Saints' Discussion Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 28, 2020, 03:15:34 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
* Home Help Calendar Mailbox Quotes Prayers Books Login Register
Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion  |  Topic: Devotion vs. Being Pharisaical 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Devotion vs. Being Pharisaical  (Read 7799 times)
Brigid
Established
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 4108



View Profile
« on: January 22, 2010, 11:15:37 PM »

How do you tell when your devotions are bringing you closer to Him or are only lip-service. I pray meditatively/contemplatively every day, and have numerous devotions, but most of the time I feel that I'm just trying to show myself how devout I am. I realize we can't go solely by feelings, however since we're humans (unlike Mr. Spock) we have to acknowledge them somewhat. Is this simply aridity?

Any ideas?
Logged

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Matt. 6:21
Shin
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18074



View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2010, 05:50:16 AM »

I think this is a difficult question for me..

So only with a little salt, FWIF from someone who understands only a little and makes mistakes..

But I think we have a two-fold conversion.. one of heart and one of mind..

There are times when aridity is proper to us, and there are times when it is a flaw in us that needs to be overcome.. I often think many people become too accustomed to it because they do not know better to pursue the conversion of heart and spiritual sweetness of prayer. . it is quite true there are times when aridity is proper and directly of Providence for you rather than of Providence for you to change..

Meditations help me to overcome aridity and Eucharistic Adoration.. I feel that more prayer, even arid prayer, is the cure to even aridity..

But with a note that we can pray in ways that foster aridity.. that is we do not strive to pray with our whole hearts but instead simply lengthily..

The goal of the Christian life is to -pray always- to have a -continual remembrance of the presence of God-. We must think of God's lovingkindness, His presence, over and accompanying.. with us always. See Him everywhere..

But if we are praying like a hammer hitting a board, rather than quietly and peacefully.. forcing it too much.. somethings forcing is necessary, and bears great fruit.. it always does to a degree, fighting.. but sometimes we need to meditate and spend more time in thought and then proceed on when we have the peace to proceed more easily and so keep at it.

I truly think some of the Meditations that are on the Saints' Prayers website can help overcome aridity, if you make a regular practice of them. That along with praying before the Eucharist. And let me assure everyone that this is possible, even at home through the links to the video cameras for Eucharistic Adoration off the sites.

So, set up the Eucharistic Adoration before your computer, or go to the Church with a -good- -old- book of meditations, and pray and sit with God. Seek the genuine love and grace that removes aridity that comes from Him, not from the devil -- don't be misguided by sweetness, because you feel at peace where-ever you are with it, it's not the answer to all your questions, I would think, but the state that lets you do well.
 
And if you are arid.. and it is of God.. be pleased to be so.. Whereever you are, there is God, and it is in His Providence and plans.

When you do something, clean out your motivations, start it for the right reasons.. and continue it for them.. and do not listen to that which tries to distract you from your prayers with accusations.. just keep your intention and will pure as can be, relying on God.

Detachment from the world, the sensual, the flesh -- love of God in spirit, poverty, affliction.

And as always, gratitude for the blessings and mercies given, for the Passion, is the secret to happiness.



'Alas! we easily enter on the road to perdition when we neglect prayer. The prayer which humbles the soul, which inflames her with love and excites her to the practice of virtue, is never subject to illusion.'

St. Paul of the Cross

'The pearl is formed in the shell; but the shell, which has received the dew of heaven, closes itself and sinks to the bottom of the sea, where it engenders the precious pearl. Understand me well. The pearl of genuine virtue is engendered in the depths of the sea of suffering and humility. Thence we pass into the immense ocean of uncreated love and allow ourselves to be swallowed up in its waters.'

St. Paul of the Cross

'St. Peter Damian says that the altar of God receives no other fire than that of divine love. Hence he that dares to ascend the altar inflamed by the fire of impurity is consumed by the fire of divine vengeance.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'They are the flower of the Church's growth; the grace of the spirit finds in them its beauty and delicacy; they are our pride and bloom; in them praise and honor have their perfect and incorrupt work; they are God's image reflecting the Lord's sanctity; the more illustrious portion of Christ's flock. In them exults, in them beauteously flowers the glorious fecundity of our mother the Church, and the more virginity adds to its number the more that mother's joy increases.'

St. Cyprian of Carthage

Psalm 31
of the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by St. Bonaventure

Blessed are they whose hearts love thee, O Virgin Mary:
their sins will be mercifully washed away by thee.

Holy, chaste, and fruitful is thy womb:
which produces a perpetual verdant flower.

The beauty of thy grace will never see corruption:
and the grace of thy countenance will never fade.

Blessed art thou, O sublime Rod of Jesse:
for thou hast raised thyself unto Him who sits in the highest.

O Virgin Queen, thou thyself art the way by which salvation from on high hath visited us.

O God and Lord of the Powers
by St. Basil the Great

O God and Lord of the Powers, and Maker of all creation, Who, because of Thy clemency and incomparable mercy, didst send Thine Only-Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and with His venerable Cross didst tear asunder the record of our sins, and thereby didst conquer the rulers and powers of darkness;

Receive from us sinful people, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication, and deliver us from every destructive and gloomy transgression, and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure us.

Nail down our flesh with fear of Thee, and let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but pierce our souls with Thy love, that ever contemplating Thee, being enlightened by Thee, and discerning Thee, the unapproachable and everlasting Light, we may unceasingly render confession and gratitude to Thee: The eternal Father, with Thine Only-Begotten Son, and with Thine All-Holy, Gracious, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Logged

'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
Brigid
Established
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 4108



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 03:18:09 PM »

Is the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary the same as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary? I say that Office and don't remember seeing that one. It's wonderful and makes me see St. Bonaventure in a new light (or should I say "Light").

In meditating in Adoration yesterday, I thought about listing all of my God given strengths and my weaknesses, in order to be closer to true (not false) humility. Your post about "cleaning out your motivations" seems to point to this also. Thank you.

Logged

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Matt. 6:21
Shin
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18074



View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 06:29:21 PM »

There are many Psalters of the B.V.M., this one is not the same as the Little Office, but is 150 Psalms that parallel the Scriptural Psalms, but these devoted directly to Our Lady. Smiley
Logged

'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
Roger Buck
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2010, 09:49:59 AM »

How do you tell when your devotions are bringing you closer to Him or are only lip-service. I pray meditatively/contemplatively every day, and have numerous devotions, but most of the time I feel that I'm just trying to show myself how devout I am. I realize we can't go solely by feelings, however since we're humans (unlike Mr. Spock) we have to acknowledge them somewhat. Is this simply aridity?

Any ideas?

The fact that you are conscious of the possibility of " just trying to show myself how devout I am" ...

Show IMHO an efficacy to your prayer life in itself.

This fallenness exists in all of us. Wanting to take pride in ourselves. But the more we become conscious of it, the more it shows I think God is winning ...

Of course comments like this from myself will tend to feed the tendency to pride!

Still I think encouragement is good and we just need to try to keep watching, be conscious of this temptation, while knowing it will never go away in this world ...

Though I have not so much time, I am enjoying reading the beauty and sincerity I am finding at this new forum ...
Logged

Roger Buck

 *Link Removed*
Brigid
Established
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 4108



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2010, 04:35:34 PM »

Shin,

But then how can I discern whether I am experiencing His Will for my aridity or am creating it myself and shoving Him away?

Roger,

You're right about my concern over this showing that I am receiving some Light that I wasn't aware of. But maybe it is also part of my showing myself how devout I am.(?) You're also right in saying that we do need to encourage each other in the Lord. St. Paul says as much. And I know that I have a huge ability to be gloomier than I need be. After all, St. Teresa of Avila is credited with saying, "Lord, deliver me from gloomy saints."
Logged

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Matt. 6:21
Shin
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18074



View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2010, 04:55:54 PM »

Well, it's hard for me to understand what the proper interior state is too emotionally.. and so much is involved in how that works.. so many factors. .

Discernment is the queen of virtues, a great saint and monk of the desert once said..

It can be hard to tell, so you pray and you think and you try to understand yourself better..

You sound like you already know some of what you need to. It's easy to be gloomier than you should be. It can be hard to learn the difference between good sadness and bad sadness. But in the end the good is the one that brings you to God, and the bad the one that sticks you in a rut.

Often we already know already what we have to do but we've gotten so used to it.. that we don't see how clear or important it is anymore.. Or think it can happen.. It can take a strange situation or trouble to jolt us to realize... 'I do have to do this differently.. think different.. feel different..'

So it can be hard to tell.. I think if you can overcome the aridity.. then you should.. but at the same time you have to have a certain peace where you are at.. so you do what you can, and whether it works or not, you maintain peace, until you find the way.

That is how a monk would do it, I think. Or a nun. Smiley

Now on the practical side I can simply say to overcome gloominess, gratitude is the secret to happiness. That is counting your blessings, or finding meditations and sermons that help you to do this. So that you reflect on how good the Lord has been to you in so many ways. And reflecting on this if one can feel happiness, tends to make one happy, better than just about anything, and we never need to hesitate in this happiness because it is always a good happiness to be grateful to the Lord for His blessings. We can be happy and cry at the same time because he is so good to us, who deserve it not.  Cheesy  :'(  Little Angel

If I reflect on how worthless and useless I am, but the Lord still loves me, and gives me all these things -- I feel unworthy, and yet happy at the same time, grateful, a mixture of joy and sadness.. and I feel this is a very good thing. And if I follow this road someday perhaps I will reach that 'gift of tears' the monks treasure.

FWIF.. I am only a beginner in these things and could easily be giving off kilter advice. Do your best! Pray and trust! What God desires for you can be done however much the feeling is or is not there! Trust! And the way will open sooner or later.  Cheesy
Logged

'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
dj808
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 13



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 07:51:42 AM »

"Let’s call it sickness, a desert malady. Anyone could lose perspective in that heat, weakened by hunger, thirst, and uncertainty. Yet a curious fact about illness, including depression, is that it can bring us to clarity. We value the quality of attention that comes to us when we are not well. In “I’m Not OK, You’re Not OK [ her review of The Noonday Demon, Joyce Carol Oates observes that “those afflicted with depression are often ambivalent about it, as no one is ambivalent about physical illness.” Her latter assumption belies the fact that people of many faiths have experienced ailments and incapacities as a gateway to spiritual insight. But her observation about depression reflects the fact that many people are conflicted about a state in which the ploys they’ve used to color things in their favor are stripped away, and they sense that they are witnessing the world as it is. The light maybe harsher than we would like, but at least it forces us to see."

Some more quotes and reading selections from a great book called Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris.

dj

[edited for content - administrator]
« Last Edit: February 09, 2010, 09:04:22 PM by Shin » Logged

Simone Weil writes "One cannot love or help a person one refuses to listen to; one cannot redeem a world one doesn’t look at; one cannot serve a God one doesn’t engage with."
Roger Buck
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 01:05:13 PM »

Shin,

But then how can I discern whether I am experiencing His Will for my aridity or am creating it myself and shoving Him away?

Roger,

... But maybe it is also part of my showing myself how devout I am.(?) You're also right in saying that we do need to encourage each other in the Lord. St. Paul says as much.

I think it may well be too - but I am sure only in PART. But what comforts me, Brigid, when I look at myself with such things is that I think we ALL in this boat together. We are all fallen. And the Fall is to do with pride. I at least certainly have a pride that is egocentrically concerned woth "showing myself how devout I am."

And I don´t think you and I are alone with this problem Smiley!

But as we become aware of it, it shows our conscience is developing, that we are His Grace ...

Logged

Roger Buck

 *Link Removed*
Bailey2
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1474



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2010, 10:18:55 PM »

How do you tell when your devotions are bringing you closer to Him or are only lip-service. I pray meditatively/contemplatively every day, and have numerous devotions, but most of the time I feel that I'm just trying to show myself how devout I am. I realize we can't go solely by feelings, however since we're humans (unlike Mr. Spock) we have to acknowledge them somewhat. Is this simply aridity?

Any ideas?

I have come to the conclusion that there is not one little thing I can do that is good that is not tainted with self-serving motives.  So, I simply proceed.   I also feel that if I am indeed drawing closer to God, my "fruits" will make that statement rather than anything I feel or think. 
Logged
Brigid
Established
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 4108



View Profile
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2010, 10:26:11 PM »

How do you tell when your devotions are bringing you closer to Him or are only lip-service. I pray meditatively/contemplatively every day, and have numerous devotions, but most of the time I feel that I'm just trying to show myself how devout I am. I realize we can't go solely by feelings, however since we're humans (unlike Mr. Spock) we have to acknowledge them somewhat. Is this simply aridity?

Any ideas?

I have come to the conclusion that there is not one little thing I can do that is good that is not tainted with self-serving motives.  So, I simply proceed.   I also feel that if I am indeed drawing closer to God, my "fruits" will make that statement rather than anything I feel or think. 

I'll sure pray for the Grace to have the humility you show. I wonder though, if it isn't pretty easy to get "lukewarm" by simply waiting for our "fruits" to show?
Logged

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Matt. 6:21
Bailey2
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1474



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2010, 03:02:06 PM »


I'll sure pray for the Grace to have the humility you show. I wonder though, if it isn't pretty easy to get "lukewarm" by simply waiting for our "fruits" to show?
[/quote]

It is not humility.  It is just common sense (about the never pure motives).  I can see how getting "lukewarm" can be a consequence of my stance re: mixed motives in everything.  For me however, lukewarm periods are not the result of that but of being frustrated because I don't "feel" anything is happening for my effort in prayer coupled with the inability to intellectually comfort myself:  the only thing I get about thinking about God is doubt there even is a God  ....... so I have learned to quit thinking, ignore feelings, and simply accept that nothing I do is not tainted.  It is much easier that way.  I don't passively wait for fruits and I do "get" something out of the scriptures I meditate on sometimes but the only thing I can trust with certainty is loving and practicing virtue as best I can in concrete ways.  And I am so woefully bad at that so there is plenty of room for improvement.  Is that helpful?  Hard to put to words this stuff.

 
Logged
Brigid
Established
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 4108



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2010, 04:03:30 PM »


I'll sure pray for the Grace to have the humility you show. I wonder though, if it isn't pretty easy to get "lukewarm" by simply waiting for our "fruits" to show?

It is not humility.  It is just common sense (about the never pure motives).  I can see how getting "lukewarm" can be a consequence of my stance re: mixed motives in everything.  For me however, lukewarm periods are not the result of that but of being frustrated because I don't "feel" anything is happening for my effort in prayer coupled with the inability to intellectually comfort myself:  the only thing I get about thinking about God is doubt there even is a God  ....... so I have learned to quit thinking, ignore feelings, and simply accept that nothing I do is not tainted.  It is much easier that way.  I don't passively wait for fruits and I do "get" something out of the scriptures I meditate on sometimes but the only thing I can trust with certainty is loving and practicing virtue as best I can in concrete ways.  And I am so woefully bad at that so there is plenty of room for improvement.  Is that helpful?  Hard to put to words this stuff.

 
[/quote]

Very helpful (and I do admire what His Grace has allowed you to do!).
Logged

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.
Matt. 6:21
Shin
Administrator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 18074



View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2010, 04:05:39 PM »

By the way, welcome to the forums Bailey2!  Cheesy
Logged

'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
Bailey2
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1474



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2010, 04:41:05 PM »

By the way, welcome to the forums Bailey2!  Cheesy

thank you Shin; this is a much gentler forum, by far!   thumbs up
Logged
Bailey2
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1474



View Profile
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2010, 05:13:30 PM »



Very helpful (and I do admire what His Grace has allowed you to do!).
[/quote]

I think it is more like emotional survival than grace.   Grin
Logged
Pages: [1] Print 
Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Saints' & Spiritual Life General Discussion  |  Topic: Devotion vs. Being Pharisaical « previous next »
Jump to:  



Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines