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markdohle

Choosing Love

Choosing Love

In the fundamental meditation about the goal; that is, of choosing love:
 the soul must love; it has need of living.  The soul must divert the
stream of its love, but not into the mud or into a vacuum, but into God.  How I rejoice when I reflect on this, for I feel clearly that He Himself is in my heart. 
Just Jesus alone!  I love creatures insofar as they help me to become united with God.  I love all people because I see the image of God in them.
(Diary of Divine Mercy)

 

How is it possible to see the image of God in all people?  Those I love or people who are kind to me can bring about the experience of seeing God in them easily.  Yet I am called to see deeper and to love more broadly than that.  For even my loved ones, if they treat me in an unjust manner, or abuse me in some way, or betray me; to find the image of God is them would be much more difficult.  For when I love, it is based on some need.  Love of my family and friends, for instance, is not completely unconditional but can turn.  Yet again, Jesus calls me to love all, even my enemies. 

Agape is pure love that is shown us through the revelation of Jesus Christ.  I often think and pray over the story of the Prodigal Son.  Even though that parable can be looked at from more than one perspective, for it is all about the Father, his relationship with both of his sons, and how he showed his love for them.

He allowed the younger son to leave, to offend him greatly by asking for his inheritance.  In doing so, he in effect, told his father that he wished him dead since he was in the way of living the kind of life he wanted…..yet out of love the father let him go, for love has to be freely given or it is not really love, but something based more on fear and underlying resentment.

The father waited every day for his son to return.  When the son did return, for other than truly being sorry (I believe), but wanted food and a place to stay.  I do not think he in any way expected his father to react the way he did.  Yet even before the son arrived the father ran to him and embraced him, clothed him in his finest robes and killed the fatted calf.  All done out of love and not from anything the callow, self-centered, son did.

I would imagine he was not just surprised, but overwhelmed.  Yet in the story there is no definite ending, you could say that we are left hanging.  Did the son leave again, betray his father’s love?  Did he leave and return many times, until a time came when the son would make a definitive choice to return the father's love or not?  I do believe that when Jesus tells us to forgive 70 X 7 times a day, he is in reality showing us the infinite mercy and willingness to forgive of the father.

Yet I can struggle to forgive, even though I have been embraced by the love of God the Father many times.  When I say the Our Father, I seek to bring into my heart and consciousness awareness all in my life that I need to forgive, especially those who I have forgotten, yet their wounds still affect me.  I seek to consciously to forgive everyone whom I have hurt, as well as to forgive all who have hurt, betrayed, or abused me in any way.  Perhaps I will have to say the Our Father many more times before complete healing comes about.  The very desire to pray this way is a grace, for the chains that are worn that come from not forgiving can truly be heavy and weary the soul to death. Yet the Father, our loving God is always waiting and when we stumble towards him, even if our reasons are not based totally on love, yet he runs towards us because God the Father is free to love, I still struggle with this reality, because such freedom has yet to be given me…..I am still on the way to fully put on Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

markdohle

My struggles to understand ‘Trust’ in God thr

My struggles to understand ‘Trust’ in God through prayer and study

When I received Holy Communion, I said to Him, “Jesus, I thought about You so many times last night,” and Jesus answered me, And I thought of you before I called you into being.  “Jesus, in what way were You thinking about me?”  In terms of admitting you to My eternal happiness.  After these words, my soul was flooded with the love of God.  I could not stop marveling at how much God loves us.(Faustina’s diary 1292)

I believe that the ‘private revelations’ of the mystics can be very helpful for Christians to grow in understanding of God’s love.  Those that are approved by the church have been scrutinized closely before they are approved.  For instance, the St. Faustian revelations were at one time repressed, due to errors in translations.  It was St. John Paul the second who reopened her case and encouraged the faithful to read her.  It, of course, is dealing with the mercy of God.  It is not an easy attribute of God to understand since the Church is still on the road to growing in understanding of the depth of God’s mercy for mankind.  These revelations do not add to the Public Revelation of the scriptures but can give new insights and emphasis. 

There is a paradox for those who seek God and understand their need for grace, no matter what tradition they follow.  For God responds to those who seek and in order to draw them deeper into His embrace, it is imperative that we grow in self-knowledge, which is not an easy journey.  The ego will often hide from the darker realms that exist within each soul.  Repression has its uses, for there are aspects of ourselves that if they came to full light would lead us to despair.  So the Lord in his mercy and his deep knowing what each soul needs, only brings to light what can be tolerated, though not without pain.  For mercy can only be received at the level that we understand our need for healing, as well as for the harm and yes evil we have committed against others, as well as towards ourselves.  We can be very sensitive when we are treated in an unjust manner but may be unable to see what we do to others, for we always have a good excuse I believe….or I do.  I am speaking of course about myself, more than others. 

I struggle with the idea of God’s love and infinite mercy.  In my mind, when I try to figure it out I become confused and I am tempted to unbelief since unconditional love is not something I have ever experienced.  It seems impossible, or too good to be true, etc.  Yet the Lord through the mystics is constantly trying to redirect our fear towards trust and love.  The paradox is that in order to lead us deeper into trust, the Holy Spirit has to reveal to us (me) the truth about my need for mercy and healing.  It is only love that can heal the inner pain, sorrow and yes rage that lurks ln the souls of many men and women. 

When I meditate on the passion and remember that Jesus died for each unique human being, it is then that I begin to understand that it is my own inner rage that lashed Jesus, and mocked Him with the crown of thorns and in a rage nailed him to the cross.  I find this hard to sustain.  I tend to think of myself as one among billions, unnoticed, yet with God, there is only each ‘me’ as if that ‘Thou’ was his only child.  I don’t get it, but pray and work on it and wonder when my heart will break open.  I really do want to breathe, but at this time of my life, I still gasp along.

When I think of the mercy of God, at times I feel nothing.  When I think of the passion, I fall asleep, I can find God boring and find it hard to pray.  I guess that is why I use beads so much, it gives me a track to follow when I pray, a way to settle down and to just ‘trust’ that God is present.

Yet amidst my poverty and yes my still love of ‘sin’, of my own way to deal with my pain, that never works…Yet I still trust in God’s love for me.  All these years, with my stumbling, getting up, wandering off, coldness and indifference, yet the grace of God has seen me through.  Perhaps that is where I need to experience God’s love, in his faithfulness towards me who is not always faithful.  When I am at my worst or feel alienated from God and others, it is then that I am called to open my heart in trust and abandonment to the Divine Lover of my soul. 

When self-knowledge continues to grow, prayer changes, oneness become a reality, where others are also incorporated in one’s embrace of God….none of us journeys alone, we are connected to many and in our struggles and prayers, we support one another. 



 

 

 

 

 

markdohle

The Shack, the book, the movie how it can heal
(or how it can help to heal me)

“Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
William Paul Young, The Shack

Not everyone likes William Paul Young’s book ‘The Shack”.  I am not one of them; I love the book.  I have read the book three times and each time my response is unlike any other book that I have read, apart from the New Testament.  The book for me is like a poultice drawing to the surface a level of sorrow that I have never really known was there.  I find it amazing that this book is so powerful for me and yes healing.  I even shed tears though this is something I seldom do.  After I was around 14 until I was in my late 50’s, shedding tears was a mystery to me; still is actually.  However, I have learned to embrace mystery as I age, especially the mystery of my own inner life, my struggles, my anger, my longings, hunger and yes now some ‘deep’ sorrow.  Perhaps the book is so popular because many who read it discover the same thing.  The power of our often repressed longings for love that rises from the depths of our souls.

I have many hard places within my soul, sharply pointed defenses that are simply there and all my life it has slowly dawned on me what a powerful prison cell it is.  Yet, from the Shack I have also learned that God does bring good out of our pain, even if God did not cause it, will it, but yes allowed it to happen.  Slowly I am learning to trust God as revealed in Christ Jesus and the love that comes with that revelation.  I still don’t get it, but the bottom is sinking and as I go deeper in I am finding only more love.

“You cannot produce trust just like you cannot 'do' humility. It either is or is not.”
William Paul Young, The Shack

It is amazing Lord, that I can trust, that I can go against the tide, that I can trust even when all seems to work against that expression of my soul.  Yes, I can choose, for it is the seed that you planted in my heart many, many, years ago when I was very young and often felt fearful and lost in a very large alien world, a world where I had nightmares every night.  Being chased by dead looking people, my legs would not move or barely shuffle, though the cold midst, in the dark forest, with others, only laughing at me when I asked for help.  I believe in the midst of the fear you planted trust for I have always felt your pursuit….even when I thought you a monster.

I trust in your ‘otherness’ that means that your love is ‘more’ infinitely more than I can comprehend and that gives me hope.  My heart is still made of much stone, walls that I can’t remove, yet slowly you lead me to deeper trust.

“Love is not the limitation; love is the flying.”
William Paul Young, The Shack

Sometimes when I feel your love Lord, my heart feels like it will explode, or my soul will expand too fast and it will break; so little my capacity at this time.  Yet your Holy Spirt continues to burn away at the speed that I can tolerate my fear, anger, and lack of trust.  I feel like my soul is beginning to open up to your love and one day I will experience it fully…..my prayer is that all will experience it as well so that we may all be one with you and each other. 

“Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself- to serve.”
William Paul Young, The Shack

What a paradox my Lord, that you are a God who serves. You showed that when you washed the feet of your apostles, giving that as an example.  One seldom followed.  It is easier to believe you are like us, instead of our allowing your grace to recreate us in your image and likeness.  We can make you into a monster, using you to send those we think unworthy into an eternal state of agony and feeling justified in doing so.  When you, in fact, have told us not to judge. 

The Shack is a good metaphor for all of us I believe, though many will disagree.  For myself, I will read the book many more times with the years I have left.  It is an important book and the fact that so many Christians don’t like it, may point out that Paul Young may be a prophet being used by God to heal the wounds we do not know we even have. 

markdohle

Faith and hope

 

Faith and hope

Faith and doubt,
to believe or not,
are choices Lord that we all make,
to trust or not, we choose,
it is our burden it seems,
each day on some level we turn,
we leave behind what we don’t desire or love,
a small seed that slowly takes root
becoming ever larger defining our world.

Lord, how vast is reality?
I feel that I live in a small box,
that the universe itself
as massive as it seems,
it is a mere dot before all that is,
before infinity. 

Lord you came into this world,
a revelation of what always was,
of the Infinite love of something beyond all thought,
yet shown to us as ‘Father’,

Mind boggling, soul shattering,
that love infinite is the basis of reality,

No wonder many do not believe,
I struggle beloved with such a revelation,
I can’t begin to understand,
yet my faith is both a choice and a grace,
both entwined like the Trinity,
one, yet different,
like mind, body, and spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

markdohle

The inner world of each of us

The inner world of each of us

The death to self is an inward journey,
my  duel with my fragmented self,
where wounds inflicted by those I love
at a tender age before reason  took root,
shattering my inward unity,
like broken glass spread upon a wooden floor.

O Lord help me to embrace my journey,
not fearing what I experience and see within,
for surrounded by this whirlpool of confusion and fear
you wait for me to trust allowing me to let you in,
to trust in your loving gaze
looking to you amidst the struggle,
to walk upon the water looking only at you,
and if I sink overcome by  the storm
yet you pull me back up again.

Each day is enough for the journey,
healing comes by understanding
that all my  days of life are ‘now’,
no matter the year or time,
for it all flows forward yet standing still,
for when young, or adult or finally in old age
all we have is today, this moment,
hopefully with opened heart embraced.

As with me so I believe with all,
my union with you draws me deeper
into the heart of all humanity.

Our Father who art in heaven, you see each one
as your only beloved Child. 

 

 

markdohle

 

The gathering in of our lost ones

When a friend is lost,
or someone deeply loved,
the soul seems to weep beyond emotion,
for as the numbers climb of those now gone
the fragility of all life cannot be denied
even if the reality not embraced out of fear
or incredulity.

Is death an exit into nothingness,
or an entrance into something more vast,
like the child leaving the womb
with all of its struggle and feelings of suffocation,
yet it leads to something more beyond expectation.

There are those who say they do not fear extinction,
or some awful afterlife state,
perhaps they speak the truth,
yet I think it a show of bravado
or whistling in the dark,
perhaps (though not for all)
denying an anxious fear
of how each is responsible
for what is planted in the earth.

Life seems a dream,
but the pain and joy very real,
so it goes how we choose,
seeds planted that bear fruit,
revealing naked truth.

Buried deep or our ashes scattered
we each must face our own demise,
sooner or later it does not matter,
for we all will become memories for others,
and a cause of the another soul weeping.

At the end of life, we will be judged by Love.

 

 

markdohle

Choose to begin to forgive

Choose to begin to forgive

March 25, 2017 "Dear children! In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to open your hearts to God’s mercy, to begin a new life through prayer, penance and a decision for holiness. This time of spring moves you to a new life, to a renewal, in your thoughts and hearts. Therefore, little children, I am with you to help you to say 'yes' to God and to God’s commandments with resoluteness. You are not alone; I am with you through the grace which the Most High gives me for you and your descendants. Thank you for having responded to my call." 03/25/2017 (Our Lady of Medjugorje)

 

Everyone has a story to tell.  The problem is that many feel that their past is somehow unique and fear being open to those that they know is trustworthy.  There are periods in one’s life when it is good to speak to someone you don’t know very well, but who can listen and not judge.  I suppose that clergy fill that purpose, as well as those who live in Monasteries, as well as teachers, and of course qualified health professionals. 

Working in our retreat house will often bring me in close proximity with people who have been deeply wounded by past experiences, either from family or friends of the family.  By this, I mean a very young age, in a time when trust was still intact and then torn away from them.  It is not a good way to wake up to the demands and harshness of life but common none the less. 

One of the hardest ‘feelings’ for many to deal with is that of shame as well as the rage that is often buried deep.  Our spiritual wounds can fester and become toxic and make life very difficult and limited.   While addictions promise to release, it is often a prison hard to break free from.  We can’t find healing by running away from our past, but in finding some way to stop running and to face one's inner pain and suffering, as well as the inner demons that can be present. 

There is a type of shame that is good.  The type that leads to conversion, to letting go of a way of life that is death-dealing over the long run.  Then there is the shame that should be bracketed since it comes from a place that based on a lie.  It is like guilt, there is true guilt that propels towards change and making amends, if possible.  Then a guilt that only leads the one experiencing it in endless circles, it is neurotic.  Learning the difference can make healing easier. 

Shame that is based on a lie can cause us to draw a shroud around us that keeps out the light of God love and healing.  From my own experience, it is only when I make a choice to be open to my inner need that I can allow God’s mercy and healing into my whole being.  Without that, acting out in many of its forms is the way to self-medicate….which leads nowhere.  When we experience opening up our whole being to God, we come to understand that He was always there, waiting for us to open up our hearts, to respond to grace.

I have found that no matter what I see, or experience within my soul, which comes up from the inner depths, is not an impediment to God’s love, but an actual help once one comes to the understanding that choice is possible, trust is possible, even in the midst of great pain and inner chaos.

Christ Jesus revealed Our Father to us, a Father loving, seeking to bring us into the very depths of the Holy Trinity.  The only obstacle is our trust.  We are not our inner emotions, we are not our feelings or even our thoughts, what we are is deeper within us and often hidden from our eyes and that is what God sees, who we really are.  What is that you may ask?  Perhaps one way to look at this is that only God knows our true name, and one day we will find out what that name is, known only to God and yourself.  It is hard to understand that in Christ Jesus, God is revealed as a loving father who wishes to have a deep, intimate relationship with us.  The Our Father can also bring a deep understanding of one’s connection with all of humanity, under one loving Father.

When I pray the Our Father, I bring to mind those I have hurt (and even forgotten), for those who hurt me, for those I have not yet forgiven (though I may not know it), as well as my family and those I know.  The Our Father if prayed consciously is one of the most healing prayers we can say.  For to truly say the Our Father from the heart, we need to have at least the desire to forgive and to pray for those we have hurt.  To live a life that is imprisoned by bitterness, hatred, and anger, is to live that life of a victim.  We allow the evil that is done to us to run/ruin our lives.  Jesus wishes to free us from that, which is why he commands us to forgive our enemies, to pray for them, in that we find healing for ourselves as well as for those who hurt and did great evil to us. 

Many fight this, for to hold on to pain is something we know, the freedom from such a life is a true unknown.  It is not magic, for part of carrying our cross is to not flee from the demands of this harsh world, a place of pain, hatred and often evil. It also a place of beauty, love, mercy and of union with others as well as with God, for to deny this is only to increase one's suffering and inner fragmentation. 

No one is outside of God’s love or mercy.  Mercy and Justice are very close together.  To seek mercy, healing and to let go of bitterness is to enter by the gate of Mercy, to not do that, it is the Gate of Justice.  Choose life, choose mercy and healing.  Choose to at least begin to forgive others and to release them into God’s hands. 

 

 

 

 

markdohle

Be witnesses of peace and love in this peaceless world

 
Dear children! The Most High has permitted me to call you to a new conversion. Little children, open your hearts to the grace to which you are all called. Be witnesses of peace and love in this peaceless world. Your life here on earth is passing. Pray that through prayer you may yearn for Heaven and the things of Heaven and your hearts will see everything differently. You are not alone;
I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for you.
 Thank you for having responded to my call. ”


 (Thursday, May 25, 2017, Our Lady message to the visionary Marija Pavlović

I can go from one day to the next, forgetting how short my life is.  Carl Jung started to believe in ‘something more’ than this life because of his experience with his unconscious when he dreamed.  As well as in the dreams of those who saw him.  Their content and symbols, even when death was concerned seemed to deny that death is the end.  Then, of course, he had his NDE and when he came back, he said it was like coming back into a world of boxes, or perhaps blinders would be a better word. 

“Your life here on earth is passing”.

 I know this intellectually, but on a visceral level, no, I will seldom advert to this reality.  Well, I will when I am actually in the dying process, and not just slowly dying from growing older.  The weakness and pain and nausea that often accompany the dying process is not something I want to think about, or do I actually need to.  However, the fact that I will die, I believe is important for me to meditate over and as a believer to pray about it.  What happens to my inner self when my final stop comes, or yours?  What is my life about?

Pray that through prayer you may yearn for Heaven and the things of Heaven and
your hearts will see everything differently
.

What are the things of Heaven?  Perhaps it is the most important things (or thing) that I seek here on earth.  Not riches, or pleasure, or fame and notoriety, but something else.  As I look around and see how people live who have all of these things, their lives are not much better than others in their interior selves.  Is heaven ‘home’?  What does ‘home’ mean?  For me, it is a place of total belonging, of being deeply rooted, centered and once again becoming that child I was before I got knocked out of the Garden of Eden.  Either by some sort of event from outside or when I was first able to say ‘NO!!!’.   Boundaries went up and the battle for autonomy had begun.  A necessary one in this hard world and I have found no exceptions, yet, to this harsh reality.

When I left ‘Eden’ I became aware my nakedness, vulnerability, weakness and the fact that I was in danger.   So that first ‘NO!!!” became one of many.  Some were needed; others only caused me harm and isolation from those around me and from my connection on my side of the fence, with God. 

“You are not alone”.

As my good friend, Gail would say:  “Really!”  I say that at times.  Really?  I can say now, yes ‘Really!”.  However, I often have to say my-self ‘yes’, in the midst of doubt.  For me, it is much easier to believe in nothing, but the fact there is so much around me, in a universe that is beautiful and rational, governed by laws; leads me to be bemused by Atheism.  Atheism and materialism are not based on science, but both are ideologies and philosophical beliefs.  So I believe that behind all the many things, there is One, Infinite, Intelligence.  Because I believe that, it seems logical that, that reality, would find some way to reveal its essential nature to us.  When I study other faiths, I see God at work in them all drawing man to seek answers and meaning in their lives.  So in Hinduism, Buddhism, Bahaism, and other faiths, and in all those who seek; I see a seeking after what is important in life.  

In Christianity, Christ Jesus shows us the Father whose nature is simplicity itself and made up with what we seek and possibly are, but it is buried beneath fear, pain and yes personal sin, which is a way of escaping reality.  That reality is love, but of a nature beyond our comprehension and one reason that I can fail so often in my own relationship with God and is presenting my faith to others in a way that is attractive. 

Christians can get so tied with ‘quotes’ that we lose what Jesus was trying to show us by his life and how he related to others, especially the outcast and sinners.  The parable of the Prodigal Son for instance…..to truly enter into that story, and pray about it, and seek to understand it, can transform the inner man in a profound way, and help to bring out our essential nature, which is being a true childlike individual. 

The more we understand our need for ‘grace’ and ‘mercy’ the quicker we understand others, for self-knowledge, is the magic key to living a truly loving and compassionate life.  To know one's self, but to also love ones-self is not a small feat, but a life long process. 

 

markdohle

The endless mystery of God’s love

 

O Incomprehensible God, how great is Your mercy! 
It surpasses the combined understanding of all men and angels.
 All the angels (107) and all humans have emerged
from the very depths of Your tender mercy. 
Mercy is the flower of love.  God is love,
and mercy is His deed.  In love it is conceived;
 in mercy, it is revealed.  Everything I look at speaks to me
of God’s mercy.   Even God’s very justice speaks to me
about His fathomless mercy, because justice flows from love.—
Divine Mercy Diary 651

 

I believe that mystery is something that is a deep need for mankind.  For me, a mystery is not something that is unknowable, but a reality that can be understood at ever deeper levels without exhausting its allure. 

I do believe that each human being is one such mystery.  The inner life of exploration is unending.  For as we change, grow, towards chaos or transformation, we still only experience a very small portion of whom or what we really are.  What are we really?  Are we actually made in the image and likeness of God?  If we are indeed rooted in God’s reality, then we are most certainly more than what we think we are.  Why else would Jesus tell us the importance of loving all and treating them as if they were Jesus Himself? 

When I look at a stranger, I have to remind myself of the vast inner world that is standing before me.  A human passing by is a whole universe that is known only by God.  I believe that the only way to bridge that reality is through love.  For to hate, or to ignore, or to feel superior, is only a wall that I build up to protect myself from the vastness of the mystery passing before me perhaps never to be seen again.  These barriers are often unconscious in me, but as I mature the reality of this tendency in me is becoming more apparent. 

For instance, with my loved ones, or friends, or workmates, or fellow community members, I can also reduce them to a size that I can easily handle, when in reality I am just making them into furniture that I can be comfortable with.  When I stop seeing those around me as like me, but also as other, it is a kind of death sentence for them.   They become mere props for the stage that is my life…a truncated life, one that can be experienced as empty and futile and isolating.  A foretaste of the eternal isolation of hell, where there is only one stage and I am the center of it, the god of my own world.

I can also make God into something understood, a piece of comfortable furniture in my inner life.  Even if my understanding is a fearful one, a terrifying one, it is still something I can handle, understand and even manipulate through certain rituals or prayers etc.  What is feared cannot be loved nor trusted, but only placated.

Yet when the reality of God’s love is experienced or conveyed through the mystics I can come face to face with my inability to actually understand, but which can be experienced.

I tend to make justice and mercy opposites.  That is because I know there is no real justice system in this world.  Many accused have been imprisoned and even executed who were, in fact, innocent of the crimes they were tried for.   We do the best we can, but to see into the heart of the matter, which is to see into the heart of the life being examined, is impossible for me or any other human being to accomplish I believe.  Yet not for God, who sees and understands all, is a different matter altogether and because of that reality, mercy, and justice are the same.  How that works out I am not sure, yet I do experience it every day and when I look back on my life, I am amazed at the mercy and compassion of God, who is infinitely compassionate and merciful.

Yet I still judge, put people in categories often negative ones.  As the years have passed, I am pained by that reality, yet when I pray I continually ask the Lord to touch my heart at ever deeper levels so that I may truly see and not be controlled by prejudices that are passed down from generation to generation, or learned by the brainwashing of our entertainment and news industry. –Br.MD


 

markdohle

Meaningless? (corrected copy)

Meaningless?

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
Everything is meaningless.”`    
“Utterly meaningless!
says the Teacher.    

When people hit a certain period in their lives, they come face to face with the absurdity of their existence.  It is easy to live one's life like a robot. Get up in the morning, shower, shave (if a male), have coffee and some sort of breakfast at home or in a drive through, rush hour traffic, work, lunch, work, drive home, supper, TV, perhaps some sort of entertainment and then bed. 

The same can be said for living in a Monastery.  Routine is important and very helpful but it can also be mind-numbing if done on automatic.  Life pulls at us, routine helps to limit making constant choices and allows us just do it.  It is when we never stop and look inward that we can run into problems.  Life can become gray, hopeless, boring and it is usually summed up as meaningless, at least on a feeling level if not actually articulated.  Since this was dealt with in the Book of Ecclesiastes, it is an issue that is not a modern problem but been around for a very long time. 

Once a habit takes over we can forget why we actually are doing anything, or most importantly, if it needs to be done at all?  As a Christian, what am I called to do in order to offset this “Waiting for Godot” experience, as portrayed in the play by Samuel Beckett?

There is more to life than the mundane everydayness that can at times be soul killing.  When we pray and develop an interior life that is directed towards something greater than we are, it can bring us to a sense that what we do does, in fact, have meaning.  That our smallest choices do dictate the direction of our lives, so the more conscious our choices the better off we will be, in how we move towards self-knowledge and personal responsibility. 

Frantic activity is one way to escape this despair that can tear at us.  Yet the only result is a deeper fatigue and a more frantic search for escape.  Faith allows us to stop and permits the experience to pass through us, to not fear it, but to listen to it. It can bring us to a place of ‘conscious intent’ wherein all that we do can be seen in a new light….we learn to see with the eyes of Christ. 

All faith paths seek to bring their followers to that point, but sad to say our cultures tend to have more power than our supposed beliefs.  What is around us seems real, but it changes all the time.  What stays put, which I is  permanent, is our own inner struggle for meaning and the seeking after love and an end to isolation and the feeling that it is all for nothing in the end. 

The world can’t be controlled, in fact, I believe that after a certain point of growth, cultures allow themselves to be taken over by the collective unconscious of the population, and are simply prodded along.  How else can out current state be explained?  The more unaware the population is of their own inner world and their responsibility for their choices is not addressed, the faster the cycle towards devolution spirals out of control.

I do believe that to depend on our governments to make things better is an illusion, for it is the collective will of the people, which in the end creates what we call our culture.  Perhaps, the seeking after control needs to be let go of, despair rejected, judging others harshly put to rest, and to simply, quietly, live out our faith and show that faith in how we relate to others.  The old way seems not to work, is there another way to do life?  If not, we may soon be something other than what we are now.  No society or way of life is promised any kind of extended existence, in fact, all cultures die in the end, how soon is up to each of us…..not to the intervention of the government. 

 

 


 

markdohle

The wrath of man

The wrath of man

“I saw no wrath [in God} except on man’s part,
and that He forgives
in us”
(Julian of Norwich reading 99)

When I was meditating on the above quote from the book “Revelations of Divine Love” it brought to mind one of my greatest struggles as a man who wishes to grow in my openness to the Spirit of the Lord.  When I am hurt, or the times when I wish things would go my way, or when someone does a great evil towards others, my first instinct is to seek to bestow wrath on them, or for justice.  It comes from as Julian goes on to say:

“Wrath: a departure from and an opposition to peace and love”. 

When I feel anger and a desire to set things right, more often than not it is not based on either love or a seeking after true justice, but on my desire to control and manipulate others out of fear and anxiety.  So when I make a judgment that is fed by anger, it seldom if ever comes from a place that seeks healing and love of others.  So yes, wrath resides in me.  It is a fearful thing when I project that onto God.    Again Julian goes on:

“It comes from a failure of power, or of wisdom, or of goodness”

My ability to see into others is shallow at best, and wrong most of the time, perhaps all of the time because I only see the surface.  God sees everything, which is why God is merciful and I have to struggle with it. 

“Mercy works protecting us, and mercy works transforming
everything into good for us”

Human wrath seldom knows mercy but seeks to punish and hurt and to even destroy.  So yes I struggle every day with seeking to allow God’s mercy and grace to transform my heart into His heart.  If I try to set things right without seeking to follow the Lords lead, there will only be ruin and destruction. 

It is when I fail that I am spurred on to continue the journey into the ‘Mind of Christ”, into “The Heart of Christ”.  If not, when I fail, I will justify my actions and over time become more angry and unmerciful towards others. 


markdohle

Admitting my fear

 

 

Admitting my fear

A God who draws near out of love, the Holy Father continued, walks with His people, and this walk comes to an unimaginable point. We could never have imagined that the same Lord would become one of us and walk with us, be present with us, present in His Church, present in the Eucharist, present in His Word, present in the poor, He is present, walking with us. And this is closeness: the shepherd close to his flock, close to his sheep, whom he knows, one by one.—Pope Francis (6/7/13)

Fear can be a great test of our faith.  The love of God and the Father’s intimacy with all of his children can at times be hard to believe and embrace.  When young, it is possible to have a certain kind of bravado, and a sense of being in control and fearless.  One may even say that they do not fear death; which I believe is a fiction we use to cover the terror of our turning into a lifeless corpse.  Or perhaps for the young it is inconceivable to think of their deaths.  It is actually difficult for any of us I believe.  For when I think of my death, I am doing it as an observer….the death process and death itself is a deeply personal experience. 

As the years pass we lose loved ones, and the process only speeds up as the years literally fly by.  So much suffering, both physical as well as mental, this is probably worse by far, mental torment.  We learn that while we do have a small area of control in our lives, we are forced to accept the reality that it can all be lost from one second to the other.  The wisdom of age comes with a price.

Yet, Jesus walks with us.  Lately, I have been facing my own fear of suffering from a stroke.  Over the past few months I have had three friends who have had serious strokes; well two, one was a brain bleed, which is pretty much the same I believe.  I am terrified of this happening to me.  What (!), you may say, aren’t you a man of deep faith?  Well yes, I am, but that has nothing to do with the experience of fear. 

The Father is with me, in union with me, even though I am often unaware of it or being scattered or if not, I can be fearful and anxious.  Yet I still have faith, I can still trust, even if my stomach is nauseous.   For in the midst of this, I can surrender to God’s love for me and his journeying with me as I live out my final, perhaps three decades, if I live to be 98.

I believe that in our walk towards union with God all of our fears, sins, and anxious concerns have to be surrendered in trust to a merciful God beyond our comprehension.  If not, we can become embittered, or simply shut down.

I have no idea what awaits me or those I love, yet I can still surrender my future as well as my death and those of my loved ones into the hands of a merciful loving God. 

In the Easter-Season we celebrate the reality of the Risen Lord!  It is our seeking to understand and pray over this reality that gives meaning to our lives.  For just as Jesus, when he went through His passion remained faithful to the Father, so we as well, will experience with him eternal Life, which begins now, today, this moment.  Our faith is not an escape from the pain and terrors life, but in the midst of all this we can experience the joy of the presence of the Holy Trinity within our hearts.  Trust can be a hard choice, but we have to choose, allowing grace ever deeper into our hearts.

 

 

markdohle

Embracing others

Embracing others

 

My Master, cause my heart never to expect help from anyone, but I will always strive to bring assistance, consolation and all manner of relief to others.  My heart is always open to the sufferings of others; and I will not close my heart to the sufferings of others, even though because of this I have been scornfully nicknamed “dump”; that is, [because] everyone dumps his pain into my heart.  [To this] I answered that everyone has a place in my heart and I, in return, have a place in the Heart of Jesus.  Taunts regarding
the law of love will not narrow my heart.  My soul is always sensitive on this point, and Jesus alone is the motive for my love of neighbor. ---Diary of Sr. Faustina 871

 

In the prayer of St. Francis, one of the intentions is to seek to understand others, rather than to be understood by them.  We all seek to be understood, listened too, but to actually give ear and to understand others may not be a top priority; hence the chaos and confusion that is present in many relationships, as well as discussions.    Yelling, contempt, and rejection of the stance of one's opponent does not lead to communication but to separation and at times violence.  It is natural, normal (in the sense of how common it is) to fight and attack, not so much so to listen to an opponent or even a loved one for that matter.  We often more than realized reduce each other to a stereotype, an object.   One reason I believe is to spare us from the pain often present in our fellow human beings.  Once labeled, they can be forgotten; they become annoying props in our lives.  Yet when it is done to us, we probably hate it and become angry at the injustice. 

There are many ‘good’ reasons to marginalize others, but they are often self-serving and sinful because we are running away from the suffering that is inherent in all who exist in this world.  How was Sr. Faustian able to embrace all those who came to her?  How was she able to not allow the mockery of others to dissuade her from her love of others and her listening to them and helping them when she could?  How could everyone have a place in her heart?

This morning at vigils, during the first reading, it was about how the seed that is being planted falls some on the side of the road, which soon dies, others in thorns, which outgrows the seedlings and chokes the life out of them, and then that which fell on good soil, harvesting thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.  With Sr. Faustian the seed fell on good soil and she harvested a hundred fold. She was not afraid to die to her small, little self with its fearful heart, and through trust allowed Jesus to become fully incarnate in her.  In other words, it was Jesus that loved others through her healed heart.  It is the calling for all Christians I believe.

She understood her need for God’s mercy and healing.  She knew of her weakness and how incapable she was in loving anyone in an unconditional manner without God’s grace.  In her knowing of her own powerlessness Jesus was able to consume her heart with his own, the fire of his love living in Faustian and through her. 

I also believe that in modern terms, she had a healthy ego, with boundaries that allowed her to stay healthy in her dealings with others and in that, made those she listened to and loved to become more loving and trusting as well.  Her love was real, not based on her own need to be needed, for it was grounded in Christ Jesus and his infinite mercy.

 

We are all called to this love, this being a grace to others by allowing Jesus Christ to become incarnate in our own lives.  So that our hearts, our hands our feet, our minds and in what and how we communicate, shows Christ Jesus to others.  We do not use others, judge others, but embrace, encourage and always remain truthful to our calling in dealing with those around us, our brothers and sister, all of them.  In turn, we learn to let others minister to us as well, for we all need others to show us the love and mercy of Christ Jesus as manifested in their lives as well.  We are all in need of healing, mercy, as well as the need to be listened to and loved by those we know.  Some of us will have a thirty fold harvest, others sixty fold and for those who completely allow Christ Jesus to enter their hearts a hundred fold.   Today is the day to begin, to ask Jesus to expand our hearts, to lead us to the hundred fold in our love and service of others. It is a life-long journey of healing, and growing in ever deeper trust, in the Grace and Love of Jesus Christ that is manifested by our lives in how we relate and love others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

markdohle

Do not worry, there is always (some) struggle

My Jesus, despite Your graces, I see and feel all my misery.  I begin my day with battle and end it with battle.  As soon as I conquer one obstacle, ten more appear (69) to take its place.  But I am not worried, because I know that this is the time of struggle, not peace.  When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish.  O my Jesus, how prone I am to evil, and this forces me to be constantly vigilant.  But I do not lose heart.  I trust God’s grace, which abounds in the worst misery. (Faustina’s Diary 606)

Do not worry, there is always (some) struggle

My Jesus, despite Your graces, I see and feel all my misery.  I begin my day with battle and end it with battle.  As soon as I conquer one obstacle, ten more appear (69) to take its place.  But I am not worried, because I know that this is the time of struggle, not peace.  When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish.  O my Jesus, how prone
I am to evil, and this forces me to be constantly vigilant.  But I do not lose heart.  I trust God’s grace, which abounds in the worst misery.
 (
Faustina’s Diary 606)


I have noticed than when an artist stands back and looks at his or her work, they are often not satisfied because they see their imperfections in the work of art. Or they're not hitting the mark of perfection when the final creation finally comes to its conclusion and seen for what it is.  While an observer, especially those who are not sensitive to artistic expression on a deep level may find the work perfect, a masterpiece.  Both are right.  It depends on the depth of one’s understanding that dictates the experience.

The same is true for the art of living a life of inner awareness and faith.  For to go deeper into the spiritual life, is to see what was once taken lightly, is now seen as serious.  Not in a scrupulous sense, but in our growth into self-knowledge we see more deeply how serious ‘sin’ actually is.  So our struggles may seem little to those not yet sensitive to their own inner need for grace, but for those on the path, the ‘Light-of-the-Holy Spirit’ exposes our need for healing and the gentle mercy of the Lord. This mercy, by the way, is not always experienced as gentle, or kind.  For God’s mercy is merciless when it comes to allowing the fire of love to consume all that is a hindrance to union….that goes for all of us, the call to union is not just for a few. 

So ‘little’ acts of failing in charity or seen in a new light.  As St. John of the Cross said: “whether a bird is tethered by a chain or a slender thread, it is still tethered”.  Self-Knowledge and purification are one and the same.  The deeper we grow in the love of God as well as trust, the more we can embrace our poverty without becoming scrupulous.  We look to the Lord, not to ourselves.

If one tends to be burdened by being scrupulous, the only way out is to trust, in spite of ones over-concern for one stance before God.  It is a terrible spiritual affliction, hard to overcome. For the level of trust called for in such situation takes a deep embracing of a death to self that is total.  Self-centeredness is a cross we all bear in one degree or another.  The deeper we move into trust, the less this affliction wounds us. 


So rejoice, for Jesus is God’s YES to us, so we continue to struggle, fail and in that failure, we learn to trust ever deeper as Sr. Faustina did.  For as St. Paul so beautifully stated:  “For those who love God, all things work out for the good.”

markdohle

 

Jesus speaks to us in language we can understand

January 27, 1938.  During Holy Hour today, Jesus complained
to me about the ingratitude of souls

“In return for My blessings, I get ingratitude.  In return for My love,
I get forgetfulness and indifference.  My Heart cannot bear this
”. 
(St. Faustina’s diary 1537)

I do believe one reason that Jesus will often choose women to convey a special message to the world, or as Karl Rahner would say, to bring balance to the Gospel Message, is their ability to be very comfortable with using language that many men (myself included) would be hesitant to convey.   “My Heart cannot bear this”

Really?

I get flummoxed by such language, yet, even though I do not use words in such a manner, yet when I look into my heart, I do understand, a little, very little.  Yet I believe that Jesus is using Sr. Faustina to speak today to people like me, whose heart is still bewildered by love, not to mention ‘Infinite Love’.  The more I do understand the love of God for each of us, I find that I am being filled more and more with gratitude for this true gift of God’s grace on mankind, as well as for all of creation. 

My heart is at war with itself.  I long and desire love, yet fight it as well.  In my heart is a desire to love all and to pray for all, but the next minute I find myself at war with deep anger that seems to lie in wait to create a stage for this comedy to be acted out.  Yet, there is also healing, for there are moments, or hours, where my prayer is to simply open up these scenes to the loving gaze of our merciful, loving, compassionate and empathic Lord.  Then I abandon myself to His will.  I do know that my inner journey is like most people, though unique as well.  Anger is not something unknown by our species.  Anger that sits and waits to create some sort of inner theater is probably common as well, so I am in good company, a big band of fellow travelers who are called upon to trust in God, to open up their hearts to His loving gaze without fear, but in total trust of Infinite Love.

Jesus is speaking to us in a way that we can understand.  It also points to an infinite vista of love that is way beyond my comprehension and I believe that we will spend an eternity discovering this immense world…..as well as always being at the beginning of our journey.  For when diving into an ocean of infinite depth, no matter how far we dive, or how long, we are still at the surface. For the depth of God’s love has no ending, no bottom.  Hard to believe I know, and this reality can be just as much an obstacle to faith as the problem of suffering in the world, both are major hurdles for many, it is for me, though trusting and jumping one hurdle at a time.

The anger of God is another difficulty for many as well.  Though I believe that is because we do create God in our own image and likeness and it takes a life time to outgrow.  I believe that St. Faustian is no exception.  Though she is a saint, she is also like us.  When she was writing her dairy, she was a pilgrim like we are at this time. 

Below is another quote from her, not Jesus, though it should be pondered as well.

 

Most Merciful Heart of Jesus, protect us from the
just anger of God.  (St. Faustina’s Diary 1526) 

 

I don’t think God works against himself.  Any more than the Blessed Mother holds back the hand of Jesus from smiting the world in some sort of unbridled rage directed at us.  Howeve,r I do believe that when we allow ourselves to become lukewarm and to then to grow into indifference, this leads us to become so self-centered that God is shut out of our lives.  This also affects us in how we treat others as well.  This world is filled with suffering that is caused when we forget that all those we meet are made in the image and likeness of God.  To treat others cruelly or spitefully or to destroy them by gossip, makes us vessels of wrath because we allow love to die within our hearts.  When someone is rejected by a loved one, there is often wrath, but it is really grief.  God is not revengeful, but only loving, yet sin and love cannot coexist.  When mercy is refused, there is love experienced as deep wrath, but in reality, it is God’s grief over the mystery of our freedom to embrace preferred pain, to God’s love.  How is this done, I have no idea, nor do I have any idea on who does this.  I do know that I am capable of it, but should I go down that road, it will be a free choice, all other failures are from human weakness that can be changed into good when I again turn to the Lord of life and love. 

What is to be feared, is if there comes a day when I do not care.  So each day I give my whole being to the Lord and simply trust that he will bring forth to completion what he has started in me and others as well.  I pray and hope that for all.

 

markdohle

Mercy beyond understanding

 

Mercy beyond understanding

 

Then I heard the words:  "As you are united with Me in life, so will you be united at the moment of death".  After these words, such great trust in God’s great mercy was awakened in my soul that,  even if I had had the sins of the whole world, as well as the sins of all the condemned souls weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted God’s goodness but, without hesitation, would have thrown myself into the abyss of the divine mercy, which is always open to us; and, with a heart crushed to dust  I would have cast  myself at His feet, abandoning myself totally to His holy will, which is mercy itself.—Faustina’s Diary –1552


God’s mercy is beyond our ability to understand.  I believe that the deepest longing that we all share, even if often unconscious because of fear, is to be seen totally without anything hidden, and yet to then also be understood, loved and shown mercy and compassion.  In art, movies and in our music, this longing can often be seen, heard and felt, and in our responses for a short time, we feel truly alive.  Art can be the lance that grace uses to break through our life long defenses, which may actually be needed.  However, not with the Lord who seeks only to show us love and mercy.

We are more comfortable in thinking that God’s love is like
ours, because it can be understood.  Hence the problem in our understanding of God’s mercy towards each of us in our everyday struggles as well as our moral failures.  We may actually need to hide aspects of ourselves from others because of our lack of ability to truly listen, see and show empathy and mercy towards one another.  Not so with Jesus, for it is already known.

“After these words, such great trust in God’s great mercy was
awakened in my soul that,  even if I had had the sins of the whole world, as well as the sins of all the condemned souls weighing on my conscience, I would not have doubted God’s goodness but, without hesitation would have thrown myself into the abyss of the divine mercy, which is always open to us; ”—Sr. Faustina

Imagine if the quote from Sr. Faustina could be absorbed by us into our deepest, darkest parts of our souls.  To understand that there is no barrier with God when it comes to showing love and mercy to us his children.

Sr. Faustian understood her need for grace, the free gift of God’s love and mercy.  She experienced this mercy in her own soul, for because of her holiness and humility, she truly saw what she would be like without God’s grace. 

The ‘Chaplet of Mercy’ is a prayer for all, without regard to who they are, or what they have done.  We are called to be vessel of mercy for others, to pray for all, especially those near death.  Limitations on God’s mercy are put there by us.  Also it is easy to want mercy for ourselves, but then justice for others.  When in fact they are not at odds with each other, it is our own limited understanding and inner conflicts that keeps us from total trust as well as love and concern for the salvation of all.  Dare we pray for such a thing?  Yes!  For why else would Jesus ask us to pray the Chaplet, which begs for mercy for the whole world…..past, present and future.  For in God, there is only ‘Now’, so when we pray, we enter into that ‘Eternal Now’.—Br.MD

  Let us pray:

and on the whole world.
For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us

  Eternal Father, I offer unto you, the most precious body and blood, soul and divinity of your beloved
Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole World.

(Chaplet of Mercy)

 

 

markdohle

A train wreck that never ends

Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others,
to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly.

Lawrence G. Lovasik


Overcoming resentment does not mean there is no emotional fallout, it means that on a certain level we do not demand justice, but give mercy.  To constantly give in to resentment is a train wreck that never ends, allowing the buttons that others push (often unconsciously) to grow in number and intensity.  It scatters us, tires us out, and can make us very unpleasant to be around.  To speak one's mind is not the same as giving in to resentment….though one can be confused for the other.

markdohle

The Divine Fire

The Divine Fire

At that very moment, I felt some kind of fire in my heart.  I feel my senses deadening and have no idea of what is going on around me.  I feel the Lord’s gaze piercing me through and through.  I am very much aware of His greatness and my misery.  An extraordinary suffering pervades my soul, together with a joy I cannot compare to anything.  I feel powerless in the embrace of God.  I feel that I am in Him and that I am dissolved in Him like a drop of water in the ocean.  I cannot express what takes place within me; after such interior prayer, I feel strength and power to practice the most difficult virtues.  I feel dislike for all things that the world holds in esteem.  With all my soul I desire silence and solitude—Diary of Divine Mercy 432

|
The fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit, of purgatory, and the fire of hell, is all the same.  It is God’s love in all of its power.  It is about our openness to grace and our embracing God’s healing love in our lives, or not.  Sister Faustian expresses it with these words:


“I am very much aware of His greatness and my misery.  An extraordinary
suffering pervades my soul, together with a joy”


Even in our everyday lives, true healing is often accompanied by suffering.  They seem to go hand in hand.  God often seems distant and for good reason, for He can only show Himself to us to the extent that we can handle it.  In the Old Testament, it talks about this when speaking about seeing God and not being able to stay in existence. 

When we allow God’s Holy Fire to enter us, it burns away all the dross in our souls.  So that which is built on illusion (straw) burns away to ash.  We are emptied of ‘self’ so that God can fill us and bring us to our true Selves, as children, beloved of God.

In my misery, I still fight God’s love, but this fighting often comes from a place beyond my control. All I can do is to be willing and open to God’s secret hidden work in my soul and to always trust and never despair.  That is why Jesus says that we must ‘trust’ above all else. 

What is the groaning of the Holy Spirit that prays within us?  Perhaps the Spirit is expressing in part our pain, our understanding that we are often chained and in our waiting for freedom we suffer greatly.  The Holy Spirit prays with us and for us.  It is all about grace, but also in part, about our willingness to allow this fire to burn all to ash that keeps us from union with our Beloved.  Yes, God is our Beloved, and we are God’s Beloved, and slowly as we seek God’s love, we allow His love to expand our hearts as Sr. Faustina’s was purified in fire and her heart expanded.  We are called to a life unimaginable to us at this time. Sister Faustina’s inner freedom and growth in her love of God was a pure gift, all she need do is trust, never despair, and take one step at a time.

 

markdohle

Letting go of fear, of our idols about God

Love casts our fear.  Since I came to love God with my whole being and with all the strength of my heart, fear has left me.  Even if I were to hear the most terrifying things about God’s justice, I would not fear Him at all, because I have come to know Him well.  God is love, and His Spirit is peace. I see now that my deeds which have flowed from love are more perfect than those which I have done out of fear.  I have placed my trust in God and fear nothing.  I have given myself over to His holy will; let Him do with me as He wishes, and I will still love Him.
(Divine Mercy Diary 589)

Jesus told Sr. Faustina that there are two ways gates that we must choose to enter.  One is the gate of mercy, the other the gate of justice.  When people think of the justice of God, they often unconsciously (I know that I do more or less), go by their own human ability to show justice to others, or mercy for that matter.  It is all very subjective and depending on our past, how much we have been loved or not, will lead us to be more or less fearful of God in a servile way.  When in fact,’ Justice,’ and “Mercy,’ are the same thing, for both are based on absolute truth when applied to God.  God is all mercy as well as infinitely just, they are not opposed to each other. 

St. Paul says the Jesus is God’s “YES”, there is only openness from God towards his children, all of them.  This points to the reality that in the end, when we stand before God, no matter what we receive (mercy or justice), both the soul and God agree completely.  All is taken into account, instantly, and I think the mercy is received much more often than many believe.  For who can understand Infinite Love, Compassion, and Mercy, since it is far beyond any human conception.

 

The deeper a human being loves another (sees the beloved), the more that is understood and forgiven.  If the beloved does not want forgiveness, then all that is possible is separation, which is done on the part of the one who freely rejects mercy.  “Freely’ is the operative word here.  The Lord sees all, understands all and only God knows, when that free choice has been made to reject him.  All who seek God will find him; all who knock will find the door opening to them, for in fact it has never been closed.  People who seek God and fall constantly into the same sins, but continually rise and begin again, give great glory to God for they trust in his mercy, even if they have to swim against the current of neurotic fear. 

In paragraph 1485 Jesus speaks to Sr. Faustian of his boundless mercy towards the greatness sinner:

The mercy of God, hidden in the Blessed Sacrament, the voice of the Lord who speaks to us from the throne of mercy:  Come to Me, all of you.

Jesus:  Be not afraid of your Savior; O sinful soul.  I make the first move to come to you, for I know that by yourself you are unable to lift yourself to me.  Child, do not run away from your Father; be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his graces on you.  How dear your soul is to Me!  I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart.  –1485

It seems to me that Jesus almost seems desperate to free of us our fear of God, a kind of fear that makes us slaves instead of his beloved children, each no more precious than the other.  Sr. Faustina, was created, and given her many graces, so that she could speak to each one of us, she is for us, just as Jesus is for us all, and seeks us all. 


Only look to Jesus, his mercy, not to one’s own self.  For we do not understand ourselves, we often don’t know why we do the things we do, yet we still love and seek God….for God’s grace never leaves us.  When a soul makes that choice to turn from God (and only God knows when that happens) I would think that all fear of God would be gone, and a certain kind of freedom would emerge, one opposed to the freedom of the Children of God.

The sacrament of reconciliation keeps our souls and hearts open to mercy, to the healing balm of the Holy Spirit, whose fire will slowly purify and heal us, even if takes a lifetime. 

Jesus I trust in you, have mercy on us and on the whole world.—Br.MD 

 

 

 

markdohle

Thoughts on a Divine Mercy Retreat

 

 

Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear the words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversation. "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart. "Great is God's mercy," says the Psalm.

— Angelus on March 17, 2013

 

On the last day of our ‘Divine Mercy’ retreat, we met in a circle for a more informal gathering.  I encouraged people to share or to ask questions if they wanted.  I then invited everyone to speak, as well as to respond to any inquiries that were brought up.  It took a few moments before anyone started off but once it did it was a very powerful experience I believe for all.  One point that came up over and over again is that in order to begin their conversion journey, things had to fall apart; facades had to fail before healing could even begin to happen.  Painful, yes, but healing and pain seem to go together.  Just as bitterness, anger, the desires for revenge are also joined at the hip with pain. 

 

Each person who shared told a story of things falling part, light being brought into their lives and healing and a new peace and joy was found.  I brought up the point that each person who spoke, changed because they allowed grace to work in their lives because they had enough humility to embrace the truth and move on from there.  Which I believe, is a grace that is freely offered to all of us.  To stop cycles and pain and chaos that have a life of their own until we are forced to changed through outer circumstances, or through the amount of pain that comes from our wounds and sins. 

 

Sin is a way to escape life, but it does not deliver, instead, pain increases through the problems that flow from our ‘running away’.  Broken marriages, loss of health, serious addictions that can consume us, suck us dry, until there is nothing left.  Grace gives life; sin drains the life out of us.  So when we crash, it is often a mercy, for it is then that we reevaluate our lives and seek to renew our relationship with the Infinite, that which can only fill our hearts to the depth that we desire. 

 

Compared to the suffering caused by our sins, the cross of Jesus is truly light, for it is life giving and healing and does not crush us.  We all seek to be seen to the depths of our being, which is what love is.  Only Infinite love can do that, and in that seeing, we learn to embrace life without seeking to run away. 

markdohle

There is no soul which is not bound to pray

(Mercy Sunday)

There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer. ---Sr. Faustina’s Diary 146  A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again.  In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray.  Prayer. – A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat.

For to pray in such times, in trust, has to come from deep within, a place that only God sees, and in that choice freedom grows and   The most important time to pray is when one feels alienated from self, others and God, for it is then that grace is readily available.  Or if not, strength will be given, even in the midst of deep interior suffering.  Prayer is a deep connection with God; prayer will bring hope and eventually find a way out of the situation.  When I speak to a retreatant in a situation that he or she feels backed into a corner, I tell them that they must never stop praying.  At times people will find themselves in situations that are detrimental to their lives on many levels.

ones ability to began over once again……Jesus said to Sister Faustina:  “The more a soul knows of its sins and weaknesses, the more right it has to my mercy”……so fear is useless what is needed is trust.  Be like Peter on the waters, when he looked to Jesus he was able to stay above the raging sea, when he looked at his feet, he doubted and began to sink…..yet he called on the Lord and he lifted him up.  You are loved beyond your comprehension, never forget that and live in faith, hope, and love. ---Br.MD
markdohle

Speaking truth is not about control

Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to speak the truth. Do not be afraid to change yourself and the world by spreading love, by doing everything for my Son to be known and loved by loving others in Him. As a mother I am always with you. I am imploring my Son to help you for love to reign in your life - love that lives, love that draws, love which gives life. I am teaching you such love - pure love. It is up to you, my apostles, to recognize it, live it and spread it. Pray with feeling for your shepherds so that they can witness my Son with love. Thank you."-- April 2, 2017 Message to Mirjana (part of the message)

 

When speaking the truth, it should be done with gentleness and love.  Before we can speak the truth to others, we must know the truth about ourselves.  If we can love ourselves after we see our own need for mercy and healing, it is then that we can love others and speak truth to them.  Speaking truth is not about control, but about seeking to bring light to those we know and love.  Conversely, we also must be open to what others tell us, for if we do not, then change is difficult, for we become defensive both to those around us as well as to the influence of the Holy Spirit who can use others to lead us.  Even the most unlikely people we meet and live with may have something very important to say to us.  Prayer must come from our own need, as well as when praying for the needs of others.  Then, when we are at peace with ourselves and others, trusting in God’s mercy an love, then, we can be silent and allow ourselves to re4st in God’s loving presence.—BrMD

 

markdohle


If you love me
(The Last discourse)

During the ‘Last Discourse’ in the Gospel of John, Jesus made this statement:  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.  In Christianity Jesus Christ is of course the central figure, he being the revelation of the Father and the sender of the Holy Spirit.  To be a Christian is always rooted in growing in the love relationship with the Eternal, the Infinite One, revealed as love.  So to use a Pauline phrase, “To put on Christ”, is about allowing his love to fill our souls, our hearts, to become channels of his love in the world. 

We live in a world where someone is always over and against someone else.  Or a country, a religion, political party and yes even in sports, going
after one another…..people die for their teams in riots after games.  If Jesus came today, who would he be over and against?  In the Gospels he interacted, loved and healed those that were often looked down upon by the religious establishment.  He spoke harshly to people like me, who know the ‘book’, seek to live it, and know all the scriptures in order to condemn just about anyone you disagreed with me, or was different in someway,  if I wanted to misuse the scriptures for that reason.  Being pious has it dangers, ego inflation being one of them.

What is the life that Jesus calls us to?  I doubt he calls us to a life of neurotic guilt or to a live preoccupied with ones
so called holiness.  It is not even about keeping a strict morality, for in doing that, when we fail, bitterness can enter into the one seeking to deepen ones relationship with the Father.  It is not about cleaning ourselves up.  It is about love, giving oneself, and receiving love in return.  Like Peter who got out of the boat, he was fine until he looked at his own feet; he stopped looking to the one who called him.   Yet when he sank, Jesus clasped his hand and lifted him up.

When afraid, uncertain or angry in ways that are unhealthy and anxious it constricts the soul, we become defensive, go into survival mode.   Jesus said that fear is useless for a reason….fear of God is a waste of time.  By fear I am meaning it in the sense of being afraid of someone stronger, bigger and angrier than me……God.  It is a ferocious idol, one that grips I guess all of us from time to time.  As we grow hopefully in wisdom and insight, as we have many decades to look back on and ponder, we see how foolish it is to fear that which Jesus told us not to.  Those who seek God are responding to grace, we open up our hearts and our tryst begins…..a long slow process for most of us.  So fear only slows that down.

We are called to become like little children for a reason.  Though what comes naturally to a child has to be a mature conscious choice when made by an adult.  It is a call to trust.  Fear and trust can’t really co-exist, so we are called to die to an old way of life and allow something new in.  Which is not easy, for how does one open oneself to infinite love?  What is it?  Is it just more?  Yes and no, but something else, beyond comprehension, so it can be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Fearful yes, because it is something beyond our control, other, a love that is stronger than death, that strips away all the keeps that love at bay.

All  the love that we know, no matter how pure and as close to unconditional as it can be,  pales in comparison to the love we are called to embrace and to become one with.  It is hard to understand and believe.  Christians love to put “but” before any talk about God’s love and mercy……there are no ‘buts’.   How we love to carry the heavy burden of doing something we have no right or business to do…..thinking, weighing, and judging the worthiness of others.   It is a deep
self wounding as well as  a worthless and harmful  pass time. 

Jesus saw others, we are called to that as well, but it is easier to push under, yell at and belittle.  Well, let’s say I still struggle with this, and spend a lot of time praying over this.  Asking the Lord for a loving heart and not a warring one…… over and against others is something I do a lot of.   Being neurotic is not always easy.



Lord that I may see deeply,
into my own heart without fear,
knowing the all hearts are yours,
seeing all, you understanding all,
I see nothing in others,

except the surface,
with my projections and
transference’s,
just help me to understand others
just a little, or if not that,
to see all as my brothers and sisters
on the way.

markdohle

Trying another kind of love

Trying another kind of love

Agape is a Greek word ( ἀγάπη, agápē) used to describe God’s love for us. Jesus shows us what this love of God is by his teaching and commandments. For instance, human love is for the most part conditional, because it is based either on instinct or on need. We love another because we need them; we also want them to respond to us. If there is no response the relationship will most likely die, or turn into an obsession.

Parental love is the closest love to being unconditional that you can get. A child can hurt their parents, reject them, disrespect them and be contemptuous, yet the parent will still love the child. I think that goes beyond instinct but is a love that will pour itself out for the well being of the child. However, being human, finite, it is possible for there to be a time when that love can end if the pain and hurt become too great. It happens, though if the parent is a good parent, this is rare. We have our limits if left to ourselves.

Cont:  http://www.thechristianreview.com/trying-another-kind-of-love/

markdohle

The human heart as a fortress

The human heart as a fortress

 

Most feel the need to protect themselves,
from pain and sorrow,
as well as others who can be the causes
of so much discord in our lives.

Then there are ‘those other people’,
from different religions,
races and societies different from ours.

Also from those we know and even love
if their burdens to heavy to carry,
so we build up armor to keep them all away,
by making them less than ourselves,
hopeless, less than human in some cases.

To block out humanity in its many disguises
leads to deep personal harm.
For we kill part of our humanity when we disregard others,
even if for good and justice reasons
as far as we reckon.

Yes, we need to be healthy, and strong,
boundaries are good and needful,
healthy being the operative word,
for walls built up in anger, fear, or hatred
lead slowly to an inward death
wherein light can be extinguished. 

Grace is needed to soften stone into flesh,
a hardened heart is enclosed in a casing sturdy,
suffocating what is experienced has protection
from pain, suffering and the heavy weight of those we reject.

The Lord allows us to experience ourselves deeply
in ways that crush our hard shelled egos
until the time comes when we see ourselves
in the struggles and failures of others,
and wish only God’s mercy on them,
and healing,
as we have experienced it.

Mercy, grace, healing, is a pure gift,
so precious that no payment can procure it,
only an open, humble and contrite heart.

 

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