My Shalom

My Shalom, My Shalom,
Reigning over the waters,
Conquering the watery depths,
Making clear,
Revealing by discernment
Benefactor or maleficence.

Quieted soul,
Ever vigil heart,
Desirous of My Holy Body,
Gazing through the fiery flame
Serene against the tumult,
Drinking from the Chalice of My Blood,
Covenanted through my Sacred Cross,
Lifted high above the world,
Rest in Me,
As I, Myself, pass as flaming brazier,
Between the broken pieces of your life.

My Shalom, My Shalom,
I call you
By My All Holy Name,
To dwell secure in Love.
Cost counted, chosen,
And placed in the balance.
Infinity pays the price
And tips the scale of Life to
Favor a son of God.

©2012. Joann Nelander

Put on the Armor – Dr. Paul Thigpen–Discerning Hearts

Podcasts via Discerning Hearts Put On The Armor – A Manual for Spiritual Warfare w/Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D.

“Know Your Enemy”

“Why does God allow evil?”

“Temptation”

 “Extraordinary Activity”

 

via Discerning Hearts

Lifetime’s The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns — TV Review – Flavorwire

"It’s an unfathomable sacrifice to most, this dedication of your entire life to the church, and that’s what makes The Sisterhood both a fascinating watch and an illuminating amateur sociology project. As a docuseries, it succeeds because it wants to shed light on the subjects, not exploit them."

via Lifetime’s The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns — TV Review – Flavorwire.

Spiritualdirection.com | Catholic Spiritual Direction | A Mystical Encounter with God Catholic Spiritual Direction

Mystical encounters abound, but they are not always from God. The Church takes these experiences seriously and thus provides guidelines for our discernment. Sometimes the Church rules in a definitive way regarding their validity, but often there is no ruling or no need for one.

In my own life, I have encountered a number of mystics, some of whom I perceived to be authentic and others of whom I perceived to be false mystics. False mystics are easy to spot. Their revelations often point to how special they are and how important they are. Sometimes they are simply self-decieved, but sometimes their deception comes from a more dangerous source.

In one case, I provided spiritual direction to a person with dramatic manifestations that the individual perceived to be reflective of the heights of prayer as illustrated by St. Teresa of Avila. As I began to draw the individual into the heart of the Church, these manifestations were revealed to be demonic and dramatically changed into a nightmarish torment.

So it is with private revelation and mystical experiences that the Church admonishes caution, discernment, and no obligation to believe. Even with the officially “approved” apparitions like Fatima, the Church does not require belief, but only proposes that it may be beneficial (and often it is).

Read on via Spiritualdirection.com | Catholic Spiritual Direction | A Mystical Encounter with God Catholic Spiritual Direction.

Spiritualdirection.com | Catholic Spiritual Direction | A Mystical Encounter with God Catholic Spiritual Direction

Mystical encounters abound, but they are not always from God. The Church takes these experiences seriously and thus provides guidelines for our discernment. Sometimes the Church rules in a definitive way regarding their validity, but often there is no ruling or no need for one.

In my own life, I have encountered a number of mystics, some of whom I perceived to be authentic and others of whom I perceived to be false mystics. False mystics are easy to spot. Their revelations often point to how special they are and how important they are. Sometimes they are simply self-decieved, but sometimes their deception comes from a more dangerous source.

In one case, I provided spiritual direction to a person with dramatic manifestations that the individual perceived to be reflective of the heights of prayer as illustrated by St. Teresa of Avila. As I began to draw the individual into the heart of the Church, these manifestations were revealed to be demonic and dramatically changed into a nightmarish torment.

So it is with private revelation and mystical experiences that the Church admonishes caution, discernment, and no obligation to believe. Even with the officially “approved” apparitions like Fatima, the Church does not require belief, but only proposes that it may be beneficial (and often it is).” Read on via Spiritualdirection.com | Catholic Spiritual Direction | A Mystical Encounter with God Catholic Spiritual Direction.

Playing with a Ouija board isn’t funny. It’s stupid and dangerous

via Playing with a Ouija board isn’t funny. It’s stupid and dangerous."………Catholics are sternly warned again the activity. That’s because we know the Devil is real and that it’s folly to ever consider dabbling in the occult. It’s not “fun”; it’s playing with hellfire. Again, because we have just celebrated Halloween, there has been a spate of articles on the diabolic. I read an article about the film of The Exorcist in Alateia magazine for October 31st. One particular detail stood out: that in the famous case in 1949 of demonic possession, which became the basis for William Peter Blatty’s novel of 1971 (then followed by the film of his book), the family of the youth involved, a 13-year-old boy from Maryland, “thought he might have been plagued by the spirit of a recently deceased aunt, who had introduced the boy to the Ouija board.”

The youth was exorcised in St Louis by Jesuit priests. William Bowdern SJ, the lead exorcist, was in no doubt that this was a case of genuine possession. The whole process lasted a month, ending successfully on Easter Monday. Significantly, Bowdern fasted during that month, in acknowledgement of Jesus’ own warning that fasting is as essential as prayer when engaging in serious spiritual combat.

The mention of Ouija boards reminded me of my own youthful folly in this area.

As a student at Cambridge in the 1960s I took part in a séance organised in Magdalene College by some undergraduate friends. I was motivated by sheer curiosity to see what would happen and it was certainly bizarre and scary to watch the upturned glass move fast under its own volition round the table. I can’t remember the questions we asked the “spirit” we seemed to have conjured up and, feeling uneasy about the whole incident, I never returned for follow-up séances. I now see it was a stupid and dangerous activity to have engaged in.

I suspect that modern man rejects Satan because of films like The Exorcist; sensational Hollywood horror treatment turns the story into a creepy thrill that is dismissed as sheer fantasy. But as CS Lewis reminds us in The Screwtape Letters, the Devil doesn’t generally bother with spectacular phenomena such as possession or conjuring up spirits; why bother, when he can trap us with greater success through our own human weaknesses, our vanity, our egotism, our imprudent curiosity?

The genesis of The Screwtape Letters is described by Walter Hooper in his recent CTS booklet “CS Lewis: Apostle to the Sceptics”. Lewis wrote to his brother on 20th July 1940, mentioning that he had been listening to Hitler over the radio and finding that “Statements which I know to be untrue all but convince me…if only the man says them unflinchingly”. Still thinking of Hitler’s persuasiveness, he told his brother the next morning “Before the service was over…I was struck by an idea for a book which I think might be both useful and entertaining. It would…consist of letters from an elderly retired devil to a young devil who has just started work on his first “patient.” The idea would be to give all the psychology of temptation from the other point of view.”

via Playing with a Ouija board isn’t funny. It’s stupid and dangerous.

Spiritual Warfare Prayers

August Queen

August Queen of the Heavens, heavenly sovereign of the Angels, Thou who from the beginning received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech Thee to send Your holy Legions, so that under Thy command and through Thy power, they may pursue the demons and combat them everywhere, suppress their boldness, and drive them back into the abyss. Who is like God? O good and tender Mother, Thou will always be our love and hope! O Divine Mother, send Thy Holy Angels to defend me and to drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us, guard us. Amen

Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Catholics and Islam

Discerning God’s Presence in a Distracted World

Listen MP3 Pope Benedict XVI

My Shalom

My Shalom, My Shalom,
Reigning over the waters,
Conquering the watery depths,
Making clear,
Revealing by discernment
Benevolence or maleficence.

Quieted soul,
Ever vigilant heart,
Desirous of My holy treasures,
Gazing through the fiery flame
Serene against the tumult,
Drinking from the Chalice of My Blood,
Covenanted through my Sacred Cross,
Lifted high above the world
As I, Myself, pass as flaming brazier,
Between the broken pieces of your life.

My Shalom, My Shalom,
I call you
By My All Holy Name,
To dwell secure in Love.
Cost counted, chosen,
And placed in the balance.
Infinity pays the price
And tips the scale of Life to
Favor a son of God Most High.

© 2012. Joann Nelander

 

My Shalom

My Shalom, My Shalom,
Reigning over the waters,
Conquering the watery depths,
Making clear,
Revealing by discernment
Benefactor or maleficence.

Quieted soul,
Ever vigilant heart,
Desirous of My Holy Booty,
Gazing through the fiery flame
Serene against the tumult,
Drinking from the Chalice of My Blood,
Covenanted through my Sacred Cross,
Lifted high above the world
As I, Myself, pass as flaming brazier,
Between the broken pieces of your life.

My Shalom, My Shalom,
I call you
By My All Holy Name,
To dwell secure in Love.
Cost counted, chosen,
And placed in the balance.
Infinity pays the price
And tips the scale of Life to
Favor a son of God Most High.

Copyright 2012. Joann Nelander

Poetry Picnic week 24

Listening Gifts of Discernment of Spirits

Christ reigns in heaven and on earth. His kingdom is at hand. We face a choice as to the kingdom we make our own.  Christ told us who reigns on earth outside of His kingdom:

“Now is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of the world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.” Now He said this signifying by what death He wants to die (Jn 12: 31-32).

“I will no longer speak much with you, for the prince of the world is coming, and in me he has nothing. But He comes that the world may know that I love the Father and that I do as the Father has commended me” (Jn 14: 30-31).

“I speak the truth to you; it is expedient for you that I depart. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you and when He has come He will convict the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment; of sin, because they do not believe in me; of justice, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; and of judgment, because the prince of this world has already been judged” (Jn 14: 8-11).

Not only is God’s kingdom at hand, Satan is at the door in sheep’s clothing.  He may even appear as an angel of light so beware, which means first of all be aware, discern the spirits.  St. Ignatius Loyola faced a world of temptation as we do.  He was a military man aside from being a man become saint.  He set down rules of engagement by observing his daily life, his temptations and the times and ways God made His Presence or His Will known to him. He wrote for our encouragement and advancement The Rules for Discernment of Spirit.

How to proceed in the battle of daily life:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, waalks about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)

How are we to be sober and vigilant?  Learn the rules of engagement!

St. Ignatius sets them out and in a marvelous article Brian Incigneri makes them accessable:

Revelation: Here, there is no doubt that God is speaking to you. No discernment is necessary here because of the certainty. An example would be St Paul on the Damascus road. This is a rare event (although not very rare; every person would probably experience this at one or more points in their life).

Reasoning: In this circumstance, God seems to be completely silent. Great uncertainty exists here. First, we must collect all the facts and weigh the pros and cons of our choices. We might use our imagination (What would I advise someone who came to me with this same question? What would I rather have done when I am on my deathbed remembering the choice I made?)This is not discernment either — it is only a stage (perhaps a very necessary stage) before discernment proper can occur. From this, we must go to God in prayer. Ignatius says that, after we have come to our choice by reasoning, “we must now turn with great diligence to prayer, and offer to God our choice that He may accept and confirm it if it is for His greater service and praise.”

Discernment:Ignatius says that this is a time when “much light and understanding are derived through the experience of desolations and consolations, and the discernment of diverse spirits.”

Here we have our work cut out for us. Get to know yourself, which means keeping an eye on your inner workings, that is, the workings of your mind and heart and spirit.

Enter:  our feelings

our intellect

our will

Consolation, Ignatius tells us is:

Every increase in faith, hope and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly, and to the salvation of our soul, by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord.

Desolation, according to St. Ignatius:

What is entirely the opposite of consolation … darkness of soul, turmoil of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness arising from many disturbances which lead to lack of faith, lack of hope, and lack of love. The soul is wholly slothful, tepid, sad, and separated, as it were, from its Creator and Lord.

We must learn to gauge our feelings, use our intellect and exercise our wills.  The choice of the kingdoms is before us, “at hand” so to speak.

And this is my prayer: that your love for one another may grow more and more with the knowledge and complete understanding that will help you to come to true discernment, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, entirely filled with the fruits of uprightness through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:9-11).

Insiglari writes:

One of the best ways to do this, is to conduct what is called the Daily Consciousness Examen, which has been recommended by the Church through the ages and comes in many forms. Here is a recommended list of steps:

  1. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to guide you.
  2. Look back on your day, and notice the gifts and blessings of God through the day, in a spirit of thankfulness.
  3. Ask Jesus to teach you, and ask that you might know his voice better. Then go back over the day in your mind, looking at it with Jesus.
  4. Ask questions like: Was I acting as the Lord would have wanted me to act? What moved me to act in that way? What were my feelings? What was the first feeling that moved me to speak or act in that way? Where did that feeling come from? Is there anything in this event that might point to my need for healing? What will help me the next time I encounter a similar situation?
  5. End your time with praise and thanksgiving, focusing on the goodness of God.

For a look at the Devil/Satan you can read Fr. John A. Hardon SJ’s, The Devil as the Prince of this World

From this all to brief glimpse at discernment, you should conclude that maturity in the spiritual life is a life long engagement with a reward that far exceed the efforts we make to grow and remain faithful to Christ. Remember that Christ is first and foremost “knocking at our hearts” and His Kingdom is not only “at hand” but, should we so desire and choose, it is being established in our heart of hearts. For, moment by moment, day by day, year after year, it is His Sacred Heart that beats with ours and speaks in us in that small still voice. Let us become apt listeners.  That desire and the hope we have is the voice of His Holy Spirit.