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Archive for June, 2011


Excite in yourself the desire to attain this gift – the gift of contemplation. How? By offering to God a  holy heart, one free from all actual stain of sin. 

The greatest obstacles to contemplation is not disposing yourself for it. When we remain dissipated and attached we block the reception of this most sublime gift. St. John of the Cross in his work The Dark Night speaking of this desire for contemplation says, “For God does not bring to contemplation all those who purposely exercise themselves in the way of the spirit, nor even half. Why? He best knows.” (Book I, Chap 9) In a commentary on The Rule of Carmel by Jerome of the Mother of God, OCD he says that the saying “He best knows” is a Spanish saying which means: the whole world knows it. Because precisely one does not do what one ought- then it is clear as day!

We often fail to dispose ourselves for contemplation either because we give in to too much activity or because we do not produce enough acts of love.

St. Teresa in The Way of Perfection chapter 17 says, “I don’t say that we shouldn’t try; on the contrary, we should try everything. What I am saying is that this is not a matter of your choosing but of the Lord’s….Be sure that if you do what lies in your power, preparing yourselves for contemplation with the perfection mentioned, and that if He doesn’t give it to you (and I believe He will give if detachment and humility are truly present), He will save this gift for you so as to grant it to you all at once in heaven.”

May all our efforts cooperate with the grace God gives in each moment to prepare a heart, pure and receptive, to receive so great a gift.
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In gratitude……along with those over at A Holy Experience







#250 ~ first sunburns

#251 ~ silly children making faces and laughing





#252 ~ the glimpse f a butterfly fluttering by


#253 ~ early Spring wildflowers: buttercups, wild strawberry, Glacier lilies, shooting stars


#254 ~ the sound of the wind blowing high up in the tree tops of the forest





#255 ~ pancakes for breakfast





#256 ~ watching my husband gracefully casting his fly-rod


#257 ~ grandkids sleeping over


#258 ~ the medical technology that is keeping my diabetic granddaughter healthy and alive

#259 ~ long afternoon out in the countryside, quiet and alone

#260 ~ electric clothes dryers





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Fortitude
To overcome obstacles to our salvation, the Gift of Fortitude gives courage and strengthens the heart to bear all things, especially to bear the Cross. This gift gives the soul strength and support in performing all its duties moving it to undertake even difficult things without hesitation. This gift is the gift of martyrdom which allows the endurance of tribulations without complaining, even if these last a lifetime. Trouble and adversity never overcome the soul who possess this Gift of the Holy Spirit.
#95~ The Sayings of Light and Love

“Bear fortitude in your heart against all things that move you to that which is not God, and be a friend of the Passion of Christ.”
St. John of the Cross eloquently touches on this point again in The Spiritual Canticle:

            You considered 
            that one hair fluttering at my neck;

“The neck, where the hair of love was fluttering, signifies fortitude. This hair of love weaves the virtues together, that is to say, loves with fortitude. In order to preserve the virtues it is not enough that love be alone; it must also be strong so that no contrary vice on any side of the garland of virtue may be able to break it.” (Stanza 31,4)

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Counsel
This gift, Counsel, is given so that the Christian soul may choose what is most pleasing to God and arrive in heaven. The Gift of Counsel enables the soul to make right judgments and has to do with supernatural prudence. This gift guides us in all our ways inclining the heart to the good and turning it away from evil, all this leading our souls to that final goal – eternal life.
In St. John of the Cross’  Sayings of Light and Love # 44, he counsels souls to:
“Be attentive to your reason in order to do what it tells you concerning the way to God. It will be more valuable before your God than all the works you perform without this attentiveness and all the spiritual delights you seek.”
and in #45:
“Blessed are they who, setting aside their own pleasure and inclination, consider things according to reason and justice before doing them.”
There are few things that this saint says the will can rejoice in, but one is “moral goods…for they bring along with them peace, tranquility, a right and ordered use of reason, and actions resulting from mature deliberation. Humanly speaking, a person cannot have any nobler possession in this life.” (Ascent of Mount Carmel Book 3: 27, 2)
Rejoice indeed, since these will lead to the attainment of the final goal of life. Eternity. 

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Understanding

The Gift of Understanding enlightens the mind with the light of God’s truth. This gift from the Holy Spirit enables the soul to grasp the meaning of truths, particularly truths of religion. Faith helps us to know these truths, but it is the Gift of Understanding that helps us to learn and appreciate them. Through a deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation we are better able to merit our eternal reward. This gift inspires the testimony of a lively faith where we begin to walk worthily with God in all things and are more pleasing to Him. 
However, we must journey to God through mortification of the appetites. Our sight is not always fixed on God and is often attached to things, ideas, and concepts of an earthly nature that take us on a path far from God. St. John teaches that without this mortification there is no transformation in God and the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit will not bear fruit. Jesus also instructed us, his disciples, this way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possession cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:33). St. John of the  Cross affirms this statement: “for the doctrine the Son of Man came to teach is contempt for all things so we may receive the gift of God’s Spirit. As long as people fail to rid themselves of these possessions, they are incapable of receiving God’s Spirit in pure transformation.” (Ascent of Mount Carmel, Bk 1: 5, 2)
“If you purify your soul of attachments and desires, you will understand things spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.” (Sayings of Light and Love # 49, St. John of the Cross)

The Gift of Understanding gives us clear vision.

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Wisdom
The Gift of Wisdom enlightens the mind to the discernment and appreciation of divine things. As earthly joys lose their hold on the soul, the Cross begins to offer a sweetness that before was unrealized. The soul endowed with this gift now takes up its cross having found Christ’s words to hold true for it. –
“…for my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matt 11:30)
The Gift of Wisdom enables the soul to desire and long for eternal things and to see that the things of this world are passing; therefore, this gift aides the soul in its journey here on earth to despise the goods of earth and to set its heart on God and heaven. 
It is a most perfect gift, this Gift of Wisdom. It strengthens faith and hope, and perfects charity. Those endowed with this gift are motivated to the practice of virtue to a high degree.
Relating this gift to the gift of prayer, we must take into consideration that prayer doesn’t lead to wisdom, it leads to love. One of the Sayings of Light and Love written by St. John of the Cross touches on Wisdom…

“Wisdom enters through love, silence and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” (Sayings of Light and Love #109, St. John of the Cross)
This saying of St. John of the Cross is good advice, since wisdom enters through love and that is why we pray, because we love. Additionally, he advises that if silence doesn’t prevail then wisdom cannot enter in. The silence so necessary for prayer is that silence of the faculties: of the exterior senses and the interior ones. This silence is created in us by stopping, to the best of our ability, reasoning which processes all that comes through the senses or that is stored in our memory. It is through this process of reasoning that our prayer becomes occupied with all kinds of conclusions or judgments. Thus, occupying our time of prayer with the things of earth rather than of love, of God and heavenly things.

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