"The greater the charity of the Saints in their heavenly home, the more they intercede for those who are still on their journey and the more they can help them by their prayers; the more they are united with God, the more effective those prayers are. This is in accordance with Divine order, which makes higher things react upon lower things, like the brightness of the sun filling the atmosphere." -St. Thomas Aquinas
I had a terrible day yesterday. I fell significantly into sin that I thought I was getting better at beating. It compounded itself so much, because once I chose wrongly the first time, it was so much easier to despair and continue. But luckily, from a very unexpected source (a Protestant friend), I discovered a new saint this morning. Just reading the story of Fr. Vincent McNabb (not canonized, but a saintly man), I was shook from my apathy. I saw it in his story, Beatus/Eudaimonia/Happiness. He had such an ascetic life as a dominican friar, but immediately I recognized the miracle of Grace. And much like the compounding of sin, the Grace that man experienced compounded in my own life, and I was able to get up renewed in my faith and have a long prayer walk.
The Rosary is so beautiful. I find the true experiences and religious affections I feel to be the ones I can express the least. I always feel retarded when I try to write my feelings and encounters with the divine, maybe I'm not supposed to write them, or they're too personal to communicate. As I was praying the Rosary today I was emptied. All the self-centred self-reflection I've done, all the talk about myself was gone. I was immersed in a tradition of prayer going back to St. Dominic. The REAL story of humanity, sin & grace, redemption. Once I was emptied, then and only then, could I be filled by the Spirit, by grace, by the mysterious life of God.
As we approach Lent, I've realized what I want to do. 40 days of death and life. 40 days of dying to myself, and Christ living in me. What I (re)learned from the saints today was the key to happiness. Mary was the greatest saint because she was the most empty of self and full of Jesus. I want to spend Lent not thinking about myself (in an egotistical way), not thinking about my own strength or sacrifice or penance, and focusing on the Saints and Christ. Hopefully then, when I'm truly empty, then I can be filled with good things.
Today the scripture I kept thinking on was (quite fittingly) the Magnificat, and specifically:
"he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty"
I am too wealthy, too excessive, too fat, too overindulgent. God -through the words of St. John the Baptist- has once again reminded me of that beautiful truth "he must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn 3:30). Humility I think would be the old way of naming this virtue. Disregard for oneself in regard for someone greater, namely Christ. I want to have gratitude and humility.