Interior Peace Journey: Week 2
Week 2: Season of Pruning. External Purification.
Goal of the Week: Discover God’s Promise, "I will always tell you the truth."
Our Response: Prayer of "Memory". Don’t deny in the darkness what you’ve seen in the light.
Quote: "Our relationship with God brings us to a place where a deeper work in our heart is called for if we are able to continue our spiritual journey. It is in this desert experience of the heart where we are stripped of the protective layer of the roles we have played. Healing, repentance and faith are called for in ways we have not known previously. We face a wide and deep chasm that refuses us passage through self-effort. It is God's intention to use this place to eradicate the final heart walls and obstacles that separate us from Him." The Sacred Romance - Eldredge
Response: "Ask yourself from time to time, could I give this up at once if I knew it to be God's will? Can I leave this here and now without being distressed?" My Other Self.
Quote: "Pruning never feels good. What I know of the vinedresser is His goodness and character. What I don't know is His methods, His means, and His timing. If I know He is good, it makes it easier to go through the process. The vinedresser is never as close to the vine as when He's pruning it." Abiding Together Podcast
Response: Focusing on God's goodness is what gives strength to trust. Write down 5 encounters with God's goodness this past weekend.
Quote: "Pruning is for the purpose of health and for the plant to thrive and bear fruit. Daily pruning is necessary for the plant to continually grow. If it is left unattended, and overgrown, it can take years to restore." Abiding Together "Purification and fruit belong togeher. Fruit and love belong together. The true fruit is the love that has passed through the cross, through God's purification. 'Remaining' is an essential part of this. Perseverance, patient steadfastness in communion with the Lord amid the vicissitudes of life. Initial enthusiasm is easy. Afterwards though, it is time to stand firm, even along the monotonous desert paths that we are called upon to traverse in this life." Benedict XVI
Response: Questions for Personal Reflection: Do I want to grow? Or stay the same? What kind of fruit is my life bearing?
Quote: "The vinedresser is the one who does all the work. Your soul is in God's hands. He loves it. He looks upon it unceasingly and He makes it pass through the states that, in His wisdom, He sees to be necessary for it. As the ground has to go through the death of winter and the grain to die before bearing fruit, so your soul needs to go through the wine press of temptation and weakness that Christ may make it bear His virtue and divine life. No virtue is solid if not built upon the compunction and true knowledge of our misery. I see that you are seeking God with sincerity. I tell you in all simplicity that I believe God loves you dearly and that the little worries of this life form that portion of the cross of Jesus which is to unite you to Him." Suffering with Christ.
Response: How do we know if we're bearing fruit and taking up our cross? The answer…we make ourselves available for it to happen. It's the fruit that lasts and brings peace.
Quote: As our prayer life matures, we become more aware of being the clay in the hands of the potter. The clay can do nothing to transform itself into an object of beauty. But it can be soft, pliable, sensitive to the potter's touch. The clay is never broken by anything the potter may do to it, unless the clay has become hard and rigid. Once it begins to resist the potter's touch, to push against his shaping, it will be in danger of breaking. As long as we are content with our hardened shape, the attempts of the potter to refashion us and to transform our ugliness will seem very threatening and frightening to us. But as we begin to realize what we really are and what we might be, the breaking which is necessary for transformation, while still painful, is no longer threatening." Fr. Thomas Green- When the Well Runs Dry. Response: To find solid footing in the spiritual life, we need to take a moment to ask ourselves, "what behaviors are hindering my growth as a loving person at this time in my life?" "What is the spirit of love calling me to change in my relationship with God and others?" In answering these questions, it is important not to push for answers but to be patient and live with the questions, allowing the Holy Spirit to be our guide. - From Seeking the Beloved
Quote: "We can stay in love (and persevere through the pruning) because of one magnificent gift of God: Memory. We now house within our memory the experience of our first seeing (falling in love, beholding the beloved). Through our memory, we always have access to the first grace of finally letting God love us. We always want to be in a disposition of receiving His love. We want to stay in love by way of His presence loving us. His presence is always available to us. To stay in love with God is not a magic trick. It's a choice to remember and to stay within that presence." Deacon Keating
Response: Go back to some of your first or strongest memories of your relationship with God. Nourish yourself on the truth personified in God's goodness toward you.
Quote: "The decision to make is simply to say yes to God drawing us deeper. He calls us to let go of the security of our own insights and of our feelings of His presence and let Him draw us to something new, to a more transforming and less consoling prayer, prayer that is more like surgery than like a birthday party. Whatever is happening is all part of putting on the Lord Jesus. Provided we are generous and sincere, we should have somewhere deep within ourself a strong sense that He is truly working His will. Even if it is interiorly dry, somehow this is a dryness that is burning out of us everything that is not Christ. So, whatever is happening, it is the Lord, what we need and desire most is the discerning love, that we can be happy with whatever He is doing, as long as it is the Lord doing it." Thomas Green - Vacation with the Lord
Response: With total trust in Him, prayerfully read Matthew 6: 25-32 and hear Jesus speak these words to your heart:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all."