Category Archives: Spiritual Life

In ALL things be grateful to the Lord

Reflection from St. Basil the Great: “When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, remember him who has given it to you for your enjoyment and as a relief in illness. When you get dressed, thank him for his kindness in supplying you with clothing. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore him who in his wisdom has arranged things in this way. In the same way, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.”

Prayer and Fasting

Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul ‘used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.’ They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.

Paul Thigpen
Manual for Spiritual Warfare,  p. 57-8

Conversion is a process

In the Byzantine Church today the gospel passage is that of Zacchaeus. He is re-purposed by the Lord for something great, something new, something never felt before. The newness is that of Grace transforming the darkness of our lives into some thing that God can use for the up-building of His Kingdom, for the bringing of the Hundredfold. As with Zacchaeus, so with us. Here is a brief meditation:

The process of conversion begins with genuine openness to change: openness to the possibility that just as natural life evolves, so too the spiritual life evolves. Our psychological world is the result of natural growth, events over which we had no control in early childhood, and grace.

Grace is the presence and action of Christ in our lives inviting us to let go of where we are now and to be open to the new values that are born every time we penetrate to a new understanding of the Gospel. Moreover, Jesus calls us to repent not just once; it is an invitation that keeps recurring.

In the liturgy it recurs several times a year, especially during Advent and Lent. It may also come at other times through circumstances: disappointments, personal tragedy, or the bursting into consciousness of some compulsion or secret motive. that we were not aware of.

A crisis in our lives is not a reason to run away; it is the voice of Christ inviting us to accept more of the divine light. More of the divine light means more of what the divine light reveals, which is divine life. And the more divine life we receive, the more we perceive that divine life is pure love.

Awakenings
Thomas Keating, OCSO

Embrace the fullness of Christian faith faithfully

“When the Christian confesses to the sin of accidie (that he no longer readily embraces the will of God, that he is lapsing into worldliness, that all the joy has gone out of his communion with God and that he no longer has the strength to pray) it is high time for him to launch an assault upon the flesh, and prepare for better service by fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37, Luke 4:2, Mark 9:29, 1 Corinthians 7:5).”

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, which is a truly wonderful little book.

You may be interested in the book, The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Abbot Jean-Charles Nault, OSB. He ably and forthrightly treats this subject of acedia that Bonhoeffer opens in the above quote.

Faith and our true life

What is important above everything else, first and foremost, is faith: faith in the reality of the divine presence in and around us, bringing the acts of our will and mind up to the level of the true life to which Our Lord is calling us.

This act of faith, which transforms our destiny from a purely human one to one truly divine, is painful to nature, and calls for a heroism of which we would not be capable had not God already given us the grace to make the initial effort and maintain it. Utterly incapable d ourselves of making this first act, we could not do better than say with the father of the sick child: Lord, I do believe; help thou my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

The Prayer of Love and Silence
A Carthusian

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory