My Lenten Diary: week 4
The feeling that no one is here has returned making this week increasingly more difficult. Earlier in the week, the news from the Vatican stating that the Church couldn't bless gay unions has highlighted a massive chasm in the Church with the gays on one side and the heterosexuals on the other. Anyone that speaks out against the gays comes under attack and is threatened with legal action. Subsequently, the Church has become a really unhappy place because of the attempts to make us 'Love the gays.' I have begun to feel unwelcome as a straight man in Church. All i want is God. More and more i wish Jesus was here to sort this whole mess out. While in Church, i feel that we are all under the monitoring eye's of the liberal overlords policing our thoughts. Furthermore, it is less and less like Church doctoring that we are learning and more and more like liberal brainwashing.
Are we losing the Church?
I am hungry. I feel like a failure this lent. Everything around me feels fake and made up. I have gone from wanting to pray all day to finding it difficult to pray at all and worse than this i am troubled by anger. I know that this is something that is underlying that the fasting has exposed, but what is the root of it? I wonder if it is to do with the liberalisation of the Church, which i am not in favour of. Yes, i think that it is good to be more relaxed and open to new people, but this attack on the family is straight out of Hell. Subsequently, people don't know how to dress or how to behave. People are neglected not misentered to; as a result, towns and cities resemble Sodom and Gomorrah rather than God's Kingdom. I am not just hungry for food; i am hungry for God and His word and i just want to push all the fake brainwashed liberals out of the way and scream out for God!
How did Jesus feel in the desert?
Concentration and learning have all but gone out of the window and are replaced with wondering what Jesus was feeling in the desert being tempted by Satan. Did he feel alone? Did he feel anger or anguish? It would be easy for Jesus to lord it over us, but he rejected the temptations of Satan. Jesus knows of our suffering and our temptations and has shown us that it is possible to overcome temptations of hunger, the temptation to call for help and the temptation to see ourselves as better or superior than others.
Have we displeased God?
Has God deserted us? Is this purgatory? The Lenten fast means simple foods when we do eat and for many it is only Wednesday and Friday. Some of us, however, fast everyday of Lent. We will eat only simple foods and simple dinners were there are two snacks and one dinner. This is not much of a fast for some, so the two snacks turn into half a sandwich as one snack and a piece of fruit as the other snack. Jacket potatoes are good because they are simple. For me, at least, this is a harder fast because it is easier when you just have one small meal a day or no food at all. We make all this effort to reach out to God, but is He listening? Have we offended Him so badly that He has left us to our fate? Is it to late to accept His offer of salvation? Has He given up on us this time. I certainly feel as if we have moved beyond the light of His love.
Today, while looking for the Nicene Creed to learn for Mass, i found this prayer called the Act Of Love.
'O my God, I love Thee above all things with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon for all whom I have injured.'
The first line i agree with and have no problems with it; however, the next line although i agree with, i do have problems with because i don't always love my neighbour. In fact, sometimes i despise people. It's the selfishness, greediness and the perviness of some people that i just can't stand. The last line also makes me feel uneasy. Forgiving people that have injured me is not something i find easy and it sticks in me like a thorn every time i say the Lord's prayer. If only i could see some sign of the Holy Spirit in these gluttonous, greedy, puffy faced monsters. They believe they can escape the need to change themselves by saying, 'You can all do as you want!' This, in essence, is the core value of the liberal; they believe that changing is too difficult because they think everyone is as weak minded as they are. The liberals profess to lead the way into enlightenment, but they fail to see that Jesus conquered Satan and his temptations in the desert because the Holy Spirit was with Him. It is through the Holy Spirit that we conquer our temptations! Maybe the Holy Spirit is how i will learn to forgive the weakness of others and in turn help me to be forgiven by Him for we know not what we do. At this point, i wonder if St. Teresa of Ávila can help me? Am i in the interior castle fighting my way passed devil's temptations? I can't help but feel, if i had the Holy Spirit, i would be able to lovingly support people in change rather than feeling repulsed by them.
I find what i am looking for, but it's a hard lesson.
The Holy Spirit did indeed lead me to St. Teresa of Ávila interior castle. In chapter 2, The First Mansion,
'...sometimes she might even be so zealous about religious observances as to be unable to see her own faults; and this the others, observing only her zeal about their misdeeds and not understanding the excellence of her intentions...' (St. Teresa of Ávila, 1577)
The above quote is just as applicable to men and thus me.
'The devil's aim here must not be made light of, for he is trying to bring about a cooling of charity and love among the sisters, and if he could do this he would be working a great deal of harm. (St. Teresa of Ávila, 1577)
A cooling of charity and love among believers is perhaps what i have been doing? Now i have seen my error, what should i do? I think the best place to start is to pray for people and myself rather than being repulsed by their faults and my own. Now, at last, i notice it is a sunny day and fasting is easy again. Thank you Lord for St. Teresa of Ávila and for Fr. Mark Goring for leading me to this book years ago. Incidently, Fr Mark remarks in his video chasing spiritual experiences is foolish. He then goes on to quote St. Teresa from the Inertia Castle:
'...the saintliest will be she who serves our Lord with the greatest mortification and humility and purity of conscious.' (Goring, 2021 cited St. Teresa of Ávila, 1577)
I have Mass this evening. My conscience is clear and the fast is now going well although i almost constantly smell delicious food. Since finding some videos on the Catechism, i have found it easier to understand and read. This has pleased me and helped me understand some basic principles so far such as the difference between the protestant Church and the Catholic Church of salvation were the protestants believe in faith alone.
St. Teresa of Ávila (1577) The Inertia Castle Or Mansions [Online] Available at http://www.catholictreasury.info/books/interior_castle/ic6.php (Accessed on 18/03/21)
St.Teresa of Avila on Being Visited by a Saint - Fr. Mark Goring, CC (2020) YouTube video, added by Fr. Goring, M. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbjiWmlyqw&t=131s&ab_channel=Fr.MarkGoring (Accessed on 18/03/21)