Since I was a teenager I've had sleep issues and getting old certainly doesn't help that problem, but I have a different outlook now. These early morning wakeful times ( I admit I'd rather be asleep) offer an opportunity for quiet prayer, often beginning with a trip outside to look at the stars and praise God in the glory of the heavens.
But back to the topic. I picked up one of my favorite books, Spiritual Combat. The author, Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, wrote the book over 400 years ago. It was a favorite of St. Francis de Sales, a master spiritual director on the interior life.
This is not the first time I've read the book. When I finish, I start over again along with the Imitation of Christ and the Imitation of Mary. Is it senior forgetfulness or is it a gift from God that each reading offers fresh, new insights? At any rate, this morning I was reading chapter 25 on Peace of Mind. Dom Scupoli emphasizes that keeping our peace, despite all the challenges of life, is essential. In fact, losing that peace indicates a lack of confidence in God. Do we, in fact, believe that all things are under His control? Here's what he says:
The countless trials that crowd this life-----sickness, wounds, death, the loss of friends and relatives, plagues, war, fire, etc., which men, naturally averse to suffering, dread----- all these, through God's grace, may not only be received submissively from the hand of God, but can become occasions of joy. This is true if we view them as just punishments, inflicted on sinners, or as opportunities given the just to obtain merits.
These trials and events occur at the design of our Master; the severest tribulations of this life bring His will to our aid, so that we can march with a calm and tranquil soul. Any disquiet on our part is displeasing to God. For of whatever nature it may be it is always accompanied by some imperfection, and it always has a tendency towards self-love in one form or another.
Often my choices for daily spiritual reading match. Last night, doing my 15 minute meditation on the Blessed Mother for First Saturday, I read a selection from the Imitation of Mary. It gave the prescription for keeping ourselves in a constant state of peace of mind: Have confidence in God. Mary remained tranquil while poor St. Joseph was in anxiety and turmoil over her pregnancy. She didn't try to reassure Joseph or get ahead of God's timing, but left the situation entirely in His hands. And, as we know, He sent a messenger to Joseph to reassure him and tell him to "take Mary as your wife."
How often do we imitate Mary's calm patience while she waits on God? Not often enough! Aren't we more likely to tell God how to handle things and then be disturbed when He seems to have a different opinion or doesn't act quickly enough? "Hey God, what are You waiting for?" Wouldn't it be a blessing if we imitated Mary. The only time we see her hurry is when she goes "in haste" to assist her cousin, Elizabeth. Are we "in haste" to do works of charity?
This week I'm going to focus on keeping my mind at peace. Chaos around us must not take root in our souls. There's a wonderful scene in The Passion of the Christ when Veronica goes to the aid of Jesus after He falls on the way to Calvary. While the background is a flurry of activity with the Roman soldiers and the crowd, Veronica and Jesus appear in the foreground in an oasis of tranquility. It's a beautiful reminder to us that resting in Christ during the chaos moments of life brings the "peace that passes understanding."
I wish you peace today and a big helping of joy in union with Mary as she carries God in the tabernacle of her womb. May Jesus Christ be Praised