PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Thursday, February 21, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 10 - Peering at the mountaintop

pp. 36-39 http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=EOg19fGyNyoC&pg=PA36&lpg=PP1&output=html_text

[Note to Stef: p. 40 is missing online. And, oh, I know, I know, this is an advanced post, because I have no kids. :D]

Whew! That's all I can say upon finishing these four very engaging pages. Why very engaging? Because these pages detail the ideal, no less, which is the aim of this retreat.

I wonder whether I will launch into another round of self-flagellation/crucifixion or the other extreme, self-congratulation.

But as usual, I see myself in both extremes, or at least in the middle most of the time. Judging from the four cardinal virtues of Christianity -

Justice
Strength
Prudence
Temperance

...I am left awed, not because I am nearly in possession of all four, but because of the awesome beauty of the things I have been and I am aspiring for. These are all worth fighting for, I figure, and it excites me no end to be in the middle of a "great enterprise," to borrow a word from my mentor of old, Tony Vasquez.

But let me not humor myself too much. Let's get down to business: If I judged myself here and now, can I see myself as being patient, humble, peaceful, and gentle? Hmm...

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. That's as honest an answer as can be. For I know I am irritable when I can't sleep or I didn't sleep well, or after I ate bread/pasta/wheat or flour noodles/oatmeal, or when I am palpitating or in the middle of a hypertensive attack or have a very high blood sugar or in the middle of a stressful situation.

I am certainly not humble when I am tempted to boast of my achievements and what I know.

My peace is almost always disturbed whenever I encounter offensive columns and slanted news reports or barefaced lies being peddled.

I can be gentle, I know, but sometimes, overly gentle, so as not to offend, so as to please everybody, including the buffoon that needs to be told off. At times, I can be violent in my thoughts, or in my writing itself. I know I have offended a lot of people by mocking/making fun of/unintentionally misrepresenting them in my words.

Fr. DuBay says furthermore that the saints and martyrs of the faith are characterized by their:

- intensity of love
- regret for venial fault
- being prompt in what needs to be done
- finding all of the above easy not only when convenient but also when in difficult situations
- living heroic holiness in cheerful joy

From this list, my one big fault sticks out like a sore thumb: In the middle of a trial, I certainly do not "live in heroic holiness in cheerful joy." I'd rather grumble, groan, complain, doubt, question, sulk, rebel, bargain with God, be discouraged and distrusting, feel guilty and think of myself as being punished, and generally provoke His anger.

By the time I reached this line, I just have to stand up and applaud, so to speak, for it rang so true in my ears: "Saints are moral miracles: their goodness and beauty far surpass the natural capacities of human nature."

If envy can ever be holy, then I am mightily envious of them saints. I wish that, in the middle of this difficult trial I am going through right now, I can also be sustained, not by my own strength, but by the divine power that makes saints holy and sainted.

That is my prayer for today. So help me God, amen!

Comments:
We have similar challenges, it looks like. Except the health part, but the patience, humility, peacefulness, gentleness, ah yah. So not there yet. :D The good news is we don't have to be envious of the saints, we just need to copy them if/when we can.Heroic Virtue>I'm trying. :D
 
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