73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God –

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 Seventh Step:

7. Not to bear false witness (cf Mt 19:18; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20).

Lying about what we witness in life, is one of those sins that always has the appearance of not being all that serious, until it continues to escalate like a snowball growing bigger and bigger; until we are no longer sure of what the truth is. It is not in our interest or anyone else’s to not tell the truth.

Jesus identified himself with the Truth. If we are in communion with Jesus then we too will be fountains of the truth. But the temptation to choose other than the truth is a large one and it almost always has as an underpinning the sense that to do so is in our best interest.

It is not.

Many times our inability to tell the truth reveals a deep spiritual void within. We bear false witness because somehow it will make us appear better, which at it’s heart means that we feel that there is something wrong with us to begin with. The temptation to bear false witness about another or an event I have witnessed is an invitation for me to ask, “What do I feel is wrong with myself?”

Why do I feel the need to speak about an event or a person in an untruthful way? The answer is more self-revelatory than illustrative of any real happening outside of myself? My answer allows me to peer into the hole within my soul.

Oh God help me to see myself as a valuable part of your creation. Allow me to see that the life I experience is alive with your presence and that others will always benefit from it.

But what about the other reasons, like, I don’t want to hurt someone?

Does the truth ever hurt? The answer is a loud and thunderous, yes it can hurt terribly. But is that bad?

Pain is a fact of life and to try to avoid it only delays the pain. Confronting it and accepting it leads to resurrection. The cross is a daily visitor to everyone. The choice is often whether we love people enough to be honest with them not hurt them but to help them to face reality in life.

Perhaps there is nothing more definitive about salvation than the one word–reality. A person who experiences the saving grace of God lives in reality, the world as it is.

The unsaved person lives a lie, perhaps it is a world of their creation. It is their fiction. It is impossible for others to be invited into this world of theirs because it is a non-existent place that they themselves do not even exist in. There is nothing sadder then to experience this firsthand, but it is the lot of those who refuse to accept the pain of daily life.

There is the obvious consequence of bearing false witness that I have purposely left to the end. Consequences are of little matter here, but for many they are the guiding force of their daily actions. St. Benedict did not counsel in his maxim—“consider the end when giving a witness.” He did not do so because he has already laid out for us what the end-(the consequence of every action is)—it is God.

God is the consequence for anyone who sets out on this path. My concern is for doing what God commands. True compassion results.

All of our excuses and reasons for not doing so—usually rationalized from a concern for consequences, are derived from a lack of respect for others (Benedict’s second maxim). We do not believe in our neighbor’s right to “handle” the truth. This is very sad.

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God 6b

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

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



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.

73 Steps to Communion With God: 5a

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


Step # 5 of the 73 – part one



5. Not to steal…


It may seem strange that stealing is so high on St. Benedict’s list, but there is nothing more destructive in communal living than mistrust and there is nothing that can destroy trust like living with thievery. Once something no matter how insignificant is stolen everyone around becomes the potential thief.

There is a story I have heard so many times and so many versions of that I am not even sure where it is originally from but it goes something like this: An abbot of a monastery had become very disenchanted with the way the monks in his monastery treated one another. He ventured off to seek out the advice of an holy monk who lived as a hermit deep in the woods.

After the holy monk had listened to the abbot’s concern, he raised his hand and asked the abbot to wait while he prayed about this situation. Several hours passed and finally the hermit reappeared in the cell and made his solemn announcement to the abbot. “When you go back to the monastery tonight gather all of the monks into chapter and then announce to them what I have to tell you.” He then revealed what he had learned in prayer to the abbot.

June 24- Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Gospel

LK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.

Books by Michael Dubruiel

How to draw closer to God – Part 2c

Here is the second  posting of a series that Michael Dubruiel wrote entitled 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. These steps are drawn from Saint Benedict’s Rule, the reflections are his own. Originally published in 2003.


2c. Love one’s neighbor as one’s self (cf Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27).

I remember a man who had undergone a conversion experience telling me in front of his family that he had never been that bad of a guy even before his conversion.

His daughters disagreed, as they in unison cried out, “yes your were dad, you were horrible!”

He then went on to explain how before his conversion he had “acted” in a way that he thought he had to, to be accepted; since his conversion he was truly himself.

I can think of no finer testimony of what life immersed in God’s love is like. We no longer “act” but we are who we are. It’s as simple as that.

Loving others can be difficult but doing so teaches us a lot about ourselves and who we truly worship as God.

Feast of Corpus Christi Michael Dubruiel

Eucharist means…”thanksgiving”

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:

  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond” Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.

Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Are You Enslaved?

In the Scriptures, a person is considered enslaved to the extent

that he or she is attached to anything that is not God. “No servant

can serve two masters,” Jesus says in Luke 16:13. “Either he

will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the

one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

When God is not master of a person’s life, other forces are

free to enslave him. A Christian must be especially careful not to

become encumbered by lesser “gods,” knowing the price Jesus

paid to set us free from the bondage of sin. In the passage quoted

above from the book of Romans, St. Paul speaks of the horrible

effects of this enslavement. Wretched man that I am! Who will

deliver me from this body of death?

Inevitably, the way of bondage is the way of death. However,

even at the moment of death, the liberation of the cross is possible.

Two men were crucified with Christ, one on each side of

him (the seats that James and John requested). Both prisoners

were guilty of the crimes for which they were being executed.

However, one admitted his guilt; from his cross, Jesus assured

that thief that they would soon be in paradise.

Michael Dubruiel Interview

You can listen to an interview program with Michael Dubruiel about his book, The Power of the Cross. The interview is with Kris McGregor of KVSS radio. This is the fourth episode

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Episode 4 – The Cross of Christ unites… – Michael discusses:

Day 15 – How We Worship

Day 16 – How We See Jesus

Day 17 – How We Forgive

Day 18 – Law and Love

Day 19 – Our Lives

Day 20 – Our Priorities

Day 21 – How We See Ourselves

You can find out more about The Power of the Cross here, including a free download of the book. 

Books by Michael Dubruiel

The human race has been fighting the battle against pride

since the Fall. Discontent with the lofty position God had given

them, they wanted to be just like God—but independent of

him. This disordered desire continues to be at the heart of human

nature. Only when God’s spirit lives within us to the fullest are

we able to be most fully human. And the only way to be filled

with God’s spirit is to empty ourselves of any false sense of who

we are, or who we think we have to be. This is the way of humility,

what St. Paul calls having “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians

2:16).

In the gospels, Jesus warns his disciples against desiring titles

and lofty honors. If we achieve greatness in life, as Cardinal del

Val did, we must guard against becoming attached to the position

or to the glory attached to it. Cardinal del Val gave the following

spiritual advice often to those who came to him for

counsel:

Have a great devotion to the Passion of Our Lord.

With peace and resignation, put up with your daily

troubles and worries. Remember that you are not a disciple

of Christ unless you partake of His sufferings and

are associated with His Passion. The help of the grace

of silence was the only thing that enabled the saints to

carry their extremely heavy crosses. We can show our

love for Him by accepting with joy the cross He sends

our way.

The cross sheds light on the way of humility; it is the path

that Christ took and the surest path for us to receive all the blessings

that Christ wishes to bestow upon us.

 

-The Power of the Cross 

 

Feast of the Ascension

The first reading at Mass, from the Acts of the Apostles: 

In the first book, Theophilus,

I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught

until the day he was taken up,

after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit

to the apostles whom he had chosen.

He presented himself alive to them

by many proofs after he had suffered,

appearing to them during forty days

and speaking about the kingdom of God.

While meeting with the them,

he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,

but to wait for “the promise of the Father

about which you have heard me speak;

for John baptized with water,

but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him,

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons

that the Father has established by his own authority.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,

and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,

throughout Judea and Samaria,

and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were looking on,

he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.

While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,

suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.

They said, “Men of Galilee,

why are you standing there looking at the sky?

This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven

will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Daily Inspirational Blog

For it is not hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they. . . show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. ROMANS 2:13–16

 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, “Come, O Blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” MATTHEW 25:34–36 

One day my mother came back from a day of shopping very upset. As she walked past a vagrant on her way into a store, the man had called out to her, “I’ll bet you would take more time to notice a dog.” My mother was saddened and shamed by the man’s accusation. In a way, he was right; she hadn’t even acknowledged the man’s existence. It was one short encounter in her busy life. Even so, I have never forgotten it, and neither has she.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke about the last judgment of the nations, and in particular the judgment of “nonbelievers,” which is how the Jewish people referred to the Gentile nations. When, in his letter to the Romans, St. Paul indicated how those who do not know Christ will be judged, referring to the “gospel,” very likely, he was referring to this passage from Matthew 25.

Those of us who know Christ have little excuse if we do not recognize him in the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, or in prison. We have the good news of the gospel preached to us; we have heard it and are required to put it into practice.

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Easter Season Meditation

The secret to obedience is given to us in John’s Gospel, when

Jesus teaches that he is the vine and we are the branches. Our life

depends upon remaining part of him—which we do by being

obedient to his commands and partaking in his Body and Blood

offered in the Eucharist. John in his letter says that we can tell if

we are “abiding” in Christ by our actions: Are they Christ-like?

The power to be like Christ, of course, comes from dying to

ourselves and allowing Christ to live within us. This requires

more than simply listening to or parroting the words of Christ;

this requires a complete abandonment to him.

Every day the official prayer of the Church begins the same

way, by praying Psalm 95: “Come, let us worship the Lord,”

echoes the refrain, inviting us to see our Savior, our Creator, the

God to whom we belong. With the invitation comes a warning:

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

-The Power of the Cross  by Michael Dubruiel

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I am the Bread of Life

The past week  we have heard the “Bread of Life” discourse from John’s Gospel, chapter 6. Learn more about the Mass in The How to Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel. 

Michael Dubruiel

The How-To Book of the Mass is the only book that not only provides the who, what, where, when, and why of themost time-honored tradition of the Catholic Church but also the how.

In this complete guide you get:

  • step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • the Biblical roots of the various parts of the Mass and the very prayers themselves
  • helpful hints and insights from the Tradition of the Church
  • aids in overcoming distractions at Mass
  • ways to make every Mass a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus

If you want to learn what the Mass means to a truly Catholic life—and share this practice with others—you can’t be without The How-To Book of the Mass. Discover how to:

  • Bless yourself
  • Make the Sign of the Cross
  • Genuflect
  • Pray before Mass
  • Join in Singing the Opening Hymn
  • Be penitential
  • Listen to the Scriptures
  • Hear a Great Homily Everytime
  • Intercede for others
  • Be a Good Steward
  • Give Thanks to God
  • Give the Sign of Peace
  • Receive the Eucharist
  • Receive a Blessing
  • Evangelize Others
  • Get something Out of Every Mass You Attend

“Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table ‘he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”1347, Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Problem with Catholic Bible Study

Stated well and right on the mark by Summa Contra Mundum:

When I taught scripture in high school, the students had a one-sentence summary of what they learned of the bible: “We learn that nothing that the bible says really happened really happened.” That’s the impression they got from four years of historical criticism.

I myself taught high school and heard exactly the same thing when I tried to present the “Fallen State” of humanity according to Genesis to Juniors who had Scripture as Freshman. I do find some hope that the current Pontiff writes about the deficiencies of the historical critical method and its effect on preaching and catechesis.

Michael Dubruiel – 2005

Catholic Mass

Eucharist means…”thanksgiving”

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 

Excerpt

H E N O U R I N D WA N D E R S

One of the most frequent complaints that people who genuinely want to get more out of the Eucharist raise is that they find that their mind wanders at Mass. The cause of their distraction may be as simple a question as “Did I turn off the car lights?” or as weighty a concern as “I wonder how I’m going to pay the mortgage or rent this month?” It is understandable, given the hectic pace of life, that when we try to quiet ourselves in the presence of God we often find that our minds are cluttered with many distracting thoughts.

ELP FROM THE FATHERS OF THE HURCH

For often in the very sacrifice of praise urgent thoughts press themselves upon us, that they should have force to carry off or pollute what we are sacrificing in ourselves to God with weeping eyes. Whence when Abraham at sunset was offering up the sacrifice, he was troubled by birds of prey sweeping down on the carcasses, but he diligently drove them off,so that they might not carry off the sacrifice being offered up (cf. Gen. 15:11). So let us, when we offer a holocaust to God upon the altar of our hearts, keep it from birds of

37

prey that the evil spirits and bad thoughts may not seize upon that which our mind hopes it is offering up to God to a good end.

— S T. G REGORY THE REAT

When Jesus came to visit the two sisters of Lazarus, the sister named Mary sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to him while the other sister, Martha, feverously worked in the kitchen to entertain their houseguest. Finally Martha came to Jesus and complained about the fact that Mary wasn’t helping her. Wandering minds, worriers, and a host of others don’t like what Jesus told Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).

I was discussing the topic of this book with a priest and he told me that in his many years of presiding at the Eucharist in churches around the world he thought that the organist was the most distracted member of almost every parish, “always fiddling with the music for the next piece, kind of a visual mind wandering.” It is easy to be caught up in worrying about doing a good job to the point that we forget why we are doing the job. Jesus tells the Martha in all of us, “One thing is needful.”

When we come to the Eucharist, are we adoring God, or worshipping something else?

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