by Dom L. Scupoli,
A famous Catholic classic on the strategy for achieving spiritual
perfection and salvation. Shows how to combat our passions and vices with an
intelligent method in order to achieve a final victory. Also shows how to
concentrate one's energies to make constant spiritual progress. One of the Church's
all-time unforgettable books on the spiritual life and a favorite book of St.
Francis de Sales. Highly, highly recommended! Get this classic!
AT A TIME OF GREAT SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS, FORGET ARGUMENTATION AND ELEVATE ABOVE THE TERRAIN WITH GOD
We live at a time of obvious spiritual blindness, a blindness caused by sin, arrogance, anger, and lack of prayer -- for it is only through prayer with unitive contemplation (of God) that we transcend and can see (beyond sidelines) the larger picture.
You might also call it peering "backstage" (spiritually).
Do you see what is really transpiring, or what is paraded about as reality?
While everyone stares at the dramatics of "news" and other forms of media (as if every little development is of historic mega-consequence), most are oblivious to the real reasons and powers behind many events. We are on all sides too often immersed in the superficial. What seems so "big" to us may not be so very big in the scheme of eternity.
With prayer, we transcend in a way that allows a "birdseye" view of the landscape and it's like driving down a highway:
When we're wearing spiritual blinders, our vision is blocked by buildings or trees; we see very little into the distance; there is only what is very near.
With prayer (and fasting), on the other hand -- and dramatically -- we rise above the brush, the forest, the fence, the barricade, and have more the vantage point of a plane in the sky.
We can see a larger mosaic. We can see far beyond a single patch of forest. We see a number of scattered towns and villages. We can see formations of clouds and potential storms for hundreds of miles -- a good thing. We have a much fuller picture of what we are passing and where we are headed. We note the traffic in the distance. It is the terrain from a plane instead of a train. This is prayer.
To transcend is also to detach. It is to take yourself from material matters and emotions that spring from pride and circumstances that cause you tension (for here you have a first-warning signal) and see with the eyes of Heaven.
Leave to God what causes you anxiety.
Just plain walk past it.
See all around you but take matters one step at a time.
Don't rush, rush, rush.
It is a first sign (anxiousness, with confusion) of the evil one.
Focus on love. Love is not blind . Lust is.
Today, you hear much political rancor; much is self-righteous; and there are serious issues (such as genetic engineering and war and abortion). But don't let the devil (who plays all political parties) strip you of love. "Son of man, you live in the midst of a rebellious house," says Ezekiel 12. "They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious house."
It is love in all circumstances that grants the greater vision to see beyond the pettiness of those who otherwise will cause you aggravation and to see their good and it is to take a deep breath before responding to insult. Silence is the taste of grace.
The Eucharist brings us the larger vision with intuition and the other day a priest mentioned how after distributing the Host one day he suddenly found himself looking down on the pews as if from the ceiling. He was no longer on the ground. He was elevated! He actually saw things from above. When the Host is elevated, so is our vision.
It is wisdom.
An opposite of wisdom is control: trying to manipulate, which also brings myopia (as does any obsession).
Scientists go to a tree and try to figure it out instead of simply asking for understanding from the One Who created it. A window in an ivy tower may be obscured by ivy.
Fear of eternity leads many to blindness.
The call of life is the call to find the truth in ourselves. Life is a time to develop and sharpen the feelings, sensitivities, and sensibilities of Heaven. When we wear spiritual blinders, we grope in the dark which is often caused by disbelief which leads to fear. When we fear, we are rooted in a negative. To be negative is to express a denial; it's characterized by absence (as in "absence of light"). It is to lack optimism.
For when we do not believe in the supernatural reality of God we fear what we see as the blackness of death.
We are blind also when we are discouraged. We are blinded when we are intimidated by the task before us.
We're blinded by jealousy; we're blinded by pride; we're blinded by lust; we're blinded by greed. We're blinded by unforgiveness. We're blinded by stress. We're blinded by the minutiae of the world (including, often, politics). We're blinded by any sin which brings the Prince of Darkness.
And so it is that our times are ones of great spiritual myopia.
We know this because it causes shock when a priest suggests that the shooter in Colorado was influenced by Satan (as he was) or a politician in Romania declares that a lewd singer/dancer is a disciple of the devil (despite all evidence that such is in fact the case).
See what is true and declare it.
The eyes open with prayer, fasting, and taking one day (or, as a viewer has noted, one step) at a time.
"Thank you so much for the lesson on the joys of weariness," wrote Rory Page of Clinton, Montana. "I learned one of my most profound lessons when we visited Yellowstone National Park three weeks after having gall bladder surgery (which came after a week in the hospital to calm down my pancreas). I was doing much better but was still weak but we wanted to go to the bottom of the lower falls. To get there you have to walk down 375 stairs. Well, going down was nothing! But, as we got ready to head back up the stairs, I got to the bottom and looked up; I had an absolute panic attack and tried to think of how difficult it was going to be to have someone carry me back up -- an embarrassing rescue. However, I caught my breath and tried to calm myself. It was then that it came to me that I only had to take one step at a time. That I didn't have to see the 300-plus steps still in front of me but only see the next one I had to take. I knew that I could stop and take a rest -- even sit down if I had to. So, off I went; head down, one step at a time. It was one of the best lessons I ever learned and I have definitely applied it to other situations that seem impossible. Thank you for reminding me of my weariness and how blessed we are when it comes" (and is overcome).
[resources: A Life of Blessings and September 29 retreat: Chicago and October 13 retreat: Northern New Jersey-New York]
E-mail this link directly