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"Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." – Luke 2:19 (RSV)

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pope francis

Boredom is a spiritual problem

Pope Francis saints.png

True obedience to the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals, does not make one rigid or oppressed, but faithful and free. Yes, free, in the same way that the bird is free to fly in the sky above because it obeys the laws of aerodynamics.

womb and the cloud

Dr. Peter Kreeft said in one of his presentations that “boredom is a spiritual problem”. I agree with him.

I have noticed that before my conversion a couple of months ago (when I read ‘a Story of a Soul’), I was very frequently bored. Sure, the demands of medical school filled my time but once I got free time to myself, I was more often than not bored. It wasn’t that I didn’t do anything with my free time, I often spent it in entertaining myself with movies and books, with learning a new language or playing games with my husband. Without our Blessed Lord as the center of my life, all these earthly pleasure tasted like ash in my mouth. While my pursuit of pleasure was enjoyable it wasn’t fulfilling and the restlessness of my heart never went away.

After my conversion, I have been increasingly striving to become a saint (not necessarily a formally recognized one, recognition by the Church doesn’t mean anything to me). This means that I accept as my vocation the journey of sanctification, to be united with our Blessed Lord, for that is what we are designed for. Since that day, the only boring moments that I experience are those times where I take my eyes of our Blessed Lord and turn my gaze back towards myself.

Ever since I met God I wasn’t able to enjoy my favorite things in the same way. Before I knew God, they were everything to me. They were all I had. But now they were no longer ends in themselves, but pleasant occupations along a journey to a bigger destination.

– Sr. Helena Burns

Accepting the journey of sanctification as my vocation has been such a great adventure that is always interesting and captivating and not at all boring. Boredom only comes when I turn towards my own ego and away from Christ.

I think that boredom in this life is a foretaste of hell where souls are eternally bored and possibly driven mad by it.

 

 

Removing my sandals before the sacred ground of the other

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Christians, as missionary disciples, must practice the ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other.

– Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 169

What I have recently found over the past couple of weeks is a growing reverence and love for the Real Prescence of our Lord in the Mass. Flowing from this development is a growing sense of reverence for other people for the sake of my Lord. What I mean is that because the Lord loves every single soul, I also am learning to love them. I love who and what my Lord loves, I want what He wants.

As I notice the Lord working in my soul, I also grow in understanding that any soul that God works in is ‘sacred ground’. Only the Lord knows which souls He is working in. From what I understand about my Lord, He will want to work tenderly and passionately in any soul that allows Him to. So, to me, every person’s soul is ‘sacred ground’.

If I acknowledge every soul as sacred ground, that is where God works, then the natural response is to remove my ‘sandals’ when I am communing with them. I suppose what this means to me is to put my pride aside; to acknowledge that without God, I am nothing and I can do nothing good, and that all my merits are because of God’s grace and tender mercy. When I do this, I become free to love the other as my brother/sister, as someone searching for the same thing as I am, Love itself. I recognise that the other is also, like me, restless until our heart rests in God (St. Augustine). And so, I feel a tender compassion for the other as someone who is in the same boat as me. Most of all, I feel a great joy because I know that the person and me are both loved passionately, tenderly and infinitely by God who is Love itself.

Personal accompaniment & silence

There were 2 sets of quotes that really touched me heart today because I have experienced what both talk about in my life.

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Personal accompaniment in processes of growth…

“art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.

Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father…

We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives…

One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations or fears. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow.

– Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 169-172

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In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

Mother Teresa

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