Friday, October 29, 2010
Turning Point Day
The turning points have been occurring ever since the intense prayer began a few days ago. Turning points come in the events and circumstances when one prays for deeper conversions, for guidance, for Jesus to help us live fully in Him in the present moments. But I felt that today would be the culmination of current turning points, with some mega-turning point presenting itself. I remain watchful.
Some of the building turning points are encounters with people. The mission of smiling to put others at ease, but within very much to pray love, peace and healing for them, is succeeding. I let the Da know that this seems the only positive activity I am able to do for the parish--and if some realized I was doing even this much, there would be a campaign to make me stop smiling. He mentioned the smile mission in his homily the other day, among some infamous for their unhappy faces. Well it is an external, but is there peace and joy within when the visage is dour? The minor mission continues. Maybe we in parishes and monasteries are the poor.
Then another situation in which a couple people took great offense at a truth clarified, and took a supposition as to the root cause, quite personally, even histrionically feeling the victims. It is amazing when generalities are addressed, that those most offended, even if not directly addressed, identify themselves as the culprits. If the shoe fits, wear it? We all know that to take offense admits pride. Unfortunate, the situation, but yet another turning point.
A late phone call by a young woman needing to talk over some serious problems. Had just settled in bed, groggy, but listened and affirmed until after midnight. Prayers needed. Issues from childhood unresolved flare sooner or later, thankfully. Now there can be some healing, but the spiritual aspects may not be understood for some time.
A breakthrough at morning Mass, not only with smile mission but also with recognizing one with anger has calmed. Needs control, externals in order, temporal stability. Does not do well with the unknowns, nor spiritual anomalies. Cannot be controlled.
Amazing encounter with young clerk in phone store. Discussed her car accident and pain, and was able to make spiritual conversation once that door opened. There is more freedom with strangers, in some ways, yet wants to meet for coffee to discuss more what lies beyond the open door....Turns out person is Catholic but parents lapsed. More trials and spiritual disconnects there. We will pray.
There have been other turning points, for each moment turns to another moment and there is always a temporal point and a spiritual point, with many levels and degrees in all points. What it seems point to, these turning points (and will be validated when the major turning point arrives today), is that truly the spiritual is somehow being missed among the temporal distractions. Many of these distractions seem very good, and are good, to a temporal point. This meeting, that group, another outreach, the family dynamics, people working, recreating, living active, busy lives.
But in each turning point event, this week and thoughtfully considered, the weak link has been the actualization of living in Christ in present moments. We seem more living in ourselves, reacting to others, such as children growing up with emotional issues from parents who were busy living in themselves even if attending Mass weekly.
Or the growing percentage of people with personality disorders: histrionic, borderline, narcissistic, obsessive compulsive, adolescent, etc.--and varying degrees and levels therein. A problem personality disorders is that people do not recognize they have them. If able to recognize, it can take years of counseling and effort to tone them to acceptable levels. The root of disorders can be found in the vices. Pride drives many of the identified personality disorders. We all have aspects, for example, of narcissism. Practicing the virtues can keep the vices from becoming disordered. (I purport the psychological diagnostic manual should be re-written in the reality of ascetical and mystical theology!)
There are many other examples of how we are living our lives, doing what we know as the right things in our religious practices, yet missing the spark that can begin a fire, lighting the steps on the stairway to heaven. These accumulating turning points I've collected this week, along with the major turning point today, are helping me know that insights thus far are yielding substance.
We people have hurting internals while living externals right and left. This is true in people who recognize, but also those who do not realize they have hurting internals. Not easy to see ourselves on the inside when the outside seems pretty wonderful to our self-perceptions.
Was considering picking up and finishing the clinical psych degree when many of the turning points hit upon the need for inner help and healing. (Forgot to mention the woman who called to talk about her mother being near death, or the other woman who asked for prayers for her dad dying of cancer.) But quickly had another turning point moment in which I could see that the recent reading of Jesus in the Gospels proves the spiritual power as preeminent.
We need deeper spiritual conversions. We have more than enough groups and sub-groups, and busy busy good things to be active in and do. We have myriad holy distractions enough to keep us from any of the Nine s' of silence, solitude, slowness, suffering, selflessness, simplicity, stability, stillness and serenity.
We may be skimming the surface of the spiritual life's three "ways": purgation of the senses, way of illumination, and way of mystical union. We may be so caught up in ourselves--not realizing our sweetness has soured. We may be equally blind to the Gospel reality of what Jesus preached and lived, or what He expects and demands of all of us.
So will continue on this path, praying for wisdom and for the six other gifts of the Holy Spirit given at our Confirmation but perhaps gifts never opened or utilized. Will keep desiring and striving to live in Christ in the present moment, and to find and climb the stairway to heaven. Then pray to write about our revealing, experiential moments along the way.
The buds in early spring remind me of turning points. They are God's way of bringing us to the bursting point of growth in leafing out. We must watch for them, wait for them, and accept their reality in the holy interactive unfolding of momentary temporal-mystical existences.