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Chapter 48

Our Home is Heaven

 

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said:
‘Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation.
Let them know that the gifts of grace increase
as the struggles increase.
Let men take care not to stray and be deceived.
This is the only true stairway to paradise,
and without the cross
they can find no road to climb to heaven.’
—St. Rose of Lima

 

 

This world is a wasteland.  Our home is Heaven.  We are on a journey to the Promised Land through the desert wilderness of trials, temptations and testing.  We will always have something to suffer.  There will always be a cross to carry, but you are not alone.  Christ has suffered for you.  He will suffer with you.  For although He suffered once and for all on the cross of Calvary, Christ continues to suffer in His Mystical Body, the Christian community, because He is eternal.  “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 22:7-8)  Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” for everyone and for all times. (John 14:6)  Whether the “persecution” comes from men or demons, or from our own sinful passions, desires and confusion, let your soul go to Him in suffering, pain and temptation.  Let your life be mystically crucified with Christ on the vine, so that you can rise with Him in the new wine of the Spirit.  The old life of the senses, intellectual pride and selfish sensuality, must be mortified by a painful humiliation and physical suffering or dryness, so that the new life of the spirit, the supernatural spiritual life, can reign in peaceful freedom and inner sweetness.

The caterpillar cannot become a beautiful butterfly without first entering the dark night of the cocoon.  Until then, it can make slow but steady progress crawling along the ground, but it is earthbound.  It cannot freely fly into the sky without first being reformed and changed inside.  It has to let go of its lowly way of making progress, inch by inch (through discursive meditation), to receive a whole new way of traveling that is on a higher level.  There, above the world, it will fly in the wind (of the Spirit) rapidly advancing (through infused contemplation).  It will see everything in a new way, in the sunshine from heaven, which before was largely blocked by fig leaves and foliage (inner and outer obstacles).  Like the monarch butterfly of Minnesota, it will make a long migration from north to south (from pride to humility).  Along the way, this beautiful little butterfly will still come down to walk along the ground (in discursive meditation).  But when it reaches its destination, by the mercy and grace of God, it will be transformed and reborn like the “phoenix” that arises from the ashes, finally flying forever free (in divine contemplation) after being completely consumed by the Fire of Charity.  Only, this is truly reality, not fable.  “The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished brass.” (Rev. 2:18)

 

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