The Distress of Deep Love

peterandpaul

Read John 21:15-17.

Many people have many different theories about the meaning of this story and why St. Peter was distressed by the third “I love You!”. Some will assume it was simply annoyance over the repetition of Jesus’ question, some will say it was guilt over his three denials last week, and some will go into this deeply theological discussion of agape vs. phileo and say St. Peter wasn’t ready to love very deeply yet. These theories could be true, possibly. (I would say though, that it would be mean for us to assume St. Peter wasn’t an agape disciple just because he didn’t pass the test on Good Friday. He made very clear at the last supper he was prepared in his heart to die for Jesus, and we shouldn’t think he was only boasting just because he was overcome by a very human fear and the weakness of his flesh couldn’t keep up with the willingness of his spirit. St. Paul went through the same dilemma every day according to Romans 7:15-20 and no one can deny the depth of his love.)

I have another theory, based more on personal experience than scholarly research. I have noticed a distress in my own soul that reflects the intensity of my love for such a perfect Jesus rather than a weakness in it. When I say “I love You!” to Jesus over and over and over and try to “prove it” in my actions, there is a certain pain of longing, desperation, sense of helplessness? It’s hard to describe, but it’s like I can’t say those three words enough, can’t prove it enough, can’t perfect myself enough, to give Him the me I want to present Him or to get through to Him just how much I care, just how deep the love in my heart goes. You see something kind of similar in the out of control extravagance of the birthday party Elsa throws Anna in Frozen Fever because she’s overwhelmed with the preciously heavy weight of love she carries for her sister. Three words that don’t seem adequate to describe how you feel, but they’re all you can say, so you say them with almost a groaning in your soul as frequently a broken record. What else can you do? What else can you say? It’s never enough. You can never quite fully explain or prove it, because it’s too deep, so deep that you’re afraid even God doesn’t get it. You can’t quite hear Him assure you that He realizes as loudly and clearly as you’re trying to make Him realize: thus the distress of deep love. At the end of the day, though, you have to make an act of faith for the sake of your soul and your sanity and say with St. Peter: “Lord, You know all things. Therefore, in Your Divine Omniscience, I must believe that You somehow know just how much I love You and just how deep and intense that love is. Even though I will never be satisfied with my expression or fulfillment of this love, I must have faith that You know it anyway.”

I probably sounds a little weird, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows this feeling. I think St. Peter was one of these souls and I believe the other souls out there like this will understand what I’m trying to say here. I have a whole new respect for St. Peter now in light of this, and it would make sense that this story is found in St. John’s gospel, since he also loved Jesus very intensely. We love You, Jesus, and we know You know now!

annaelsa

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Reasons for Devotion to the Precious Blood

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  1. Ven. Fulton Sheen recommends it as a special defense and offense against devils. “Let me tell you what the most powerful influences are against the demoniac. ….His Precious Blood. We do not have an adequate devotion to the Blood of Christ. But these are the two great arms, the Holy Name of Jesus and invoking the Blood of Christ.”
  2.  It carries all the benefits of devotion to the Passion, since they are essentially the same thing. Meditation on the Passion Virtues Gained Through Meditation on the Passion
  3. It creates a spirit of reparation and penance in the soul, so necessary for the Christian life and the state of today’s world.
  4. It is the secret of our final battle against satan in the last days. “They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb….”
  5. It is the means by which Mary shields our world from the just consequences of our sins.   “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls.….Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master.”  —- Our Lady of Akita
  6. We unite ourselves to the most powerful prayer of all: the Mass, by offering in spirit what the Mass offers in Sacrament, which is the Blood of the Lamb of God.
  7. It is a humbling devotion because in it we focus on what God has done for us, rather than what we have done for Him, and acknowledge that it is His sacrifice alone that gives ours value.    “We love because he first loved us.”         —   1 John 4:19    “The Church has always taught that all our penance without Christ’s passion is not worth a pea.” —St. Thomas More

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Vocational Enlightenment At Last!

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Many who follow me on my blog are aware of my desire to embrace the vocation of a bride of Christ, my pursuit of Monastic Life,  my discerning out out of Monastic Life, and my struggle with the question of how to serve the Lord with my life. I finally remembered, one night, some past research I had done on private vows of perpetual virginity. As private vows, they are different from becoming a nun or consecrated diocesan virgin in the sense that you make this vow completely on your own rather than through the jurisdiction of the Church. They’re not any less real, though, and certainly not to be looked down on as this was the vocational path of the Blessed Virgin herself as well as many saints such as: St. Joseph, St. Agnes of Rome, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Philomena, St. Lucy, St. Cecilia, and many others. Excited as I was when I reviewed my research and discovered this was a way to pursue the call of Jesus in my heart without having to bind myself to all the other obligations Religious Life would require, I made myself wait more than a year to finalize and publicize this decision so I could make this was something I truly wanted and was able to, not rushing into anything like I did with the monastery. Now, the waiting period I set myself has finally expired, and I’m dancing with joy as I finally announce my “engagement” to Jesus Christ! I will be making my vow on August 11, 2019: the former feast day of my patron saint Philomena. You can read more about this kind of vocation

here   and

here

I strongly encourage all young girls like myself who have discerned out of Religious Life but still desire to marry the Lord to explore and consider this option the Church has allowed us, as well as girls who can’t even get into Religious Life because of health problems or some other reason. No more agony of “singleness” when you want so badly to belong to God. No more forcing yourself to take on the whole obligation of Religious Life just to satisfy the one desire for spousal union with Christ. Religious Life should be about being deeply committed to the Order itself, its way of life, its spirituality and way of thinking, and a passion for the other two vows of obedience and poverty. Religious Life is not to be pursued if you discover that all you really want is to marry Jesus; no need for all those strings attached if that’s the case. Loving the world and remaining in it to care for its soul shouldn’t be seen as inferior to leaving it. “For God so loved the world.” The world is your spiritual child, full of souls that desperately need the love and light of the Gospel, if you don’t stay and show them the way who will? I’m sorry to say that the number of laypersons who take their Faith seriously and actually obey the Ten Commandments and Five Precepts seems to be rapidly decreasing. You may very well be the only person in your neighborhood who can give an example of what a faithful Catholic who wants to go to Heaven actually looks like, the only one who can prove that you don’t have to be like everyone else and that holiness isn’t something only for Religious. There are plenty of nuns to pray, but not nearly enough laity to actually answer those prayers with action and evangelization. And if you do end up a Religious later, private vows won’t stop you, they will have served as an excellent preparation and a stepping stone.

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Spiritual Communion

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o salutaris hostia
“Spiritual Communion is the reserve of Eucharistic Life and Love always available for lovers of the Eucharistic Jesus. By means of Spiritual Communion the loving desires are satisfied of the soul that wants to be united with Jesus, its dear Bridegroom. Spiritual Communion is a union of love between the soul and Jesus in the Host. This union is spiritual but nonetheless real, more real than than between the soul and the body, ‘because the soul lives more where it loves than where it lives,’ says St. John of the Cross. As is evident, Spiritual Communion assumes that we have faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. It implies that we would like Sacramental Communion, and it demands a gratitude for Jesus’ gift of this Sacrament. All this is expressed simply and briefly in the formula of St. Alphonsus: ‘My Jesus, I believe that You are really…

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“St. Philomena: Enemy of Liberalism and Mary’s Antidote for Our World” or “Why Philomena?”

Spiritual Army for the Soul of America

philomenabrideofchrist

“Persecution is a sign that you’re doing something right!” would be a good way to sum up how opposition is seen in the Christian worldview.  Second only to Our Lady, it would seem that no other saint has received so much persecution, both from the world and from people within her own Church, as St. Philomena  In certain areas, she has put up with even more revilement, for in the case of the Virgin Mary at least no one has thought to deny her existence.

I will not waste writing space re-telling of how these rumors against the Thaumaturga of the 19th Century started and spread, for a little time of research will reveal well enough the skeptic archaeologist’s report and the coincidental removal of her feast from the calendar during the Church’s “Missal clean-up” routine, along with St. Christopher and a lot of other saints.  Neither is it my…

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