Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Sort of Sad Story with a Good Lesson

I write what is true and honest, regardless how touchingly, humanly sad or bizarre.  Now here is a little, long story;  but prayerfully the point is well taken by us all, for we could be any portion or part.  It came to me this morning, to write and share, because
it is poignant in a sad way.  God inspired a friend send an email of her desire to do the St. Louis de Montfort Consecration to Jesus Through Mary, and wondered if I might be interested.  She heard about it through her bishop and parish, each wonderfully encouraging this excellent, spiritual act. Highly recommend--yes!

However, I have already consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, the St. Louis de Montfort way.  It seems consecrations are for life and eternity; they are a solemn offering of one's soul for a momentous religious purpose.  (A hermit, religious brother or sister, or virgin does not need to be consecrated more than once, although renewal is good, such as people who renew marriage vows at juncture points.)  The mention of the Consecration to the Heart of Jesus through Mary rekindled my memory of having done so in the fall of 2004, after my mother passed, and concluding on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in an abbey where I happened to be visiting a few days in silent retreat.

The 33-day consecration is mapped out in de Montfort's True Devotion, etc.  There are daily prayers and meditations, taking as little as 15 minutes per the 33 days, or as much as all the hours of the day and night if one desires and is temporally able to use God's time thus.  (I suppose a lot has to do with intention, and one can ask for the grace to subconsciously be thinking of love of the twin Hearts of Mary and Jesus, day and night).  

The 33-day consecration is mapped out in de Montfort's True Devotion, etc.  There are daily prayers and meditations, taking as little as 15 minutes per the 33 days, or as much as all the hours of the day and night if one desires and is temporally able to use God's time thus.  (I suppose a lot has to do with intention, and one can ask for the grace to subconsciously be thinking of love of the twin Hearts of Mary and Jesus, day and night)So I was doing the daily devotions, prayers and meditations.  On the night of day 32, I had a dream of my mother.  It was quite visual and lucid, and I awakened seeking the meaning spiritually.  I thought I had the gist, but I ran into a now-deceased monk, Bro. R. who is a spiritual comrade, then and now.  I told him of the dream and that my mother had passed.  He added input:  that my mother was readying to enter into a new level on the other side and was seeking a proper "garment".  Yes.  There is more, but on to the final day of my consecration to the Heart of Jesus through Mary.
The final day includes making a commitment type offering--some sacrifice or gift or other sign of consecration.  I was alone in the abbey chapel, kind of on the floor as is my usual "spot" when there are only chairs about with soft padding (increases back pain!).  I was praying, asking Mary what kind of gift or sacrifice or sign from me to Jesus would be meaningful and good.  In popped that I should offer myself as a suffering soul on behalf of the monks of this abbey.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement.  I looked to the side and saw the abbot walking into the darkened chapel.  While daylight, it was a cold and gray December day.  He did not know I was in there, my being low to the ground by the Tabernacle, and he sat in the back and prayed.

"Now, go to this abbot and ask if he will accept the offering as a victim of suffering love for the monks of the abbey."  I did so, and the abbot was surprised and yet quietly pleased.  I added that I should also clear it with my spiritual director upon return "home".  Later on, he wrote a note, accepting, and Bro. R. wrote a note mentioning it impacted the abbot who discussed it in their next week's chapter meeting.  I had my offering, and the Lord since has not hesitated to remind me that a good portion of my suffering is linked with that abbey and the monks past, present and future.

Leap ahead nine years.  The mystical state during Mass has been happening for over four years.  The situation intensified regarding people's reactions.  One priest systematically asked parishioners to shun as he feared my being in that parish.  Another was kindly but honest:  "You can't come here!  The people would crucify you, and it would break my heart.  Nothing I could tell them would stop them, for I know how people can be when there is something they do not understand."  Others would make it very difficult for me, such as saying I could only go to the 6 a.m. Mass and be in the cry room.  (My pain is so bad in the morning God only knows when I can get out of bed, and to drive miles from one side of a city to another through all types of weather...well, it just didn't work out.)

So I called the abbot who had retired by now.  I explained, and he suggested I come for a retreat, and that I could certainly attend Mass with the other retreatents, but just sit toward the back.  I arrived at night having gotten lost, so long since visiting.  My spiritual comrade, the brother, had passed.  

There was a new abbot, but the next day I happened to see the former.  He had spoken about a woman who was a mystic and who was able, on the phone, to tell him messages from beyond, including his deceased mother.   He gave me a small slip of paper upon which he had written a phone number, and told me to call this woman.  Why?  He said she would then tell him if I was credible or not.  I was to destroy the slip of paper once I called the number.

Oh.  Well, I decided to call the woman, although it all seemed rather strange, and my vibes were on "caution alert."  But, I spoke honestly and openly with the woman, and I answered all her many questions, most of which involved the typical basics of the spiritual life.  As Jerry Seinfeld would say (or is it the line of Julia Dreyfuss?):  Ya-de-ya-de-ya-da.  The woman asked, I answered, and she told me in so many words that I am valid, whatever that means as others validating others can be quite subjective if not silly.  And this situation was down right odd. 

In our first phone conversation, the woman also told me ever so much about the former abbot, and about herself, and how she was consulted by this and that priest and a bishop and the former abbot, and him daily.  I detected a bit of pleasure about all this, somehow, the more she spoke.  She said she was quite busy with all the work she does as a consultant to many, but that she would call me back after she spoke next with the former abbot, as to her conclusions about my "abilities."

All right.  The next day the former abbot spoke again to a group, and he was still on the topic of mystics and of his conversations with this woman.  The vibes within me were become not yellow caution but into the red-warning type.  I did not hear back from the woman for another day, so I decided to call her.  (Yes, I had destroyed that little slip of paper with the phone number, but it was on my cell rota.)  

When the woman answered, she went into her day's activities with this and that priest and whoever else, but she said she had not yet had a call from the retired abbot and asked me if I had seen him.  Yes, why?  Well, she said he always calls her, usually in the morning nearly first thing, and she just wondered why not yet that day.

I asked this woman a bit more.  Lots came out, and I finally asked why it is that this man who is a priest and had been head of a significant abbey, elder in years, did not ask Jesus, Mary, his deceased mother and father, or any other soul on the other side,  for messages, himself?  I asked why he needed to go through her daily to get answers. (Sometimes even I can get right to the point.)

She was taken aback at first but then responded that different people have different gifts, and this was her gift and not his, so he needed to call her and utilize her gift, which she was pleased with which to help him.

I mentioned that in the spiritual life of Christianity, it seems good if we can help others increase in faith and be open to the supernatural realities, by teaching them how to ask and listen.  She did not agree with this approach.  Next she told me to call her any time, that she'd like to talk more with me and would be willing to guide me.  She said I was valid--but she could help me.  Sincere, preposterous, humorous, pathetic:  effect of this conversation.

I had no need of further conversation.  The intentions of the priest and the woman were no doubt humanly genuine, but the result made me sad, confused, and tearful.  What next came to mind is the experience of Samson not being careful and letting Delilah trick him.  When he was unaware through his own weakness, she cut off his hair--she snipped his power.  Yes, I was crestfallen that this former abbot of whom I had made the Consecration to Jesus through Mary commitment offer, and to whom I had looked to as powerfully wise in the spiritual life and a spiritual leader, was reduced to having to call a woman a couple hundred miles away, daily, to get what amounted to his daily "reading."

The next morning in our retreat group talk, I shared a spiritual experience, not going into detail but giving the universal message that is helpful to any of us.  It had to do with how quietly and profoundly the Lord can have any heavenly soul give us the thoughts and messages we need, when we have a need and in faith are listening.  It was a little experience of how we can find Jesus in our pain.  Just that simple, it was, and one-time, and it resonated.

I left for home that day after having confession with another priest of the abbey.  I recall the topic of my remorse and need for forgiveness any time that I had looked to others as ones who could guide me and give me answers--when I should have had the faith and trust to ask God to answer.   If He gives an answer through another human, fine; but the mystical messages are available between the soul and God. It was a sin against faith, and it was a reminder to not be either a Delilah or a Samson.

It took awhile for the disappointment to wane.  Today just the reminder of my consecration to the Heart of Jesus through Mary, brought with it the connection with that abbey.  All for a reason, do we have experiences and memories.  We can learn, we can pray, we can offer ourselves and remember commitments made that need to be kept as arduously as the day upon which we made them.  Happier, more promising days they may have seemed at the time, without our realizing then that much may be asked of us later.  

Who would have thought this priest who had held a high position among his fellow monks, would be one in my specific prayers?  I figured God would have me praying for priests giving up and leaving the monastery, or those distracted by  retreat guests, or in-monastery tiffs, and or for men who were discerning vocations there.  But the Lord let me see the situation at hand, and regardless what is going on now, whether he is alive or the woman mystic is alive, or whether or not that dependency is stopped--I am praying and offering all sufferings for all the souls connected with that abbey.

What I hope and dream is that the woman mystic is helping people in a positive way, enabling them to grasp that God will talk with them and show them their way, daily and nightly.  I pray that the man priest is getting his answers without a medium.  We should not take others' power nor let it be taken, for Samson's hair represents God's personal gift.

Note:  As I struggle with inserting photos and feel what for me were sad effects of remembering these events and conversations, I realize the good in sharing what is so human in any one of us.  However, we never know outcomes of true stories, and the benefits from learning from our own errors as well as observations, put this post in the publish mode, at least for now.

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