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"Now I lay me down to sleep... Like Jesus sleeping in the middle of the storm, sleep expresses a perfect trust in God.. Breathing out Joseph breathing in Mary"


In order to give a perfectly concrete turn to the process of learning to which we must subject ourselves, nothing is more instructive than to meditate on the first and the most elementary of these three forms of death, the art of lending ourselves to sleep.

…“to sleep is to let things go”.  Man let’s go his usual mental experience for the sake of an interest of prime importance: that of recuperating in depth, of allowing God to restore him.

….  Like Jesus sleeping in the middle of the storm, sleep expresses a perfect trust in God who “neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalm 121) and who takes care of us all the more sense we let him do so.  That is why the Lord makes the harvest of the just man grow, instructs Joseph about his secret wishes during his sleep, suggests a totally dedramatized image of death for the death of the just (“the girl is not dead but sleeping”—Matthew 9:24, the same for Lazarus).  But one must go further.  The effort which the one seeking sleep must make when he does not easily drop off to sleep, in contrast with the happy mortal of the psalm who “lies down and sleeps” right away, is a typical example.  It is, as it were, the model of full spiritual effort. –Father Andrew Doze “Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father”


 There are two limits to human attention: that of the man who falls asleep, yielding himself to the biological wisdom hidden in the innermost recesses of his being and which alone can restore him in depth; and that of the man who touches the edges of ‘ecstasy’ because he has caught a glimpse of beauty, of love, of true prayer.  When man forgets himself to become attention, this other mysterious being, “the Holy Spirit, intercedes with sights too deep for words, praying for what man does not know how to ask” as the Apostle says. –Andrew Doze “Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father”


…Joseph is in charge of making known to all humans: the art of eliminating—eliminating idle thoughts, not by fighting them off but by gently slipping out of their hold, of their implacable logic, as Joseph slipped away from the clutch of Herod’s soldiers.  To fight against evil thoughts, when teaching in the temple, is the best way of making them still more obsessive, more dangerous.  Let us leave the task of facing up to the forces of evil to St Michael; with Joseph who is but a human being as we are, let us learn the precious art of evasion.  It is the art practiced by Jesus at the time of his first confrontation with Satan.

How can one escape the evidence of pride which underscores the superiority of this one, the insignificance of that one, going exactly from one to the other to arrive in both cases to the same inflexibility?  How can one escape from the morbid suggestions of the senses, from attraction for alcohol, drugs or very simply, from the fatal return of fixed ideas?  How can one escape this obsessive past when the Devil easily finds ways of accusing his unfortunate victims, by night and by day, before the throne of God?  Too often, this victim in question agrees with these accusations and thinks that no one else but God could stir up so many truths.

If we learned to practice interior silence with the one who does not speak and who is in charge of teaching it to us, we will be amazed to see mountain’s slide away and disappear…..

What does not come from God, as all masters of spirituality have noted, from Saint Catherine of Siena to St John of the Cross, is often brilliant, inspiring at first, then becomes a source of uneasiness, sadness, perturbation.  What comes from God is often quite bitter, exercises little attraction at first but quickly becomes a source of profound peace…..

We must find the ways of silence in ourselves beginning as we have said in passing, with breathing: to breathe calmly while becoming aware of the symbolic aspects of the operation is, so to speak, the spiritual initiative, the first form of intelligent obedience of the creature to its Creator.  To breathe out with Joseph, (the patron saint of the art of expiring, of eliminating, of dying) in order to breathe in the same way with Mary (the woman inhabited by the Spirit, source of all “inspiration,” divine breath).  Breathing thus experienced becomes like the balancing pole of the tightrope walker, which allows him to move forward on his rope without falling.  Breathing is the only psychic reality on which we have a direct hold to help us cross certain difficult passage where we run the risk of panicking, getting lost, and allowing ourselves to be alienated (with the complicity of the powers of darkness to which one must not give the slightest importance, but whose harmful effects it would be predicted list to ignore).  —Father Andrew Doze ‘Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father’ []




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