Category: Life's Actions


Knowing God’s Will

Gods Plan

Yesterday, we spoke about the Will of God. We spoke about it, around it and even how good it is for us. Not once did we speak about the How We Do It!! So, how DO we follow God’s Will? Embrace God’s Will? Automatically, the thought comes to us, “How can I do it, if I don’t even know what it is?” That’s a good argument. So good, in fact, that we will try to discuss just that today, “Knowing God’s Will”.

What is God’s Will for me? For you? We are unique. No two of us are identical, not even twins. They may look alike, they may have many things in common, but each of them is different. Their thoughts, their feelings, their likes and dislikes are not 100% identical. They are different even though they have a common birth. Each of them… has been created by God in a unique fashion, with a unique purpose. And you are no different. You too, are unique. When God created you, He breathed into you a unique spirit, a unique purpose, a unique goal.

So, how do we know God’s purpose for us? How do we discover what it is that makes us unique? How do we discover God’s plan, His purpose, for us? In short, each of us must ask ourselves what is God’s Will for me? Ahh… to know God’s Will we must be in tune with Him. We cannot expect to know what a human being likes and dislikes, if we don’t get to know that person. It is the same with God. We must want to know Him. We must strive to understand Him. We cannot be striving for wealth, material things, and pleasures. Being popular is not the direction God wants us to strive after. All of these things are SELF seeking, SELF serving. It is time to stop looking after our own needs.

Well, then, what is life all about. Many think it is self-survival, self-indulgence. But they (we) are wrong if this is the main thrust of our lives. Did not the Christ say that we are to follow Him? We are to do as He did. And, what did He do, when He walked this earth? He loved people, He took care of people, and He tended to those that needed help. He preached against the self-seeker, the person who sought wealth, and the person who made pleasure/comfort as the most important thing in their life.

Who are you? What makes you tick? When you pray… do you look at yourself and acknowledge your shortcomings? We must truly know ourselves. It is the only way to be honest with God. We are speaking to the Creator of the universe, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows when our prayers are shallow. He knows when we really don’t mean what we are saying. And, He still loves us. This doesn’t mean He excuses the shallowness on our part. He just recognizes that we still have a long way to go before we are one with Him.

Every one of us has problems, are shallow, and deceitful. We are not perfect, not even close to being so. It is ONLY when we look at ourselves, acknowledge our shortcomings, and recognize that Christ died because of us, then, (and only then), can we see the uniqueness that God gave us.

In all of our problems, all of our difficulties, all of our good qualities…all of these make us, a unique individual. It is this unique person, with this makeup, that we bring to God and say, “Help me, Lord. Help me love You. Help me grow even with these qualities that you see in me. That I have brought on myself”. God loves us. He has always loved us. He is waiting for us to bring our self to Him, so that He can shower His love on us. He waits for our free will to be joined with His loving Will.

We really need to understand that God’s love for us has existed from all eternity. (God doesn’t change. If He did change, He wouldn’t be God. So His love for us has existed from all eternity.) What does He want for us? God’s Will (plan) for us must be beautiful. God is not evil. If He were, then He wouldn’t be God. (Evil is the lack of goodness. To lack is not possible within an infinite God).

So to deal with the hardships of life, the travesties that fall all around us, we cannot point at God as the cause. His Will is not that these should weigh us down. This loving infinite God, our Creator allows these events to occur not to punish mankind, not to seek out vengeance. The guidelines have been given to us by Jesus. Love people, take care of people, instruct people. These guidelines are done within all the faces of misery in this world, homelessness, death, sickness, poverty, pain and suffering. All mankind suffers. You suffer, and I suffer. Within this suffering, however, we hear our God tell us, to love one another, to bear our pains so that others may see and feel the love of God.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this one. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) What is the Will of God?
2) Be the One
3) God’S Call Of Love
4) God’S Plan For You
5) Who Are You

What is The Will of God?

trust-gods-willsmall

Have you ever noticed that when something bad happens, like when someone is ill, or has recently passed away, we immediately speak about it being God’s Will. We seem to associate all the bad things that happen to us, as being because God wanted them to be that way. Really?!? Do we think that God goes over His charts and thinks to Himself, what kind of evil will I bring down on him or her, today?

Why is it we never speak of God’s Will when things are going smoothly? When was the last time we said something like, “It’s God’s Will that He wants me to be happy”? He wants my children to be healthy? God is watching over our family and protecting us? I believe we are entrenched in time, waiting for the next shoe to drop. We measure time from event to event. And so, not knowing when the event will happen, and never thinking about the good events, we seem to expect that the next thing that does happen…will be bad.

We don’t pay attention to all of the good that happens in our lives, so we never treat the “good days” as anything special. But they are! Each day we wake up holds the promise of hope. Anything might happen. And all of it is seen by God, and He allows the events to unfold, to happen. He doesn’t dangle the good days over our heads like a carrot, just to coax us along. He loves us. He truly loves us.

We continually put God in the box of time. We find it impossible to think of a Being, or an Intellect that transcends time. If we are in it, then He must be in here, too. God, our loving Father and Creator, knows each of us by a unique name. When He calls that name, we will recognize it; and as fast as we can, we will fly back to Him for all eternity. The whole reason why we are here on earth is to live our lives in such a fashion that we will be doing God’s Will, not fearing it.

He does exist. He did create all of us. He loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He wants only what is best for us. As the days unwind, as they play out before us, each of us has the opportunity to mesh with God’s Will. This infinite God, with an infinite plan for each of us lovingly waits for us to embrace the events of the day, to accept His plan, to embrace our God.

The Posts directly below, blend with this one. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Worries In Our Lives
2) Trust Or Control
3) God’S Call Of Love
4) God’S Plan For You

A Birthday/Reunion Party

birthday cake

Yesterday, I attended a birthday party…mine. Yes, it was for me and about 17 others. It was, perhaps, the best party I have ever attended in my 75 years of life. Nothing has, nor will, ever touch it. What made this one so special? It wasn’t a surprise party. No, it was arranged by many people. So, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone. It wasn’t even the day any of us were born on. So what made this party so special, or for that matter, a birthday party?

Twenty five years ago, the travel-soccer team that I had coached for six years was disbanding. They were a good team, a very good team. Two years in a row they had won their division championship. I knew they would all make their high school teams. Their days in high school would be consumed with classes, studies, soccer practices and soccer games. What they didn’t need was additional soccer practices or games. Their time would be severely tested, so something had to give. I thought it wise that we break up the team and let them move on to the next phase of their life. Well, that is the background, so what about this party? And, what made it so special. Bringing us back together…that was special.

They would all turn 40 years of age, sometime during this year, so we will have a combination re-union and birthday party. There were close to eighty people at this affair. There were children, spouses, parents and grand-parents. Again, I ask, “What made it so special?” I truly believe that everyone who was at the party was present because of someone else. Someone needed to receive affection, words of love and kindness. Parents were present because their sons were being honored. Wives were present because of their love for their husband. The team was present to honor their coach. And the coach and his wife were present because of their love for the team. There was no thought of self, at this party. If there was, I did not see it. Yes, people wanted to have a good time, but what brought them all there was their affection for someone else. The party was simply beautiful. Memories were shared, and love was in abundance.

Imagine a world where people, every day, looked to other peoples’ needs, tried to anticipate what someone, other than their self, craved for. In short, no thought of what do we need, want, desire, but rather, who needs something that we have, that we can give. I am not talking money, or possessions. What part of ourselves can we give to others? Who really could use our love, our affections, our kindness, our tenderness? Imagine what that world would be like, if everyone thought along these lines!! Wouldn’t it be a joy to live in that world? No thought of self, but only of other. A world where people would look at people not with a thought of taking advantage of that person, but rather, of being attentive to that person’s needs… what would that world be like? Wouldn’t it be like Heaven on earth? That can only happen when all of us start believing in that life style, as individuals.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) God’S Touch In Our Lives
3) The Power Of God
4) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
5) Prayer And Reform

Seeing, Believing, Doing

See Believe Do

Two weeks ago, we celebrated Easter, the Resurrection of the Christ. The proof that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus is God. A week later, we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. This is the day that the Church (you and me) pay close attention to what Jesus’ death and resurrection mean to each one of us. Yes, it has a singular meaning for each of us. And only we, the individual, know what that meaning is for us.

Yesterday, the Gospel takes us one step further. The words of the Gospel show us how difficult it was for the Apostles to believe in what they SAW. Their teacher, their friend stands before them. He shows them the imprint of the nails in His hands and feet. He shows them the hole in his side from the spear that was thrust into Him. They could not believe their senses. This was too much for them, because their mind told them, “This cannot be so.” Jesus sits down with them and asks for food. They sit and watch with their eyes wide open in disbelief, as He eats each morsel of food that they have given Him.

He is there, right in front of them, the same person that they knew only a few short days ago. They see his wounds. They hear his words. They watch as He eats and still they find it totally difficult to comprehend. Their mind won’t let them. It tells them otherwise. Finally, Christ, in His love for them, speaks of what is written in the Scriptures, and explains what is written in the Scriptures. The Son of Man must die so that the Scriptures could be fulfilled. He would die and rise up after three days. “He opened their minds”, the Gospel says. He goes on to say that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations. He tells the Apostles that they are witnesses of these things. There it is their marching orders, what they need to do because of their belief in Him.

So what is expected of us? What are our marching orders? Yes, the Apostles lived and ate with Jesus. They saw Him work so many, many miracles. They knew that there was something special about this Man, but they couldn’t quite put their finger on what it was. We read that even though their eyes saw Him, recognized Him, their minds would not let them accept Him, embrace Him. This cannot be!! Only after Jesus opened their minds, and showed them how to believe could they live the way He wanted them to live. As a result, they went out and preached (showing with their lives) what repentance and forgiveness was all about.

Here we are 2000 years later. We have not seen the miracles; we have not eaten a meal with Jesus; we have not heard him preach love of others. We read these things in a book, but have not directly experienced them…or have we? We wait for our minds to be opened. We wait for some miracle to happen, so that we might be able to believe. But, until that happens, we go along avidly taking care of our needs, our wants, and our aspirations. Don’t you think the Apostles wanted to believe? Yearned to believe? Jesus saw their wanting, their yearning and He enabled their belief.

And so it is with us. We have to not only read about God, and read about Jesus, but strive, no …crave, to be at one with Him. Our lives on this earth are not to see how much we can eat, how much we can earn, how much we can possess, or how much pleasure we can experience. Wake up!! Each of us must look at our self, our direction, our true purpose in life. What have we experienced? You might cite sickness, or the death of a loved one, or injury, or poverty or many other negatives in life. But what about the times your child made you smile, and laugh? What about that internal premonition that you should take a different route? And, in doing so, you inadvertently avoided something bad that happened along the original planned route. What about the feelings of wanting to help someone? The point is that Jesus is with us continually. Guiding us, loving us and showing us what we can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t do. Those inner voices, those mental warnings, those feelings of danger… do you really think that they are yours?

It is only by our yearning to believe, our wanting to believe and doing everything that we can to grow in those desires, only then will those desires actually be fulfilled. Christ sees us more clearly than we see ourselves. He knows when we are just kidding ourselves and seeking other goals. “Oh, I believe, it’s just that…” We are really good at putting up fake barriers. To the question of our belief, maybe the real answer is: I am not ready right now, or, I want to seek other things first, or, I just can’t seem to focus on all of that religious stuff or, I don’t understand it. To all of those answers that we pose to our self, we need to ask one more question: WHY?. Why am I not ready right now? Why do I want to seek other things first? Why can’t I focus on all that religious stuff? Why don’t I understand it? The answer to this WHY will bring us closer to the risen Christ.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) God’S Touch In Our Lives
2) Help My Unbelief
3) If You Hear My Voice
4) Head Or Gut- Brain Or Heart?
5) Who Do You Say I Am?

The Kernel of Christianity

Judas and Jesus

I heard this poem on the television. Then, I looked it up on the internet, so that I could share it with you. The title of this blog is what the poem has been called. The author is unknown. Please read this thoughtfully, savoring its every word and picturing Jesus speaking to Judas, while He is nailed to the Cross.

Judas, if true love never ceases
How could you, my friend, have come to this:
To sell me for thirty silver pieces
And betray me with a kiss?

Judas, remember what I taught you,
Do not despair while hanging on the rope.
It’s because you sinned that I have sought you;
I came to give you hope.

Judas, let us pray and hang together,
You on your halter, I upon my hill.
Dear friend, even if you loved me never,
You know I love you still.

None of us are perfect. We don’t even come close. To look at Judas and say, “How could he?” is rather a bit duplicitous, or two-faced on our part. We have betrayed Jesus many times in our lives. And yet, we, sometimes, look upon this fallen Apostle with disdain and outrage. If this were a “Morality Play”, the part of Judas would represent all of mankind’s errors, sins, faults, and deceptions. In speaking to Judas, Jesus is speaking to all of mankind (Me and You). He does so, not to embarrass us, not to demean us, but to let us know that He came into this world to give each of us hope. His love is such that it does not depend on how much we love back.

We don’t really understand this totally free, unconditional love that Jesus has for us. Only God can love with that much abandon. We look upon Jesus hanging on the cross, and know that this is being done for us. But we really don’t understand it. We cannot understand a love such as this. We are human, with all of the trappings of littleness, and selfishness. His love is selfless!

He came to give us hope. He came to show us how to love. He came to show us how to live. His life is the blueprint for the rest of mankind to follow. In following His example, by living our lives as closely as we can to His we are accepting God’s love, His total, unconditional and undying love. By following Him, we are placing our hands in His and saying, “I love You, I trust in You. I really trust You.” This is how we thank Him for never stopping His love for us, in spite of our failings that nailed Him to that cross.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) One Of You Will Betray Me
2) Another Look At Jesus’ Humanity
3) Three People In Our Life
4) Thou Art Peter- Upon This Rock?

Whispers

Whispers

My dear friends, these are words that I feel must be said. We can so easily lull our minds to sleep as we go through the motions of living our lives that we don’t give any thought to what we are doing. The same old, same old becomes a ritual that we nail in place every day. Without bothering to think of what we are doing, or even what we should be doing, we just plug along getting up, going to work, or to school, reacting to people with the same attitude that we have cultivated over the years. We eat our meals with blank minds. The only time we allow our minds to wander and wonder is when we shouldn’t, namely, while driving our car.

Regardless of our age we all have a tendency to live without focus. It seems to be too much trouble to delve into the whys of what we do, why we like people, why we don’t like people. Think for a moment what “why” do you avoid? (“Be careful, This could become habit forming”, he said with tongue in cheek.) We all have that something which we tend to avoid. And that something is … thinking. Thinking, I am afraid, has become like moving dusty memorabilia up in the attic. “Why am I keeping this”, we ask ourselves…as we look at it with a strange gaze, and then gently put it back in the same position, to be untouched for another few years.

It is not just you. Everyone, all of us, seem to be shunning thought! It is our minds that separate us from other animals. We can think! We can delve into the recesses of our minds. We can understand ourselves! We even have a mobile phone that we can carry around and contact anyone. We can text anyone. We can exchange our thoughts to others. But, I would hazard a guess that there is a high percentage of people that use their phone for their own pleasure. The phone is used for amusement, to play a game. Why? We don’t have to think! We don’t feel guilty about not thinking. Hey, how can I think? I am busy playing a game! We choose amusement over thinking.

Let’s now shift into a third gear, a major mind shift. “What is God’s unique plan for you?” We were just talking about amusement and thinking, and in the blink of an eye, we speak of reflection, of delving into the recesses of our mind, into the logistics of God’s existence and its meaning for us. Our mind is a gift that has been given only to mankind. And, we need it to really appreciate and understand Christianity. We must use that mind to try to understand our God’s love, and for our heart, to absorb it. Do you really feel that this is too much trouble to do, that it is too difficult to do? Then, with as much love in my heart that I can possibly have, I say to you, “BE CAREFUL, IF IT REALLY IS TOO MUCH TROUBLE, THEN YOU REALLY DO NOT KNOW OR UNDERSTAND JESUS”. I can hear your words of, “Who does he think he is? He doesn’t know me.” I know that sounds harsh. But, if we are truly trying to know Jesus, then NOTHING is too difficult to do; NOTHING is too much trouble to do. We use the gift that God has given us, thought, to learn about God’s plan for us.

The question was asked of us of what we would be when we grew up? It was a normal question and one that seemed reasonable. The correct answer should have been, “I will tell you when I grow up”. But, the question inevitably was answered with, “Doctor”, “Nurse”, “Lawyer”, “Priest”, “Nun” or one of hundreds of other professions and life styles. Unwittingly, we fell into the trap of thinking that THAT life style would define who we would be when we grew up. And so, our goal was established at a specific time for the rest of our life. I ask you now, “Who are you, right now?” Don’t answer with a profession. The correct answer will speak of our likes, our dislikes, what we feel in our heart, what occupies our mind’s thoughts, what we seek, who we love, what are our sorrows, what are we happy about, and what our mistakes have been. Every one of those answers requires us to analyze our self, to think of our life style. They require THOUGHT!! Oh, and by the way, at this same time, we are spelling out God’s unique plan for us.

All of these we have formed us over the years. They are not to be taken lightly. God has helped us, has shaped us, and together with our many, many missteps has formed the person that we are right now. This person, who exists with this body, is facing life as it gradually unfolds before us. We have no right to curse this, or blame that. Life is unfolding before us. God’s will for us is permitting life to unfold. Some of it, we may deem to be good, and some, not so. But it is our life and it is God’s plan for us, at this moment in time. We don’t have the right or the privilege to say, “I will wait for the next hand that you deal”. He wants us to recognize that this hand was given to us by Him. He, who loves us beyond all comprehension, is giving us this current hand (with its’ joy and sorrows), so that we may grow. All of our life has been educating us for this hand, so that we can cope with, accept, and embrace what God has permitted life to deal us. “For this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37) God speaks to us daily. He doesn’t shout. His is a whisper. It is so quiet that we must stop the turmoil in which we are involved. We must quietly listen so that we can hear His whispers in our mind.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Aim for the WHY?
2) The Tree
3) A Meal With Friends
4) What Does This Mean?

What Does This Mean?

the thinker

I fear sometimes, that we read articles, nod our heads in agreement, make some vague resolution and then continue on with our day. We promptly forget our resolve. The day gets in the way of our making our lives anew. We have things to do, places to go, stores to buy in, homes to clean, windows to fix…all of these and thousands of other “things” need our attention. What about the resolutions that we made earlier in the day? Well they get pushed back. These other things that we HAVE to do, they take precedence over the resolution.

This, I guess, is normal behavior for everyone. We have become so conditioned over the years of our lives that we truly see our life as consisting of so many things to do, and to accomplish. Getting things done has become the sole objective of our life. And, by getting those things done, we associate a certain measure of our day as being successful. How often we say to our self, “I didn’t get anything done today. I just sat around and did nothing”. We see our body as being immobile and conclude that our day has been a failure. Reading something, like this blog, is then put into the completed column. “Well, that’s done…now what?”

The thoughts in our life, (a very important part of our life), are to be reckoned with. A conversation with someone ends badly, “Why?” We need to understand what went wrong with it, and how to avoid that in the future. Yes, we can avoid that person, but that really does not accomplish anything other than to avoid the possibility of arguing with that person again. We don’t learn anything about the situation, or our self. We get angry over another driver’s inconsiderateness. Again, we must ask our self “Why did that get under my skin, so badly?” In short, we need to try to understand our life, our motivations, our own desires, and so many other things about us. We read an article, and it ends…or does it? Whatever we read, whether a blog, a newspaper item, or even a sports column, we do so … not just for information. To read something good or bad is not the objective, but to understand what it means to me and how it affects me? What is the author trying to tell me? If he/she is correct what are they trying to help me with?

We do spend very much of our lives trying to feel good, to feel better about our self. Sometimes, we put so much effort in the feeling good part, that we completely overlook the part about our own growth. “Hey, I am getting up in years. What’s with this growth business?” We are never too old to learn, or grow. Our understanding of our own motives, our inclinations, our strengths and our weaknesses does not stop with age. The moment we stop trying to understand ourselves, well, that is when we might as well hang it up. We have not reached perfection, so there is still something for us to improve in our self. If you think you are already as good as you should be, then I guarantee you that you have much to learn about yourself.

Every day affords us an opportunity to learn. Each day something new touches us or, something old touches us but in a new way, or something old touches us and still bothers us in the same way. Regardless, we must ask ourselves, “What does this mean to me”. When we lose our inquisitiveness, we have stopped wanting or trying to learn. Please, every day, set a time aside for meditation. It is defined as: “extended thought; reflection; contemplation”. People associate meditation as being a religious exercise. At its’ highest moments, it is. But, reflection on what something means and how it affects me need not be a religious exercise. It is an attempt to learn and grow. This is something all of us must continue to do until we draw our last breath. So, I ask you…”What is this blog saying to you”?

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Worries In Our Lives
2) Peace and Emotion
3) What’s Your Addiction
4) Jesus And Wii
5) My Prayer

A Meal With Friends

jesus-last-supper

We are sitting at a table, enjoying a meal with friends. Every now and then a chuckle is heard within the room. We don’t even have to look, because we know who the person is that is laughing. There is always a smile on his face, and this evening is no exception. He pushes his chair back and stands up. Looking at each of us, he raises a glass of wine. He indicates that we should all do the same, and so we do, as we, too, stand up. He smiles, makes a toast and after putting his glass down, he looks at each of us, as if searching our very soul. His look tells us that what follows next will be very serious.

The room is suddenly very quiet. We listen, waiting in anticipation, for what he is about to say. And then, he quietly speaks, “I will die tonight. Nothing can stop this from happening. But there is no cause for you to be alarmed, this must happen, so that you can believe in me. I will come back to you after a few days.” We are shocked. We cannot comprehend these words. We don’t understand why he would say such a thing. To a person, we all think we have misunderstood the words he just spoke. If we really heard correctly, then we have to re-assess what has been happening over these last three years of our friendship with him.

Now, go back some 2,000 years. Put yourself in that room with Jesus, as they celebrated the feast of Passover. The events that led up to that evening were kind of similar to what was narrated above. Jesus veiled His words by speaking of destroying the temple and that He would re-build it in three days. But these were just words…weren’t they? He speaks of the bread and wine being His Body and Blood. What is He trying to tell us? Confused, you leave the room with Him and follow Him to Gethsemane. He is snatched from you and the others. Tried in a kangaroo court, He is condemned to death and dies on a cross. What do you do, now? Go back to that room, and hide. “If they did that to Him what will they do to me?” This is on everyone’s mind.

It was only after Jesus came back to them, and shows them His wounds, could they begin to understand. They reflected on His life, His words, and His actions and began piecing them together as they would a puzzle. Slowly, they realized the purpose of this Man’s life, and thus their own purpose, as well. But still they were afraid. It is only when the Holy Spirit comes to them do they fully believe and understand.

Like the Apostles, we are no different. In order for us to understand our purpose, our reason for existence, why God created our unique personality we must look to the Christ. Who is He? Do I believe He truly walked this earth? Why do I think He came? What is my relationship with Him? Does He want something from me? What? It is only by posing these questions to our self and honestly seeking out their answers can we begin to understand ourselves. Just like the Apostles, we must try to put the life of Jesus in proper perspective.

His words are meant for us to ponder: “For this was I born, and for this I came into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37). We cannot kid ourselves any longer. Do we want to know the truth? Do we really want to know who we are? We are the only ones that can make this decision.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Why Are You,,, You
2) Our Purpose In Life
3) Belief in Jesus
4) Are You Loved? Do You Love?

The Tree

tree2

Think about it. A tree that grew to be very large, or at least large enough to make wooden beams, was created by God. As it grew, through its stages of sapling to tree, it was probably hardly ever noticed. There seemed to be nothing special about it. People might have sat and chatted under it. Children may have even swung on it. Birds probably perched in its branches. No, nothing special, it was just an ordinary tree. But God, the tree’s creator, had given it a very singular purpose. This was to be the tree that would bring salvation into the world. God chose this tree to let His Son die on.

Today, Good Friday, we celebrate and kiss this tree. The Christ permitted Himself to be crucified on it. He took on Himself, all of the guilt, the sins, the spit, the madness that this world created, and allowed Himself to be put to death on this tree. He was not crazy. He was not deranged. His love for mankind, for us, for you and me was such that He gave His life up so that we might see, and might understand. He came to show us what was important in this life. It was not life itself, but in what that life consisted.

He spoke to throngs of people, to individuals, to groups, to His Apostles, to anyone that wanted to learn. He told them the value of loving others. He explained why they should forgive others. He explained the importance of treating people kindly, lovingly, and fairly. “Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.” (Matt: 25, 40). By dying on the cross, Jesus shows us how deeply He loves us. He shows us to what extremes His love will go for mankind, for us, for you and me. He did THAT for you and me. Tell me, “To you, how important is the loving of others”? This is a question each of us must ask ourselves. It is from this question we can begin to see our own strengths and weaknesses.

We get so bogged down with our hurts, our feelings, our sadness, our pain, or our sickness that we prevent ourselves from seeing the same things in others. We are not alone in this world. We are not the only ones that hurt, or are sick, or have pain. We are just like everyone else that has hopes which have been crushed, who has mental anguish, who feels alone. No, we are not alone. Everyone is suffering. The world is suffering and crying.

As Jesus struggles along the way of the cross, the sorrowful way, He is still teaching us. He is still showing us to what extent that love, true love, will go. We cannot measure how much we have given. If the need of the other person is still there, then we must do whatever we can to help them. Love does not measure the extent we have gone. Love does not measure what the cost is to us. Your hurt is my hurt. Your happiness is my happiness. And so, Jesus presses on and carries the cross.

Each of us, like the tree created by God, has a purpose. Just as there was a plan for that tree, we also have a plan laid out for us by God. This plan does not involve our seeking our own happiness, at least not directly. The purpose for our existence is as unique as we are. Each of us, reading this right now, typing these key strokes right now, each of us has a purpose laid out by God. We cannot fulfill, nor find, nor understand that purpose until we completely give up our searching for our own pleasures, our own peace of mind, and our own self-interest. Did He not say, “He that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it?” (Haydock’s Bible Commentary describes it as: “whoever makes the sacrifice of his life, or the comforts and conveniences of life for conscience sake, shall be rewarded with life eternal”.

I believe it is correct to say that: We cannot even do acts of kindness to others for the express purpose of gaining eternal life. If our sole interest is gaining eternal life then we are not doing the action of kindness for the sake of Christ, for the goodness and well-being of the other person. No, we are simply seeking eternal life as a goal for ourselves. It has nothing at all to do with our conscience. I know these lines have been very heavy, but we must totally give up our own self-interests and replace them with our love of Jesus. In seeing others, we see Jesus. And loving Him, taking care of Him, praising Him everything else will fall into place.

Earlier, I spoke of the purpose of that tree, and our purpose. We cannot sit at home, or at work, or idly muse and think about, “What is my purpose in life?” It doesn’t happen that way. A light bulb doesn’t go on and we then say, “ah hah, now I understand”. We are not suddenly enlightened as to what our purpose is. Think of your past. Think of all the events that have brought you to where you are right now, at this moment. Some of those events may have been happy, some sad, some good, some sinful. But whatever they are or were, they are NOW a part of you. They influence you in such a way, as to affect even some of the good that you now do. Good can be affected and shaped by faults from our past. Life happens. It comes at us and we react. Those reactions can be thoughtless knee-jerk reactions, or we can let our desire for good, to love Jesus affect what we choose to do

Live your life now, not with conscious decisions of: “I will help this person.” “I will shun that person.” “I will do this.” “I will not do that.” No, we cannot dictate goodness. We must try to cultivate it. We try to grow in goodness, by loving Jesus. He showed us by word, action, and example what true love is. He also showed us what love requires. If you truly don’t know what to do, then ask yourself, “What would Jesus do”? If you understand why Jesus came into this world, you then already know what you should do, how you should act, how to love.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Who Or What Is God
2) Our Purpose In Life
3) Good Friday
4) The Flame Of Love

Aim for the WHY?

why

It has been six weeks since a new post has appeared on these pages. I probably should have known that something was up, when I started re-printing older posts. I asked jokingly if I was getting lazy. But the real question I should have been asking myself was, “Why?” But like any question we ask ourselves, it demands an answer. And many times, we don’t have the will, or the energy to search ourselves for that answer. So, we just allow things to happen. And play a wait and see game of “What’s next?”

To search our minds, our motives, our actions…this is not an easy job. Too often, it is one that we really don’t want to pursue or get involved with. It takes effort. But beyond that, many times it leads us down a path that we are unwilling to follow. We don’t want to know THAT much about ourselves. We just want to get on with our lives, doing the same old, same old. We want the “good times” back again. That’s all.

Many times, if not always, the same old, same old is the very cause of our sadness. We want things to be different, we want “freshness” in our lives, but we don’t want to do anything that will bring this change about. I believe that mankind can be inherently lazy. We want things to go right, to go the way we want them to go, but are unwilling to do whatever is necessary to make the changes happen.

That is as about as good a definition I can give of myself and the state that I find myself in, at the moment. Would I like to print a blog each day? Of course, I would. But the well is dry. The water, that I seek, is below the surface. And, I have no tools to dig, no desire to dig and probably no cup to fill. What do I do? What do we do when we are confronted with a problem that seems to mock us. It laughs in our face, grinning at our frustration to deal with it. How do we cope?

I said earlier that we should ask ourselves, “Why?” Anything that bothers us, whether it involves the path our life is going, the things that are happening around us, to us or by others whom we love, whatever it is, we need to look at and ask ourselves, “Why does this bother me”? “It just does”…is NOT an adequate answer. That is a cop out. We need to find out what it is, ((inside us)), that allows this to bother us. Why do other’s actions, or even my own actions tip me over?

It is one thing that we are not expecting that “something”. But jolts to our expectations are “surprises” and nothing more. When they disable us, or hurt us, or throw us off our game, or cause us to grow angry, then there is more to this then just a surprise. It is here we ask that important question, “WHY?” “Why does this bother me, so?” If we honestly try to answer that question, what we find may lead us to a whole new understanding about ourselves. It can be a game changer. “How”, you ask? “How can this change my life?” That is the answer that we will find out when we pursue the Why.

Pursuit of the Why is not just a comfortable phrase. One answer will lead to another why, and so on. This will continue until we come to a true, meaningful answer for our self. For example: Why does my not writing a blog bother me? (I hope I am strong enough to bare my soul)… I feel that not writing is a path of least resistance. Why? It takes effort. I have no thoughts. It is easier to play a chess game, or to watch TV. My soul feels dried up. My mind feels dried up. The list can go on and on. Why is there so much resistance to writing, now? I don’t have a spark. Something is wrong. Am I praying, enough? Am I praying? Do I talk with God? Why not? Why do I feel so barren? It seems like I pray, (or write blogs) when I feel good. When I feel close to God, that He is smiling on me then my spirits are higher. God has not changed. He cannot change. He loves me, always has, always will. I am the one that has changed, not Him. So my actions say that I can pray, that I can speak to others about Him, that I can try to be like Him….when I FEEL GOOD. This isn’t right. When the sun is shining, and when it is raining, He still loves me. I cannot, should not let my moods sway me. In understanding my mood, I will understand myself. And regardless of whether I am happy or saddened by outside circumstances, my love for Him and my fellow man cannot, should not be affected nor swayed. This is true. But, will I meditate on this? Will I allow this to become part of my personality? It depends on how much I participate in God’s constant love for me. Once again, I pick myself up and vow to start anew, being reminded, again, that His love for me is always there. He waits for me to ask the Why?

You may feel that this post just asks questions but provides no answers. And, you are right…to a point. The question of why some things bother us will be different for each of us. Only WE can ask that question of our self. Only WE can answer that question. Each of us must seek out our own answers. The question will be the same for all of us, the circumstance will be different and the answer will be unique to each of us. May we always realize the constancy of God’s love for us.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Do You Know YOU
2) God’s Plan For You
3) Knowledge of Self

Loving Neighbor is Really Loving God

love god and man

The readings in today’s Liturgy are very gut-wrenching and really give us a wake-up call for Lent and the rest of our lives. Leviticus in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18) and the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 25:31-46) really spell out for us God’s intentions and expectations for us. They are stated in a matter of fact manner. Their intention is not to scare us, but to simply inform us of what God wishes from each of us. Do yourself an eternal favor and read each of these, today. ((Click on underlined Bible reference above, and you will be taken to passage.))

The laws of the Old Testament, though mentioned throughout the Bible, are specifically contained in the Book of Levi (Leviticus). This particular passage depicts the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” In the following passages verses (11 through 18) it then goes on, in a very clear manner, explaining why each must be done according to God’s Will. The passage then ends with the statement, “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” In these 8 statements, eleven through eighteen, we see the words “I AM THE LORD” four times. God is telling us loud and clear, the reason that we must adhere to these Commandments is because He is the Lord of all.

Matthew precedes today’s Gospel, with two other parables. The first parable speaks of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. Five were prepared and had oil for their lamps, and five were not prepared. Prepared for what? They were not prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. The custom was that virgins would greet the bride, with lamps lit, as she was accompanied to the house by the bridegroom. The second parable that precedes today’s Gospel, is the one in which the master of the house gave talents to his servants. To those servants that utilized these talents and doubled them they were rewarded. To the servant that buried his talent and did not let it grow, he was punished.

And so, we come to today’s Gospel, describing the end of the world, judgment day. The Son of Man sets the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. To those on his right, He tells them that He was hungry and they gave him food; He was naked and they clothed him; He was thirsty and they gave him drink; He was sick or in prison and they came and visited him. “When…when did we do this”, they ask. And His response: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Like the virgins their lamps were prepared, they had “oil” for their lamps. Like the servants they utilized their talents and grew in the love of God and neighbor.

Next, he turns to the goats on His left. He tells them that they didn’t give him food; they didn’t clothe him; they didn’t give him to drink; they didn’t visit him. “We didn’t see you. When did we not do this for you?” His reply, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

What these powerful readings are telling us is that WE are all brothers and sisters. Our concern, our love, our protection of others is how we treat our God. His words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Our Lent, no…our LIVES, must be one of loving concern for our fellow man. We cannot continue to look upon people as bothersome, ignorant, unfaithful, or degraded. The moment we measure people against ourselves, our way of living, our standards, at that moment we set ourselves up as a judge. ((Judge not and ye shall not be judged.)) Look at the people you meet today who, just like yourself, have problems which they desperately want to be rid of. Jesus isn’t telling us to cure the sick, to free the imprisoned. He is simply saying visit Him in the sick, and the imprisoned. Give to people what you can of YOURSELF. See them as your brothers and sisters who also hurt, as you do, and who suffer and feel the pain, as you do. They are no different from you. And you are no different from them. We, ALL, have our share of problems. When we see ourselves, as the only ones with problems, we shut out of our lives the suffering Christ, who so deeply wants to be with us. Love your neighbor, and you will Love Jesus. We cannot cut out the middleman.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
3) About Us
4) Are You Loved? Do You Love?
5) Our Wake Up Call

40 days

This was originally posted on 2/14/2013, but I felt that rather than being referenced, it should be re-posted. Its’ words still ring true.

Here we are at the outset of Lent. Ash Wednesday has come and gone. The ashes on our foreheads have either been washed, or rubbed away. Regardless of which is true, the end result is that today has started like any other day of our lives. If we allow ourselves to stop and actually think about it, the only thing different is, we are in a very holy time of the year, a very holy time of our lives. These next forty days are leading us to the very proof of Jesus’ immortality. We are in the desert, alone with God. Our actions over these solemn days will speak either of our love for Jesus, or for ourselves.

This has to be a time of prayer for all of us. We know the world needs it, but we, too, need it. All of us have our faults, our problems, our worries and concerns. We are by no means perfect. And yet, with all of these imperfections, we must try to honor our God, praise our God, and love our God. It will not be a perfect love, because we are not perfect; but God is not asking us to BE perfect. He is asking us to TRY. Try to remember Him, try to seek Him out, and try to fall in love with Him, a little more deeply.

All three readings in today’s mass contrast the works of the loving and those of the wicked. The first reading (Deuteronomy) speaks of the good and evil in the world. It begins with, “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil…” The choice is ours. It goes on to say, “…if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them.” It is an either, or. We cannot have both. Apply these words to our world, today. If we turn away from God, and not listen to His words of love for us, we will be drawn away and worship other gods. The word “gods”, I’m afraid make us snicker or relegate the words as so much gibberish. Gods of today, will not be golden calves, nor fire, nor wind, nor thunder. They come as distractions, as cell phones, as pleasure, as money, as material things, as power, as comfort, as popularity. They come as anything which grabs our hearts, our attention and makes them the most important treasure for us at that moment. They turn us away from prayer, and substitute themselves for our God.

The second reading though very short, continues this theme. In one short verse it says, “… the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” You cannot get more compact than that. And then Luke’s Gospel addresses why Jesus had to suffer as He did and to die, to be raised up on the third day. He continues, “And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Sounds like a perfect description of Lent. And it goes on asking the question “…For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

These are powerful words. These cannot be any more open and revealing. The choice is laid out for us, we cannot deny it. We may not like being uncomfortable, we may not like having to be a little more demanding of ourselves but no one said Christianity was a cake walk. We can speak of the love of Jesus for us. We can speak of our love for Jesus. But when all is said and done, if we totally believe in something then we will want to totally strip away everything that prevents us from attaining it. That means the creature comforts that we don’t want to give up; that means the lofty attitude that we have of ourselves; that means the friends we need because they will help us advance; that means the power, the wealth, the pleasures, the popularity, to all of these we must lose our attachment. It sounds unbelievable, unattainable but it is what it is. It is Christianity. May our love for Jesus grow to such an extent, that we cherish the very sacrifices that we are called to make.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Are We Free or Not?
2) Affecting Others
3) The Courage to Accept: Acceptance
4) To All Mankind

a wake up call

Where are we? Where are you? What do we think is going on? It’s time for us to open our eyes, our minds and our hearts. We spend too much time worrying about what people think about us. We spend so much time stressing over how much we earn, what we have, and what we want. We compare ourselves with others and let that comparison determine if we are on the right path, and if we are making good choices? It is time for us to wake up, look around and realize that this world is not really our final home.

We say, “We believe in God”. Do we? What does this belief consist of? Where does it come from? Does it come from our mind, or our heart? Or, is it something that flows out of habit? Do we really think God is Almighty? That He really loves us? That Jesus Christ is both God and man? That He died for us? That He showed us how we are to live our lives? If we believe these truths, then how are our lives shaped because of them? Our lives must be affected by these “Truths” that were just stated above.

These are lots of questions, hard questions that require hard answers. Unfortunately, we utter these truths with a vague look in our eyes and kind of ignore what the effects are on our lives. Well, no more. This is not the time to just read a post and then nod your head in approval, or shake your head in disapproval. This is the time we must begin to answer these questions, from our heart, from our soul.

If the CHRIST really came to show mankind how to live, how to love, how to forgive AND this is GOD doing the showing, then each of us must stop what we are doing and figure out what the impact is on our individual lives. There is no “That’s nice” and continue with the same old, same old, whatever it is that occupies our time, our minds, our lives. Look at our world! The same old, same old is not cutting it. More and more evil descends upon the earth. We tolerate everything and anything. Murder, Guns, Abortion, Apartheid, Civil Wars, Wars. You name it we allow it. All in the name of freedom of speech, freedom to carry arms, it’s not our country. Well, let me tell you something, IT IS OUR WORLD! And we are letting it go to hell in a hand basket.

I can hear the thoughts and grumblings right now. I am only one person. What can I do? I don’t live over there. I don’t even own a gun. Abortion is allowed by law now. Excuse after excuse is given to mollify the fact that we are screwing up. Good begets good. One good action by 10 people means that more people will do good actions. Good can conquer evil. Jesus showed us that it can even conquer death. But….Do we really believe that? In order for us to change our lives, we have to go back to the roots and ask ourselves, “What do I REALLY believe?” Do I really believe all the things that I say I do? If so, then they should be changing my life. I should want my life to change for the better. I should be asking God to help me change. But the effort is not there. Is it?

Christ wants His followers (Christians, Catholic Christians) to recognize that they have received something very special. In the gift of Faith that they were given at Baptism, they also received the Flame of Love. They have been charged with not letting it go out. We do our best to smother it, to douse it, to eradicate the flame. How? By not leading the life that we are challenged to live. By seeking other avenues to follow, rather than the path that Christ knows is best for us. We do our …worst to severely hamper the flame. But every now and then, we say, we are sorry. Every now and then we confess to our God that we know we are not living the life that He intends and that we are sorry, truly sorry. The flame begins to flicker from that near dead ember. What it becomes, what it grows into will depend on our future actions of love with our Creator, our future decisions.

You see, each of us has a mission. We may just be starting out in life, or nearing its’ end, regardless where we are, we must always be trying to learn what God wants of us. What is our mission? Think about it. This loving God has created you, and the maker of guns, and the buyer of guns, and the abortionist, the murderer, the people selling and using drugs, the legions of armies killing and raping. He has created all of us. It is very easy to see that many of us are not attempting to live the life that God intended. Many of us are not trying to find out what is our mission in life. Mission?? I know my mission. It is to get money, or pleasure, or my way… We come to these facile answers so readily. It doesn’t seem to be very difficult to come up with an answer, any answer. Are these what God intends for us? For you? For me?

Each mission is unique to each of us. Why are you, you? Why am I, me? Our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly have all taken their share of ownership into making us who we are, today. One bad decision goes on top of another, on top of a good one, followed by another bad one. We are products of each action of our life added together. We didn’t mean for this to happen. It just did. And now, we are the sum total of all of these. It seems like an insurmountable task to extricate ourselves from all of this …junk. And yet, it isn’t. Jesus saw our utterly dependent we were. Jesus saw that our frailty was such that we could not help ourselves. So He took all of this “junk” upon Himself and paid the ultimate price for us. He died on a cross.

Where does this leave us, then? We are to act, to be the intelligent humans that God created. If we see that Christ died for us; if we realize that He did this to show us how to live; then something must be expected from us. We are to accept His sacrifice for us. We are to embrace His death on the cross. Before you think that is easy, consider what is meant by “accept”, by “embrace”. The only way we can accept or embrace anything is to take it completely, to make it ours totally. Christ wants us to follow His example. This is what He meant when He said, “Come, Follow Me”. Stop the judging of others; Stop figuring out the best angle for you; Stop striving to receive the adulation of others. This is not what Jesus wants of us. Follow Him. Follow Him to the bedside of the sick, of the depraved. Feel their pain and agony. Pray for the people that are turning this world into a graveyard. Recognize that all, everyone, each of us are struggling. Recognize that trusting God does not mean to pray for things to go the way you want them to. Trust this God, this Loving God, who wants only the best for you. Trust Him with your very life. And you shall live with Him through all eternity.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Are We Free or Not?
2) Affecting Others
3) The Courage to Accept: Acceptance
4) To All Mankind

Embrace Life: Embrace God

embrace2

Who are we…REALLY?? We want. We need. We crave. We are definitely part of the “ME” generation. Everything revolves around us….or, at least, so we think. But, take a step back. Look at yourself from outside of yourself. Really, look at yourself. Look at your motives, your cravings, your acts of “love”. What do you see? Do you see selfless actions? Do you see caring and concern? Do you have genuine love and trust in others? Unfortunately, we see someone totally different from who we think we are.

Taking stock of ourselves, we realize that, in our minds, our happiness, our joy is rooted in what WE WANT. We want people to treat us differently. We want our life to be trouble free. We expect people to see us and automatically treat us with gentleness and kindness. Is this really what our world is? What our world needs? Does it really need self-centered people clamoring for attention, expecting respect? Is this the whole reason for our existence?

Take another step back, this time, a big step back. In the creation of the world, a loving God filled the abyss with planets and stars, oceans and mountains, plants and animals…..and US!!! (No matter if you hold to evolution, or big bang theory, or whatever, it takes an infinite, eternal Being to start the process and get it moving.) This Being, this loving God gave us a free will, so that our choices would be just that…”our choices”. He does not force us to love Him. He gives us the freedom to say, “No”. So we can freely say, “I want, I need, I crave” or we can say, “I love”. The former leads us to turning in on ourselves, seeking whatever it is that WE think will make us happy. The latter, the “I love” portion, frees us to see God’s Goodness in ALL of creation. Everything that happens to us, “the good, the bad and the ugly” all stem from this loving God. He is LOVE and truly wants us to understand His love. He is not tormenting us with these events.

We must try to look at the misfortunes that befall us, you and me, not as obstacles, not as the result of a vengeful God who is getting back at us for our doing….whatever. God is not vengeful. He is loving. As such, everything that happens to us, “the good, the bad and the ugly” are truly part of His omniscient, loving plan for us. In our tormented, warped view, we only see the ugliness and the pain and feel like we are being punished. But this is really not the case. We have separated ourselves from our purpose in life, our God. And, it is because of that separation, we see only the pain, the sadness.

Then, how do we look at the troubles that befall us? All the pain and heartaches that we experience…they are acts of love from our God??? How is this allowing us to grow closer to Him, to become part of His infinite love? In that Love, there is a Divine Plan. We don’t know what that plan is, but it is there nonetheless. Our love response is Trusting Him. In trusting our God, in loving our God we really become enmeshed in God. We may someday understand the why. And maybe we won’t. But of this you can be certain, our “yes”, our “acceptance”, our “embrace” of the events in our life are major acts of trust and love in our God. Our life is to be, must be, a continuous acknowledgement of His love for us. Seek Him out in everything that you do, in everything that comes upon you and you will be locked in an embrace that will take you to eternity.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) I’m Fine
2) Are We Free or Not?
3) Happiness
4) Christ Transforms Us

ARE YOU LOVED? DO YOU LOVE?

Love God and Man

If you enjoyed this post, the thread is continued in the posts listed below in yellow. They continue the thread. And Please pass this on to those you love.

How do we know we are loved? Truly loved? That is a difficult question to answer. It isn’t difficult because of what we are asking ourselves, but rather, because it is our self that we are asking. The question is straightforward enough. But we can conjure up all kinds of answers, and explanations that lead us down paths that only we can imagine.

Let’s look back to our parents, or friends that we grew up with. Think of people we have hurt and offended. This is where the question will be answered. For you see, true love always forgives. Love does not look at the offense to self, but rather at the person who is struggling, who is doing the offending. We see the love of mom cradling us in her arms, when we have fallen and cut or scraped our knees. We see the sorrowful pain in her silent eyes when we express our anger or discontent and know we have hurt a loving parent. It is our friends that say to us sincerely, “That’s alright I know you didn’t mean it.” They show us love. It is eventually our own failures, our own problems that lead us to the awareness of who loves us.

God’s love is exactly the same way. He has created each of us with a purpose in mind. How many billions of people have not been born into this world, and yet we were. Why us? What is special about us, you and me? We really cannot answer that. We won’t know the answer, nor even understand the question until we meet God face to face. Then we will be shown why we were created and what gifts were given to us. At that point we will know what we could have or should have done in this life, and maybe, even if we will have done it. We really won’t know until that final moment of understanding. We all cringe at the thought that maybe we have run out of time.

But, this writing is not meant to be a scare tactic to awaken us out of our lethargy, nor a shaking of our shoulders to wake up. No. It is truly meant to be a positive moment in our lives. For you see, each of us already knows why we were created. We already know what our purpose in life is. The Bible tells us in Jesus’ words, “For whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” There it is: our purpose, our goal, our act of love back to God. He is in each of us. He breathed His Spirit into us, all of us. He knows our problems, our worries, our hurts, dislikes, and unkindness. He knows our thoughts, our sinful thoughts, our demeaning actions, and yet He loves us! He loves us in spite of our selfishness. What manner of God is this? He is waiting for the light to go on inside our heart, not our brain, for it is in our heart where His love resides. When that light does go on, we will understand what is special about us, what talents we have been given. These talents are what we will bring to others… OUT OF LOVE and caring.

For whatever we do to the least, we do to Him! We are to see Him in everyone we pass on the street. Every person who seems to have a health problem, a moral problem, a cleanliness problem, an agonizing problem, an irritating problem…the list is endless. Too often we see the problem and not the person suffering. If we look into the eyes of these people we will see a suffering Christ waiting for a response, maybe it is our response?? How do we know that it is us, that we are the one to do something? We really don’t. But how can we give our love back to God if we do nothing but look away? What are we inclined to do? What, inside us, urges us to act? What would we like to do? It takes courage to be a Christian. We must lose our own inhibitions. Start to look at people, for what they really are, as persons who just might need our talents, as God asking you to return the gift of your talents back to Him.

It is not a grandiose action that is being asked of us. No, it is nothing like that. It is simply a kind act, a loving act, a caring and concerned action. To extend one’s hand to someone in need, in an offering of help, of true concern, of love can lead to all sorts of things. These might be involvement with others, empathy for others, even a deeper love for others. And in this, we give our love back to God. To do nothing is …

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Triggers in Our Lives
2) Why are you, ..you?
3) About Us
4) Our Purpose in Life

About US

JMstreet4

Put yourself into this short story. Seriously, this is about YOU, the reader. Actually, it is about all of us, but read this as if these are your thoughts

I am walking down the street. It is cold, oh so bitterly cold. I can’t wait to get inside where it will be warm and I will feel my toes once again. I quicken my pace, just to get to my destination a little sooner. As I hurriedly walk, I notice a man and a woman standing on the corner. The man is strangely dressed, as a matter of fact, both persons are. They have sandals on their feet, with no socks. They are both wearing a robe, or is it a gown, with a rope tied around their waists. The man, the younger of the two, is gentle with the older woman. She is probably his mother. They look at me with sadness in their eyes. And yet, a feeling of affection cascades over me. I turned my head for a brief moment in the direction of a loud noise and when I look back, they are no longer there. They have moved on, I guess.

As I move down the block, passing stores and row homes, I see an old man crouched along the wall, with a piece of cardboard shielding him from the cold wind. As I get closer, I see that the man’s face is the same as the man I saw standing on the corner. It couldn’t be!! This man was filthy, and his clothes were torn and dirty. I couldn’t help notice the smell of urine as I passed by him. I distinctly remember thinking disgustedly, “Somebody should help this guy”.

Recovering from that bit of unpleasantness, I quickened my gait. I couldn’t get home fast enough. As I turned the corner, two men were fighting with each other as a young woman stood idly by, watching them. I could tell that the disagreement was about the woman, but I don’t know what it was about. I looked back and muttered to myself, “This generation has gone crazy. This world is crazy. When are the politicians going to do something about it?”

Just then, breaking into my discussion with myself, a young girl, no more than fifteen, approached me and asked me for some money. She seemed normal enough and you could tell already that she was with child. I don’t like giving people money on the street. I fear that they might be using it for drugs or something like that. Her circumstances seemed unique, so I fumbled in my pockets for some loose change. I was about to hand it to her, when she said, “THAT won’t be enough for an abortion!” I hurried off, embarrassed and feeling guilty, like I needed a place to hide.

Now, in the warmth of my home, I sit down with a cup of coffee and start to browse through today’s newspaper. The headlines and cover stories are enough to make anyone cringe. They read like a bad dream: Countries angrily positioned at arms’ length with each other, Terrorists attacking people in the name of religion, Wall Street fraud, People shooting others. Money and the gain of it, seems to be behind so much evil. Even the Sports section which always spoke of man’s accomplishments, here now, I read about sports figures taking enhancing drugs, seeking illicit ways to excel on the sports field, shooting people and beating their wives. Again, I utter to myself, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket”.

There is so much horror and terror in this world. And yet the only normal, peaceful sight I had today was the man and woman standing on the corner, looking at me. The words of Jesus ring out loud and clear to all of us, to me. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in, naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. When did we do this, Lord? And He shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

I can, no longer, sit idly by watching the world from afar. If I am a Catholic Christian, then I must look at the world and consider my part in it, my responsibility to it. Yes, the terrorists, at this moment, are attacking other countries, but they have and will attack us, as well. I am the Somebody that should help this guy. I cannot rest all responsibility on the politicians of this world. I must have some active part, as well. Abortion IS wrong. How can I play a part in showing the world the beauty of, the sanctity of life? I hear of terroristic actions and I am grateful it doesn’t affect me, or my country. Too many guns, excessive craving for money, inordinate financial security, succeed at all costs regardless of the consequences, inappropriate movies, or conduct…these are all things I have an opinion of, I know right from wrong. When will I speak up about it?

The couple on the corner, they look at me and wonder when I will speak, when I will act, when I will show my love to my God. As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. This short story is about me……is about you.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Where Do We Find Truth
2) Jesus Walked Down the Street
3) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
4) Masks, We Hide Behind

OUR PRAYER LIFE

prayer and Jesus

How do I begin? It has been so very long (five months) since I last wrote anything here. Even now, as I write, I can only hope that this will be the beginning of a prolonged period of writing. We shall see…

I think it is appropriate to take a look at what spiritual writers have called the “Dark night of the soul.” Not really sure if that is what is going on in my life, but I can tell you that the Sun seems to be behind some clouds, right now.

At Mass yesterday, the priest mentioned that how we feel and what we do should not be related. (At least, that was my take on the sermon.) That gave me something to think about. When we feel good – God does seem very close, but when things are going astray and everything seems to be coming apart…well, God seems to be looking the other way.

But that cannot be. God is constant. That is how we define God. He does not vary. His love for us is always there, always present. He created us out of love, and that love is still there, still with us, always with us. It is we that change. So, why does this happen? How do we change? I would like to use myself, my period of drought, as an example. In short, I would like to pour out my feelings, my thoughts as to why I felt that God was so distant to me. (At least that was my perception.)

It begins when we feel uneasy about something, distraught about an event, concerned about our actions or someone else’s actions. Stop! Think about your life. What, right now is in your life, that you are uncomfortable with, that occupies your thoughts, is consuming you? This very “something” may very well be separating us from our God.

For me, it began with a doubt, a doubt that God still loves me. Why the doubt was there in my life is unimportant. The fact that something could distract me from my God, could have my full attention, and separate me from my God — this fact, alone, made me doubt His love. The slippery path downwards had begun. If, God is distant from me, has stopped loving me, then where do I turn? To whom, do I turn? To whom, do I rely on for answers? Why, ourselves of course! And the slide downwards, continues. The more that we feel alone, and abandoned, that is when we shore up our defenses and think that since we are alone, we will have to provide the answer to our problem.

Our pride seems to dictate that since it is our problem, we alone will have the solution. That is not true. That is not how it is. It is then, during those times of trial, of doubt, of being uncomfortable, of being totally absorbed with a problem, when we most need to turn to our loving God. He has not changed, WE have. Trusting in Him is really the only way that we can free ourselves from those distracting thoughts. God really does love us. Yes, with all of our faults, and doubts. He loves us.
So what, then, is the answer? Our EMOTIONS do not really indicate if God loves us. Our EMOTIONS cannot tell us if our prayers are valid or not. Whoa!!!! What does that mean???

“I don’t feel like praying”.

“They are just words that I am repeating”.

These are expressions that we often use when speaking of our prayer life. We are looking to our emotions, our feelings, to provide us an uplift of our entire being…. so that we can simply talk to our God!. These feelings were preventing me from walking down the street with my God. They are sentiments really being expressed by our unconscious, not our mind nor our soul. Our feelings are dictating to us. Let me ask you, When we talk to a neighbor must we be effervescent, and bubbling over, before we can simply say, “Hello”? Feelings have no place in our talking to God. Yes, they make it easier. But to say, “I love you” to our spouse or someone, means you are concerned about their welfare … not that you feel good.

Our conversation with God, our prayer life, is just that, a conversation. We do not have to feel great, nor in the mood. We simply want to speak to our Maker, about our love, and our problems. Why are we telling Him these things? He already knows everything about us. In the telling, we are really laying our lives out before Him and saying, “You take care of my life. I trust in You”. And with that, we truly release the worry, the concern, and the absorbing cloud over us, knowing that He really will take care of us.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Conversation with Christ
2) How Do We Pray
3) The Nature of Prayer
4) Listening to God
5) Trusting Like Children

Happiness

happiness

If someone asked you what you thought happiness is, how would you answer? The first thing that might come to your mind is your family and its security. Or maybe, you would think about your family’s health. Do finances enter your picture? How about your friends, or more possessions? A bigger house? A vacation house? A boat? Pleasure? Drugs or alcohol? All of these might tempt you into thinking that this is where happiness can be found. But, think about it. Each and every one of them, even the health and security of our family, ultimately comes back to us, and our own needs. We don’t want the apple cart to be overturned, so to speak. We feel for our family. We love our family. But their health and security ultimately allows us to feel more relieved, in that our duties and responsibilities have been taken care of. No one can point a finger at us.

“Wait a minute”, you may say, “I love my family and it is my right and duty to be concerned about their health and security.” It is your right, duty and obligation to care for your loved ones. But this question is about “happiness”. Will their security and health be the cause of your happiness? Or, will the fact that they are secure and healthy let you be relieved, and indicate to you, that you have performed your responsibilities. The latter is just relief that you didn’t cause the apple cart to overturn, that’s all. This digging, this constant banging at the question, needs to be done on all of our “happiness indicators”. We need to see how, each of the above, eventually, comes back to our own needs, our own gratifications, and our own satisfactions. Pick one. Pick any of those above: friends, house, boat, pleasure, stimulants. How do they ultimately come back to you and satisfy you?

Happiness is depicted as resulting from the possession or attainment of what one considers good. So in order to answer the question of happiness, we must first understand what we consider good, beneficial, and worthwhile. A boat might be considered as a good by one person and thus coveted, but to someone who gets seasick, or who is afraid of deep water, a boat is not even worth considering. One person’s dream is another person’s dread. So, what does every person on earth, without exception, consider as good, beneficial and worthwhile? I think it is safe to say that anything that is man-made, is perishable, or has the possibility of being lost is NOT something that mankind bases its quest for happiness on.

So, let’s ask that question again. What do you think happiness is? True happiness? If we are to not think of perishable, man-made or capable of being lost then the only “thing” left is God. He is what each of us must strive for and embrace if we are to really seek and find true happiness. What does it mean then, to strive for God, or embrace Him? It is one thing to believe in the creation and redemption of mankind, but is that really enough? Does this belief, alone, enable us to partake in the redemption of mankind? Is it this belief that enables our true happiness? The possession or attainment of what we consider good, is where our happiness lies. Did we attain this redemption, or do we just know about it, its’ circumstances?

Our belief, if it is true, must change us. It must cause us to rethink our lives and redirect our purpose. To say, “I believe that Jesus died for me” is nice and is correct. But if we truly believe, then we must look at what He has said, how He has instructed us how to live and follow those directives. On Sundays, we go to church and acknowledge His love for us. What do we do on the following days? How do we live? Do we try to see Jesus on those days, as well? Do we see Him in ALL who we meet? This love, this belief MUST impact our lives. It must change us and our way of living. We cannot simply pay lip service to Him, but must live accordingly. There is no other way. We all must ask ourselves, “What does this mean for me?

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Christ Transforms Us
2) I Live Now, Not I
3) Our Quest For Happiness
4) The Nature of Prayer
5) Trusting Like Children

God’s Gift

the gift of God

I want you to think about some words and what their meaning is. Take as long as you need to. The words are:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood,

Soul and Divinity of  Your dearly beloved Son,

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our  sins

and those of the whole world. Amen.”

These are the words I want you to think about. What do they mean? What do they mean to you? Take as much time as you want. When you feel you have a good understanding of them, continue below the Line of Yellow X’s. Read them, maybe, one more time before going on.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 

Now, I need to ask you a rather important question. How do we, you and I, have the right to offer back to God the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of his Son? How did we come into possession of them in the first place? It seems rather easy for us to tell God, “This is what I am going to do. I will offer You that which is the totality of your Son and I will do that to earn atonement for my sins.” Again, I ask, “How did we come into possession of them, in the first place?” As the saying goes, “No one can give what they don’t have”.

I know many of us were baptized as infants. In that case, someone made a choice for us. If we chose to join the Christian religion, then we made that choice for ourselves. But, in either case, the choice was, and still is, a promise to believe in, to follow, and to emulate the life of Jesus. About life, and our living it, the Bible says many pertinent things, such as:

John 3:16-17 –“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”.

John 15:8 – “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples”.

Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.

I asked earlier, “How do we have the right to offer back to God, His Son?” Well, it is not a right. Jesus is a gift that God gives to the world, to you and me. As we all know, a gift can either be accepted or rejected. But this gift, Jesus, is not something we just casually take and stuff into our pocket, while nodding our heads in appreciation. No, my dear friends, we accept Him with gratitude, in awe, and oh, so much humility. That which we like, that which we love, we try to emulate, to imitate, to bring and show to others. Our acceptance of Him spurs us on to look within ourselves and to be aware of what we need to change.

It is that looking within that is difficult to do. Because what we see, what we recognize as not being like Jesus, we know must be eliminated, if we really do accept Him. And it is our own weakness that holds us back. We don’t like to do without, to be without. We want things to be comfortable, to be easy. In short, we are fearful of what this acceptance will entail for us. This, however, is what must be overcome, by us. The first step is always the hardest. It was the most difficult to take when we were infants. We did fall down, but we got up and tried again. The first step onto a playing field is always filled with dread and concern. What if I am not good enough? The first time we meet someone and realize that we really like him or her. Will that person feel the same way towards me? There is always a “what if” to be answered.

Well the “what if” in the case of accepting Jesus into our lives is much more difficult to see, because it involves eternity. We don’t accept Jesus out of fear of loss. That is not the acceptance that God wants of His Gift. He wants us to take that first step at knowing Him, of realizing the love that awaits all of us. Love begets love. Good begets good. That swelling of love within our heart, that is real. The joy that we feel in our life, that is real. It is there for each and every one of us. What we feel within, if it is real, we must, we cannot do otherwise, we must pass this onto others. We will want them to experience the love, the joy that is Jesus. We have taken our first step back to God. And, He smiles. His Gift has been accepted and lovingly returned back to Him.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Be Me
2) The Courage to Accept, Acceptance
3) Accept It, He Really Does Love You

Jesus Meets His Mother

4th station

The daily practice of saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, especially at 3pm, is one that all of us should do. As recommended in The Divine Mercy Chaplet, I was on the fourth day, and that meant meditating on the Fourth Station of the Cross, Jesus Meets His Mother. Think about and reflect on that most sorrowful meeting.

Picture the meeting of Mother and Son. Think about what each must have been feeling. How would we feel if our son or daughter is being tortured, and brutalized, in the way Jesus is. Yet nothing is recorded about that meeting other than the painful glances that were shared. Her heart must have been bursting with sorrow, choking her very breathing, as she witnessed the pain and suffering that her Child was being forced to bear. What woman has ever experienced such sorrow, such agony?

And Jesus, He, too, remained silent. But He knew what His mother was feeling, what she was enduring. The agony that both endured, remained bottled up inside them. To cry out would only make it worse for the other. And so, they suffered in silence. Yet, inside, both felt terrible anguish, terrible grief and sorrow. This meeting of Mother and Son speaks directly to each of us, both as a parent and as a child.

As a parent, we can feel the agony of what Mary was enduring, when we see our children suffering and feel so useless, because we are unable to help them. We wish that their hurt, their sorrow, their confusion would go away; and yet, we are powerless to do anything about it. And, so we pray. We pray for our child’s strength, and their enlightenment. We ask God to help them overcome their pain, their suffering, or even make it go away.

As a child, we know the strain we have placed on our parents, at times. Though we saw their conflict and agony, we persisted in our actions, in our way of life. What was important for us, at that time, was our own satisfaction, our own benefit, our own need. We were unable to even think of what our actions were causing our parents. They would understand!

But you see, that is the irony of the entire situation. Mary and Jesus were suffering, suffering terribly, yet each knew that what was happening was necessary for all of mankind. The horror of the whippings, and beatings, and insults, and pain, all sorts of cruel injustice, all of these were accepted and carried within their aching hearts, because they knew there was a benefit at the end of this. How can there be a good associated with being whipped, tortured, insulted, and ridiculed? Mary was just a woman, but she had faith, a faith that told her that God was present, that He was aware of all that was going on, and that HE PERMITTED THIS FOR A REASON. Because of her believing, and knowing that God is a God of Love, she knows that He has a purpose for even this horrific scene.

It is here, at this juncture, that we, you and I, slowly move away from Mary. Where she sees God’s love, God’s will, we see just the scene. How does this affect me? How does this hurt my son or daughter? How does this break my parents’ heart? We limit our sight to just the action and its’ effects. Our faith in our God doesn’t even come into play. Or, if it does, it is to ask God to make it go away. This is not how God wants us to believe, nor to act. His love for us is so true, so deep; He wants us to feel, to know and to experience His love. Do we really believe that an all-loving God would playfully allow us to be harmed? Every problem, every sickness, every death has a purpose. We may not see now, or even ever, why such evil enters into our lives. But if, like Mary, our focus is on our loving God and not the evil, we will trust that there is a very good reason. We will trust our loving God even in this.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Dark Night, Emptiness, Sadness
2) Mercy Sunday and Trust
3) Dolindo Ruotolo segment 1
4) Dolindo Ruotolo segment 2
5) Dolindo Ruotolo segment 3

Corpus Christi Sunday

worry

“The Body of Christ”, so much is tied into that phrase. The Second Person of the Triune God, the Word made flesh, the Mystical Body of Christ, The Church, The Eucharist, The baptized faithful, all of these flow from those four words. What a special day, today is.

When you and I say that phrase, what do we mean? Think of it, “The Body of Christ”, what does that phrase mean to us? We can simply think of Jesus of Nazareth, who died for mankind. And, that would be correct. But, there is so much depth to that phrase because it encompasses our entire belief structure. Think of all the things enumerated above. They all flow from that phrase. Don’t think of them individually. Think of them as flowing together. We are baptized, so we are a part of the Church, the people of God. Believing in that Baptism, we receive the Eucharist, and so we are a part of the Mystical Body of Christ. What we say, where we go, who we help, what injustices we try to overcome, we do because it is what Jesus did, would do in today’s world. Then, it is what we must do, if we believe and love Him. Being a part of the Mystical Body means we are the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Jesus. He works through us, through our actions of love.

The Word of God, Jesus, came into this world, to not only save mankind, but to show us how to live, how we must live in order to be united with our Triune God. We cannot look away from injustice. We cannot ignore the pains and sufferings of others. We cannot look down on ANYONE. The love that Jesus had for all of us, that same love, we have to exude for others, EVERYONE. How can we possibly say that we are trying to be like Jesus, and not care about certain people? We cannot be like Him, if we don’t try to be Him, in all aspects of our lives.

What problems do you have? What is keeping you from being the person, Jesus wants you to be? Each of us has our limitations, our breaking point, one burning problem that is deep inside us. These tie us up in knots. These are the very things which are preventing us from being the person we can be, should be. This is what we must overcome to be free, truly free. It is so easy to say, but so difficult to do. Reams of paper have been written, describing what people must do to overcome their difficulties. What is your main difficulty? It could be physical, psychological, emotional, financial, familial, behavioral, occupational, etc. Now that’s a lot of territory to cover. No wonder so much has been printed. There are so many difficulties to overcome.

What does Jesus say about ALL of these situations? Did He cover them in the Sermon on the Mount? Did He discuss them when He preached in the temple? What did He say about living life? He spoke about the birds of the air, they don’t toil but the Father takes care of them. He spoke of Trust. He asks us, who is the true neighbor to the man beaten by thieves? He tells us of Love. He said, “You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy, but I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to those that hate you”.

His message was simple. Trust our loving God. He, who loves you, will take care of you, provide for you, and be with you. And to that we say, “It is too simplistic for this day and age.” We think that it doesn’t apply to today’s hectic pace, to today’s pressing requirements. Well, we are wrong. We are wrong because we have allowed the enticements of the world to become the most important things in our life. We want peace in our lives, but we don’t really seek it. Rather, we choose to work harder for things which we don’t really need. We desire to appear happy rather than be happy. We seek falsehood rather than truth. We seek appearances rather than genuine truth. We cherish “friends” rather than friendships.

Jesus’ message is relevant in today’s world. It is relevant, more than ever. We worry about our health, are anxious about everything, have fears, doubtful how we will eat, argue with friends and foes alike, cannot control our emotions, wonder about our job and security. To any negative feeling or event that you can think of, Jesus simply says, “Trust me, your God”. Really trust Him. Is someone sick among you, pray to Him, not that they get better, but that His will is done and that all can accept it, that all will grow from it. Trust is very difficult, because it requires us to lay down all our defenses and accept someone else’s will. But this someone is not just anyone; He is our loving God. If we can do that, oh, how our life will blossom, and the joy that we will feel! We will truly be enraptured because of the love within the Body of Christ, and finally at peace.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Give Your Troubles to Jesus
2) The Mystical Body of Christ
3) Meaning of the Mystical Body of Christ

Be The One!

MotherTeresa2

I was reading the other day that Mother Teresa always ended her letters with the words, “I looked for one to comfort me, but I found no one”. (From Psalms 68:21) She would then write underneath those words this saying: “Be the one”. If we think about those two sentences and ponder them in our heart, we cannot help but realize that they apply to each of us, as well. We feel that we are just a part of a bigger group, but we are a unique part.

Each one of us is unique, and I can prove it right now. You were born in a specific time frame, you lived in an area that the majority of us have not. You were influenced by the people around you, where you lived, when you lived and the influences of your parents. But the uniqueness goes on. You did good and bad things. You were exposed to good and bad things. Your teachers they, too, were unique and they, also, influenced you, as did the pastor, the rabbi, the reverend, the priest, the nuns, the shop keepers, and the crossing guard. The list goes on and on and on, but you get the idea. Every one of us has lived under different circumstances, which had, and continue to have an effect on us. These are the circumstances that make each of us unique. No other person has experienced and lived in the exact same way that you have. Who we are, today, has been influenced by what we have learned, been taught and have experienced. Each of us is, in fact, unique.

Ok, I believe that you do realize that like a fingerprint, no one else on this earth is like you. Even if you are an identical twin, the people you have met and what you have done has influenced the two of you differently. You have a personality unlike anyone else’s. You are unlike anyone else. So what is all this about? You question with an, “Ok, ok, I get it, I am unique, so???” From all eternity, God saw all that you would experience, all that would shape you and knew then and there He had a plan for you. He knew how you would fit into His Divine Plan. This infinite God has a plan for each one of us. He doesn’t want us to imitate anyone else. He doesn’t want us to ignore our uniqueness. His plan for each of us involves everything that makes us, US.

So, you may belittle yourself, or think poorly of yourself, or see no good in what you do, but God sees otherwise. You have a quality that fits his plan to a “T”. We, however, cannot read the mind of God. We cannot know things before they happen. We cannot know what that plan is for us, or how we fit into it. All we can do is try to love Him so completely, so totally that we are at one with His will. If we strive to be at one with His will, then whatever happens, then whatever comes before us, we will know that His permissive will has already said, “Yes” to it. It is in His will, in Him, we are asked to trust.

All of this comes full circle, and we see from Mother Teresa’s letter that we are being urged to be the one. Be the one who provides comfort to Jesus; Be the one who understands His pain from seeing all the evil in the world; Be the one who takes steps to alleviate His suffering. But how do we do this? How can I, who had such lowly beginnings, with my background, with all my faults and weaknesses, how can I provide comfort to Jesus? No one can tell you. You cannot even tell yourself what you must do. In order for us to be the one, we must open ourselves up to events AS THEY HAPPEN. We cannot know them in advance. We are simply creatures. So how do we go about this chore? How do we accomplish this comforting of Jesus?

We cannot go through our day and think, “… this is the day I will provide comfort to Jesus”. It doesn’t happen that way. We begin to understand when we realize that whatever it is that makes us, us, that is what we bring to the table. We bring ourselves, our background, our faults, our weaknesses, and whatever else there is that is unique about us, we bring that to Him and lay it at His feet. Here I am, Lord, this is me. As we live our lives, as we treat the people we meet with kindness, concern and offer them assistance in whatever way they need, we may…just may… be meeting a person who needs our uniqueness. And something that we do, something that we say, or the manner in which we act, something touches them. For you see, our uniqueness which has been formed over the years influences what we say and do, as well. Without our realizing it, our lives have been affected and been shaped as we were living them. Our unique choice of words might be exactly what they need. We won’t know until we show them our real self.

This life, then, is what God saw from all eternity. He saw all the good that this unique life could and would do while here on earth. It was not the life that imitated someone else. It was not the mannerisms of someone we would like to be. It was you and I, being ourselves. The sincerity of our actions, flowing from our uniqueness, this is what God saw from all eternity and still sees in us.

Now the last step can be taken. We don’t just practice our uniqueness with people we like. No, that doesn’t really comfort Jesus. Did He not say that it wasn’t sufficient to only love those who love us? But rather we must pray for those who persecute us. Help those who need it, regardless of what they look like, or how they annoy us. In short, every day we come into contact with people, all sorts of people. Some just pass by and move on with their lives. But there are those, who need us; people needing our time, our assistance, our prayers, our insights, or our uniqueness. Maybe they look at us and wish to speak, but we discourage them by returning a sour look, a missed opportunity? Maybe someone asks us for assistance, but we beg off, by saying that we are late for an appointment, or mumble some other excuse, another opportunity gone by the wayside. These may be the very people who we are meant to help, but we will never know since we paid them such little attention. He said, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me”. And what are we willing to do?

It is not easy to be a follower of Jesus. He wants us to be in step with Him continuously. He asks us to help Him bring people to the Father. He dies for us to show us the depths of His love for us. In return, He only asks us to bring that love, that concern to others. Some of them are looking for you right now. They don’t know who you are, just as you don’t know who they are. But if you look with kindness, and Christian love on all that you meet, then that one special person will surprise you some day and tell you the most wonderful thing. “You have helped me so much; it was like we were meant to meet.” Be the one!

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) We grow as the Church grows
2) The Communion of Saints
3) Take Her Hand

Trinity Sunday

trinity2

A foot note: This is a tough read. I would suggest, no I would urge you to read only as far as you can. Once you feel like you are losing the thread, put it down and just reflect on what you have read to that point. When you are ready to continue, do so, but with the same strategy as mentioned above, only as far as you can. Try, however, to finish it the same day, if possible. I hope this helps. If not just be grateful that Faith is a gift and we all should pray for an increase in that gift.

Today is Trinity Sunday. This is the day set aside by the Church to remember in a special way the cornerstone of our belief in a triune God, three persons but one God. We will speak of what this trinity is, as though we have firsthand knowledge. But, we all know that that is impossible. Our finite minds can hold only finite things, finite knowledge. As they say, “A glass can only hold so much liquid, beyond which, it will overflow”. And yet, we still try to put our arms around infinity.

From the passages in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, we get glimpses of God. A word here, a phrase there and we try to use these to help us understand the manner in which God speaks. These early writings were perceptions by other people, who were inspired and thoughtful. So many writers, from so many different eras all acknowledging the existence of some Force that brought into existence the world as we know it. Very, very briefly we will mention a phrase about God, the Father, who created. We hear of Jesus, who refers to this God as His Father. And again, Jesus speaks to His Apostles and tells them, when I go, I will send you the Paraclete. These and many, many other phrases, scholars over the years, have searched phrases like these and pieced together an understanding of who these three references point to. We have philosophers and theologians pouring over these writings and through their efforts we have a picture of why: a Triune God.

Phrases from Jesus, saying, “He who sees me, sees the Father.” And again, “I and the Father are one.” What we call our Faith, our belief structure has been pieced together, poured over, and refined some more. The end result is something that no one man, no one person, could have ever come up with. Our faith evolved and was refined, again and again, over time. Even today, we have Synods and Vatican Councils which discuss, debate, and argue over the significance of words and actions of an era, long ago.

St. Thomas Aquinas, one noted philosopher put together his “Quinque Viae”, Five Ways to prove the existence of God. These are debated, even today. One that is my favorite is that the all creation, that is, everything that we can see and touch had to have a start. It could not have been around for all eternity. It must have had a creator. Look at the intricacy of the human body, and the human eye; did all of this just happen? With no plan, no thought, no Creator? Over the centuries man has wrestled with the concept of God, and what to make of these references to Father, Son and Spirit. What we have today is the logic upon which our faith rests. But if tomorrow a strong theory appeared that called into question all of this logic, our faith would still hold true. Because faith is not proven, it is given. So, in conclusion to this first half, all of these discussions over the centuries were man’s feeble, but well-meaning attempts at nailing down something that resisted being nailed down. In the end we wind up praying for the gift of Faith.

So this Faith that we have what can we say about it? The deeper we delve, the more amazed we become, and the more frustrated we feel. (This is probably what drove all of the literati throughout the centuries.) We believe that giving us a soul, God created mankind to His own image and likeness. However, we (mankind) because of free-will, had become so twisted and self-centered that we lost sight of our God. Into this world, Jesus, God’s Son, came to not only save mankind, but to show mankind how to live. This last was very important, because otherwise we would wind-up back again in the soup pot. To help us live this life that He taught, He sends us the Spirit. This Spirit is the Love that exists between Father and Son. All of this, I know, sounds like a fairy tale, but let me throw some thoughts on this.

This was how the Trinity came to mean something to me. It will sound a little like a logical progression…at least I hope it does. Here goes: God is superior to everything else in creation, else He would not be God. He is perfect and since He is perfect, He possesses all Goodness. (We will not discuss why Goodness and not Evil are possessed by God. Simply put…evil is the absence of good. God possesses all good things and thus no evil is in God.) Everything that God possesses must be infinite, as well, thus the term All-good. This All-Goodness, being infinite, must exist as a person also; otherwise, it would not be All good. This person, we would explain as Jesus. He was not created. He was begotten from the Father. (Think of simultaneously flowed from the Father.) The love between these two infinite persons, it, too, was perfect. And that love, flowing from the two persons, begot the Holy Spirit, which is why we call Him the Spirit of Love. But, when all is said and done, we thank God for our Faith, and in the end pray, “I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.”

I don’t want to end this right now, not here. The most significant part of our belief is yet to be addressed. We, you and I, believe in a Triune God. We believe that Jesus, the second person in that Trinity, came to show us how to live. What does that mean to us? He loved His Father and did everything He could so that mankind would come back to His Father. He showed us how to trust His Father. And, in trusting and believing in God, we, you and I can bear any pain, any suffering, and with a faith strong enough can be an instrument of God’s good work here on earth. The Spirit of Love is in each of us. Why do we not see it? Why do we not treat each other as temples in which the Spirit of Love resides? Each person is a temple, in which God dwells. (Remember, He breathed into us a soul, making us into His own image and likeness.)

So, in conclusion, because we have been baptized into the Spirit, each of us lives as part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Each of us with our God-given talents brings those talents to the world in need. Each of us, as sharers of the Mystical Body of Christ, constitutes the Church. Not the building (church), but the people of God (Church). And like the Holy Spirit, so too, the bond that we share with one another is the flow of love emanating from this Sprit of God. You see, it all does come together. Christ came to show us how to live. And by living, as He did, imbued with this Spirit of Love, we find ourselves doing acts of genuine love for others. Our worldly cares and worries and anxieties fall into nothingness as we become caretakers of our world, and one with our God, our Triune God.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Suffering
2) Who is Jesus

Peace and Emotion

peace in emotion

The next time you feel down, displeased with yourself, think about this: God has not changed. If He could/would change, then He would not be God. He does not vacillate from mood to mood. (We do, He doesn’t.) He is constant. His love for us is always there. He wishes only for you to grow in your love for Him. But, when we are down and depressed, we feel that the whole world is at odds with us. It is difficult to feel God’s love, or even think of God’s love. Nothing seems to be right, when we are down.

Things that we enjoyed doing, looked forward to doing, no longer have their appeal. No longer do we seek them out. Everything is a struggle, and seems to be too much for us to carry. It is during these times that we must realize that the world is not against us, but it is ourselves. We are actually at odds with ourselves. The battle rages within us. It does not stem from the outside, but rather has its origins from within us. Yes, people do pass away. Friends and relatives do disappoint us. But these are events, events which are OUTSIDE of us. You say, “Wait, I have a cancer, and that is not outside of me.” Personal illness, no matter what the problem, does not cause God to stop loving you. It does not invade your soul…unless we allow it. We are made of both body AND soul. There will always be sickness, and death and frustration. How we deal with these negative experiences, these gut wrenching, tear your heart out experiences, that is what determines who we are and of what we are made.

It was said up above that at times “it is difficult to feel God’s love”. To FEEL is the main word in that statement. God’s love is always there. He does not change. But, WE DO!! We feel good and we feel like praying. Things go wrong and we don’t want to pray, don’t feel like praying, or we pray asking God to work a miracle and let things change….for us. The old Baltimore Catechism defined prayer as, “The lifting up of the mind and heart to God”. That definition still holds true in today’s world. Whoever coined that phrase, really knew what they were saying. LIFTING UP… doesn’t that imply that we are down, depressed, struggling with the world in which we live? Lifting up our mind AND heart to God. We associate the heart with our feelings, our love, and our emotions. We are lifting up all of these to our God. We let Him know that we still love Him even as we have experience death in our family, even as relatives and friends continually disappoint us, even as sickness invades our body. Because we are striving to be at one with our God, we can still genuinely smile. Why? Because, being at one with Him is really all that matters.

You may think that this is out of order. You say, “We are affected by this world and we suffer because of it”. But this is not so. Think seriously about this: our emotions have become our masters, not our brain, not our mind, not our beliefs, but our emotions!!??!! We allow how we feel to dictate to us as to how we will live our day, today. Think about it, you know that this is true. We allow our sadness, our guilt, and our frustrations to rule over us. Yes, I said, “guilt”. We know we have done wrong, and we know that God loves us. But we allow our disappointment in ourselves, our guilty feelings, to sway our day, to affect how we live that day. Eventually, the guilt wanes and becomes almost forgotten…and we gradually FEEL better. Not because we have done something about it, but because we have forgotten it. The action that was done was still done. But our memory of it has faded into our subconscious. We don’t think about it anymore, we don’t want to think about it anymore, and thus… we feel better.

This is not intended to be a gloom and doom type of writing. No, on the contrary, our unchanging, immutable, constant God loves us. He sees our failings. He does not condone them, but He does understand the circumstances that surround them. He loves us. We are a confused, suffering, struggling, abusing creature that flounders in a sea of turmoil. Hate the sin. Love the sinner. That’s us, you and me! God loves us and will continue to love us. What is He waiting for? He is waiting for you and me to start really loving Him, loving a God who forgave us and died for us. He is waiting with arms outstretched to embrace us, but we must accept Him, love Him, and maybe even die for Him. When we recognize that our goal in life, our only goal, is to be one with Him, one in love, one in our actions, one in purpose then we will be truly following His example. The only emotion that we will then feel, regardless of the turmoil around us, is the joy of being one with our God, at peace with our God.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Feelings vs Actions
2) What is God To Me
3) God Walks With Us

Knowing vs. Believing

pentecost

Which is better: to know that God exists or having faith that tells us that God exists? It is, I believe, a very interesting point to think about. My initial instincts and possibly yours immediately lean towards knowing that God exists. And maybe, that is correct, I really don’t know for sure. But, consider what knowledge is, and how it is obtained. We study and we gain knowledge. We experience things and gain knowledge. Once we have learned something, we know it (or at least we retain it for a while…until we forget it).

We know things only because our mind has observed, studied and experienced different facets of temporal life. We know that the Sun can produce extremely hot, uncomfortable days and so we adjust and wear cooler clothing on those days. We know that concrete is hard and so we try not to fall onto it. Our mind is filled with all sorts of knowledge. Now let’s say, somehow we KNOW that God exists. We absolutely know and have proof that He is. We know it, end of story. I won’t get into the “how we know it”. We just know it.

Now I play the role of the devil’s advocate. Because we know the speed limit, do we follow it all the time? We know we are too heavy or too thin, do we faithfully adjust our diet accordingly? Those times, when we go against any of these things that we know, why do we allow ourselves to vary the course? Did we stop knowing? Did we forget it for that brief moment?

I believe the answer to this is found in the sentence above about “faithfully adjusting our diet”. Knowledge is good. Our mind must have the facts all the time, so it can make decisions. But sometimes those decisions will actually go counter to what our mind tells us. Knowledge is simply that …knowledge. It provides us information. It tells us the correct route to follow in order to get to work each day. It tells us how much of each ingredient is to be used in baking a cake. But you and I both know that there are times when we will go against what our brain is telling us. Why we alter our path, is probably because of our emotions. Knowledge does not deal in emotions, it just deals with facts.

Faith, on the other hand, does not come from our brain. Oh yes, there is much truth to be found in the words, and life of Jesus. And these truths are stored carefully in our brain. But the emotions that these release, these arise from our hearts, and our souls. We know that Jesus walked this earth, there are secular proofs that He existed. We believe, however, that this Man was also God. And, at that, our intellect balks. The thought that Jesus, a man, is also the Son of God, is too much for our logical brain. The Trinity, three persons in one God is also incomprehensible to our finite, limited brain. These can only be accepted through our faith.

Faith is a gift that God has given to each of us. We can use it, pray for it to grow within us, and love the possession of it. Or, we can solely depend on our brain, our logic. We can accept only that which we can understand, what we see, but not what we feel. Our intellect will not move us to tears. It will not feel the warmth of a loved one. Knowledge and facts will not direct our feet to help a drug addict lying in the street. Our intelligence, our brain, our knowledge will make us draw back from that person. Thomas A Kempis writes in his Imitations of Christ, “I would rather feel compunction, than know how to define it”. (Heart and soul over knowledge.)

The brain, as powerful as it is, as important as it is, is not the engine that brings us to love one another. The Apostles saw Jesus every day for three years. They heard His words. They saw His actions and His way of life. But it wasn’t until Pentecost that they understood what it all meant to them, to the world. The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, came to them and filled them with, not more knowledge, but with the ability to take all that they had learned and store it in their hearts and become part of them. If our Christianity consists only of what we know, and of what rules to follow, it will be sadly missing the mark. This Pentecost pray for the Holy Spirit to come to you and let your knowledge of Christ and His way of life fill the recesses of your heart. Pray that your faith is not limited to what you know, but expands into how you live your life. It is only with Jesus being in our heart, can we become united with our God. This union is what all of us require, need and live for. The circle of life is nothing more than coming from God and making our way back to God. This is our journey on earth. This is the journey of life.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Head or Gut: Brain or Heart
2) Suffering
3) Belief in Jesus
4) Help My Unbelief

Peace and Beauty

cloud and hawk

It must be my age because I have grown to love sitting on the back porch early in the morning. If you take away the sound of jet engines flying overhead, (only 8 miles or so away from the airport), if you blot out the sound of the cars’ and truck engines on the nearby interstate and roads, if you screen out the occasional sound of distant trains rumbling in the distance… what is left? Peace. Quiet. Beauty!

The sky, with its’ pale baby blue color and seemingly randomly placed clouds, can be so beautiful. The sounds of many birds, of different varieties, can be heard melodiously singing and chirping to one another. A hawk, gently circling on the thermals, effortlessly flies overhead. So much peace! So much beauty! Where did all of this come from? Why are we so fortunate to be part of all this beauty?

This beauty, this world, could not have just happened. Only a fool would say that this came about by chance. No. There must be an Architect, a Painter, a Creator. Since we know that no person could have brought this into existence, we postulate that there must be someone else, someone who has intelligence, has beauty, has love and above all has a purpose. This “someone”, we call God.

The whole concept of God is that He cannot change. If He did, then He would not be God. He cannot change His mind and He cannot make a mistake. So He knew from all eternity that the world would have problems. Problems that would arise because He gives man the freedom to choose. So He knew from all eternity that Jesus, the Christ, would also need to come in time, into this created world and show it how life is to be lived.

Christianity is not just a club. It is not a member’s-only organization. It is a way of life. It is a brotherhood. People believing in what Jesus did for us, what He said to us, and how He loved us. It is a people striving to live as He showed us. But there is more to it than just imitation, than copying a lifestyle. It is living a lifestyle.

So often, as a Christian we think along the lines of, “what should I be doing?” Should is the language of obligation not love. It has no business being in our mind, with respect to Christianity. Bonding with one another, treating each person with kindness and respect, these are actions that flow out of our love for Jesus. They are not mandates. They are not marching orders. These are actions that emanate from Jesus and the love we have for Him.

At the beginning of this writing I spoke of the beauty of nature and of God, the Creator, making us a part of this creation. What do the two have in common? It is not in the turmoil of the world that we will find peace and quiet and beauty. This turmoil must be stripped away so that we can truly find God. It is only when we can remove our worries, our frustrations, do we find real peace. The world says, “it cannot be done.” The world says, (or maybe we say), that our fears and worries and anxieties are necessary evils. Our fears, our worries, our anxieties ARE the evils. They are what consume us and prevent us from finding our God. It is only when we reach out and take the hand of Jesus which He holds out to us, it is only when we place ALL of our confidence in Him and trust Him, then, we can realize and understand the beauty of God. Think of what in your life is holding you back, preventing you from taking His hand. Do you think He doesn’t care about you? Do you think He is unaware of your worries? Trust Him. Believe in Him. Find the peace that He offers. It is there. It really is!

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Come Back To Me
2) Memories
3) The Love of Creation

Our Life and Jesus

jesus-last-supper

I fear that sometimes we don’t really understand what is going on with the Eucharist and Communion, at Mass. Let me explain, why I say this. This past Sunday my wife and I had the privilege of taking the gifts of bread and wine up to the priest. We think of the Offertory as the “collection”. But really, though necessary, the collection is symbolic of our lives that we bring to and present to God. In the morning offering prayer, we start the day, by praying, “…I offer you my thoughts, words, and actions of this day.” There is really nothing else, in our life, that falls outside those parameters.

I looked down at the golden ciborium which I was carrying. It held the little wafers of bread, to be received by us, after the Consecration. At that moment, I realized that these wafers represented, not just my offerings, but the offerings of all the people in the church. What a privilege to bring up to the altar all of the sufferings, pains, joys, thoughts, words and actions of all the people present at Mass, their offerings to their God. These small, seemingly insignificant pieces of bread carried with them all the hopes and dreams of the people present. Everything we do that day, we want it to be embraced by the small wafers. Our lives are poured into the chalice holding the wine. Everything we are, we are offering to God, through His Son, Jesus, at Mass.

Later during the Mass, the priest will say these words while holding his hands extended over those same offerings, (our lives), “Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect; make it spiritual and acceptable, so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ”. And then, shortly afterwards, the priest says the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: “This is My Body, which will be given up for you. Do this in memory of Me”. It is done. Our very lives are merged with Jesus. What we do, what we offer is made holy because of Him.

We hear terms like Mystical Body of Christ, or love one another, or take care of one another, and judge not. All of these tie in back to the Eucharist that we receive at Mass. We each receive Christ. He becomes us. We become Him. We are joined with each other in this Mystical Body of Christ. We are the arms and legs of Jesus. He can act through us, but only if we allow Him to act, only if we take Him to where He is needed. By that offering of ourselves, our lives, our troubles, our days we are asking Him to bless them and make them holy. We must love one another. We must take care of one another. And why wouldn’t we? Do we not believe that Jesus loves all of us? Do we not believe that He is in the Eucharist? Do we not believe that each person is united with Jesus when we receive the Eucharist? We ARE truly brothers and sisters.

I started this talk by saying, “I fear that we don’t really understand…” Let me ask some questions that each of us need to answer for ourselves in the recesses of our hearts. I go to Mass, but WHY do I go? What part of myself do I bring? Joy? Sorrow? Fear? Worries? Money? I receive the Eucharist on my tongue or in the palm of my hands…WHO or WHAT am I receiving at that precise moment? What is the Mass? What is my involvement in it? Am I at church because of my belief or out of habit? How I answer these questions should tell me what areas of my life I may need to work on. Jesus is always with us, YES! But we still need to invite Him into our lives.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) The Meaning of the Mystical Body of Christ
2) To YOU, My Friend
3) Be Me

body words

This morning at Mass, the thought struck me as people were going up to Communion, “We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ”. Our faith tells us that this is so, but what does that really mean? Stay with me on this, for I believe that this is critical to our belief in Jesus. I know I would always nod my head in agreement, “…yes that is true. I am part of the Mystical Body”. And then go about my day with about the same enthusiasm as if I had just pronounced a foreign word correctly. I did not really understand what was being said. My words were just … words.

We believe that at the Last Supper, Jesus broke bread and told His apostles, “This is My Body”. In John, 6:54 we read, “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” What life is Jesus speaking about? I live. You live. We have life. Of what life, is He speaking? Our natural lives are lived just as any animal lives on this earth. But there is something more than just this natural life. We have been given a mind, a spirit, a soul. It is about this life that Jesus speaks; a life that surpasses this worldly, temporal one.

We have been baptized with water and the Holy Spirit. Through that Baptism, we became part of this family of believers. As part of this community of believers, we receive Jesus in Communion at Mass. But what does this belief really mean? If we really believe that Baptism signaled our entrance into this Holy Community, into a oneness with God, then something is different about us. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus is the Messiah. We are saying, “Yes” that there is a bond between each of us at this Mass. We are saying, “Yes” that Jesus’ words are true…ALL of them.

So now, going back to the words of John, 6:54, we heard that only through eating the Body and Blood of Jesus, can we have true life within. Each person whether they realize it or not, by receiving Holy Communion at Mass, is becoming Jesus. We are no longer just parishioners in the parish. We are no longer simply fulfilling an obligation to attend Mass. We are not just friends, not just neighbors; we are brothers and sisters to each other. We are each other, because we are becoming Jesus. How often do we hear sentiments in the Bible, like “Love your neighbor, AS yourself”, or “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”, and again, “he that loves his neighbor, has fulfilled the law”.

The Eucharist is not something that we absent-mindedly stuff into our mouth. We are avowing that Jesus, the Messiah, the Crucified, the Savior is present, physically present, within. We believe in His words, and His life. We wish to become one with Him. ALL receiving this Sacrament are wishing to become one with Him. And thus, we become ONE with each other. We treat, (or should treat) each other with love and respect. This Communion is something special. Every time we take it from the priest’s hands, we are receiving Jesus, the same Jesus who preached to the multitudes, who forgave sinners, who cured the sick and the dying, who wept for His friend.

In becoming ONE with each other, we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Each person’s talents become gifts to be given to the people of the world. For, we are all brothers in this world, and as such we bring Jesus to each other. Our feet bring Jesus to people in need of Him. Our smiles, our tears, our assistance, our strengths and even our weaknesses, by all of these we show Jesus to others, we bring Him to our brothers and sisters of the world. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) The Mystical Body of Christ
2) To YOU, My Friend
3) Be Me

Divine Mercy Sunday and You

This is the hour of great Mercy

This is the hour of great Mercy

I am at a loss for words. There is so much I want to say to you, and my tongue is tied. I want to hold you by your shoulders, look into your eyes, and tell you, “The time is now. All of us, we need to embrace Jesus in a way that we have never done before”. Love Him. Thank Him. Profess our sorrow for taking so long to embrace Him. Trust Him.

We don’t have the luxury of putting things off. We cannot wait until tomorrow or next week, or next year. Doesn’t it seem strange to you that the world is in so much turmoil? The climate of the earth is changing. There is so much unrest in the world. Evil is drawing its last breath. Each of us has to make a choice. I am not preaching the end of the world, or preaching calamity. I am just saying it is time to wake up, to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We cannot continue to make excuses for our lives and the manner in which we live.

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul II set aside the Sunday after Easter to celebrate the wondrous, infinite MERCY of Christ. How long can we continue to put off our embrace, our acceptance of his Mercy? He knows that we have problems, and that we have sinned and have turned away from His Goodness. But that is exactly why He came into this world, to save us. We must acknowledge our state of life, the way we are living. We must truly look at ourselves, and honestly see all of our shortcomings. It is only through this acknowledgement and acceptance of His love that we will truly find the peace that we seek.

On the cross, when His heart was opened with the spear, it was symbolic of the love and mercy that would flow out to the world, to you and me. But we, with our free will, can say either, “yes” or “no”. Reading these articles doesn’t make us better. Reading the Bible, even, does not make us better, if it is just words to us. We must give ourselves totally to Jesus, totally to our God. Trust our God. Accept His mandate to love ourselves, to love one another, to stop judging others. Christ said, “Judge not and ye shall not be judged?” Stop. Look at where you are right now. Look at the excuses we make for our life. I am too tired, I am too busy, and I need to work more. I need to exercise. I need, I need, I need. If all we do is take and look out for our own needs, our own concerns, then we are never giving of ourselves to others.

Does it embarrass you to speak about Jesus to others? Do you feel uncomfortable in talking religion? Does your belief in God embarrass you? When all is said and done, the whole reason we exist is to give back to our God. We need to use our God-given free will to express our love for Him, to thank Him, to honor Him. When all is said and done…this is our purpose in life. Each of us has a different path to walk. Each of us has a story to tell. The expression of that story is one of the infinite ways that love is given back to God. Why be ashamed of your story?

On the day we call Good Friday, humanity was “bought” back through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, truly God and truly man, died for all mankind. We now are asked to accept or reject that sacrifice. Don’t be misled. It is not just a simple, “I accept”. No, it is more than that. It is understanding Who Jesus is. It is accepting what He says and what it means to us and our lives. It means looking at people not as obstacles, not as disgusting, not as annoyances, but as people needing love and care. It means looking at people as Jesus would look at them. Our life style will be changed forever.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the celebration of the mercy of God and His love for us. His promise to Saint Faustina was that His forgiveness, an ocean of mercy, would flow like a fount of water, if we would only ask for it. Realize that you are not alone and that we all have sinned and need forgiveness. Not one of us is without sin. The peace and joy that we are all searching for can be found in the heart of Jesus. Trust Him. Follow the Christ. Follow Jesus.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) Divine Mercy Sunday
2) Day of Divine Mercy
3) Mercy Sunday and Trust
4) Divine Mercy Sunday and Saint Faustina

power of god

In today’s Gospel, the story of Lazarus and his sisters, Jesus tells them to roll back the stone at the entrance of the tomb. Martha, one of the sisters, urges Jesus not to, “…because of the odor”. “Jesus said to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God?” (John 11: 40) These words, I believe, are the key to Christianity. If we believe in Him, if we trust Him our lives will be on the correct path. We will be living the lives of Christians.

We see the Apostles, after Christ’s resurrection, going out and teaching people and being amazed at what “they” can do. They cure the sick and the lame. They raise the dead. All of this is done, “…in the name of Jesus”. They believe in Jesus’ words. They believe that He is the Son of God. What they can do is a reflection of their belief. What they can do shows the power of God.

The beauty of this one passage, this one sentence shouts out to all of us, “Believe in Me”. It is our belief in Jesus, our faith, our trust, our devotion and dedication that permit God to work through us. He never forces Himself on any of us. He gave us free will and He waits for that free will to embrace Him. It is not a simple task. We see the saints’ lives enduring all forms of torture, physical, mental, and emotional, all in the name of Jesus. Why? Because they knew His words were true. If they believed in Jesus, they would see the glory of God.

It seems like such a simple statement, “I believe in Jesus”. But it entails a dedication, a devotion that encompasses our total life. We don’t always manifest this belief, and that is where we doubt ourselves and stop. We feel that this is impossible for us, and we stop trying. And, it is impossible!! It is, if we think that WE are going to accomplish this on our own. Belief, trust in Jesus is truly a dedication of ourselves to Him, to His words, to His way of life. It is a gift. The more we believe, the more the gift increases. We will trip, and stumble and fall as we try to follow Him. He knows that. But do we really think that Jesus is looking for results? Isn’t He rather, more interested in our conviction, our dedication, and our attempts at following Him, at being Him in our life?

We may suffer from sickness, or pain; we may worry about our children, or our parents; we may struggle with guilt; whatever the hurdles are that confront us, God is aware, and waits for our acceptance of Him. Acceptance in His name, belief in Him, not ourselves, this is what really frees us and enables us to see the power of God in our lives. Do you really think the Apostles performed the miracles? No, their belief in God, their love of Jesus, their dedication to His way of life, their trust, this is what enabled God to work through them. “Believe in Me and you shall see the power of God”.

Here are some other Posts that have a similar theme. Click on any one of them:

1) God Walks With Us
2) What is God To Me
3) Stop Tripping Over Yourself
4) Trust in God