Sunday, July 6, 2014

Heliotropium Part 1 of 5

     Heliotropium is the Latin name for Sunflower. "Helio" is the Greek word for sun. "Tropos" is the Greek word for turn. From morning until evening, the sunflower follows the path of the sun in the sky, as if reaching up to Heaven in unceasing prayer. Written by a German Jesuit Priest, Jeremias Drexelias, the classic book, Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine, was first published in 1627. It is divided into five "Books", the first of which I will review in this post.
      The primary motive of this work is to help the faithful Catholic Christian to live according to the truth that ALL events, good and bad, come from from God. Contrary to contemporary belief, the will of God is manifested in tragedy as well as joy. Insisting that God's will is represented only in good prevents us from recognizing His will. It is human nature to obscure our perception of God's will within the shadow of our own desires.It is to our eternal detriment to prevent ourselves from recognizing and obeying His will. Everything He allows is designed to draw us closer in love with Him. It is our nature to desire only pleasant events in our lives. An apt comparison, presented in this work, would be to eat only desserts. This would make us ill. Additionally, how could we love God of our own free will if He enticed us with pleasantries? Would that be true love? If this were so, our love would be dependent upon getting what we want. If we love him at times of loss and distress, that is truly a free will choice of love. Consider the sublime examples of Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, John of the Cross, Josefina Bakita, Miguel Pro and many other holy men and women of God, whose love for Our Lord flourished amid hardship and sorrow. 
     During one extraordinarily rushed morning, I happened upon Heliotropium~Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine at a thrift store. As I purchased the book, I was unaware that a life changing tragedy was befalling a dear loved one. Later that day, when I learned of our friend's misfortune I was baffled. Heartbroken and shocked, I wondered what I could do to help. I then realized that the answer to my question, "How can I help?" had been placed directly into my hands by God earlier that day. It was as if God said to me, "Here are my specific instructions for you. Follow them!"
    When we visited our friend he told us that he was at peace. He said that although he was saddened by his circumstances, he was content because he was conformed to the will of God. There was no anger or anxiety in his countenance. He looked a little tired. He told us that he had spent much time in intense prayer. He expressed total confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I had to fight the urge to demand from the Almighty my desired resolution to this conundrum. At each point in the daily process of assisting my friend, there have been numerous signal graces, glorious miracles and undeniable evidence of the love and mercy of Jesus. There is still a long, complicated road ahead. Discouragement and sadness are the evil one's most potent weapons.  Nonetheless, prayer and fasting have been even more powerful in overcoming the attendant spiritual battles.
     From the first part of this five part masterpiece, I have learned of a spiritual exercise, that I pray, would honor and glorify Our Blessed Lord. During Mass, at the moment of the Consecration of the Host I must ask God, "What will you have me do?". I must shun the impulse to beg God to grant me my human and feeble remedy for life's troubles. May my unceasing prayer be "Thank you Jesus. Thy will be done."
     This wonderful book, can be purchased at TAN Books.

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