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Jan. 26

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for John, hospitalized with cerebral bleeding, for Christine, his daughter and Fr. Bob, his son-in-law, and all his family. Prayers, too,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26, 2004
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      Prayers, please, for John, hospitalized with cerebral bleeding, for
      Christine, his daughter and Fr. Bob, his son-in-law, and all his
      family. Prayers, too, for Linda and her husband, having difficulty
      conceiving and wanting a child badly. God's will is best. All is
      mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL

      January 26, May 27, September 26
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The first degree of humility, then,
      is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
      and beware of ever forgetting it.
      Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
      let his thoughts constantly recur
      to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
      those who despise God,
      and to the life everlasting which is prepared
      for those who fear Him.
      Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
      whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
      or the self-will,
      and check also the desires of the flesh.


      Wow! Fearing God and hell-fire! It's a safe bet that this chapter was
      not the darling of the 1970's! But, if we look at it properly,
      there's nothing to get upset about here.

      God is perfect Unity, He is totally of a whole. He is all He is at
      once and utterly. Human beings, on the other hand, have minds that
      are finite and cannot wrap their intellects around such an perfectly
      holistic God without problems. One of those problems is what seem to
      us to be contradictions in God: His total, absolute Justice and His
      unfathomable, infinite Divine Mercy. Since we have a hard time
      figuring out both at once, we have a tendency to let one cancel out
      the other. God, to many, is either ALL hell-fire and dread or ALL
      pushover and cuddly. NOT!!

      Sorry, folks, but the nature of heresy is to take a real part of the
      truth and make it ALL of the truth, the only truth. Foul up the
      delicate balance here and you are in deep trouble. Face it, God's
      perfections don't seem to trouble Him any- perfection shouldn't,
      after all- so why should they get us hung up? Deep breath, lots of
      faith and let's go on...

      God is all at once, God is perfect, God does not change. OK, fine.
      But we change, time in which we are immersed changes, has to change.
      It is the nature of things. Hence, our convergences with God occur at
      different times, points and conditions. The whole equation changes,
      not because God changes, but because we do and must. Stop and think,
      the encounter between God and one lost in sin is different from the
      same person encountering God after years of conversion. The encounter
      between a living soul and one after death is different, not because
      God is, but because we are.

      We see different Persons of the Trinity predominant in different ages
      of salvation history. Might we not just as safely assume that
      different attributes of God predominate at different times in His
      dealings with us? Anyone who has lived any length of time at all with
      God can tell you that aridity and tenderness, loving kindness and
      seeming absence, joy and seriosity play off each other singly or in
      groups, like light dancing through the kaleidoscopes of our soul's
      broken glass and shattered gems. The pattern is always changing. All
      the elements are always there, but they are constantly regrouping,
      forming new and dare one say hardly boring designs!

      So, always try to remember that WE are the kaleidoscopes and that the
      Light shining through them does not change, even though our scattered
      bits may reflect it differently, to ourselves and to others. Check
      out the revelations of St. Catherine of Genoa and other mystics: the
      SAME Love that delights the soul is also the fire purifies it. She
      said that paradise had no gates: any who want may enter. Ah, but by
      choice, to enter there would be hell, indeed, for some. A priest
      onece wrote that if the gates of hell were open, no one would leave.
      Same God, same Love, different us! His changeless Love will be hell
      for some, bliss for others. Choose bliss!!

      The justice is always there, but so is the mercy. Jesus told St.
      Faustina that now, in this life, is the time for mercy, which will
      never, ever be denied a soul. Dump that chance in this life and
      justice will be what you deal with in the next.

      It seems simplistically harsh, but it isn't. We are swimming, all but
      drowning in a sea of infinite mercy right now. When we leave that
      sea, we will wind up on the shore of justice, unless we have
      guaranteed that mercy is already ours. By asking, just by asking and
      trusting Him!

      God is not itching to nail us, eager to condemn. But we can tie His
      hands- we are the only creatures who can do so! We can insist on
      justice by rejecting His mercy. Not a smart move... God is merciful,
      but not dumb, just, but not unreasonable. His mercy and justice are
      part of a whole, they both perfectly reflect and employ His love.
      What changes is not God, but us. What changes is our willingness to
      accept or reject His overtures at any given moments.

      So, yeah, God is watching us all the time. But also, yeah, God
      forgives us the second we turn to him and trust in his mercy. God
      knows we aren't perfect, so He isn't surprised that we fall.

      We, on the other hand, can be distressingly wrong about how perfect
      we are! Our falls shock us badly, because we have so little humility.
      Think there might be a connection there about God doing or using all
      things to further His will? Our very falls teach us humility that we
      sorely lack!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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