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markdohle

I believe we are in a time of ‘Free Fall”.

 

I believe we are in a time of ‘Free Fall”.

“[W]e are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”—John Paul 11 Evangelium Vitae, 28

Agitation is   When I believe all we can do is to pray, seek to take care of what is actually in front of us and continue calmly our walk of faith and trust.  As we fall the tendency to fight, stereotype and hate will increase.  After making so many destructive choices we have slipped over the edge and have begun our movement with what is called ‘bottoming out’.  I think that at this time a large part of the world is in ‘free fall’.really of no help whatsoever.  Perhaps this is a good time to follow what Jesus said:  “Fear is worthless, what is needed is faith”.  We will hit bottom, what happens after that is predicated on what we did before. 

We can seek to blame others, yet I believe all of us are responsible for what is going on today.  To blame another group is 
too merely reduce ourselves into becoming victims; very angry victims.  So let us pray for the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the seeming growing chaos that is going on around us. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

 

markdohle

We are called to endurance and faith

We are called to endurance and faith

 “I passed the time on earth, rejoiced, suffered and patiently endured pains, until my Son, in all His glory, removed them.”
(March 18, 2017 Special Message from Our Lady to Mirjana

All we have is today, and all we need do is to get through it, as we have every day of our lives.  Things can fall apart, the center will not hold, and it can seem like hell on earth on some days.  The Blessed Mother is letting us know that she like us went through such days.  She was a woman of faith and she had to ponder deeply the mystery of her Son Jesus’ life and mission, as well as her own life’s purpose.  To stay on course, or to get back on the path after a fall, is of extreme importance.  For how we handle suffering and life’s many unsolvable situations today, is the building block for tomorrow. 

To begin again

Lord, today is enough,
dealing with what is in front of me,
to seek in the whirlwind
to do the loving thing.

Your love filling our hearts
is all that we need,

Grace giving freely,
overflowing this living water,
always present
calling us to begin again
each day,
hour and moment.—Br.MD

 

markdohle

To know all is to forgive all

To know all is to forgive all

 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God
is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.—1 John 3:20

The proverb “To know all is to forgive all” is something that I have pondered over for many years. From experience, even on some minor happenings in my life, I have found that if angry, once I know more about the situation the less I am bothered by it. We do it all the time I would suppose. For instance, if we know that someone is suffering from some form of mental illness, or if they struggle with controlling their anger, we are more prone to understanding and compassion. If we do not know what the man or woman is struggling with, then it is easy to be harsh and unforgiving.

I do think that it is easy to assume that those around me or in some way freer than I am. I know I fail, but I know of my inner pressures and how hard it is to change and grow. It takes many new beginnings to stay on a certain path. Yet with others, I may forget that about them and demand instant change and perfection.

If the more we know and understand, the more compassionate we become; what about how God sees us. If the Lord sees everything in each soul and knows every detail of their lives, even going back generations, perhaps this should be a source of hope and comfort for us. Not leading to presumption, but instilling trust in the Lord’s compassion for all.

There is a reason we are told by the Lord, no we are commanded not to judge on the soul level. Actions, yes, they can be judged, intent and inner freedom, we can’t. From what Jesus said about judging another’s worth, or the state of their soul, is dangerous ground, for it shows the state of the one judging.

Even then, I know nothing really about the depths of anyone's inner being, even myself. In 1 John 3:20, it states that even if our hearts condemn us, yet God is greater than our hearts. So in our own lives, God knows all, we don’t, hence we should always trust in his mercy and compassion. This will encourage us to continue in spite of our many ‘start over’s’…..we trust and begin again. We look to the Lord, his love, not to ourselves.—Br.MD

markdohle

How we talk, respond and listen is important

 

If in anger we speak, we draw down the same upon us.  In speaking truth, love and calmness suffice, for others to listen, they must not feel attacked. No one sees into the soul or heart of the matter, yet we must speak what we think is right.....we must also allow others to speak as well. To have a disagreement is to expected, it does not imply bad will.

 

No one can change me, nor can I modify others, yet in communication with respect and love, we all plant seeds that will grow at their own rate. It is the Holy Spirit that waters, it is God who changes each one of us who have open hearts.....we are called to listen and respond with compassion and love, just as we want to be respected and heard.

 

To become bitter and argumentative is easy for it is fed by anger and deep pain.  Yet in the end it only leaves us alone and bereft.  Anger causes us not to see others, or to hear them, they become invisible to us, and we to them, when they respond in anger back.

 

It is difficult to live the Golden Rule, to actually treat others as I would like to be treated.  It takes a deep death to self to accomplish this so as to stop the endless cycle of yabering, jabbering, calawagging, and wampering.  I calawage a great deal.  God help me.--Br.MD

markdohle

We, ourselves

  1.  
    We, ourselves


    Problems surround us on every side,

    and our inner lives often chaotic,

    raw even, as we ride the high waves,

    our emotions raise us up, then dash us down,

    good days and moments as well as bad days

    pass in quick succession;

    yet within each heart, the light shines,

    revealed as Christ Jesus,

    His heart infinite encompassing all,

    so he tells us to not fear,

    but to root deeply in him,

    letting go of fear and embracing faith.--Br.MD
     
markdohle

My Bickering Spirit

After I posted about how people react or overreact to Pope Francis, this morning I begin to see how my own brand of 'bickering' only adds to the problem, solving nothing. I have no idea how this impasse can be bridged, but I continue to seek my own healing and mercy for my own role in the on- going 'bickering' that seems to be going on in all levels of society.

continue: http://www.thechristianreview.com/my-bickering-spirit-is-healed-by-a-breaking-heart/

markdohle

Pope Francis

Pope Francis
(A defense)


I recently read an article from OnePeterFive titled: “Four Years Later: Reflections on an Unprecedented Pontificate.” When I first starting reading the article I found myself rolling my eyes a bit, and I guess they may still be rolling. It started off with this quote::  “On March 13, 2013, I sat in my office and watched my screen as a new pope — a man whom I had never seen before that moment — walked out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had never heard of him. I did not even know his name. Like most Catholics, I had approached the papal conclave with a sense of hopeful anticipation. But the feeling that came over me when I saw the man the cardinals had elected was shockingly forceful. It was a feeling of icy cold dread. As I looked at him, standing there, staring out at the crowd, I heard seven words distinctly in my mind, unbidden: “This man is no friend of Tradition.”

  I read the article and it did give me pause to consider my perceptions of this Pope.  Yet I when I started reading the comments on the article, I was disturbed.  One commenter pretty much came up with the belief that Pope Francis is possessed by the devil.  Another said he is the ‘chastisement’.   I found the whole thing event distasteful and wondering if the people who actually go to that site are completely in their right mind.  I know that they are of course.  They were taking their subjective first experiences of this Pope as some sort of heavenly verification about how unfit this pope is.  When in fact, they are just people who long for a past
that will never return and perhaps never existed. 

If labels must be used, I would say I am a ‘moderate’ catholic.  That means that I love tradition, for me it a living reality, but I also love many good things about the Church today.  I remember the past.  I was 14 when the Latin Mass was stopped and the New Ordo took effect.  At the time I told the priest that it was too sudden there was little if any preparation and why could not both the Latin, and New Ordo, be kept and let the laity choose which one they would want to go to.  He said that Rome has spoken.

Today many who are speaking out for the Tridentine Mass come across as just angry and frustrated and have an overly sentimental attachment to it.  I often feel that it is theater to them, but not based on how the mass was actually celebrated in the past when I was young.  It was often rushed, and the altar boys would often get tongue tied over the Latin and the rubrics were so rigid I would think most priests were glad when the English came in.  Also, a plus that it could actually be understood.  After a short time, I grew to love the Mass in a language that I could understand. 

This Pope is from a poor country that has had many political struggles.  Pope Francis is a champion for the individual human being and their worth before God.

He also understands that his office, as well as the office of Cardinals, Bishops, and Priest, are a call to deeper service of the people.  He truly believes in the example of Jesus Christ when he washed the feet of his Apostles.  He speaks to the people, not at them.  He uses everyday language and does not disguise what he wants to say by using words that soften
what he wants to say.  He also understands the messiness of life and how before anyone should judge we should enter into their life’s experiences.  When reading the Gospel it shows how Jesus related to others, to ‘the sinner’, to the ‘outcast’.  So it is natural that he would seek to enter into the lives of those who are divorced and remarried outside the Church.  It is messy, not clean cut.  We are told not to judge for a reason.  Many sins are overlooked by the pious, that could be just as serious, or more so than those who are living in marriage outside the church.  Perhaps we should look into our own hearts before judging others. 

As a Catholic, I understand at ever more profound levels what it means to belong to the Body of Christ.  Imagine when we pray, in union with Jesus Christ, we are one with all, outside of space and time.  It is in that space, outside of time, that we are in union with all.  I do not think we should ever underestimate our role in the Church.  The world has always been a rough, messy, cruel, going to hell in a hand basket kind of place, yet Christ Jesus came to us, loves us, and when we pray we are to open up our hearts to all. 

Yes, the Church struggles, yet we are promised that the Gates of Hell will not prevail.  I doubt that this Pope is seeking to destroy the Church.  He wants to bring us, Christ Jesus, to lead us to understand that how we treat the poor, is how we treat Christ Jesus.  If we as Christians would live that out, I doubt many of the troubles in the Church and in the world be the way they are.  I would like to close with this quote from the Pope.  Perhaps if all of us prayed over this, and sought to live it out in a more conscious way, we would become together in ways that are important and not waste time over arguing if this Pope is good or
evil, or the anti-pope.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is trying to break open our hearts, to not be afraid like Christ Jesus was not afraid to feel the pain of others…..yes, even the pain of this Pope, who I believe does carry the heart of Christ within his own heart.  Or perhaps it is Christ Heart that has one-ed itself with his.—Br.MD

 

“Go out to others and share the good news that God, our Father,
walks at our side. He frees us from anonymity, from a life
 of
emptiness and selfishness, and brings us to the school
of encounter. He removes us from the fray of competition
and self-absorption, and he opens before us the path of peace.
That peace which is born of accepting others, that peace
which fills our hearts whenever we look upon those in need
as our brothers and sisters.”—Pope Francis





 

markdohle

We have to give ourselves to something


It is easy to forget that our lives are important and our
choices and the path we choose invested with deep meaning. 

One thing I find intriguing is the way people deal with life.  By people, I am putting myself in that group.  We all know that life is a tough journey, no matter who you are, or how rich or poor you are, or how intelligent you are.  Rich people suffer as well as poor.  You can’t get away from it.  We also as a species seem to have a knack in creating cultures that have an inbuilt self-destructive switch.  It should not come as a surprise, since we create our cities (a large snapshot of our inner lives), wherein each of us gives our little drop into that often undulating ocean that we call humanity.  We then create out of that inner energy and make it manifest around us.  Hence our ‘Will to Power’ and the desire to make an impact on the world can leave a long, painful, and often bloody trail.  It is amazing how far people will go to serve that desire, that god.  We have to give ourselves over to something, some god or another.  There are those who sacrifice everything for their careers for instance.  Their families, their health, their self respect is all sacrificed for success in the business or political world.  I guess addictions are one of those god’s, demanding everything, then after sucking its devotees dry, will throw what is left in some gutter somewhere to die.  There are many ways that we can bleed our souls to death.  Funny thing, we often do it because we are running from something else.  Perhaps it is our essential emptiness that no matter how much we feed it still remains just dry sand. 

What can actually help us, is often looked upon as something unimportant, a hobby of sorts.  If anyone actually takes this ‘hobby’ seriously, like people do their service to their ‘god’s’ they are called fanatics, even if they are sane and balanced individuals.  I am of course talking about faith in ‘God’.  The source of life and that which keeps us in existence, for creation is not something that happened in the far past, but is ongoing.  We really have nothing of our own, and what we think we have will be taken away from us as our lives progress, until even that will be let go of. 

I guess at the heart of life there is ‘paradox’.  To let go of our ‘god’s’ and serve ‘God’, is the only way to true life, for if we do not have the life of God in our hearts, there is only our essential inner emptiness that we have, which in the end will swallow us whole.  Or the fragments that are left over….we either become ever more fully human and loving or we sink into a state of progressive degeneration. 

Perhaps that is what the ‘life review’ in the NDE is all about.  Where all of our self-delusions are shown to us and taken away, and we finally see the truth about ourselves, both the good and loving and that which is selfish and even freely chosen evil.  What we truly become is the fruit of our free choices. Perhaps some will not accept the truth about themselves and will not accept the healing that comes with mercy, and are simply left to themselves…..in nothingness….their empty center without their seeking to connect with God.—Br.MD

markdohle

Regret, pain, loss and tears

 

Regret, pain, loss and tears
(A prisoner’s sorrow)

I am writing a prisoner, his name is Roger, who has been in prison for  many years, but, hopefully, will be getting out soon on parole.  He is I believe one of those who will not be going back in.  At least that is my prayer, for him.  In his last letter, he talked about regret and if I could give him some insight into dealing with it.  I am not sure if I helped him, but since I have my own weight of regrets, I guess I do have some experience in dealing with it…..as I would suppose, most people do as well.  Below is some of what I shared with him.  I did not want him to think that he was alone in dealing with his past, that we all carry some weight around in our souls, even if it is often hidden.  One day it will come out.  I believe that as death nears, we do review our lives, or as the NDE’s talk about, have a live review.  So below is what I shared with him.  I need to say in passing, I have learned a lot from him.  About perseverance against strong obstacles and starting over as he has done and will continue to do when he is released.

Quote “Dear Roger,

You asked about ‘regret’ and how to deal with it.  We all have regrets in our lives.  Some, over embarrassing moments, others, about serious wrongs that we did over the years, some more severe than others because we knew what we were doing and not just overwhelmed with emotion or passion when committed; they were free, evil, acts. 

Regrets, which are wounds that we place on ourselves, can rise up from time to time.  For when we sin against another, we also sin against ourselves.  However, to feel sorrow over our past can be something positive if we do not wallow in false guilt, which is a waste of time.  Growth in self-knowledge comes from our contemplating what we have done in the past and from that knowing what we are capable of doing now and in the future.  It is not always easy, but if you do feel regret, bring them into the presence of the Lord Jesus who knows, understands and has already forgiven you.  Now you just need deeper healing for yourself and for those you hurt.  You can pray for them, also if you can, if it is possible, to ask them for forgiveness.  If they give it or not, are less important than you actually admitting it…..it takes a weight off and also leads to deeper compassion for others, as well as being able to forgive those who have hurt you in the past as well as the present….though it is always a struggle because of our powerful emotions. 
Pain goes deep, emotional pain the deepest. 

We each carry a burden, but until we learn to love ourselves and accept fully the healing mercy of the Lord we will go in circles bemoaning our past.  Tears of sorrow are healing, tears of self-pity are of a different nature altogether.  We need to look to the Lord and not to our feet like Peter did when he was walking on the water towards the Lord. He began to sink, yet the Lord reached out and pulled him up, as he does you on a daily basis.  You are God’s child, his son, his beloved, never forget that.  Allow God’s love to fill you with compassion for yourself, self-hatred leads nowhere. One point, do not be afraid of the different types of inner experiences, for they pass and another will take its place.  It is from the standpoint of faith that you learn to trust and not get swallowed up by inner storms. 

When you start on the path of faith, the Lord will want you to grow in self-knowledge, which is humbling, for it is based on truth.  Do not fear the truth about yourself, for in that you learn to embrace your need for mercy and healing.  To deny that is only to allow it to grow unchecked and over time can become a devouring flame.  Christ Jesus died for you, would have died if you were the only human on earth, that is what God’s love is….infinite, incomprehensible, other….so don’t try to understand it from how we humans love.  Our love is finite, very comprehensible because it has limits.  If God loved the way we do, well yes, we would be in deep trouble, yet Christ Jesus shows us something different my friend.

When you see others there in the grip of some passion, or depressed, or overwhelmed with guilt, have compassion for them, and if possible let them know of God’s love.  Speak to them in everyday language, using scripture only if it helps you to share your experience of the Love you have experienced in Christ Jesus.

So, your
regret, can lead to deeper healing, or to just more worthless guilt that leads nowhere.  When you feel ‘negative emotions’ open up that chamber in your heart to the love, light, mercy and God’s love for you and those there with you…everyone you see and interact with is the beloved Child of God and how you treat them is how you treat Jesus Christ.  When you fail, just get up and if you can make amends.” End of quote’

 

As a Christian who has received the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, I have only hope for all and so I encourage others no matter what their inner feelings and emotions are to trust in God’s love and mercy.   God’s love is not predicated on how we feel at any one time.  True faith has a deep trust in the Lord’s love; that nothing can separate us from if we seek mercy, compassion for ourselves as well as others.  What we receive, we are to give back, to become channels of God’s love and grace.  We are Christ arms to embrace, he speaks through us when we share our faith and encourage others, and when we show compassion it is His Heart that flows through ours.  We are called to truly understand and deepen our understanding of what it means to belong to the priesthood of the faithful. –Br.MD

 

 

markdohle

Pray with the heart

Pray with the heart

“Therefore, my children, pray, pray, pray, with the heart, pray with love,
pray with good works.  Pray so that the world will change, that the world will be saved.  With love live the words of my Son.  Do not judge, instead love one another so that my heart will triumph.  Thank you”. 
Our Lady of Medjugorje 2 March 201

To pray from the heart is to live out the priesthood we Christians belong to as stated in the ‘1st Letter of Peter’.  When Jesus told us not to judge, he was not talking about acts of evil that are committed.  What we are called to do is to not abuse our priesthood in ways that we are not called to do.  The human person is made in God’s image and likeness and that can never be erased.  Each human being because they are created by a loving God is sacred and no one has the right to judge or degenerate another human being.  Each of us must grow in humility and in the knowledge that we fail, sin, yet only God is our judge, because only God sees the depths of our hearts as well as the hearts of our fellow human beings.

To pray from the heart is to join ourselves with Christ Jesus before the Father in praying for the world and in offering Jesus up for the salvation of the world.  Mankind is growing weary from the weight of the violence, pain and war that is piled up higher in each generation.  We know that hatred in all of its forms does no one any good, yet it is the normal way of dealing with others who offend us, or of a different nation, race and religion, or as is easily seen in the United States today,  an opposing political party.  Yet we continue.

 

I believe the Blessed Mother is a true prophet for our times.  She also says in the same messa

“My Son is merciful and just.  My motherly heart would desire for you also to be like that.  My motherly heart would desire that you, apostles of my love, speak of my Son and of me to all those around you with your life; so that the world would be different; that simplicity and purity would return; that faith and hope would return”. 
 

For Christians, the only way to achieve this is in relationship with Christ Jesus so that we can be more like him. The more we love and open our hearts to him, the deeper his grace can work in us and heal us.  So that we can actually love, forgive, and because of the gift of true humility, see more deeply into the hearts of others.  The more we learn to love, the less we can use contempt and hatred to cover over the suffering humanity of those around us.  Peace has to start with each person opening their hearts to God.  Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Buddhist and people of all paths are called to this…..to be open to God’s infinite love and grace, compassion and mercy.

Below is the full Message given on the 2nd of March 2017—Br.MD

 

Dear children, with a motherly love I am coming to help you to have more love and that means more faith.

I am coming to help you to live with love the words of my Son so that the world would be different.

Therefore, apostles of my love, I am gathering you around myself. Look at me with the heart, speak to me as to a mother about your pains, sufferings and your joys. Ask me to pray to my Son for you.

My Son is merciful and just. My motherly heart would desire for you also to be like that. My motherly heart would desire that you, apostles of my love, speak of my Son and of me to all those around you with your life; so that the world would be different; that simplicity and purity would return; that faith and hope would return.

Therefore, my children, pray, pray, pray with the heart, pray with love, pray with good works. Pray so that the world will change, that the world will be saved. With love live the words of my Son. Do not judge, instead love one another so that my heart could triumph. Thank you.”

markdohle

The hammer and grace of God

The truly wretched
(The hammer and grace of God)
 
“Wretched are those who are vindictive and spiteful.”—Pope Frances
 
Vindictiveness and spitefulness are not something reserved for the few.  In my own life I find myself having to deal with these states of being which is a foretaste of hell, I believe.  I can always have a ‘good’ and ‘just’ cause for my seeking to get back at others.  It can be a very difficult inner struggle to understand that part of the Our Father that asks that we be forgiving as we have forgiven others.  The misery and desolation that is experienced when we seek revenge or others, or on just life, in particular, can be something held onto and loved, it can nourish a half-life in us that leads to further isolation and striking out.  We all suffer injustice, and I would think most of us have done injustices to others, though we can underplay our role while overplaying the role that others have in our lives.  In lent we are asked to take responsibility for ourselves, what we do and how we hurt others and to take responsibility for it, and to ask for forgiveness when we can.  When we understand our own weakness and how easy it can be to cause deep suffering in others, we can see that we often use a double standard when we weigh and judge those around us.  One way to stop the cycle of anger, blame and further pain, is to truly understand our own need for mercy, healing, and compassion from God as well as from those we hurt.  It is the Heart of Christ, living in our own hearts that can give us the grace and healing to reach out and to let go of the heavy burden of being vindictive and spiteful.
 
 
God's Hammer
 
When we create ourselves without grace
we often beget hell,
a place of deep melancholy
such a sweet state for some
(well for me)
that only the hammer and grace of God
can break.--Br.MD
 
 

 

markdohle

You have to trust God

You have to trust God
 
“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds,
there is always a space in which the good seed can grow.
You have to trust God.”—Pope Frances
 
When people speak of virtues like patience and trust, some seem to think that it is a state that just happens. I have had people complain to me that they pray for patience but then have situations that make them impatient. Well if you want to be patient you have to pay the dues.
 
Patience is developed when we don’t feel patient but deal patiently with whatever is provoking us. You can’t have patience if there is no impatience to deal with. On a good smooth day, when nothing can bother me, I don’t have to be patient; I can just float down the river of having a good day.
 
Trust is no different. On days when all is well, trust does not even come into the equation. Yet on days when my life does seem like it is full of thorns and weeds and unwanted insects buzzing around in my mind….well…. it is then that trust is born, for I can still trust in God and in the mess of my life, I can begin to see God acting.
 
Things in life will provoke us. Often we may not know why. The same goes for trust. There are things in life, both within and without that will bring out fear, yet as Jesus said, ‘Fear is useless, what is needed is trust”. Trust is not an emotion, nor is it a feeling, but a state of being, hoping against hope in God’s love and mercy.
--Br.MD

 

markdohle

The absolute nakedness before God
(Ash Wednesday 2017)

Ash Wednesday brings me face to face with the
depth of faith and the pull of unbelief. 

Although it is not as bad as it was when younger, there is an element within my soul that dreads Ash Wednesday.  I think of deep dark holes that could swallow me up.  Or a world that is covered with ash after a great war, or the fear of being without life’s necessities and naked in a dark cold landscape, and that is better than when I was younger.  Perhaps it is because even though I am a man of faith and as the years fly by, that faith takes deep root, yet there is the ‘Inner Atheist’ or ‘Cynic’ that is still very much alive and perhaps keeps up with me, as the other side of the coin, my faith journey moves forward..  A love of God, and a feeling not a belief that God is impossible….God as absurd, yet this world without God or an Infinite intelligence is in reality even more nonsensical.  Pulled in both direction, yet I seem to be able to hold my peace and just stay there and makes acts of love and trust in that Infinite mystery, something eternally knowable but always unknown to me.  I get it, embrace it, and have a glimmer of understanding and then when I seek to grasp the answer; it turns to ‘ash’.  So yes, Ash Wednesday brings me face to face with the depth of faith and the pull of unbelief. 

Yet, Ash Wednesday always brings to mind the deep suffering of Jesus Christ.  A suffering that I cannot even begin to fathom or imagine, for I am way too shallow and too weak and fearful, to be able to bear too much suffering, or the absolute nakedness before God that Christ experienced in my stead…..and perhaps because of his love is still experiencing in space and time through each of us, his beloved children.

Christ Jesus driven into the desert by the Holy Spirit;  a place of sand, dryness, danger and possible death from a lack of water, freezing nights and unbearably hot days, where there was no comfort, a true dark night of the soul for someone who did not need it but undertook for love of ‘me’.  Every ‘me’, there are billions of us ‘me’s ‘, how is this possible?  Yet it is, even if I have yet to grasp any deep understanding of this central point of the Christian/Catholic faith. 

One day I will be ash/dust, buried behind our MonasteryChurch, no coffin, just a shroud and a face cloth, tightly wrapped as if to protect my lifeless body from the cold.  Jesus in the tomb, his life turned to ash, wrapped tightly and enclosed in a cold dark tomb…..what a frightful image.  If I was there at his tomb, surely it would have been apparent that it was over, like everything else in the world….finished, over and as if he never was.  Yet the obvious was not to be.

Ash and darkness, coldness and a dark tomb, obvious, yes of course, for that, is the end of all things.  Be it the Universe, our world, our country, and finally all of us ‘me’s’ in the world.  Yet that darkness was filled against all expectation with light, power and healing love on the third day.  The relationship that Peter thought was truly ash, by his denial of Jesus was against all expectation led to healing, compassion, and understanding.

So we live in a world where the unexpected can happen.  One day we will have that experienced brought to full light, though we live that mystery now.  Ash shows us that, all things end, it is not a pleasant thought, but what happened on ‘The Third Day’ after Jesus was buried awaits us all.  Then we will truly know what our heart loves or perhaps hates.

 

 

markdohle

The give and take during retreats

The give and take during retreats
(you only get what you put in)

Watching the dynamic process that happens when a group comes for retreats is fascinating.   The size of these groups can go from 4 participants to 45.   No matter the size, when people come together to listen, learn as well as to participate, there is often a deep bonding that happens.  Strangers become friends, small groups will meet in our two parlors set aside for that very purpose and soon the other people are no longer strangers, but real people, complex and beautiful in their openness.

Some are open by listening deeply but may not say anything in the group.  Others do both, they listen and share and they are perhaps the most blessed.  They take a chance and become vulnerable, even if shy or frighten.  They also discover that they have something to say about their life experiences.   How they handle their struggles makes them wise and in the unique way that they express themselves, they find can be helpful for those who listen to them.  They are often surprised at how deeply they touch their lives by simply sharing in an unpretentious manner, just by being honest, and straightforward.   

When I am the only presenter and the nature of the retreat has to do with ‘life issues’ I find that having the group in a circle changes the whole dynamic flow of the group.  
When the presenter stands in front of a group, which is sometimes what should be done, people listen and might ask a question or two.  However the presenter is the actual center of the room, all eyes are on him or her.

When making a circle there is always the chance that the group will lose focus if one or two people seek to control the time and discussion.  So before making a circle it is important for the presenter to be able to keep the group on track.  In the middle of the circle there is ‘nothing’ only silence.  So the first time the people sit together, there can be a protracted time of silence, people looking at the center of the room, at nothing, perhaps looking inward for something to say.  Soon, though it may seem like an extended period, people begin to share deeply.  It is then that I invite anyone to respond and tell them that each person in the group has life experiences that have given them a rich perspective on their lives.  By speaking out, by taking a chance, they may be surprised what they speak when trusting the people they are with enough to share.  I also remind them that they re here for a reason, so the more they listen as well as share the deeper that experience will be.  There has to be a place for the Spirit to work, by being overly cautious or allowing one,s shyness or fear to control them is counterproductive.  

Sitting in a circle can give the sense of not being an observer or simply a student, but belonging, to being one with all those in the circle.  There is not beginning or end to a circle, it simply is.  In the center of the circle is emptiness, nothingness, silence which can draw those in who understand the significance of ‘nothing’, ‘no-thing’.  There is a witness that the center of the circle symbolizes.  

I am always amazed at the depth of my fellow human beings.  Their complexity, as well as the childlike simplicity and trust in God that gives them the courage when challenged gently to respond wholeheartedly.  One advantage in spending time with people that are strangers is that it can lend to listening more intently since there is no overlying baggage directed at the person speaking.  This can be helpful and healing as well.  People understand that they are not alone in their struggles and hopefully learn to communicate better with those they have to go back to.

We are a mixed bag.  People are braver than they know.  Also more intelligent and insightful, but are often not conscious of it.   They just need a place where they can allow that to well-up within them, to give it voice, sound, form

When I give my orientation, I share with the new group the importance of silence in the disengaged areas.  For there are people on retreat who really need that time to be silent and to deal with whatever they have come to deal with.  I ask people to respect others boundaries, to not impose themselves on their fellow retreatants.  However, I continue, we have speaking rooms for those who need that, for speaking and silence have equal worth if used properly while on retreat.  So, some share, others just listen, and still others deiced after the 1st conference that they need the time apart to deal with their relationship with God, themselves and others in their lives.  

They are all brave, beautiful and loved in ways that may not understand or perceive, yet many when they come here or go elsewhere to spend time apart, they will often get a glimmer of that underlying reality to different degrees…..they get what they need, not what they want.

markdohle

Going against the current of fear

Going against the current of fear

Befriending fear Retreat
February 24-26 (Weekend)
(Br. Mark)

18 Then Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like?  And to what shall compare it.  19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches. Luke 13: 19-20

+++++

There is always a beginning, a seed, planted in our deepest selves, often against our will.  Jesus talks about the Kingdom and how it starts with a small seed and how it needs care in order for it to grow and come to full measure.  He also talks in another parable about the sower, who scattered seed in his field and went on to speak about the enemy who came along and planted weeds.  Both were left because to forcibly uproot the weeds would also do harm to the harvest.  So they grow side by side.  So you could say that in the field there is a struggle going on, one of sustenance, and the loser will die, be choked out of existence.  It is a powerful image.  For those who have worked in raising a small garden, it is easy to picture this scene.  Weeds are gently cut down or pulled up by their roots, yet if only one seed drops to the ground they will sprout back up again.  There is really no end to it.  This can be applied to the life of the soul, where vigilance, endurance, and patience are needed.  To become impatient with the weeds, we could do harm to the whole garden if we in anger seek to tear up once and for all what is undesirable.    

So seeds of fear are planted in the garden of our souls.  For some these fears can be crippling, deeply rooted and can lead to a life of diminishment.  Fear in its useless form feeds off that which is good and strong in us.  Just as weeds will choke the life out of the wheat, or other crops, by starving them to death, neurotic fear is a parasite that is insatiable.   

Now fear, like any human emotion has a purpose.  Real fear needs to be listened to.  If not, which is a form of foolishness can lead to very serious consequences, even death, both on the physical and spiritual level.  The struggle is to know when our fears are often based on an illusion.  

I know a man who is very intelligent, a deep thinker, good writer and a poet.  Yet he is dominated by many fears.  I knew his past so I could understand his fear of losing control over his life or of failing in any endeavor.  These fears had a choke hold on his life. It affected his relationship with others, because of his compulsion to dominate in a passive aggressive manner.  So many friends would eventually withdraw from him because they could not be comfortable when he was with them.  Because I do not see him often, our relationship has survived, though he can be draining.      

He was invited to speak at a conference on Carl Jung because of his knowledge of Jung and his very deep penetrating insights on his theories.  The event was to be held in Los Angeles and at first, he was excited about it.  I encouraged him to consider it, for this is what he has been working towards for many years.  Since I knew him, I was afraid he would back out.  Over the following months, his fears of failure grew and he told me that it was not time, for him to do any kind of public speaking in front of a large audience.  I was more than a little dismayed about this and tried to get him to face his fears and not let them have such a choke-hold on him.  He was almost 50, so this was probably his last chance to really live out his desire to be a speaker on a subject he loved dearly.  

He finally told me ‘no’, he could not do it.  I respected his decision but was saddened by it.  For he was, and is, a truly gifted writer and a deep thinker on the subject of the unconscious and it’s often hidden influence on our lives; sadly he could not use the knowledge to help him in his own life.   I believe he knew that he was giving in to his fear.  Today, he still writes and has a little journal with a small following.  I talked with him a month or so ago and he told me that he regrets not going out to Los Angeles.  His fear imprisoned him.  However, he is still growing and little by little his fears are having less of a hold on him.  Perhaps the loss and regret are spurs for him to seek deeper freedom.  There is always hope and he is growing and helping others.  Just not to the extent that he really wants to.  The illusions of fear can be powerful and controlling and hard to free ourselves from.  I am speaking of course from my own experience.

There are many fears, some are real, perhaps most of illusionary.  Fear of losing face, of looking foolish, of failure, of not being perfect, of losing friendships if people actually knew us….the list is a long one.  How to deal with them?

Fears start off small, in the sense that at the beginning, with help, they can be faced and overcome, though with difficulty.  Fears, even those that are more illusion than reality are there to protect us from ‘life’ and ‘suffering’, but in the end, they can actually make us more miserable.  To face one's fears, the difficulty in doing so, cannot be underestimated.  

I started off with a quote from St. Luke Gospel.  Why?  I do believe that people of faith if they seek the reality of it, it will give them the courage to not be so afraid that they cannot face it and step over the wall that is before them.  When we understand that our lives are a journey, that we are pilgrims and that our choices have a significance that we as yet do not understand, can open many doors for us, though the struggle is always there.  Perhaps necessary, for when we go against the current of fear, on some level we are transformed and we allow Love’s way in our deepest areas of our heart and soul.--Br.MD

markdohle

Befriending Fear retreat

Befriending Fear retreat
 
Fear is something people have to deal with. Fear is an important emotion, for it can actually save our lives or lead us to take precautions. There are also fears that are more or less illusionary and can lessen our ability to actually live full lives. In their extreme form, they can be an emotional prison cell. Neurotic fears seek to protect us from a broader life and keep us 'safe'. We are not here to be 'safe', we are here to grow and reach out to others and to develop our gifts. Our faith can help us to take root in the moment and face what we fear and work through it. It is a difficult journey, yet to not face our fears can actually bring more chaos into our lives.
 
We need fear in our lives to protect us. Fear can also build up such high walls around us because anxiety keeps us within a limited zone that some consider comfortable. Some walls are there to keep us out for good reason; others are made to be stepped over before they become too high to climb. To take a chance can seem threatening but to not take the opportunity to step over that wall of fear can lead to a life of backtracking. Failure and even rejection is not the end of the world unless we decide to make it so by not trying again to reach out or to grow in other areas of our lives. Like speaking before a group for the first time, or striking out to form a friendship with someone. The examples that can be used or varied, but all are calling us to step over that wall….hopefully, the first of many.
 
Fear is good when it warns of us of real dangers, but it can also imprison us if it leads to unwarranted anxiety. Sometimes fear can be a call to keep going, instead of retreat. Wisdom knows the difference. Death to an old way of life can cause deep anxiety and trepidation, yet it need not deter us.
 
 
markdohle

I rejoice in my humanity

I rejoice in my humanity
(11/5/08)


The images within have something to teach me,
my longings are signs leading the way,
my openness without fear is the key for the inner journey,
in the presence of the Father, there is nothing to fear or disdain.

I have the warmth I so desire,
the strength I see in others I also have,
I am strong and masculine a thing of beauty,
I need to embrace the giftedness of who I am.

My energy is warm made for love,
in healing and giving is its life,
and yes in a bountiful receiving,
for the reward of love
is to love even more,
an infinite journey into God’s delight.

I rejoice in my maleness
thankful for the body that I have,
for arms that can hold
and for the strength to endure for others,
to lift them up
and to allow myself to be also raised.

O Father eternal,
infinite tenderness
truly all before you are feminine,
for it is you who make love to the soul,
ravishing us with your healing fire,
bearing our burdens,
feeling our pain,
for that is what father’s do,
also, our life-giving Mother
for you bring all to fruition.

I regret nothing Father of my life,
for in time I slowly learn to love and trust,
my wounds and strength both equal in your plan
to form me in your likeness.
Each unique in their wounds,
for each bear the stigmata
or is it Christ who bears ours?

In dark valleys we must often walk,
cold and dreary where faith can be hard,
yet your grace ever strong
allow the roots of faith to grow slow
and yes sure.

Our souls revealed on the cross
the untold intimacy of the pain you feel,
for truly you dwell with us,
each has their own road to traverse.

I sin and fail,
I fall and get up
for your grace will not let me be,
despair is weakened by the knowledge of your love,
its cold power melts in your fiery light.

So I lift up my arms to receive your gifts,
allowing my heart to be open and fleshy,
to not fear what is revealed,
for when I arrive at my shame
you are waiting there,
always at the center of my pain,
eternally patient for me to come home.--Br.MD






markdohle

About abortion, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice
(Those who disagree can come from a place of compassion as well.)

A good friend of mine, who is not a Christian, but a thoughtful man, actually like a brother, wrote me and disagreed with my post on the 'Down Trodden".  He is a man who does care for others, we just start from a different place.  He did mention in his note to me that if Universal Contraception was available it would take care of a good deal of the problem.  His name is Marco and if anyone met him would like him for his passion and depth of insight into many of the problems that we are dealing with at this time.  We both know and understand that the women who get abortions go through a horrendous process and many never get over it.  Hence a central problem if not the main one for the abortions issue.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone, for I have friends and family who have procured abortions….life is messy and chaotic.  I understand that....yet we all must speak what we think is important and true.

I know that many will disagree, I understand and again, I know that I can't change anyone minds on anything.

Marco,

"I think there is universal access to contraception.  I believe that is another question.  However, when the sexual act is reduced to 'play' without regard for consequences is a problem.  Marco, one reason you are interested in the rights of animals is that they are not objects to you, nor are they commodities, they are real living creatures.  I don't always agree with everything you say about animal rights, yet people need to stop looking upon animals as things' and in that I applaud you.

The same goes for the 'fetus'.  Funny, when a woman wants to have an abortion, it is a fetus.  When she wants to keep it, it is a child developing.  We use words to protect us from understanding the evil in what we are doing.  Cruelty to animals for instance.  We can call it sport, or scientific experimentation etc.  That way we don't have to face the suffering we cause other animals.  We label them.  We also label the life in the womb as a 'fetus' or 'mere tissue''.   Or the 'Woman's right to choose ', mind-numbing repetitions to cover over the conscience.  I can't believe that during the democratic convention a woman got up and bragged about getting an abortion, how it helped her in her career.....so the life in her womb was a commodity, mere tissue, if she wanted the child, I doubt she would think in those terms.  Abortion is murder, which is legal, just as mercy killing in this country will soon be.  When something becomes a law, it matures, grows and can get out of control.  Like in the Netherlands… doctors are starting to choose on their own who is to live or not.  That was not the intention of 'mercy killing', yet when doctors overstep they are not persecuted.  Roe and Wade was introduced with the intent of allowing abortions for women in danger and those on the poverty level......now it is a right for all woman to get an abortion for any reason.  

However, the issue goes beyond my thoughts on the issue, or yours.  It is here to stay; like I said… for it to lessen significantly or to even go away, cultures would have to change in ways that are impossible.  So all anyone can do who is pro-life is to stay calm, loving and compassionate.  Life is very, very, very, messy.  Becoming violent, insulting and physically aggressive only makes things worse for everyone.

My post was not directed at people who are pro-choice but towards those who understand the sacredness of life in the womb so that they will not despair, or get angry or violent.  I do not underestimate our potential for violence, in  me, you, or the gentle old lady who lives in her apartment."  Those who disagree can come from a place of compassion as well.

markdohle

On the side of the downtrodden

On the side of the downtrodden

(For all, those who are Pro-Life and the Pro-Choice camp, the abortion issue is painful and heartbreaking)


Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.—Simone Weil

What is the difference between those who are Pro-Life and those who are Pro-Choice? I believe those who are Pro-Life understand that life is sacred and not a commodity. They understand that the life in the womb is not something to be snuffed out for any reason short of saving a woman’s life if it is in danger. Even then, there can still be a chance of saving the child. It is about intent. Abortion is the direct killing of a life that is helpless with no one to defend its right to life. Those who are Pro-Life know that.

I believe that the Pro-Choice people are also acting for the rights of the mother, her right to terminate the life in the womb. It is what they focus on. What Pro-Choice people don’t understand is the horror of abortion for those who believe that a human life starts at conception and should be protected until natural death. For Pro-Choice people the life in the womb is only tissue, it is a way to not see more deeply into what is being done to those who cannot defend themselves. We seek the rights of animals, but the rights of those in the womb are rejected and even scorned. However, there is never an excuse for violence or for intimidation from those who are Pro-Life. Change comes from the people, the bottom up, not from the top, the government down.

I doubt that abortion will go away anytime soon, for it is but a symptom of the deeper rot in our culture. I do believe that one day, the rights of the unborn; the most defenseless lives on this planet will be accepted. And our era will be looked backed upon with horror. Just as we look back on the time of slavery in this country.

Both sides understand the human situation and how painful it can be for everyone. Having a child is serious business, yet we live in a society where sex without responsibility, or sex as a sport, is celebrated, yet the outcome of such activities is often rejected. Of course, we do this with all of our passions. Greed, look what it has done and is doing to the world. The suffering it is causing. Gluttony in all of its forms is also a cause of deep suffering for many. Anger, war, while seen as a true horror and evil, yet we continue to kill and destroy each other.

Are we a species totally out of control?

We do all kinds of things to escape the suffering in our lives, but in the end, we make things worse. I guess it has always been so, yet today it seems to be expanding at an accelerated speed.

The crazy insane political climate in our country is just the tip of the iceberg for our society; it is merely the outcome of the deep dysfunction in how we as a people and individuals deal with our problems. I can say one thing, anger, violence; political infighting never accomplishes anything positive….well at least the way things are going at this time.

I do believe that Christians and all people of good will are called not to become bitter, hateful, or violent, at this time. We are to pray and to simply do what we can to make our society a better place in which to live. We get in trouble when we look for outcomes, yet the fruit of our present actions may take years or generations to take fruit. We are like all those who have gone before us, locked in a historical struggle against chaos, evil and despair. We are called to pray, show mercy and compassion on all. Knowing that many get caught up in situations that get out of their control… Knowing this can help us to become a place of sanity and rest on all levels of society.

markdohle

A troubled young man

A troubled young man

 

About a year ago, we had a young man come into the retreat house one morning asking if he could stay a couple of nights.  He was traveling and his place of employment would pay for his lodging.  Did not know what his job entailed, but he told me that he was on the road about two weeks every month. 

He did not talk to anyone for most of his stay, but he seemed deeply troubled all during his retreat here.  Not in an agitated way, but it was how he presented himself.  His eyes cast down, hunched over and his face was drawn.   On his last day he wanted to talk to me, so we sat down and had our discussion.  I can’t go into detail, but let’s say that he was responsible for an accident that left another person disabled.  It just happened; a moment of inattention that happens to most of us when we drive and then instantly the tragedy happened.  He does not remember it happening, just the aftermath and the life that he believes he ruined.  It was something that occurred many years ago, but he could not let go of it. 

He could not forgive himself, even though the family has, knowing that it was just a tragic accident and was not intentional.  He had a lot of ‘if onlys’, but they only made it worse for him.  He could not forgive himself for something where forgiveness was not actually needed.  He did help out the person that was injured in the accident, but it did not bring him peace. Yet he was here seeking it. 

As he talked, he seemed to see dimly how he was causing himself a great deal of useless suffering because of his inability to forgive himself.  He asks me how he could stop it.  So I only said that the fact that he finally asked himself that question could be a sign that healing was in place and he needed to continue to pray and allow that healing to continue.  For the first time in the two days he was here, he smiled, though it was a tired one. 

He did tell me that he was coming to understand that there are a great many situations in life that can only be lived through until things fall in place.  He felt that things were starting to come together at last and most likely because the family and the person injured have forgiven him and he is friends with them.  So he left and said that he will try to come back for he felt that something important has happened that he could not put his finger on.  I think in some way he named it, but not on a completely conscious level. 

I did not feel frustrated over his situation for I believe that things do ‘settle’ if we allow time to do its work and to seek to make amends the best we can.  This young man was doing that and perhaps that is what allows things to settle, when we simply say “yes’ I did it” and allow life, grace, and God to slowly lead and heal.  It is not as passive as it sounds, but to be aware of one’s inner life on a deep level.

To forgive one’s-self can be one of the most difficult hurdles in life.  Unless this is done all we can do is keep picking at ourselves or seek to run from it.  Neither leads anywhere, but just another circle around a well worn track.

 

markdohle

To hate another or to seek revenge is easy
(Like falling off a log)

Live in hope, even if you don’t feel it, trust in God even if you suffer the opposite of that, and love all, praying for those who are unlovable to you.  In that is healing, for we cannot hate and pray for someone at the same time.  To hate another or to seek revenge is easy, yet destructive to the soul.  Emotions that are hateful are not hate; hate is cold, indifferent to the well-being of others, praying for all forestalls that.  When saying the ‘Our Father’, concentrate on the words.  Say it slowly, peacefully and prayerfully.—Br.MD

 

 

markdohle

Helping those in need

(The Good Samaritan)
Helping those in need

33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when
he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and bound up his wounds,
 pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and
brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 And the next day
he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying,
‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay
you when I come back.’
36 Which of these three, do you think,
proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
37
 
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him,

“You go, and do likewise. “Luke 10:33-37


It can be difficult for a reader to put themselves into a story that was written thousands of years ago.  Cultures change, and I am sure that if I were to suddenly find myself two thousand years in the past, there would a great deal of difficulty in adapting to the mores of such a time. 

Like now, there were back then, animosities between different groups that ran deep and the enmity was passed on from one generation to the next.  It was felt on a visceral level and was considered to be a morally upright position to hold, on both sides.  Such generational hatred was present between the Jews and the Samaritans.  If I lived back then, I have no doubt that I would also carry the burden of this distrust and even hatred of whichever group was other than me.

A man, a Jew, was set upon by robbers and left for dead.  So two good men passed by, both from the Levitical clan, one a priest, the other one of the men who assisted the priest in the temple. Both of whom were most likely on their way to Jerusalem for a Holy Day and perhaps both had duties in the temple and had to remain ritually clean. So they could not help the injured and perhaps dying man on the side of the road.  So I can’t condemn these men, they were doing their duty.  Yet they neglected a higher one.

Then along comes the Samaritan, who no doubt, being a man of his time, had no love for Jews and avoided them whenever possible.  In fact, the thought of helping a Jew would most likely be abhorrent to him.  Yet something interior happened when he saw the man on the side of the road, who was not a brother Samaritan but an enemy.  He experienced something that propelled him over the wall of prejudices and hatred and perhaps for the first time in his life he saw this Jew as just another human being in need of help.  He felt something that both the Levite and the Priest repressed (to their harm I believe), he felt compassion.  He saw a brother, a man, not an enemy.   However, the shocking part of this story for the people of Jesus’ time is that the Jew might have preferred to die instead of being helped by the ‘Good Samaritan”.  Yet compassion was shown to him anyway.  This understanding of seeing another human being as a brother in need allowed for the double wall of prejudices and distrust to be walked through as if they did not exist. 

Even the inn-keeper was brought into this.  Perhaps seeing the act of compassion that the Samaritan had for the Jew, it allowed the inn-keeper to trust this stranger to come back and cover expenses, or maybe even opened the heart of this business man to see this injured man as more than an inconvenience but again, as another fellow human being just as he was in need of help. 

It would be the same thing today if a Christian or Non-radical Muslim saw a soldier of ISIS on the side of the road and showed the man compassion and love, cleaned and anointed his wounds and put him up in a place to heal and promised to come back and pay for anything over what they left.  Outrageous, well yes it is.  Mercy and compassion are not earned, nor does one have to deserve to receive it.  God, as revealed in Jesus Christ does the same for us, all of us, without distinction. 






markdohle

When is the true nature of joy understood?

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality
can be obtained only by someone who is detached.”
Simone Weil

Healthy detachment is not indifference.  Nor is it something cold and aloof.  The detachment that is based on fear is a way of self protection from the chaos that seems to be a part of everyone’s life. 

Attachment can be a form of slavery.  First, we seek ‘another’, yet the ‘other’ is often a carrier of our own unfulfilled desires that we seek in the ‘desired’ what we either do not have in ourselves, or we are unaware of it.  We make the one sought after into something other than what they are.  In the end, they have to withdraw because there is no real relationship.

We can become enamored with people, political movements, and communities in general.  We place a burden on them to take care of us and when that does not happen, either the relationship is miscarried, or once the infatuation passes, after a struggle, a real relationship is begun.  It is then that healthy detachment can enter into one's journey.  To finally come to the understanding that people and groups and religions and political communities have severe limitations, is when we are then put in the position to actually deal with our own inner world and to stop running from it.  In that process is freedom slowly embraced as well as healing.  However, the struggle is always present. 

Our relationship with God is no different, though it comes from a much deeper level in one’s soul.  We can project onto God many expectations.  For a time we will live in delight with God until because our relationship is not ‘real’ but based on simple inner needs, God will withdraw and we will find ourselves alone, in darkness and may have feelings of betrayal and abandonment.  This is a necessary step for most people if they wish to draw deeper into a loving union with God.  For many, they will withdraw and their relationship with God will be tentative and stillborn.  Yet one day they will have to experience ‘the stripping’ away of all that keeps the soul from the truth we are all made to experience…..Union with God.  It is then the true nature of joy is understood and that reality of the grace that allows that to happen.  For it is grace that calls us, we are pursued. 

It is hard to understand the love of God….perhaps impossible, yet this love can be experienced at ever deeper levels if we allow grace and the healing and purifying fire of the Holy Spirit to do its work.  It is a pathless path, for we each have our own journey.  However, all that keeps us from the experience of this joyous union is in reality ‘sin’ and imprisons us.—Br.MD

markdohle

Evil is truly the great Banality

Evil is truly the great Banality

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring;
real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”
Simone Weil

When I was in the Navy, people often made fun of those who were on some kind of disciplined spiritual path.  They believed that they must be unhappy not doing what many others were doing.  Yet those who sought only to have a good time were the ones who were unhappy, at least from where I was standing. 

Getting drunk, using other’s sexually, fighting, taking drugs and getting sick were not my idea of something ‘always new, marvelous and intoxicating’.  Waking up with a hangover in the morning or feeling empty after a frivolous sexual encounter is actually monotonous, barren and boring. 

Great evil only brings death and destruction both to those who live it and to those who are victims.  War shows that to be true.  ISIS also comes to mind.  The fruits of evil are the same as watering a plant with salt water…..death is its fruit. 

To listen to those who are racist, or into some kind of violent lifestyle are not usually the most interesting people to be around or to talk or listen to.  When we seek to be our own healers, we are drawing from a center that is a lie, for at our deepest we are actually nothing, we have no generating power of our own.  So evil is cyclic and can become an overriding compulsion in one's life. 

When we seek to escape from ourselves, we try to blame everyone else or to use others and the world around us as an object to fill our inner hunger and emptiness…. for in the end, sin and evil are lies and can only deliver death and spiritual starvation.  When we deny that a death to self is needed to break open into a deeper, more vivid reality, we pay a heavy price.  No matter what road we choose, the one leading to deeper union with ultimate truth, or to run headlong into the eternal empty void, called hell, there is a price to be paid, there is not escape from this stark reality.

Faith, of all kinds, can also be unhealthy and evil if it is used to foster hatred and fear of others.  Religion, that goes bad happens when the heart becomes closed to others, which leads to isolation.  Instead of seeking inner healing, what we fear to face is taken out on those who believe or think differently.  One aspect of evil is that it cannot take responsibility for its choices but blames others.  It is the opposite of humility; that ability to accept the truth about oneself without hatred or despair, but a goad toward the accepting of Infinite Mercy. 

Religion, that loses it ‘salt’ can be just as banal and death wielding as any evil in the world. 

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