Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A daily prayer

I was challenged by my spiritual director to pray this daily. For You, my God, I will.

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following
your will does not mean
that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

T-I-double RED Tired red!

I know it doesn't make sense, but now you know how very tired I am. My neighbors like beer.

Whelp, official first day of summer devotion to Jesus Christ, more fully and completely than school year devotion. Ha! I feel like today was highly productive...got a lot done, and feel like I am really taking some huge steps forward into figuring out the hows and the whys of all of this crazy anxiety.

I was fortunate enough to meet with my spiritual director today. His wisdom always grounds me, and helps me to refind my peace. He talked about three things today...the three things that make up the human psyche: superficial, psychological, and the spiritual. We talked about all three of these things and their general significance to my life. The superficial being the wedding stresses. Flowers, cake, food, dress...in the grand scheme, fleeting. We then discussed what lies underneath those, my anxiety, my need to be in control, my desire for perfection as being on the psychological level. Finally, we came to the spiritual. My direct connection with He who made me...this is not a feeling, this is a knowing, deep within. We talked about how all of these things are important, and how they all deserve attention as they tend to be cyclical. Yet, only one of the three is truly constant. One of the three is where we need turn when nothing else makes sense. Yes, that one of the three is always constant for me, and that is so hopeful. Eternally hopeful, really, as I reasoned it out today. I thought..."But how do I know that God is right?" Then I giggled.

In Mass today, a few things struck me. One, the lord seems to be using His written word as His vessel for communication. I love that! I love it because it is so concrete, and often times, as Catholics, we do not delve into the Word as we should. I love that He is showing me so much in and through it. In the reading from Second Peter 3 it states:

"...be eager to be found without spot or blemish before Him, at peace."

I love this verse, as it states that we should not only be actively seeking all that is good and True, full of virtue, but in that we will find peace. However, we need to be eager for peace, thus, we need to actively seek it. It is not just found, but sought. What a concept...we are active in the the Peace that Christ alone can give. makes sense, as we are active in all else he has bestowed on us here...but wow.

"...be on your guard not to be led into error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.

But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord..."

I find myself constantly facing temptations of this world, and so easily falling into the trap that the way of the world will be easier, better for me. Yet, I recognize that in this I fall from all that I hold to be stable. My solid ground...Christ (and Eric). Both my rocks in this world, and when I stumble and find myself being led into disfavor, by my own choosing (as we are, were, and always will be free), I lose my footing. I fall into the trap of anxiousness, of doubt, of temptation. Yet, through grace, and knowledge, I will persevere.

Score: God, 1 Me, 0

So last night I was reading my bible, hoping for some guidance. Another fairly anxiety ridden evening, with lots of doubts and uncertainties. I began to ponder about instincts. How much do our instincts affect our daily lives? How right is our intuition? How often should we follow it, if at all?

I ask these questions because my intuition is often times conflicting. There are times when it screams, "Do it!!" and then within a matter of minutes it condemns, questioning my sanity. How does one follow that nonsense?

In my biblical concordance I found nothing on instinct or intuition, which probably tells me something right there. Yet, I was drawn to a little section on commitment. Scouring all the way back to Deuteronomy, I was reading all about the commitment made by husbands to their wives, and the purposes of vows. It was fascinating, as this was not where I had originally intended to find myself, nor did I think that intuition would lead to a mental diatribe on promises. But, it did. I read on...in many books, and found myself in Mark. The last listing for verses on commitment came from the Gospel of Mark. I read the following:

34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."

Yeah, this verse has been a recurring theme in my marital discernment process. It is funny how certain texts seem to set their sights for you and pop up everywhere you go.

It was a crazy day, full of anxiety, and I was at Mass. This was the reading of that day...and I remember thinking to myself, "This is it! This is marriage!" Yes, marriage is the complete and total giving of one's life in order to find holiness and ultimately, Heaven. It has since then been a verse I think about constantly in my attempts to understand the mystery of the vocation.

I find it funny that in my times of doubt last night, the Lord pointed me to commitment. Commitment to Him, and to the life he called Christians to live. It is a crazy life, a hard life, but a beautiful life...if one truly resolves to live it.

I am working on it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Wise words...from an expert

Dr. Peter Kreft says the following:

Five general principles of discernment of God's will that apply to all questions about it, and therefore to our question too, are the following:

  1. Always begin with data, with what we know for sure. Judge the unknown by the known, the uncertain by the certain. Adam and Eve neglected that principle in Eden and ignored God's clear command and warning for the devil's promised pig in a poke.
  2. Let your heart educate your mind. Let your love of God educate your reason in discerning his will. Jesus teaches this principle in John 7:17 to the Pharisees. (Would that certain Scripture scholars today would heed it!) They were asking how they could interpret his words, and he gave them the first principle of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation): "If your will were to do the will of my Father, you would understand my teaching." The saints understand the Bible better than the theologians, because they understand its primary author, God, by loving him with their whole heart and their whole mind.
  3. Have a soft heart but a hard head. We should be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," sharp as a fox in thought but loyal as a dog in will and deed. Soft-heartedness does not excuse soft-headedness, and hard-headedness does not excuse hard-heartedness. In our hearts we should be "bleeding-heart liberals" and in our heads "stuck-in-the-mud conservatives."
  4. All God's signs should line up, by a kind of trigonometry. There are at least seven such signs: (1) Scripture, (2) church teaching, (3) human reason (which God created), (4) the appropriate situation, or circumstances (which he controls by his providence), (5) conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong, (6) our individual personal bent or desire or instincts, and (7) prayer. Test your choice by holding it up before God's face. If one of these seven voices says no, don't do it. If none say no, do it.
  5. Look for the fruits of the spirit, especially the first three: love, joy, and peace. If we are angry and anxious and worried, loveless and joyless and peaceless, we have no right to say we are sure of being securely in God's will. Discernment itself should not be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing, but—since it too is part of God's will for our lives—loving and joyful and peace-filled, more like a game than a war, more like writing love letters than taking final exams.

An INspiration

So...it hit me today. In order to be totally free, I must give everything to God. Not that this has not occurred to me before. Of course it has, and has probably occurred to me daily for quite sometime. However, I recognize now what that means in light of accountability, and therein lies the difference.

I love to write- always have. It is a passion, and thus, with the onset of summer and subsequently, the onset of time, I have decided to take this love and turn it into my accountability for my full and true abandonment. I am here by giving everything to God, my Lord and savior. He is my life, and it is about time that He receive my all.

In the past I have said these words. Many times. Yet, it only lasts for as long as it works for ME and then, it becomes fleeting. My goal is to faithfully account for my journeys with my abandonment to the Lord and the discernment in my life while remaining accountable to this blog daily. My goal is to be open, and honest about my discernment, in the hopes that the Lord will guide me to lasting peace and happiness. I know that in my full abandonment, the Lord will provide.

I simply must commit. (One of my few vices...haha)

Here is my plan:

Knowing that the summer affords much more time for me, I plan to attend daily mass and pray and reflect on that daily. I plan on trying to shelf my anxieties, and reencounter my optimism. I plan to be as faithful as I can, knowing that if I love God first and foremost, all else will follow.

Wish me luck!