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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Imitation of Christ Wk 10 of 10

February 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

The Imitation of Christ Week 10 of 10

 

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Has God “Hugged” You Lately?

You must seek the grace of devotion with perseverance, ask for it with earnestness, await it with patient confidence, receive it with thankfulness, retain it with humility, and use it with great care. But, while you await its coming, entrust the-good-portion-pictureto God the time and manner of this heavenly gift.

When you feel little or no devotion within you, you should especially humble yourself, but not to the point of becoming excessively sad or overly dejected. God often grants in one brief moment what He has denied over a long period, and sometimes it is only at prayer’s end that God grants what he delayed giving when it began. – Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Chapter 15, p. 208-209

As I read this passage, I decided we should have a little fun this week!

When à Kempis talks about what God grants in one brief moment, he’s probably referring to a special grace we need for the spiritual life – a virtue granted or understanding of some complex theological issue.

But we spend so much time delving into the complex mysteries of the Faith.  Today, let's let loose!  What about all the HUGS we receive from God virtually every day?  Those occasions when God just REVEALS Himself to us in one brief moment?  Gentle reminders of His love and devotion tend to strengthen our faith like “mini” Transfigurations, to borrow from Sunday’s gospel.

I was blessed with one of those moments just this past week.

First, a little background.  A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that my Lenten resolution was to pray all 20 mysteries of the rosary throughout the day, as time allowed. Well, you may have seen the comment that I posted, copying an email I received about someone praying eleven rosaries per day for each of her eleven children. I was very moved by her message and decided that if someone could pray for eleven children, I could certainly try to pray for six, plus my husband.

I sought the Lord’s assistance in this, asking that He help me be especially attentive to my duties as a wife and mother, not allowing me to “set things aside” so that these rosaries became an end in themselves. But I also asked that He help me to complete them if He wished me to keep this resolution. After all – generally speaking, I have trouble praying ONE rosary a day!

The first three days went well. Unfortunately, on day four I had three rosaries left to pray by the time I went to bed. I was a little disappointed, but decided to offer the prayers I’d already prayed for my entire family. I began praying my fifth rosary as I fell asleep.

I started to doze off somewhere in the middle of the second decade, which is normal for me; but miraculously I woke up shortly thereafter and became, not just alert, but wide awake!  As I lay there, I finished my son’s entire rosary – Yeah! I felt very content, knowing that God had helped me to finish – I thanked Him, and fell asleep, thinking that my work was done…I should have known better.

No sooner had I fallen asleep than my four-year-old began crying hysterically from his room – apparently he’d had a bad dream. As I held and consoled him, I began my sixth rosary. I wasn’t quite finished before I dozed off again; but I didn’t sleep long because I was awakened by the cries of my two-year-old.  When I went to her room, I found that her clothes were wet and she needed a change of sheets on her crib (This NEVER happens in the middle of the night.).

As the rest of my family slept, I took care of her bed and held her in my arms, rocking her, all the while praying my sixth rosary. By the time I got back to bed, I had finished two rosaries. I smiled and THANKED the Lord for giving me the ability to be faithful to my prayers. I even suspected that if He’d gone to all this work, He probably wasn’t finished yet.

I kid you not – as soon as I fell asleep, I heard a crash, followed by screams from my daughter. I rushed to her room and found that the adjustable side of her crib had broken off. Yes, you read that correctly. The whole side of her crib was laying on the floor.

At this point, I actually laughed. I had one rosary left to pray – this time for my husband, and I had to wake him up to fix the bed because I couldn’t do it myself. So I rocked the baby and prayed silently for my husband while I watched him put her bed back together.

When I finally returned to my bedroom, I was so full of joy and thanksgiving that I was afraid I’d never get back to sleep! I KNEW that my Heavenly Father had literally been at my side all night, helping me to fulfill my Lenten resolution. I glanced at the clock – 5:30. I had less than two hours to sleep before beginning a new day. But I knew that I wouldn’t be tired. I KNEW that if God had been faithful in helping me pray, He would also help me fulfill my daily duties. And He did.

I don’t know about you, but “hugs” like that are Cupid’s arrow to my soul – penetrating my heart and filling me with an unquenchable thirst for Christ. There is NOTHING that spurs my passion for Christ like His very personal (and visible) involvement in my life.

Unfortunately, while I want to shout from the rooftops when these moments occur, over time they fade and I find my devotion weak yet again (How does that happen?!). Thankfully, I’ve learned to overcome the faded memories by recording these events in a journal. This way, during my down times, when I’m waiting with perseverance, I can relive those special experiences, reminding myself that His heart is actually BURNING with love for ME, whether I can see it or not.

How about creating an “online journal” as an antidote to spiritual dryness?  If we use this week to share stories about how God has “hugged” each of us, we can return to this page when our devotion begins to get a little “blah.”  I’m sure you have some fabulous stories – please share them with the rest of us!

 

 

Discussion Questions:

1. Have you received a HUG lately?  Please share your stories with us – remember that no story is too great or too small.

2. Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

 

Reading Assignment:

NONE – Next week we'll wrap-up The Imitation.  Then stay tuned in the following week for a Special Post on our Upcoming Calendar.

Note: We plan to begin Navigating the Interior Life by Dan Burke on March 12, so order your copy soon!

 

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts>

For More Information on the Book Club: https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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