Agape Meditation Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church for Sunday, July 27, 2014
Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time
Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter
Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service
The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this— not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right— I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.”Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12
Ps 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
Rom 8: 28-30
Mt 13: 44-52
Discernment is the process through which we distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our false self/ego. In order to enter into discernment, however, like Solomon, we have to acknowledge our humanness and the limitations we have in knowing the path of our highest good. Embracing the position of humility, we acknowledge that we cannot know what is best for ourselves, or in Solomon’s case, what is best for others. When we set aside our own ego, God can step in to guide us. Our job then is to listen, believe and then act. When we act according to Divine guidance, our path unfolds towards our highest good and does so effortlessly. Everything that we need falls into our laps and when it is time to act, we know this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Careful discernment gives us clarity and always leads us along the path of love.
How are you invited to recognize the limitations of your own decision-making and turn instead toward God in discernment?
Spiritual Practices – Discernment of Spirits
St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote exhaustively on the topic of discernment. He spoke of discernment as distinguishing good spirits from evil spirits, and described the difference in very physical terms. Ignatius observed a physical and emotional movement or feeling that arose in connection with these spirits. He also used the terms desolation and consolation as the accompanying experience in the face of these contrasting spirits – desolation accompanying evil spirits and consolation accompanying good spirits. The path of our highest good, the path ordained by God provides us with consolation. The path of the ego/false self leaves us in desolation.
This week’s spiritual practice will be an exercise in active contemplation. Throughout the coming week, pay attention to your experiences. As you are moving through your day and making decisions about what to do and where to go, pay attention to your feelings. Also look back on the experiences of the week and observe what you are feeling. Are there situations which leave you with a feeling of desolation – as if you are drained, lifeless, depressed, anxious, feeling constricted or limited? What experiences in contrast leave you feeling fulfilled, energized, peaceful, serene, joyful? Simply pay attention and at the end of the week, make an inventory. What felt life-giving, what felt life-sucking? Simply by paying attention, you have begun the process of discernment.
Authentic Freedom is defined as an inner experience of expansiveness, peacefulness, joy, contentment, which leads you toward fulfillment and love. Authentic Freedom is God’s desire for us and the exact life situation which will leave us with this experience is unique to each and every one of us. While there is no pre-destination, God does know the path that is in our highest good and wants to help lead us there. It is through the process of discernment that we come to know what the path is that God knows is in our highest good and which will lead us toward Authentic Freedom. And even when the human experience steps in and interrupts our path, God works it for the good and helps us to find healing and comfort, and when we ask, sets us back on the path.
Where are you experiencing Authentic Freedom in your life? If you are not, how can you begin that process?