How grateful I am for all of you, both those who encourage Susan and me and those who think we are on the road to hell and deserve eternal punishment.
"All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and serve according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Perhaps our detractors do us more good than those who agree with us. Fr. John Hardon, SJ (+2000) often said that two things are necessary for salvation: faith and humility. No one gets into heaven without them and it goes without saying that they are the path to true charity, especially love of enemies and those who hate us.
"I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you." Matt 5:44
Fr. Hardon further said that the only way to become humble is to experience humiliation. Most of us get plenty of opportunity for that, but usually run away from it. Believe me, I speak from experience to my shame.
What led to my decision to go silent, you may wonder.
About ten days ago I attended a woman's day of reflection with a priest I consider wise and holy. One of the points he made in a conference was that people spend too much time on social media and the internet. I decided to meet with him to discuss my blog. The first thing he said was, "Stop it." His reaction was strong and surprised me. It took me somewhat aback. We first met because he read something on my blog and wanted to meet me. He said on that occasion, "You have a lot of courage." I don't see myself that way, but I appreciated his comment. He likes my blog and said he had benefited from it.
Father seemed a bit surprised by his own reaction. "I'm not usually this strong." He apologized for being rude, which he wasn't. But he dared me to stop blogging for a month. "The world won't end if you don't blog," he said. That made me laugh a little. The blog is, in fact, nothing but dust and ashes. But it is also an outlet and respite from life's challenges and something I consider an apostolate since I don't have the energy for the pro-life activism of my younger self. Writing is something that I considered the apostolate of my old age.
|Friedrich Brockmann, Portia and Nerissa
(1849) Folger Shakespeare Library
Portia laments, "I may neither choose whom I would nor refuse whom I dislike. So is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none?"
Nerissa offers a wise response. "Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at their death have good inspirations. Therefore the lottery that he hath devised...will no doubt, never be chosen by any rightly but one who shall rightly love."
Since I consider Father a "virtuous" and "holy" man, one who died to self to become a priest, I cannot refuse his "dare." So this will be my last post until after Christmas. Whether I begin blogging again depends on the next month which I intend to use to discern God's will for me and whether it's time for silence. I will also be off Facebook. I will miss both, but that makes these decisions a blessed penance and mortification during a season of penance.
Please pray for me as I will for all of you. Some of you are dear friends. Others are fellow travelers on the journey, although some have taken off on roads leading to dead ends. May all of us find the narrow path that leads to eternal life.
I am not imposing silence on my blog partner, Susan, although she has travel plans and is unlikely to be blogging much. But you will not be able to comment on her posts because I'll be shutting down comments. I will continue moderating comments for the next few days, but after that will be "hiding" them. Unfortunately blogger doesn't offer an option to stop comments temporarily on future posts while leaving current comments online. So, when I choose the "hide" option, all comments will be invisible, but not deleted. In a way, that offers you the opportunity to enter into silence as well. I will be praying that the "silence" being imposed will be for your blessing as well as Susan's and mine.
"The people in darkness have seen a great light." May the "darkness" of silence bring us all to a greater awareness of the light of Christ as we remember His coming to pitch His tent among us. O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.
A blessed Advent to all. May it lead to the most joyful Christmas any of us has ever experienced.
With a grateful heart,