Posted by: cmittermeier | December 10, 2011

Forest Fires

If you have enough friends chances are at any given time one of them is struggling through a difficult time, sometimes you might be the one struggling.  I still ask God why the struggle is necessary, couldn’t we have found the destination some other way, without the pain?

This is an image I found on a simple google image search of sunrise after forest fire.  The smoke that rises into the atmosphere play with the light, shifting it to the red spectrum.  I grew up in a suburb of Edmonton Alberta, and it was normal to have a few forest fires every year in the north.  That meant a number of different benefits – yes I said benefits.  From the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets that accompanied it to the blueberries that would grow in the years immediately following.  The soil changes when all that ash is added, it also clears out areas so shrubs and other low lying plants grow, very favourable for blueberries.  It doesn’t take much to pause and ask, couldn’t we get blueberries without the danger of a forest fire?  Aren’t there other ways to create beautiful sunsets?

I suspect I am asking the wrong questions. In my searches for answers to this, I have found that God only WILLS for our good, but that he PERMITS bad.  I have found that if you let him, out of the bad God will create beauty.  Focusing on that, I have turned my question to, what can I do to find the beauty in this particular struggle?

Not surprisingly, I’m not the first to reflect on struggle.  St. Ignatius spent a lot of time on this, and though his words were for the spiritual aspect of our lives, I have found they tend to apply to other areas of struggle.

The fifth: In time of desolation never to make a change; but to be firm and constant in the resolutions and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which he was in the preceding consolation. Because, as in consolation it is rather the good spirit who guides and counsels us, so in desolation it is the bad, with whose counsels we cannot take a course to decide rightly.

The sixth: Although in desolation we ought not to change our first resolutions, it is very helpful intensely to change ourselves against the same desolation, as by insisting more on prayer, meditation, on much examination, and by giving ourselves more scope in some suitable way of doing penance.

The seventh: Let him who is in desolation consider how the Lord has left him in trial in his natural powers, in order to resist the different agitations and temptations of the enemy; since he can with the Divine help, which always remains to him, though he does not clearly perceive it: because the Lord has taken from him his great fervor, great love and intense grace, leaving him, however, grace enough for eternal salvation.

The eighth: Let him who is in desolation labor to be in patience, which is contrary to the vexations which come to him: and let him think that he will soon be consoled, employing against the desolation the devices, as is said in the sixth Rule.

The ninth: There are three principal reasons why we find ourselves desolate. The first is, because of our being tepid, lazy or negligent in our spiritual exercises; and so through our faults, spiritual consolation withdraws from us. The second, to try us and see how much we are and how much we let ourselves out in His service and praise without such great pay of consolation and great graces. The third, to give us true acquaintance and knowledge, that we may interiorly feel that it is not ours to get or keep great devotion, intense love, tears, or any other spiritual consolation, but that all is the gift and grace of God our Lord, and that we may not build a nest in a thing not ours, raising our intellect into some pride or vainglory, attributing to us devotion or the other things of the spiritual consolation.

I underlined a few things that are personally relevant right now.  I’m battling sloth, inertia, laziness… its bringing me down.  The only way out is to pull up my boot straps and get working.  Too many projects are being left undone.  I am not willing to put my foot down and walk the path I should be walking.  I am not doing what was decided before the inertia.

Hmm, I’m thinking too much and working too little.  Not sure if this post helps anyone, but its time for me to start planting some blueberries by working on my projects, starting with cleaning my house.

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