Friday, August 19, 2011

Memory and St. John of the Cross

In the Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross prepares advancing souls for the gift of God. In his treatise on memory, found in the third book of the Ascent, he teaches that there must be a void in order to make a place for God. This void is often referred to as “nakedness of spirit”.
“In each of these books readers must keep in mind the intention we have in writing. Failure to do so will give rise to many doubts about what they read. They may already have them concerning the instructions given for the intellect, or they may experience them on reading what we say about the memory and the will." 
"Observing how we annihilate the faculties in their operations, it will perhaps seem that we are tearing down rather than building up the way of spiritual exercise. This would be true if our doctrine here were destined merely for beginners who need to prepare themselves by means of these discursive apprehensions." 
"But we are imparting instructions here for advancing in contemplation to union with God.”

Souls advancing along the way in prayer toward union need to keep in mind that God operates the union. There is only one way to allow Him to do it, that is, to make the void which forces the powers, in this case, the memory, to deny its natural operation. Once there is a void in the memory a place can be given to God and to the supernatural infusion.
St. John instructs souls in a method they will need to apply to the memory in order to leave it empty. It is done by changing its habits. Firstly, its habits are changed by putting a bound to its limits- constraining its power. All this is so that it can be elevated above itself, elevated above all distinct knowledge and above all it possesses in order to place it in Hope.
“To begin with natural knowledge in the memory, I include under this heading all that can be formed from the objects of the five corporeal senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch), and everything like this sensory knowledge that the memory can evoke and fashion, It must strip and empty itself of all this knowledge and these forms and strive to lose the imaginative apprehensions of them. It should do this in such a way that no knowledge or trace of them remains in it; rather it should be bare and clear, as though nothing passed through it, forgetful of all and suspended.” (Ascent of Mount Carmel Book 3, chapter 2)
Keep in mind that for St. John of the Cross the memory is a repository of forms that were received through the fives senses. The soul takes this sensory information, along with the work of the imagination, and is able to synthesize these forms into more and various ways to produce still other forms with which the soul is not directly familiar. Given then the nature of this faculty and its ability to synthesize new material to present to the intellect and will, it is imperative that all principles involved in the negation that St. John proposes need to be applied before union can take place. The reason is clear for this negation. God is Spirit and is contrary to nature. For the soul to be transformed, the memory, as well as the intellect and will, must be stripped of its own natural activity in order to enter into union with God.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

 Gratitude Journal....

Horses grazing in green pastures (#518)

Quiet time at church to pray and meditate (#519)

Licorice tea (#520)

Irish dancing, Irish music, Irish festivals (#521)

Warm sun on skin (#522)

Sharing a Pepsi with my grandson (#523)

Purple sundresses (#524)

Black-eyed Susans in vases (#525)

A full moon at dawn (#526)

Creamy homemade yogurt (#527)

Lively dinner conversations (#528)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Advertencia amorosa

~ simple regard ~

Contact with God, this is what is meant by prayer. From prayer we draw strength and supernatural energy so that we may not fall into sin. We pray in order to raise ourselves above all to Beauty, Goodness, Truth and Love of God.

The most important thing is that prayer is, above everything else, an act of love. While at prayer we give God loving attention.

Contemplation, which characterizes Carmelite prayer, is different from methods. Methods are distinct, particular and material. Pure contemplation, however, is a general knowledge- purely intellectual. Therefore, it is obscure and confused. In contemplation the soul rises above itself. It passes by all images and all distinct and particular ideas. In this way it attains God and is even lost in Him.

Carmelites apply the principle of the Ascent of Mount Carmel to prayer. They pass by all imagination, because contemplation is not the work of the imagination. They pass by all distinct knowledge and, therefore, all method.

What faithfully characterizes Carmelite prayer is to be disposed and attentive to following the breath of the Holy Spirit and to approach prayer with a simple regard - advertencia amorosa.

Loving attention.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

St. Teresa Benedicta, Jewish convert and martyr, celebrated August 9 :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

St. Teresa Benedicta, Jewish convert and martyr, celebrated August 9 :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

.- On August 9 the Catholic Church remembers St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein. St. Teresa converted from Judaism to Catholicism in the course of her work as a philosopher, and later entered the Carmelite Order. She died in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in 1942.

Edith Stein was born on October 12, 1891 – a date that coincided with her family's celebration of Yom Kippur, the Jewish “day of atonement.” Edith's father died when she was just two years old, and she gave up the practice of her Jewish faith as an adolescent.

As a young woman with profound intellectual gifts, Edith gravitated toward the study of philosophy and became a pupil of the renowned professor Edmund Husserl in 1913. Through her studies, the non-religious Edith met several Christians whose intellectual and spiritual lives she admired.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Multitudes on Monday

Gratitude Journal
 gratitude for God's many gifts. Joining in with the community over @ a holy experience.

# 421. little girls on carousels

# 422.  ice cream cones dripping creamy sweet

# 423.  lunch with my husband

# 424.  fresh snap peas hanging in the garden

# 425.  the mysteries of the kingdom

# 426.  the smell of petunias in the late evening hours

# 427.  children setting the dinner table

# 428.  rainbows arching over mountaintops

# 429.  breezes blowing sheer curtains through open windows

# 430.  untangling Irish dance shoelaces

# 431.  tears at the cemetery, grieve and grieving, God's healing

# 432.  squirrels scattering up trees

# 433.  organizing and labeling

# 434.  morning fatigue and a nap

# 435.  butterflies

# 436.  combing tangles out of granddaughter's hair and memories of another little blonde-haired girl

# 437.  wild roses

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ZENIT - A Prophet's Depression, an Apostle's Grief, a Disciple's Fear

ZENIT - A Prophet's Depression, an Apostle's Grief, a Disciple's Fear

Chapter 19 of the First Book of Kings presents us with the aftermath of Elijah's brilliant victory in the contest with Jezebel and the priests of Baal atop Mount Carmel. 
Just when Elijah should have been triumphant, he receives a message telling him of Jezebel's murderous intentions, and he is "afraid" (3). The spectacularly exemplary servant of God is now in a rut -- believing that all of his efforts were in vain! In Chapter 18, Elijah was at the height of success; in Chapter 19 he is in the depths of despair. In Chapter 18 he is on the mountain peak of victory; in Chapter 19 he is in the valley of defeat. In Chapter 18 he is elated; in Chapter 19 he is completely deflated.
Mountaintop experiences