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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tail of the Snake

Thomas Green, author of "Weeds Among the Wheat: Discernment, where prayer and action meet" is my primary devotional resource these days. He is a Jesuit spiritual director from Rochester NY who now is Spiritual Director of San Jose Seminary in Manila. 
The reason I'm reading this book again is my need for discernment and greater depth in my devotional, spiritual life. His book is work to read because it is a commentary on the "Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius". I can read only short bits of his work because it is so dense for me.  Today's writings focussed on the theme of the enemy's means of distraction. "As long as we live he will be working to spoil the harvest of sanctity in good souls. In fact, one of the surest signs of interior maturity which I have found is a healthy mistrust of even our best motivations." (p. 135)
In an attitude of self-mistrust, Green encourages the growing disciple to look for the tail of the snake  in our devotional life by looking for signs of desolation in the beginning, middle and end of our consolations (those practices that bring us close to God). 
As I read, I saw how susceptible I am to the hiss of the snake to draw me away from God and on to my expectations and entitlements, from avoiding the mundane tasks in preference of holier tasks to bursts of anger and impatience when things do not go my way or I am interrupted, or a smug sense of spiritual superiority towards those who do not do things the way I do them. 
Watch for the tail!

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