Saturday, May 13, 2017

Catholic Hermit Learns from Jesus in John of the Cross

I am enamored all over again.  It does not take much--just re-reading after ten years, the introduction to The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (Kieran Kavanaugh, translator, editor) can set me off on lessons to learn of love of God.

This section from the introduction, toward the end of it, helps me grasp what I've spent some emails trying to explain to a friend why I prefer not hearing about more of the situations in an unhealthy marriage of control situation that has gone on for years.  And, it helps me to know that even my grousing and putting a personal stop to a medical group's predatory and usurious form of clinical extortion is not worth the thought and emotion.

In the temporal realm, including very much the temporal Catholic church realm as opposed to the mystical or spiritual church realm--we see that relationships and the control factors in human beings are really the root of sin's unfolding.  We see that even if we people are not trying to control one another in some way, usually with our not being able to face that we do it overtly or covertly, consciously or subconsciously--if not controlling other people, we indeed then in some way try to control God.

The control of God is uncovered easily enough through any lack of faith in His total providence.  Our trying to control God comes when we attach some set or expected outcome or what we wish to see of our "hope".  It comes when we do not love God above all things; truly it does.  For then we are trying to control God by proxy:  We place people, places, things, situations and our desires above God.  We replace God with ourselves, even if that is hard for us to accept or see it is so.

I've spent a lot of time being diverted from loving God above all else, by getting caught up in my reactions to situations and persons.  I recently have realized just how emotionally and psychologically abusive we can be to one another in various ways; and part of the abuse and waste of it all is that we try to control others and try to control God.

Not worth expending our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits on fussing about who did or said this or that, or why, or drag out the situation.  Sometimes we must remove ourselves, shake dust from sandals and move on physically or more often, mentally and emotionally and especially spiritually.  

The spiritual reality and path is Jesus' way as truth and life.  We must strive to love God in Himself and to think of God above all else, and in that love of God, love will abide and abound and flow from us, as God loves.

The following are from the concluding paragraphs of the Collected Works' introduction.  They are simply stated, directly stated, and I also note how much it resonated with me to be reminded of an incident in John's life that demonstrates his devotion to the Living Word of God:  the Bible.  

The incident:  John's fellow friars tried to get him to join them when in Lisbon visiting, to go meet a famed stigmatic living there.  John refused to go and instead spent the day by the ocean, reading his Bible.  The others went off to visit the stigmatic, drawn by the phenomenon.

I have to admit, I asked myself if I'd have chosen  a day with my Bible or would I have gone to see the stigmatic?  And I sadly admit that I think I'd have trotted off to take in the unusual phenomenon of a stigmatic--and probably would have spent time and talk with the others, later, debating if real or deceptive phenomenon.

But back to John of the Cross:

''From his Bible and his nearness to God, John knew that loving confidence in Providence was the appropriate response to life's worries and anxieties.  He observed that when God, like a loving mother, wants to carry us, we kick and cry and insist on walking by ourselves, and get nowhere.  Some thought that since he was prior of a poor monastery he should show more concern about material needs.  They would have liked him to worry.  But his habit of seeing God in all things contributed, in fact, to an air of peace and calm.  

"This was his way, too, in persecution.  he saw the hand of God there and urged others not to speak uncharitably of his persecutors, but to think 'only that God ordains all.'  He wrote that trust in God should be so great that even if the whole world were to collapse one should not become disturbed.  Enduring things with equanimity reaps many blessings, he said, and helps a person in the middle of adversity to make an appropriate judgment and find the right option.  This total trust in God gave him peace in his final illness.  Being reminded of all he had suffered, he replied with these remarkable words: 'Padre, this is not the time to be thinking of that; it is by the merits of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ that I hope to be saved.'"

While I suppose it is all right to take note of ourselves or others trying to control aspects of our lives in silly or also harmful ways, to give much inner space or emotional energy to the persons or situations is not having total trust in God. Rather, we place our trust in thoughts, or in emotions, or physical ills--or judgments or regrets or of desired conquests of persons, places, things, situations.

What I do want is for me to accept and recognize and be loyal in faithfulness and love to the reality that God controls all aspects of my life as well as eternal, infinite existence of the soul's being.  And that is love of God, that He loves so much as to love me and ordain all in me and around me, and that He does the same for all others and else.

No comments: