I’m leaving tomorrow for a week long personal retreat at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque, Iowa. (See pictures below.) So, I decided to leave you four suggestions from the archives to read at your leisure this coming week: Don’t be afraid of being afraid, Parable of the Talents (1), Parable of the Talents (2), and Parable of the Talents (3).
You’ll be in my prayers.
The Pharisee becomes the publican
One thing that can cause me discouragement is dealing with besetting sin–you know that thing you keep taking back to confession over and over. One of mine is critical thinking. A few years ago I read Sr. Ruth Burrow’s autobiography, and in it she spoke about this being one of her ongoing faults as well. However, she found what I think is a very clever way to deal with it:
Perceptive, quick to see the flaws in another, I was prone to criticism, finding a certain satisfaction in seeing another at fault as though this, in some way, raised me up. I knew that no fault would so displease our Lord or stop his grace as this harsh judgment on his children. I realized I had the mentality of a pharisee but, I thought to myself, if a pharisee had turned to our Lord and admitted his hardness of heart, his crabbed, mean spirit and asked for help, our Lord would have helped him. So I did the same. The pharisee became the publican. I came to realize that temptations to pride, the sin of the pharisee, could make one a publican. The stone which the builders rejected could become head of the corner. I tried to use these bad tendencies to grow in humility.
And the Angels danced, don’t you think?
What God Can See
One of my favorite screensavers is a collection of photos from outer space taken by the Hubble Telescope. What is out there, that we can’t see with our naked eye, is utterly beautiful. Besides those I’ve posted here, there are countless others at their website. Now let me tell you the reason I really like looking at these photos: because each one is a reminder of what God can see and I can’t. What that reminds me of is that there is so much going on in my soul, so much that the Spirit of God is doing deep in my soul, that is of great beauty, even though I can’t see it. Think about that, will you? And your soul (and mine) is infinitely more beautiful than any of these pictures . . .