ON SEEKING

My story is not more important or deeper than any other person’s story.  Every wall I banged into and every bridge I crossed brought me to this moment.  I continue to seek and to find and to seek again.  As I went along on the road to today’s faith, I tried to solve the great mystery of God and what my place in God’s world could be.  As I went deeper into my Catholic faith, I found that not only was the mystery of God more than I could ever grasp, but that the mystery of myself was just as great.  Who am I that God could love me into existence?

On seeking an answer to the two mysteries (God and self), I would get to a place in my faith where a veil would lift.  I’d gasp in response and meditate on the beauty and wonder of it all.  For instance, I just read a small publication from Paulist Press called “Poverty of Spirit” by Johannes Baptist Metz.  In it Johannes says there is more to being a human being than conception and birth.  He says we are challenged to accept ourselves.   He said “assent to God starts in our sincere assent to ourselves, just as sinful flight from God starts in our flight from ourselves.  In accepting the chalice of our existence, we show our obedience to the will of the Creator in heaven; in rejecting it, we reject God. 

I never looked at myself in a good light.  I mistook this as humility.   I didn’t realize I was telling God he made a mistake when he made me.  Today I know when I start the negative self talk that I am complaining about God’s handiwork.  I must accept the chalice of me.

Another point brought out in this little book concerned the three temptations of Christ and the devil’s underlying intention of tempting Christ to let go of His human nature and utilize His divine nature.  It would have made the Incarnation “an empty show” and would have lessened His sacrifice.  When I read that, I understood for the first time the reason for these temptations.  And the obedient Christ did not falter, but rather won for us forgiveness of sins right up to His death on the cross.

Each epiphany lifts a veil.  God is being revealed to me moment by precious moment.  I seldom find anything if I am not first seeking the answer.  I know I will never totally know God in this life, but nothing beats seeking Him.  “Seek and ye shall find.”

Advertisements

PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU

In Matthew 5:34-48, we read:  Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what recompense willyou have?  Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that?  Do not the pagans do the same?  So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

We are urged to be perfectly loving.  It is difficult to be loving to all and especially to those who don’t like us or put us down.  What could Jesus have meant by that verse in Matthew?  I think He meant just what he said.  He doesn’t say “like” those who persecute you.  He says “love.”  That’s a much different action. 

To love is to want the best for that person, to care about their well being in spite of their behavior.  We are called to model Jesus.  As He hung from His cross in adject pain, he promised one thief that he would be with Him in paradise and he asked the Father to forgive his persecutors for “they know not what they do.”  I don’t know that I could have done that under the same circumstances.  That’s why Jesus is God and I’m not.  But what we are asked to do is to try – to shoot for perfection and be accepting of  just making progress.

In today’s world there are examples of people loving those who persecute them.  It came from the people who lived in the Amish village  in Pennsylvania who, after their young girls were murdered, they went to the home of the perpetrator’s widow and not only offered their sympathy but brought food and comforted her.  And, when the news media made a circus out of the event and came in droves to the school house, they tore the building down and planted grass where it had been.  Normally the news would never publicize the good that men do, but the murders were so horrific that they forgot themselves and broadcast their visit to the widow’s house.  The message left by the Amish still makes me inwardly stand up and take notice.  Their love of neighbor is exemplary. 

In attempting to be loving to all, I find my battle between my will and God’s to be tremendous.   I can come up with a few reasons I find it difficult to love certain people in the blink of an eye.  I have a strong sense of fairness when it comes to me.  But, Jesus calls us to love anyway.  If He could love from His cross, we can certainly try from our little crosses.  His commandments – to love God and love our neighbor could not be plainer.  

Lord, give me the grace to love!

MY LIFE BECAUSE OF YOUR DEATH

This morning I am alive in remembering Your death and resurrection.  I am listening to the sweet refrain of Your love in this early morning.  I am alive in a grace-filled moment of remembering Your death. 

I spoke with a physical therapist about you, Christ.  She told me that when you were hanging from the cross the weight of your body prevented you from breathing.  She demonstrated the shift in your body and explained exactly where the nails penetrated so that the ligaments could hold You up.  Her demonstration made your suffering so real.  Your death fulfilled the Old Testament because they didn’t break your bones.  The two thieves had their legs broken which quickly suffocated them.

How could man even think of such a death?  Life didn’t mean much until You resurrected from the dead?  Now life has a purpose – to be with You in eternity.  Our lives have supernatural goals!  Thank You for giving my life a destination.  Thank You for loving us so much that you were willing to be beaten, ridiculed, and hung in abject pain publicly.  How can You possibly love us this much?