His Grace is Sufficient: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

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Saint John of the Cross uses the sevenfold imagery of Saint Teresa’s mansions.

Interesting that these are the two saints I’m most attracted to and whose works I’m also currently reading (Interior Castle and Dark Night of the Soul)

If a man remains faithful . . . the Lord will not cease raising him degree by degree until he reaches the divine union and transformation . . . .

I can’t remember if I had mentioned it before, but in the recent past I was struggling over something and was at my wit’s end how to get over the hurdle. All I wanted to do was give up the struggle and just, if you will, embrace the sin — I felt totally helpless. But I knew HOW I ought to pray, and I prayed the words, asking God to pluck me out of the situation because that was the only way I could fight back. Left to my own devices I didn’t have the strength of will to walk away. I left the prayer at His feet and tried to rest in the consolation that He would do something if He wanted me out of there. And that’s exactly what He did. It wasn’t the saintliest thing I could have done, but I really didn’t have it in me to be saintly in those moments. Once I was out of it, however, I was so grateful for having been given the grace, first of all, to pray as I ought, even though my heart wasn’t in it at all.

The whole experience reminded me of this quote, which I can’t really find in Scripture, but it’s a good one.

bring

… and which brings to mind 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

no matter what slime of sin he has descended in the past, he is still called to the very heights of prayer.

Training in prayer is so very helpful, because I can tell the Lord EXACTLY what I NEED, and ask Him to help as He sees fit, even when I don’t WANT His help. Recognizing also what we need — salvation — as opposed to what we want — temporary, fleeting pleasure, an easy time of it, a “good feeling”, etc. — can almost be salvation in itself. We KNOW we’re not supposed to be inside the pit, even if the pit is lined with gold and diamonds, or supplied with food and water. At that point, the instinct for survival takes over; it’s what makes us yell for help even when we’d really just rather stay in the pit. And guess what. The Lord responds!!

of splendid men and women being tortured to death loving and praying for their persecutors, all in fidelity to truth and goodness.

i hope that if I’m ever put into a situation like that that i would at least know how to pray and what to pray even if my knees were shaking and even if my instincts were telling me to bolt and save myself. i hope i can remember that the only real salvation comes from Christ.

Saint Ambrose comments on this verse that the grace of the Holy Spirit knows no delay.

Every time I let laziness win, I am delaying God’s grace from blessing others, and from blessing me. Procrastination has no place in the life of a saint. An apt reflection and great timing, as the weather of late has been too conducive to curling up in bed and napping.

heroically holy people unite in themselves virtues that seem to many peope to exclude one another: magnanimity (aspiring to do great things for God and our neighbor) and humility, warm love and chastity, contemplation and action.

I love the way Fr. Dubay has juxtaposed these things: I can be magnanimous and still be humble. I can love everyone warmly and still be chaste. I can be a contemplative even while engaging fully with the world around me — that these things aren’t mutually exclusive is very encouraging and enlightening to me, I don’t have to be either-or, I can be both-and.

One Comment

  1. what beautiful reflective points! very helpful and inspiring!

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