Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Sheen continues… Asceticism

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on February 15, 2018

God Love You!

Self discipline does not mean giving up anything, for giving up is a loss:

“Fear not! thy TRUST ends not in loss, I’ll not put thee to shame. There is a purpose in thy Cross and no reproach and blame. One day, with glad exultant voice, thou child of sorrow, shall rejoice!” Excerpt, Mountain of Spices, pp 180-81.

Our Lord never asked us to give up anything, but to exchange:

“What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:37).

Exchange is bases on two ideas: What we can get along without, and what we cannot get along without.

[Case in point]: We can get along without a dime, but we cannot get along without a loaf of bread, so we exchange one for the other.

In self-discipline we discover we can get along very well without the agony of the soul that follows from selfishness, alcoholism, sensuality…

…but we cannot get along without the peace of the soul in union with God, so we exchange one for the other.

Mortification [the doing without] is therefore only a means to an end, and the end is the Love of God.

[Now this IS important!] But to be mortified for the sake of being mortified, like sitting on a railroad spike for 20 years IS SILLY EGOTISM.

If it does not increase our love of God it is worthless!

“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that i have, and if i deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1Cor 13:1-3)

The man of God will therefore turn his eyes away from what would harm his love of God, as a man will turn his eyes away from [a bright sun that might damage his eyesight]. His tongue will be denied backbiting, slander, gossip because only God knows what goes on in the soul of a neighbor:

“Hear and understand, it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Mt 15:10-11)

I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12:35-37)

His body will deny itself the extra cigarette, the second cocktail, maybe even the first, lest by giving too much comfort to the body he forgets his soul.

His love of ownership will be tamed by frugality and generosity, that by loving his neighbor for God’s sake, he may love God MORE.

His desire to do things for God’s sake will make him avoid publicity and self-seeking knowing that he must grow less and less and God must become more and more.

“John [the baptist] answered, ‘No one can receive anything except what is given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him… the friend of the bridegroom, who stand and hears Him, rejoices greatly at [His] voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27-30)

As [the man of God] would not allow garbage served at his table, so he will not allow intellectual filth to be served into his mind, in the form of foolish romances, [empty entertainment and noise], or the like, lest these false ideas pass into [action] and he become as wicked as his thoughts.

As physical life is the sum [force] that resist[S] death, so spiritual life is the result of constant purification of those sinful tendencies that would make us sub-human or abnormal.

Unless we are constantly taking ourselves to the cleaners [Confession], we become victims of the new pseudo-religion: the idolatry of comfort, and become obsessed with the fear of doing anything unpleasant.

As St Thomas [Aquinas] says:

“Men must have pleasures. If they will not have the joys of the spirit, then they will degenerate into pleasures of the body.”

Unless there is some other interest to compensate for the loss of pleasure, minds become cynical and bitter, with an increasing desire to be coddled, respected, honored and made the center of attention.

This ridding of our egotism and the surface loves is not easy, because the modern soul refuses to postpone satisfaction. Over-fed, over-upholstered, double-chinned, it refuses to close doors, to open bridges, and thus misses joy in this life and an eternal life beyond.

To be continued…

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