Saturday, October 23, 2010


The proof which comes home to my own mind that God is good, is His dealings with myself. This proof any man can have—for it is a personal proof. Nothing can get rid of it, and it grows the more it is cultivated.”

This is an insight from John Henry Newman, in a letter written sometime before his 75th birthday (and before Pope Leo XIII made him “Cardinal Newman”). It is instructive for us, it seems to me.

When I engage in spiritual direction with another person, I typically encourage records-keeping for the sake of seeing, perhaps six months “down the road,” the path traveled and the point of departure. When we review our lives “in retrospect” like this, we can more easily determine patterns and blessings that otherwise would have passed by unnoticed.

The phrase “Count your blessings” sounds trivial, yet it is a fundamental insight of what St Ignatius Loyola’s Jesuits refer to as “consciousness examen.” It means taking the time to see where God in Christ was acting or present in your life and giving thanks for it, even when those times were not acknowledged or even recognized. In our weekly review of life in the Cursillo method of discipleship, we also try to discern a “close moment” when Christ was most vividly present in a situation.

Where can you see God’s dealings in your life? Even painful times may well be times in which what is really happening is the “pruning” which is intended to give more growth (John 15:1-2). Ignatius reminds us that a “consolation” is whatever draws us closer to God (even if it is painful or undesirable at the time).

God is good—what is your “personal proof” of this? Remember that it may be months down the line before the trajectory of your travel can be clearly discerned. Meanwhile, let's take to heart the words of Ecclesiastes 9:7-10). And (as Sr Thea Bowman used to say) let's "Keep on keepin’ on!"


  1. An example of how the Holy Spirit nudges me and cultivates me:
    When a new medical diagnosis is made, those familiar and persistent demons appear: "WHY ME', WHY NOW?" They needle and depress me so I am fearful and alone. Then,I remember, I need not keep them for company. I pray 'be gone you troublesome thorns' and I greet my Lord and Savior and ask him to take over. He will guide my recovery and will restore my love and trust. Then my journey can continue in his light.

  2. Fargo, N.D., Sep 29, 2010 / 12:51 am (CNA).- In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Sunday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.

    The Diocese of Fargo estimated that on Sunday, 700 to 800 people from St. Mary’s Cathedral processed to the local Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility in downtown Fargo. Director of Communications for the diocese Tanya R. Watterud told CNA that Bishop Aquila led the procession several blocks, carrying a monstrance with Blessed Sacrament and also sprinkling the clinic with holy water amidst pro-abortion demonstrators.

    During his homily at the Mass preceding the procession, Bishop Aquila stated that the purpose of the event was “to give witness to the gift of life and particularly the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

    “Even reason and science would point to the truth that life begins at the moment of conception,” he noted. “For those who are unbelievers, they can come to know the truth of the dignity of human life through both reason and science.”

    “We must also, when speaking of abortion, speak the truth about it,” and refrain from using terms such as “interruption of pregnancy” or “only a mass of cells.”

    “Every time a child is aborted it is murder and it is important for us to call it by its proper name.” Individuals, he added, should not use the “politically correct language” of the media but “speak the truth and to speak it clearly.”

    He then encouraged those present to pray for the gift of fortitude “to be those people who constantly remind our society and remind others that life is a gift…that every human being created is created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of conception…that every human being has the right to life.”

    The bishop also explained that the holy water that would be used to sprinkle the facility showed “prayers for purification…in terms of reparation for what happens there because, ultimately, it is the murder of unborn that takes place there.”

    Watterud told CNA that later at the procession following the sprinkling, Bishop Aquila again took the monstrance into his hands and continued back to the Cathedral, while parishioners in attendance prayed the Rosary while walking.