Resting in the Spirit by Father Robert DeGrandis In this valuable book Father Degrandis explores the very biblical foundation of being "slain" in the Spirit and its precedents with bishops and saints. It's a book that explains and clarifies!  click here 



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JOY IS OUT THERE FOR THOSE WHO VENTURE FORTH WITH 'QUIET CONSCIENCE' AND 'PURE PRAYER'

Venture out. Never fear. But, be vigilant.

In life, we can not learn many things nor find new places nor change in a profound and good way without venturing forth.

Venture. Explore. Find new territories. Just make sure, in the event you have to, that you know how to get back.

I once had a dream of climbing up a huge sand dune that was flat at the top, like a plateau. When I looked back at the way I came up, I realized I could not get down the same way, and when I peered down the opposite side, it was far too steep; on a third side I would have wedged between two sand dunes. I was temporarily stranded on top because I wasn't careful enough to contemplate my return (nor the repercussion of scaling the cliff).

When we do, when we take the time for forethought, and we find a high place, however, we can see as we previously could not. Vistas open before us. We can see at greater distance and we can view everything in a context that is larger and often even unforgettable. We just need to set forth with prudence. As Thomas Kempis said, "to offer, with quiet conscience, pure prayer."

Have you found the place where you can do that? Christ prayed on mountains.

Do you pray with purity?

Can you turn off the internal dialogue -- the disruption of "head chatter" -- to contemplate?

Have you located hidden imperfections (such as pride)?

"It is not the mountain we conquer," said Sir Edmond Hillary, "but ourselves."

It is through fasting and prayer that we purify and also sensitize; likewise, contemplate. When we fast, we are more in tune with repercussions. We know the exciting places to scout and how to scout them. We do not fear, but we anticipate. We are more in touch with how we and others really feel. During fasting, one can often go beyond the words people speak and sense what they really think. We get to the real thoughts beyond verbiage, which is who a person really is. In prayer, we get to our own real thoughts, as well, and become aware of what we project.

Sometimes, that's different than we think. Often, we don't realize the impression we leave.

Our personalities and thoughts extend in a way we don't anticipate. They can take us to a flat stretch of sand.

Pure humble thoughts always project the best.

They create "fertile soil" -- as opposed to sand. In the parable of the seeds, one might look upon those seeds not only as metaphors for those who live the Word of God and those who hear it and accept it for a season but then abandon it, but also, in addition to seeds, relate ourselves to the soil.

To grow in faith we must be the right sort of seed planted in the proper place but also the right ground -- the correct surrounding.

Have we fertilized the soil adequately (with Scripture)? Have we tilled our soil fine enough? Do we guard it against weeds?

When we pray, fast, and read the Bible (daily), good things happen. Vistas open up. We venture to exciting places that do not put us in danger. We see beyond pretense, hear beyond verbs. We anticipate. From this, we draw protection. We find joy.

Go ahead and take that trip you feel so much like taking after praying calmly, and quietly, about it. Experience teaches as a book cannot.

A woman named Jessica who had been bogged down all her life with her work and experienced a life review saw how "I had made some choices I could have made better in my life, things I could have enjoyed more, more passion for travel, more passion for the environment; it was a place of contemplation. I was to contemplate. I could have done so much more in my life. I could have had so much more joy -- I remember all the opportunities I didn't take; the joy of my personality, the joy of who I am."

Joy is a good marker of whether we are living, thinking, and praying right.

-- Michael H. Brown

[resources: Break Open Your Wellsprings!]

[Note also: retreats: California and Connecticut]

[Michael Brown's books]

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