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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


BarbaraTherese

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ST TERESA'S BOOKMARK

 

Sttheresaofavila.jpg

http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/st-teresas-bookmark.html  "Is today driving you crazy? This prayer below, known as St. Teresa's Bookmark, can help you calm down. Is your stomach all tied up in knots with worries? Is your mind racing like a hamster in a cage going around and around on a wheel? Give yourself a break! Take a deep breath. St. Teresa’s Bookmark can give you some much needed perspective on things!"

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.

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"St. Teresa experienced many hardships during her life, including illnesses and struggles both in her prayer life and in establishing her reformed Order. Still, she had an amiable disposition and a good sense of humor as well, as evidenced by a well-known story related to her.

Supposedly, Jesus said to St. Teresa after she experienced some trial, “That's how I treat my friends” to which she replied “and that’s why you have so few”! Actually, as to her real feelings, she wrote in The Interior Castle that “However many years life might last, no one could ever wish for a better friend than God.”

Keep in mind, in relation to this incident, that Jesus was not acting like some kind of killjoy here. Our Lord has called on mystics, religious and lay people alike to share their sufferings with His on the cross at Calvary for others' salvation, as discussed here

The line in St. Teresa's Bookmark about all things passing is both challenging and comforting. After all, neither the good things we experience in this world, nor the bad ones, last forever. We are challenged to share God's blessings with others rather than to hoard them for our own selfish desires. And we are comforted in the knowledge that whatever hardships and pains we experience, even the really bad ones, also pass away! (Or as St. Teresa herself once said, “Pain is never permanent”.)

St. Teresa's assertion that “God only is changeless” also brings to mind our Lord’s own words about what really lasts: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Matt 24:35).

She also brings up the importance of patience in our journey towards Eternal Life. Indeed, patience is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit! It can help us endure even the most difficult trials with God's grace. The patience we show others also reflects the love we have in our hearts. We can make a nice scriptural link here in trying to discern God's will for us. As St. John put it in one of his letters, “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:8). And, as St. Paul once wrote, “Love is Patient” (Cor 1:13:4).

Ultimately, the important thing, as St. Teresa's Bookmark reminds us, is to keep God front and center in our lives as much as possible, even with all the day-to-day distractions of making a living and providing for our families that can often threaten our peace of mind.

After all, didn't Jesus tell us in the Sermon on the Mount to “seek first the kingdom of God….and all these things [our material needs] shall be given you” (Matt 6:33)? St. Teresa's Bookmark echoes that wonderful sentiment in its last two lines. Hopefully this great prayer can help you keep your cool in troubling times!"

 

 

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St Vincent de Paul Society

Daily Reflection

 

“The poor person, the patient, must be conscious that he is acknowledged as an individual, that he is respected, loved, treated on an equal footing and capable of giving as much as he receives.”
– Rev. Joseph Jamet, C.M.

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Searching for and Maintaining Peace

(Jacques Phillipe)

Available on Kindle

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"One of the principal obstacles one encounters on the way to perfection is the precipitous and impatient desire to progress and to possess those virtues that we feel we don’t have. On the contrary, the true means of solidly advancing, and with giant steps, is to be patient and to calm and pacify these anxieties.… Don’t get ahead of your guide for fear of getting lost and straying from the path that He indicates, because, if you do, instead of arriving safe and sound, you will fall into a pit.

Your guide is the Holy Spirit. By your struggles and worries, by your anxiety and haste, you overtake Him with the pretense of moving more quickly. And then what happens? You stray from the path and find yourself on terrain that is harder and rougher and, far from advancing, you go backwards; at a minimum, you waste your time."

 

 

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FOR LOVE ALONE
Without expectation, do something for love itself, not for what you may receive. Love in action is what gives us grace. We have been created for greater things - - to love and to be loved. Love is love - - to love a person without any conditions, without any expectations. Small things, done in great love, bring joy and peace. To love, it is necessary to give. To give, it is necessary to be free from selfishness.
- St. Teresa of Calcutta

BREAKING THE CIRCLE

https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-loving-our-enemies/

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) – one of those pages that expresses best the Christian “revolution” – Jesus shows the way of true justice through the law of love, which surmounts that of retaliation, namely, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This ancient rule imposed inflicting on transgressors punishments equivalent to the damages caused: death to one who killed, amputation to one who wounded someone, and so on. Jesus does not ask His disciples to suffer evil, rather, He asks them to react, but not with another evil, but with goodness. Only thus is the chain of evil broken: an evil leads to another evil, another evil leads to another evil …  This chain of evil is broken, and things truly change. Evil in fact is a “void,” a void of goodness, and it cannot be filled with another void, but only with “fullness,” namely, with goodness. Reprisals never lead to the resolution of conflicts. “You did it to me, I’ll do it to you”: this never resolves a conflict, nor is it Christian.

For Jesus the rejection of violence can also imply giving up a legitimate right; and He gives some examples: to give the other cheek, to give one’s cloak or one’s money, to accept other sacrifices (cf. vv. 39-42). However, this renunciation does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted; on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realization of justice. What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and retaliation – to distinguish between justice and retaliation. Retaliation is never just; we are permitted to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. Instead, we are prohibited from vindicating ourselves and from fomenting retaliation in some way, in as much as <it is an> expression of hatred and of violence.

Jesus does not wish to propose a new civil rule, but rather the commandment to love our neighbor, which also includes love of enemies: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (v. 44). And this is not easy. This word is not understood as approval of the evil done by an enemy, but as an invitation in a higher, a magnanimous perspective, similar to that of the heavenly Father, who – Jesus says — “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (v. 45). In fact, an enemy is also a human person, created as such in the image of God, even if at present this image is obfuscated by unworthy conduct.

When we speak of “enemies” we must not think, perhaps, of those persons who are different and distant from us; we speak also of ourselves, who can enter in conflict with our neighbor, at times with our relatives. How many enmities there are in families, how many! Enemies are those also who speak badly of us, who calumniate us and do us wrongs. And it is not easy to digest this. We are called to respond to all of them with goodness, which also has its strategies, inspired by love.

May the Virgin Mary help us to follow Jesus in this demanding way, which truly exalts human dignity and makes us live as children of our Father who is in Heaven. May she help us to practice patience, dialogue, forgiveness, and thus be craftsmen of communion, craftsmen of fraternity in our daily life, especially in our family.

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BEING LED BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE

St Vincent de Paul Society - Quote of the Day

 
 
Quote

 

Feb 20, 2017

This maxim of neither asking nor refusing anything, which keeps us dependent on God and His guidance,

can only be pleasing to God,

especially because it destroys human sentiments that,

under pretext of zeal and of the glory of God,

lead us often to undertake works that he neither inspires nor blesses (VI:331).

 

There was a time when the above quotation would have been quite obscure to me until I read "Abandonment to Divine Providence" Jean Pierre de Caussade SJ.  Reading that work (a spiritual classic) was like light flooding into a dark room and understanding with it.  It is available free online: https://www.ccel.org/ccel/decaussade/abandonment   The letters of de Caussade at the rear of the text are a very important contribution to the overall work.

Reading the lives of the saints especially, I used to wonder why they grasped almost instantaneously and so clearly (even in their early childhood) something that had been for many years completely obscure to me.  I came to the conclusion that first, I was no saint and secondly (and in the terms of Divine Providence - see CCC #302 onwards HERE) the following from the Invitatory Psalm to the Divine Office became very clear and held real meaning for me:

For the Lord is a great God,
  a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
  and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
  and his hands formed the dry land.

  Perhaps if I had grasped the Doctrine of Divine Providence earlier, my life's journey just might have taken a different course (that's a "what if" and never ever spiritually helpful).  But that work of de Caussade's also helped me to understand that God leads all without exception, and in His Divine Providence, howsoever He may, even through the darkest patches of life when one seems to be blind and groping around in the muck and the mire; that undoubtedly I could be confident that where I found myself (with all its problems. muck and mire) was where I was meant to be, where I was called to grow and unfold, to flower; that I was neither in the situation alone, nor would work through it alone.  Divine Providence.

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FREEDOM OF SPIRIT

When we are spiritually free, we do not have to worry about what to say or do in unexpected, difficult circumstances. When we are not concerned about what others think of us or what we will get for what we do, the right words and actions will emerge from the centre of our beings because the Spirit of God, who makes us children of God and sets us free, will speak and act through us. 
- Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Vincentian Spirituality

“If Jesus and His Gospel are the centre of your life, no words are necessary

Your mere presence will touch hearts.”

 

            (St Vincent de Paul)

 

“The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them.”

(St. Vincent de Paul)

When we share in the life and goals of poor persons, we discover the presence of the Spirit of the Lord who renews us. As we speak with them, listen to them, and accompany them as the agents of their own way to liberation, we allow ourselves to be evangelized by them– we are inspired and humbled by their faith and hope in God under the worst of circumstances.

Secular Presence

From the beginning, the role of the laity was pivotal to our mission. The laity revealed the needs of the poor to Vincent. One could say that the laity led Vincent to the poor. Today the Vincentian Family still shares a secular character. The charism comes from an association with the laity

(Above has been taken from VinFormation http://vinformation.famvin.org/)

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DEPRESSED

Have had an lousy couple of days struggling with depression and probably related to bipolar since I cannot find anything to be depressed about.  Each of the problems that did come up have been resolved and no need to be depressed.  Just cruising along as I am able and trusting - not asking too much of myself nor making any decisions.  Nothing lasts forever and if St Teresa of Avila had not said it and therefore entirely reliable, I have plenty of evidence in my journey that indeed nothing is forever and The Lord is to be fully trusted in all things.  I may not feel it, which I don't, but I can live it.

Muddling along in a bit of muck and mire - and of my own making I think......somewhere in this psyche.............. or whatever the correct terminology might be.

I have been able, Deo Gratius, to get done what needs to be done and have been able, much gratitude again, to not burden others with whom I have had contact with my current little woes (including a couple of visits for St Vinnies) .  Other than, of course, unburdening myself in this thread which is a bit of a kaleidoscope of this's and that's.  Thank you for bearing my tiny burden "bear ye one another's burdens".  You are graced by The Lord for your kind and generous tolerance.......including very much dUSt.......our fearless leader and The Boss.

Who on earth am I writing to?.............no idea at all nor does it matter one iota! :dance:

Laudate Dominum in all things regardless

and.........Deo Gratius for "All is Grace" (St Therese of Lisieux)

 

 

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I heard from a dear friend yesterday who is also struggling with his bipolar depression of late.  As I did with him, here's  a virtual hug...hope this passes soon.

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6 hours ago, Pax17 said:

I heard from a dear friend yesterday who is also struggling with his bipolar depression of late.  As I did with him, here's  a virtual hug...hope this passes soon.

Thank you :)  Hugs help!

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St Vincent de Paul Society - Daily Reflection

 
Feb 22, 2017

 

“We must generously accept our inability to act, when it pleases God that this should happen.”
– St. Louise de Marillac

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Thursday of the Seventh week in Ordinary Time

Commentary of the day
Blessed Paul VI, Pope from 1963-1978
Apostolic Constitution "Paenitemini" (trans. © Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

 

“If your hand leads you into sin”: conversion of heart

The kingdom of God announced by Christ can be entered only by a "change of heart" ("metanoia") that is to say through that intimate and total change and renewal of the entire man—of all his opinions, judgments and decisions—which takes place in him in the light of the sanctity and charity of God, the sanctity and charity which were manifested to us in the Son and communicated fully.

The invitation of the Son to "metanoia" becomes all the more inescapable inasmuch as He not only preaches it but Himself offers an example. Christ, in fact, is the supreme model for those doing penance. He willed to suffer punishment for sins which were not His but those of others.

In the presence of Christ man is illumined with a new light and consequently recognizes the holiness of God and the gravity of sin. Through the word of Christ a message is transmitted to him which invites him to conversion and grants forgiveness of sins. These gifts he fully attains in baptism. This sacrament, in fact, configures him to the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord,(37) and places the whole future of the life of the baptized under the seal of this mystery.

Therefore, following the Master, every Christian must renounce himself, take up his own cross and participate in the sufferings of Christ (Mt 16:24). Thus transformed into the image of Christ's death, he is made capable of meditating on the glory of the resurrection.

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DEPRESSION PASSES

Woke up this morning and the depression had passed.  Grateful thanks to those who said a prayer for me especially in the Prayer Forum. I have found it is a powerful place.  I am giving thanks for those who did pray and praying too for them and their intentions.  Thank you so much! :)

I have no idea what caused the depression - it might have been a touch of bipolar depression, which never needs a reason.  In the midst of really heavy depression one has no idea how long it is going to persist.   Depression  might have been caused through lack of sleep since I had to get up very early Tuesday and yesterday as well.  If it was lack of sleep due to very early rising, I have learnt a lesson and will be attempting to change my sleep pattern.  I had got into the habit of staying up late and getting up late.  The depression yesterday is a mystery as to actual cause.  Along with the depression, I had an ear ache with shooting sharp pains up into my head.  That has passed too, although I will be seeing my doctor about it.

I had forgotten what that dreadful black hole of depression feels like on the feeling level and those entirely negative thoughts that come involuntarily to mind making the situation even bleaker.  Having been reminded of just how black and hopeless seemingly that black hole can be, my prayer is with those who do suffer depression long term.   I continually repeated "Jesus I believe in You and I trust You", telling myself that no matter the actual reason I would not be given more than I could bear and no matter how long the state lasted, no matter its reasons.  I reflected very briefly in spurts on my journey with bipolar in the past and the dreadful situations I had journeyed through.  I told myself that I had endured much more than the depression I was feeling and that I had made it through that past and I could make it through this depression as well - that I did not travel alone no matter what I might feel.  Hence, in between dark and bleak negative thoughts and uniting them with the Cross of Christ (with far more than a little humility), I was trying to support myself with more positive thinking whenever I could dependant on Our Hidden Lord and His unseen and unfelt Graces.  How beautiful in His Glory and a delight in His Humility is He who accepts the most humble of all offerings, no matter how small and unworthy.  It speaks of an Unconditional Love for all regardless - an Unconditional Love defying definition.

I managed to drift off to sleep around 11pm and woke at 9.45am.  I do suspect that lack of sleep might have had something to do with the depression.  However, all that is now yesterday and I have today to journey with at this point and today only:

"But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew Ch6)

The lesson I have taken out of yesterday, however, is that I must make every effort to get my 'old' sleep pattern back and go to bed early and get up early.  That will be my focus.  I read somewhere that when things go wrong, we need to learn a lesson - and one we have not previously learnt.

"For the Lord is a great God,  a king above all gods.

For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
  and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
  and his hands formed the dry land."
(Invitatory Divine Office)
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