Anything supernatural I’ll have to preface by stating that I am by no means an expert, at the same time I like to describe myself as an imperfect practitioner but at least trying to arrive at a solution.
In one sense, one can describe love in two ways:
- Natural Love – love on a natural level, the kind of love a parent might have for a child or the kind among friends, getting value out of a relationship
- Divine Love – love on a supernatural level, the kind of love the Jesus has for each one of us, the kind of love of saints, loving those who have harmed you
Loving while suffering I would say is a bit supernatural, divine love. Divine love is love without a price tag – it is when you love without self-interest. Agape love. It seems true love is unfair as the initiator not only expects nothing in return, he is often left hanging, even suffering while the beloved may be ungrateful, disinterested, self-absorbed. This is often how we treat Jesus.
So how do we love while suffering? Consider a few points:
- Try to see things in the eyes of Jesus e.g.:
- Imagine Jesus asking you: “Do you love me enough to share my suffering with you?”
- Jesus understands your suffering, he consoles us when we let him. At least as a friend, we can accept the suffering as a gift to Jesus, keeping in mind the greater good of the human family
- Suffering in love in a sense is like a mother giving birth to a child; in the midst of the suffering we can’t always appreciate the meaning of this suffering until there is a birth of something good
- Some might think suffering is evil, but God allows evil for a greater good – that we may be virtuous yet even better – that we may love freely and more beautifully with deeper meaning and value
- Why can’t God just take away all the suffering? Why can’t he just give us everything like dropping manna from the sky? He could but he wants us to possess and share his inheritance like he does – from within himself
- How about we give, not just externally or when it is easy, but how about we give from within ourself, how about we love by giving from within?
- Consider some thoughts by C.S. Lewis, sometimes our hearts need to be broken, for our own good
- It can be a joy, not necessarily feeling happy, but some level of contentment as you can derive peace from participating in meaningful love
Leave a comment
The word “Love” is perhaps the most abused word and I find that I should make a few notes:
- “Love” has many different meanings (to dive deeper, see Deus Caritas Est [“God is Love”] and Caritas in Veritate [“Charity in Truth”])
- Very often I talk about “Love” and “God” so much and I notice there may be a tendency to sometimes love the idea of “Love” [i.e. “God”] than the person of “Love” [i.e. Jesus]
- God does [through Jesus] come down to our level [and it is good], but we have to remember and give respect to God by trying to rise up to Him (we need a deeper sense of transcendence):
- Don’t dehumanize Jesus by stealing his teaching and philosophy (e.g. new age religion, “neo-paganism”), but not have a real relationship with the person of Jesus (Christianity is not primarily about ethics)
- One can’t experience the divine without going deeply into Jesus as a human; scripture is one definite place where you can learn about the person of Jesus – you can’t love what you don’t know
- Too often it seems we implicitly have a narcissistic attitude (“What’s in it for me?”) and design our lives accordingly. We can tend to control and design our own idea of God instead of having a relationship with God (e.g. lack of prayer); often in prayer we need to remain silent, at least for us to connect our heart to God:
- God does not need prayer, it is we who need to pray to God (of course God wants us to pray, to love him, to give him time, to be grateful, to make him part of our lives)
- In prayer, let the power of God take hold of you, don’t always try to rationalize
- We by ourselves probably are of little effect, yet it seems the power of prayer in part is because God praying through us
If you are wondering where some of this content is coming from, these are some notes [combined with my own] from attending a retreat with Father Antoninus Wall O.P. (short bio). Other perhaps lesser-known facts: (1) Pope John Paul (now saint) was his peer/classmate when they were studying in Rome. (2) his stories are amazing e.g. teaching to Mother Teresa’s congregation.
Leave a comment
If our eternal life depends on us being free of mortal sins, it seems very important to make good confessions. Ultimately yes, we depend on God’s mercy and rely on the power of Jesus on the cross [i.e. his love for us] and so from our hearts we must have contrition for our sins. This guide is to help us make a thorough confession as it seems there is more grace as we frequent the sacrament of confession with more fervor. I know personally in my life going to confession often has helped me heal so much and I would like this healing for you.
The fisheaters website has a good examination of conscience [unfortunately I can’t recommend the entire site though it does has good material there], while I have made the observation the the 12 Steps [created by a Catholic priest] is a good [but not perfect] way thoroughly make a confession. [to elaborate later in another revision]
Some points to consider for how to make a good confession:
Leave a comment
- There is really no good reason to not go to confession – consider how blessed we are and the benefits of confession
- Yet at the same time are we implicitly thinking only of the benefits we can derive from confession? e.g. to go to confession just to remove our guilt?
- Are we asking God for grace to remove all our weaknesses?
- We should not ask God to remove all our weaknesses!
- Sure we want grace to help us not sin, but we don’t want God to take away our crosses!
- If we cease to struggle, that’s when we seriously have a problem; without weaknesses we would make ourselves God, but fundamentally we need God because undeniably we a broken human nature
- We need to ask for grace to persevere (ironically it is the grace to keep struggling!)
- Past failure has worth:
- Don’t forget about our own sins – not in a morbid way but as a reminder of our need of God, a reminder of God’s love for us, that we may be more grateful
- Remember: Jesus chose Peter; Peter was more lovable in God’s eyes because of his weaknesses.
- God loves us [despite our weaknesses] because He is loving, not because He is looking at our weaknesses as some as a vengeful judge nor is He looking for us to earn His love
- Make no mistake, Hell does exist and while God does not want us there, we have a choice, just as we have freedom to love
Most of what I was going to post on this blog was meant to augment my life manual but I’m thinking I should modify what I should post on this site.
I do have a deep desire in me to give a legacy to you [whoever reads this blog] but I’m reminded again that all of this site is mere words. After attending a friend’s father’s funeral it reminded me that when I die, there probably won’t be much time with words to say all that I would like to say; is my idea leaving people with a website a foolish way to die (“I’ve died now; go look at my website!”)? – how impersonal! Hopefully I would have already affected people’s lives in a very personal and good way long before my death, hopefully I would have already created loving, joyful, peaceful memories for people to remember me by (though I need not necessarily to be remembered except for what is necessary for my salvation). Hopefully through my prayers and actions I would have made their lives better.
The life manual seems more of a template for one to live by. Life should be more about giving [sharing] of oneself than receiving. While the life manual was created through my own life experience it isn’t necessarily who I am; it almost seems an impersonal way to get to know me. Even if I enumerate all of my attributes, beliefs, principles, etc. it cannot fully encapsulate who I am. You cannot really know me without personal contact with me [which is a reminder to me I need to share more of myself with people if they are going to get to know me]
I will share some of my experiences, my progress, my creativity on this blog. It seems if one is growing and connected to God who is love, who is the creator of all things, they will be creative and have more things to share. In that sense I will keep myself accountable, by sharing. At the same time I need to remind myself to participate in the lives of people and attending to eternal things (e.g.: love, prayer, people/family, giving life, truth) i.e. I need to share [on this blog to be accountable] by not sharing [instead of making blog posts for example on love, I should be making love 🙂 ].
Leave a comment
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”
Leave a comment
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C. S. Lewis
If I look for truth, I may find comfort – but I may not. Life is not about being comfortable. It’s about pressing forward out of my comfort zone. It’s about getting up everyday and accepting whatever challenge I am faced with, staying faithful to the truth and searching for the meaning and value in the suffering I endure.
The Christian life is not the secret to success, but the shortcut to sainthood. It is not here to cure your pain so much as to keep you from wasting it.
We are obsessed with getting rid of pain. That’s often a good thing, but it’s not the most important thing. What’s more important is the soul that is forged in the fire of that pain. In this fire, we discover the truth about who we are.
We are reminded that we are small and weak and in need of help. That we have limits and are in need of a Limitless One. This is the truth. Too much comfort puts us in danger of forgetting it.
You weren’t made for this world, so don’t get too comfortable.
Leave a comment
“No, God is a lover who is a warrior. […] Love is at war with hate, betrayal, selfishness, and all love’s enemies. Love fights. Ask any parent. Yuppie-love, like puppy-love, may be merely “compassion” (the fashionable word today), but father-love and mother-love are war.”
Read the whole article; it’s well worth it.
I wanted to add: the enemy is within; it’s a spiritual warfare and it ties into the second greatest commandment – Love one another as you love yourself:
- you can’t give what you don’t have
- you can’t love what you don’t know, if you don’t know yourself, you don’t really love yourself
- to what extent can you love others if you don’t know yourself?
- always be free of mortal sins; you can’t be sure you are thinking clearly if you are not in the state of grace
- find a good spiritual director and pray the rosary often
- ask God to let you see yourself as He sees you because humility is seeking out the truth; let the Holy Spirit lead and work from there
Fight for Love, be not afraid to suffer for love!
Leave a comment