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Showing posts with the label spiritual growth

Lord, If This How You Treat Your Friends . . .

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If you try to help a struggling butterfly emerge from the prison of his cocoon, his wings will be permanently deformed.  As a butterfly struggles, fluid is forced into its wings so they stretch and open, allowing them to fly but butterflies are not the only creatures who must struggle before they have the ability to fly. God uses our difficult circumstances to transform us into saints so we are free to soar into the very heart of God.
If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint. (St. Ignatius Loyola) continue 

Summer: A Time for Introspection and Spiritual Growth

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As schools let out, the lazy days of summer are upon us. This is a great time for some reflection and introspection regarding your spiritual life. We’re about half-way through the year. As we embarked on 2017, many of us made New Year’s resolutions. So, how’s that coming along? If you are like me, you don’t even remember what those resolutions might have been! I certainly do not remember what I vowed to do, not do, or overcome.

My Own Introspection
So, I sit here on the precipice of summer, asking myself what I would like to accomplish with the second half of 2017. Here’s what I came up with:

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The Purgative versus the Illuminative Way

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In our study of Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, we have come to the end of the third mansions, the end of the Purgative Way. The fourth mansions begin the second stage of the spiritual life, the Illuminative Way. How are these stages different?

Souls in the Purgative way are beginners–yes, even those in the third mansions. They may be very zealous about following God, but they have not yet advanced very far. Thus far they have been combating sin and attachment with the ordinary grace God gives Christians. They have had to work hard. But eventually they come to a place where that is no longer enough. They have advanced as far as they can without greater help. Then God steps in and begins to cleanse them himself.

Pere Marie-Eugene writes:
We come now to the souls that are in the first three Mansions, or in the first phase of the spiritual life. To say that there is in them a mystical life would be formally to contradict Saint Teresa who characterizes this phase by the predominan…

Where are you in St. Teresa's seven mansions?

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Today I’d like to start digging a little deeper into Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. Specifically, let’s talk about the seven mansions and how each of them is different.

While Teresa divides her book into sections talking about seven different stages of the spiritual life, we should note that she speaks about “first dwelling places,” et cetera, not “the first mansion.” What does this mean? Each stage has several rooms. Not everyone follows exactly the same path to union with God.
You must not imagine these mansions as arranged in a row, one behind another, but fix your attention on the centre, the room or palace occupied by the King. Think of a palmito, which has many outer rinds surrounding the savoury part within, all of which must be taken away before the centre can be eaten. Just so around this central room are many more, as there also are above it. In speaking of the soul we must always think of it as spacious, ample and lofty; and this can be done without the least exag…

Beware! Blind Spot Ahead

Behind wheels, one of the most dangerous spots on the road is the blind spot. One needs to accept that one cannot see ahead and throw caution to the winds. So it is with a personal spirituality.
Read on at http://silpapaul.blogspot.com/2014/06/beware-blind-spot-ahead.html

Spiritual growth right where you are now

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I remember reading long ago in The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, that we deceive ourselves if we think we would be holier if only our exterior circumstances were different. That made a great impression on me.

Temperamentally, some people feel they are in control of everything. Others feel like they are controlled by forces outside themselves. Melancholics can especially fall into this second attitude, feeling sorry for themselves and powerless to change their circumstances. St. Paul encourages such people:
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7) Even when we are powerless to overcome our circumstances, God is not. Indeed, as both Paul and St. Therese tell us, our weakness can actually be an asset.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Bad Reviews are Good for the Soul

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I vividly recall the first really negative review I received on a book. It was for a particular title in the All Things Girl series and the young person who wrote it was fairly scathing in what she said. She identified herself as one of three sisters who ranged in age from 10 to 15. She went on to post her review on all the books. I will freely admit that her words brought tears to my eyes.

Two months later, BAM! Another terrible review. I was reeling from it all. To make matters worse, scores of people were saying how helpful the two terrible reviews were. No one was coming to my defense. Words can’t explain how alone I felt—and utterly defeated in my attempt at serving God’s precious daughters.

And confused…I had prayed each and every time that I had worked on the books. Throughout long days and nights my prayers stormed heaven; I prayed to the Father that every young girl who read the books would be blessed by them; that these books would be instruments of God’s love for his young …