73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God – 6

This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous are posted below among the other posts and last week’s archives. Here is the Sixth Step:

6. Not to covet (cf Rom 13:9).

St. Benedict attaches a scripture passage to this maxim which in many ways points to where he has obtained the previous four. In Romans 13:9 the Apostle wrote, “The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself, (Romans 13:9, NIV).”

The simple rendering not to covet is intriguing. We probably are used to the formulation that we should not covet our neighbor’s goods or our neighbor’s wife, but here there is just the simple injunction not to covet. There is nothing more difficult in the culture that we live in than to rid ourselves of desire.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha (enlightened one), based an entire religion on ridding ourselves of what he discovered was the source of all ill. In his four noble truths he stated, that all life is suffering, the cause of suffering is desire, the way to rid the world of suffering is to extinguish desire, that experience is Nirvana.

I remember teaching basically the same truth to teen boys in high school, and receiving a predictable response—“if you rid yourself of desire you wouldn’t move—you would just lie on the couch.” They, mirroring the culture that we live in, saw desire or coveting as a good thing. It is the very fuel that propels one to have great goals and to achieve great success.

But is it?

Doesn’t our desire or coveting rather blind us to achieving our goals, creating a false sense of what is needed to make us happy? What if we were to live each day with a sense of purpose but instead of being concerned about our plan we primarily were focused on God’s will for us.

This may seem too idealistic and we might retort, “How can I know God’s will for me today?” The spiritual writer Jean-Pierre De Caussade in his great spiritual work Abandonment to Divine Providence gave a simple guide to answering the question. The will of God can best be discerned by a simple acceptance of whatever the day brings and to a focus on that.

My spiritual director Benedictine Father Lambert Reilley once mirrored this thought when I complained about all the distractions that I was suffering from. “People keep showing up and interupting the work that I am trying to get done.”

“Why look at them as distractions?” Father Lambert asked me. “Instead see them as people that God is sending to you.” What Father Lambert (who now is Archabbot Lambert) was saying to me was mirrored in the Rule of Saint Benedict’s injunction that the monks were to welcome the stranger as though Christ himself were arriving at the monastery.

So this notion of coveting, covers not only material things and the relationships that others have, it also covers are very time and the way we view it. Time is the biggest culprit in the whole business of ridding ourselves of coveting. We want and desire to have _______________(fiill in the blank) right now rather than waiting until it comes our way.

If it is our health, we want to feel better now, so we take drugs that in the long run ruin our immune system. If we are trying to lose weight, we want it now so we may injure our health seeking a quick solution. If we want material items why wait, put it on credit. All in all, coveting is a rejection of the world that we live in as it is, and the message of the Gospel is just the opposite, the world is not changed by wishing it to be otherwise, but rather by confronting the world as it is and dealing with it.

Why would we not sit around on the couch, if we rid ourselves of desiring? Because we would realize that we have work to do and it needs to be done now! The very act of coveting if we conceptualize it is that of a dreamer, not someone who is immersed in reality.

The opposite of coveting is acceptance.

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Ascension Thursday

May is Mary’s month, a month we pay special attention to the rosary. The Ascension is on of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Check out this small hardbound book by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn,  Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"

The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.

Easter Season Reflection by Michael Dubruiel

Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the

women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a

shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to

This is the power of

the cross for the follower

of Christ, no matter

what happens to us or can

happen to us we are not

defeated.

make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord,

were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the

point of being “like dead men.”

One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions.

One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what

they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life

event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of

years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see

the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who

believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.

"michael dubruiel"

Easter Octave Meditation

Coming to the tomb of Jesus that first Easter morning, the

women discovered an angel there, the rock rolled away. It was a

shocking and unexpected sight. The guards, who were there to

This is the power of

the cross for the follower

of Christ, no matter

what happens to us or can

happen to us we are not

defeated.

make sure that the disciples did not steal the body of the Lord,

were also witnesses to this. They were overcome with fear—to the

point of being “like dead men.”

One experience, two groups of people, two different reactions.

One group looks at the empty tomb and rushes to tell what

they have witnessed. The other group is paralyzed by the life

event. This wasn’t just something that happened thousands of

years ago; it happens every moment of every day. Those who see

the cross as the end of their life, meet death there; those who

believe and place their trust in God, find in the cross life and victory.

“The Best Thing That Ever Happened”

Tebow, not winning the Heisman, Mike Bianchi explains in the Orlando Sentinel:

Tebow was victimized by being Tebow — perhaps the most famous and highly publicized player in college football history. Some fans and voters are obviously sick of the massive Tebow lovefest that has permeated college football since Tebow signed with UF. How else do you explain Tebow receiving more first-place votes (309) than any of the other candidates, but finishing third because he was completely left off 154 of the 904 ballots?

“They either love the Gators or they hate us,” said Tebow, who failed in his attempt to become the only player in history other than Archie Griffin to win two Heismans.

Florida fans who are upset because Tebow finished third — don’t be. This might be the best thing that ever happened to the Gators heading into the Jan. 8 national title game against Bradford’s Oklahoma team. Tebow, although he was the first person to congratulate and hug Bradford after he won Saturday night, was more than a little perturbed he didn’t win.

“I’ll use this as motivation,” he vowed. ” … . On Jan. 8, we get to decide something a little bit better and I’m excited about that.”

Again, this is no knock on Bradford. He’s had a spectacular year. But let’s be honest, shall we? Bradford won because of his gaudy passing numbers, many of which were accumulated at the end of blowout victories against outmanned Big 12 defenses.

Could I get a clarification, please? On the top of my Heisman ballot, it says to vote for the “Most Outstanding College Football Player” and says nothing about voting for the quarterback who put up the most obscene passing numbers. The word “outstanding” in my book means you “stand out” above the others. And, to me, Bradford and the other Big 12 quarterbacks in contention ( runner up Colt McCoy of Texas and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech) were all clones of one another. Tebow stands out as a once-in-lifetime athlete.

The Big 12 quarterbacks are about numbers and statistics; Tebow is about moments and memories. The Big 12 quarterbacks are measured in passing yards accumulated; Tebow is measured in folklore created.

•Like when he gave the emotional, tear-stained speech after the team’s only loss of the season against Ole Miss. The Gators haven’t lost a game since and the speech was compared to Knute Rockne’s “Win One for the Gipper” pep talk by CBS broadcaster and college football historian Verne Lundquist.

•Or like the Florida State game when some FSU fans angered Tebow by cheering after UF star Percy Harvinlay on the wet, muddy field with an injured ankle. Tebow went up to his coaches and insisted on carrying the ball because he wanted “to hit somebody extremely hard.”

On the very next play, Tebow bulled into the line and moved the entire pile 3 yards into the end zone. After getting up from the bottom of the stack, Tebow ripped off his helmet to show a face caked with mud and streaked with FSU’s garnet end-zone paint.

Following the game, iconic FSU Coach Bobby Bowden called Tebow “The greatest football player I’ve ever seen at quarterback.”

Tebow is the greatest football player one of the greatest coaches in history has ever seen — but not the most outstanding college football player of the year?

Doesn’t quite add up, does it?

Then again, Gators fans should be ecstatic with Heisman voters. They did exactly what Ole Miss did three months ago: They not only inspired Tebow; they incited him.

Not just for one more game, but perhaps even for one more season.

“Maybe,” Tebow said and smiled coyly, “this is motivation to come back for another year and try to tie Archie.”

Ready for the SEC Championship

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Obama and I Agree

There should be a college football playoff, involving the top 8 teams.  From USA Today:

With President-elect Barack Obama supporting a playoff system to decide college football’s national champion, the future TV home of the Bowl Championship Series could become a political football.

BCS commissioners could make the call Monday on whether to move TV rights for five bowls, including the national championship, to ESPN from Fox starting in 2011. The title game would be the first major American sports championship shown on cable. There’s still roughly 16 million U.S. homes that don’t get ESPN. While ESPN has other sports properties such as Monday Night Football, a few college fans without cable have complained they’d be shut out.

So it wouldn’t be surprising to see politicians champion their cause, given that Obama told CBS’ 60 MinutesSunday that a playoff system is “the right thing to do,” For example, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., intervened last year when fans howled about Major League Baseball moving its “Extra Innings” package of out-of-market games exclusively to satellite provider DirecTV.

Fox spokesman Dan Bell said the network will let the BCS know today whether it will match ESPN’s reported $500 million offer to telecast the BCS championship and four other bowls from 2011 to 2014. ABC, ESPN’s Disney sister network, will broadcast the national championship and Rose Bowl in 2010.

ESPN declined comment.

During Sunday’s interview with CBS’ Steve Kroft, Obama laid out exactly what kind of playoff system he envisions: “Eight teams. That would be three rounds to determine a national champion. It would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this.”

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