Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Word on Humility from St. Teresa and the Process of Asking God for Answers

Humility.  The virtue did not take on its title in thoughts.  St. Teresa reminds that it is humility, all the same: our seeking and accepting that it is God Who chooses all for us, and then our acquiescing to His will, even if others' ways or what seems the usual way, is up-ended in so doing.

This past week, questions prayerfully offered to God are now answered.  The quest was to ascertain more my mission, and what involvement if any would the mission interface with a parish and parish life, my vocations, my temporal and spiritual life lived out daily.  

The impetus for my prayer request of God came from five sources:

1. Current incidents in the here-and-now, including with family, priests, parishioners, hired workers, and spontaneous encounters.
2. A return to writing and sharing of spiritual life and thoughts online, and noticing the effects on my soul.  
3. Awareness of where I am literally, on this earth, with what physical parameters and responsibilities.  
4. Attention to and holy desire for having hindrances rid from my soul in this time period between Ascension and Pentecost, so the gifts of the Holy Spirit can use me more for God, souls and the Church.
5. Renewed examen of  God's will in all of my life, vocations, mission and purpose, wondering if I am on track.

The answers came in a variety of ways: deeply-sensed insights; reviewing precise situations without flinching from raw truth; remembering pertinent spiritual experiences; seeking current counsel from wise others (living and dead);  staying in the Word of God daily; discerning the spirits of all signs and answers with and by the fruit of the Holy Spirit (such as the peace that passes understanding); remaining faithful to any vows and all Christian tenets of the Faith.

[The above is how any of us most often receives and discerns prayer answers from God, in addition to some direct infusions as in dreams, visions, and locutions.  If we are wrong, He lets us know, sooner or later.]

With the answer in mind, an additional affirmation came in the form of an email.  A friend who has been reading St. Teresa's Way of Perfection is going back through the chapters at random.  She sent a quote that stuck out to her today.  It is one of those "aha" moments in which a soul can be deeply touched by something otherwise not known of a situation, but the person receiving is impacted by its spiritual value of truth in a personal way.

The friend cited what St. Teresa wrote in Chapter 17:

"Reflect that true humility consists to a great extent in being ready for what the Lord desires to do with you and happy that He should do it, and in always considering yourselves unworthy to be called His servants.  If contemplation and mental and vocal prayer and tending the sick and serving in the house and working at even the lowliest tasks are of service to the Buest who comes to stay with us and to eat and take His recreation with us, what should it matter to us if we do one of these things rather than another?

"I do not mean that it is for us to say what we shall do, but that we must do our best in everything, for the choice is not ours but the Lord's.  If after many years He is pleased to give each of us her office, it will be a curious kind of humility for you to wish to choose; let the Lord of the house do that, for He is wise and powerful and knows what is fitting for you and for Himself as well."

This type of unanticipated, external affirmation is so helpful on a day after the thrill-day of receiving an answer from God--when one can be tempted to cower from the stark realities of some included hardship or challenge that is always involved for the next step in the spiritual journey; that is, if one is called to and desires spiritual perfection and union with Christ.



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