The Contemplative Community of St. Francis & St. Thérèse
An Ecumenical Community of Contemporary Christians Dedicated to a Life of Prayer
of The United Fellowship of Contemplative Christians

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Spanish Translation

Daily Aspiration for Monks, Nuns and Lay Christians who wish to grow in the Monastic Life of our Community

Discipline & Openness Together are the Way of Christ- the Way to Christ

Discipline by itself leads to a rigid, unwillingness to yield that gets in the way of the Spirit. Openness by itself leads to being tossed around by every prospective change, and to a lack of perseverance. Together, they Unite in a Oneness with the Spirit that allows for staying the course through the ability to make necessary and essential adjustments.

Set goals, both long term and short term and work towards them. But make sure they are aids to serving Christ, not handcuffs that imprison you into following something that's no longer relevant.

This means it's fine to update your goals when you see things have taken a different turn, when you realize that you can serve Him better down another path.

Understand that Jesus hasn't established a definitive journey for you that is clear, simple and easy to understand. Your journey will be fraught with unpredictable twists and turns. Your ability to serve depends on your ability to be open to new opportunities
while adhering to the details in front of you.

The Apostles didn't understand that Jesus was going to be crucified until after it happened. They had to adjust their ministries to take into account that their leader was no longer with them in the flesh. They had to follow the Spirit to new understandings. This led to Gentiles joining the Church and the Gospels being written. Within this unpredictable course came a strength that no one could have foreseen. They became leaders because they were open to it, not because they were ready for it.

In living the Gospel, 4 words will be our focus: His Way, Not Mine. Shutting ourselves off from an ego focus is vital to the monastic life. This isn't to say that we lose sight of our personal desires. We simply make sure that our personal desires align with the Spirit of Christ in all things. We must get beyond the boundaries of self-importance, of needing the approval of others and of being too comfortable with either our material status or our physical state.

Work hard for success but make sure success and abundance are mere parts of what we're trying to attain. When we give them too much importance, we become their slaves. Our ability to want has to be curtailed or it will rule over us. We do this by sacrifice, by generosity of spirit, by giving and forgiving- by placing Christ First as a way of life.

Understand that every good thing is only a step away from becoming a bad thing. Food will keep you healthy and alive; too much food will ruin your health. Church can be wonderful but like everything else, it can become an addiction. Your love interest can bring you happiness or heartbreak. You must constantly monitor your time, your interests, your habits- and always work on giving it over to Christ.

Jesus lived more than two thousand years ago and lived in a different culture. You can only learn so much from Him. Open yourself up to new teachers, new examples, new spiritual guides. They will never be as perfect as Jesus- they will not be your Savior but they can be more current. Because of that, they can be very instructive. Look to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Look to Mahatma Gandhi. Look to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Look to your grandfather. Understand that we don't need a perfect example to learn from; we can be taught by anyone with a greater knowledge or understanding than us.

Prayer leads to Transcendent Understanding which leads to Holiness, and Holiness brings us to Christ. Transcendent Understanding is simple- it's an understanding that's just there. It doesn't need to be examined. It doesn't need to be explored. It doesn't need to be explained. The more we pray, the deeper we eventually pray. The deeper our prayers, the deeper our relationship with Christ in the Spirit. This ultimately leads us to a state where temptation becomes more manageable and holiness-a state of abiding grace where Christ is at  work- living through us and in us. If we're not always Christ-like, we at least become much more Christ-centered.

Pray the Divine Office as often as you can ( . Pray other prayers as often as you can. Every time you say a prayer, envision you are praying it with your chosen teacher. You will be amazed how different a prayer will feel when you are sharing that prayer with St. Francis of Assissi or St. Teresa of Calcutta. Pray each prayer like it's your first prayer of the day and your last of the week. In other words, don't get into a rut. Go to a beautiful place, to many different places for your prayer time. Or find one special place
that works for you to go to Him in prayer.

Get outside of yourself! This is the key to Holiness. Become one with your neighbor. Not in taking on their responsibilities or problems but in finding a place of deeply caring for them. If they are loud and obnoxious, constantly give their ugly demeanor over to the Lord. Give them the gift of Hope where you hope for a change in them where they can find a peace they lack.

Forgive generously because on your ability to forgive rests your ability to be forgiven. Stop condemning others because on your ability to refrain from condemning rests your ability to not be condemned. Love without restraint. Love as in Good Will towards all. Love as in sharing of your surplus and giving what you can. And above all of this, aspire to serve Him during the busy times, the hard times and the times of greatest discouragement. This is how we limit the impact of the hard, discouraging times. This is how we multiply the riches of His love during our lives.

Tim Connelly & Jan Howard- June 2017