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Los Dones del Espíritu Santo, Parte 3: Los Dones Activos y Homilía.

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[Active Gifts] So looking for a moment at just one of the active gifts. There are four of them— the gift of reverence, which suggests to us two things. The first is our life is unmanageable, that we'll never make headway in the spiritual journey without the grace of God. In fact, we'll go to pieces without it. We can't even live without— we can't survive without it. Creates this great sense of dependence on the divine mercy.

And that's the second aspect that the gift of reverence infuses. At the same time as we're aware of our weakness, it also makes us aware of the unconditional love of God for us just as we are. And as we find out, as this sense of awareness deepens in that fifth track of centering prayer, you become aware that God is totally non-judgmental.

You know who judges us? Yourself. And that's what's so painful. And that's what'll judge us at our time of death, unless we proceed to dismantle our judgmental attitudes while we're still enjoying this blissful life. It's the self that has an idea of itself coming from pride, that when we violate, off goes guilt feelings and the rest of its self-blame, all of which are not constructive attitudes or emotions. It's not God who says you're no good. You say it.

The gift of counsel, then, raises our ordinary virtue of prudence into a kind of sanctified common sense. And the gift of counsel not only suggests what to do in the long range, but what to do right now in the details of our lives.

And so by turning to the Spirit as a reality within us, we'll begin to see what we should eat, how much to eat, when to go to bed, when to get up, how to handle this situation and that one, if you want to, if you're that sensitive. And the more open we are to the Spirit, the more the Spirit takes over our life to such a point that He'll lead your life for you. You make many mistakes, no problem. But you keep coming back to the realization that God knows how we should live this life.

Only God knows the long road. Only His plans for us are going to happen, not ours. And so to develop this dependency is a tremendous virtue. The gifts of the Spirit are closer then to us than the spoken directive.

This is what we need to find out, that God is so intimately present in us, so always available, a kind of constant awareness if you're open to it, that it embraces everything in our lives and all reality at the same time. And that in being in that presence, your attitudes that are judgmental, or narrow, or invested in the wrong things, just normally, just casually, just spontaneously begin to recede.

So that it's being in the presence of God as much as you can all day long that is the great secret, you might say, of growth in contemplative prayer, which is transformation. Remember that growth in contemplative prayer is total openness to all the seven gifts of the Spirit. Fortitude is one we need in daily life too.

Now, the virtue of fortitude helps us to pursue the difficult good in the spiritual journey. Let's face it, it's a difficult good for most people. The gift of fortitude pushes things much further. It gives an energy to overcome any obstacles in our way in the spiritual growth. So it's enormous reinforcement, so to speak, of the natural virtue of fortitude.

And it expresses itself in two ways. One is sustaining certain people in great activities or great ministries that catch the attention of the world. The other is in fidelity to the small duties of daily life, in which for the love of God, we persevere day in and day out in the detail of our particular vocation, whether this is housewife, grandma, professional life, ministry of some kind, or garbageman. There's a divine way of doing everything.

And it's the Spirit that shows us how to do that. And He shows us how to do that in the degree that we remain in His presence, in Her presence. So this is why some method of remaining in God's presence is so valuable if you're seriously pursuing the spiritual journey as an integrated whole.

And the four gifts of the Spirit for active life are with us precisely to bring that about. Piety is the gift that gives us spontaneously a childlike attitude towards God and also a sense that everyone is brothers and sisters. An extraordinary example of this gift that you might find helpful is what we know about the seven trappist Algerian martyrs who had their heads virtually cut off by Muslim extremists, perhaps for political reasons.

But they were living in a trappist monastery, surrounded by destitute Muslim peasants. And they were serving them with a clinic, they had a doctor in the community, with hospitality, they even studied the Koran together, not with the view of converting them, but with the view of trying to establish communion with them. So meanwhile, other friends of theirs and other missionaries had been killed. As you know, Algeria has a very tragic record of killing both civilians and ministers.

But they were at risk, because in the Koran, it says you must always respect the holy men or women who live apart from the community. But if they take part, integral part, in the life of the community, then that protection is withdrawn. And so they could have lived inside their cloister with safety. But they felt called to reach out in dialogue and charity to their brothers and sisters, who were impoverished, and to help them as much as they could.

And two years before their death, they were invaded by some guerrillas and ordered to leave. And they simply refused. And through community discussions, and their own conscience, and their sense of brocation as monks to a place, they decided to stay, knowing that they would probably be killed.

But here is where the gift of piety is manifest in them. They saw these Muslims as brothers and sisters, not as enemies or friends. They didn't see them as people to convert to Christianity. Rather, they saw themselves as creating communion between everybody who lived in that space and manifesting it through sharing their agricultural know-how and sharing brotherly and sisterly love.

And so they have kind of pioneered what might be called a dialogue unto death, because by staying there, their dialogical relationship with the neighborhood almost meant certain death. They were concerned about improving the quality of their daily lives in little things— mutual forgiveness, mutual understanding, little help, service of their neighbors. And that's how the gift of fortitude manifested itself in their life.

At the same time, the moment came when they would be martyred, and then they easily moved into the greater witness that martyrdom requires. But their thought was that martyrdom was not something to be desired because they didn't want to put someone in the situation of being punishable. In other words, they were more concerned about the oppressors.

And so in their writings, we hear that we should pray for oppressors even more than the oppressed, and for those who kill more than those who are killed because they really are in trouble. The oppressed and those who are victims of oppression will be well taken care of. But these other people are also our brothers and sisters.

So this is not a natural attitude towards persecution. It's rather the sign of a very lofty movement of the gifts of the Spirit that enabled them to see even their enemies as brothers and to forgive them in advance if they should be killed. So this movement into the presence of God in our daily life should begin with the details of daily life and to try to bring them, little by little, into the presence of God.

So how you get up in the morning is important. What you do first in the morning is important. What you do the last thing before retiring is important. Just what you do may be a question of choice and what works well. Some like to read a few lines of Scripture before retiring. Others as soon as they get up. Others will flop down and start to do centering right away.

But a little prayer from our heart as soon as we awake, sometimes in the night, to give ourselves to God as if we were in centering prayer. I know some centering prayers who sometimes wake up in the night and they can't get back to sleep, so they simply, lying down in that position, enter into the attitude they have in centering prayer. And sometimes they'll stay in that attitude for an hour or two.

And they find that that brings them as much rest as if they had worried about it and tried to get back to sleep. I don't recommend this, except by trial and error. But to be creative in such a way as to be in the presence of God will greatly enhance and increase our attitude to God when we come to centering prayer and our formal period, so to speak, of being and resting in the presence of God.

Reverence, piety, which sees people not as competitors but as brothers, as people on the journey, even if they have different religious or other persuasions. There's no labeling; there's no boxing of people. One of the things the Spirit cannot endure is a box. He breaks out of all boxes as fast as possible and doesn't like to see us in a box either.

There is respect for our tradition. There is creativity in trying to bring that tradition into dialogue with our daily lives and making it work under the guidance and wisdom of the Spirit. There is the gift of piety, the gift of fortitude, which seeks the difficult good, even when it's in great danger, so it's free then from security issues. Each one of the gifts frees us from whatever our emotional programs for happiness were in their source.

When God is present to us all the time, there's no room for fear. There's nothing to be secure about. God is the only real security. God is also the only true love, because all other loves, however great these are, will disappear, or change, or die. But this love, this unconditional love, will move beyond the grave and embrace everybody on both sides as we enter into its fullness.

And power and control is laid to rest, both by the gift of piety, which cannot endure being angry at people, and the meekness that goes with piety. Meekness is not a cringing kind of attitude. It's rather the inability or freedom to no longer be able to put energy into hostility or anger.

As I said, it's not that we let go of all our faults, but the Spirit working in us through the gifts weakens the source through knowledge and love that went into those programs so that one spontaneously lets go more and more as one perseveres in the prayer, with regular practice of the prayer, moving to the various levels, and then in daily life, brings that awareness of God more and more into daily events, however small.

[Homily] This season, you know, is called Easter. And it's about the Resurrection. So whatever particular Gospel we listen to or celebrate, each one presents a different aspect of the central mystery of what it means to Christ and to us to be a daughter, or son, or child of the Resurrection.

We just heard perhaps the greatest statement of all time. The Father and I, Jesus said, are one. One. No separation. Two eternal persons or relationships that are infinitely distinct are at the same time infinitely united.

Hence, we call the mystery of the Trinity a mystery. Because this totally collapses any possibility of our human reason to explain, realize, or do anything with this truth, except to say "Amen." And as soon as you say, "Amen," that is give to this mystery of the Trinity acceptance, you'll become one in the oneness of the unconditional love that circulates throughout the Trinity and which we receive in a particular way from all three persons.

But in our understanding and through Revelation, we attribute that presence to the Holy Spirit, who is the person of love. Can you possibly imagine a person who is just love? It certainly transcends all ideas we have of love. The Resurrection and the communication of divine life, so characteristic of this holy season and celebrated in the liturgy, is an extremely important realization to wrap your attention around.

As you know— and if you do know— in our presentation of the Divine Therapy, we think of the Holy Spirit as leading us step by step down a spiral staircase, in which we become aware through self-knowledge of our weaknesses, failures, the dark side of our personality, the damage done to us emotionally early in life. And the deeper you go in this journey, it would seem, as I suggested this morning, the more profoundly one is able to acknowledge our own nothingness.

Here, nothingness means no identification with our feelings, emotions that used to direct us towards certain particular kinds of satisfaction— symbols of power, control, security, and affection/esteem. As we descend the staircase, every time you move to a new place, or a plateau, or are able to acknowledge a new level of one's nothingness and dependence on God, one's freedom not to be who we think we are, not to have a particular role that identifies us, but are gradually becoming no thing— no role, no emotion, no project— just the freedom to be who we are.

Every time you move to a new level below, you automatically move to a level in the other direction in which the spiral staircase goes up towards transformation, joy, and inner resurrection. In other words, Christ's external resurrection. And all that that means also involves our interior rising, awakening, opening to the possibility of ever deepening relationship, knowledge, and love of God, and hence love of everything that God has made and also dwells in. All of creation is our home from this perspective.

And again, it's the contemplative gifts— the Holy Spirit, understanding, and knowledge— that introduces us into a whole new dimension of self, or who we are. And so as we let go of who we think we are and become, with God's help, who we really are— a little embarrassing in the beginning, or humiliating, but nonetheless accompanied by the opposite end of the spectrum in which our dependence on God, our love of God, enjoys a corresponding growth in the same degree as we can accept the corresponding level of the truth about our total dependence on God for grace, for everything.

And so it's precisely in going down then in our own estimation, certainly not self-depreciation— that's a neurosis— but in the truth of our dependence on God immediately the fruits of the Spirit begin to manifest themselves in charity, joy, peace, meekness, and that's the sign that Christ has risen in us. And if you continue to go down and continue— you can't avoid it— going up towards divine union— in other words, as you go down in humility, you go up in transformation. The two are correlative.

And so the next stage of experiencing resurrection is some of the things I was speaking of this morning, when the gifts of the Spirit, which are more profound acts of the Spirit within us, more profound acts of virtue, then the Beatitudes begin to appear in our lives. Happy, oh, so happy are you if you are poor in spirit. That is, can accept your nothingness. Not as soon as you do, you become everything, because the only obstacle to our total sharing in God's life, and love, and truth are these silly little ideas we have about who we are that we can't let go of.

And so the contemplative prayer, gift of knowledge, and daily life invites us to be something who we really are, rather than who we think we are, or worse, pretend to be. Hypocrisy is a Greek term for actor at the time of Jesus. So if you're a good actor, you're a hypocrite. That is, you can make a good case for being what you ain't. And so this is the place for acting.

Of course, in life, it's a delightful form of entertainment. But if you take your acting, who you think you are, seriously, then you're in some trouble. You're what Jesus meant by a hypocrite, namely you're pretending to be, or think you are, something that you're not.

And from all of those things that we want to be, those roles, those emotional programs, comes the gifts of the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit, that enable us to manifest the fruits, which are really nine aspects, of the mind of Christ and the Beatitudes, which are nine— or seven, I guess, seven or eight— aspects of the heart of Christ.

And the heart of Christ, as you know, is meek and humble. And in opening to that disposition, we find rest to our souls, the fruit of contemplation, both in prayer, and the fruit that we are invited to take with us into daily life, and to experience the amazing resolution of opposites in which you can be very active, at everybody's service, very active, intensely active, and yet at the same time, profoundly at rest in the deepest center.

Because now you have the energy to be at God's disposal. And the little things that used to consume your energy— struggling to uphold this identity, to hang on to this role, or whatever— you're liberated from. Hence, the resurrection is liberation from the false self, freedom to be who we really are, and the joy, the joy, of being nothing, which is, at the same time, the incredible joy of being anything, or everything.

The Father is the nothingness, the emptiness, of infinite possibility. It's not just emptiness. But the whole of possibility of the Father is expressed in the Son as the whole of everything that has been created so far and of every possible kind of creation yet to come. And the Spirit binds together infinite possibility and infinite actuality in unconditional love.

In the last analysis, then, when our ideas of ourselves have gone in some degree and our roles have slipped away, and we've passed through several nursing homes, rehabs, and have finally arrived where we can just accept God as God is and enjoy everything that happens, and have a deep interior understanding of the mystery of suffering, so that even that does not in any way diminish our sense of God's goodness, these are the dispositions that will grow with centering prayer as it becomes contemplative and as the gifts are manifested in us. It's an enormous, enormous privilege to be a human being with this capacity, to be specifically called by God through the Christian revelation, and invited, and bestowed upon everything you need to pursue it in baptism and confirmation.

And so perhaps when you sit in centering prayer, just remember that you're asking, and manifesting as you ask, the ultimate gift, the Holy Spirit, who will enable us to be who we really are in the last analysis, which is, I suggest, unconditional love. Anything you do that's not consistent with that is not really you.

Video Details

Duration: 32 minutes and 6 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Producer: Contemplative Outreach
Director: Contemplative Outreach
Views: 31
Posted by: castella on Nov 2, 2017

El Padre Thomas Keating explica los dones activos del Espíritu Santo: Reverencia, Piedad, Consejo y Fortaleza, así como su importancia en la travesía espiritual y la práctica de La Oración Centrante.

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