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How did Jesus & Mary stay perfect amid great anguish & sadness?

May 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Consolation/Desolation, Fr. Bartunek, Suffering

Dear Father John, in responding to questions on this forum, you’ve often said something like, “the interior turbulence that the situation is causing you is most likely not from the Holy Spirit”. I think St. Ignatius says something similar when discussing the discernment of the spirits. Since Jesus and Mary were perfect, how would you explain the great anguish and sadness that Jesus felt in the garden of Gethsemane or the anxiety and fear that Mary felt when Jesus was missing for three days? Aren't these conditions supposed to indicate the absence of the Holy Spirit or some sort of imperfection of the soul?

Let’s start with the point St. Ignatius makes, and then reflect on the experience of Jesus and Mary.

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is, basically, a guide for retreat directors. It outlines a series of meditation topics, methods of prayer, and principles to help in the process of “the discernment of spirits.” The first set of principles for discernment deal with interpreting the experience of spiritual consolation and spiritual desolation. He goes into great detail defining those terms and describing what he means by them. He does this in order to help retreatants and retreat directors learn to identify and process what is going on inside the soul as a person seeks to follow God more closely. In the first two rules for the discernment of spirits, he makes two critical observations.

Two Key Insights

First, he points out that two “spirits” are interested in influencing our souls: The good spirit (God, and God’s messengers, like the angels), and the evil spirit (the devil and his minions). God wants to lead and guide and draw each one of us closer to himself; the devil wants to obstruct our progress towards God, and, if possible, turn us away from God entirely. But both “spirits” have to work within the confines of human nature, influencing us from within our souls, where we experience feelings, attractions, repugnances, thoughts, memories, desires… In reflecting on and interpreting those interior experiences, we exercise our freedom and make decisions, and our decisions either bring us closer to God or distance us from him. This is why St. Ignatius considers it so important to be able to identify the source of those interior experiences; we need to know whether they are being stirred up by the enemy of our soul in an effort to thwart our spiritual progress, or whether they are nudgings and whisperings from our Lord.

Second, he distinguishes two basic states in which particular individuals can find themselves. On the one hand, a person can be on the path of sin, living life by seeking happiness in any number of idols instead of in a relationship of obedience and love towards God. On the other hand, a person can be on the path of holiness, seeking to grow in friendship with God and to purify their souls from inordinate attachments that impair that friendship.

Contrary Influences

God and the devil will influence a person in contrary ways, depending upon which path they are on. If someone is on the path of sin, the devil will try to make that person feel content and satisfied and smug, so as to keep the person moving from sin to sin – away from God. God, on the other hand, will stir up dissatisfaction and turbulence in that soul, through the bite of conscience, through inner longings for “something more,” and through the light of reason, which cries out for meaning and truth.

If someone is on the path of holiness, the contrary will happen. The devil will stir up distaste, confusion, false reasons, turbulence – anything to impede the soul’s progress or to deceive it into leaving the “narrow gate and hard road” that leads to life (Matthew 7:14). In this situation, God will confirm the soul, comfort the soul, steady the soul, strengthen the soul – encouraging the person to continue forward in their service of God in their quest for deeper intimacy with Him.

The bread and butter of spiritual growth, then, consists in rejecting the influences of the evil spirit and cooperating with the guidance of the good spirit.

“Dour Combat”

You can see, therefore, that each individual soul is really a battleground where natural impulses, reactions, and desires are always present, but where supernatural influences – both good and evil – are also constantly at work. This is why the Church teaches so clearly and consistently that life on earth is a continual struggle: “The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Catholic Catechism #409). This is also why Our Lord, when he promised to give us the gift of peace, also explained that “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).

Earth Is not Heaven

In other words, as long as we are journeying here on earth, we will not experience the complete satisfaction and fulfillment that God is preparing for us in heaven. As our relationship with God grows, our experience of interior happiness will deepen and mature, but it will always be accompanied by the sorrows that necessarily flow from life in a fallen world (“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” [Matthew 5:5]). And it will also always be accompanied by the spiritual warfare (see Ephesians 6:10-20 and 1 Peter 5:8) that surrounds us and disturbs our own souls, which God permits but also limits: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Sorrows of Jesus and Mary

Now, I hope, we can understand better why Jesus and Mary both experienced sorrow, anguish, and anxiety during their earthly lives. They both were fully human, and even though both were exempt from the concupiscence that the rest of us inherit from original sin (concupiscence is that interior division by which we find ourselves strongly attracted to selfishness and evil), both were also living their missions in a fallen world, and fully engaged in the “dour combat with the powers of evil.”

Jesus’ Anxiety

The Garden of Gethsemane wasn’t the only episode from Christ’s life where he suffered: he wept over the death of Lazarus, he experienced frustration at the slowness of his followers to understand his message, he faced intense temptation in the desert, he suffered righteous anger in the face of the stubborn hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the worldliness of the Temple leaders… In Gethsemane, and throughout his Passion, his suffering reached its maximum intensity, because it was then that he took upon himself the guilt of our sins, of every sin: “[God] He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That, for a human nature so pure in love and holiness, is the greatest of torments. At the same time, the devil did everything possible to dissuade our Lord from following through with the Father’s will. Jesus was, obviously, on the path of holiness, and so the devil stirred up interior turbulence in order to make him deviate, but Jesus responded with prayer and obedience, and the good spirit comforted and strengthened him: “Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:43). This is an example for all of us to follow.

Mary’s Anxiety

Mary suffered when Jesus was left behind in the Temple for three days, but certainly she suffered throughout her life, and most especially during her divine Son’s Passion and death, when Simeon’s prophecy about a sword piercing her heart was fulfilled (see Luke 2:35). This interior turbulence flowed, again, from living in a fallen world, where sin and evil crash against our human nature like storms and waves and floods (see Matthew 7:24-27). But she didn’t allow this suffering, this turbulence, this anxiety, to undermine her faith and trust in God. And so, even on Calvary, “near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…” (John 19:25). She was firm and faithful, because her love was true and total. She too, just like the rest of us, grew in her relationship with God through the sufferings that life in a fallen world thrust upon her, through exercising her trust, her courage, her love, her endurance in the midst of them: “…through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

In short, we will continually experience both consolation and desolation in the battlefield of our souls. What matters is how we react to each of them. The true north of spiritual progress – God’s will – shines strong and bright even in the storms, and we must ever lift our eyes to it, guiding every decision according to its saving light: “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34).

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

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  • You have surpassed yourself here, Fr. John.  This gives awesome insight into how to recognize the subtle attacks of the Evil One.  I love this quotation best :   

    “The true north of spiritual progress – God’s will – shines strong and bright even in the storms, and we must ever lift our eyes to it, guiding every decision according to its saving light:”

    I identify with it because recently I underwent the worst attack, when a person I trusted most, tried their best to destroy my Faith. The attack was so fierce that I had resolved to abandon my Sacramental Life because I had been convinced my daily Holy Communions and weekly Confessions were the highest exercise of the hypocricy of the Pharisees….I was told my Prayers, Adorations to the Blessed Sacrament, Novenas and fastings were all useless….in short, I was piling one Sacrilegious Sin upon the mountain of others each time I received these Sacraments.  I was so devastated  the day I missed Holy Communion, I could not sleep a wink….now in total anguish and desperation, I had to seek advice from one of our Priests who minister to us during our 1st and 3rd Saturdays Retreats of the Eucharist Apostles of the Divine Mercy.  

    When I poured out my misery, desperation and self-doubt planted in my heart to him, he immediately told me that was the worst attack from Evil One and I must never, ever think of abandoning my Spiritual, Sacramental and Devotional Life. I was further anguished because I realized that if such a condemnation had been directed at a Catholic whose Faith Foundation was not very firm, they would surely have forthwith walked out of the Catholic Church never to return again.  By the Grace of God, I am a Cradle Catholic who was brought up by very devout Catholic Parents and mentored by Missionary Consolata and Loreto Sisters, and my Faith Foundation is firm.  Another very Holy Priest later advised me that we do have many Priests in our Church who are doing grave harm to the Church and have destroyed very many souls with such cruel condemnations and he asked me to pray for this person.

    In your Article, Fr. John, you have rightly advised us to always listen to the quiet Voice of God and try to block out the cacophony of the noises from the world which the enemy of our Salvation uses to misguide us and at times, completely throw us into despondency and despair.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Wow!! What a great article and how very helpful to me also were the comments….especially this one! I also have been experiencing great doubt and desolation and confusion both in my personal life and my faith life and often feel like I am treading water with nothing to hang on to. The attacks against Catholicism within my own family together with the global attack against Catholicism has worn me down!

      It is this great website which has given me so many times the strength and understanding to continue forward – even when I simply cannot see and simply must move forward in trust and surrender….. but I am such a coward at times!!

      • Mary@42

        Mary Elizabeth, I am humbled my experience has helped you…..this Website is here for us to hold hands and walk together in this Journey to Eternity.  

        In this very sad and frightening Trial,  followed the advice we were given when I was still a teenager in Secondary School – some 60 years ago during the Catechism Lesson: “whenever self-doubt which has no foundation overwhelms you, or you fall into despair or thoughts keep on crowing you to doubt  your Faith, immediately seek help from either your Confessor, a Holy Nun or a Priest you trust and can speak to and open your heart to them completely. God will speak to you through them and set your heart at peace. Above all, perservere in  Prayer and in particular before Jesus in the Tabernacle and after Holy Communion.” Those days we only had Jesus exposed during the Friday Benediction.By the Grace of God, we can now run to Him  any time we are under attack in the Adoration Chapels is our Catholic Churches.  And there, even if  you do not hear His Voice, believe me, Mary Elizabeth Jesus will Personally talk to your heart and soul and chase the Evil One back to the deepest Hole in Hell where He belongs!!!! At the end of your Adoration, you will leave in total peace of mind. Also, if you have one regular Confessor you to go, he will be invaluable to you because God will enlighten him to understand your Soul and Jesus will give you advice and encouragement through him whenever you are in doubt about anything.

        • judeen

          so right on.. also ,, preists are hard to get ahold of.. call a spiritual freind.. pray an our Father for you… together. ( where 2 or more are gathered in my name I am there in their mist.) other wise. bless your house with Holy Water. put on something that is blessed.. a cross , if really bad a rosary.. see if this helps.. Praise the Lord.. or in song , christian music.. it drives deamons away… say a rosary.. the weapon of Jesus life… bless your self with Holy water or Holy oil

          • Mary@42

            Thank you, Judeen.  Yes I have Holy Water in my House, Blessed Crucifixes in every Room, the Blessed Divine Mercy Image at the Entrance of my House, In the Living Room,  in my little Office and on top of my Bed. I carry the Divine Mercy Image in my mobile phone wallet and a Rosary.  All these are Sacramentals which ward off evil Spirits and protect us from malevolence of the Evil One.  My home was truly consecrated when Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, kept vigil with my husband on the day he died, 18 years ago.  The Priest who celebrated the Eucharist that Friday evening, asked me to share one Host with my husband and then, after the Holy Mass, he decided to leave his Briefcase in the Bedroom with the Blessed Sacrament.  Later on, a lay Carmelite Friend of mine told me that Father did not deliberately leave the Blessed Sacrament, but it was Jesus Himself who wanted to remain with us, keep vigil with my dying husband, and when the time came, hand him over to His heavenly Father.  He was then left with me – as the children had gone to call Father and the Police to report a death in the House before we could move the body to the Mortuary.  For all these unmerited Graces – and many many others He has showered on my Family – and unfathomable Love from Jesus, my Faith is my life and I pray continuously to remain with Him because the clouds of the oncoming night of my life are gathering on the Western Sky.  So I, like the Disciples of Emmaus, ask Jesus daily to stay with me because the day is far, far gone and the night is about to fall and I don’t want it to find me alone but with Him at my side.

      • judeen

        stand strong… do things from your heart.. for the praise of God.. the devil walked behind Jesus and aggravated Him.. it is written those who are attacked because they beleive in me , the Holy Spirit is with them,,, it is a sign .. also .. people who attack , guilt comes out… just worry about your self but quitely ask why dont you go to church? is God calling you back?

      • LizEst

        Attacks on one’s faith, within the family, which is the domestic church, are really difficult especially when one is trying to live the faith. It’s hurtful because it seems like a personal betrayal from the very people you love the most.

        Seek a spiritual director, if you do not have one already. Failing that, ask your pastor if he will recommend someone to help you. Pray. Frequent the sacraments. Pray again. Read the Bible. Take classes in our faith so you can learn more and can defend what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

        When Catholics rant about the Church, they rant most about (in no particular order):
        a. Church law, which they refuse to follow because their pride tells them they know better and/or because they don’t know their faith and can’t be bothered to learn more.
        b. Sins of the hierarchy and sins of the members.

        Well, we are a Church of both saints and sinners. We, the people within the Church, are fallible. But, the Church itself is holy because She is the Bride and the Body of Christ, who is her foundation. Jesus established her; therefore, She is of God. Were it not so, the Church would not have stood the test of time since flawed human beings would have splintered and ruined Her a very long time ago. This unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And, the gates of hell will never prevail against Her. So, having said all that, know that Church teaching is solid. She accepts all who wish to follow the way of love Jesus laid out for us as the Church has articulated it from the time He commissioned the apostles.

        Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the Church to help guide us through the times of our personal lives and the times we are living in. God knows we can’t do it alone. That’s why he left us a recourse and resource in the Church. Blessed be God. I wish you godspeed.

    • judeen

      dear Mary, Your faith was shock by the roots… and you asked your self what am I doing…. doing all the right things…. but a preist suggested not….. your faith shock? may be that is what you needed to go to a deeper spiritual walk with God… to ask your self , what am I doing.. were you doing it from your heart? or going through the motions… when we are shook we really look at what were doing and why.. is it to praise God , or pride? I went through this many times.. I want all my kids to sit in the same pew with me.. but it was pride mostly… purifiy me Lord.. that I do all the good things for the right reasons.

      • Mary@42

        Judeen, as an old Cradle Catholic, I have been taught to never completely trust myself. That is why, whenever possible, one should have a Spiritual Director.  But since this is not possible for everybody, Mother Church taught me to always go to my Confessor who, surely Jesus will give the gift of Discernment – since my search for truth is genuine – and Jesus Himself, through the Priest, will guide and advise me accordingly. But the greatest Graces we need are from daily Holy Communions for those who are able to do so, and weekly Confession.  As an Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, Saint Faustina has taught us how to smoke out our puny self-pride and with the help of the Eucharist, keep her in check. At my age, Judeen, (73 years), I cannot afford to live in delusion or allow self-love to have a foothold in my Spiritual Life. And this is an ongoing daily battle which I cannot afford to lose. And Jesus is there fighting with me. To ensure I remain vigilant, Prayer, Eucharistic Adorations, Sacraments, Spiritual Direction and guidance during the weekly Confession are a MUST in my life.  The 1st and 3rd Saturdays Divine Mercy Retreat Days are invaluable tools to arrive at self-knowledge and to identify the Root Sins and their derivatives so as to attack them with Prayers and Sacraments. But do not get me wrong, Judeen, I very, very human, with a fallen Nature which always struggles to get its way. We are all sinners fighting, with God’s Grace, to attain holiness.  I fall and slip so very often.  But I know Jesus is there to lift me up in His Tribunal of Mercy, and with the Blood and Water gushing from His pierced Heart to wash away all my sins, and at the Holy Communion to unite Himself with me and strengthen and rejuvenate the Sanctifying Grace in my soul.  My Personal Patron, our Holy Mother of God, is my Special Protector, Advisor, Role Model and Intercessor at all times.

  • Mvolnek

    Wow father, thank you!  I have been studying Ignatius rules for discernment for some time and to hear it explained in a different but same way was so helpful.  Thanks for all you do.  Mike

  • Christosrey

    I found this article very encouraging as I am going through much desolation right now, having made what I thought was thr right decision, only to have found out that rhe devil tricked me. I realize that the desolations are an encouragement for me to better learn how to pray more earnestly and listen more closely to hear the voice of God speaking through others. I am also reminded that this life is not what the world teaches us. It is a warfare, not settling down and enjoying comfort in Zion. Thank you for a great article here.

    • $1650412

      Christosrey- what you have written is very encouraging to me. Thanks!

  • LizEst

    I’ve read the comments here and found it very interesting. What is it? Have many who blog been under severe spiritual attack lately? I, too, had a very bad time of it recently. Let’s pray particularly for those who run this blog and for all our bloggers.

    “God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord and he has been my savior” (Isaiah 12:2).

    Prayer against the evil one: “If you come to me strongly, my God is stronger. The Holy Trinity delivers me from you.”

    Happy Memorial Day. Many thanks to all our veterans!

    • $1650412

      New Name- you can’t imagine how relieved I am that you said this here, and that I looked at it today. I have experienced what I think is also a significant ramp-up in spiritual attack and temptation lately. I have really ‘suffered’ for lack of a better way to put it. And now, I’m tired and sad. Your comment has encouraged me, when I could really use the consolation, thanks!

      • LizEst

        Thanks be to the Holy Spirit.

        I just found it odd that many of the frequent bloggers had this going on. It’s as if was an attack on the blog by attacking those that comment often.

        I believe I saw you once on Deacon Greg’s blog, too. Well, he shut down the comments section for a while, maybe forever, today. And, sure enough, he reports that Deacon Ditewig has quit blogging as of today.

        Hmm…me thinks there’s a nefarious pattern here.

  • CeeBee

    Well said as a concise explanation of St Ignatius teachings on consolation and desolation. I truly feel once someone is taught these concepts of faith and warfare they see their tribulations through the “eyes of God”.

  • Becky Ward

    “near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…”

    Thank you for putting the word “stood” in italics Fr. John. I had not paid much attention to this before, but as I think about this and remember deaths and other trials in my life where I need to be strong …..the grace is always there. (It is then that God carries us.)

    Great post!

    • $1650412

      I love it that you caught an intensity in that one word, that means so much, in terms of the strength we have in the Holy Spirit and the example we have in our Mother Mary.

      • LizEst

         Yes. Someone once discerned the validity of a series of “visions” by that one word. What came to them was that Mary never knelt at the cross. She stood.

  • Raymond Asuquo

    Excellent and concise explanation. I’ll share this with my friends.

  • Avila Power

    Thank you Father for this great insight . It is great and I have posted it to my Face Book for everyone to read.
    May God bless you and the rest of the team for this Spiritual Direction that we receive every day.
    Avila Power

  • Heather Letchford

    With regard to Jesus and Mary suffering, particularly during Our Lord’s passion and death, I believe it is worth keeping in mind that free from original sin, their wills and feelings would have been completely orientated towards God. Our suffering is often nothing more than selfish indulgence. If a mother witnessed her son being tortured to death as Our Lord was, it would have hurt her because one: he is her son, and two: her love for him is a love that is not always selfless or God orientated. The pain we experience as sinners, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual, is filtered through sin, vice, and a disordered orientation towards self. We have to, through Grace, constantly be reorientated back towards God. Grace is to suffering what morphine is to pain. That is why a holy person is joy filled in the face of suffering.

  • verserver

    Dear Father,
    Thank you for your continuing guidance on the spiritual journey, with insights on how to discern our experiences. Your posts and Dan’s (thank you, Dan) under the Section Consolation and Desolation are really awesomely helpful.
    So thank you Fr John and Dan.
    May the Lord bless you and look kindly upon you and be glad as He delights more and more in you and your work, as both you and your work draw His blessings on to us.
    verserver

  • judeen

    several things.. Mary went through great torment.. the scripture talks about families divided. .. mary and Jesus brothers came to take charge of Jesus for people were saying He was mad.. and the next chapter talk about when they came to get Him , Jesus asked who are my mothers ,brothers and sister.. even Mary went through torcher of the mind.. she was our example… so she had to go through it…

  • judeen

    gift of tears… have you suddenly started to cry at church and did not know why? a deep healing of the soul and the past.. is happing and the mind does not know what it is…
         what have you been praying.. ? deep healing for others? so on.. are you taking on some of their sorrows.. anxiousness , pain … ? you see this in retreats – the people who are working , receives, tears, sorrow , even physica pain.. like heart pain… and have to be taken to the emergency room .. all spiritual.. healings happing in the ones you are praying for…
         or asking for some of the pain just enough so peoples hearts can melt and let the Holy Spirit in and repent and cry.. for if they cry they can heal and let the pain out and love in.. and their love out to others.

  • jacksmithe

    Anguish and Sadness are a part of the world as we know it. You come into the world to experience it and to observe it. Jesus and Mary had many happy moments just as we all do but there is no escaping the anguish and sadness as it is a part of the life you must live. All of the great writers make it seem like some great mystery which it is not. It is a fact of life and God sheds his rain and sunshine on the good and bad alike. Spend your time living in the sunshine of God’s love and you will have no need to blog on this or any other fact about the life Jesus and Mary lived because it was for you that they lived it…… 

    • Becky Ward

      Hi Jack,

      What do you advise souls to do when God sends the rain of His love?

      Blessings!

  • $1650412

    I keep hearing in my head, the refrain from a Christian pop song from a long time ago- “..fix your eyes on Jesus, fix your eyes on Jesus!” I know this is taken from a passage in Hebrews 12:1-2-
    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us2while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

  • Mari

    I am going through the deepest sorrow with such pain in my heart which brings me to my knees at times,and I feel Gods arms around me picking me up and giving me strength.
    I ask our Blesed Mother Mary to help me embrace the sword and lead me to her most beloved Son that I may never be parted from Him.
    I am learning to be grateful for the lesson no matter how much it hurts.
    Thy will be done in me.

    • LizEst

      May the Lord be with you always. Trust in Him. He will not permit you to suffer what you are unable to bear. May He comfort you and raise you up.

    • Mary Anne Dagli

      Hi Mari-I read someware recently-can’t remember unfortunatly- but it helped me a lot- we can have sadness in our spirit for a varity of reason’s -but we should always have joy in our soul, because we know ware were headed in Christ Jesus- we have a Home for all eternity in heaven. Dying to self is painful, but we have a new idenity in Jesus and all the blessings of our Father who is his father. Saint Peter Damian said to stay rooted in Love with the humanity of Jesus who has prepared a place for us in heaven-the land we seek. To hear the whole quote watch the May 24th Mass on EWTN’s youtube It was a great sermon. Also inoking the word Peace sends forth the Holy Spirit-ask for all the gifts and blessings- you will have new found joy.”He would grant you according to the riches of his glory
      to be strengthened with might
      by His Spirit in the inner man
      that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,
      you being rooted and grounded in Love.”

      Blessings, Mary

      • Mari

        Mary Anne, thank you very much for your prayers, for me it is a dying to self, and letting go of someone very close to me, it has been a time for grieving, but I do have the joy of Our Lord, he is truly my strength.

        • LizEst

           God bless you Mari.

          You reminded me of the quote from Scripture, “God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior.” Isaiah 12:2

          Stay strong and trust in the Lord. He is with you always.

    • Mary@42

      Mari, you have my sympathy for the sorrowful situation you are in.  May I advise you to pray, and pray often the Divine Mercy Chaplet. And if possible, pray it asking Jesus to step in and assist you during the 3.00 O’Clock  Holy Hour – the Hour of Great Mercy.  He has promised us that any soul that will pray this Chaplet at this Holy Hour, He shall grant whatever they pray for, if it is in accordance with His Father’s Will.  I have no doubt it is not our Heavenly Father’s Will that you should remain in sorrow.  However, He may be asking you to offer that sorrow and unite it with the Passion of His Beloved Son so that He may use it to save souls who are in danger of going to eternal damnation.  Jesus has taught us that suffering offered to our Heavenly Father in virtue of His Passion is salvific and you also gain much consolation from uniting your suffering with His Passion.  May He be at your side during this difficult time.  Be assured of my Prayers 

    • Becky Ward

      Praying for you.

  • GA artist

    Fr. John,I  just found your blog today following a Life site story.
    I loved your answers through St. Ignatius’ Spiritual exercises. I first learned about them not at a retreat, but on EWTN. The short series is available through their website religious catalog. I tried taking notes from the tv show, but everything you just affirmed makes me realize I need to go buy the dvd and really learn discernment since spiritual directors are few and far between these days.
    Thanks for your wisdom and insight.

  • Jack Kaczmarczyk

    What a wonderful summary! Bookmarked for later digestion. (Not supposed to eat heavy foods before bed.)

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