Caryll Houselander writes about how easy it is for us Catholics, via the sledgehammer of zeal and truth, to beat down the inner secret hope of the people whom we are trying to connect to. God has reached out to everyone somehow. For many people, this touch can be so subtle they don’t realize it as such. Yet, they can still be super important and powerful.
In this episode I talk about how we can better connect with God, not through logic and reason, but instead through the innermost fiber of ourselves. God has been trying to reach us our entire lives. He knows better than we do how to best do that. It’s time to listen!
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S02E46 Reaching Out to God
St. Margaret Mary Alocoque
Daughter of Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, Margaret was born on July 22, at L’Hautecour, Burgundy, France, was sent to the Poor Clares school at Charolles on the death of her father, a notary, when she was eight years old. She was bedridden for five years with rheumatic fever until she was fifteen and early developed a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She refused marriage, and in 1671 she entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial and was professed the next year. From the time she was twenty, she experienced visions of Christ, and on December 27, 1673, she began a series of revelations that were to continue over the next year and a half. In them Christ informed her that she was His chosen instrument to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart, instructed her in a devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established. Rebuffed by her superior, Mother de Saumaise, in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in the visions, she eventually won her over but was unable to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions, nor was she any more successful with many of the members of her community. She received the support of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, the community’s confessor for a time, who declared that the visions were genuine. In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686, and two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart; soon observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents. Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on October 17, and was canonized in 1920. She, St. John Eudes, and Blessed Claude La Colombiere are called the “Saints of the Sacred Heart”; the devotion was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after her death. Her feast day is observed on October 17.
Caryll Houselander excerpt from Magnificat:
Everyone Sought to Touch Jesus Most people who want to know God and who are outside the Church have just one thing that is precious to them, though to us with our clear-cut definitions, our discipline, and our sacraments, it may seem so vague that it is hard for us to realize how much it means to them. This is their personal approach to God. Very often it seems to be hardly that at all, so vague is it, so closely does it lean to sentimentality. It may be simply a memory of childhood, or a stirring of the spirit when a certain familiar hymn is heard; it may be just a fling of the heart to God, on seeing the first wild spray of blossom that proclaims the spring. But it is quite surely an indication of that individual’s approach to God and of his approach to them, and it is as sweet to them as it would be to a blind man if, reaching out in darkness, he touched the garment hem of Christ.
Too often, through our own fault, we give people who are thus clinging to their own personal contact with God the idea that Catholicism would sweep it away. Quite wrongly, we give them the idea that we are not seeking any more, that we have a formula for everything, that we hold feeling in contempt, live only by acts of will, and that there is nothing that we cannot explain.
Of course this is untrue. We too are always seeking for God, always reaching out blind fingers to touch his garment, and we are blinded by the very light of the mysteries of our faith, which we can live by but cannot explain and can barely begin to understand.
To the enquirer, our hard, unanswerable arguments, dealt out blow by blow with our sledgehammer of zeal, are all too convincing-to the mind. But the heart rises up in revolt against “apologetics” which may convince against the will, and sweep away that lovely touch in the darkness which is at the heart of their lives.
Caryll Houselander († 1954) was a British mystic, poet, and spiritual teacher.
5 Things we all need to do.
- Embrace Peace
- Listen, Really Listen, to the other person
- Share your REAL story
- Spend time searching yourself
- Silence, not speed-routine
Hope is faith reaching out in the darkness, knowing that the hand of God is reaching back. – John Hagee