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How to die to see God

Mystical Prayer in the Holy Spirit

St. Bonaventure - Doctor of the Church

This reading on mystical (contemplative) prayer, taken from St. Bonaventure's Journey of the Mind to God (Cap. 7,1 2.4.6: Opera Omnia, 5, 312-313), is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the Feast (liturgical memorial) of St. Bonaventure on July 15.

Christ is both the way and the door. Christ is the staircase and the vehicle, like the throne of mercy over the Ark of the Covenant, and the mystery hidden from the ages. A man should turn his full attention to this throne of mercy, and should gaze at him hanging on the cross, full of faith, hope and charity, devoted, full of wonder and joy, marked by gratitude, and open to praise and jubilation. Then such a man will make with Christ a pasch, that is, a passing-over. Through the branches of the cross he will pass over the Red Sea, leaving Egypt and entering the desert. There he will taste the hidden manna, and rest with Christ in the sepulchre, as if he were dead to things outside. He will experience, as much as is possible for one who is still living, what was promised to the thief who hung beside Christ: Today you will be with me in paradise.

For this passover to be perfect, we must suspend all the operations of the mind and we must transform the peak of our affections, directing them to God alone. This is a sacred mystical experience. It cannot be comprehended by anyone unless he surrenders himself to it; nor can he surrender himself to it unless he longs for it; nor can he long for it unless the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent into the world, should come and inflame his innermost soul. Hence the Apostle says that this mystical wisdom is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

If you ask how such things can occur, seek the answer in God’s grace, not in doctrine; in the longing of the will, not in the understanding; in the sighs of prayer, not in research; seek the bridegroom not the teacher; God and not man; darkness not daylight; and look not to the light but rather to the raging fire that carries the soul to God with intense fervour and glowing love. The fir is God, and the furnace is in Jerusalem, fired by Christ in the ardour of his loving passion. Only he understood this who said: My soul chose hanging and my bones death. Anyone who cherishes this kind of death can see God, for it is certainly true that: No man can look upon me and live.

Let us die, then, and enter into the darkness, silencing our anxieties, our passions and all the fantasies of our imagination. Let us pass over with the crucified Christ from this world to the Father, so that, when the Father has shown himself to us, we can say with Philip: It is enough. We may hear with Paul: My grace is sufficient for you; and we can rejoice with David, saying: My flesh and my heart fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my heritage for ever. Blessed be the Lord for ever, and let all the people say: Amen. Amen!

This is an interesting read, because in our times everything points to the opposite way of believers reaching to God's presence. Christians are trying to find God mostly by experiencing Him, and the cavalcades of worldly distractions might suggest that the same intensity of emotional engagement with "spiritual" things (think: cool, relevant Christian church) will overpower the former and bring the soothing presence of God (with His blessings = answers to my prayers). Not so, says St. Bonaventure, and many mystics. Cherishing death is the way.

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what is left of the West

VERY GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW!!!

Excerpt from the interview with Mother Teresa: ( by the way, she prayed four hours a day)

Times:

You and Pope John Paul II have spoken out against life-styles in the West, against materialism and abortion. How alarmed are you?

Mother Teresa:

I always say one thing. If a mother can kill her own child, then what is left of the West to be destroyed? It is difficult to explain, but it is just that.

Exerpts from Abortion Tv:

Why Abortions Are Performed

  • The overwhelming majority of all abortions, (95%), are done as a means of birth control.

  • Only 1% are performed because of rape or incest;
  • 1% because of fetal abnormalities;
  • 3% due to the mother's health problems.

Source: Central Illinois Right To Life

Reasons Women Choose Abortion (U.S.)

  • Wants to postpone childbearing: 25.5%
  • Wants no (more) children: 7.9%
  • Cannot afford a baby: 21.3%
  • Having a child will disrupt education or job: 10.8%
  • Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy: 14.1%
  • Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy: 12.2%
  • Risk to maternal health: 2.8%
  • Risk to fetal health: 3.3%
  • Other: 2.1%

Source:Bankole, Akinrinola; Singh, Susheela; Haas, Taylor. Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: Evidence from 27 Countries. International Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 24(3):117–127 & 152 As reported by:The Alan Guttmacher Institute Online:

According to LifeSiteNews.com, Obama is planning to implement unrestricted abortion in the USA by signing Freedom of Choice Act, which would nullify any state or federal laws blocking or restricting abortion and invalidate any limitations the Supreme Court has put on abortion.

A proposed "Freedom of Choice Act" is not about freedom at all, says cardinal Justin Rigali, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, pointed out the faulty logic in the proposed act in a letter Friday to all members of Congress.

The act "would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA [the Freedom of Choice Act] would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country," the cardinal affirmed.

Cardinal Rigali warned that the act is not a mere codification of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion. Instead, it would affect anti-abortion laws and policies that are in effect because they do not conflict with Roe v. Wade. These include such things as policies to protect women's safety, parental rights and informed consent.

"The operative language of FOCA is twofold," Cardinal Rigali explained. "First it creates a 'fundamental right' to abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, including a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined 'health' reasons. No government body at any level would be able to 'deny or interfere with' this newly created federal right.

"Second, it forbids government at all levels to 'discriminate' against the exercise of this right 'in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.' For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women."

The prelate included a legal analysis of FOCA's possible consequences with his letter to Congress.

"Members of both parties have sought to reach a consensus on ways to reduce abortions in our society," wrote Cardinal Rigali. "However, there is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on: We can't reduce abortions by promoting abortion. [...] No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions."

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quaerere Deum - seeking God

artykul w tym temacie w jez. polskim Very interesting speech of pope Benedict XVI during his visit to France last week. He was addressing the 'World of culture", trying to show the path for the Western civilization to emerge again as a society having answers to the essential and central questions of the purposes for humanity. The whole text is here, and below some excerpts:

Their goal was: quaerere Deum. Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential – to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself. They were searching for God. They wanted to go from the inessential to the essential, to the only truly important and reliable thing there is. It is sometimes said that they were “eschatologically” oriented. But this is not to be understood in a temporal sense, as if they were looking ahead to the end of the world or to their own death, but in an existential sense: they were seeking the definitive behind the provisional.

For prayer that issues from the word of God, speech is not enough: music is required.

“The monks had to find melodies which translate into music the acceptance by redeemed man of the mysteries that he celebrates. The few surviving capitula from Cluny thus show the Christological symbols of the individual modes”

For Benedict, the words of the Psalm: coram angelis psallam Tibi, Domine – in the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise (cf. 138:1) – are the decisive rule governing the prayer and chant of the monks. What this expresses is the awareness that in communal prayer one is singing in the presence of the entire heavenly court, and is thereby measured according to the very highest standards: that one is praying and singing in such a way as to harmonize with the music of the noble spirits who were considered the originators of the harmony of the cosmos, the music of the spheres.

It shows that the culture of singing is also the culture of being, and that the monks have to pray and sing in a manner commensurate with the grandeur of the word handed down to them, with its claim on true beauty. This intrinsic requirement of speaking with God and singing of him with words he himself has given, is what gave rise to the great tradition of Western music. It was not a form of private “creativity”, in which the individual leaves a memorial to himself and makes self-representation his essential criterion. Rather it is about vigilantly recognizing with the “ears of the heart” the inner laws of the music of creation, the archetypes of music that the Creator built into his world and into men, and thus discovering music that is worthy of God, and at the same time truly worthy of man, music whose worthiness resounds in purity.

By becoming a monk, a man set out on a broad and noble path, but he had already found the direction he needed: the word of the Bible, in which he heard God himself speaking. Now he had to try to understand him, so as to be able to approach him. So the monastic journey is indeed a journey into the inner world of the received word, even if an infinite distance is involved. Within the monks’ seeking there is already contained, in some respects, a finding. Therefore, if such seeking is to be possible at all, there has to be an initial spur, which not only arouses the will to seek, but also makes it possible to believe that the way is concealed within this word, or rather: that in this word, God himself has set out towards men, and hence men can come to God through it. To put it another way: there must be proclamation, which speaks to man and so creates conviction, which in turn can become life.

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McCain-Palin rally in Lee's Summit, MO

Growing up in a Communist country, and being now an American citizen, this is my second time I can vote in the USA. That's why my whole family went today to a rally in Lee's Summit, MO to support John McCain and Sarah Palin.

the crowd

I grew up in a Communist, Eastern European country, during 70-ties and 80-ties. We longed for freedom of choice, for validation of our individual voices, for freedom of speach. I am an American now. I will be voting for the second time. I am Christian. And I am shocked seeing how Christians in this awesome country, are making choices based on pure convenience and personal interest. I still can't believe that the followers of Jesus, who should follow ten Commandments, are even considering voting for a person who is so bluntly (although charmingly) pro-abortion. What happened to their conscience?

Sarah Palin

That's why this Election Year in our homeschooling household, I am trying to teach my children (11, 9, 5) that their choice matters and it is precious. It will be noticed by God and by their fellow citizens. It will be engraved in their conscious forever, so they need to be aware of what the candidates are saying, believing in and living for. We talk about what is most important in life, how to prioritize your political choices, and according to what standards they should be aligned.

JohnMcCain

As we walked just two weeks ago around the Mall in Washington DC, we saw the sign engraved on the Korean War Memorial Wall: Freedom is not free. Somehow that took me back to my childhood, when I remember my grandfather longing for a free country, and dying not seeing it. I remember decade after decade without any prospects for political independence. I remember demonstrations on the streets, people dissapearing suddenly, schools full of propaganda, fear and ridicoulousness. I remember that a life of a person was considered nothing in comparison to the collectiv needs of masses. How could I vote against life of the speechless? That's why I'd rather see USA as one nation under McCain, then one nation under Obama.

Freedom is not free

I want my kids to hear that over and over again, so they will not take their choices lightly, when they grow up and one day will be offered an opportunity to choose the next president of the United States.

kids for McCain

On the technical side: why was the building so small? It could fit hardly 3,000 people and few thousands were still waiting outside.

And for the Hillary's supporters: there was a Hillary Clinton supporter speaking (sorry, don't remember the name) who decided to vote for Palin this year. Guess why...

CNN clip from Sarah Palin's speach.

Read about:

Obama's unrestricted abortion Freedom of Choice Act

one nation under Obama

Obama - the voice of the Joshua generation

Barack Obama on abortion

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Day 39: Finding God after a Long Search

Augustine, wanted to be a committed Christian, but he couldn’t get to resolve one issue in his life, which was the lust of the flesh. He was determined to leave his mistress, and to start a fully Christian life for some time, but he did not know how to break with this sin, which was captivating his life.

One day, Anthony’s friend, Simplicianus, came to visit, and shared a story about a famous Roman philosopher, Victorianus, who converted to Christianity, and publically acknowledged it. This impacted his life strongly, as some of the Christians in higher ranks of society were not public about their faith, fearing being ridiculed.

Soon afterwards another friend visited him, Ponticianus, who was a high official in the emperor’s court, a Christian. Seeing the apostle Paul’s writings on Augustine’s desk, he shared with Augustine news about Anthony, the Egyptian monk, who lived in a solitude in the desert and many others were following his lifestyle of prayer and fasting. He told him about two of his friends, “secret service agents” from the emperor’s court, who visited a Christian house and found a book talking about life of Anthony. Upon reading the stories form that book, they wondered:

“Tell me, I beg you, what goal are we seeking in all these toils of ours? What is that we desire?…Can our hopes in the court rise higher than to be ‘friends of the emperor’? …But if I choose to become a friend of God, see, I can become one now.”

They were so touched and changed just by reading this testimony of a hermit, that one of them exclaimed:

“… I enter into that service from this hour in this place.”

While Ponticianus was talking, Augustine felt an unusual urge to reconsider his life. He was fighting within himself, remembering his prayers and suffering. He somehow tried to compose himself by rejecting the grace which was falling upon him, but after Ponticianus’ departure, he went to his other friend and exclaimed:

“What is the matter with us? What is this? What did you hear? The uninstructed start up and take heaven, and we - with all our learning but so little heart - see how we follow in flesh and blood!!!”

He went outside to a garden and his soul was struggling within him to say the final FIAT to God, started to cry with tears and with his voice:

“Will You be angry forever? How long? How long? Tomorrow and tomorrow? Why not now? Why not this very hour make an end to my uncleanness?”

Suddenly he heard a voice of a child chanting over and over:

“Pick it up, read it”.

Quickly he opened apostles Paul’s writings and his eyes fell on the passage:

“Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

He was freed instantly. And that’s how the saint was born, know today as St. Augustine, one of the brightest minds and hearts of human kind.

Prayer on Finding God after a Long Search

by Augustine

Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, O Beauty so new. Too late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The things you have made kept me from you - the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace.

all citations from “Confessions” by St. Augustine

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