The Ten Commandments of Prayer, by Fr. Robert DeGrandis, a little booklet with potent small pointers on how to make prayer all the more effective, how to approach it, how to be spontaneous, the pace at which we should pray, the importance of sincerity, the role of the Bible, and how we should set patterns so that we have particular times during which we reserve communication with Our Lord! CLICK HERE



Spiritual sensitivity increases in proportion to clarity of spirit which is highest when one can see beyond flaws and empathize with everyone (or try to).

The devil is out to prevent you from that.

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the "spirit of scrutiny." That's when folks always look at you as if through a magnifying glass. They are waiting for  imperfection. When a Christian is overly judgmental, it is a contradiction. While we are never to accommodate sin, nor stroke sinners, it is the devil who is The Accuser. Purity equals clarity. Clarity is not trapped in a negative. How do we know when there is a spirit of negativity? When there is division.

"An ordinary work of the devil is division," notes Father Louis J. Cameli (in The Devil You Don't Know). "Not surprisingly, the evil one's energies are directed to division and unity, as he tries at all costs to divide people from God, from each other, and from their very selves. The devil works against the very center of our redemption in Jesus Christ, which is our reconciliation and our sharing in the very unity of the Holy Trinity. For we who are on the journey toward the fullness of unity with God and with each other, the unity for which the Lord Jesus prayed at the Last Supper, it is decisive that we know and be alert to ways that the evil one employs in his attempts to undermine Christ's work of unity."

In Scripture it says, "For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?" (1 Corinthians 3:3-5). We divide ourselves. Divide and conquer.  It is not the way of Jesus.

Yet, often, division comes in the name of religion. There is also the "spirit of scrupulosity."

We get to Mass early -- always. We may go every single day. We say a set pattern of devotionals or novenas or the Rosary. We try to get to Confession at the same time each month. We sit in the same pew. We know when to genuflect (and on which knee).

This is excellent: It's important to abide by the letter of the law and respect traditions. Obedience is a step toward perfection. It's also useful -- this discipline, this diligence -- in warding off the enemy (who operates so well in disrespect and sloth). Powerful it is, truly: to form a discipline if it includes daily Mass, Bible reading, and fifteen decades of the Rosary.

But we must be careful that our "scrupulous" behavior not become so robotized and "holier than thou" and living by the letter of the law that we lose its spirit. The heart must be engaged.

When we are before the Blessed Sacrament, it should be a time of seeing clearly and not through the foggy prism of mere routine.

It is good to be scrupulous but not obsessive. Obsession obscures vision. Instead of gifted we are afflicted. Instead of empathy, we search, in our "scrupulosity," in our "scrutiny," for what is wrong in others.

The answer is humility. 

"I am calling you and am coming among you because I need you," said the Blessed Mother recently. "I need apostles with a pure heart. I am praying, and you should also pray, that the Holy Spirit may enable and lead you, that he may illuminate you and fill you with love and humility. Pray that he may fill you with grace and mercy. Only then will you understand me, my children. Only then will you understand my pain because of those who have not come to know the love of God. Then you will be able to help me. You will be my light-bearers of Godís love. You will illuminate the way for those who have been given eyes but do not want to see. I desire for all of my children to see my Son."

Did you know that when you do that -- when you truly rid pride -- you are immune to insult? Your spirit clarifies. Here is freedom. For clarity brings truth which sets us free.

Only when we return to humbleness can we begin to exercise high states of affection (and vision).

Gifts (as Paul said, mysteries and knowledge) come to the pure heart which only is pure -- clear -- when we're meek and when we transcend disharmony.

Scripture tells us: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Don't fool yourself.

When you look to rid your own pride you are free to love because you then can see the layers of imperfection around others as something not to criticize but to pray to cast off (in His Name, cast it out!) so you can love the essence of the person. This is the "true" you: the one who is "prideless."

You've done it. The Holy Spirit will flow. So will love, which is the energy of healing.

[resources: The Devil You Don't Know, Michael Brown retreat: New Jersey-New York: October 13, and Michael Brown pilgrimage to Medjugorje]


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