From Fr. Sam Medley, SOLT. This is Monday’s talk for Holy Week. I truly enjoyed his talk, particularly because we are in a pandemic.
Peace and Grace!
From Fr. Sam Medley, SOLT. This is Monday’s talk for Holy Week. I truly enjoyed his talk, particularly because we are in a pandemic.
Peace and Grace!
Dear friends, we pray for your health during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We pray for those who are sick and for the repose of those sweet souls who sadly succumbed to the virus, and for their grieving loved ones. We pray for first responders and health care workers who risk their lives to save others. We pray for the priests and all religious sisters and brothers who are offering prayers, sacraments and consolation to members of their communities, especially those priests providing last rites for the dying in hospitals.
Above is a link to a new YouTube channel for Domus Trinitatis, DT Reflections. We pray the messages found within these videos offer hope to you during this time.
God Bless you
Facing Our Immortality Support Group
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Emotions and Truth
Before the first-ever State visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain in September of 2010, the British media voiced opposition to the visit with increasing hostility, indirectly encouraging petition protests and civil dissent among the people. Pope Benedict had been known as Ratzinger the Rottweiler during his tenure as Head of the Congregation for Faith and Doctrine in the Vatican, because of his firm stand on the traditional teachings of the Church. Rottweilers, of course, summon all sorts of connotations in the minds of ordinary people: stubborn, dominant, aggressive, territorial, bullying, strong, loyal, etc. All together off-putting to say the least.
An amazing thing happened though once the media, and the country, came into direct contact with the man they had conceptualized and labeled a Rottweiler. He “turned out to be a shy, warm and frail 83-year-old who perked up every time his security detail allowed him to greet people, especially youngsters and his own generation.” Outspoken journalists who had vehemently opposed the visit were completely won over by the Pope and gushed: “Ratzinger the rottweiler transformed into Benny the bunny,” “We all want to cuddle up to him and get him to bless our babies.” (AFP News Wires, Sept. 2010) The real man won out over the fabricated image that had triggered such powerful emotions nationwide.
This illustrates an area that is particularly dangerous today. It is the tendency to conflate strong emotion with the truth. If I feel strongly about something, it must be true. The trend toward gauging truth by how one feels or has been made to feel about something and not by an objective consideration of facts or evidence produces all sorts of crazy, irrational judgments, and behavior, which once would have been self-evident but today seem lost on those formed under a hierarchy of values that places feelings at the top. Feelings become more important than truth or considerations of right and wrong. Various elements of society are keenly aware of this and intentionally manipulate people by deliberately inciting certain emotions. They understand emotions can be very contagious, and if they can move even a small group toward a certain goal, it will spread incredibly quickly.
A prominent example of this is found in the way emotion was used to change people’s views of and opinions regarding abortion. Before it’s legalization in the US in December of 1971, any doctor who practiced such procedures was ostracized by the mainstream medical community. Abortion was known, at the level of conscience, universally, to be the destruction of a human baby. The affirmation of science (which is there), was not needed. The issue of the humanity of the baby was not in question. Yet, that became lost because of a genius strategy on the part of those working to legalize it.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was one of these key players and who later converted to Catholicism and worked the rest of his life to undo the legalization of abortion which he had fostered, explained it this way. He said they used three main tactics in their work and the third tactic was by far the one that accelerated them to their goal the fastest.
The first tactic was to falsify statistics. So, they simply inflated the numbers for back-alley abortions to make it seem that this was a national crisis that had to be addressed. Second, they set out to discredit the Catholic Church as patriarchal, sexist and old-fashioned because they knew that is where their main opposition would come from. But the third, and most masterful strategy, according to Nathanson, was to couch abortion in terms of women’s rights. Once you talked about abortion as a woman’s right, you could easily incite indignation if any opposition to a “woman’s right to choose” was expressed. Rational debate was no longer possible because once the emotions were running high, thinking things through clearly and calmly debating them, failed. Feelings ruled out facts. And the immediate stance of those emotionally swayed to favor abortion became accusatory: You are waging a war on women! You are violating our freedom and our right to choose what to do with our own bodies, etc. It became all about “me” and not about the little life entrusted so intimately to the woman.
Dr. Nathanson himself was finally converted when he deliberately filmed, via ultrasound, an abortion. The image of the little baby trying to escape from the instruments dismembering him, the shocking encounter with the truth of what he was doing, was enough to make him stop on the spot and to spend the rest of his life trying to make restitution for what he had done.
The crucial point to understand is, discovering truth is not the goal of the emotions. They were not given to us for that purpose. Our intellect and our powers of reason and understanding were given to us for that purpose. Our emotions are meant to be informed by and to serve the truth as forces that move us to the good or away from evil. And until that right order is re-established in each of us, we will continue to see an increase in chaos and the culture of death around us.
Emotions are powerful forces that are a deep part of what makes us human. They can move us in ways that are strong and decisive, as when we need to take action in the face of injustice or danger, but also in ways that are delicate and sensitive as when we need to attend to a small child in distress. In the right order, emotions help us to go beyond ourselves in deeds, behavior, and relationships for the sake of a greater good. However, in their disorder, they can overpower reason and practical wisdom. They can blind us to the truth and take on a life of their own which manifests in excess and the domination of self-interest or self-absorption over all else.
Questions For Reflection (after 5-10 minutes of silence):
A little peak of the scenery at Domus Trinitatis. There is still time to register for our upcoming retreat. God Bless you!
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm mountain (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm eastern).
Giving Up Secrets
We live in an age of secrets. Governments, corporations, educational, medical and religious institutions are all skilled at keeping secrets both for good reasons and not so good reasons. Media definitely keeps secrets according to the agenda it pushes. But this reflects people in general. People tend to keep a lot of secrets
There is a pressing need to recognize that secrets make a difference. They can determine the direction of our lives, and the manner in which we pass from this world into the next.
Jesus tells us in the Gospels that everything that is hidden will be revealed. Secret activities, secret wounds, secret weaknesses, secret sins, secret fantasies, secret thoughts, secret addictions, secret jealousies, secret plans, secret ambitions, family secrets, secret judgments, secret desires, in fact a secret life, all of it will be revealed. That is unless you have taken care of any sin in your secrets, by going to Confession where God annihilates the sin and wills to remember it no more. Then they will never ever be brought up as a testimony against you.
Ironically, we hide things about ourselves but at the same time have an attraction to know the secrets of others. There is almost nothing people like better than hearing a good secret. Why? There are several reasons. One, it diverts attention away from our own secrets. But we also love secrets because we love hidden knowledge. We live in a state of being that is still looking for something that hasn’t been completely revealed to us yet. We’re searching, whether we know it or not, for the one Word that will answer all of our questions and give sight to the vision, the understanding we seek.
Interestingly enough, Jesus mentions that the Father Himself keeps secrets from the “wise and learned” and reveals things to the “little ones.” Why is that? We know most certainly that God never does anything without good reason, and a reason that redounds, often in mysterious ways, to our greatest benefit.
Might it be that God protects the sacred and hides divine treasures for our sake? Anyone who has studied covenant knows that profaning the sacred is dangerous. We can be destroyed by our profanation. A simple look at the human wreckage surrounding the modern desecration of the gift and mystery of sexuality confirms this.
In other words, could it be that just as Jesus told us not to cast pearls before swine, He follows His own counsel with us? He puts His treasure in safe places…He is careful with what is precious beyond measure. And at the same time He is merciful to those of us who would have a terrible accounting to give for squandering a poorly understood gift, if we received it and did not really appreciate or care for it.
Secrets like this can be a good thing; in fact they can be a very good thing if their purpose is to protect a treasure (whether that be jewels or a reputation) from vandalism or theft, misuse or destruction.
But some secrets should never be kept. And unfortunately, people usually have more of these kinds of secrets.
We can safely say, I think, that many of the sicknesses of our age are determined by the secrets we keep. This is well known in the world of addiction and co-dependency: “We are only as sick as our secrets.” This is actually a psychology that was first explicated in the Sacred Scriptures. Psalm 32 says: “I kept it secret and my frame was wasted…” The distress, the groaning, the anxiety, the depression, the disturbance of so many today, more often than not, comes from holding secrets that should not be kept.
I know a woman who struggled with terrible depression much of her adult life, watched Mother Angelica faithfully, but would not take the secret of her abortion to the Confessional. She died recently and my prayer is that before she died she finally released her secret into the loving mercy of God so she could enter her heavenly home with “joy and an upright heart.” Her secret certainly didn’t keep her in peace or bring happiness into her life. In fact, it brought her to the verge of a mental breakdown.
At the end of our lives, we will have an encounter with God Who is pure Love and Light and Goodness and Truth. And all that is hidden will be revealed. To our own overwhelming confusion we could find ourselves suddenly naked before the Lord, rather than clothed in the garments of grace He so freely and continually offers us, all because fear, or attachment or shame or pride kept us from giving up our secrets. Great Confessors, like St. John Vianney and St. Padre Pio spent themselves in this work of getting people to give up their secrets so that they could begin to know the deep things of God in their lives.
Our Blessed Mother, the most pure creature who ever lived, was without secrets of her own. She kept only those God gave her. And because of that, there is no one more beautiful, more radiantly transparent in the living of the Mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity. In Her many apparitions in the last centuries, we can hear the cry of our good Mother when she bids us return to the Sacraments and live the Gospel way of life. One of the things She is saying with great affection and urgency, as if speaking to a little child, is: “Run! Run and whisper your secrets to your Father. All of them! And be assured that He will give treasures out of the darkness and riches that have been hidden away especially for you!” Is. 45:3
For the full article please see: http://www.missionaryinthemodernworld.blogspot.com
Questions For Silent Reflection
1. What is your experience of secrets?
2. Have you ever seen or experienced the effects of holding bad secrets?
3. Do you think some secrets can actually make you physically ill?
4. What do you think God wants from us in our secrets? Remember that nothing is hidden from Him?
Hi from Denise.
I thought I might post a little bit about some of the thoughts people shared during our most recent evening retreat with Sr. Anne Marie Walsh. You may have noticed I started naming our spiritual exercise group “evening retreats with Sr. Anne Marie”. I don’t know about you but when we are all together with Sr. Anne it feels like a mini-retreat.
During our evening retreats we have a refreshing opportunity move away from ourselves and closer to God. Because our world is filled to capacity with distractions it takes enormous effort to say “no” to the subtle temptations of our society.
July’s spiritual exercise was about how we feed and nurture our souls. Are we attending to activities which are “life giving”? She asks “Are we eating from the Tree of Life or from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Everything we do can either prepare us for salvation or make obtaining our salvation more difficult.
Sr. Anne’s voice is comforting and strong, like that of what we may imagine would be heard from our Blessed Virgin Mary. Her demeanor offers a safe space where we can honestly address our needs, because it is not always easy to be willing to take a clear look at how we nurture our relationship with the Holy Trinity.
If most of us were to take a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the center, and on each side list that which sustains us and prepares us for our eternity or that which takes us away from where Jesus lives, we would see more clearly what God sees. God sees everything, He sees our soul, the love in our hearts and he can also see where there is an opportunity for each of us to live in true Joy. That is what He wants for us. He wants us to have true happiness!
At some point during our journey to eternity we begin to automatically reject that which does not feed our souls. During our session, many of the participants, including myself, expressed that they find it challenging to always make “life giving” choices. For some it is not just the choice itself, but are we making that choice with Christ’s Love at the center? Another big challenge is pain. When we are in severe pain it is as if we need to sit and just absorb things that facilitate some sort of simple distraction. Merely existing seems impossible. But God knows all these things and He loves us the more for enduring that which reflects His Passion.
This is not about berating ourselves for “not doing enough”. Jesus sees us where we live, where we are, and He knows where He intends for us to be. We just need to open our hearts to Him and let Him in. He is our Father.
If you are overwhelmed with illness and have not yet created a daily habit that feeds your soul, from the Tree of Life, (like daily Mass or the Rosary), consider some visualization. Turn off the electronics, find a quiet place and for 5 minutes literally imagine eternity. Close your eyes and let go. Maybe start with the photo above so that you can imagine the vastness of God’s Creation.
Keeping the vision of our eternity front and center is especially helpful for those who literally have physical and emotional suffering in our lives. I was so grateful to get to Mass this past week because for a few Sundays I was literally too sick to go. My RA has been beating on my body and would sleep until 6:00 at night. I went to confession for a few things followed by Mass, I got back on track, praise God. As Catholics we are so blessed to have the Sacraments! Being in church, in Mass, and receiving the Eucharist give us life in Christ. We are called to Holiness.
Obviously time with Jesus in adoration is probably the best way to visualize our eternity. Spending time in the Chapel, kneeling in front of the Crucifix and praying can take you there. Ask our Heavenly Mother for guidance. This way when you close your eyes you feel more present with our Heavenly Father and in your imagined eternity. This is so valuable because we tend to automatically see images of what we could have done “better” or “problems” or “conflicts”. Let God take those conflicts away from your heart and use your suffering for His Will.
Nobody knows what eternity looks like but in our minds we can create an image that is ours. Consider it a gift from God. Pray for the Holy Spirit to descend upon you so that this vision will be in union with God’s likeness and image. We are all together in eternity.
Between now and our next evening retreat, take a few moments each day to imagine God’s eternity, your eternity, our eternity. Heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”. Jn 3:16
Please post comments below after doing this visualization or if you have completed the spiritual exercise called “Discernment In The Modern Age”, dated July 8, 2019.
God Bless You,
Denise and Sr. Anne Marie