sister B OP telling me only the cream of Catholicism was accepted into Carmel.  I think it was more about trying to turn me off Carmel and on to the Domincans than anything - and with some pretty accurate insight into who I was and am.  I have always been a free spirit and worn the phrase from more than one in my journey.  Sister B OP used to say to me rather regularly "You are as bold as brass and as brazen as you are bold".

  Back pre V2 however in my college years, spirituality was still rather dark and demanding and Sister had been I know at times a victim of that type of spirituality and it tended to prevail rather heavily in in most all religious life I suspect.  Also back pre V2, recruiting for religious life was sometimes almost 'below the belt'.  One went into religious life absolutely blind and unknowing about what was ahead and one went immediately into postulancy.  To even hint that one might have a religious vocation was to find oneself (not always of course) in postulancy before one could think too much. To leave was an absolute disgrace including very often by one's own family.  It was equivalent I think to heresy in seriousness back then not in our theology of course, but in Catholic cultural thought.  That was my experience however.

Having entered religious life twice myself, I have experienced that life behind the walls is not all incense and holiness - in places, it did exist absolutely, but not in everyone.  And I know the interior struggles that can present and not in a situation where one can chuck one's coffee at the wall! :)

 

I have followed your journey with no little awe and in your disappointments (never failures and I am glad you put that word in inverted commas), I felt disappointed too.  I read your blog everytime you posted and in awe again.  I thought when you went on the pilgrimage and I followed you, probably you might be working off a whole heap of energy and I could not blame you if it was anger-energy.  I have prayed for you every single day and mentioning you personally.  Suddenly you were absent from Phatmass and I hoped and I prayed.  Alleluia!  You are back!

 

You go, girl!  And you go wherever The Lord leads, which I know you will.

 

I will come back to your post above whenever I can and comment more.  But all to me spot on again - and thank you very much for sharing of yourself and your journey again!  Catcha later.

 

Welcome back!

 

Warm regards............Barb :)

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BarbaraTherese

 
Barb - you are a good example of someone who has struggled against adversity for many years. Your direction hasn't really altered course, because it has always been focused on God, but you may have had to dodge a few dangerous coral reefs or sandbars. As for 'holy envy' - rubbish. You know your life is perfect for you and mine is perfect for me.I couldn't have endured the things that you have, and I doubt that you could have endured my trials. God permits for each of us just what we need to come closer to him. The danger (in my opinion) is that one always has free will to turn away and give up.That's why persistence is so important.

 

Hi again nunsense - Actually, I think I fell right into a few very dangerous coral reefs and sandbars.  I think I have always been focused on God but if I related some of my understandings while ill of Who I thought God actually is, most would be inclined to think I had either joined some weird cult, or was going to start one  :)

I do holy envy you!  I realize that God made us all unique and each has their own vocation and who they are within that vocational journey - and in every vocation and journey no matter it's content, I hold that The Lord supplies all that is necessary to make great saints of us all, dependant on our responses within our journey.  Yep, the temptation comes along to give up and chuck in the towel and even (for me) to tell The Lord "Ok, this is it, I just can't take it any more".  Then for me a good night's sleep and I am wondering what on earth got into me last night. :)  - then night rolls on and tiredness with it round about 4pm for me, and I am 'at it' again.  LOL  Not always, I admit.
 
And when persistence and patience and perseverance have died in me (which they have from time to time), I have found that getting really angry at God helps.That might sound ridiculous - but for me it's a bit like Job - he didn't say 'My life is so horrible, there must be no God.' He said, 'Hey God! What are you doing to me and why - you aren't playing fair!' 

The book of Job has been a huge consolation for me in difficulty especially.  Most (not all) consolation in my journey I think for me has come from via theology however.
 
The last time I had to leave a convent, I walked across France and Spain for 200 kms, screaming at God almost all the way. I went to one confession (in Pamplona) but I don't think the priest really understood my English and I didn't understand the penance he gave me in Spanish! lol  So I went back to screaming at God whenever I was alone on the path (I knew I was crazy but there was no need to share that information with the other pilgrims was there?)

Laughing heaps!  I don't think I am game enough to share my psychotic experiences...........ok here is one that is  mild compared with my best,I think, and ran something like this :

Psyche nurse (male) and a great friend walks over to me "Barb, the hospital is not going to be attacked I assure you!"

Me "The phones are disconnected, just check them"

Him "The phones are fine"

Me "They ARE NOT!"

Him "Do you want ME to put you in the Security Ward"

Me "No!  Please check the phones"

Him "OK, come with me"

I pick up the phone "Oh It is connected ok!"

Him "Now go upstairs and go to sleep"

Me "But..........."

Him "No but's or it is the Security Ward"

Me "Terrified I climb the stairs to the mezzanine and my room"  I drift off at some point scared silly. I am amazed that I wake up the next morning and the hospital is fine...........and sounds coming into my room tell me everyone is fine!"
 
It has taken nearly a year to deal with the issues that this last 'failure' has raised in me - almost unbearable agony of heart and soul and shredded self-esteem. There were small moments when it seemed I might be able to get a glimmer of understanding but in the long run, I was Job, in a heap of ashes and dung, wondering how a God of love could allow such things to happen to someone who loved Him and tried to give herself to Him. As far as I was concerned, the vocation fire had been extinguished (in hindsight, I think God had only banked it).

It is amazing how thought can go awry when one is under pressure.
 
What I didn't see happening, because it was being done on such a microcosmic scale, was the healing. I began a correspondence with a Carmelite nun that lasted nearly a year. There was no agenda for me, and at first we talked about gardening and weather and things of no deep significance whatsoever. Slowly, over time, I told her about my life, all of it, and of all the disappointments I had experienced trying to become a nun. There was no judgment, no criticism, no advice. She just accepted the things I wrote and her continued friendship was a source of comfort and support for me. 
 
When she suggested I visit her convent early this year, I nearly had a panic attack because of the pain of all my previous attempts at religious life. I made excuses. I delayed. I told God that the ball was in His court - I was having nothing at all to do with this new attempt. I had no money, no job and no way to make it all happen. I had accepted, like Job, that God was in charge and could do what He wanted to do, but I had already done my best and had nothing left to offer and wanted nothing more. My main thought was 'Just leave me alone, God. I finally have some sense of balance in my life and I don't need anything else. I'm an old lady. I've had a life that would kill a rhinoceros with all its hardship, and the last 7 years of humiliations trying to be a nun on top of it all. Just let me live out my life in peace and then fade away. There's nothing left for me to do; I've done it all.' I think I felt a little like Charlie Brown  whenever Lucy would offer to hold the football for him to kick. Every time she would promise not to pull it out, but every time she did, and Charlie Brown would end up in the dirt, on his back. I wasn't going to let God do that to me again. No, thank you.
 
But my dear, non-Catholic, sister (as always) encouraged me to visit ('What do you have to lose?' she said to me). There was no way I could explain to her just how much I had to lose by giving up my precarious emotional balance and very small, but growing, self-esteem that had been torn to shreds by my last convent experience. I knew I just couldn't face any more rejections and humiliations and failures,and that I would simply rather not try. But the banked fires were starting to heat up a little and events conspired (as they often do) to make the visit almost inevitable so I did go. And the result is that yes, I am trying again. Will the football be yanked out yet again? There is no way of knowing. So the focus for me now is day by day, just like that song from Godspell. And that is such a neat thing too because Day by Day is an adaptation of a prayer by Richard Chichester (whose feast day is the same as my birthday)...

First praise The Lord for your Carmelite nun and for your non-Catholic sister.  I am constantly amazed just how much ( in some instances) The Holy Spirit is not at all 'the snob'.  Reminds me of a joke.  An Islamic man and a Jewish man go to Heaven.  Jesus is showing them around explaining all the rooms.  Suddenly they come to huge very long wall that seems to go on endlessly and Jesus falls very silent strangely.  The Islamic man can take it no longer and says "Scuse me, Jesus - what is the wall all about?" "Shhhh" replies Jesus "They Catholics are in there and they think they are the only one's here"

Amazing too how The Lord leads through the bleak darkness of dark and confused emotions and thoughts.  But it is only in the light (and hindsight as you mentioned somewhere) that one can look back and see one was being carried.  I like that sentence in the Psalms "Truly, You are a God who lies hidden".
 
Day by day,
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by Day.

I remember "Godspell" well.  I went to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" too just to see what all the shocked hoo ha was about and yelling loudly about heresy.  I was impressed by Jesus Christ Superstar - it wasn't Catholic Teaching for sure, but I thought it had things to say of value and things that needed to be heard and especially at times in the unfolding of JCS by we who claim Jesus and strive to follow Him.  I saw the stage version and John English played Judas - he had a magnificent voice and his range was absolutely stunning.  Just as well it was in the open otherwise I think a roof would lift.
 
As for '... only the cream of Catholic Catholicism are accepted into Carmel'  I really don't like that expression and I don't believe it either. It's not my personal experience and it's elitist and full of spiritual pride. I know that you are meaning it as a compliment - but it serves no purpose in my mind to place anyone on a pedestal or to elevate them higher than anyone else. We are all equally the cream of God's creation, but each of us flawed in our own unique ways. And Carmel is not one entity, each and every community is autonomous and unique in its expression of living the evangelical counsels. The nun who said that to you obviously valued the prayers of contemplatives, but comparisons between religious communities is odious IMO. And to carry it even further, I hate it when the conversation turns to the superiority of religious life over lay life - mainly because humans have a hard time understanding the concept of 'objective superiority' so it becomes a sort of 'competition' of holiness. "I must be holier than you are because I'm a nun." or "You must be holier than I am because you are a nun!" I shudder at things like this because I have witnessed so much in so many convents and I know lay people whose shoelaces I am not fit to tie in terms of their holiness. Some of the  most honestly and truly HUMBLE people in my life were not religious! The religious life itself may be objectively superior but that means nothing if the people who enter religious life don't live it.  And there is nothing stopping a lay person from being as holy and humble as any saint in heaven.

I must admit, I wrestled with theological objective determination and subjective experience for quite a while until the penny dropped.  As I said above, no matter one's call and vocation in life (I can't remember the name of our saint who was a beggar and died that way) The Lord provides in absolutely every journey all that is necessary to achieve great holiness.  There are those who have led quite sinful lives (St Augustine and also St Angela of Foiigno) come to mind.  They responded to the Grace of conversion in a positive manner (although Angela, like St Francis of Assisi indulged in some very very weird behaviour initially).  St Augustine became a great theologian and mystic and St Angela a truly amazing mystic.

 

One might be in the state of perfection and called to it, which does not mean that one is perfect.  Took me a while for that penny to drop.  In fact I have reasoned (laughing again here at my lopsided 'theology') perhaps God calls certain people to the state of perfection because they need an extra boost to achieve holiness. LOL  I have another story. I have the distinction, the great distinction, of being called a heretic by an ex Archbishop while I was in college!  I am full of stories! LOL
 

 

The fact that your private vows are being given a home Mass shows that you have the support of those around you, who value your prayers and good works. Remember when Jesus said that the widow gave more than all the rich people - because she gave everything that she had. Well? Aren't you doing the same thing with your life? None of us know just how much a person is giving because we don't know if they are giving from abundance or poverty. Who can know just how much you inspire others around you simply because of the life you have lived and are continuing to live?

Laughing here.   I keep seeing His Grace at his files one day and coming across mine - reading it for the first time and then reaching for the phone to Fr John and 'pulling the plug' in much distress.  :)

I don't think too much or reflect much on what I might be doing or not doing.  I just do what I think I should  and need to be doing in each day nowadays.  Back to the Psalms again - our is to labour, The Lord grants the increase (gift). "Lord, grant success to the work of our hands, oh grant success to the work of our hands".  I am very grateful for Fr John as director and confessor.  He was a novice master and so has much experience in the inexperienced.  Just what I needed and prayed for: a priest religious.  I think too one can reflect on and about oneself too much.  I used to be a great navel gazer! :)  not so much nowadays - just now and then.

Walking with my original director and confessor (priest theologian) one day in his garden.

Me "Father, what exactly IS contemplation?"

Him "I can promise you this, girl, IT IS NOT navel gazing!" Ahhh those were the days when I was an expert in the craft.

 

Rejoice in God's calling to you and in the gifts He is showering upon you with this Home Mass. I don't know any other lay people who has been given this opportunity to renew private vows at a Home Mass. Pretty special stuff happening to you. Enjoy it! 

 

Thanks nunsense.  Now and then I get flutters and a bit nervous. I was absolutely over the moon when Father told me I had approval.  I was totally prepared for the opposite.  I wanted that emotional high to settle before the actual event and so asked Father to delay it for a few months.  It gives me time to prepare and in emotional equanimity I hope.  And that mental picture that keeps flashing into my mind of His Grace holding a file and yelling into the phone at Fr John keeps me laughing.  I hold that two things can relieve stress and anxiety - sexual activity or laughter.  And then there is St. Teresa of Avila "Lord, spare me your sour faced saints" St Teresa is an absolute treasure!

The Lord has blessed me richly and far far more than I deserve - but He does this many times in all journeys, endlessly in fact.  He is Generous and Loving to a fault.  We are His weakness.  "I must carry you I that created you............why I have cut your image into the palms of My Hands"  I love what He said to St Faustina "The greatest sinner has the most right to My Mercy"...........who on earth are we? (St Paul)

 

Truth is, I think I will be a pack of nerves at the Home Mass.  But who know's.  Expectation exists in imagination only - reality often contradicts it.

 

God bless, nunsense - and really great to know where you are and that you are out and about on Phatmass again.

 

Warm regards.............Barb

Gosh! 8.21pm here.  Pills and bedtime.  Where has the day gone for goodness sake!

 

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