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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Broken? Stanza IV – Part II

August 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Becky Ward, Broken

Give us strength to meet the challenge,
that the world does but provide.
Let us see the spiritual battle,
and from TRUTH, let us not hide.

Over the course of my conversion, among the insights, illuminations, and little Ah-Ha! moments I have experienced, there have also been a few BIG revelations or concepts that I return to over and over again. One of these is that there IS objective moral Truth, and when we possess the Truth (Jesus), the enemies of our soul can throw whatever lies, half-truths or propaganda they want at us and we will recognize it as garbage because it does not resonate with the Truth within us.

I think this is SO COOL! I love the Holy Spirit!!

I have spent far too many hours reading voter’s pamphlets and newspapers, wading through Internet sites, and watching TV trying to decide who, and what, to vote for. I cannot comprehend that people actually lie and put intentionally misleading information out there just to get their way. Speeches are prepared by professional writers, and lobbyists shamelessly buy votes across the board. The media take advantage of our compassion by presenting heart-wrenching stories and possible outcomes if we don’t vote a certain way. Even children are used as pawns to get votes!

Yet there is Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) Now if I have a question about whether or not something is right, I turn to the Catechism. It never fails to provide a precise explanation of what we believe, and why, in light of revealed Truth.

Our hearts are generally disposed in one of two ways. Either we are disposed to hear and receive the Truth, or we aren’t.  Me? I’m like the rebellious son; it takes some time for the Truth to sink in. But when it does, then I am completely convinced and am able to accept the Truth with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Our fallen nature seeks to absolve itself and find excuses for bad behavior. We rationalize, justify, and outright ignore many of the commandments and precepts of the Church while we look at our neighbor and tell ourselves that we are doing is okay because, “I’m not as bad as they are.” I’ve done it!! I’m not proud of this thinking; and through the grace of God I can now see how blind I had become. Yes, blind. Spiritual blindness and malformed consciences allow us to dance merrily down the road to hell, thinking all the while that we are headed in the other direction. For me, being aware of this tendency has allowed me, through prayer, to create kind of a ‘buffer zone’ where, when I hear something that I want to reject, I set it aside and pray about it instead. As I grow closer to the Lord I have happily discovered that these instances of rebellion are less frequent, and I am able to discern more quickly whether it is my ‘self’ or the evil one who is causing the disturbance within me.

Like Adam and Eve we hide from the Father who loves us…………we know what’s right, we know what we should do, yet we still choose the pleasures the world has to offer, rather than building up our treasure in heaven.

I remember clearly how I used to block out those I considered “Bible Thumpers.” Looking back with 20/20 vision I see that I didn’t want to hear what they had to say because it was the truth, and I didn’t want to have to deal with it. I didn’t want to have to change anything, much less admit to myself that I was wrong. The devil is very accommodating in this respect, I had all the excuses and rationalizations I needed and more! But I wasn’t happy, because I was living a lie – I wasn’t living in the Truth that my soul was longing for. Eventually that internal tension and agitation led me to desire more time in solitude and quiet. I wanted to be at church.  I started praying the rosary – every day!  Then God took over and, through His grace, I am no longer the same person I used to be; I am becoming the person He meant me to be all along.

Love & Prayers,

Becky

This post is part of a series. The introduction and other articles from the series can be found here once they have been published.

 

 

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About Becky Ward

Becky is a wife, mother of four (One in heaven), grandmother of five, and a "re-formed Catholic" who, after receiving the gift of a deep conversion in 2006, and working through the Disciples of Jesus and Mary faith formation program, now considers herself to be "fully Catholic" What this means is that she now, at last, understands and appreciates the beauty of the Catholic faith in such a way that she wants to share it with everyone. "I've heard that the Blessed Mother told a visionary, 'If Catholics really lived their faith, the whole world would be Catholic.' I see the truth in this, and it is my deepest hope to be a living example that draws others to Jesus. Given the nickname Rebel-Becca by her mother, Becky strongly identifies with St. John the Baptist and his call to "make straight the path of the Lord", and with his role as "Friend of the Bridegroom". The poem, "Broken?" written through her hand, is a reflection of the journey of the soul, and Becky explains what the Holy Spirit is teaching her as she writes posts for each stanza.

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  • LizEst

    Excellent post. Thank you Becky.

  • Wow Tiffany – these are great questions. I know that Becky and friends will have solid answers for you. Pope Benedict was asked, “How many ways are there to God.” He answered, “As many as there are people.” His point in context was that the WAY is Christ but the ways in which we all grow to him are unique. There are however are elements of the journey that are common to all. This is one of the foundational assumptions of my book, Navigating the Interior Life. Of course, I recommend it to all. Regarding other specifics, I will yield the floor to Becky, Liz, and Joneen!

    • LizEst

      Yielding…

  • Becky Ward

    Yes! Tiffany, good questions! This is just what the Disciples of Jesus and Mary(DJM) Faith formation program seeks to do – teach us to pray, to grown in our faith, in virtue, and most importantly to learn to truly know and love God by developing a real and lasting relationship with Him.
    Prayer is powerful – God Will give us the grace to grow closer to Him……to cure our spiritual blindness – if we just ask Him to. He wants us to know and love Him more than we do!
    Before we can ‘pass the torch’ of God’s love to others we must posses it ourselves. This is an important distinction! There are many people in the world who know a lot about God, but they don’t know Him, not really.
    Here’s a link to the introduction post for the poem, you can find a link there for the DJM website if you want more information: http://rcspiritualdirection.co
    May God Bless You Mightily On Your Journey!

  • In my early conversion year, i asked for truth to be so obvious it would smack me down, because I lived for decades following whatever ‘truth’ felt right, or whoever was most convincing!!! Well god will give what you ask!! and many times I was smacked down, but THANK YOU JESUS for every time!!!

    • Becky Ward

      Brave Soul!! Yes He will give us what we ask for! 🙂 The courage to keep asking is one of my constant prayers.
      Blessings!

    • LizEst

      Happy Lord’s Day Diane! You’ve been given a great gift. And, “to whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12: 48). Therefore, you must always “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15)…thanks be to God.

  • Guest

    Dan and Becky-thank you both for your helpful responses; I will have to learn more from your resources! It seems to me that a search for Truth combines a mighty and determined use of Faith, Virtue, Holy Spirit. I recently learned that humility is not listed as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit in the Catechism, as I had thought it was. Is that correct, and do you have any thoughts on that?

    • Becky Ward

      Humility is a virtue; often considered the foundation of all other virtues because without real humility the rest of our spiritual edifice will be shaky at best…..also because it takes real humility to face our sinfulness and grow in the other virtues. We have to work and pray for it.
      As you said, it is not listed as either a gift of the Holy Spirit, nor a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (If you got it from the Catechism, believe it!)
      We receive all from God – I find it fascinating to see how virtues, and the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit are intertwined. When we grow or strengthen one virtue, we strengthen others as well….and the fruit of this work “..is the perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the “first fruits” of eternal glory.” (CCC 1832)

      • LizEst

        Happy Lord’s Day, Tiffany.

        Humility IS a supernatural virtue. “Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Dictionary gives this definition, “The supernatural virtue by which one attains the correct perception of one’s relationship with God. Man himself was made in original justice and then fell; now, he has been redeemed in Christ. The attitude of humility is: ‘I am good only because of God’s mercy.’ Humility counters pride and seeks to serve God and others, as Mary did.”

        Humility IS also listed in the catechism in the glossary at the back. Here is what it says, “The virtues by which a Christian acknowledges that God is the author of all good. Humility avoids inordinate ambition or pride, and provides the foundation for turning to God in prayer ([see paragraph] 2559). Voluntary humility can be described as “poverty of spirit” ([see paragraph] 2546).”

        Hope that helps. God bless you Tiffany.

        • LizEst

          You’re welcome, Tiffany. Actually, the Church does have a lot of specific things to say about humility. Many popes, many saints, many theologians have addressed this virtue. I believe St. Benedict is considered to be the Doctor of Humility (someone please correct me if this is not so – thanks). There are prayers and novenas to ask for his intercession for the acquisition of this virtue.

      • Becky Ward

        Maybe it would be good to include a definition of “Virtue” for clarification. From the CCC Glossary (not included in the 1st edition) Virtue is defined as: A habitual and firm disposition to do the good. The moral virtues are acquired through human effort aided by God’s grace; the theological virtues are gifts of God. (1803)

        • LizEst

          Ah yes, thanks Becky, for pointing out that the older edition did not have the glossary. I had forgotten about that.

        • Becky Ward

          YES! We can pick one virtue to work on…and the others will grow in response!
          I’m seeing your return to the original question; how can we become “Truth hearers”?
          A lot of practice, time, prayer, energy, faith, and perseverance are needed for the journey. The first step is a change of heart. Sometimes we cannot do much for others in this regard (especially those close to us) except to pray and set a good example. But once we desire to be ‘truth-hearers’ God will certainly be there with all the grace we need to suceed….we just need to keep our eyes on Jesus, and keep trying.
          As an example, a family may be in a terrible spiritual mess, and not knowing how to make things better, Mom and/or Dad begins a family focus on the virtues beginning with temperance. As they pray together as a family and actively begin to seek ways they can strengthen this virtue, they will start to see other areas that need work….and will likely be inspired with ways to improve in those areas too. Their spiritual ‘sight’ improves and they begin to seek the truth…..and we know they will find it because Jesus promised, “Seek and ye shall find.”

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