Life is riddled with suffering and turmoil. For the average man like me and you who don’t live out a vocation of spiritual perfection (religious/priest) we are often not spiritually tuned in.
We are so busy trying to please the wife and kids that we really don’t even bother with prayer all that much or spiritual reading. We’ve no time for it except for the weekends. As a result of our inability to pray this means we become more worldly.
Married life therefore by saint Paul was rightly seen as the worst of all vocations because it was the toughest. Why was it the toughest? because it deprives you of God basically which you wouldn’t get if you weren’t married and all the time to focus on God.
However there are moments of Grace where God approaches us in the midst of our blindness. Have you ever seen the Shawshank Redemption? It’s a movie with a particular scene where Andy Dufrane breaks into the prison office and play a beautiful early 20th century song sung in french over the megaphones in the prison yard.
All of a sudden in this world of suffering, everyone from rapist to murderer and from petty thief to the innocent all stop in their tracks. They look up and listen with joy. For those few moments they felt so free and they forgot about their suffering for a brief moment of time.
God does this too. Like Andy Dufrane he chooses his moment to break into our minds and turn on the record. He turns up the volume enough so we can hear it and stop our daily routine or what it is we are doing at that moment in time.
The the philosophy of the world which we’ve been brainwashed by is a prison of suffering but God gives us little tastes of freedom to remind us of what is really important.
Therefore in our daily tasks in which we are not mindful of God, he will approach us enough for us to know that it’s important to hang in there with our Sunday obligation and weekly Mass. We are given moments of Grace as encouragement.
Here is the scene of Andy turning on the record and the devil coming in at the end to spoil the show haha.
Love is not something we can learn, it is a Grace bestowed upon us through prayer and fasting.
Many of us assume it is easy to to learn how to love someone but it isn’t. In fact a much easier task would be the ability to climb mount everest than to love an forgive someone who is a murderer or rapist especially when a family member was the victim, it makes it all the more a concrete reality.
When we fall out with someone over an argument. It’s very difficult to forgive them or even love them when that person comes to mind. Right now I’m having that difficulty. I tell myself ”Meditate on this person …then love them”. But nothing comes, I still can’t stand to be in their presence.
I’ve come to the conculusion therefore than I cannot simply learn to love someone or just turn on love and forgiveness like the flick of a switch for a light.
Love is a Grace and although the practice I’ve just described helps it nevertheless is useless without the Grace of God behind it. How do I get this Grace?
Ask for it daily and your thoughts about this person will change. Grace can sometimes be instant but at other times it is like water that moulds the rock. the more we pray the more we are moulded and Grace can work like this also.
This morning I awoke thinking how much my prayer life is lacking especially in the area of the Rosary. When we first pick up the Jesus prayer or Holy Rosary of Our Lady, we begin to pray but we feel much unrest and we are like monkeys jumping from one branch to another, that is from one thought to another. We begin to feel very lethargic and prayer can seem like a chore for most of us and all of these experiences can make us run from prayer, feel great discouragement and just sit and mope. But I find that each of us is stuck on an island that separates us from God. It is an island of an empty pleasure of the world where the soul at some point realizes it doesn’t belong and try’s to break free. Our journey off this island of self adoration and interest never always begins instantaneously but requires us to play our part and use the materials God gives us if we are ever going to get a response. It requires us to get up and search for The Holy Spirit, for freedom from the bondage of the bodily passions and sin.
We build with prayer and this can take some time I find. At first tom hanks try’s to build a raft but he is met with great resistance as he fails to get over the first wave. What’s happened there? He realizes he has built wrongly and needs to go back to the blueprint and rebuild a proper way. It’s the same with us, sometimes we desire to get out of this world of our sinful imperfections but we are praying wrongly, and when we are met with the wave of resistance of the flesh and enemies that govern the air of this world we keep falling back and that the many exterior and interior ( but mostly interior ) obstacles seem to prevent us from shedding our old world in search of the new one and in truth the obstacle is often ourselves. But if we keep building and continue to pray and seek out Christ and look deep into ourselves we will find that eventually we build what’s needed with Gods Grace to get over that wave. But even then, once over the wave the journey has just begun and as with Tom and his imaginary and emotional attachment that is Wilson the football, we too still have many imaginary things that we are attached to that we need to die to having got over the initial wave. It pains us even to sometimes say goodbye to them for we stupidly believe that they bring us comfort and rest.
So the foundation of our raft must be the living of the Gospel and becoming dare I say Jesus himself, becoming another Jesus. But without the gift of Fortitude we will never acquire the sail that completes our raft, and our sail is the Light and Grace of Christ himself to get over the wave. So this is something I am praying for at the moment because I too want to get off this island and wilderness in which I am separated by my sins and my imperfections from truly seeing God face to face. So if your out there and your finding prayer difficult I would invite you to join me in the fight in using all the materials that Jesus and the Church has given us to acquire the means necessary to break free from the chains of the world and sail the sea to freedom. It takes time, it takes patience but if we pray through the torrents of all the lethargy and disinterest we will by the Grace of God get there eventually.
Tags: castaway, Catholic, Christ, Christian, Church, God, Grace, hanks, Holy Rosary, Holy Spirit, Jesus, light, Mary, meditation, Prayer, Rosary, Tom
Dear readers, this evening we went to the Rosary and Benediction at the Dominican Friary’s Rosary Center in Dundalk, Co.Louth, Ireland. I was asked to do the music but I fell sick. Instead I brought my guitar and father who can sing. He played and sung wonderfully as usual, better than me by a long-shot.
There was a beautiful statue of Our Lady Of Lourdes at the alter. During the Rosary, when I would gaze at the statue as an aid to help me focus more on Our Lady and prayer I felt a deep connection with Our Lady. The Mediatrix of all Grace was undoubtedly showering her love upon me in waves. How unworthy I was to experience this.
After benediction was over and the crowd began to leave for the evening, I approached the alter with my wife. I went over to the Statue ( and I don’t normally do this ) and had the sudden urge to make the sign of the Cross and kiss the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. When my lips touched the statue I got such a strong odour of flowers that it penetrated my very soul. To describe it is madness indeed because it is a Grace but allow me to at least try. It was like standing on top of a mountain in the summer time and inhaling the sweet frangrance of the flowers and all the freshness of the air just reaching down into my lungs.
I thought perhaps my wife will smell it, and if she does it was obviously already there for everyone to smell. So I asked my wife to kiss the statue. She looked at me like I had to heads but went ahead and kissed it. I smiled, and leaning in said ”lovely smell isn’t it?” to which she replied, ”What smell?”. I was confused so I got straight to the point. In a surprised manner and in a low voice I cried ”Did you not get the fragance of flowers?” ”No I didn’t” she replied so I told her the story.
It was a lovely evening and I am really taken back by Our Lady’s goodness this evening towards a wretch like me.
Happy Feast of the Immaculate conception. Please do remember me and my family in your prayers at this wonderful time.
Tags: Benediction, Co.Louth, Dominican Friary, Dundalk, Eve, Flowers, Fragrance, Grace, Graces, Guitar, Immaculate conception, Ireland, Lady, Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, Rosary