Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When to never change

Fifth Rule. The fifth: In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.

HOW MANY times I have read this with relief!!!  It is the perfect assurance that all those negative thoughts and emotions that are pulling me down and away are WRONG to tell me that everything is useless and not worth trying.  

This is the rule that jumps up, waves its arms in your face and shouts: WAIT!!  Don't quit.  Don't stop.  Don't give in.  It's just a little desolation clouding your thoughts...keep going on this road that God made clear to you not so long ago when you felt his closeness.  And then wait for Him to give you that clarity again.

Side note: The desolation that comes from sinning is not what St Ignatius is addressing here.  And if you are unsure about what is the source of your desolation (because it can get pretty confusing during these times!) either review the previous rules or hold tight because he identifies ways to deal with that problem in the next couple of rules.  

I will be leaving for Nepal in the morning.  I'll be gone for a couple of weeks.  I hope to finish this when I get back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fourth Rule

Fourth Rule. The fourth: OF SPIRITUAL DESOLATION. I call desolation all the contrary of the third rule, such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, sad, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord. Because, as consolation is contrary to desolation, in the same way the thoughts which come from consolation are contrary to the thoughts which come from desolation.

I watched Mom's Night Out last night with my sister and two of our friends...oh yah and her husband sat in with us...I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard for so big gut-wrenching, belly laughs...the kind you can't breathe through because you are laughing too hard.  Maybe it was the movie, maybe the company or maybe the wine...but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  But when it was over I still have a sad pallor over my thoughts.  I worked today.  I have angst about my upcoming trip to Nepal in 2 days.  And I know I am in desolation right now...which makes it all so clear.

God knows exactly what He is about when He permits desolation.  The lies that our heads tell us, the thoughts that fill us with sadness, are so much easier to deal with once they are identified...and rejected.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hope can change everything

Third Rule. The third: OF SPIRITUAL CONSOLATION. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all. Likewise, when it sheds tears that move to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one's sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise. Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one's soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.

Yay for consolation!  And for a God who loves us and wants to dwell with us.  And that things can change.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Go on in well doing

Second Rule. The second: In the persons who are going on intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better in the service of God our Lord, it is the method contrary to that in the first Rule, for then it is the way of the evil spirit to bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on; and it is proper to the good to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing.

False reasons are an easy hang-up.  When desolations come so often it is in the voice of reason...meaning what they say may not be true...but at the time it often seems SO REASONABLE.

I love this differentiation.  It makes it so much easier to see the desolations.  I remember hearing how important it is to identify the desolation before we can fight it.  Once we identify where these thoughts are coming from, we can fight them.  Sin isn't pleasurable, desolation isn't pleasurable: when we are seeking God.  What a relief!

God wills and God leads.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Praying friends...

St. Ignatius of Loyola tells us that we should have a spiritual friend who is there to talk to, as the Devil often comes at us unawares...and often in speaking with such a friend the devil is routed by the very knowledge that someone else sees what he is about. Not only is this important: it is necessary.  I loved the dvd series I watched about the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius by Fr Timothy Gallagher.  He made this so easy to understand as he broke them down into a clear approach to consolation and desolation.  

After listening to this series I vowed to consistently make an examination of conscience and review the exercises.  Unfortunately as things often happen, I left off this practice (even though I had programmed my phone to alarm a reminder once a week) several months ago.  

But God is so good and even as I lament my lack of faith, He steps...but when it is a step in the right is a step in the right direction.  

A friend wrote to me this week in response to my complaint of spiritual dryness: "Remember when you came home from Poland and Rome and you couldn't understand the consolations that came one after the other?  I think this is a time of desolation."

And she is so right and I am so bummed...cause desolation still stinks...even when you know what it is.  However!  The first step to dealing with desolation is to identify it for what it is.  You can't fight an unknown enemy.  And just because God permits desolation does not mean he desires for us to give in to it.

I think it is time for me to review the rules.

First Rule. The first Rule: In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy is commonly used to propose to them apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to hold them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons the good spirit uses the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason.

My conscience is being bitten. A very dear and generous friend offered to pray my rosary for me.  I needed that kick.  I resumed my daily rosary yesterday.  Today I prayed it.  Tomorrow I will work to say it again.  

Praise God that I can be bitten...that my pricks are from a good spirit and that I am not finding delight in apparent pleasures.  Glory to God!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I bought my first real "little black dress" a consignment shop for 5 dollars.  I remember being a little kid and looking inside my mom's closet with awe at all her "work clothes" which I honestly don't remember seeing her ever wear (she stopped working when I was 3).  She would lecture me that every woman's wardrobe should contain a pair of grey and black slacks, a black skirt and a little black dress.  Because with these few items you could add to and create a complete wardrobe for any occasion.  

And now for the real confession: I've never worn a black dress and certainly never a "little black dress."  This one is by no means immodest, down to the knees and high enough up top to be fully covered...and I like it...but it is definitely on a different plane than all the other "church" dresses I own.  I'm not really sure why I bought it...or why I even tried it on.  It's the kind of thing I would want to wear if I went out for something special with someone special...but I don't have anywhere to go or anyone to go with right now.  Perhaps it will sit in my closet forever...who knows? I know.  :o)  Okay back to serious blogging again next time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I want to fall in love....forever

God I love you.
Where are we going?
What are we doing?

you exist
for now
but some day it will be heaven and hell.

where and why?
Life is passing.
It is fleeting.

but the same it comes.
We arrive only to see that we go on.

The truth and the love of God
our only refuge.
Time is short.

Nepal is next.  Himalayas.  Anurpurina circuit trek.  Where the blizzard that killed trekkers happened yesterday.  Where I'm going in two weeks.  Yah, freaking out a bit.

Seeking. Struggling.  Thrown back into memories lately.  And apathy.  My rosary is weak.  Mary, you are strong.  Lord, you lead.  I trust in you...really.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


13.1 today for another half marathon awesome!  I am blessed.  Also had the privilege of watching my friends' 6 kids while they were out of town for the weekend and rock climbing for the first time.  Life is a series of adventures...never think you've done it all!  God always has something more.  We just don't see clearly in the dark.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Staircase wit and being pro-life

I walked for an hour praying the rosary by myself this past Sunday in front of an abortion clinic as a part of the 40 Days for Life.  It was relatively quiet, being early in the morning, and very few cars drove by.  None of them slowed or seemed to notice me. That's why I was a little surprised when a bleach-blond woman in a bright red bug yelled out as she drove by, "Adopt a crack baby!"  I wasn't quite sure what she was saying by that.  Maybe that crack babies could never be wanted or loved, that they would be too messed up to actually be able to live in this world with any hope of happiness or maybe she was just calling me self-righteous...good enough to pray silently but not good enough to step up and endanger my own equanimity by taking on an unwanted child.

She made me realize as I looked at the "Choose Life" sign I held over my head and the rosary beads dangling from my hands in front of me that while I may be praying these decades for mothers with unwanted pregnancies, children in danger of abortion or the healing of those who have undergone abortive procedures in the past...I was also praying for every person hurting or stuck in a place they feel they can't escape from evil: the people of Syria, those living under ISIS, those dying and watching the people around them die of Ebola in Africa, those caught up in addiction: porn, drugs, gambling, alcohol, and those who live in abusive situations.  Sin hurts both by its consequences and its allure.  

Yesterday morning a co-worker turned to me and asked what I thought about the Pope's Synod on the family.  He said he hoped it caused some changes to be made; that the ones attacking the Pope and stopping these changes the most were American Bishops, and that the church in America is in big trouble.  His main hope is that the Pope will make it easier to get divorced as this is what he views as the main problem for the church dying out here.  His views included that the church is strong in third world countries but on its way to the grave here.  I was so shocked that he thought the Pope could make divorce morally okay that I could only say, "No, that would never happen."  I was thinking how the gates of Hell cannot prevail, how the Pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals, and how the Church is the only bulwark keeping our society from completely collapsing on itself as it embraces all the things geared to destroy society.  I thought how marriage would no longer mean anything if the Church were to back down on its stance that marriage is between one man and one woman, brought together by God and not to be brought asunder by any man.  But what I said was a quote I read from Time Magazine (I think) that said Pope Francis "isn't changing the words, just the music" and shared that with him. Because I couldn't think of how to say the rest of it.

Since then I have wished I had a better answer.  The Church in America isn't a sign that the Church is in trouble.  It's a sign that America is in trouble.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I like new posts.

I tried to book a night at the Phantom Ranch in the valley of the Grand Canyon today.  They open up on the first of each month to allow booking an entire year in advance.  I called at 9am.  They had filled up every slot completely and they have no waiting/cancellation list, "because no one ever cancels."  

My friend and I have a great desire to hike the rim to rim trail through the Grand Canyon.  Our plan was to hike down, spend the night, and hike out.  We thought we were planning well enough in advance but apparently not.  Going to have to figure this one out.  From what I've read it is possible to hike the entire 23.4 miles in and out of the canyon in one day.  This may turn out to be our best option.  I just don't want us to be one of the 250 people rescued from the trail yearly.  You can also backcountry camp but I don't know if I relish carrying all the equipment, or frankly, purchasing it.

Received an invitation today to what I know will be a beautiful and delightful wedding in two months.  So excited!  After the last wedding I am ecstatic to attend a Catholic boda between two people who are preparing for a life together that has God as its center.  Also, not being a super close friend of the couple...I wasn't sure I'd make the cut for the invitation list.  So happy to be invited!

Just finished day 2 of 4 twelve hour shifts.  I need to run.  Half marathon coming up in 2 weekends.  Somehow I also managed to promise friends I would watch their 6 children that weekend.  It's going to work out but how tight these next two week's will be!  Sigh I don't know where I'd be without my sister!

Happy Feast of the Little Flower!!  Did you find your rose today?