Some days I love my life. But other days……….I need God’s help.

Some days I love my life. But other days……….I need God’s help..

Ain’t this the truth!  Most of the days…one way or another, I am in the latter camp.  Thank God He’s around to make sure every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.[Is 40:3–5; Lk 3:4–6] 

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Yes and the Naked Now

What is the secret to knowing God’s will?  It ultimately is extremely simple.  Whether it is extremely hard or not to live depends on me.

We start with the Naked Now.  God’s will for me is not in the past nor in the future.  The past is finished and in His Hands.  Nor has He revealed the future; it does not effect us right here and right now.  Thus, we are left with the revelation of His will, moment by precious moment.  We are asked to accept as from a Master, welcome as from a Lover, trust as from a Father, this moment, this Now as His will for me.  What is past is past.  What will be is not mine to see.  What Jesus is asking me is to follow Him right here, right now, unconditionally.

Unconditionally is part of Now’s nakedness.  No strings attached.  Nor is Now laden with any intention, any purpose, any reason other than Love; no innuendos, no hidden agendas, no trappings of any kind: that is its Nakedness.

It is not evil, it is the goodness of Creation God declared from the beginning, presenting itself to me.  I may not perceive it as good; cancer, illness, being fired, violence, even death, examined in the light of the naked now, are simply challenges for which God has given me grace to “choose life,” choose to Trust Him, choose to get out of the boat and walk through the storm to Him.

To do His will, in this moment, in this instance, in this choice…and the choice is mine, it is mine to receive or reject, to embrace or revile, to trust as God’s will or to attempt to control and change.

I may not understand the choice, I may not grok its implications for the future; God asks me to Trust Him.  On the other hand, I may completely understand the implications, I may, like the witnesses to our faith, be asked to make a choice for or against God, even if that means derision, scorn, suffering or ultimately death.  While we look at the second type of choice as a “defining moment” in life, in a sense, each moment leading up to that moment is a “defining moment.”  The second may be the moment of crystallization, but the other moments are the formulation of the solution, the imminent concentration, until at the fullness of time, a precipitating moment arrives, the choice is made and the rest is history.

Unfortunately, the solution can be contaminated or even completely corrupt and the precipitating moment either never takes place or it may crystallize for evil, not good.  It is in such a defining moment that the Holy Spirit is sinned against; one completely shuts Him out and he can no longer dilute the mixture with the grace of repentance.  God cannot forgive that for which one does not repent.  Though He still loves us “savagely,” with over-the-top type Love,  He regards our freedom of will too highly to impose what is not desired,…and for this reason He is in the anguish of the Garden when a sinner refuses redemption and heaven is in ecstasy for every sinner that repents.

What is the “Yes,” it is the echo of Mary’s Behold the handmaid of the Lord.   Be it done to me according to Your will,[Lk 1:38] and her Do whatever He tells you.[Jn 2:5] It is Dag Hammarskjöld’s For all that has been — Thanks. For all that shall be — Yes.[Musings]

How else can we make sense of Paul’s constant refrain: Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you [1 Thess. 5: 16-18].[1] Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. [Phil. 4:4] Each moment I can rejoice for You are with me and we are getting closer to Your coming and I know that whatever moment I am in, You are there loving and caring for me.  For this I can rejoice always!

Paul explains the Naked Now in Philippians, Chapter 4:

  • 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  Peeking through the moment of the Naked Now and saying “Yes” is not only reasonable, but blessed.
  • The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  You are indeed at hand, each and every naked now; all I need to do is ask and not be anxious; You are there caring for me.
  • 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This is the peace of God that passes all understanding, knowing and trusting that You are with me every moment of every day, and this peace will guard my heart and mind from fear, from illusion, from anxiety, from distress because I am in You, Jesus, my Christ.
  • 11 I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content….13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me and thus it is, by saying Yes in the Naked Now, that I am content and can do all things through You who strengthen me.

An Error in Time

Temptations are generated outside of the Naked Now and are judged and acted upon in the Naked Now.   The Devil uses both the past and future as sources for temptations.  The future is a gold-mine, literally, for avarice, lust, envy, pride, power while the past has both pride, lust, etc as well as the after-effects of sin: anger, denial, distrust, despondency, and despair. Thus, we prepare for sin by contemplating in the Naked Now not what is but what might be or what was.  If we can look at what is straight on, we see it in a different light, not the fire-light of passion, the spot-light of pride or despair, the golden-glow of avarice, the fire-works of power, but in the Son-light of reality.  We are still free to choose against what we see as Truth and Goodness, but we are not forced to do so.

The paradigmatic example of this is the temptation of Eve in the garden.  The serpent held out to Eve the future of being like God; thus the apple was not seen as a forbidden thing, but as an obstacle; the act not an evil act, but as a means to a “good” end. The moment before she ate the apple, she considered the devil’s temptations placed up against the loving directive of the Father who walked with them in the Garden, the nakedness of the comparison and the deliberateness of the choice was what gave this the title of Original Sin, original because it was the first, and also because all others thereafter were copies of it.

Fortunately, God takes into consideration our frailty and fallen natures.  He reads our souls and knows that we are subject to multiple mitigating conditions and circumstances.  Only He can judge our ability to make a weighed and rational decision, a grace-prompted choice.  For this, we thank Him and beg his continual mercy on us, sinners.


[1] See also 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil 2:18, 3:1; echoing the Psalms, Wisdom Literature and Prophets

The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

This short petition bears some of the hallmarks of a good prayer: persistence, clarity, a type of faith. What does it lack: reliance on God, His Way [which may not necessarily mean coming down]; His Will [both in this life and eternal life].

It also exemplifies the lengths to which a father will go for his children, taking a criticism and coming back for more. Protecting and caring for his child. Love of his child. He does not acknowledge the superior, grander, more inclusive love of His Heavenly Father for his son, the fact that his heavenly Father is more concerned about the man’s child than the man.

Another thing that is lacking in this prayer is thanksgiving,… thanking God always and everywhere for whatever happens. In His goodness, He wants only what is good for us, beneficial to our wellbeing, our eternal and temporal wellbeing.

I tend to get myopic and sloppy in my prayer, focusing only on things that effect me here and now, and forgetting St. Paul’s reminder: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The “this is God’s will for you” is what is, here and now, no frills, no yes or no’s, no thinking about it and deciding. Help me to accept this as God’s will for me right here, right now, in Christ Jesus.  Help me really mean: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen. Alleluia!!!

The Our Father: Compendium of our Faith

Salvation History

Commandments

Sacraments

Virtues

Our Father who art in Heaven Creation and Eden I am the Lord, Your God.  No false Gods before me Baptism Faith
Hallowed be your name Abraham/Moses Do not take my Name in vain Baptism Faith
Your Kingdom Come Judges/Saul/David/Solomon Keep holy the Lord’s Day Confirmation Hope
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven Prophets, Wisdom, Psalms,/Exiles Will on earth: Honor your Father & MotherWill in heaven: not kill, not commit adultery Marriage Charity
Give us today our daily bread Jesus life and death not steal Eucharist Temperance
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us Jesus Resurrection; whose sins you shall forgive… not bear false witness against your neighbor Ordination Justice
And lead us not into temptation The Church not covet your neighbor’s wife Reconciliation Prudence
But deliver us from evil Last Judgment not desire anything that is your neighbors Sacrament of the Sick Fortitude

Messiah Idol

11/12/13
So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jn 4:33
In Your Name, Jesus. Guide and inspire me, Holy Spirit, that I may pray as I ought.

I am right in there with the disciples, wondering who gave Him other food we do not know about! The Chuzpah! The idea! The brashness!

I, like the disciples, want to control You, Jesus, to know precisely what You are doing, to whom You are talking, what Your plans are, where You are going. Yet You are always doing things I don’t expect, talking to people I think You shouldn’t talk to, directing things differently from what I anticipated, wandering off the check on the street beggar, the dying derelict, the wounded felon. What kind of Messiah are You?

I find it much easier to conjure up in my mind the image of the Messiah I would have You be than to accept You as You are…Imagine, someone else bringing You something to eat. Unlike the oft heard phrase: “Not my job,” taking care of my idol Messiah IS my job. At least I want to think it is. That way I can determine what You want me to do, whom I should serve, what is right and what is wrong. You, in You idol form, are a very handy validator of my personal plan of salvation. So, it varies a bit from the one in the Bible.

Mine’s better! I can understand it, control it, foresee its ending. Can I do that with Yours? No. Yours reminds me constantly of You and Peter on the Sea, except I’m Peter and sinking fast. Even when I am walking, I can’t see a thing…Just You, there beside me…no end in sight, the wind and the waves crashing about my feet…is that any way to live a life? I don’t even know where we are or where we are going!

As I said, mine’s better…with a nice tidy beginning, middle and end! None of these excursions into the unknown or intrusions from God knows who.

No more alone time, we guard him night and day. Otherwise He just might go off and provoke those jerks in Jerusalem! And then where would we be! Back to square one with no Messiah Idol!

No more outside bread, got it! Amen. Alleluia!!!

One way to meditate

Aside

examen-me_125x125 copyI use examen.me’s Journal to mediate in the morning.  I am presently going through John’s Gospel, one verse a day.  Pulling a verse apart and getting all you can from it takes a bit of doing.  It also brings you face to face with the intricacy and delicacy of the text.  I recommend it highly as an exercise to bring you closer to God through the Scriptures and to slow you down and make you focus.

 

Believe in Love

“For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” Jn 3:20

Why do those who do wicked things hate light and truth and life and love? Why do they refuse to come to the light? They know that if they come to Jesus, he knows the heart of every man, woman and child, and will know their works and expose their works as evil. They retain the proclivity of our first parents who chose knowledge over life itself. They do not realize that the purpose of this “exposure” is not the exposure itself, but to elicit remorse, regret, sorrow and to encourage faith and the seeking of forgiveness and mercy…

But they do not believe in the goodness of God. If they are judgmental and without mercy, they build their god like themselves, a judge without mercy, a judge who does not love them, a judge who does not care about them, a judge who gives only what is due and nothing more. That is not Jesus who loves each and every one of them, who cares so much that He not only was willing to die for them, but actually did die for them, who gives not what they deserve but mercy and so much more.

This was the sadness which overwhelmed Jesus in the garden, that they wouldn’t accept love, caring, mercy, forgiveness and these, his lost sheep, his own loved ones who might never join Him in heaven.

May we not only believe in the Love that is Jesus but help others to come to believe in their Savior, their loved One, their merciful Brother, their Jesus.  Amen. Alleluia!!!