File:Nicolas Tournier - St Paul - WGA23043.jpg

St. Paul by Nicolas Tournier (Wikimedia Commons).

I was out of town for Labor Day, so I’m going to give you a few Scripture verses to meditate on for Today’s post. The first passage comes from Sunday’s Second Reading:

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2)

What does it mean to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind?” Here are two more passages that came to my mind as I pondered this verse.

I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away. I want you to be free from anxieties.” (1 Cor 7:29-32)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2)

Ponder these verses. Pray about them. How is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through them today? What hindrance can you discard, what attachment can you overcome for love of Christ? Is there one step you can take today to help you fix your eyes more fully on Him?

Please share your insights with us.

The time is short.

Connie Rossini

 

Written by Connie Rossini
Hi, I'm a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

    12 Comments

  1. Kathryn September 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

    It popped out to me that “Jesus Endured”. I have a Spiritual Director that is a Third Order Carmelite, but I did not know that until I expressed a desire to explore a possible call to it. I’ve been blessed by your blog and encouraged as I am perhaps entering another place in my prayer life. Everything is dead, and while I understand why (or I think I do !) “I Endure” with Jesus, while he is completely silent. Any other insights or encouragement ? Thank you 🙂

    • Connie Rossini September 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      It sounds like you think you may be entering the first dark night? Your spiritual director can probably help you best, especially as a Carmelite (although the term “third order” is more often used by O.Carms than OCDS). I’d say that what you do outside of prayer is critically important at that time in one’s prayer life. Prayer and virtue grow together. Avoid the near occasion of venial sin. Continue to do your duty well, especially in your vocation. Continue working on detachment. Do everything with peace and love. If you begin to fall back to earlier stages in your fight against sin, your prayer will also regress. God bless!

      • Kathryn September 6, 2014 at 11:39 am

        Thank you.

  2. Sherry Maghsoodloo September 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Oh my grip is sometimes too much on the things of the world. I knit and find myself thinking and planning and obsessing when I pray about projects for knitting. I would love to stop letting stray thoughts take me away. I’m beginning to also think that time is short and I get fearful about that. These things bother me during prayer and it feels like I’m not getting through to God.
    I used to worry about falling asleep when praying before going to sleep until I just read last night in your book that Therese did it too.

    • Connie Rossini September 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm

      Haha. And did you read in my post from Friday that Teresa of Avila struggled with distraction in prayer for years? So you’re in good company, Sherry! Teresa always used a book to help focus her mind, so you might try that. But I do think that for many of us who are not that advanced in the spiritual life, distractions indicate what we are attached to. I think about my writing while praying quite often. Try not to get disturbed when these things happen, but just gently bring your mind back to Christ.

  3. Michelle September 3, 2014 at 5:04 am

    You really help my brain with precise and to the point writing Connie.You are an excellent teacher.

    I haven’t commented on your book yet simply because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It’s like I’m seeing things for the first time through the lenses of trust (or maybe a filter) and I am indebted to God, St. Theresa and you. Thank you and may God continue to bless and protect your book, blog and family.

    • Connie Rossini September 3, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Thanks, Michelle. I thank God for giving me a gift that can help others. It’s all His doing.

  4. Stella September 4, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Please send me more insight on ‘dark night’. How it happens, why it happens, how frequently it happens, do I go back again to zero after the dark night. More readings, references, websites, books?
    Thank you and God bless.

    • Connie Rossini September 4, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Stella, a good resource for understanding the Dark Night is Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Fire Within. This is a very complex issue, which I hope to write about in the future. First, you should look at the signs that St. John of the Cross gives that you are really experiencing the Dark night. You must be living a life that is faithful to God, even in the smallest things. As far as duration and frequency, that is very individual. Some people experience it off and on for years. Others have very little darkness, but experience more of the sweetness of contemplation. Some are immersed in a great darkness constantly for a long time. Each soul is different. I’m not sure what you mean by “going back to zero after the dark night.” The first Dark Night is the transition to the Illuminative Way. It is usually followed by a time of consoling contemplation. A person in the Illuminative Way is very careful about doing God’s will and finds it easy to conquer temptations that plagued him in the past. If you are experiencing contemplation off and on, you should always start prayer intending to meditate on Sacred Scripture, if you are able to do so. Then if God grants you supernatural contemplation, you give up the meditation for that time. But you never begin prayer sitting idly, waiting for God to act. If you think you are entering the Dark Night, I urge you to try and find a spiritual director who can work with you one on one. Many people make mistakes at this stage whcih send them back to earlier stages. Here’s Fr. Bartunek on Dryness in prayer (in 3 parts): http://spiritualdirection.com/blog/2014/03/31/dryness-in-prayer-part-i-what-is-going-on http://spiritualdirection.com/blog/2014/03/31/dryness-in-prayer-part-i-what-is-going-on http://spiritualdirection.com/blog/2014/04/14/dryness-in-prayer-part-iii-gods-part-in-the-struggle.

  5. Stella September 14, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Dear Connie,
    Your website greatly renewed my mind and senses. There were answers to so many of my questions and I enjoyed understanding the contents of the links and further links thereto; additionally your splendid explanation that brought awareness within. Thank you so much. God Bless you for your understanding and advice. I am spiritually wealthy overnight! In the process, I was able to identify the reason of the dark night (at times) and the contentment of knowing that my Lord was ever present with me. Oh! It’s a true feeling of great joy. I shall procure “Dark Night” and look forward to your own writing too. St.Therese has been my Proclaimed Saint since childhood and through her I have known St.Teresa of Avila and her life and work but full credit goes to you for introducing the Carmelite Spiritually.

    • Connie Rossini September 14, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Stella, what a blessing to read your words this morning! Please pray that God continues to guide me, so I can help others, and that I do not become proud. God bless you!

  6. Stella September 16, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Connie, I shall keep you in my prayers. I meant ‘Fire Within’ being the book and not Dark Night. God Bless.