Tag Archive: Denial


heads in sand

We have all heard that ostriches stick their heads in the sand when they sense danger. This is really not true, and is recognized as a myth. The ostrich can run 45 miles an hour for a half an hour, at a time. There is no need to hide from danger when it can outrun everything on the planet. Though we recognize that its’ burying of the head in the sand is untrue, the saying still persists today. We use it when we feel someone is hiding from the truth, not willing to face some unpleasant facts, or just doesn’t want to be bothered.

How many of us really attempt to understand ourselves? How many of us strive to recognize our own weaknesses? Do we really want to grow and mature? Or, do we just want to sample the pleasures of life, the joys of relaxation, or the satisfactions of stress-free living? Take a look at how many games there are on the Iphone, and on other mobile devices. Why are there so many? It is because, people want escapes. People don’t want to think, it is too much trouble. Look at our political parties of today. They are not seeking global solutions. They are not seeking how to eliminate problems of global warming, of over saturation of firearms. They just want to win the game. They just want to beat the other party. It is a game that they are playing. Who can get the most votes? Who can get the most marbles? They see, that we don’t seem to really care, so they feel they don’t have to, either. If we did care, we would be storming every political platform demanding solutions. But sadly, the rest of us, we don’t want to think, either, so we play the game also. It’s called, “What’s wrong with this candidate, or that one?” We don’t want to play the one called, “What’s wrong with us”?

There will be a day of reckoning. God did create mankind, whether we want to believe it or not. He did give us a free will. He gave us an intellect. And He gave us His Word made flesh to show us how to live, how to thank God. He also showed us the terrible nature of sin and what its costs are, both to ourselves and to Him. He warned us about being lukewarm, “…for I shall vomit thee out of my mouth”. We can blithely go along with our lives, playing our mobile games, worrying about the cleanliness of our house, pretending that we care for others. Unfortunately, we are only fooling ourselves. We are joining in on the game of life, as played by our society of today.

It is a difficult task, to look ourselves squarely in the eye and realize that we are fooling only ourselves. It is much easier to continue the ways that we have learned, and keep walking down that path. Wake up people!! Please, all of us must wake up. It is very easy to say, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket” and then do nothing more than wring our hands. To do something about it, however, is more than hand-wringing. We must understand what we have, and then, offer it to others. We, of and by ourselves, cannot change the world. We can only begin the change in our own life, in our dealings with others.

It seems impossible? Let me ask you a very, very serious question, “How much will the world change, if everyone does nothing?” If each one of us can do some good in this world, if each one of us can help someone who truly needs it, if we can love that person who really annoys us to no end, then that is a start. If each one of us reading these words, begins to look at ourselves meaningfully, and seeks to correct our own life style, then who is to say that that will not affect others to do likewise. Before we get carried away and start thinking that WE are going to make a difference, we must recognize that there is one little thing wrong with that statement. WE can do nothing by ourselves.

WE do not have the insights, the wisdom, not even the love that is required to bring this all about. Wait, before you go picking up that Iphone game again, WE can’t, but God CAN. If we can love Him, accept Him, trust Him much like the Apostles and His followers did, then He can work through us, just as He did with the twelve. The Apostles didn’t cure, heal, and cause the fire in others’ hearts! Jesus did, through the loving, and trusting Apostles. WE must bring Him to the people that we meet. WE must show Him and His love to those that we cannot stand. We must help Him recover the world from all of the wasted time, the pleasure seeking, the laziness, the greed. But to do any of this, we must truly open our hearts and our minds to Him. He cried out on the cross, “I thirst”. He is not looking for water. He is thirsting for souls, yours, mine, and the world. These are not my words. They are straight from Mother Teresa’s prayers and lifestyle. This is what she taught the nuns in her convent. This is what she wants to teach the world. Christ’s thirst is for you and for me. If we love Him, trust Him, give ourselves completely to Him, then He will work through us.  We can bring to others His love, His kindness, His care. Only these actions will quench His thirst.

Lastly, to do any of this, we must stop looking for distractions, diversions, or things to take our mind off of what we are sadly lacking. We must stop burying our heads in the sand. We must look at ourselves in the mirror and see not acne, not gray hairs, not weight issues but rather a soul longing to be at peace, a face that is worried because so much of its life has been seeking meaningless balms. We must see a face looking back at us that wishes to quench the thirst of Christ with its own life. Don’t you see, our life as Christians, as Catholic Christians is meant to be lived embracing Him, loving Him, and bringing Him to everyone? Only through our faith, our love which He instills in us, can we approach and bring Him to others. There truly is no other way.

The 4 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) One Of You Will Betray Me
2) Who Are You
3) Who We Meet Along The Way
4) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

One of You Will Betray Me

The Gospel today, focuses squarely on Judas Iscariot. Why? Why not Peter, as well? Both men turned their backs on Jesus. Peter with his denial and Judas with his betrayal, both spurned the Christ. In effect, both men wanted nothing to do with Jesus either out of fear or out of greed.

The only difference between the two is faith. Though both had fallen, as all of us do, Peter never relinquished his faith in Jesus. The realization, of how great his offense was, reduced Peter to tears. And in his sorrow, in his time of trial, he fled back to Jesus who was waiting for him. Judas, on the other hand, on his realization of the magnanimity of his offense, despaired. One, relying on his faith in Jesus, returned with sincere sorrow, grateful in that faith that he would be forgiven. Judas had no such strength to fall back on. His faith in material things delivered no such solace. With no reliance on Jesus, his life proved to be empty, meaningless and he sought the coward’s way out, he hung himself.

No one is perfect. Neither you nor I can point our incriminating finger at Judas without turning that same finger back upon ourselves. Christ said it, Himself, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…”-1  This is not an attempt to soften our own negligence, to make light of our own capricious living. We are all struggling to bring our lives into accordance with God. Yes, He understands our frailty. But our weakness cannot be our excuse. Our lives will always be a continuing struggle. Life is a struggle to excel, to succeed, to grow.

In what are we struggling to excel? To succeed? To grow? That is the important aspect of our lives. If material things are of paramount importance to us, then in that, we have placed our faith. What occupies our main focus during the day? Then in that, we have placed our faith. It is not rocket science. What do we want? What do we desire? What moves us, and motivates us? That, and only that, will show us what our primary concern is. Yes, we should be attentive to our finances, our children, our home, and our jobs. But these concerns must always be placed within our trust in God, our faith in a loving, caring God. We can, like Peter, place our trust in Jesus. Or, we can place our trust in things. What will warm you the most? Which will comfort you in your time of need?

-1 John, 8, 7

Who We Meet Along the Way

In today’s Gospel (Mark 8: 34-38) we hear the words of Christ echo down through the ages to us, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” It is easy for us to hear these words and cringe: “Deny himself!!”, “Take up his cross!!” “Follow Jesus??” To where? The cross? These words have traditionally sent shivers down our collective spines. We are used to pampering ourselves, getting whatever we want, whenever we want it. To purposely set out on a path to deny ourselves is almost alien to our nature. It is not ALMOST, it IS. (Altruism seems to be more of a divine quality, than a human one.)

And what about taking up our cross? Christ is saying not only play the hand that has been dealt to you, but for you to take comfort in it. This is too much!!! Who in their right mind would seek out some of the hardships we put up with? And…. accept it? I don’t think so.

But wait! Let’s take a closer look at what Christ is saying. We portray the words “deny himself” in a kind of Lenten-type denial, an abandoning of the pleasures and joys to which we have grown accustomed. But there is another possible meaning of these words. Blend that concept of denial of oneself, with the concept of allowing Christ to work in and through us. It is still a denial of ourselves, but the emphasis is not on what is being given up. The emphasis is rather on what we are seeking to become … a vessel to be used by Christ. In trying to be that person who wants Christ to work through us, is seeking to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. When put in this light, the denial of ourselves fades into insignificance. Weigh on the one hand the pleasure or joy that we fear giving up, against the willingness to become an instrument of Christ’s love and peace for our little piece of the world.

Blend all of these thoughts together: Loving everyone (regardless of their cleanliness, of their ability to irritate you, regardless of their power, their color, their intelligence, their national origin), loving and treating them with true concern and affection. This is no small task. It cries out to being something other than human. It humbly asks Jesus to take us with all of our faults and problems and transform us into being a vessel of Christ. Asking Him is the easy part. Trying to do the “Loving everyone” part is the challenge of Christianity. But without the love, without the concern for people we won’t make the attempt to draw close to people. And without our coming in contact with our fellow man, Christ cannot act through us.

Jesus is no fool. He asked His disciples and He asks mankind down through the ages, to deny themselves and follow Him, to follow Him so closely so as to be Him. This is the challenge of Christianity. It has always been there, for all the ages to hear. Trust Jesus so much that every moment of every day we place our lives in His hands. Not my will, but Thine be done! This is the denial He seeks, a trust in Him, so profound, so complete that our very lives are handed over to be extensions of His will. This is a lifetime’s journey, but one that we must ask Jesus to help us start.