When We are Down…
The following are some team members’ reading or listening suggestions for when you are feeling agitated by negative, condemning, or discouraging thoughts.
Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Father Jacques Philippe
If you’re agitated by negative, condemning, discouraging thoughts, you can open this book to just about anywhere, read just a bit, and it will bring you back to your senses, back to sanity, and back to seeing and living according to the Truth.
Interior Freedom by Father Jacques Philippe
The Place We Find Ourselves podcast by Adam Young
How We Are Known
The divine knowledge (i.e., God’s knowledge) of a soul is always a merciful knowledge. We can never be in true relationship with God until we discover that we are only known mercifully. Not just loved with intermittent mercy after sinning and repenting once again, but that we cannot be looked at, that we cannot be known by God or drawn to him except as a soul in need, poor and destitute, incapable of avoiding collapse and ruin without divine intervention.
A profound mercy, in other words, permeates God’s vision of our soul. On our part, faithfulness to this mercy is to keep an awareness of the divine gaze upon our soul. It is to know ourselves as known by God in mercy. The soul conscious of mercy enters into prayer in poverty and need, but it also knows God’s presence as a gaze of love upon its poverty. And its confidence in mercy becomes an implicit wonder and admiration directed toward God’s attraction for the poverty at the heart of our soul.
By Father Donald Haggerty, priest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NY City in his book, Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God.
“It may be that in various parts of our lives we shall have to follow the path – possibly a difficult one – that leads from rebellion or resignation to consent, and ends finally in ‘choosing what we did not choose’.
Let’s begin with some ideas on the slow process of learning to love ourselves correctly, fully accepting ourselves just as we are. First of all, the most important thing in our lives is not so much what we can do, as leaving room for what God can do. The great secret of all spiritual fruitfulness and growth is learning to let God act. ‘Apart from me, you can do nothing,’ Jesus tells us. God’s love is infinitely more powerful than anything we can do by our own wisdom or our own strength. Yet one of the most essential conditions for God’s grace to act in our lives is saying yes to what we are and to the situations in which we find ourselves.
It works on reality, the specific concrete elements of our lives. Even if the fabric of our everyday lives doesn’t look very glorious to us, only there can we be touched by God’s grace. The person God loves with the tenderness of a Father, the person he wants to touch and to transform with his love, is not the person we’d have liked to be or “ought” to be. It’s the person we are. God doesn’t love “ideal persons” or “virtual beings”. He loves actual, real people. He is not interested in saintly figures in stained glass windows, but in us sinners. A great deal of time can be wasted in the spiritual life complaining that we are not like this or not like that, lamenting this defect or that limitation, imagining all the good we could do if, instead of being the way we are, we were less defective, more gifted with this or that quality or virtue, and so on. This is a waste of time and energy that merely impedes the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts…
To ‘set grace free’ in our lives, and to pave the way for deep and spectacular changes, it sometimes would be enough to simply say, ‘yes’ – a ‘yes’, inspired by trust in God to the aspects of our lives we’ve been rejecting… we [can] block the Holy Spirit’s action, since he can only affect our reality to the extent that we accept it ourselves… We must accept ourselves just as we are, if the Holy Spirit is to change us for the better.”
~ Fr Jaques Philippe in Interior Freedom
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“Then I saw truly that it gives more praise to God and more delight if we pray steadfast in love, trusting His Goodness, clinging to Him by grace, than if we ask for everything our thoughts can name. All our petitions fall short of God and are too small to be worthy of Him, and His Goodness encompasses all that we can think to ask. The best prayer is to rest in the Goodness of God, knowing that His Goodness can reach right down to our lowest depths of need.”
~ Julian of Norwich
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When you can learn to patiently endure those things about yourself that displease you, you will make a perfect resting place for the Lord.
~ St. Therese of Lisieux