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.

 

The Temptations and the Passion

While meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries this morning, it struck me that there is a definite parallel between the temptations that Jesus experienced at the beginning of his ministry and the Passion sequence.

While Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, at Gethsemane, he is tempted to not drink the cup that the Father has given him. The two, combined, are, of course, what he has already changed into his Body and Blood of the new Covenant and required men to eat in order to be saved. From stones to bread to His Body, a phenomenal transition of being into God. The Word that feeds us is both the Scripture and the Word, Himself, of God, by which we live. Thus, the Bread become Body is that by which we will live in Him.

His confrontation with the Chief Priest ultimately brings Him to the point that He declares Himself the Son of God, the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Father. How much more powerful an image than the mere tossing oneself from the pinnacle of the temple so that angels would save him from dashing his foot against a stone. It should be noted his reply to the Devil which was indeed appropriate for the Sanhedrin also: ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”

Jesus third confrontation is with Pilate, symbol of the power of Rome. The Devil has offered him all the kingdoms of the world, if He would but bow down and worship the Devil. Jesus casts him out: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” And His rebuttal to Pilate’s inquiries about his kingship: “My kingdom does not belong to this world….You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” His are the kingdoms of the world. They are all part of the Kingdom of God which is the Kingdom of Heaven. The Devil had nothing but lies to offer Jesus, for Jesus already possessed what he offered. The Devil has been spending his time “roaming the earth and patrolling it.” God has given the devil power over the earth: “all that he has is in your power.” But not heaven, not God and not even ultimately; but the endgame is foretold: “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!” Amen. Alleluia!!!

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!!!

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

9/14/13
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”
How often we address these words to God…”How can these things be?” Though we do not question being born again of water and the Spirit, though we do not question those born of the Spirit being like the wind, we are apt to question everything else that happens in our lives. We do not trust God. We do not look upon the unfolding of our lives as being part of the plan of God. Instead, we look upon both the good and the “bad” that swirl around us as isolated incidents having little to do with our Sunday Eucharist. We look upon them as random happenings, without the golden thread of Providence weaving them into the fabric of the Kingdom. We look upon them as we look upon ourselves, equally foolishly, as being entirely independent, without biological and spiritual ties to every other person on this planet. Little wonder if we, to preserve the illusion of our own “freedom,” do not project the same mirage on the world about us.
It is under this guise that we have justified the exploitation of our natural resources, the contamination of our atmosphere, the deprivation of the basics of life to millions of our brothers and sisters, the hoarding of “wealth,” which in reality is nothing more than scarce commodities which are meant to be shared.
“How can these things be?” We stand in wonder, stupefied, not, ironically, at our own ignorance and idiocy, but at the natural and foreseen consequences of our own deliberate and inconsiderate, in the root meaning of that term, actions. As the phrase goes: “Duh????”
God, we have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear, brains but do not think. The Idol that we have created is not of gold or wood or brass, though these are a part of it. The Idol is in-dependence, any lack of ties to anything or anyone. We do not acknowledge our complete and utter reliance on You for every heartbeat, every feeling, every sight, every sound, every step, every bit of life we experience every moment of every hour of every day. This should not come as a complete surprise, for how can we acknowledge You who we do not see, if we do not acknowledge our dependence on, our relation with, our oneness in the unity of the human race, indeed the creation itself, from the farthest star to the infinitesimal neutrinos that whiz through our bodies millions of times a day. No, God is not his creation; our oneness with God is one sided, in a sense. We are creation and creation is us. That is how these things can be. Amen. Alleluia!!!