Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A post on grace from my archives:

"It is not enough for me that God has given me grace once, but He must give it always. I ask, that I may receive; and when I have received, I ask again. I am covetous of receiving God's bounty. He is never slow in giving, nor am I ever weary of receiving. The more I drink, the more thirsty I become."
                                                                                                       St. Jerome

Cars run on gasoline, people run on grace. Without God's grace we would stall and break down daily. Grace is everything and everything is a grace. All of it. Every single thing in life can be a stepping stone to the Almighty God if we allow it to be. I have a little booklet that I like to leaf through now and then called The Healing Flame of Love and one section of this booklet speaks about how grace works in our lives. The author's words are in italics, mine are in bold.

a. Grace is completely available.
There is not just one thing to do at each moment, or I fail to do God's will; there are a multitude of actions presented to me by grace. Different ways to act are as available as different items in a supermarket - yet appointed for my needs with great care.
This is something that always confused me before I read this book. Was there one "perfect" God-willed thing that I should be doing each minute of the day? Was I doing God's will or my own? Some things are common sense such as taking care of one's family or working, but what about the rest of the day? The idea that there are a multitude of actions presented to me at any given time and that they were in line with God's will for me relieved my heart and mind.

b. Grace gives us the physical ability to do the things necessary for salvation.

c. Cooperation with grace puts me in touch with a tremendous power. If we believe that we are and can do nothing, we must believe there is a power that can do everything. This power is, of course, God. Cooperation with His ideas, acceptance of His plans can make the power available.
Example: You cannot push a freight train, yet a small movement of the throttle and the whole train starts to move.

d. Grace operates below the level of consciousness.
Wonderful things - like the operation of grace, God speaking to us, the Spirit moving us, etc. - are continually causing changes in our soul. We are unaware either of their action or their significance. 
Example: Consider what happens in Baptism, etc., or what happened when the prodigal son said, "I will return..." 
We can't "see" grace, but we can often see the results of grace. It is impossible not to notice the work God has done in me over the years. Were I took look day by day, the effects grace has had on my life may be imperceptible but if I look over a period of ten years they are profound. I shake my head in amazement at God's power. Yes, I have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way.

e. God will not sanctify me against my will, but He can change my will to make it agree with His desires.

f. Grace is a receiving.
The really important thing to understand about grace is that we receive it as a gift. We do not earn it or receive it because we seem to have done something to deserve it. If we are at all interested in arriving at a high degree of prayer (in order to increase our output) we must appreciate this function of grace, for in contemplation our activity is a receiving.
I love this one. Grace is unearned and unmerited. It is a pure, free, gift given by a loving God. Every person on this earth is a recipient of God's grace though they may not realize it. 

We live on grace.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Four Score and Seven Years Ago...

Have you ever lost your taste for all things spiritual for a while? Or for years? You read a book about the saints and it seems dull and flat, as if you were reading a dictionary. No leaps of the spirit while reading the, it's as if you were reading through an encyclopedia, or worse, a boring medical tome. It feels as if you are spiritually deaf and blind to boot. Prayer is so dry that it feels as if you are reciting the Gettysburg address rather than addressing the God of all that is.

You wonder if your mind and heart have gone on vacation. And have forgotten to let you know they were leaving.

You can only hope that they haven't vacated the premises permanently.

Why is God allowing this you ask? Wouldn't it be better if we could pray with our hearts on fire every single day? Or if God's light illumined our hearts and minds to such a degree that prayer always flowed smoothly with nary a distraction? Ever.

"You know, Lord, so I can hurry up, become a saint overnight and do your will. If we could simply get all the "yucky stuff" over with I'm sure things would be better all around."

Yeah...right. Fat chance of that happening.

Well, it was worth a shot in the dark, anyway.

Dark being the key word.

After years and years of these periods of aridity, or worse, desolation, you begin to realize that all this
"yucky stuff" is actually the good stuff. It is during these times that  much of God's hidden work is being done.

 Perseverance is important during periods of aridity or desolation. Here's a helpful link: The Way to Heaven. The entire book is online but I linked specifically to the pages on aridity and desolation. It will give you some relief to know you are in good company!

If this doesn't help, try St. Joseph. He has never failed me when all is dark.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints that Will Change Your Life - An E-book Review

Navigating the interior life is not always easy and many of us can use a bit of help on our journeys. With this in mind, Connie Rossini , a Catholic writer who blogs at Contemplative Homeschool  (and the administrator of Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network) has authored an illuminating new e-book called Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. This short e-book is broken up into 5 chapters, or lessons, with each lesson focusing on an important aspect of the spiritual life.

In a clear, engaging manner, the author guides her readers through  lessons based on the teachings of the Carmelite saints. Each chapter begins with a  reflection and finishes with practical applications for living the lesson out in your daily spiritual walk. If you are searching for concrete advice on how to navigate the waters of  the spiritual life this book is for you.  The e-book also provides links to articles on her blog where you can find more information on prayer and Carmelite spirituality.

This is an excellent book for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life  will be available for download at no cost on June 11th at Connie's  faith-based education and Carmelite spirituality blog, Contemplative Homeschool.

 I highly recommend this little spiritual gem!