Monthly Archives: May 2017

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

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SIGN OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP: GRATITUDE IN MIDST OF SUFFERING 

Because Love is radical and not practical, it often involves suffering. This is why Jesus rebuked St. Peter when he suggested that Jesus should not suffer and die for us: “Get behind me Satan!” (Matt 16:23) Not that Peter is Satan, but that Peter was thinking in line with the desires of Satan and God-less men – that we not be saved by the Lord’s Sacrifice. Yes, in the divine life, love and sacrifice, and therefore suffering, often go together.

If we look down upon suffering for or with Christ for His sake and ours, then we are not worthy of Christ. For the Lord Himself clearly said: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”(Lk 14:27)

If we do not understand this, then we are like strangers who follow a strange “Prosperity Gospel” which selfishly seeks pleasure and avoids suffering (of true love) which diminishes that pleasure, and we may very well be met with this rebuke from the Lord Himself one day:  

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”(Mk 7:21-23)

There is little excuse for our ignorance. We have all of the resources available to us today in order to know the Lord – that is – to hear and do His will.

Let us ask ourselves: Does love inconvenience us? Do we love grudgingly? What is our habit? Do we choose not to respond to the inspirations to love when it requires some sacrifice? Do we calculate the cost? If God is Love, and if love is selfless, are we compatible with Him?

Well, we can not be God in our finitude. But we most certainly can be grateful to Him for His own sake. Our response to Him can be gratitude, even in the midst of suffering – a gratitude worthy of His infinite love – a gratitude which does not complain, but sees the riches of mercy He bestows upon us in all of the goods around us, and then responds with giving back in some way.  

If we overflow with God’s love, then let us be instruments of love for those around us. If we are in truth branches on the life-giving Vine, let us bear fruit that is sweet and which lasts.

Yes, let us seek to know the Lord, His thoughts, and not our own thoughts, that we may know true Love, be thankful for true Love, and respond with love out of the joy of our gratitude, but not out of the misery of our selfish ingratitude, the ingratitude of the thoughts of men who do not know God.

A Spat Between Reasoning and Conscience 

Conscience: “You know.”

Reasoning: “But, what about this excuse?”

Conscience: “One is not excused from truth.”

Reasoning: “But, what if it’s not true?”

Conscience: “The Lord your God told you that He is the way, the truth and the life, and He created me so that you can know Him – that is – the Truth.”

Reasoning: “What is truth?”

Conscience: “You know. Do you deny the Truth?”

Reasoning: “I don’t know what you are talking about. Shut up!”

Conscience: “Just remember what Truth Himself said, ‘So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.'”

Reasoning: “But I don’t deny that God exists.”

Conscience: “But you say you don’t know what is true, and He is Truth Itself, and He speaks to you through me, your conscience which He gave to help you know right from wrong.”

Reasoning: “But I know better.”

Conscience: “Do you also deny your own conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, I deny my own conscience.”

Conscience: “Then you deny God’s help freely. You have made your choice to carry on without God then.”

Reasoning: “No, I want God’s help.”

Conscience: “But He helps you through me.”

Reasoning: “No, my help is through my other conscience.”

Conscience: “Oh, so you are possessed of another person in your soul – one who gives you another conscience?”

Reasoning: “Yes, you are that other person, and I must be rid of you.”

Conscience: “Then you do so at your own peril.”

Reasoning: “No, I do so at your peril.”

Conscience: “But I am part of you.”

Reasoning: “I do not accept that.”

Conscience: “I can not die as long as you live.”

Reasoning: “Then we shall both die.”

Conscience: “Exactly.”

Reasoning: “But it would be better to live.”

Conscience: “Exactly true.”

Reasoning: “Okay, I will tolerate you.”

Conscience: “I can work with that.”

Reasoning: “Great. Perhaps we can be closer friends now.”

Conscience: “I would like that. Rest assured, in my friendship, I will never steer you wrong.”

Reasoning: “That is good. Thank you.”