Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why do I continue to have negative emotions, despite the fact that I pray for their disappearance?

 Many times we pray for the disappearance of our negative emotions, anxiety, fear and anger. God sometimes really helps in this. But not always. 1

Our emotions, just like our external senses (sight, hearing or sense of smell) have the task of showing us the external world, our feelings to and relationship with other people, so that we can act accordingly. Thus the negative emotions – similarly to the unpleasant sights, sounds and smells – are just as important as the positive ones, because negative emotions, similarly to negative impressions, always point to some danger. If during a journey we always looked at the beautiful sunset and did not see the abysses, we would never arrive at our goal.

Often this is the case with our emotions. In dangerous situations, our anxiety, fear and anger draws our attention to the danger.

A family wants to take out a very high loan which would burden them over their forces. Throughout the process of taking up the loan, the husband feels a very intense anxiety. He keeps praying for his anxiety to pass away, but it does not decrease. A middle-aged woman feels very strong anger toward her mother, who constantly wants to control and limit her. She asks God to free her from her anger, but it is not relieved.

The anxiety of the husband warns him the very serious danger that the loan is well above their forces. The anger of the middle-aged woman shows that in spite of her adult age she has not yet broken away from her mother, and has not yet formed her own life.
In such situations their request to let their negative emotions pass away is like when running toward the abyss we would ask God let us see only the beautiful sunset. In such cases we ask in fact that in a dangerous situation which we ought to solve, we should not do anything, and while we are heading for the disaster, we would even feel very well.

Therefore, if heading for the disaster is not what we want to do, then if God does not relieve our negative emotions, then we always should ask ourselves what is wrong in our lives, to which these negative feelings refer.

1. I have already written that we often do not experience God healing us because while we ask Him for healing, we in fact want our injured desire of love to be fulfilled, and if God gave this to us, then He would not heal us but rather fix us in our injuries.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange - on his life and his works on the web

Reginald (Gontran-Marie) Garrigou-Lagrange was born in France in 1877 and died in Rome in 1964.

He started to study medicine at the university of Bordeaux, but in 1897, under the impact of his deep conversion, he left the university and entered the Dominican order.

From 1909 to 1959 he taught fundamental theology and dogmatic in the Angelicum in Rome, and in 1917 he founded the first department of spiritual theology.

He has been considered the most important Thomist theologian of the 20th century. His achievement was particularly significant on the field of spiritual theology.


- Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP
- A Saint in Heaven
- The Last Battle of Garrigou-Lagrange
- Padre Gontran Garrigou-Lagrange
- Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange Il mostro sacro del Tomismo 


- Bibliografie P. Reginalda Garrigou-Lagrange OP
- Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
- Fonti bibliografiche su P. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange
- Tutte le opere di p. Garrigou-Lagrange 


in English;
CHRIST THE SAVIOUR  - A Commentary on the Third Part of St Thomas' Theological Summa
- REALITY—A Synthesis Of Thomistic Thought.
- GRACE: Commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas. 
- Commentaries on the Summa written by Pere Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
- THE ONE GOD - A Commentary on the First Part of St Thomas' Theological Summa 
- The Priesthood and Perfection
- Excerpts from  fr. Garrigou-Lagrange OP
- Excerpts from Garrigou-Lagrange's commentary on De Eucharistia
- The Mother of the Savior
- Where is the New Theology Leading Us?

en français
- Les Trois äges de la vie Intérieure 
- La Mère du Sauveur et notre vie intérieure 
- La Providence et la confiance en Dieu
- L'Éternelle vie et la profondeur de l'Âme
- Les trois conversions et les trois Voies
- Le sens commun
- La synthèse thomiste
- La Mère du Sauveur et notre vie intérieure
- Articles:
  - La Royauté universelle du Christ
  - L'unique personnalité du Christ 
  - Le sacerdoce du Christ
  - Le Christ Chef mystique de l'Eglise 
  - Le Cœur eucharistique de Jésus et le don parfait de Lui-même
  - La Sainte Trinité en nous 
  - La Sainte Trinité et le don de soi
  - Les convenances de l'Incarnation et notre vie spirituelle
  - Le progrès spirituel en Marie
  - Du gouvernement royal
  - La joie d’être enfant de Dieu
  - La charité et les béatitude
  - L'efficacité de la prière
  - La Prééminence de saint Joseph sur tout autre saint
  - Comment  devons-nous nous abandonner à la Providence ?
  - Le Discernement des esprits 

en español
- Las tres edades de la vida interior
- La sintesis tomista

in italiano
- Sacerdote con Cristo
 Sacerdote e Vittima

Friday, January 13, 2012

How can I experience that God heals my psychical wounds?

Many people tell me that they have asked God for a long time to heal their psychical wounds, they have seriously prayed for this, and nevertheless they have not noticed any healing. What might be the cause? Of course there can be plenty of them, but the most frequent one is that we expect from God something quite different than what we can get from Him.

A psychical wound always involves that our desire for love has been injured in some way, and as adults we are longing for the love we did not receive as children. We desire to be loved as if we were babies or little children. When we think about God’s healing our psychical wounds, if we really look into ourselves, we have to see that we, in fact, expect Him to fulfill this injured desire for love. However, if He fulfilled it, then He would lock us in this injured condition, and this is why He does not do it.

In order to experience God’s healing, we have to renounce this injured form of love. However, as we believe that this injured form of love is the true love, therefore we think that once we renounce it, we also renounce love itself. But of course we don’t have to renounce love; on the contrary! We only have to renounce its injured form shaped in us by our childhood injuries.

This is quite difficult. Mainly because when we have to renounce the injured form of love, we have no or only very little experience of what would be its healthy form. In this case we have to do an act of trust (that is, faith): that although I do not know what the good I’d receive would be, nevertheless I renounce this bad one.

The other great difficulty is that we want God to change our feelings, to stop us being anxious, to make us more relaxed, to give us warm feelings, and so on. However, feelings are only indications of a much deeper trouble, so basically what we want of God is as if we asked the doctor to just relieve the symptoms, and do not address our real disease. But God – as a good doctor – do not just want to administer some antipyretic, but to really heal our disease. Therefore, instead of healing our feelings, He usually starts to heal us at our spiritual level: He enlightens our intellect and strengthens our will in the good. He heals the deepest cause of our injuries, our injured relationship with Him, and the symptoms, our psychical injuries will cease in consequence of that.

However, the enlightenment of our intellect and the strengthening of our will in the good cannot be felt as clearly as the ceasing of an anxiety or as a warm feeling. Therefore one is usually not aware of this change, especially not in the beginning. Only when looking back from a longer distance, you can determine that you have become firmer in the good and that you see many things in a different way. At the same time, people usually experience a growing inner strength, stability and peace (which does not mean that they would have no more emotional swings, but they will increasingly have an interior stable point which they do not lose in trouble either).

Another major difficulty of this process is that while this spiritual growth is going on, your injured desire for love does not cease automatically. And the dissatisfaction of this injured desire is a very painful experience. At this time one is usually filled with despair, and doubts God’s love and proximity. This is the point where we have to base our safety on the faith rather than on our injured feelings: on the faith that God loves us, He is there with us, and He knows which way to lead us, what would be the best for us. That is, we have to constantly live with this pain, and each time when we feel it, we have to re-affirm our decision that we renounce the satisfaction of our injured desires, and whatever we feel, we trust in God’s love. If we can make this decision, then we can also pay attention to what God is giving to us. Because He daily offers us a lot of things, and if we accept them, then He brings us closer to Himself by a smaller or a larger step.

To this, however, I think once we have to make the fundamental decision that God is the most important in our lives, and from then on the main question of our lives should be every day what to do for getting closer to Him. Exactly as in a human relationship we have to question what should I do to make my partner happy, how should I change in order not to hurt him/her, but to delight him/her. To this we must first get to know what our faith teaches about this, and what this teaching exactly means here and now, in my life – that is, what I have to do. And what I have recognized in this way, I really have to do. If it does not go enough, I have to find the reason: what did I misunderstand, what did I not do well and why, and so on. If I found it, I fix it. While doing so, I will understand new things, which will open up new directions, and by following them, more and more new ones. And so on – until the end of my life.

In this process, especially if I turn to Him with specific questions every day, I will experience His help. I will find some book that helps, a sermon which takes me ahead, I will see more clearly what I did not yet understand, I will receive forces to do what I consider good, etc. These small everyday steps will result in clearly seeing, when looking back, that I got nearer to God. I experience His help in these helps. (This is also why you cannot accurately predict what you would experience, because this is always very personal.) And by this we are back at the beginning of the circle: that we have to renounce the injured form of our desire for love, we have to trust in God on the basis of our faith, and we have to start on the way of doing every day something for getting nearer to Him – and then I will experience that He also gives me something every day, and after a certain time I will be pleased to see in how many things I have been healed and that I achieved things which I would have not believed to be possible for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Mass offered for several persons

 “One Mass said for many persons can be just as profitable to each, according to the measure of his devotion, as if it were offered for one alone. The sun illuminates ten thousand people as easily as if they were but one person.” 1

You should use this opportunity and to offer every Mass in which you participate for the most people possible. First I picked up at the beginning of the Mass the names of the people for whom I wanted to offer it. However, in this way half of them were omitted, and I spent the Mass by thinking about who was forgotten. So I began to compose various standard lists including their names, and I offer every Mass, besides my actual demands, for these lists. I have found this method quite useful for several years. Perhaps others will find it useful, too.

1 Reginald Garriogu-Lagrange: Life Everlasting. “26. CHARITY FOR THE POOR SOULS. How shall we exercise this charity.”In this book, Garrigou-Lagrange writes about the final things: the preparation for the death, the process of dying, the intelligence and will of the soul after its separation from the body, the individual judgement taking place in the moment of the death, the last judgement a the end of the world, the hell, purgatory and heaven.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Praying for those who will die

 “Pray for those who will die during the Mass at which you are going to assist”, quotes Garrigou-Lagrange in his Life Everlasting 1 an entry from the guest book of a French Carmelitan monastery.

The author of the entry did not explain it in detail, as at that time it was absolutely obvious, that the most effective intercession for the dead is the offering of the Mass. If you attend a Holy Mass, you can offer it not only for yourself, but for any number of requests and persons, and they too will have a share in the graces of the Mass just like him/her.

I think that this appeal is even more timely now than then. As there are less Masses and less people who offer them, therefore it is worth to offer the Mass on which you participate for all the people who die on that day, and – as so few people pray for them – also for the souls suffering in the Purgatory.

1 Reginald Garriogu-Lagrange: Life Everlasting. 7. FINAL IMPENITENCE. Deathbed Conversion. In this book, Garrigou-Lagrange writes about the final things: the preparation for the death, the process of dying, the intelligence and will of the soul after its separation from the body, the individual judgement taking place in the moment of the death, the last judgement a the end of the world, the hell, purgatory and heaven.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How can one pay attention to anything else besides Him

 Contemplative orders prescribe to all their members, from the youngest novice to the oldest monk as a basic exercise to stay always in the presence of God.

Thomas Merton complained a lot that he was unable to stay in the presence of God and do intellectual work at the same time.

I think Merton never was really in love.
When one is deeply in love, then after going home from an encounter and beginning to take care of his own job, he does not continuously think about his love, but does his job. Nevertheless, love completely fills him. He does not oscillate between love and work, but he is absolutely filled with love while working.

This is very similar to what happens to one who works in the presence of God: his will is focused on his love, while he carries out his work with his intellect

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Contacting Him who we know loves us

 „…que no es otra cosa oración mental, a mi parecer, sino tratar de amistad, estando muchas veces tratando a solas con quien sabemos nos ama…” (Vida 8.5)

This is Saint Teresa of Avila’s famous definition of the internal prayer. As we are working on its new Hungarian translation, we have noticed that the hitherto latest version, made in the 1920s by the Carmelite father Ernő Szeghy, translates it like this::

Because in my view the interior prayer is but an intimate friendship with God, inasmuch we often stay alone with Him, knowing that He loves us.” (Life 79.)

The phrase is nice and it includes the most important element of Teresa’s message, that the interior prayer is nothing else but an intimate relationship with God, who loves us. However, Teresa says more than what is mediated by the translation of Father Ernő. The definition of Teresa clearly includes the assertion that God is available and accessible already in this life, that one can experience Him and be in a real relationship with Him. The original sentence puts a very strong emphasis on human activity in this relationship. Teresa uses twice the verb tratar, which in various ways – from commerce to sexual relationship – refers to an intense contanct. Teresa does not simply say that the internal prayer is a relationship (although she could use an expression meaning exactly this), but she emphasizes that it is the maintenance of a relationship, tratar de amistad. And also the second half of the sentence does not simply affirm that during the prayer we are in the presence of God while we know that He loves us: but that we are in contact with Him, and in a very intense way at that: tratando.

…because interior prayer, in my opinion, is but the maintenance of an intense relationship, taking time frequently to contact with Him who we know loves us…” (Life 8.5)

The difference affects the essence of our prayer and our relationship to God: whether we only think of Him or we also open ourselves to Him and collaborate with Him so He could transform our life as He wants. If we do not experience a transformation of our lives, then we are probably satisfied with the knowledge that God loves us, but we do not maintain a really intimate relationship with Him and we do not contact Him intensely enough.