Tag Archive: What Can I Do?


HEADS IN THE SAND

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

veronica

We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus. So, why are we talking about Veronica and the sixth station of the cross? Birth of anyone is a happy occasion. So how much more joyful is the Birth of the Savior of the world? However, in this time of joy, it is very pertinent to think about Veronica and her actions as Jesus struggled along the sorrowful way.

Jesus came into this world for one purpose, the salvation of mankind. In six more days we will be singing hymns of joy, thinking back to the time of Jesus. We will ponder the hardship and struggle that Mary and Joseph had to deal with to arrive at Bethlehem. But we just cannot pass that off as a small part in the Nativity story. Ask any mother who has given birth, and I believe they will tell you that riding on a mule, for eighty or so miles during pregnancy, is not something very joyful.

Jesus came into this world to save us, to show us how to live, to show us how to treat others… how to love our God, and each other. His purpose cannot be any clearer than that. So what does this mean to us? How does our life differ because He came? How does our world react, since He entered into it? Nice story! Nice presents! A time to be happy…at least for a little while! And then, back to the old grind stone? Back to the old same old, same old?

That is not true. That cannot be the answer. Think about Veronica and her action of wiping the face of Jesus along the via dolorosa.  As an early believer, she didn’t have the luxury of 2000 years of philosophers, and theologians discussing the every why and wherefore of Jesus’ life. She heard his message. “Love your fellow man. Treat them with love”. “Love your God, by treating everyone with love”. How simple. How straightforward. How challenging.

Many times we think, “What does God want me to do”? Or, “What should I be doing with my life?” Those moments, sadly, are few and far between. More often, we think of what it is that we need. What is it that makes us happy, sad, comfortable, or uneasy? And then we take the necessary steps to either enforce, and prolong the good, or strive to rid ourselves of the bad.

Veronica heard the message either directly from the Master’s lips or from one of His early followers. She heard it and believed: Love your fellow man. She believed it so much that she pushed through the crowd just to wipe the sweat and blood from the face of Jesus. No one told her that this is what she must do. No one said, “You, go do it.” She knew and believed the message of Jesus. She knew He really meant it when He said, “Love one another.” So, she used her veil to wipe His face. He was suffering. And, this was something that she could do to help Him.

We seem to be waiting for someone to tap us on the shoulder to tell us what we should do, what would be good for us to do, and when we should do it. However, no one is going to beat us over the head telling us when and what to do. If you believe that Jesus really said, “Love one another”, then we have already been told.. Ah… but that is so difficult, isn’t it? Love everybody? Everybody?? I am to love even the person who dislikes me, persecutes me, or ignores me? Everyone!

What does that mean? How do I love others? Start looking at their needs, and see what can help them with their problems? Can I alleviate their problems? Do they need a friend? Are they looking for a shoulder to cry on? The list is endless. It varies with every person that we encounter. But in order to do that, we have to stop embracing ourselves. We have to stop looking out for NUMBER ONE. Forget your needs and truly see others’ struggles, hurts and tears. Love is being aware of others’ problems and seeing what, if anything, we can do to lend a hand. Veronica saw the sweat and blood, on the face of Jesus, and did what she could do to comfort Him. Do we provide comfort to others? Do we try to understand their difficulties? Or, are we so wrapped up with our own problems, our own needs that we truly are unaware of the sorrows and trials of those around us? This Christmas, try being a Veronica to others. Not because it seems like the right thing to do, but because a person needs your love, your loving concern. Love the infant Jesus, by loving one another.

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) Trust in God vs Fear to Relinquish Control
4) People or Objects

God’s Plan For YOU

gods plan

Very often we have thoughts like, “I love God.” “God is wonderful”. “I would do anything for Him”. And the list goes on. At these times we feel like we are walking on clouds everything is right with the world. But then things begin to change. Our checkbook doesn’t balance. We have harsh words with our spouse. Our children are fighting with one another, or, with us. They don’t seem to respect us anymore. Our neighbors don’t like us. They don’t talk to us or maybe say bad things about us. Our Spouse’s job is in jeopardy and we need that money, very much. Everything seems to be caving in on us.

We began to have doubts. What is happening to us? This is not right. We don’t deserve this. God has turned his face from us. God doesn’t like us anymore. Why? What did we do wrong? What’s wrong with God? Doesn’t he realize we’re doing everything we can? We try to begin to try to put an infinite God into our finite box of a mind.

It doesn’t work that way. We cannot bribe God. We can’t think along the lines of … “I will do this and I will, therefore, get that”. It doesn’t work that way. There is no bargaining with God. Petite, little man does not challenge, nor tempt his God. It is implausible to say I will do this or that action, because that action is good. And, because it is good, God will love me because of it. That’s not how or why we conduct our lives.

God has a plan for each and every one of us, for you, for me, for our brothers and sisters, for our mothers and fathers, for our children, for our neighbors, and friends. Everyone has a plan, a purpose in the infinite mind of God. Our task is to figure out what His plan is for us. But we don’t discover His will, by studying God. That would be like trying to solve an infinite puzzle. His will, his plan for us is in our heart, already. He put it there. We cannot be ashamed of our thoughts, our feelings, or our actions. We are creatures that have weakened ourselves, by our striving for our own wishes, desires and goals.

God sees us as we are. He knows us as does a parent. He sees our weaknesses and He loves us, fiercely. The plan that He has put into our hearts, yours and mine, will overcome all of those imperfections that rattle around inside of us. To find that plan in our hearts, we have to trust in Him. We cannot be self-absorbed. It might seem natural to worry about all that is going against us, but that is exactly the time we should manifest our love, our belief in a loving God.

Look into the eyes of Jesus and you will see no disdain. He is not judging you. He is not demanding that you act differently. He is gently loving you, telling you to not be afraid. “Trust in me”, His eyes tell us. He has shown us how to live, how we are to love, who we are to care for. He has told us to follow Him. To love Him. To trust Him. The Apostles followed the plan in their hearts. God put that plan in their hearts, just as He put the plan for you in your heart. They were just poor fishermen, following the advice of a wonderful stranger, who asked them to trust Him. What miracles is He waiting for you to accomplish? Just trust Him.

3 things

“Every now and then we see the world, as it is, and our heart, our very soul seems to sink. We see the ugliness, the selfishness, the way mankind treats one another and we feel so helpless. “Why do people treat each other so?’ we ask ourselves. It is so frustrating to be so helpless, really not knowing what, if anything, we can do. It is at these times that we must look into the eyes of Jesus for the answer.

While gazing at Him we must put ourselves into the very shoes of the people that discourage us. The immoral ones, the pleasure seekers, those questing for wealth and material things, the people that don’t like anyone, the people that think very little of the value of life, all of these we must try on their shoes. “Why should I do that? They are not me!” you declare in outrage. OK, let’s try a different tact. While gazing into His eyes, think of your own life. Think of that thing buried in the past that you really don’t want to think about. Think of those feelings, those hurts, those attitudes, those sins, those crimes even, that are buried in your past and you are glad that no one can see. The thought of “…it is good that nobody knows this about me, they wouldn’t like me, very much” is a good starting place. Oh, by the way, denial is not an option, because we ALL have these dark spots in our lives.

Are you still gazing into the face of Jesus? Don’t turn away in shame. Don’t avert your eyes. He is looking at you. Deep into your soul and … and … HE LOVES YOU. He loves us, in spite of all the ugliness that we have tucked away, hidden from people’s view. We cannot hide it from His view, nor do we need to. He really does love us. He loved Judas right up to the end, (and probably still does). He loved the soldier pounding the spikes into his hands and feet. He didn’t hate him, or wish him harm. He even loves the people in today’s world that are running amok, searching for something. He loves you and me, in our search for something. His love is unconditional. His gaze is not on the action that is driving the person. He is not focused on the lifestyles, or the immoralities, or the ugliness that we have. He sees a struggling, hurting, searching person that is desperate for relief, and doesn’t know where to turn, or where to look. His focus is on the person, on us.

Jesus is so very much a part of this world. We cannot bury Him in a history book. We cannot think of Him as living in a certain age or time. His message is so very much a part of the 21st century. His message is ageless. His hands are on our shoulders, as He looks into our eyes and softly encourages us, “Be Me”. Be me, when you see these people. They don’t need our condemnation; they need our love, our understanding. We cannot get bogged down in the filth, in the gluttony, in the search for pleasure, in the search for whatever is in vogue, today. Whether it is hammering a spike, or shooting a drug, we cannot, we must not focus on the evil being done. The person trapped inside that mind, that body, they are who we must see. He/she needs help our help. Maybe, it is our support they need. Maybe, they need our prayers. Maybe, they need us.

This is why it is so important to treat each person that we meet as a friend. Overlooking their actions, or rather into their actions, we just might meet someone who is looking for us. This cannot be pushed aside. These thoughts are Christianity, itself. We must see hope, when there seems to be none. We must see love in a loveless world. We must bring love to a loveless world. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that it is up to us, or, on our shoulders. That is an impossible task. We must bring that same Jesus whose eyes we looked into when we expressed our own woeful lacks. The love that He has given us is not for us to keep for ourselves. Filled with that same love, we must look into the eyes of others.

Newtown: 3 Days Later

Don’t just read this and nod your head and agree and then go about your day, as you normally do.

Now is the time to Change.

We are three days removed from the Newtown horror. What is being said? What is being posed as “solutions”? What are the TV stations saying what should be done? We are hearing arguments for gun control, safer schools, better understanding of mental health issues … and … the list goes on. It seems we are always addressing our problems from the rear. Our answers are re-active, knee jerks. Throw more money at a problem. Remove the objective cause of the problem. Make the bridge safer, the aqueduct stronger, the building more secure. Why is the solution ALWAYS outside of us? We didn’t pull the trigger. We didn’t buy the gun. We were not asked how to make the building safer. We want so hard to remove the problem, make it go away that we don’t address the whole problem…US.

The solutions for problems like these must rest within mankind. Mankind?… ehhh… that would be YOU and ME. I said in “Newtown: His Heart is Pierced Again” that the person committing these actions cannot know God. At the root of the problem must be his outlook on God, on life, on himself, on others. If he knew God, who is the source of love and goodness, he could not, would not perform such ugly, heinous actions. So the task of prevention must begin with the person…. Person? When we say the word “person” we are referring to ALL of mankind.

What are the beliefs of mankind? What is the educational background of mankind? What is the familial outlook of mankind? All of these questions are very valid? And all require some heavy lifting on OUR part. “Come on”, you say, “what do beliefs, or educational background or familial outlook have to do with ME? I am just one person. I don’t even live near Connecticut. What can I do? I am not a teacher and educator.”

For starters each of us must look within ourselves and see what we hold most important in our life. We must see what is at the top of the ladder and what is at the bottom. Where do we place God in the scheme of things? Money? Fame? Possessions? Pleasure? What matters most to us? If it is not God, then we are part of the problem. How can such a bold statement like that be made? What matters most to us, will drive our actions in our daily lives. If God is not important to me, then it doesn’t matter to me if our country takes Him out of our schools, our courts, our libraries. We will remain silent on that issue. If God is just an afterthought, then other things that the world presents to me will be ahead of Him. What we pass on to our children will be these very same values. Our value system will become theirs. If we don’t care for God, then they will not know God.

I hope you understand that even though your children are grown up, even though you have no children, even though you are not yet married, whatever your state in life, you are important. Your value system WILL be passed on to someone. Don’t just read this and nod your head in agreement and then go about your day, as you normally do. YOU are mankind. Jesus came to save us, you and me. His value system should be ours, must be ours.

Taking on the value system of a Christian, and believing in Jesus do not happen overnight. To form a friendship with a person, we must work at it. We are drawn by something they say or do, we get to know them better as a result. We eventually think of them not as a stranger but as a friend, a dear friend. Gradually, some of their outlooks, their values become ours, as well. The same is with the friendship we have with Jesus. Get to know Him. In your mind and heart, weigh what He says. Grow close to Him, really close. Listen to the words he chose to say. “Let the children come to me” (you and I), “The healthy have no need of a physician” (what is He telling us?), “Go and do likewise”, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. There is so much love and goodness laid out before us. But we need to HEAR it, to THINK about it, to ACCEPT it. Pray that His words become part of you, part of your lifestyle. Then, as St. Paul says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Then what we pass on to others will be the love of Jesus and through that love the world WILL change.