Simply Sunday ~ Remember

We are at a time in which it seems there has been a great falling away from God. Disbelief – many feeling there is no need for an Almighty God who created and is involved in every step of our lives.

Power and money pervade society. In many ways it is not longer “keep up with the Jones” but “I have more than you, you are insignificant”. This does not lessen the need for a deep relationship with God – it makes this relationship all the more important.

While there has been a falling away, I believe He will be found, though perhaps in ways often most different than historically taught. Many formal religions remain out of touch with who God is and have tried to hoard Him away for the few.

Our God is Almighty. Belonging to everyone and His/Her (because we do know God was neither male or female) love of all of creation. Knowing God, loving God and each other as God has intended from the very beginning of the bible. A book which too has often been used as a weapon instead of the love letter it was intended to be.

Remembering our loving Almighty God, Recognizing all of the Gifts God has rained upon us with abandon we are to go forward in life in celebration; of our selves as created by God, each other as He made us for each other – and in celebration of the greatest being who designed, created and loved us from the beginning of time.
Wandering away from a religion/church that is not honestly and truly bringing people closer to the way Jesus lived and taught is not a bad thing. Jesus himself walked away from such a religion – did He not? His lesson is slowly being seen by more and more who seek to find, share, teach and love Him in new ways – that are truly old, originally – the way. There are Christian spiritual groups and centers that are growing with knowledgeable advisers assisting.
In my last article I mentioned a talented musical artist Lauren Daigle. I wrote of how her *Christian music is hitting the main stream – which is such an important gift! Listening (in the background) to this past Thursdays episode of Grey’s Anatomy I heard a familiar voice. Another song from her newly released (record-breaking) album “Look Up” her song “Rescue” was played. Beautiful.


Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Paul Mabury / Lauren DaigleRescue lyrics © Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Playing through some of her other songs from this album “Remember” resonated with me, where I have felt in the past few months. Despite the darkness that can sometimes invade our space, looking for His light, warmth, tenderness and love is what can and does see us through. I hope and pray that my sharing this love of God with others will help others know with confidence that God will prevail over all and we are saved in His arms.


Songwriters: Lauren Daigle / Chris Tomlin / Ed Cash / Jason Ingram / Paul Mabury Remember lyrics © Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Remember

Lauren Daigle

In the darkest hour, when I cannot breathe
Fear is on my chest, the weight of the world on me
Everything is crashing down, everything I had known
When I wonder if I’m all alone
I remember, I remember
You have always been faithful to me
I remember, I remember
Even when my own eyes could not see
You were there, always there
I will lift my eyes even in the pain
Above all the lies, I know You can make a way
I have seen giants fall, I have seen mountains move
I have seen waters part because of You
I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember)
You have always been faithful to me
I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember)
Even when my own eyes could not see
You were there, always there
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I remember, I remember
You have always been faithful to me
I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember)
Even when my own eyes could not see
You were there, always there, with me
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
I can’t stop thinking about
Your goodness, goodness
I remember, I remember
You have always been faithful to me
I remember (I remember) I remember (I remember)
Even when my own eyes could not see
You were there, always there, with me
Songwriters: Lauren Daigle / Chris Tomlin / Ed Cash / Jason Ingram / Paul Mabury
Remember lyrics © Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Feeling bombarded by sin and tragedy? Look upward

I have been looking for work since June.  Very stressful.

Because I have my toddler grandson with me in the evening I rarely watch the evening news.  I do however do the news roll on my smart phone.  Babies crib is still in my room, when I settle him in for the night I usually lay on my bed for a few minutes while he settles down.  Perhaps not the smartest habit – it is what it is . 

Tonight I came across a story of a wedding photographer elbow pushing the stepmother of the groom out-of-the-way so she could take more pictures.  I have a feeling the photographer was a friend of the bride.  Looking at the video it was clear she had her first kiss pictures before stepmom stepped in the way – and regardless, photographer or not you do not physically push someone else out of the way like that.  What has happened to manners and civility?

Yesterday morning the news scroll showed me a now deceased priest has been accused of child sexual abuse that is said to have happened decades ago.  I looked at the archdiocese website.  Though they stated no moves for six years there are tens of moves  listed this past month or so and some include out-of-state, *more than one listed as no longer in diocese and removed from mailing lists – oh?!!

Business As Usual.

I realized looking at this list that I cannot and will never trust this religious church. This does not mean there are not clergy whom I trust there is.  However, the church overall, for me simply is no longer a house of God.  I can’t fall for the line of the church being the “good” people “there” because the church is all over the world in many religions and for Jesus, it was never a building and His love is not within an institution. 

As a survivor of domestic violence I would ask this – if it was wise for me to leave my husband/abuser even though he could appear good and nice at times, knowing the sickness within – why would anyone really stay within the walls of the Roman Catholic church and support it’s sin

So, I find myself struggling to find some balance with this and with what has been asked. 

I have a separate article in mind to write over the next day or two on this topic.

Last night I woke during the night and . . . picked up my phone to read for  few minutes.  I read the news of the mass murder in California, many young people it seems who were or were attending local Christian colleges, out line dancing for the night.

Political news and rumors abound.

Last week, Mathew Shepard was laid to rest in the lower level of the Washington Cathedral.  Twenty years after his horrific murder – a hate crime as he was out as a homosexual.

Over the last week or two, also in the news have been stories about a young woman, Christian singer Lauren Daigle.  She has broken record sales recently for her music.  When she was asked, and did perform on the program “Ellen” she was attacked for playing music for a lesbian, for “them”, “gays” , “sinners”  etc. etc.  Knowing this she stated the following:

“I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren’t, we’ve already completely missed the heart of God,” Daigle said during a recent interview with WAY-FM Radio. (Quote published in People Magazine).

“I don’t have all the answers in life and I’m definitely not gonna act like I do, but the one thing that I know for sure is I can’t choose who I’m supposed to be kind to and who I’m supposed to show love to and who I’m not, because that’s the mission right?” she continued. “Be who Christ was to everyone.”

As a Christian, I know I am not perfect.  We all sin (though I didn’t realize missing mass was a “mortal sin” until the other day – seems like blackmailing people to go to mass.  I do love Jesus and all He has taught and represents. 

I don’t understand why I haven’t found a good job yet, I can’t solve the hours my son works but I can love the baby as a mother and I do.  I won’t uproot and move out-of-state as my son asks so I will lose them probably at some point, to their new lives if we can’t figure something out.

I cannot fathom why any man would choose to murder kids in cold blood nor will I ever understand the misplaced hatred toward God’s children who love someone of the same-sex.  I can however speak on these topics, I can love these people because at the end of the day isn’t that what life is all about?

Lauren Daigle doesn’t seem to be affiliated with any particular denomination but she has been a faithful disciple of Jesus, performing for hundreds of thousands over the years.  Now, she is on “main stream” TV.  Look up her website and her performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon of 11/7/18.

Look Up Child
Lauren Daigle
“Where are You now
When darkness seems to win?
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling?”
Jesus – is here with us.  His words through Lauren are a reminder of this – His constant love. 
Realize she appered – not on a religious program, not on a religious network this was on main stream talk t.v.  Christian songs. 
Nones and others.  Seeking Him
The church is falling – but He will not.  
 
Look up!

Loosing touch with all that matters. . .

In recent days I have found myself with more time contemplating on several matters that are going on in the world, country, state, surround me and . . . flow through me.  Topics, issues, people close to my heart I ponder and stay in prayer.  Knowing our Father is always there has been a comfort in my life that I wish all knew.  With a variety of stresses in our world, country, state and religious events/issues at hand I have heard (and read) many clergy suggest staying in prayer.  Something so easy for some, others struggle with.  Staying close to God does not guarantee and easy pass in our lives or that he will give us what we want, when we want it or that we will ever see it.    

Prayer is about offering thanks to our loving Father, asking for continued guidance, support and love.  So often (as in earlier today) I have read of prayers being compared to a Christmas time “Santa list”, yes there are many who think this way but it is only because they have never been taught or told differently.

This morning I felt drawn to a website I do not frequent. I found myself reading that a beloved Pastor  who I have read and written about passed away.  Rev. Dr. John Pelletier  passed on September 15, 2018.  His informative obituary can be found and read here: Please take a moment to read . . .

Though I never met Reverend Pelletier learning some of his story though a parishioner, then research for my article on revoking the celibacy requirement.  I have listened to a handful of his homilies, feeling torn for listening – finding a comfort from my childhood,  “bad” because I have been a practicing Catholic and I know he was not in “good standing” with the Roman Catholic church.  Details in his above obituary, he was a Priest for many years and left the church to walk a new path in and with Him.

Odd though that it is –  how so many abusers; Priests, Bishops, Cardinals remain in “good standing” and those holding them up – no?  Whom is the good example?  Who really walked the talk?  

Loosing touch with all that matters?

In truth I know our Father set me about on this path.  I have had a very close relationship with our Father and have followed where He has led though not always clear and certainly to the confusion of myself and others and sometimes I would dare to say frustration with several of us.   Still, I persist as a child I suppose – as that is what He has asked of me.   Two things that appear as one.  This article however is not about me. 

This is about a good and faithful man of God who lived his life in Christ *as Jesus taught.  His wisdom, honesty, knowledge and love flowed through the homilies I have listened to and I dare say I will over time listen to a few more.  Once a month it seems there was “open discussion” on the gospel reading which in listening to you hear women – and men offering what they took away from a particular reading with the reverend speaking mostly at the end.  Reminding me that this is how Jesus would have taught, listening to those thoughts and questions from the groups He spent time with.

These homilies are different in many ways from those we hear in the Roman Catholic church.  They offer historic and geographic insight into readings as well as the stories so that we hear lessons on proper perspective. 

I know there are clergy and perhaps others in the church who may consider Pastor Pelletier smugly for his life choices, however He lived a good life in God and abided by His teachings and lessons.   He had so much to offer and teach all of us.

“He doesn’t say I want you to be identical to me, He doesn’t say I want you to be identical to all those people, He says; I want you to know that God identifies with all those people and what you do to them, you do to me” Reverend John Pelletier

Please take the time to listen to his last published homily:  ‘Identity/Identify – Matthew 25: 31ff.’ August 19, 2018 by Rev. Dr. John Pelletier  

“loosing touch with all that matters. . . .”Reverend John Pelletier

. . . a  quote I have pulled from this sermon.  My mind thought back to yesterday, when I read a facebook post about the costs and desire to erect a statue of the “Virgin Mary” on the southern boarder wall.  Loosing touch with all that matters ~ My first thought was “why not Jesus?  Kneeling with arms outstretched as in “let them come unto me”.  Then I thought – why not spend the funds on aid to assist those needing legal help.  Christianity is Jesus Christ, Mary served her part in giving birth but the focus is always to be God.  Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

God > teachings *of God who is Love.  Always first.

Have you lost touch with what really matters in Him, in life?  Thoughts to ponder.

Prayers offered with thanks for a man who walked with, talked with and taught Jesus.  He will be missed for sure by all those that knew him personally, as parishioners and those few such as myself who stumbled across his homilies and teachings in most unexpected ways.  May he rest peacefully in His arms.

Prayer is the light of the soul

This very much a favorite of mine. Though this is a homily, it’s topic is prayer and it fills my heart each time I read it, another who understands – who walked this earth so many years ago.

St John Chrysostom (Hom 6 on Prayer)

A homily of Pseudo-Chrysostom

Prayer is the light of the soul

“The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him. When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time, but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.
Indeed the soul should not only turn to God at times of explicit prayer. Whatever we are engaged in, whether it is care for the poor, or some other duty, or some act of generosity, we should remember God and long for God. The love of God will be as salt is to food, making our actions into a perfect dish to set before the Lord of all things. Then it is right that we should receive the fruits of our labours, overflowing onto us through all eternity, if we have been offering them to him throughout our lives.
Prayer is the light of the soul, true knowledge of God, a mediator between God and men. Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace. The soul seeks the milk of God like a baby crying for the breast. It fulfills its own vows and receives in exchange gifts better than anything that can be seen or imagined.
Prayer is a go-between linking us to God. It gives joy to the soul and calms its emotions. I warn you, though: do not imagine that prayer is simply words. Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says: For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.
If God gives to someone the gift of such prayer, it is a gift of imperishable riches, a heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. Whoever tastes that food catches fire and his soul burns for ever with desire for the Lord.
To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.”
 

Spiritual Reflections – Salt of the earth – Mathew 5:13-16

St. Mathew 5:13-16

“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’


As Disciples of Christ we are connected in Him. The examples He uses to encourage growth in faith, hope and love is salt. When we allow our growth to become stagnant we have nothing to offer, our knowledge in His faith, hope and love mean nothing.

Jesus goes on to say “You are the light of the world”. We are to use our knowledge of Christ; faith, hope and love, The Holy Spirit, God the Father and let the light within illuminate us, so that others too, can learn of Him.  Let them see Him in Me, as we go about our lives.

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St. Peter speaks of :

The Power of God’s Promise

3His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. 4 Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, 7 devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.

“Further more, He aids us in this by helping us to supplement our faith with virtue (goodness). With goodness we gain Knowledge (of Fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22-23)” Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” This knowledge compels us forward to learning more.”

We we accept these gifts from our Father we are given tools for growth in faith, hope and love, to spread the word and use in our own relationships.

 

Light of the World

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Cannon Law -Roman Catholic

“Can. 940 A special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ is to shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.”

Over the years, I have spent many hours before the tabernacle in prayer. Raising three boys along with other household issues, it was difficult at times to find a peaceful area to commune with God.

ca58284d5a9b45a4a7825720d2dc5b75.jpg

I took this photo one evening of a winter passed.   During a trying time in which I found it difficult to find the connection I sought with the Holy Spirit. Extra house guests, youngest son, his young lady and Ella my gran-pup were staying with us and my apartment was bustling with activity.

While the room was in darkness, save for the light by the tabernacle, the love and light of our triune God filled my heart and soul.

Published 2016- As I republish this tonight, I recognize, with sadness that a lamp being light inside a church is an actual church law… For a church that is loosing it’s members.  Tradition, Law, rules – over God.  In a way, if you see what I mean.  The simplicity of what Jesus taught in the Gospels – gone.  My class of eighth graders tonight who don’t really know who or what God is, how could they even have a prayer life? 

Following the footsteps of Jesus Christ

Christians. Literally billions of them. Lumping all denominations together. Each, claiming their particular denomination is the right way. It appears though, how far we are from the very basic, simple teachings of Jesus Christ, by who’s life and death we actually identify our faith.

A “Cafeteria Catholic” which some can appreciate, some . . . ignore, for sharing my thoughts and beliefs openly. I am in truth a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. I study, read, pray – practice Lectio Divina , which I did long before I heard this was a “thing”. I share. I teach (I have taught years of CCD/Faith Formation).

Mark 1:16-18 “The Call of the First Disciples.* 16j As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. 17Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.”

Jesus called us to spread Love, the words of our Loving God. He taught in parables, which we know are used throughout the Holy Bible. My focus at this point in my life, today – is the Gospels. They are Jesus Christ. Those books are the reason I am a Christian.

In the book of Mark Chapter 1 Verse ” 17Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” My thoughts on this is Jesus is saying here that not all will come, not all will follow. I will teach you how to “fish” for those who will become followers of our Lord, God.

In the book of Mark Chapter 4 Verse 2-8

2And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, 3* “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. 7Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. 8And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

If you continue reading down the page you will see His explanation to the 12 Disciples:

13* Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable?d Then how will you understand any of the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. 17But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, 19but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. 20But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”

Jesus taught.  He was/is the greatest teacher.  He walked among men, women – children. Crowds would gather and He would speak. He taught using parables . Here He explains that though you work to reach many, the seeds will fall and not all will take root.

All knowledge, and instruction is not going to reach each individual in the same manner. God created and designed each and every one of us. All Christians are called to discipleship. It takes all types of people, knowledge, thoughts, behavior – who have conviction in the teachings of Jesus.

Study His teachings. Christianity is our Loving Father, whom Jesus bring us to. His purpose was to save us, bringing us close to Our Father, God.

I think one of the things we tend to be wrong about is, we take our study and focus away from Jesus and place the focus on religion, which often can put a wedge between ourselves and God, rather than pull us closer.

In my essay A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion . That night and the next morning I found myself continually  pulled back to the below verse I had read (and used) in that essay. As follows:


Mid-morning reading  1Timothy 2:4-6
God our saviour wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time.

I am really confused with this. I do put a lot of thought into what I write. I do practice Lectio Divena.

Roman Catholic Priest do act as mediators – which is against God? I had to return to this verse this morning. (3/26/16 adding, this cafeteria catholic (protestant to catholic convert) never really wrapped my brain around this, my friendly priests never inferred it, my catechism must have skipped it).

I pray and will pray on this. Once more – we are all human and supposed to be living – life. The Bible we are given does not give us the full-life story of Jesus, who from all we do know – really lived life!   Before being called by God to serve, and give His life on the cross.

There are teachings in my religion, that very definitely pull people away from the close, personal relationship our loving God calls for. In truth, I have a lot of admiration, respect and love for our clergy. They have dedicated their lives to serving God. The problem is – they serve “The Church” first. I don’t think they see this truth. It is to be God, before man in all, taught; God before man, spouse before self, on down. Works aren’t supposed to be first, they are to be integrated. You need to live, really experience life in order to serve fully. Peter was Christ’s chosen. Perhaps I am blind to something, I would really appreciate one Priest coming forward here and correcting me – it matters.

I read something this morning, as I am admittedly studying – I have a way to go. But, it came to my attention that in the book of Revelations it is said the end of all religions as people would learn to have their relationships with their loving God. :sic:

When I share, when I teach what I know – I am open and honest.

I do believe a very real truth lay in this need for (all Christian) religions to learn to adapt to the true teachings of Jesus (not just Paul). The focus, teachings and design of the church should be – Jesus – who, it seems at times, too many forget is the true chosen foundation and teacher of the church, the begotten one – by God Himself.

During Holy Week, the celebration of the chosen one, the begotten son of our Lord, God. His resurrection. It is His way of life and gift to billions of people, on the cross that needs to regain focus.

His simple teachings should not be twisted into teachings that conflict with the truth of God.

Another point I would like to bring up is this, we are on this earth, living this life that God has blessed us with. As we mature and grow in faith we die and are born again. We walk with Jesus now. Do you see a bit of Heaven is here, on earth? It is important to consider, pray, study and realize see this.

We can recognize thank in our lives here on earth, experiences that are deep, beautiful,  God given – that we can cling to, carry with us when we pass from this earthly life and bring to Heaven with us.

These experiences are lovely glimpses (and more) of what our eternity will be like. If all people, religions could consider this, perhaps the loving acceptance and caring for one another would happen more often. The acceptance of our responsibility for beginning to live heaven right here on earth. This responsibility begins with me and all whom I come in contact with and lives I touch.

Parable of the Wheat & Tares

The Gospel reading for today comes from the book of Mathew. Here we hear from Jesus on judging others goodness for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mathew 13:24-30

24He proposed another parable to them.* “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds* all through the wheat, and then went off. 26When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. 27The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let them grow together until harvest;* then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”g

Here we can see that wheat & tares are very similar in appearance.

tares.jpg

The message in this story is simple. The land represents the world as a whole. The landowner in this story is Jesus. The enemy who slipped into the field in the dark of night represents Satan. The servants represent the 12 Apostles, The Wheat & Tares are the mortals that are both Disciples of Jesus (Clergy & Laity, though someone is bound to call me on that, I am holding my ground) and other people who are not true followers or disciples of Jesus.

The Apostles asked Jesus, Did you not choose who your Disciples are? How could there be non-believers mixed in? Shouldn’t we weed them out and have them move on?  Jesus says “No, let them both grow together to harvest”.   This in itself shows that Jesus a repetition in His belief that all do not grow at the same time (seeds), some will take root, some will transplant, not all will flourish and grow – but – we still have my proverbial bird who flew off with good seed and dropped it in fertile ground that took root and flourished at another time.

Some folks will explain that the field is the physical church. I disagree. Disciples are to go out into the world to spread the good news (that includes each and every one of us). The Church is not a building, it is a state of being in Him. Jesus taught us this.

“No, let them both grow together to harvest” is also one more reminder that God views each and every one of us in the same way. He has no favorites. We do not earn Grace by deeds, He gifts us with His Grace. He encourages us to work together, in His name. To learn from each other and grow with each other. It is healthy to read scripture and question what religions are teaching and why. Humans err and when we see an institution doing this it is our responsibility to stand up and say “Why? (or) this should not be, it is not Biblical, it is not what Jesus taught”, because we are to be following the teachings of God – as taught right here in this parable. Yesterdays reading and post Ancient teachings are relative today weigh heavily upon my mind today.

The Mission of the 12 ~ Spiritual Reflections ~ Luke 9 / Mark 3

Yesterday I updated and republished my article Who thinks they know better than Jesus??? (formerly – Living) I noted the daily Gospel reading of the day day

Gospel Mk 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

Jesus was quoted in the book of Luke 9: The Mission of the Twelve.

“Summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3 He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. 5 And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” 6 Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.”

Firstly, He said “take nothing for the journey” that doesn’t mean they didn’t leave a home behind. We know the original Apostles of Christ , the men Jesus Christ physically with witness chose, were married men, so they had marriage, marital relationships, children, homes, responsibilities. They were able to manage all – and still go out and spread the Good News.

In fact the Gospel reading for today (1.21) states: Mark 3:20-21 (Jerusalem Bible/DO Universalis)

“Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.”
1Corinthians   St. Paul is clearly stating the original chosen Apostles of Jesus Christ were married. 
9:5 Do we not have the right to take along a Christian wife, as do the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

There are many debates on St. Paul’s state of marriage. There are writings aside from the bible that state he was married but left his wife at home so that she would not be in the way of his mission. There are hints that he was widowed, there are statements that due to his religious background, he too must have been married, just not in the portion of life we read about in the bible. He (St. Paul) also spoke of refraining from marriage at a time He thought the return of Christ was imminent. – Additionally, I strongly suggest the phrase St. Paul – very clearly states his statements and ideas are his own and NOT from our Tritarian God. Translations, missing books and – all that…The original 12 – married. There is reasoning behind my discussing this below:

“Is it more important to bring people to church, or to help others find God?” I believe it is the later. Here, in his writings Richard Rohr suggests the same.

He points out what Jesus taught the Apostles going out to spread the word – Christianity is not to be lived in a box – it cannot be. That is not how God designed us! Oh gosh I wish people would hear this. I am not saying this for “all about me”. I am saying this is the truth!

We teach by example as human beings living good lives in God. It is as important to remember the above lesson of not relegating our faith to a church building but to live our faith in life. So many don’t understand why the LDS or Jehovah Witness knock on our doors (I politely turn them away) – they are following teachings. Catholics (and other Christians) hear of wonderful, humble people but – we really don’t know true details to their lives. If we focus on Jesus and the disciples/apostles, do we really need to give credit to hundreds or thousands of others? No. The focus should remain upon the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That means turning our focus on the gospels.

Here, in the Gospels we also learn that Jesus did not always live a nomadic type of life, dependent upon others but he did have his own home, which he taught from. Joseph was a carpenter, the most likely early profession of Jesus.

There are also readings (and common sense) to indicate that Jesus himself had His own house. I believe in keeping Jesus “homeless”, it lends more to him living a single celibate life because no home meant no family. I can’t wrap my head around why it is so imperative for the church to believe his. I have read suggestions that this would lessen His credibility as the Son of God. The truth here is we are all considered to be sons and daughters of God.

In these days and times, accessibility to information we can use the hearts, souls and intelligence God graces us with for further development and that does not mean doing so harms the existence of Jesus, the son of God -as His begotten (chosen) one.

Looking outside of the box can give a wider view of God and His intentions for us. As we are graced with growth, consider how – considering Jesus a little differently might mean even better things for all of Gods children.

The unwritten (or unshared?) books of Jesus, the years we do not read of were the years of a teenage Jesus through an adult man, a Rabbi as we read. A Rabbi in that era would have been married for several years with children. In fact, I have read a Rabbi of that era was not allowed to speak in the Temple if he had not taken a wife. So, we can loosely consider that Jesus was married, the rumblings that the church (or Christians in general) like to squelch would be likely Mary Magdalene would have been married to him. She traveled with Him, was at the foot of the cross when He was crucified and was the first He appeared to upon resurrection. The fact that no children are mentioned means nothing as there may have been and they were too young to have been part of His story (or) the couple was infertile. Marriage does not lessen any credibility of His being the Begotten One. I have previously stated this doesn’t matter in the grand plan, however in this regards it does;

It does go to show our very human Jesus as a man who lived life, experienced it first hand and was able to teach with not only love but compassionate empathy (whereas those with little life experience outside of the box are saddled with mostly with cognitive empathy, where they try to relate, find for negotiations or attempting to steer in a direction but lacking in the true ability to emotionally empathize, which living experience offer us, as God gifted). Taken in full context, perhaps you will have a greater understanding of why some believe Jesus was married. It is not to mar Him in any way, shape or form. It is to show an extension of gifts given by God the Father.

People are assisted with true compassionate empathy but those working with cognitive empathy – tend to have that loud gong thing going on. Note: You cannot gain compassionate empathy by reading and discussing with others who practice cognitive empathy. This is why Jesus knew who really understood and who did not. Blessed are . . . you can’t fake it, you have to live through life to really get it. I intend no hurt in saying this ♥ please trust me in both cases! There are reasons I say these things as well as there are reasons God gave us gifts that no man should convince anyone to take away or live without. Again, how do you turn your back on what only God can give???}

St. Mark 2:13-18 The Call of Levi. 13 Once again he went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. 14 As he passed by,* he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 15 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. 16 Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

In this reading Jesus we see Jesus meeting Levi/Mathew and inviting him to join him “follow me” and Levi/Mathew followed him. Next we read While at table in his house … the USCCB translate this to be Levi’s house. The book of St. Mathew 9:9-13 states the same. In the book of St. Luke 5:27-32 we read similar words but here it states that Levi 28And leaving everything behind,he got up and followed him. 29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.” – It is in no way a “reach” here to state they went to the home of Jesus Christ. Levi/Mathew (etc) “followed him” home. It is not a reach in anyway to suggest the tax collector handing off many coins for others to go gather food and wine for a feast. Really. I am not reaching it is the way I read it. Pretty simple and why the big deal?

Jesus opened his home to others to share the word of God and help healing begin. There is nothing outrageous or wrong to suggest this. – And so, I stated that Jesus himself suggest we reach people outside of Temple or Church buildings, outside of a dogmatic religious structure to share the good news.

Jesus was a very wise man of simple truths. Over centuries His teachings have been set aside in many cases for the words of others who came long after He. Who should we look to? A saint or the explicit teachings of Jesus Christ, the *Begotten (*chosen) One?

The truth is there is much to be said for a holy life outside of church wallsaccording to Jesus. Gifts of our father – for a reason. This is my view, subject to change as knowledge may show me something new, but for today there is very much how I see things.

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In upcoming days I will be writing an article on why I believe in the rebuilding of the church.  Parishes are shrinking, closing and while it is only too easy to say we will build on what we have and enjoy smaller, Parishes – that is not what we are called to do at Christians. That is a defeatist attitude.  Other Christian churches are growing. 

The church needs to grow emotionally, spiritually, and adapt and realize the need for the church to fully  return to the original teachings of Jesus (simple ways), and return to a married clergy.  Optional, perhaps not a “requirement” but the option for marriage at any stage of life – as this is a God given grace and right to celebrate in Him.

I recently have read the words (in more than one article) quoting a person in a powerful position, who found it funny that a woman would ask for a Priest for her Parish rather than (sic?) to have it closed.  The man said “why it is not my job to provide Priests, I am a celibate – that is for you and your husband to do”.  Bad choice of words, not funny, amusing, kind – or correct.  This sort of thought line drives wedges and is the reason people leave.  Like the 120,000 Priests who have left in the past 60 years.  25,000 here in the United States.  Does that not speak volumes?

There is a lot of thought behind  this, it is quite clearly His biblical teaching.  The foundation of the church is found in it’s disciples, teachers, clergy.  This is why I begin in this area. Rapidly dwindling numbers are revealing of both the teaching of God,  and the understanding and respect of lay persons in His gifts.  
Living in Christ is not about being closed off from the life experiences that God gifts and offers all of His children.  God is not selfish, our Father is a loving, giving God.  Accepting those gifts, experiencing life better enables one to serve and celebrate Him.
Please bear with me while I put these thoughts fully to paper.  I will begin with Michael, the young 21 year old who brought this very topic to my attention three years ago. . .

Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part One ~ Her name was Maria

In recent days I have come across a variety of writings in regards to sexual abuse of females (abused males should be included in this). A few months back, while reading the “about today” section of the Divine Office, I read part of a very tragic story of a young girl, only eleven who was brutally murdered for “saying no”. There were other writings in this article too, combined with the other writings I have recently come across that have led me to the topic of “sexual morality”. It is an important topic that really is overlooked in so many ways now. This will be the first of … in essays. Lively conversation is appreciated, crude or rude will be deleted.

The story of the little girl (because eleven is still a little girl to me), caused me concern because she is now a saint. Saint Maria Goretti. There is much to be found of her tragic life and death on the internet. Her story was originally used to propagate saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. We know today that is a false view and we do what me must to survive. Our lives are far more important to God (and ourselves!) than our virginity.

In the research I have done over the past few days, it is clear Maria was from an extremely poor farming family. Her father died, she being the oldest girl at eleven was left home to cook, clean and care for siblings (I have read she was also babysitting for a neighbor’s infant the day she so tragically died). I don’t really want to go into all of the details that I have read, as I have suggested spending some time surfing, you will find a lot of information, much contrary.

The most consistent information I found is though she was only eleven, the church for at least a while, referred to her as a young woman. She is said to have shunned the advances of the “landlords” 20 year old son. I have also read things to indicate he had learning issues, etc. Considering a girl of eleven in those days had not yet begun her first menstrual cycle, was too young to be married and he was almost twice her age, it does seem to indicate he had issues. . .

Maria was stabbed over 14 times (number varies with article), in her throat, lungs, heart, abdomen, severely enough that her organs were protruding. The amount of conversation the child, who was found unconscious is said have held in some readings is simply unrealistic. Her surgery was performed with no anesthesia, and at one point she is said to have awoken for a short time. I would assume the loss of so much blood and pain would have her unconscious even without medication. She is said to have forgiven her murderer, after being prompted by a Priest, just before she died.

So much of her tragic life and death seems to have been embellished upon. Maria did not go to school, rarely went to mass, and had items placed in her hands as she died. She was not buried. Her remains lay within a statue that some confuse to be her actual remains, in a glass coffin under an altar. That so bothers me. I understand it to be Catholic tradition but … let the child go. I know. I am a “bad” catholic for saying this I suppose. She was but a child of such tragic circumstance.

At the time she was canonized, as I stated before, propagated saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. The church does not teach this now. My concern is knowing, so many countries hold Saints in a higher esteem than here in the United States. I know it concerns me that young girls in some far off mission are being taught improperly on how valuable their virginity, their purity is to God (and man).

The Catholic church has defined and changed the meaning of Saints from the original intention in the bible.  Saints are God’s Holy people, living humans in the bible.  Follows of Jesus, children of God. 

While we absolutely need good role models, the list of 10,000 plus saints and the background and true life stories of many give one pause.  Often while reading through the saint area of the Divine Office it is noted that not much is even known about this or that saint – or even correct spelling of their name.Focus should perhaps not be on “saints” but on our Tritarian God and all of His children.

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Note: I spent some time debating whether to write about Maria’s story. It is because of her story that I am writing this series. I also believe, in some small way this is a way to pay homage to a child who lived a tragic life, death and … after life. My heart tells me this child deserves to be buried somewhere pretty under a tree, with wild flowers growing nearby. A place she never seemed to have a chance to play, sit with a book or pray.

The remaining portion of the article that I read, which I wish I could quote but because I use the free version and unfortunately did not copy/paste the article… I will have to admit I can’t give exact quotes… The author of said article acknowledge that we may not all pay homage to plaster saints, etc., but what about the value of virginity, purity why is there none in today’s world” <<< This comment holds merit however, I do believe perhaps the lifestyle of the author and unfortunately the readers the article is intended for are living at a handicap, and perhaps not able to fully understand the experience, life and God in the world most of us live. For this reason, and knowing there are other every day folks who are missing very good points, please look for the next article in this series.

His gifts (lessons from Jesus)

The gifts (lessons) Jesus brought to us, are often told in parables.  In my essay Discipleship I shared verse from the book of Mark, which is where Jesus explains He taught with parables.

Jesus did not teach in literal terms in order to help the peoples of that time learn, He taught in a manner that all listening could understand, despite where they fall upon a learning curve.  It is so important to understand the written word, is taught by Jesus, in parables.

Recent mornings reading of the Gospel:

Gospel of St. John 6:52-59

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said.

Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live forever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

Reading the footnotes on these readings on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, they tell us “Spirit flesh: probably not a reference to the Eucharistic body of Jesus but to the supernatural and the natural, as in.   Spirit and life: all Jesus said about the bread of life is the revelation of the Spirit.”

There is actually quite a bit to be found on the history and celebration of the Eucharist – in the Roman Catholic Church.  There was a day when it was a very simple (but deep) reminder of the love of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. 

The Church has changed teachings on this as well as other sacraments over the years.   I have enjoyed reading some of the things various Saints have said about the Holy Eucharist and do plan on reading more about this sacrament. 

Transubstantiation was not taught until the Council of Trent in 1551 and so it has been taught for the past 500 years or so.  Other things have evolved with the Eucharist that when reading does show the doctrine has been changed over the years, more recently to allow for Eucharistic ministers, bread without wine, I was taught not to chew the host, now people do, etc. 

There are obvious reasons for people questioning teachings, from what I read and hear.

There really is a lot of history in this sacrament, teaching show clearly there was a day when there was universal church that taught “do this in memory of me”, no transubstantiation taking place, formalities in the simplest of sense – per St. Paul:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26   “For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, So to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another”. (Universalis)

St. Mathew 26:26   The Lord’s Supper. 26  While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28l for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. 29* I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” 30 Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (usccb)

What this all points back to is our lord, Jesus Christ.  He is to be a true focal point in our lives, as part of the Holy Trinity.  What is He telling us in this reading today?

Jesus was sent by our Lord, God the Father to bring us to Him.  We are not reading about literally drinking His blood or eating of his body in this text.    He is teaching us;  -cling to my words and my actions and I will lead you to Our Father-Our Lord God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, in Him we shall live forever.  Jesus perhaps refers to coming down from Heaven because we look up to our Lord, God.

Jesus was God’s gift to us, to teach us how to live lives of love and peace with one another through God our Father who gifts us with all.  We are all, each and every one of us part of this – together.  Our lives are not about dying in body, but dying in spirit to be reborn to a new way of life, living, giving, sharing – loving. In God.

I will encourage you once again to read your bible thoughtfully, prayerfully.  Listen.  There is much to be learned about life and love within those pages.  There is much to be learned about life and love through our prayer life too.

What can you do today, that will bring heaven into your midst?  Love.  Love as Jesus has taught us, love with heart mind and soul.  Everyone.

 

Being Christian is not “Merry Christmas”

I read an old article today about a fellow who was removed from a flight last year because he became so upset they felt he was a threat to remain on board.

It was not an attack on Christianity per say.  In fact the “quoted” words this fellow had for the gate agent was this“You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas,” the man retorted.Further into the short article I read:

“Well, what should I say then?” the gate agent asked.

“Don’t say, ‘Merry Christmas!’” the man replied.

Once he got on the flight, the man finally lost his patience when a fellow passenger wished him the same greeting. The man reportedly went on a rampage over the use of the phrase and started lecturing the flight attendants and pilots about what was appropriate to say.”

~

The comments under this article ran the gamut from “Merry Christmas”, to words that would further provoke (with) glee!, one person wrote they felt sorry for the fellow.  A post that stopped me dead in my tracks was as quoted below:

The man being offended must be a atheist or a Muslim & being in a Christian nation is the one to hold his tongue & his reaction until he got to his non Christian home or home country. Political Correctness has been tossed! We are taking back our country & making America Great Again!!!

Wait.  What?  Oh no.  Seriously?  – and there were likes! 

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I did reply to that comment.  I didn’t expect much in response based upon her original post above, so – I was not disappointed with what followed really, as I had no expectations of wisdom.

I find myself mystified to live in a country where my fellow countrymen could have this mind-set.  At some point in my brief “conversation” with this woman she decided I must have attended some fancy liberal university :sic:.  Which both amused and saddened me.  Yes, it is possible to have those feeling simultaneously.

For those loving human beings who are being unfairly attacked my heart goes out to you.  I will stand up for you and by you because in God we are one.  We’re all one.  As I type this I have to say I am still appalled by such narrow-minded responses that this woman and others had.  Hers were by far the worst.

Reading the story above, I thought about the man.  What had his day been like?  Had he just left court after a divorce?  Lost a job?  Buried a parent?  Never been taught about God?  I tried to explain to this woman,  this man now had been given a very negative view of Christians who showed neither compassion or love to him.  I thought about Sheldon (character on the spectrum on the “Big Bang Theory”) and how he most likely would have said those very same literal words “You shouldn’t say that because not everyone celebrates Christmas,”.

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These words cover all Peoples

I shudder at the thought that anyone would read such an article and automatically verbally attack Muslim or Atheists.  I tried to explain that presenting like this built walls not bridges – and that was when she decided I attended a big university and was a liberal. 

I shudder to see the bigotry in my country.  “All one nation under God”.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to enter and warm cold hearts.

I own my faith.  I love God with all my heart and soul.  Happy Holidays is generic and works well in many circumstances.  I work to walk as a disciple of Jesus every day, I wear crosses on my neck to symbolize my belief.  I say  Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and family.  They are bonding words of love and joy.  Good Friday and Easter Sunday are my favorite Christian holidays, Gods gift to all human kind, a chance for eternal life in Him.

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How I choose to live and love every day of my life is “Being Christian”

If you are a Christian, remember what being a diciple of Christ is all about.  If you are a non-Christian who has been mistreated due to your religious choice I extend my hand in friendship.  God would expect no less of me.

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Compassion, Respect, Love

Daily Post Prompt: Protest

Reflections of a holiday home

I grew up in an era where life was very different than it is today.  Though I was surrounded by loving grandparents during my formative years. My parents stumbled.  In truth, I am not sure either were ever capable of the responsibility love brings, though first – one must learn who they really are and  to love themselves.  We also have to be open to letting ourselves grow and evolve as this is how God has designed us.

There were many formalities, routines and traditions that were done for the sake of being done because it “always has been this way”. Many I have passed on to my own sons, but they are in regards to common courtesy, good manners and being kind.  Holding doors open for a woman (has nothing to do with physical strength and everything to do with being a gentleman), offering your seat to a female or elderly, please and thank you.   Dressing in a modest and respectful way.

There is a problem with having too many strict formalities, routines and traditions just for the sake of it has always been.  Didn’t Jesus teach us this?  The problem with that is it may be the reality for a select few, but not how it has always been done in other homes, states, countries, religions.  These formalities, routines and traditions left little to no room for growth, learning and experiencing something new.  Truly humbling oneself to another.

I look at my life this past week.  I have learned  in life that I can make or break a holiday for myself – and those around me.  My sons grew up in a very tense, stressful home.  Walking on eggshells so as to not set their father off.  I was the same, tip toeing through life.  Following what I was told, and for too long believing what I was told too

I spent holidays alone as a child in the hospital.  Warm loving holidays with my dads parents, I cannot say I had one nice holiday when I was married.  We always had to do and be what he or his family wanted.  I also had to give gifts we could not afford, to people I did not know because they were (ex-husbands extended ) “family” who we would see once a year, if that often.  In that life those things were not a choice but a given. More than once, I was left home alone while he took the kids to his parents, more than once when I was ready to go, but to change into a holiday outfit.  Yeah.  Thankful that is my past.

This past week I chose to have a peaceful holiday filled with love, family and acceptance of what is today,  is my today.  Formalities, routines and traditions can and must evolve to fit in with the times.  With a greater understanding of humanity – life, and love it must evolve – we must evolve.

As I type this I think of a letter I have read,  my then twenty-one year old father penned to my grandparents.  In this letter he told them he was happy for their upcoming visit, and that he had recently married my mother and they were expecting.  In truth, my mother was still married to her first husband (at age 15) and wore the diamond engagement ring and wedding band from her first husband.  My father had gone off to begin life on his own as a young man, ended up in places most unexpected to him.  It would be many, many years before my grandparents learned the truth of my mothers background.  Secrets, lies.  I have kept these thoughts in my heart and use them for good when going through experiences with my own sons.  Honesty is so important.

Knowing God, means we should know and understand that we are all human.  We have been given guidelines in which to live, Christians know Jesus taught us the greatest commandment is to love the lord God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as our self.  That cannot be repeated enough.  These are the two commandments we are to live by.

Perhaps the our-self is what mucks things up so much. 

Sitting with my eldest son Thursday afternoon, after the little’s went on to visit her family, our conversation came around to people not matching his expectations.  My oldest two sons have been very judgemental of “little moma” and upset that their youngest brother is in this place.  I don’t believe we are given our gift of life to spend it pushing people down because we don’t understand where they are coming from – judging them harshly.  I know enough of the story of her life to completely understand where she is at – and where she hopes to be. 

I recently bought some maternity clothes for moma little.  The kids don’t have the money and her pants were too tight even rolled down at the waist.  She couldn’t understand buying maternity clothes because she needs “regular” clothes.  I explained this to my eldest.  He looked flabbergasted and said “ohhh so I get this now, we never (his friends and him?) should have commented on pregnant women with their clothes not fitting, it’s a financial thing”.

 I have always made sure my sons had good clothes to wear, even when he went away to college in the big city.  He didn’t realize I stopped swimming because I am saving for hernia surgery, he assumed I gave up on myself. We make assumptions of people based on face value and this is wrong.  I really like that visual of the iceberg, the tiny bit we see above water – and that mass of ice below.  There is depth to each and everyone of us that is not to be seen on face value, but through time and knowledge of each other.

My son looked at me and said you are so authentically yourself.  You know yourself.  Yes, I do.  It has taken me years to know myself, love myself – and be open to learning and growing. I think in part a conversation we had early this week was revealing of this to him.  I shared something and he thought (for some reason) that he was wiser and knew more about my feelings than I did.  When I told him exactly what my feelings were – he was floored.  He was absolutely fine with what I had to say but didn’t realize I had the self awareness.

As we go about our lives, work experience, social lives, family functions it is important we gift ourselves with the realization that each person, and each situation as depth to it that we may not understand.  One day we may, or it maybe that chapter is not in our own book but pages to flip through and allow it’s own space in theirs. 

Personal relationships, who has kids, when where.  Decision not to have kids.  Single, married, divorced.  White, Black or Asian.  Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist.  These parts of us make us who we are.  Our God gifts us with life, intelligence and so many options in life.  He allows the fallen to rise, His arms are open and accepting of all who sincerely seek Him.  We become what we seek.  I seek my loving Father, I seek Love, I must love to become love and receive love.

Do you take the time to have these conversations with friends  & family?  Your adult children (who may have been way too long)?

Final thought ~

Life is not about finding oneself, rather it is to discover who God wants us to be.

PS ~ Tradition:  While rushing to finish setting our Thanksgiving table, I could not find my Nana’s dish that I had washed and used every holiday.  Rather than allow that initial stress to turn into a frantic search, I opened the cupboard, pulled out the bottom of a plastic set and used that for the cranberry sauce.  My love for my Nana is in my heart, she would smile if she knew I had washed her dish to use, and rather than getting upset and letting that tension roll over to the kids, I used a simply plastic reusable container (re-purposed).  Things are things… don’t allow them to mean more than the people in our lives

Every day ~ ‘Tis the season

One of the short readings this morning serves as a good reminder for those of us identifying as and proclaiming to be Christians.

*Note: I would urge a reader read the preceding verses in this chapter – the Promises of our Father. I had a short write up on this in the past and seem to have misplaced it. I will revisit and write on that sometime in the near future. 

2 Peter 1:10-11

“Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away. In this way you will be granted admittance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.”

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What I see St. Peter is saying to us is very simple.  Christians have been called to this faith.  Though many may be born into a Christian household, many others learn of this way of life through a continued call to discipleship (spreading the good news).  This is not done by bible-thumping per say.  This is done through our actions, our choices we make in living life.

Saint Peter is reminding us – if we proclaim to be a disciple of Christ, we are called to continue to grow our own faith and keep God active in our daily lives.

Keep Christ in Christmas is one way several groups of Christians have stepped forward.  You’ll see bumper stickers (I do have such a magnet for the back of my car).  Butthat’s the short of it. 

Every day we can (and should) celebrate our God.  Recognize the gifts he has blessed us with each and every day.  This is what St. Peter is saying.  Don’t take God for granted, don’t take our loves for granted.  Appreciate these relationships, friendships, loves – this is where we find God.

Be kind, caring – have compassion and act with compassion.  If you love, show your love in any way you possibly can.  Life is not easy but it is easier when we remember to act as Jesus would.  As our Father wants us to.   

I know what I say is easy to write and not always easy to do.  The heart behind these words has had many experiences in life and love.  If it were not for God being constant in my life I don’t think I would be here writing today.  I have had many come and go in my life and God has never abandoned me.  I also know it is the actions behind our words that matter most.  Empty words, that old gong I refer to, or the choice to open our hearts and souls fully to the call of our God and what I have learned to be a true gift. To be vulnerable and open our hearts and souls to another.  That glimpse, that gaze, that love. 

2 Peter 1:10-11  “Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away. In this way you will be granted admittance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and saviour

~ Oh, and –  ‘Tis the season, remember those struggling through the holidays, financial hardships, physical concerns, feelings of loneliness.  What can you do to make the life of someone else better?  What will you do?  Remember to extend these kindnesses to those our own home, family and friendships.  … all year through.

Blessings ~

“You have turned it into a robbers’ den!”

As Christians, we are called to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Noon reading 2 Corinthians 13:4

“He was crucified through weakness, but still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.”

Through the weakness of man, He was crucified, died and buried.  By the Power of our loving Father – He was raised from the dead as a means to save through bringing us to His Father.

Sometimes people confuse this verse to mean Jesus died due to His human weakness, but this refers to the choice of others not to accept His teachings.  His teachings in the Gospel are really radical, full of love and compassion for others.

The Law that Jesus teaches us to follow are these:

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He followed the Ten Commandments and we are expected to.  He also taught through beatitudes11.jpg

Over the centuries many other teachings, rules and laws have been put in place by people both within and outside of religions.  These are the Christian teachings – of Jesus Christ.  My heart was warmed this past Monday morning, I attended Mass.  An elderly Priest was there to serve Mass.  He spoke of God and faith, religion – and – made up laws.  Truly, I could see and hear a  change and know the Holy Spirit must have touched him deeply. In the past he towed a very hard, harsh line.

~

There are times I picture Him  (Jesus) in our churches (note the plural tense – not in relation to any “one denomination”) Raising His voice, turning over table and saying “not in my Fathers house!”.   I can see why others have moved on to do their good works for our Father.

Gospel St. Luke 19:45-48    (Today’s Gospel Reading)

“Jesus went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling. ‘According to scripture,’ he said ‘my house will be a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’

 He taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, with the support of the leading citizens, tried to do away with him, but they did not see how they could carry this out because the people as a whole hung on his words.”

Indeed.  A robbers’ den.  Thing is – when most people read this they are thinking this reading is all about money.  Of coarse in part it is.  However, let’s be real here – what do you really think Jesus is talking about? 

What I see is a man (God the Son) filled to the brim fed up,  watching those in power, steal and destroy human beings at their core. 

We know that God chose His only Begotten son, Jesus to teach the err of our ways, instruct us how to live – loving lives.  To bring us to our Father who has gifted us with so much.  While there is some financial greed in churches, inflated ego –  the real theft is of person.  

Destroying the Divine Love (light within) in humans that only God can give!!!

When one considers we are all born in His image;

Genesis 1:27 “27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” 

Psalm 139:13-14″For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

How many times have people been ostracized for not fitting the mold of man made laws and rules?  Millions of times?  Billions? 

Of course we need some type of structure to our lives and the very word organization – means organize.  That does not mean we should be stepping on – and removing, human rights from individuals as a people, religion – or denomination. 

If we are brutally honest, we will see the err of ways. See and accept the simple teachings of Jesus Christ, and, bring others to God the Father. 

With love, kindness and the help of the Holy Spirit, may we all consider these words and make what  choices or changes can be made to correct the lack of real, true love that has been tossed aside – and not embraced by all who claim to love and follow His teachings. 

May there be an awakening of those in power, through the Holy Spirit, love of Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit.

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Consider too – God is not in a box.  His works are outside of a bubble, and found living in the world.  Just as Jesus taught in the temple, lived life and did the majority of His work in living life.  That’s how people find Jesus. That’s how people find God.

 

Those that don’t know God – won’t enter a church.  We are called to bring God to people , and to him throughout our lives.  Make sense?

 

Thoughts worth contemplating.

 

Blessings ~

 

“Whoever humbles himself like this child”

Matthew, chapter 18
St. Matthew 18:1-5

The Greatest in the Kingdom. At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3 and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

This is a favorite reading of mine.  One that is often quoted and often times the complex beauty I find in this statement is overlooked.  With the impending birth of my first grandchild I find myself reminiscing over those early and young days of the lives of my sons.  The other day youngest was over helping me by moving somethings in my bedroom/walk-in closet.  We came across a framed photo of my dad as a little boy and reflected upon their similar features.  I take after my dad, my oldest and youngest sons take after both of us.  Little boys.

 

Knowing our creator has provided a portion of His Kingdom on earth, which believers are part of.  Believers are also called to build the Kingdom, right here on earth. In this, we are to celebrate life as God given, along with the many additional gifts that have been and are given to us throughout our lifetime – here.

Here we beginning to celebrate that, which  is but a glimpse of what we are told heaven is like.  Considering this, the pages of the bible that are written with Jesus explaining

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The first thing a teacher may suggest is that we are simply to submit to His will trusting in Him.  I believe that is true – but – Jesus is also challenging us here to see and participate in the beauty of life and all that it offers to us through the innocence of a child’s eyes, touch, taste, ear, sound – heart & soul.

 

The first moments of life outside of the presumed safety of a mothers womb. Snuggled safely in her arms, in the hours shortly after birth.  Babies this young cannot focus, see.  They know us by voice, scent, warmth.  A small baby perhaps smelling a flower for the first time.  Exploring the wonders of the Kingdom, safely with a parent.  Protected, safe.  As we are in Him.

 

 Experiences the senses, safely protected.  First time in the pool?  With an adoring dad or maybe uncle.  The texture of the shag carpeting beneath the body of a little one just learning to sit up – exploring touch and the magic of sound, the music they can make.  I can almost hear the babbling/singing joy.  An infant in a baby swing – big brother learning to care for little one and sharing fun – learning to push the swing, bonding time with family.  Giggles in a big round swing, or big brother having fun crawling through the big metal tube at the park – having a little race?  Learning, sharing, touch, sound, movement, scent. . . love.

First experience of independence?  Toddling ahead, exploring their land legs, the crunching sound of leaves beneath, chill of the autumn air.  Examining the world “upside down” – what a view!  Learning you can blow bubbles!  The joy of watching that shinny blob grow…float away “pop”!  “Flowers for you mom” I remember those days and floating petals with no stems .  The crunching of snow underfoot, footprints, snow angels? Potters Clay Wet sand, or hard stones on a rocky beach.  Salt air, the sound of seagulls overhead, the sound of the waves coming in – and excitement for tide going out – sandbars to play on!  Catching tadpoles in a pond!  The beauty of life.

 

Piggy back ride Papa?  Giggling happily. Early friendships.  First Kiss.

When we are able to sit back and fully embrace these awesomely beautiful moments in life we are participating in the Kingdom of God – right here, on earth.

When is the last time you allowed yourself to embrace your own life, through the eyes of an innocent child?  Note, scripture does not tell us to be adult, but to live with the humbleness of a child, embracing His gifts.

  5 And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

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When I began writing during my lunch break this afternoon, I did so with the intention of writing something that included the prompt word of the day.  The more I reflected upon the verse chosen, the photographs, experiences and thought of future experiences – the further I have moved from that single word prompt.  I’m no longer going to use it – in this article anyway.  I find deeper thoughts and feelings as I write and hope to share, offer glimpse at experiences we often overlook – or, take for granted.

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

As we “grow up”, grow older, we often tend to loose our sense of innocence, childlike wonder.  I think the humility that Jesus is talking about is not simply to say “You are my Father, I trust you”.  I think we are supposed to stretch ourselves, perhaps out of our self imposed comfort zones – to really embrace life and to live again.  True happiness and love are not found in tangible items, they are found within our relationships.  It would I believe, be impossible to really write a full list of the wonderful gifts our Father has given us, this request for our true humility offers to enrich our lives and those in our lives all the more. 

Last night, teaching my ninth grade confirmation class I asked my usual questions.  I had new students in my class and when I asked “Who is God?” a hand shot right up, I called on my student and he replied “The Creator of All”.  Out of the mouth of babes.  While we know and acknowledge this truth,  how often do we sit back and really contemplate the vast beauty he has bestowed upon us? How often do we consider – or – admit, we are not fully turning ourselves over to God?  He asks us to be open and remain open. 

Selecting the photo’s I have chosen to use today, writing this piece. . . I can remember my new born babies the wonder of the older brother(s) as each sibling arrived.  I look forward to the birth of our little one, a baby boy.  I remember little fists clutched with crushed flowers, mud pies and a ring around the bathtub after washing up one toddler (who then was rinsed in the clean water of a shower!).  Yes, messy little boys who loved to play outside and embraced the world God created for us. 

He challenges me.  He challenges us. 

~ Go back to the top and look at each and every photo again.  What do you see?  What do you feel?  What do you want to experience?

~ Blessings

Waiting on Him

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Waiting on the Lord.  This is something worth waiting for.  When we make the choice to surrender our lives to God we are fully entrusting Him with helping us grow through life.  We make thousands of decisions every day, most are so minor we don’t even consider it a decision.  Will I get up the first time my alarm clock rings?  Hit doze?  Wait for the next buzz?  Pick out todays clothes before or after a shower, do I have time to wash and dry my hair?  What will I do, Did I decide what I wanted to wear last night?  Hair – up, down.  Makeup – eyeliner today?  Earrings?  Which shoes?  Which socks?  Do I need socks?  Can I get away with flip-flops in October, it is 75 today!?  Get the drift?

The more important decisions we make in our lives, to move to a new home, buy a different car, how to deal with a business issue, the way to talk to a child about a phone call from their teacher explaining they really believe your child should stay back this year.  Dating, Marriage, Love, A choice to change your career.  What does God want for us to do?  I have found the more I turn my life over to God the easier it can be most of the time to discern what my next step should be.  Other times. . . not so much.  This is where trusting in Him and waiting for His direction comes into play.

While it is important to complete all the steps you can on your own – research cars, new/used/mileage/cost/insurance rates (or) Is it time for me to move to a job that I will find more emotionally satisfying that serves Him and others?  These are big decisions that we can do our own leg work on – then turn it prayerfully over to our Lord and ask the Spirit to Guide us, give us strength, wisdom and direction. 

One time I was offered a position, the closest to what I think I could choose while earning enough pay to survive – and serve.  It was for a non-profit start-up.  They needed an Office Manager/Bookkeeper who was also available to work with special needs clients, teaching them financial skills, banking, balancing a checkbook, how to shop wisely etc.  Unfortunately as a start up they offered no health insurance and that was a sign for me that this just was not the job I needed or could afford to take at that time.

By the grace of God where I am today.  I was able provide and to get my youngest son through high school  in the small town environment he was born into.  I am also able to attend mass before work (slipping into the office a few minutes late – but approved), blare my K-Love all day long and chat with people about God off and on throughout the day.  Pretty cool for a secular job, that’s where diciples are called to be.  I used to toy with thoughts of working in Appalachia or the Southwest at border crossing locations.  Who knows, maybe one day that’s where God will bring me.

Meanwhile, the other major areas in my life I have to trust in Him.  He leads and I follow.  I leaped and though I haven’t sprouted wings, I seem to be bouncing up and down on that safety net from below.  He is there, He will provide

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do note rely; In all ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Blessings~

The Daily Post: Waiting