Wednesday, December 30, 2009

But we live in this world....

First reading for Mass of today: 1 Jn 2:12-17

"12 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven through his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the Evil One.
14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, parents, because you have come to know the One who has existed since the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong, and God's word remains in you, and you have overcome the Evil One.
15 Do not love the world or what is in the world. If anyone does love the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him,
16 because everything there is in the world -- disordered bodily desires, disordered desires of the eyes, pride in possession -- is not from the Father but is from the world.
17 And the world, with all its disordered desires, is passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains for ever."

Verbum Domini
Deo Gratias

On the brink of the new year this couldn't be more fitting on a personal level. It summarises the last year and also inhibits the promises for the future.

The latter part, starting with verse 15 is a part which we recognize from the Saints. It is that part which most find difficult, if not impossible, to live up to. I had a discussion with a colleague about it. "But we live in this world..." was the comment. I didn't really succeed in explaining. But here in these verses it is written.

The odd thing is that ever since Christmas it's like the birth of Christ was also the birth of a certain awareness. Never did i feel Christ so near. But also it's a kind of detachment from things which before i was looking how to accomplish. On one hand it gives an increase of inner peace, a confidence i'm on the right track. However, on the other hand i also notice i find it more difficult to operate within the normalities of this world. I feel uneasy, even sometimes annoyed, by behaviour which is totally focussed on possessions and money. Also i'm noticing i'm turning (even) more inward. The amount time in prayer increases. More and more time i find time to pray in spare moments, like while traveling, in the short elevator ride at work etc.

The last verse 17 speaks of doing the will of God. Which is also detachment from this world. And that is part of carrying ones cross in the footsteps of Jesus. Not for Saints but for all. Easy? I would be the last one to say that. But there are always things we can do in this matter. Some more than others.

Adoro Te Devote

Adoro te devote, latens Deitas, quae sub his figuris vere latitas: tibi se cor meum totum subiicit, quia te contemplans totum deficit.

Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur, sed auditu solo tuto creditur; credo quidquid dixit Dei Filius: nil hoc verbo Veritatis verius.

In cruce latebat sola Deitas, at hic latet simul et humanitas; ambo tamen credens atque confitens, peto quod petivit latro paenitens.

Plagas, sicut Thomas, non intueor; Deum tamen meum te confiteor; fac me tibi semper magis credere, in te spem habere, te diligere.

O memoriale mortis Domini! panis vivus, vitam praestans homini! praesta meae menti de te vivere et te illi semper dulce sapere.

Pie pellicane, Iesu Domine, me immundum munda tuo sanguine; cuius una stilla salvum facere totum mundum quit ab omni scelere.

Iesu, quem velatum nunc aspicio, oro fiat illud quod tam sitio; ut te revelata cernens facie, visu sim beatus tuae gloriae. Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Detachment from things

This Christmas time is especially difficult this year. Now that for the first time i realize it's true meaning. Yes it's good to have a good time with people together but is it all about presents and decorations and dinners? It seems so. Commercials, plans from people around you. It all suddenly seems so empty.

When you think about the Nativity, the light of this world which shines for the first time through the eyes of the Son of God. Held by His mother, Maria forever virgin, and Joseph in his beautiful role near. The appearance of angels to the sheppards. If you only imagine that sight. What a profound effect this must have had on them.

Although i wish everyone a good time, especially this time of the year, i'm filled with sadness. But this was already the case before this time of the year. Sorrow for the lack of love for each other, the greed, the talk about the new car or cellphone. To be honest it appalls me.

At work this is a daily occurrance. During lunch around noon i try to seperate myself to have a few minutes to pray the Angelus. 2 to 3 minutes are hard to find. Yet i do find them. It's difficult to come back in the "normal" routine. Normal between quotes on purpose.

I feel like i'm wasting my time. I'd rather do something which is truly helpful to others. With time in between for prayer.

Yesterday because of a technical difficulty with the train i couldn't go to the morning Mass. It gave me the opportunity to go to the Tridentine Mass in the late afternoon. Meeting the new rector, who is an interesting man. In his homily he had mentioned the sacrifice of the individual for the many. After Mass there was coffee and someone brought this up. A discussion about how this could be explained. Stories about soldiers ina war etc. Intellectual talk but i didn't say anything. I had to think about the 4th bead of the Most Holy Rosary: Ardent Charity. Renouncement of the individual for the purpose of helping others. And think about the soul victims, suffering for the salvation of others.

Yes i'm a thinker and do a lot inward. I cannot determine whether this process is a normal one. I just notice it happens. Maybe it is normal if you take the words of Christ truly at heart. That you become aware of the lack of love, the absence of God in the lifes of others.

Ponders on....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Actus Contritionis

Deus meus, ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, sed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris. Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua, de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum. Amen.

O My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Guard thine eyes...

"Remember to guard thine eyes and reflect that the mortified eye shall behold the beauties of Heaven" Thus spoke the Guardian Angel of Santa Gemma on an occasion to her.

Now, i've been trying to put this in practice. But how difficult this can be! Thusfar i fail miserably. I'm very visually oriented by nature. So to ask to guard ones senses, and especially the eyes, seems an impossible task.

To understand what is meant is already a challenge. After all the eyes do play an important role. It is considered polite to look the other in the eye while speaking for example. Further it is through the eyes that one can wonder and enjoy the beauties of Creation. Not to mention the sheer usefulness in order to stay safe, for example in traffic.

I believe what is meant that we must be aware that it is also the senses which can lead us into temptation and from there into sin. Unfortunately i know how easy that can be. It's constant vigilance and sometimes my eye already captured something. It's then crucial to be aware of it and to quickly divert attention. And still then sometimes i notice i've entered a train of thought in which i shouldn't have.

It's not something you just do. It's like relearning something which you have been taught, or taught yourself, sometimes for decades. With time it can be learned. It's not a loss but a detachment from earthly things. "...shall behold the beauties of Heaven" And that is something which is difficult to comprehend. Yet it's also something worth making this important effort for. "Something" is not the word is it? How can we possibly comprehend such beauty?

Will it take time to learn to guard the senses? O yes. Could be years, maybe a lifetime. And things can be thrown on your path to try to make you go wrong. I have no doubt this will happen. It already has. Saying to myself "STOP IT!" And then i try to picture Jesus Crucified and and remind myself that i must stop for Him. And when already i find myself in this train of thought i feel sorrow and hate myself for letting it come too far. It is surprising how easy this can be unfortunately. Over and over it's a standing up and trying again. For this alone i would have to go to confession daily.