The Chaos In Silence!

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“Who am I kidding?” I said after 20 minutes of sitting still. I had my journal, my bible, my Divine Office but all in vain. Not one of these could stop my wandering mind. At one point, I set them all aside and sat there gazing at the glimmering red Sanctuary light, counting its strokes as the flame danced around the enclosed glass casing. Turning my attention toward the golden Tabernacle adorned with a delicately embroidered cloth, I waited, expecting Jesus to simply sweep me away from my distractions while adding a bit of grace in the process. It seemed fair, I mean after all I didn’t plan on coming to Adoration with a bag of intellectual distractions. It just happened . . . “Oh no,” I said to myself: “here we go again,” and plunging head first I dove right back into my pool of thoughts.

Silence does not always guarantee silence, does it?

I could almost hear Jesus say: “you have an intellect, you already determined that after its wandering spree. But have you considered your will?”. That was my cue to reexamine the honest effort I put into reeling my thoughts back in. I have to admit some of these thoughts were entertaining and others were logically helpful for future planning. Some introduced me to past conflict, others recalled recent conversations. Any effort of bringing them back into submission was far from being made.

How easily I allowed myself to bask in my weak resolve. I choose distraction over heavenly attraction; temporary happiness over lasting joy; limited pleasure over eternal delight. Jesus cannot be promised my heart only to be taken away seconds later. The faculties of the mind are functions that have the capacity of animating themselves at any given moment but when the heart gives an impulse to the will and informs it of its true longing, its real desires, these faculties can be subdued. Sitting in prayer and ruminating over God’s Mercy in past lived experiences is not all bad but when the filter of grace is taken away and the flood comes rushing in it can become an uncontrollable river of emotional distraction. If the peace of heart is disturbed and God’s presence suddenly takes the back seat it is a SURE sign that the mind has taken over and the heart has halted from its enjoyment in the current of dialogue it was immersed in.

I quickly learned that fighting these distractions, especially if they are sinful in nature, only makes them linger on. God is present and ready to receive them I had to remind myself of that. The battle is never fought alone! Jesus is waiting for our permission to take these images of the mind, these thoughts of past experience, present passions, and future longings, and tame them. The elevation of the heart can trigger this kind of abandonment of the mind. Instead of trying to suppress the intellect we can acknowledge its hold on us and offer it to Christ who purifies and redirects its every intention.

“Christ does not force our will, He takes only what we give him. But he does not give himself entirely until he sees that we yield ourselves entirely to him.” – Saint Teresa of Avila.

There is no shame in recognizing our weakness in self-control during prayer. This humble recognition is a grace and it is the key for growth in virtue. I will never forget the advice I received during one of my visits to the confessional: “whenever you enter into prayer, the first thing you should always do is abandon yourself to Christ . . .” “and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22

 

Oír y Hacer

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“Bienaventurados nosotros si hacemos las obras que hemos escuchado y cantado. Nuestra escucharlas significa tenerlos plantado en nosotros, mientras nuestra hacerlas demuestran que la semilla tiene ah dado fruta” San Agustín

Cuando era más joven, en mi adolescencia, y no atento (indiferente) al quehacer alrededor de la casa, me parecía desagradable al oir una voz (mamá) llamando desde la cocina mandandome a terminar un quehacer alrededor de la casa. Me parecía pesado y aburrido limpiar el bano o lavar los platos. A veces no lo hacía. Esto creó un ambiente no tan tranquilo alrededor de la casa dando por resultado formas creativas de construir una montaña con los trastes o fingir que pelos de baño eran lava sólo para evitar pisarlos. No es divertido para nadie.

Si los sirvientes en la boda de Caná no habían respondido puntualmente a la petición de María, “haz lo que él os diga”, el primer milagro del Ministerio de Jesús podría haber retrasado y el disfrute de vinos podría haber tenido que esperar. Cuando una madre habla uno escucha! No es hasta que nos hacemos padres o somos puestos en una posición de cuidado infantil que nos damos cuenta de la importancia de las respuestas atento. Sabemos que si le pedimos a un niño a recoger sus juguetes no es porque queremos que haga el trabajo sin sentido. La función del mandato es para el objetivo final de seguridad, responsabilidad y orden. Pero el niño no ve esas razones, él aprende a responder obedientemente y a veces ciegamente; una ceguera que se apoya fuertemente en la confianza. El niño sabe que recoger los juguetes es bueno pero a veces no entiende por qué él tiene que ir a recogerlos pero responde obedientemente.

El motivo subyacente para la obediencia a la voz de los padres comienza a molde de sí mismo en amor. Las más veces que un niño experimenta el amor de su padre, los guardias se bajan en el y mas se someten a obediencia. Una relación basada en amor y abnegación comienza a romper la barrera. Puede producir la confianza y con confianza llega el fruto de la caridad que se da libremente. El quehacer aunque no deseado se convierte en un acto de amor, el motivo más ulterior, que es la caridad, se convierte en el motor detrás de su terminación.

¿Donde va esto?

¡Gracia! Es un regalo que se nos ha dado como una fuente de fortaleza en nuestra obediencia a Dios. ¡Gracia! es la vida de Cristo en nosotros. ¡Gracia! es nuestro medio de una fiel respuesta a la invitación del padre a la vida. ¿Sabemos por qué a veces nos pide soltar a un ser querido que ha fallecido?  ¿Se entiende por qué a veces busca nuestra caridad cuando sentimos que no podemos dar? ¿Percibimos la urgencia de su deseo para nuestra santidad?

No entendemos las invitaciones que Dios hace y es por eso que a veces dejamos en responder. Nuestra respuesta ciega es uno de los actos más temerosos que nunca hemos experimentado. Su gracia se da, pero si no lo reconocemos, no abrimos nuestro corazón para recibirlo. Igual que un niño aprende a actuar por amor cuando en relación con su padre, también crecemos en nuestra relación con Jesús y en oración comenzamos a acercarnos a sus invitaciones. El amor es la fuerza impulsora para todo lo que hacemos. El amor es lo que nos permite reflejar la obediencia del hijo al padre. ”Padre mío, si es posible, no me hagas beber este trago amargo.Pero no sea lo que yo quiero, sino lo que quieres tú” Mateo 26:39. El padre amaba al hijo que amó el padre, el fruto de esto fue perfecto en todos los sentidos. El deleite trinitario estaba presente para nosotros como testimonio de amor perfecto y nos permite seguir hacia adelante con confianza en nuestra respuesta.

Hay una profundidad que puede alcanzarse con aprender lo que nosotros estábamos destinados a hacer en la tierra. Dios nos ha dado dones y se espera que usemos estos dones en nuestra respuesta a su voz. A veces nos pide lavar la inmundicia de nuestro corazón con las aguas del Bautismo, limpiar nuestra alma con el uso de la reconciliación, a barrer nuestras obras con la escoba de la virtud. Cuando él nos pide limpiar la casa del alma, no deberemos retrasar ni decir “tal vez manana, Jesús”.

¿Es justo despedir a nuestro deber como seguidores de Cristo y colgar el delantal de santidad simplemente porque hemos dicho “ya basta”? Se gastará el tiempo y nuestra vida se moldea. Cosas tendrán que esperar y otras se dejarán completamente. Lo que queremos mas en la vida tendría que establecerse para lo que necesitamos aún más. Vida en el mundo tendrá que agarrar y la vida en Cristo tomará su lugar. “Pues, ¿de qué le sirve a un hombre ganar el mundo entero y perder su alma?” Marcos 8:36 .

“Entonces dijo Jesús a sus discípulos: «Si alguno quiere venir en pos de mí, niéguese a sí mismo, tome su cruz y sígame. Porque quien quiera salvar su vida, la perderá, pero quien pierda su vida por mí, la encontrará. Pues ¿de qué le servirá al hombre ganar el mundo entero, si arruina su vida? O ¿qué puede dar el hombre a cambio de su vida? Porque el Hijo del hombre ha de venir en la gloria de su Padre, con sus ángeles, y entonces pagará a cada uno según su conducta.” Mateo 16:24-27

Hoye su voz y “haz lo que él te diga”.

 

Hear and Do

untitled“Happy are we if we do the deeds of which we have heard and sung. Our hearing them means having them planted in us, while our doing them shows that the seed has borne fruit” – St. Augustine

When I was younger, in my teens, and not as attentive (indifferent) to chores around the house, I found it unpleasant whenever I heard a voice (mom) yelling from the kitchen door asking me to finish a task around the house. It seemed burdensome and boring to scrub the toilet or wash the dishes. Sometimes I wouldn’t get around to it. This created a not so peaceful atmosphere around the house resulting in creative ways of piling up bowls on top of  cups or pretending that  bathroom hairs were lava just to avoid stepping on them. It wasn’t fun for anyone.

If the servants at the wedding feast at Cana had not responded promptly to Mary’s request, “do what ever he tells you”, the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry might have been delayed and the enjoyment of fine wine could have had to wait. When a mother speaks we listen! It is not until we are far grown and parents ourselves or put in a position of child care that we realize the importance of attentive responses. We know that if we ask a child to pick up his toys it is not because we want him to do senseless work. The function of the act is for the end goal of safety, responsibility, and order. But the child does not see those reasons, he learns to respond obediently and at times blindly; a blindness that leans heavily on trust. The child knows that picking up the toys is good yet at times does not understand why he has to pick them up but obediently responds.

The underlying motive for obedience to a parents word begins to mold itself in love. The more a child experiences love from his parent, the more the guards are put down and submission is rendered. A relationship built on love and selflessness begins to break the barrier. It can produce trust and with trust it bears the fruit of charity freely given. Chores although undesired turn into acts of love, the ulterior motive, which is charity, becomes the engine behind its completion.

Where is this going?

Grace! It is the one gift given us as a source of strength in our obedience to God. Grace! it is the life of Christ in us. Grace! it is our means of a faithful response to the Father’s invitation to life. Do we know why He sometimes asks us to let go of a loved one who has deceased?  Do we understand why He sometimes seeks our charity when we feel we can’t give it? Do we perceive the urgency in His desire for our holiness?

We do not understand the invitations God makes and that is why we at times hesitate to respond. Our blind response is one of the most fearful acts we have ever experienced. His grace is given but if we do not recognize it, we don’t open our heart to receive it. Just as a child learns to act out of love when growing in relationship with his parent, we too, grow in our relationship with Jesus and prayerfully begin to approach the discernment of his invitations. Love is the driving force for all that we do. Love is what allows us to reflect the Sons obedience to the Father. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” Matthew 26:39. The Father loved the Son who loved the Father, the fruit of this was perfect in every way. Selflessness. The Trinitarian delight was present for us to witness and in awe it is what allows us to spring forward with trust in our response.

There is a depth that can be had with learning what we were meant to do on earth. We are gifted by God, and are expected to use those unique gifts when responding to his voice. Sometimes He asks us to wash the filth from our heart with the waters of Baptism, to clean out our soul with the use of reconciliation, to sweep up our deeds with the broom of virtue. When He asks us to clean house, we do not delay or say “maybe later, Jesus”.

Do we dismiss our duty as followers of Christ and hang up the apron of holiness simply because we’ve had enough? Time will be spent and life will be molded. Things will have to wait, and others given up all together. What we want most in life might have to be laid down for what we need even more. Life on earth will need to seize and life in Christ will take its place. “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” Matthew 16.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it . . .
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” Matthew 16

Hear his voice and “do what ever he tells you”.