Spiritual Reflections

The Healing Pool

In the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range near where I lived for many years, there were geothermal pools where those who were troubled with arthritis and other maladies came to bathe to be relieved of their pain. The header for this page reminds me of one of those healing pools. Such a pool existed in Bethsaida, a small town in Galilee, where several of Jesus’ miracles took place. The healings at the pool of Bethsaida were not worked by minerals or the warmth of the water, but by an angel who would occasionally stir the water, (John 5: 2). It was there Jesus encountered the paralytic, yet He did not heal him by immersion into the pool, as the man requested. Instead, he made it a point to simply tell the paralytic to rise, reminding him to sin no more, for He was greater than the angel who stirred the waters of the pool. And the healing that needed to be done was not primarily physical, but spiritual. And so we gather here beside the pool, to invite Our Lord into our lives to heal us from sin and to spend some quiet moments contemplating those things that will help us to reclaim our souls in a world gone mad. The steam from the water rises and the sun casts her early rays, the quakies shake the dew from their leaves and whisper among themselves. A whitetail doe and her fawn watches from the shelter of the pines. Here we can be at peace and listen for the voice of our Beloved, that peace that surpasseth all understanding. Sangres for healing pool

Entry for Sept. 30, 2022

Psalm 46: 1-10

Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea.

Their waters roared and were troubled: the mountains were troubled with his strength.

The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle.

God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early.

Nations were troubled, and kingdoms were bowed down: he uttered his voice, the earth trembled.

The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector.

Come and behold ye the works of the Lord: what wonders he hath done upon earth, making wars to cease even to the end of the earth.

He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire.

Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.

Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11, 2022

Preliminary contemplation

From the work L’âme intérieure, written by l’abbé Baudrand (1822); translation by Javier Morell Ibarra:

We could not invite souls to the interior life in such a stronger way and by a more interesting motive for them than by telling them that it is God Himself who, by some special predilection, is inviting them, is summoning them and almost prompting them. It is there, in this secret life that He wants to entertain them face to face, communicate His inspirations to them, partake His graces with them, in a word, speak to their heart.

The world will invite its partisans to frivolous amusements, profane shows, pleasure parties so often mixed with bitterness and followed by remorsement. God invites the souls that are dear to Him to approach Him, to occupy themselves with worthy things, to hearken the oracles of His eternal wisdom; will they reject His sweet invitation? Will they reject their own bliss?

Come then, ye God’s chosen souls, come near the voice that is heard by your hearts; come gather the treasure of graces which are  graciously given you as a singular privilege; come draw from its source the healthy waters that spring to eternal life; come and instruct yourselves with the true science of saints, so you may know the way which will lead you to eternal bliss, come and learn to cry for your sins, to moan over the illusions of your past life, to prepare yourselves to enter a new life that can one day grant you entrance to immortal life, for which you have been created.

Let the mundane run after the false prestige of this world, the allures of lie, the poisoned joys of this wicked century; instead, separate yourselves from the general malady that has infected the world and be humble and docile to the divine voice calling you, and apply your feelings and needs to the one and only affair that concerns you.

Do not be amazed at natural repugnance or at the alarms of self-love, nor at the efforts made by the devil to keep you away from this interior life; it should suffice you to know that a God full of goodness is inviting you, His special grace is awaiting you, and your solid happiness is prepared for you. 

Oct. 22, 2022 — St. Melo, Bp. (more from l’abbé Baudrand)

Let us understand then how badly we need the interior life, for all sorts of motives call us to develop and increase our intimate relationship with God.

1º Firstly, because Jesus Christ is our head, we are His members, and so the members must live from the life of the head, and the head must infuse life in the members; but, what was the life of Christ on earth? Ah! If we had but once entered into His heart…

2º Because our whole business in this mortal life is to establish Christ’s kingdom in our souls; but, we know, His kingdom has not been an exterior kingdom of glory, might and luster; He often said that Himself, My kingdom is not from this world; and how will this interior kingdom be established within us if it is not by a life completely turned inwards? 

3º Because failing this, our souls do not have this true life that makes worshippers in the spirit; there is an analogy between our souls and our bodies, since bodies without souls are nothing but corpses without feelings; so it is with the soul without the interior life which is like without motion, without feeling and without life.

Let us say it then: the interior life is indispensable, absolutely necessary for us, it is so necessary that without it, we would not know how to live the life that Christ Himself wanted to convey to us; it is so badly needed that without it, we will never attain the degree of sanctity or eternity that God has reserved for us, and not only that, without the interior life even our eternal salvation is in great danger.

Prayer to the Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost, God of lights, source of graces, author of all divine gifts, you are the supreme guide of souls; deign to enlighten, purify, revive mine, and take it to sacred shrine of interior life for  which you inspire such a great love and burning yearning in me. I now understand, alas, how far I am, but with the aid of your graces, I dare to aspire, because it is You that invite me, what would I not expect from your assistance? (to be continued at a later date)

Fr. Frederick W. Faber on Self Deceit, from his Spiritual Conferences, 1858

“Self-deceit is perhaps the most uncomfortable and disquieting subject in the whole of spiritual theology. Why then should we speak of it? For that very reason. The spiritual life is a reality, by far the most real of all realities, because it is our intercourse with God on the most momentous of all interests. It cannot help being real, real with a reality which must often be felt as an important and inopportune yoke upon our frivolous nature. Yet if we are in earnest about saving our souls, and it would be fearful indeed not to be in earnest about such a matter, we should not look about in the spiritual life for smooth things and easy sayings, but for true things and sincere sayings. Some people pride themselves on their principle of getting out of the way of frightening things, and consider it the height of discretion to keep such matters at arm s length, and to be very solemnly severe upon books and preachers that profess to deal in them.

“Such persons are simply insincere, and we must make no account of them. They are worth very little in the sight of God, and therefore their example is worth nothing to us. They must be judged after they die, and it is greatly to be suspected that the judgment will throw a somewhat disconsolate light over this eccentric discretion of theirs. On the whole the judgment is an exceedingly awkward time for finding out mistakes, particularly indiscreet discretions, for many reasons which it is not- of consequence for us to go into, because not holding the opinions of these persons we are not likely to fall into their mis takes, whatever other mistakes may befall us.

“We are very much in earnest with God. We desire to advance in His ways. So we make up our minds to grapple with this ugly subject of self-deceit, and take a very close view of it, believing that the unpleasant operation will be of the greatest service to our souls. Many souls have unquestionably been lost altogether by self-deceit. Many more have fallen far short of the purposes of God upon them. In the case of all of us, numbers of graces have been wasted through not meeting with correspondence, and most frequently that want of correspondence has been attributable to self-deceit. A disease, from which almost everybody suffers, and whose consequences may easily be so ruinous, claims an honest investigation from those who desire to be honest both with God and self.

“Untruthfulness is a very odious thing. It is the most offensive and provoking charge we can make against another. Men of honour consider that it is an imputation which can only be washed out with blood; though what sort of honour this is, is perhaps difficult to say, and more difficult still to discern how blood cleans it when it has been stained. Anyhow it is unpleasant to shed the blood of a fellow creature, and to most men considerably more unpleasant to shed their own; and hence the determination to run this double risk shows how odious the charge of untruthfulness is to the hearts of men. But this is part of the world’s self-deceit, that is, of everybody s self-deceit. We would fain persuade ourselves that untruthfulness is very rare. Else why should we murder our companion merely for attributing to us something very common? Either we have persuaded ourselves that it is not very common, or we are so bent on persuading ourselves of it, that we have made up our minds to shoot any man who raises the question in oar own case. Duelling, however, is manifestly not a counsel of perfection. So we want nothing more of it than this proof how odious the charge of untruthfulness is to the human heart” (pgs. 153-55).

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