September 14, 2013
Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross and the birthday of the official implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. Thanks be to God for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass! Now, on to our meme.
Welcome to Sabbath Moments, hosted from Thoughts on Grace. Join us if you will.
The Lord is giving us an abundant harvest of tomatoes right now, with plenty to share with those less fortunate. The peppers are really producing, too. In recent weeks I put up a couple of jars of pickled peppers just to see what Peter Piper found so enchanting that he had to pick a peck. Sometimes garden duty seems a drag, especially in the heat, but most of the time it’s more like an adventure finding what the Lord has prepared for us that day. And nothing tastes better than freshly picked organic vegetables.
This is a Korean dish made with sweet potato noodles that turn transparent when cooked. It also has spinach, thinly sliced beef strips, matchstick chopped carrots, onions, shitake and wood ear mushrooms in it with a sweet soy sauce stirred throughout. For months now my goal has been to prepare this, but the time was never right. This week the day finally arrived for me to make it. Because of my fibro, it was a good half day project because I have to rest in between preparing the various ingredients. Even with the help of store bought carrots and frozen chopped spinach, it was a chore because I had to make the soy sauce from scratch too, slicing ginger root and garlic to add to the wine, soy sauce, and sugar. The end result was great, hubby liked it, and we had enough to freeze for a day when I don’t feel like cooking.
Our daily duties such as cooking, doing yard work, cleaning, etc. can provide us with many Sabbath moments. I enjoyed making the japchae and my husband’s compliments on the dish, knowing that it wouldn’t be possible without the Lord’s power behind me. It’ll be awhile before I try doing it again, though. But the soy sauce will make a great seasoning for my next project which will be cabbage leaves stuffed with Korean seasoned ground pork and deer and a variety of veggies.
I don’t know if stubbornness is partly passed down through DNA, or if it’s learned in the family, or both, but meditation #306 of Divine Intimacy on the gift of counsel brought to mind how we can make a little bullheadedness work for God if it is tempered with this gift. Father Gabriel writes:
The Holy Spirit dwells within our souls to counsel us, to recall to us the instructions of Jesus and to apply them to the actual circumstances of our life. But how can we poor creatures who are so dull and accustomed to the clamor of human language, perceive the light murmur of the divine inspirations? God has provided for this with a special gift, the gift of counsel, which enables our soul to understand the quiet interior voice of the Holy Spirit, and to distinguish it from all other voices.
One voice it must distinguish itself from is our bullheaded voice, that voice that acts like a bee in our bonnet as my mother would say, that can drown out all reason. Throwing caution to the winds we can take risks with our very salvation by pounding down a path to a perceived good, oblivious to any cautionary words of others or the soft voice of the Spirit within. Recklessness isn’t confined to youth either. All of us are susceptible to it depending on the circumstances.
Father Gabriel goes on:
The gift of counsel is a powerful aid to the virtue of prudence. Guided by this virtue we try to understand how we ought to behave in the various circumstances of life so as to be pleasing to God. However, not always seeing clearly, we often remain doubtful in concrete cases, asking ourselves if this or that action will be more conformable to God’s will.
Am I really moved by supernatural motives in this deliberation, or does nature enter in, or self? [Purity of intention.] The question remains; often even the counsels of wise persons are not sufficient to dissipate our perplexity, to give us that light whereby we may act with security. We need God Himself to enlighten us within, we need the Holy Spirit when, by activating the girt of counsel, brings His divine light to our soul. The gift is like an antenna which permits us to detect the counsels of the Holy Spirit, most precious and most simple counsels which, overstepping the labyrinth of our reasonings, show us with luminous clarity which road to follow, and make us understand God’s will in an instant.
I’ve read many lives of the saints and it seems that a good dose of bullheadedness was a common factor in their perseverance in doing God’s will. However, all the saints were people of prayer, who checked and re-checked with God and their spiritual directors or other trustworthy advisors before they embarked on anything of big consequences. St. John Vianney really wanted to be a contemplative and left his parish several times, but turned back each time before arriving at his chosen destination. He often walked in the woods and wept, beseeching God for the conversion of his parishioners, and stayed in the confessional at times close to around the clock. That’s bullheadedness for the Lord seasoned by the gift of counsel.
Sometimes we must do things that on the surface appear to fly in the face of the ideal and are painfully difficult, such as a husband or wife who must separate from a spouse due to abuse or some other grave reason. To make sure we are not being bullheaded and seeking our own will, we must pray diligently for confirmation of our decision, seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit as well as a priest, spiritual director, or some other person knowledgeable of Church law and teaching. The more scary the thing is that we must do, the more we must practice prudence and seek the gift of counsel. “What does Jesus say about this?” should be our question. Then, for the good of the souls of all, once we have confirmation, we must proceed bullheadedly, no matter what others may say.
St. Teresa of Avila was another bullheaded saint. She could not have reformed the Carmelites nor founded so many monasteries had she not be a woman of deep prayer first, and then determined action. Many laity and fellow religious hated her because she went against the grain of the practices and the times. Once in a town where she was establishing a monastery a layman walked up to her and slapped her in the face. Her companions were horrified, but St. Teresa said that she was such a sinner she deserved much worse. Then she bullheadedly went on with her foundation.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa that grace builds on nature. If you are a bullheaded person like I am, pray for a good dose of the gift of counsel, prudence, and humility. He will make you a most savory salt in spite of all the worldly opposition to the task He has assigned to you.
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