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Meditations and conversations from my heart to help you live in the dawn of God’s tender kindness flowing into your broken places.

August 26, 2019

Journey with the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Fear of the Lord

In Scripture “to fear God” is to be in awe of his power and knowledge. To fear God requires a daring heart! 

Only a heart that fears God can be joyful. Fear is a word that we typically interpret as referring to a state of emotional distress in the face of some danger to our personal safety. The term “fear of the Lord” appears over 100 times in the Old Testament. For example: And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12). However, in the New Testament, the term is only mentioned two times and has been transformed into a sense of awe that is joyful rather than horrified. It is the gift of fear that gives us an unmistakable and irrefutable sense of God’s closeness and his ultimate victory over all evil in the world. 

The gift of fear of the Lord gives us a greater sense of the greatness of God that should spark in our hearts a sense of amazement and awe that could bring us down to our knees. If we abandon astonishment we are left with a mediocre piousness. 

To St. Bonaventure fear of the Lord was "the most beautiful tree planted in the heart of a holy man which God waters continuously"  [II.6].  This “most beautiful tree” bears the precious fruit of love and reverence for God. Fear of the Lord for St. Bonaventure was the sort of trembling before experiences of God’s majesty that we hear perfectly encapsulated in the hymn:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

The fear that St. Bonaventure had in mind is sort of a continuum that spans a certain range—depending upon one's perfection in the life of grace—from "servile fear" to "filial fear" to a fear cast out by love which has taken over one’s whole heart (cf. 1 John 4:17-18).

August 17, 2019

Journey with the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Fortitude

We often think of fortitude as the gift that makes us brave and strong in our witness to Jesus. The martyrs have been filled with the gift of fortitude. But many of us will not die as martyrs. Our living of the Christian life, nonetheless, requires the strength of the Holy Spirit to persevere in the midst of life's ordinary challenges and struggles. After the age of the martyrs with the Decree of Constantine in the fourth century, the followers of Jesus asked themselves how they would live their total fidelity to the Lord. Thus began the pilgrimage to the desert as our desert fathers and mothers left behind the comforts of ordinary life to struggle against themselves and to grow in love for the Lord in the harsh desert sands. Today few of us  have the luxury of solitude. It would perhaps be easier to hide away in a mountain retreat all alone, undisturbed by the needs and personalities of other people. Instead we remain in communities, families, relationships in both workplaces and in friendships. Relationships take a great deal of fortitude to return love when another may hurt us, show patience when others may be aggravatingly slow, be interested in the one who is boring, care for the one who is aging and alone. All of this takes great fortitude to live on a daily basis...it takes a love that is above the strength we can gather on our own. That is where we need to cry out for the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.

August 12, 2019

Journey with the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Counsel

Pope Francis spoke of the Holy Spirit's gift of counsel in these words: “As with all of the other gifts of the Spirit counsel too constitutes a treasure for the whole Christian community. The Lord does not only speak to us in the intimacy of the heart; yes, he speaks to us, but not only there; he also speaks to us through the voice and witness of the brethren. It is truly a great gift to be able to meet men and women of faith who, especially in the most complicated and important stages of our lives, help us to bring light to our heart and to recognize the Lord’s will!” (General Audience, 2014). Today we explore more deeply the way the Holy Spirit not only leads us but also helps us lead others in the ways of the Lord.

August 5, 2019

Journey with the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Knowledge

We are continuing this week a journey with the Holy Spirit through a contemplation of his seven gifts.

Today we are meditating on the gift of knowledge. I sat down for a conversation with Jeannette de Beauvoir and talked about what the gift of knowledge is, how it helps us grow in greater union with God, how it blesses our life, and how to prepare for this gift of the Holy Spirit.

The gift of knowledge is a supernatural habit by which we, under the action of the Holy Spirit, judge rightly concerning created things as related to eternal life and Christian perfection. It is not a question of philosophical or psychological knowledge, which gives a certain knowledge of things we can deduce by natural reason. It isn’t even a question of theological knowledge. It is, according to Jordan Aumann in Spiritual Theology, a question of a supernatural knowledge or “divine instinct” that comes from a special illumination of the Holy Spirit. Under the influence of this superior impulse and higher light we are able to judge rightly concerning created things in relation to their supernatural end.An Invitation: to become a part of my HeartWork community!

Welcome to the HeartWork Community.

A blend of spiritual guidance, mentorship, and counselling, the HeartWork community is a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

Sometimes we can’t touch the sunrise within us because we are numb from the effort to keep pushing through the wounding of present or past situations and events in our life. But at a certain point, we can’t ignore our heart’s desire for more.

What is HeartWork
Here at the HeartWork Community we learn a simple and practical process of watchfulness “at the door of your heart” in the spirit of the Eastern Fathers, who teach that the process for healing the heart is through a patient and sacred watchfulness which gives rise to the deep experience of wonder that bubbles up from the heart.

For the past twenty years I've written about moving through our brokenness into the light of God. My best-selling title based on my own experience, Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach, has been translated into 12 languages and is in its third edition. My newest book, Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments, has just been released. For years I’ve offered HeartWork personally on an individual basis to whoever wants to pursue the hard questions in their own life and grow in an integrated spiritual-human formation. As much as that has helped people over the years, I realize that many more people could benefit from HeartWork if there were various ways a person could access the program. I so believe that HeartWork can help people that I want to make it available to as many as possible. That's why I created the HeartWork community at http://pauline.org/heartwork.

I hope I'll see you around.

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