PARADOXICAL

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 23 - Gospel therapy

Fr. DuBay again introduces a term that cuts to the quick, i.e., by spiritual instinct, I know he's again pronounced something my soul can benefit from, so let my still-hidden sinfulness shudder in fear.

Gospel therapy. One glance at the phrase, and I am able to relate to it. That's what retreats do, I instantly realize. That's what regular Bible-reading does. That's what deep prayer does. That's what silent meditation does. That's what a Christian community does. If all these things are done right, preferably with a spiritual guide, then it would be like going to a spiritual spa.

How many times have I tasted the Catholic version of nirvana or enlightenment or awakening because I consulted God's "still, small voice" in the everyday? I can no longer keep track of them, but I will try hard to remember a couple of examples.

There was a time I had been wondering how to go about evangelizing the mistaken, correcting their wrong impressions about the Church and my faith. I was wondering whether violence, at least violent words, have a place, particularly when dealing with the hyperviolent Muslims: Islamic terrorists. God suddenly revealed to me, during a sermon in a Mass, that I ought to do everything in peace. That message certainly changed me, making me go about-face from incendiary writing and feeling and thinking to a more peaceful one, not the false peace of false ecumenism but peace in the knowledge that God, not I, is the one in control and has the power to change the hearts of men.

Another time, I was wondering how I could relate better to certain family members who have quite challenging personalities/characters. One was someone I viewed with the eyes of rivalry; the other with the eyes of wanting to have an elderly kin to run to instead of the elderly running after me for support. In His wisdom, which is so simple it can only be granted to the simple, I 'heard' that I should simply reach out to them, initiate giving them a taste of God's sweet love that they have never tasted. But that, first, I should pray for their welfare, not out of my selfish desire to get rid of monkeys off my back but out of a less selfish motive: because God loves them too as his own children. I don't have the monopoly of God's unconditional love just because I strive to follow Him. Suddenly, after sometime, God revealed to me how desperate for love all troublesome, difficult people can be.

In each case, I surprised myself by reacting not in my usual way. I had the feeling that it was no longer I acting but someone else, someone new, someone better. In plain terms, the Holy Spirit moved in me. All just because I consulted God first. "What would Jesus do?"

God has always surprised me this way, always showing to me how opposed his ways are to my inclinations, preferences, opinion, and so on, which all prove to be invariably inadequate and utterly fallen. I tend to wallow in shame and embarrassment with such realizations each time, but I later learned that I can choose to hold on to God's love and mercy after surviving my moment of weakness.

How can I survive without God's direction? It's scary to be cut off from God's grace, from God's therapy due to my own stubborn, rebellious will.

Comments:
gusto ko 'to: "In His wisdom, which is so simple it can only be granted to the simple". good insights, Resty. thanks for sharing.
 
thanks. you're welcome.
 
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