It was in prison that St. John of the Cross composed in his head and on scraps of paper the great poem “The Spiritual Canticle”, to which he later wrote a commentary.
Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our own good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.
In these remarkable few sentences John communicates his strong faith in the overriding providence of God in all the events of life – even those that seem to be a personal setback or a setback for the kingdom. He also gives practical advice on how to deal with situations that seem “imperfect,” motivated by something other than love: When God the Father didn’t find love in the human race, in the Incarnation of His Son. Then, He found love, in His Son Jesus and in all who had become a part of His Body. John counsels us to do the same. When we don’t find love in a situation, we can put love in the situation, and then we will find it!
Because there has been so much silence, or outright skepticism, in the Church in recent decades concerning heaven and hell, the horror of sin and the glory of heaven, it may be that confronting the vision of St. Catherine of Siena – which is absolutely scripturally based and firmly embedded in the Tradition of the Catholic Church – may cause us to struggle with issues of “fairness” or to ask the famous question “how could a good God send someone to hell?” It’s interesting to note how the Father shows Catherine that as each person dies he or she actually rushes to where they want to be. In a very real way each person chooses their own destiny over the course of their own lifetime and, at the moment of death, embraces what has truly become their choice.
How great is the stupidity of those who make themselves weak in spite of my strengthening, and put themselves into the devil’s hands! I want you to know, then, that at the moment of death, because they have put themselves during life under the devil’s rule (not by force, because they cannot be forced, as I told you; but hey put themselves voluntarily into his hands), and because they come to the point of death under this perverse rule, they can expect no other judgment but that of their own conscience. They come without hope to eternal damnation. In hate they grasp at hell in the moment of their death, and even before they possess it, they take hell as their prize along with their lords the demons.
St. Catherine of Siena
Today, there is a great aversion to an appropriate fear of the Lord. And consequently, there is a trivialization of love and a great foolishness as regards relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is a gift of God; it is not opposed to love, but prepares for it. Fear of the Lord and love of the Lord go together. One of the reasons why there has been so much foolishness in the Church and in the world is because there has been so much lack of fear of the Lord.
Bernard tells us that we don’t learn wisdom in a lecture hall, but in an encounter with the Lord which produces appropriate fear.
For there we listen to Wisdom as a teacher in a lecture hall, delivering an all embracing discourse, here we receive it within us; here our wills are moved to decision. Instruction makes us learned, experience make us wise… Though Wisdom gives light to many to see what they should do, it does not immediately spur them on to action… And so with God: to know Him is one thing, to fear Him is another, not does knowledge make a man wise, but the fear that motivates him… How truly is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom, because the soul begins to experience God for the first time when fear of Him takes hold of it, not when knowledge enlightens it… Fear of Him is itself an experience… From the beginning it is a barrier to foolishness.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
The story of St. Augustine’s conversion is quite striking to see the powerful means through which God can work – through books, providential encounters, disillusionment with the things of the world, intercessory prayer, the power of other people’s decisions and example, and, especially, the power of the Word, in verbal testimony and in the written Scriptures. And through it all we see the merciful, wise, patient, and powerful hand of of the Lord, as He guides us, to the freedom and peace that can only be found in Him.
Several hours ago, I was drinking coffee with my IHOP-KC (International House of Prayer in Kansas City) media team inside the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) restaurant in Grandview, MO when we heard many rounds of gun fire outside. Everyone in the restaurant ducked in panic. Within seconds, four people were shot outside. Before the shooting happened, over 30 cars speedily flooded the parking lot and over 100 teens jumped out. The commotion looked like an agitated beehive. About 20 feet from our table, a dozen teenagers started shouting that their friend was hit. He was laying on the ground. I jumped up to see what happened. He was shot in his back through his liver and they were trying to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. The glass at the entrance was busted and over 50 empty 8mm, 9mm and 45. caliber shell casings littered the parking lot. It looked like a war zone. All the victims were taken to hospitals. Two are in serious condition and one has life-threatening injuries.
Click photo above for the video footage.
Thank God He protected us because we were sitting at the front window where everything happened.
I am reading during this 40-day fast a book by Ralph Martin called “The Fulfillment of All Desire”
YOU MUST READ IT
This is not a book only for those who think that they are called to a “life of prayer” (by the way, how else can we communicate and fellowship with God Himself?). It is not only for those who recognize an intercessory role as their primary function within the body of Christ. It’s not only for those who identify themselves as Catholic, Evangelical, Charismatic, Mystic, or Emergent church.
It’s for those who:
- desire to acknowledge that there is a depth to the knowledge of God, which we, in our “instant society” are lacking profoundly
- those who are experiencing hunger for God
- those who love challenges
- those who believe that inspiration of the past generations can be valuable
- those who want to go deeper in understanding the ways to reach their Creator
- those who need biblical proof that all of these mystics are right
- don’t understand why things are happening, when they laid down their whole lives to Jesus
- those who struggle with prayer life
- those who are tired of seven-points-to-successful-prayer
- those who are searching for the ancient truths spoken in a modern language
- those who love God Himself above everything else, who burned the bridges, who know that there is nothing else to come back to, but are apprehensive of stepping into the unknown
- those who want to become saints ( and I am quite serious about that one)
If you were struggling while reading “Fire within” by T. Dubay, this is “easier to read” version for the same subject – prayer.
You will be messed up for some time, possibly for life…
You will discover (if you don’t know yet) that the whole body of Christ should be grateful to the Catholics for their wisdom…
You will wonder why no one told you these things before, and how come all of it is in the Bible…
You will discover something about yourself that someone else already knew hundreds years ago…
You will feel that you are a part of something bigger…
I will be quoting from this book during the fast to provoke you to buy it, read it, and live it! I hope you enjoy it as I do.