Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lenten Advice from Fr. Edward Leen

Several years ago, a sister in Christ gave me a treasure of a book called "In the Likeness of Christ".

It's an outstanding book for Lent, the Year of Mercy, reading in front of the Blessed Sacrament, on a train, at the beach. In other words, it's a great book!

In the introduction, he describes a mistake often made by those pursuing living our lives in the Likeness of Christ and our own personal sanctification. We often labor under the false notion that only certain elements of human existence, prayers, reception of Sacraments, charitable work and other religious acts are associated with sanctification.

Of course, we can do nothing without the above. It's the meat and potatoes of the fruit of our actions, but we often disconnect from this reservoir with every encounter and interaction.

I will often finish my prayer to go about my chores, and for example walk into my daughter's room -- and BABOOM, Carol take the wheel!

I will walk down a hallway and see a person coming who drives me crazy and my thoughts are 'oh bleep, here we go!', rather than instantly focus on how the encounter could be wrestled into sanctification.

"Few grasp the far-reaching significance of the well-known words of St. Paul, "Whether you eat or drink or whatever else you do, do all to the Glory of God". It is the life of man, as man, that grace sets out to sublimate and refine unto the refinement of God." It is through man's own life, taking in all its activities and passivities, in its thoughts,views, judgments, decisions, in its deliberate emotions and reactions; in it's outward activities as guided by his rational faculties; in all its willed contact with circumstances, with things, with men and with God; it is through and by means of all this that man is wrought to a better, to a divine form.

This is our fiat in its praxis.

A few quotes from various parts of the book:

"He (Christ) saw the highest good in the doing of a thing as His Father wanted it to be done--apart all together from the consequence, even if no successful issue were possible. To do things rightly, to act as God wanted Him to act, was the object of His life. Though He flung himself into His tasks with all the mighty energy of his superb nature, He yet stood strangely aloof from them. He undertook each task as if it were all-important, and yet He assigned that supreme importance, not to what it was in itself, but to the mere right execution of it."

"There is a peculiar evenness and balance of Our Lord's life. He is not more wonderful in act than in respose--in speech than in silence. In itself, especially with Our Lord, Whose nature was so perfect, there must needs be an immeasurable distance between the intrinsic value of a word fallen from His Lips and the same word withheld..All his greatness seems to be in the perfection with which He endured each succeeding circumstance--whether that demanded the putting forth of or the cessation from activity . "

"Those He healed were ungrateful, those He taught remained ignorant; and the hearts which he labored to soften and convert remained obdurate. Neither his eloquence or his kindness won for Him the loyalty of His people. The few who He did win to His side abandoned him in the crisis of His life. We miss the real pathos of Our Lord's life when we read the Gospel..."

Outstanding observations, theology and advice for working on the sanctification of our soul.

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