"Take no notice of that feeling you get of wanting to leave off in the middle of your prayer, but praise the Lord for the desire you have to pray. That, you may be sure, comes from your will which loves to be with God. It is just melancholy that oppresses you and gives you the feeling of constraint.
Try occasionally, when you feel yourself oppressed in that way, to go to some place where you can see the sky, and walk up and down a little...
"Take advantage of little sufferings even more than of great ones. God considers not so much what we suffer as how we suffer....
Do what a shopkeeper does in regard to his business; turn everything to profit. Even though it be only an insect sting or a pin prick, a little eccentricity of your neighbor or some unintentional slight, the loss of some money, some little anxiety, a little bodily weariness, or a slight pain in your limbs. Turn everything to profit, as the grocer does in his shop, and you will soon become rich before God...
At the least annoyance say, 'thank you, Lord; Your will be done." - St. Louis de Montfort
(Guido Marulli painting, placed by artist in public domain)
"These little daily acts of charity, this headache, toothache or cold, this bad humor in a husband or wife, this broken glass, this contempt or that scorn, this loss of a pair of gloves, ring or handkerchief, the little inconveniences incurred by going to bed early and getting up early to pray or receive Holy Communion, that little feeling of shame one has in performing certain acts of devotion in public - in short, all such little trials when accepted and embraced with love are highly pleasing to God's mercy. For a single cup of water God has promised to his faithful a sea of perfect bliss...
Great opportunities to serve God rarely present themselves, but little ones are frequent." - St. Francis de Sales
(William Paxton painting 1909, in US Public Domain)
Sometimes I can't make sense at all of the world around me. At times, it seems I'm just wandering about aimlessly. Of course I know that's not true; my faith tells me it's not true. But it can feel that way. When I have a touch of illness, when tragedy strikes, when disaster hits on a large or small scale, things can seem frightfully bleak. Like monsters lurking, waiting to pounce, circumstances can grow larger and darker the more I look at them.
Some years ago, when I was facing a time of difficulty, it occurred to me that I only see a tiny part of the overall picture. God is the Artist, standing ready to make a Masterpiece of my life. I keep pulling the brush from His hand, but He always takes it back the instant I repent and offer it to Him. I have witnessed His great Mercy sweep across my stubborn smudges and work even those into His grand design.
Still, from where I sit, sometimes things don't make a great deal of sense. There seems to be no real pattern (I think at times). There can be a lot of dark. But I see only a small part of the picture, I remind myself. I'm like a jigsaw-puzzler responsible for only a tiny section - with no boxtop illustration to help me see how my little bit fits into the bigger plan!
My little portion, jumbled and dark though it may be, DOES fit into a much larger picture. This I trust as fact. Because God assures me of it, this I know.
One day I will see the finished work.
"Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man, what God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
"We walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)
"God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His decree." (Romans 8:28)
"Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror. Then we shall see face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
I once heard Dr. Scott Hahn say, regarding echoes of Truth
throughout the Old and New Testaments, that “history does not repeat itself,
but it does rhyme.”
One instance of “rhyming” I’m personally fond of has
to do with charcoal fires. Two particular scenes in the life of St. Peter remind me that even in our individual histories, we are given chance after chance to rhyme.
The following is something I have a hard time describing, but I find it important enough that I'm going to give it a try.
I think we're made to look for the time when things are stable and settled, but we set our sights too short. Heaven is where our gaze (even now) is to be directed.
I compare it to the "vanishing point" I did projects on in Art school. In a study of perspective, the vanishing point is that place on the horizon where what one sees, in effect, vanishes. It's a central point, sometimes illustrated by a single little dot. It is that spot to which all things are directed. Everything in the picture is geared toward that point. Streets, roofs, windows, roads can then be lined up as the eye sees them: wider when they're closer to the viewer, and narrower toward the horizon. the picture is only correct, nicely proportioned, and logical if the artist takes into account the vanishing point. In a basic perspective lesson, the student is taught to project the vanishing point and then to practice by using rulers until all things in the picture line up correctly with that one central spot.
We look to things of earth, goals in this life, as our vanishing points. But the only true and unchanging vanishing point is in eternity. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, and all things then take their proper perspective. All too often we "draw in" parts of our lives with the wrong central spot ("I must make my life today line up with my goal of making money.... becoming successful... being well liked... appearing intelligent...."), and while this may seem to work for a time, it actually throws our lives off balance.
It is only when we fix our eyes on Jesus that everything else falls into proper perspective.
He is the one and only Central Spot.
"Here we have no lasting city; we are seeking one which is to come." (Hebrews 13:14)
"The worst thing that can befall persons who have good will is to want to be what they cannot be and not want to be what they necessarily must be. They conceive desires to do great things, which perhaps will never be expected of them; in the meantime, they neglect the little things which God puts into their hands. There are thousands of acts of virtue, as for example:
to bear little troubles and the imperfections of our neighbors; to suffer a biting word or some little injustice; to repress a harsh word; to mortify a little attachment or curiosity;
to refrain from giving a bit of news;
to excuse an indiscretion;
to be condescending toward others in little things -
these are for everyone, so why not practice them?" (St. Francis de Sales) (Mary Cassattt painting public domain)
This is my first attempt at
"blogging inside the lines," (in other words, according to an outline...
more or less..). I'll just be adventurous and see what comes of it! I am joining up with the ladies at Suscipio today for Catholic Woman's Almanac.
Today I am thankful for:
+ AIR CONDITIONING.
+ “My special window,” beside which I sit to pray and read and blog. It has a bookshelf right beside it, and at
hand are my Bible, concordance, Cathecism of the Catholic Church, Liturgy of
the Hours, books of saints, papers, pencils, CDs, folders of
writings and newsletters. I look up
from the computer screen onto a blazing hot day. From my white-curtained window, the
afternoon looks absolutely cheerful.
But if one goes out into it? Not so much. So very hot. Thank God for trees in their best summer green. They soften the
+ Watermelon. It IS summertime to me.
+ A wonderful blogger who recently affirmed my 10 months of blogging in a very kind way. If you're reading this, my friend, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Today I am praying for: + The USA. The
+ Our beloved Church. Priests. Religious Orders.
+ My family. My friends, including blog readers. And this means you. Yes, you.
+ My friend Brian, who will be having brain surgery in a few days.
Today I am reading:
Several things at once. As always.
+ Strange Gods Before Meby Mother Mary Francis PCC. An older book (1964, I think) that I'd read a number of years ago. A friend gave it to me recently, and I am enjoying anew Mother's holy wisdom and keen sense of humor. She often has me laughing aloud.
+ Adam and Eve After the Pill by Mary Eberstadt
Today I am looking toward:
+ A fourth of July caring for my youngest grandchild (age two) while her mommy
works as a hospital nurse.
Today I am remembering:
+ July fourths when my own grandmother took me to our city's fireworks displays. Such excitement!
Boom BOOM Boom boom BOOM boom BOOM !
"I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your Name forever" (Psalm 86:12)