More Solace for the Sizzling

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Space for Grace

So, is it sufficient to want chastity, to ask for it, and to wait for it? Yes. But if you really want it, after asking for it, you will need to make room for it in your life. This will lead you to make certain detachments. Some things — perhaps a lot of things — will have to go into Savonarola's bonfire of the vanities or, at least, into the dumpster. The gifts of God are for those who wait for them with empty hands.

Doing Something

It is important to pose concrete gestures. Make your desire for continence real and, in some way, physical. Fasting, abstinence, and vigils belong to the classic repertoire of Christian asceticism. They do not produce chastity nor do they guarantee it. They merely dispose one to receive it humbly as a grace graciously given by God.

The Little Way

Privilege the Little Way. Do not be anxious to meet self-imposed deadlines. Dismiss the desire to set up standards that, being unrealistic, are really traps. Proceed humbly but resolutely. Remain at peace. It is not necessary to do everything at once; it is necessary to do something, to do one little thing at a time. After a while you will surrender to the mysterious rhythms of Divine Grace and, as Saint Benedict says, your heart will be opened wide "to run in a sweetness of love that is beyond words" (RB Pro:49).

The Egg and the Ox

Getting rid of things linked to certain sinful patterns of thinking and acting makes room for Divine Grace. Detachment, even from small things, can be the first step toward inner liberation from sin. The response of God is magnificently disproportionate to the smallest token of one's desire to receive His gifts in poverty of spirit. Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort used to say with a bit of peasant humour: Pour un oeuf, Dieu donne un boeuf, that is, "in exchange for an egg, God gives an ox!"

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Our Lady

Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to show you what things you need to liquidate. She will counsel you every step of the way. Often, her inspirations will come to you during the rosary. Mary will lead you gently but firmly, pointing out the things that need to disappear from your life. "He that hearkeneth to me," she says, "shall not be confounded, and that work by me shall not sin" (Eccl 24:30).

Anoint Thy Head

Above all, keep a sense of humour. Laugh at yourself. Do not dramatize. Do not go all sour on life's simple joys. Be grateful for all things beautiful. Celebrate important moments with roses and wine. Practice a bracing mortification, but do not play at being the ascetic. "But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee" (Mt 6:17-18).

1 Comments

Many thanks Father for the St. Laurence and sizzling posts. The timing was just right for me. What a grace! This is my first visit to your blog. I've already bookmarked it. Thanks again.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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