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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality


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In the life of faith things are even less obvious, less immediate. A life of faith often means conforming oneself to taking the “long view” of things — looking at where we are in one particular moment and realizing that some things, even if we prefer they would not happen, must happen in order for something else to occur, later. That, as St Philip Neri taught, “All of God’s purposes are to the good; although we may not always understand this, we can trust in it.” HERE



Often faith is stirred within us due to some profound experience that propels us forward joyfully in our relationship with God. But as the power of these experiences wanes over time, we are forced to trust that we remain in communion with God even as His presence seemingly vanishes. Our situation is akin to that of the apostles: for three years they experienced directly the presence of Christ, and the attendant joy and security that came with it. But after His death and resurrection, they learned, courtesy of Thomas, that it is not feeling but raw trust that constitutes faith. “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29)

Carmelite Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen writes that “the enkindling of love does not consist in the joy the soul may experience, but rather in the firm determination of the will to give itself entirely to God.” Faith puts us in union with the love of God. We need not fret over lack of religious emotion in our lives, and we need not think our preferred religious experience should be shared by everyone else. True love withstands the flux of all emotions because it is anchored in the certain hope of the God who made us for Himself.  https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2014/02/06/faith-and-emotion/


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The Little Way with St Therese




On working with the Carmelite novices: "I throw to the right and the left to my little birds the good seed that the good God puts in my little hand. And then, the seed does what it will!"

"I don’t concern myself about it. Sometimes the results are as if I had thrown nothing; other times, something good results.

But the good God says to me, 'Give, give always without concerning yourself with results.'"




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Saw my GP yesterday.  She has increased the painkillers and also contacted another hospital and orthopaedic surgeon in the hope of my having surgery sooner.  The problem is that the overflow of patients from the RAH are being sent to this hospital and my doctor has no idea of the waiting list.  The orthopaedic surgeon's office contacted me today to ensure they had my details correct and I'm hoping that surgery just might be soon.

Other than that, like the rest of humanity, I have my good days and my not so good days.  Yesterday, for example, was lousy along with the weather.  Today it has been very windy but we have had sunshine and so my spirits have been far better than yesterday too and I have managed to catch up with what I needed to get done.  The increased painkillers do make me tired and lacking inspiration and motivation; nevertheless having the sun shine today overcame that.

Public Mental Health called today and we had a long conversation.  The conclusion by the representative was that I am nowhere near any sort of being ill - nor certainly no hospital case - and that my insight into my brand of bipolar along with a persistent sense of the funny and absurd is keeping my head well above any water.  I am having PMH call as my psychiatrist was very concerned about my mental health with a particular problem that arrived on my plate a while back now.  That problem is unlikely to be resolved until some time in September - if then.  But as the time has unfolded I have become quite happy and thankful that it is taking a prolonged period to be sorted out.  I now feel I have a much clearer understanding of the core problem itself and what I can probably do about it without upset to myself or anyone else either.  That is probably the best of results.

I am having a 'carer' call 2 days weekly and today I got some confidential destruction out of the way at the library just across the road from me. I am trying to rationalise my files here.  For a non paper setup, I have more paperwork than ever I think! Got my Webster Packs organised at the Chemist with the increase in painkillers - then bought some new coloured felt pens.  I have completed a couple of those adult colouring therapy images and framed them.  I am now working, on and off, on my fourth.  I love to sketch and paint but it has to happen when I have the inspiration and motivation - and just lately it hasn't happened.  I have started some knitting but not much enthusiasm there either.  It will happen when it happens.

Just at the moment, I am binging out on 21 episodes of "Everyone Loves Raymond".  I have seen them all a few times now, but still like to watch them again after a while.  I am enjoying them!

My prayer life as to my normal prayer routine is a bit all over the place.  But I have Companionship as I go about my day whenever I refer.

Tuum fiat voluntas

Deo Gratius

Laudate Dominum


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I don't worry my poor soul and aggravate it with this's and that's unnecessarily.  There are enough worries and aggravations in the course of living out a life in the day to day without inventing them.  I can be very confident and quite certain that The Lord will send more than enough crosses and difficulties into any life in the day to day to make a great saint (it's a question of response) without me getting all creative and prompting imagination to run riot.  The Lord will always provide more than enough Grace to cope with the day to day in an (even creative) holy and saintly response - He will very rarely (it seems to me) send Grace to copy with a creative imagination taking flight and running riot.

12 minutes ago, BarbaraTherese said:


 He will very rarely (it seems to me) send Grace to copy with a creative imagination taking flight and running riot.

The above should read "to COPE (not copy) with a creativeimagination"

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Barb, a little informal "art therapy" goes a long way to boost one's mood.  I've just started an online colored pencil course and go to ceramics 2x a week...nothing like sorting things out by pounding some clay...:)

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Thanks Pax!  While I was married we attended ceramics classes as a family and we all really liked it.  Just now I am happy with the art therapy and I do like the finished product and am framing what I do finish.   Many years ago while married, I liked to express the parables of Jesus in clay - the problem was every time I tried to fire them, they exploded...........but there was much fun and therapy in creating them.  I did think about perhaps trying talc.


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It's so nice to enjoy the fruits of one's labor.  I'm learning to sculpt animals and am pleasantly surprised by the results---although the latest critter is missing a toe or two (they broke off)!

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4 hours ago, Pax17 said:

It's so nice to enjoy the fruits of one's labor.  I'm learning to sculpt animals and am pleasantly surprised by the results---although the latest critter is missing a toe or two (they broke off)!

Yeah, I find it rewarding to finish something as simple and easy as an art therapy Image (glorified colouring in book) and framing it.   Sorry to read about your critter's toes!  I am taking it that your artworks are animals made from moulds. 


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Nope, no molds...every part sculpted by hand.  I use little plastic animals as models, look carefully, add/subtract clay, and carve.  Each animal is hollowed out before the first firing.  Legs and feet are the hardest to do. And you have to make a hole somewhere so  nothing explodes in the kiln.

Simple, easy projects are good...and coloring is soothing.

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Edith Stein is here to help. Recently we commemorated the 75th anniversary of her death in a Nazi death camp, where she was well known for her caring and empathetic attitude with fellow prisoners. Earlier in her life, Edith was philosophy student and her first major work was titled On the Problem with Empathy. Her insight into the topic has tremendous depth and, as her own life shows, has practical value. Here are some of the insights I’ve gleaned from her writing that are helping me grow in empathy …


Get out of your own head

As is generally the case, I’m most comfortable in my own mind. It’s easy to be at home and kick up my feet at the fire of my own mental hearth. We’re all like this because we intimately understand our thought process, internal motivations, and emotions such as what makes us happy and what makes us sad. The mind of another person, though, isn’t so comfortable. It’s more like traveling to a foreign country. The landmarks are unfamiliar and visitors can easily get lost. Empathy is the road map. Without it, good luck getting where you’re going (in my foreign travels, it’s always to the gelato shop).

To understand another person, we have to get out of our own minds and transcend our internal drama. Empathy is, among other things, a way of learning to appreciate foreign experiences. In the same way that travel broadens the mind, so too does looking at the face of another person and glimpsing another beautiful, mysterious, unique mind. The effort is always worth it.

Notice others

This may seem simple, but to be empathetic, we actually need to notice other people. Once we manage to break out of our inner dialogue and get out of our own minds — and our phones! — it’s important to pay close attention. This means more than simply noticing a happy face or a sad face and finding it interesting. Paying attention is the ability to be totally present to another person with no distraction. This means that when I speak to a friend, I shouldn’t be merely waiting my turn to speak about what I actually want to talk about. I should be listening to that person and putting my own agenda on the back-burner.

One of the examples that Edith gives of an empathy-blocker is, “I am completely filled with grief over a bereavement at the moment my friend tells me the joyful news.” How hard is it to not rain on a friend’s parade with sad news? How difficult is it to put an anxiety aside and instead share in their joy? It may or may not be possible in all situations, but if we at least attempt to make a gift of giving another our full attention, our ability to be empathetic will drastically increase.

Practice love

The best reason I can think of from the example above to put aside a deep, personal grief in favor of the joy of a friend is because I love my friend. To say that empathy can be developed through love isn’t to say that we have to be fake and skip around and declare undying love for everyone, ignoring our own feelings. By love, I mean the habit of willingness to sacrifice our own needs out of a desire to promote the happiness of others.

The process goes both ways, too, and if you have good friends around you, they’ll be willing to set aside their joy in favor of comforting you in your grief, or to set aside grief in order to celebrate your joy with you. In short, it’s a genuine relationship in which each person thinks of the other first. When we love someone as a friend or simply as a fellow human being, it’s much easier to share his joy and pain.

See persons, not labels

It’s much easier to write someone off and dismiss his motives and feelings if we have labeled him as part of a crowd. For instance, it’s no problem at all to lack empathy for a political party, or rival team, ethnic group, or religion. This nameless, faceless crowd can be dismissed without ever having to confront that it’s made up of real-live human beings who deserve our empathy (even if we don’t end up agreeing with them). It’s much harder to ignore a person with a name, an individual with a unique face and personality. A person is more than the sum of the parts, and as a community of persons, we each find our own place in it only by interacting with and understanding other individuals. We aren’t cogs in a machine, and the more open we are to acknowledging how special each person is, the more empathetic we will be in our interactions.

As Edith Stein shows with her heroic practice of empathy, even in the worst of situations we can reach out to other people, understand them, find solidarity together, and know that no one ever has to be alone.

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Perfection does not consist in consolation,
but rather in the submission of the will to God alone,
submission above all
in things that are hard and bitter.”
- Henry Suso


“Faith is the first light, the heralding light,

the foundation placed in us of what in its final perfection will be the Beatific Vision of God.

It is the beginning of the eternal ways in us,

the commencement of our union with God.”

-Fr. William Ullathorne


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