The Spiritual Edifice

The Three Ages of the Interior Life - Volume 2 - Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P._html_57ca4d8eThe Three Ages of the Interior Life - Volume 2 - Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P._html_m6d864de5Evil Root

Note: Drawings taken from the book, The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

 

Humility is the “foundation of prayer” (CCC 2559) as well as the foundation of our own spiritual edifice. Since our spiritual life can only be as good as the foundation we build upon, the virtue of humility is essential. We start with a good foundation lain upon the Rock of Christ; for if we build our house on sand, it cannot stand. (see Mat. 7:24~7:27)

The virtue of humility is related to both the virtue of justice, which allows us to judge ourselves justly, and also the virtue of temperance, which serves to moderate the sense of our own worth. “Humility may be defined as a supernatural virtue, which, through the self-knowledge it imparts, inclines us to reckon ourselves at our true worth and to seek self-effacement (reserve in speech, behavior, or dress) and contempt (to be regarded as inferior or base).” (see A. Tanguerey, The Spiritual Life, 1127) Therefore, the basis of humility is Truth, which allows us to see ourselves as we really are, and Justice, which inclines us to act on that knowledge. Rightly understood, justice demands that we render to God all the honor and glory for that which we find as ‘good’ within us and to recognize that all ‘evil’ within us proceeds from ourselves. (see A. Tanguerey, The Spiritual Life, 1128 A.) As Christ Himself said: “No one is good but God alone.” (Mark 10:18).

We know well that though we have been washed clean of original sin by the waters of baptism, concupiscience (an inclination toward sin or evil) remains. Therefore, a true reckoning of ourselves, when viewed through the lens of God’s Goodness and Holiness, leaves us to see that we have nothing of our own which can be called Good but that which is of God Himself. Our will to abide by the Good, which God has worked in us, is then our cooperation with Him and His HolyWill. Our concupiscience remains but can be overcome by our willingness to cooperate with the Grace that God imparts to us.

Humility could simply be described as an attitude that takes responsibility for the wrongs we think, say or do while only rendering credit to God for that which is regarded as good and holy. Our demeanor might then become reserved and free of self-pride. A humble heart such as this is greatly loved by our Lord and He tends to incline His Ear to the whisperings of such a soul. It is this meekness and humility that becomes a solid foundation for our relationship with God.

The pillars of Faith, Hope and Charity sit squarely on the shoulders of this virtue, as does our prayer-life, which is the loving discourse between our souls and God. If you wish to increase your faith, hope and love and deepen your prayer-life it may pay great dividends to work on the virtue of humility. This requires vigilance in knowledge of God and in self-knowledge too (a daily examen of conscience and frequent confession aid in this regard). In order to accomplish this work within our souls, the virtues of temperance and justice might also stand in need of some strengthening.

As previously stated, our humility is to rest upon the Rock of Christ and therefore we need to conform to every projection and crevice of this Rock. There should be no voids between this foundation of humility and the Rock upon which it is poured, thus we ensure that our foundation conforms to Christ in every detail. Our humility then must begin in a liquid state, capable of being molded into the necessary shape. Once humility has allowed us to be molded by the Rock, it becomes an extension of Christ Himself, hardening into a Foundation that is unbreakable.

If we set out to build a spiritual edifice we must keep in mind that which any builder knows. The building is only as good as the foundation upon which it stands.

Plain talk: Pharisees? No. Servants of the Faith. — All Around the Western Front

As Christians, let us pray for those who lost their lives and their families at the Orlando massacre, these are crimes against brothers and sisters of the human race, who deserve dignity. We must fully understand what is supporting the dignity of every single human person, and what is allowing immorality to reign supreme, and […]

via Plain talk: Pharisees? No. Servants of the Faith. — All Around the Western Front

Historicism of Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 2 — All Around the Western Front

Please visit my previous post, part 1, if you have not read it. What drives the opinions of President Obama and writer Adam Gopnik is the effect of the Enlightenment, Madden writes, “In a post-Enlightenment world, the concept of religious warfare is odious, largely because most people no longer believe one’s religious beliefs are relevant […]

via Historicism of Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 2 — All Around the Western Front

A Historicism of Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 1 — All Around the Western Front

Read my post on AATWF about the latest research on the Crusades, and why the common narrative of the mainstream is wrong.

During a Prayer Breakfast in 2015, Barack Obama, the President of the United States made the following comment, “During the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”[1] The source I chose to use to cite this comment is the “New Yorker,” a politically left leaning publication. The author of […]

via Historicism of the Christians and Muslims of the Crusades Pt. 1 — All Around the Western Front

The San Damiano Crucifix

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I have a foundational connection to this crucifix from my youth. I was introduced to the remarkable piece of artwork during my years at Catholic school. Our parish priest, as I remember it, had traveled to Rome for some sort of priestly activity and during his time there he found an extraordinary print of this crucifix. I remember the detail of the image to be quite exquisite, like something that truly carried the sanctity of heaven. An image that truly carries the words of St. Augustine as a visible sign of invisible Grace. Our priest had the image custom made into a  processional cross for the altar boys of our parish to carry in and out of Mass. The image was customed framed with a dark wood that bordered the image, but also had the design of the mystical vine that the image carried itself. I remember having the great honor to carry this crucifix as an altar boy it to the altar.

The processional cross was large and weighed a great deal. It wasn’t hard for an altar boy to imagine the weight of Christ’s cross as he carried it to the place of the skull either during Mass or especially for stations of the cross. The honor to be around such an image at such a young age has continued to resonate in my heart that I still carry this crucifix with me every day around my neck, and it hangs on the wall of my office where I now type these words.

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The Church has a historical connection to the crucifix, as according to tradition this is the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis of Assisi at San Damiano. It was through this holy image that Christ spoke to St. Francis to give him the mission to rebuild his church that had fallen into despair. St. Francis would certainly rebuild Christ’s church in San Damiano as well as other areas nearby, but the Franciscans hold that Christ’s message was the foundation of their order.

The Crucifix appears to be odd for the region of San Damiano, Italy, but scholars point to the image to be painted by an unknown Umbrian painter in the 12th century who had been influenced by Syrian monks that were in the region. The artist created within the crucifix the story of the Passion of Christ, the bridge to our salvation. Eastern tradition teaches that the Crucifix Icon is a personal encounter with the living God.

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The central image of the Crucifix is Christ; the image portrays Christ’s humanity and his victory over death. At the top of the Crucifix above Christ’s head is the ascension of Christ into heaven, as well as the hand of God. If you look at the hand, the hand has two fingers extended which are a representation of the Holy Spirit. The two figures under Christ’s right side is Mary and John, who were present at the Cross. Mary is wearing a white veil which is an indication of the purity of Revelation. Both John and Mary look at each other as Christ commanded them to behold their “son” and “mother” respectively. On the other side of Christ is Mary Magdalene, which gives her a special place near Christ. Mary Clopas and the Centurion of Capernaum stands next to her. There are two smaller figures in the portrait which are the Roman with the lance, and the Roman with the sponge. Finally, The image below Christ’s feet is that of unknown Saints, who scholars have debated and speculated who they are in the image.

There is also a rooster by Christ’s left leg, which is a bit difficult to see; of course, this connects to the denial of Christ by Peter during the passion story. It was always a favorite image that the children enjoyed when Father explained the story behind the images on this magnificent piece of artwork. I am so very honored to have such an experience with it.

Bishop Paprocki: Their ‘business practices’ stir emotions everywhere

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“My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Officials of Planned Parenthood complained bitterly about the use of what they called “deceptive” undercover tactics when a sting operation revealed last year that they were involved in the sale of body parts of aborted babies. The undercover videos showed senior Planned Parenthood staff members haggling over the prices they would accept in exchange for aborted baby body parts. In one video, one Planned Parenthood executive said she needed a good price for baby body parts because she wanted to buy a very expensive luxury car!”

Click on the link below to read the entire column:

http://ct.dio.org/bishops-column/message/their-business-practices-stir-emotions-everywhere/read.html?format=html

How does the Holy Spirit help us live like Christ?

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This post is a continuation of a previous post, I’d suggest you begin here, although you’re welcome to read this post as a stand alone as well.

In Luke Chapter Six, Christ commands us to love the entire world, which means to even love our enemies. Christ in every way has embodied this command by speaking to the women at the well and forgiving those who had just crucified him

Lk 6: 27-36 RSV

27 “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. 31 And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;[b] and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

It’s very telling when Christ asks, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” It is, of course, very easy to love those who treat you very well. However, it is difficult to love those who scorn, mock, beat, and even kill you and the ones you love. However, we must pray for these people, we must still do good by them, even if they reject us because they deserve the dignity of everyone in humanity being created in the image of God.

I use to be fairly active politically, my collegiate career was spent studying the Federalist Papers, Case Law, and the Early American Republic. I would quote John Locke, Edmund Burke, et al. However, just recently I took some classes to help change my career and I sat next to a gentleman who was Russian Orthodox. We spent many months talking about politics until I concluded that ultimately my view of the Constitution, The Federalist Papers, the Enlightenment philosophers, and Classical Liberalism was more or less Idol worship and not faithful to my faith in Catholicism. I reviewed my life and saw how politics had grown divisions between friends and even family. So, I decided to pick up my Bible, I ended all of my history/political blogs, and I no longer make political statuses on Facebook, but I share the Word with everyone. One of my old college roommates asked me, “When did you become so Jesusy?” I said, “Well, I always believed in God, I figured, I needed to start acting like it.”

It’s natural to ask, How can we possibly love our enemies? We must ask, through prayer, for the Holy Spirit to intervene in our hearts and minds by providing the fruits and gifts of the Spirit to our soul. The Spirit will provide us with patience and self-control over anger, The Spirit by giving us peace and gentleness will allow our soul to be charitable and generous to those who persecute us. We only have to have faith and ask for the Spirit to intervene as the sanctifier.

Women as witnesses: We are always wearing the veil

Angel, Bad, Choice, Cupid, Decisions, Devil, Evil, GoodThe tradition of women wearing a head covering during worship is nothing new. As a Jewish girl, I was drawn to this practice at a very young age, picking up the small piece of white lace and placing it over my head. I felt protected and separated for worship in a holy way. That practice was between me and God, a secret that I had inside of me. A longing to know God and be closer to him.

My search for God became more traditional. Wanting to celebrate the Sabbath, go back to the sanctuary on Saturdays and an exploration of becoming kosher. The harder I tried to conform to the Jewish law, the harder I fell, and Yom Kippur did not seem to help me at all. In fact, it was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement that led me away from me practicing my Jewish faith. I saw it as a great hypocrisy, that the Pharisees of my day would live ungodly lives 364 days a year yet on this day they were the most pious and reverent Jewish figures. I, as a pauper in synagogue, would be relegated to the nose bleed section, sometimes even in a different room from where the Rabbi was. I did not have the necessary funds to buy my seat. I had spent years under the notion that I had to pay to pray, and well, it drove me farther away from the God I loved.

In my search and quest for the truth, Christianity had never dawned on me. As a Jew, my understanding of Christianity was that all gentiles were Christians, that they were one and the same. But the concept of Jewish people alone being set apart by God haunted me, and even as a young teenager, I made it a point to invite several of my gentile friends to my bat-mitzvah, because I knew God loved them too. It was this idea of being set apart that drove me to leave the synagogue, along with its mercilessness attitude against women and their role in the religious life.

I did not come to Christ, Christ came to me. He had come to me several times before in my life, although I did not recognize him.  In my late teens and early 20’s, I was constantly invited to church, and many times I went. In my seat I would be crawling, waiting for God like in the Old Testament to strike me down. I was betraying Him just being there. And after many services I ran away like I was being chased, because well I was.

God tried to reveal himself to me, but I was not ready. I was not ready to lose my Jewish friends and community. I was not ready to be ostracized. I didn’t hear him because I was angry that he had taken my grandmother away from me. But when she died I took the Christian concept of death and incorporated it into her funeral. We celebrated her life, released butterflies and sat a short Shiva. I had been to enough Christian funerals to know that they were doing something right.

So when God led me to the Catholic church, a land I was unfamiliar with, He allowed me to see the fulfillment of the Jewish girl I was. Without knowing any doctrine apart from the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I knew I was home. The altar, the tabernacle, the cups of wine, it was all familiar. The Torah was there but not in the form of scrolls, but instead in the form of Jesus. There was the singing of Psalms, and this time I understood them because they were not in Hebrew. But it was in kneeling before God that I felt something was missing. I later understood that call to be the call of the veil.

Wearing a veil for me completed who I had always wanted to be inside and memorialized my intimacy with God. My inner longing to be His bride was finally coming to be. I had long revered nuns even as a Jewish girl, and the mysticism their veils produced in me. I remembered the feeling of walking into that synagogue and reaching for a head covering. It was part of who I was and now am.

God calls all women to veil in special and set apart ways. Veiling is a spiritual reminder of our holiness before God. This veil we wear whether physically or spiritually is to be carried out in our Christian practice in the world, this is what sets us apart as Christian women, our holiness, our service to neighbor, our care for our families and to the sick, the poor and imprisoned. We are set apart not because of our ethnicity or religion, we are set apart because we are followers of Jesus Christ, and ALL are invited.

I am reminded by the veil that I am especially set apart by God because of my Jewish roots and conversion to Christ. I am reminded that I will always be Jewish which sets me apart for Christ. I am reminded that my thoughts on God having only the Jewish people set apart for himself were right, and that God wants all people to be his sons and daughters. And I am reminded that He has chosen me to accomplish this through wearing my veil at church and in the world.

“But you and your sons with you must take care to exercise your priesthood in whatever concerns the altar and the area within the veil.” Numbers 18: 7(a)

This is a wonderful video on veiling that I encourage all women of all backgrounds to watch. This is also the company I order all my veils from and have loved every veil I have ordered! And as I always mention with any company I support , I am not getting paid in any way to endorse Veils by Lily.

Updates on the Blog and from the Catholic World with the Latin Mass: Kyrie

I am currently detained in duties of house sitting for the next several days. I ask any of the other authors of the Latin Community to post if able as there will be plenty of schedule time to do so.

If any are interested, Servus–who writes for the Latin Community– has re-started his ecumenical blog discussing the issues that have been presented to all Christians in this increasingly hostile world. Here is a link:
https://allaroundthewesternfront.wordpress.com

A direct link to today’s post by Geoffrey:
https://allaroundthewesternfront.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/a-call-to-arms/

Also, I would like to draw readers attention to a documentary on Pope St. John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, which early this morning I read the NCR article about the movie. I have purchased the film and will give further comments after viewing.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joseph-pronechen/film-details-john-paul-ii-defeating-communism-to-free-the-continent

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For today, I have decided to leave the community my favorite rendition of the Kyrie composed by probably my favorite Catholic composer William Byrd. Again, all writers of the Latin Community, feel free to post anytime.