Weeping may endure for a day…

Well, this was an unexpected day. I got up with plans for a full day of computer work, housework, writing, cooking. But when I sat down to work, a great wave of depression hit, the most devastating I’ve had in a *long* time. I’ve had a couple of bouts of depression in the past year (and since beginning this blog), but nothing like this in quite a while. I just sat at my desk crying and crying. Whenever it would abate for a while, I’d try to get started on something, and it would hit again. So debilitating.

weeping

I thought I’d skip forward in my schedule to my next session of prayer and scripture reading (I’d done my morning prayers), and believed that would help. Well, it didn’t have an immediate effect, except to hover like a little flame in the back of my mind, reminding me that this will pass. And it’s so good to have now in my life the assurance of God’s presence and love, which I never really had before, when I went through episodes of depression like this.

I finally managed to get a little work done, and a meal made. But that’s about it. Even listening to music, which usually lifts my mood considerably, didn’t do anything for me today. I just had to ride it out…

Things are looking a bit better this evening. I have a delicious meal finishing up, my boys are heading home, I’m listening to beautiful carols (and the music’s finally beginning to cheer me up…) Before, when a major depression hit, it would take days to get over, but I think this time it may pass more quickly, even though it’s been a big one.

Now, it’s off to eat dinner with my family and then more prayer time. “Weeping may endure for a night” (or a day!), “but joy cometh in the morning.”

Leave room for God’s wrath…

An interesting article about a difficult subject, What Is the Wrath of God?, by Msgr. Charles Pope. Here’s an excerpt:

Perhaps the best definition I have heard of God’s wrath is this: ‘God’s wrath is our experience of the total incompatibility of our sinful state before the Holiness of God.’ Sin and God’s holiness just don’t mix. They can’t keep company… We must be purified before we can enter the presence of God otherwise we could never tolerate His glory. We would wail and grind our teeth and turn away in horror. The wrath is the conflict between our sin and God’s holiness. God cannot and will not change, so we must be changed. Otherwise we experience wrath. But notice the experience is in us primarily and not God. God does not change; He is holy, serene; He is love.

wrath

The author makes interesting analogies to water spilled on a hot stove, “steam rising as the water flees away”, and to the light coming on in a darkened bedroom in the middle of the night:

The light is bright and I curse it! Now, mind you, the light has not changed one bit. It is still the same 100-watt bulb it was hours earlier. The light is the same; it is I who have changed. But do you know what I do? I blame the light and say, ‘That light is harsh!’

Check it out — a fascinating read! “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God.” Romans 12:19

“Start with the person in the mirror, not the stranger on the sidewalk.”

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.

Billy Graham

A beautiful, beautiful video:

.

If Christians spent half as much time working on their own lives as they do trying to work on other people’s lives, maybe Christ would be real to the rest of the world. Don’t forget what you were saved out of, the mercy you received, and the love that you didn’t deserve…

At the end of the day, we are all people on this road we call life, and when the sun sets at the end of that ride, it won’t matter what you told other people to do. It will only matter what you did yourself.

Clayton Jennings

So happy to have found this fellow’s videos while browsing YouTube today. What a wonderful person! 🙂

Recognizing Intrinsic Goodness

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

John 13: 35

Such good news from the Synod report today! It is good when Christians acknowledge the intrinsic worth and goodness of all their brothers and sisters, without regard to their marriage status or sexual preferences, etc. but recognizing that all people have “gifts and qualities to offer.” And this is in line with what Pope Francis said earlier, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners. And we are all sinners, and cannot judge one another. There is a wise saying in Buddhism, that I should never attack another person, because I cannot know if he is not further along the path to enlightenment than I am. We can all learn from each other and benefit from others’ gifts.

And we are here to serve each other, offering Christ’s love to each other. I especially loved the paragraph that spoke to this need to minister to one another:

Imitating Jesus’ merciful gaze, the Church must accompany her most fragile sons and daughters, marked by wounded and lost love, with attention and care, restoring trust and hope to them like the light of a beacon in a port, or a torch carried among the people to light the way for those who are lost or find themselves in the midst of the storm.

So, I’m thrilled that my adoptive Church is taking this step to implement Pope Francis’ call for us to be servants to all! “Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God, it is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did.” We are called to humble ourselves, to love others and be kind to our fellow travelers in this earthly pilgrimage and pray for each other, and not to presume to know where someone else stands in their relationship with God. We are all sheep; none of us is the Shepherd.

“Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God.” 1 Peter 2: 16

Paradoxically, it is in this serving others, and serving God through serving others, that we find real freedom. Be blessed in answering God’s call!

Cardinal Bergoglio washes feet

Cardinal Bergoglio washes feet

“Thank You” to the Person who made this

Yesterday’s post at the 54-Day Rosary novena site (for Day 4) gave a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas that, the instant I read it, brought me to tears. It expresses exactly how I’ve always felt, in my heart, toward God.

To love God is something greater than to know Him.

– Saint Thomas Aquinas

I mentioned in a previous post how when I was a very young child I would sit quietly in church, gazing at the stained glass window, and just loving God. I had no concept of God, I knew nothing of God, and yet I knew I loved Him. I feel exactly the same now. I’m coming in to all of this new, with barely any concept of God except some half-formed (half-baked?) ideas which I’ve accumulated over the years, which I figure I might as well discard.

But I still have the enormous love and gratitude toward God, and I think that’s what has led me to this point. I felt so completely dissatisfied with any spiritual practice that did not include God. Any spiritual system that doesn’t acknowledge God feels empty. Because who do you thank for all this? For this incredible, beautiful creation, and for one’s own being?

Sunset from our porch

Sunset from our porch

I immediately recognized this feeling when I heard an interesting point being made in one of Father Robert Barron’s videos. I’ll quote the section here, but I highly recommend that you click on over and listen to the whole video. The part I’m quoting begins at the 4:55 mark.

…The argument from contingency: It’s a fancy way of saying that the world as we know it exists, but doesn’t have to exist. You and I are here, but we don’t have to be here, there’s nothing necessary about our being. And it’s true — the world as we know it is fleeting, it’s passing. Therefore we have to go outside the world, to God, God who does exist through himself, and who therefore grounds and creates the whole of the world that we know.

Relatedly, Dorothy Day, when she was in the process of coming to the Church (she was going through a process of conversion), she had a child. And one day when she was on the porch of her house and she was holding her child, she said, “I felt a gratitude that was so enormous that I knew it would correspond to nothing in this world.” There was nothing, nobody in this world she could possibly thank that would correspond to the gratitude she was feeling.

That’s it; that’s exactly it. What she was sensing was God. This world, myself, my child, none of it has to be here, yet it’s here. And the proper response is “Thank You” to the Person who made this.

I hope to spend the rest of my life doing just that — thanking God for His blessings. I feel as though I’ve wasted half my life wandering around like a “Prodigal Daughter”, when I could have been “home” in my Father’s house this whole time… So I want to make up for it by spending my days in prayer (as constant as I can make it!)

As much of it as possible: prayers of praise and gratitude and love of God.