Lagniappe

Mount of Beatitudes, Holy Land

A few totally random things came to mind.

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. ― G.K. Chesterton

I wrote tons of personal notes in a notebook that I kept as I wrote my dissertation on St. John of the Cross. Here’s a brief excerpt:

I see so clearly now that, for John, detachment is the key to authentic freedom. We are entangled in so many things — compulsiveness, impulsiveness, obsessions, worries, nit-picking. Addictions of every sort. We’re bound up in desperate attachments to things like comfort and ease, reputation and satiation, pleasing people and getting our way. The problem? In the moment, when situations present themselves and demand our ability to love and forgive, to tell the truth or hold our tongue, to place another’s needs first or pray, to be spontaneous or remain in place, our freedom is constrained by our many attachments. So John counsels that every day we face each unpleasant-repellant or tempting-pleasure with an act of inner detachment and renunciation, and then subject that act to prayer so grace can penetrate the roots of our weeds and wither them away. In fact, when we receive the Eucharist, the food of charity and sacrament of Passover liberation, we can be certain that our small efforts to exit our inner-Egypt will be met by His superabundant redeeming grace. All to free us for loving in concert with Him, to see His Face on Mt. Sinai, receive the inscription of His Law of love deep in the heart and live it.

I met Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino’s Pizza, Ave Maria University) this week at a Legatus event I spoke at. What an honor. My talk was entitled, Saints for the World. What else would I possibly talk about to business leaders? Be secular saints, holy in the world.

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Oh did I mention that I will see Twenty One Pilots next week in concert? Oh yes, I did. Can’t wait to hear them sing this song that I’ve very often made my prayer:

I am so tired this week. Spent. It’s been relentless. I’m sure all my readers can relate. A man I greatly admired, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, used to frequently say to me during the last months of his illness: “When you’re down to nothing, God’s up to something!” I cling to that. Or I think of my spiritual director in New Jersey who told me he wanted to die poor, broke, emptied of every blessing God had entrusted to him.

When I feel empty and useless, I love to pray Bl. John Henry Newman’s prayer. Makes me remember God, attentive to hair counts, wastes nothing we give Him no matter how insignificant. Let us pray:

God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.

8 comments on “Lagniappe

  1. Jennifer says:

    Our freedom to love, serve, be His hands, His light, His love to another is constrained by our attachments. Wow! Thank you for opening my eyes to that perspective. That practicing detaching is a beautiful invitation from our Father to make ourselves more available to Him, to His will, which immerses us more and more into Him at the same time. I realize that I am tempted to see my fights with attachment as a necessary asceticism that I only do in the hopes of a far-off eternal reward, which frankly doesn’t really mesh with the here-and-now present-ness of His presence that I sense is where I’m supposed to abide. But I see! Its a gift too! Like duty, like suffering. A house cleaning I can do to make room for Him to dwell and move and make marvellous stories of grace, mercy, and love plunked down in my little back water corner of nowhere.. Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Thank you for illuminating this; helping me see what was right in front of my nose all along!

    And oh! That prayer! He knows what He is about….He did nothing in vain… Do we realize just how drenched we ask are in His love and concern and mercy? Lord, help me remember!

    Now you better rest up this weekend. You have a lot of screaming and crying and singing at the top of your lungs and public proclamations of “I love you, Tyler! I love you, Josh!” Ahead of you. Speaking of love: how much do those two guys live each other! It’s palpable, so beautiful. God bless them!

    • Jennifer says:

      To clarify my comment about far-of eternal reward… I’m not denying that, just that I mean i don’t think it’s detached from right now. It’s a hidden, buried treasure, yeast working it’s way quietly through the dough, a Kingdom unfolding and being built by our offerings and collaborations with his grace right in the moment, a million opportunities to say yes to God and so dwell in Him in His will in our fiat.

    • And yes, I will rest up for the big TØP concert!!! I will make full fool of myself and yell those and innumerable other surging expressions of exuberance. They do love each other, like twins. I’ll tell all about it after |-/

  2. Nos. says:

    “I may never know it in this life ” isn’t that the truth…and of course ” HE knows what HE is about” as sister Ellen would say “””Always””” I have been confirmed as the NOS in this post tommy, you’re notes describe me to the dot on the i i i i i i i…

    P.s. ” small scale” still waiting for the book, hurry up I’m not getting any younger! ! ! ! ! ! ! “J” you’re a lesson on the beautiful virtue of hope ,thank you kiddo+ + +.

  3. Guada Girl says:

    Yay! Dr. Tom you will have a blast at TOP concert. Screen is my one of my fav songs!!! I ponder on these lyrics a lot and share with friends. I just saw them here in Anaheim,CA we had a blast and it was my little brother first concert so he is a huge fan now.
    I agree with Jennifer the beautiful friendship these two guys have is inspiring I am blessed to have a friend like that too. I always compare their friendship to mind and my best friend Mich; its A-mazing to have a companion on this valley of tears who gets you and makes you a better person and get to share all the joys of life together.

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