It’s all about ~ Love

Before I get out of bed in the morning, I read the bible. I like to read the daily Mass readings whether I am headed out the door to church or if I am home. After reading the Mass readings this morning, I skipped over to another section of the Divine Office readings “about today”. The below readings were part of what was written in that area. Favorites of mine.

Mid-morning reading (Terce) 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Noon reading (Sext) 1 Corinthians 13:8-9,13

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.

Afternoon reading (None) Colossians 3:14-15

Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

We are blessed people to have our God. We are gifted both with His love and with the abilities to give and receive love. I have learned not to underestimate the power of love and what it can do in our lives if we are are able to be open to it. Something that sounds simple, but for many of us it is a painful struggle. Experience may have taught that love hurts. Love does not hurt, only people who don’t know how to love hurt.

In truly loving others, giving of self, we do this in practice by treating everyone we encounter in a loving way. From the delivery man, grocery employee, bank vice president, people we work with or for and our friends and family. There are no limits in truly loving and sharing God..

Are you open to giving and receiving love?

True Love ~ 1 Corinthians

Love as Found in;  1 Corinthians 12:13-13

The chapter title reads “The Supremacy of Charity”.

“Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them

If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man, all childish ways are put behind me. Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.”

As pointed out during the homily, several of these verses are often requested to be used in a marriage ceremony. Reading and listening to it at Mass, spending time with my Bible – and reading in full context it is all right there for me to see.

What stands out to me most is this:   Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known. Stay with me here, I will backtrack to the beginning shortly.

The truth of Love is right in this passage. Today I see in my reflection but a dim light of you, my Lord, God. I know I have so much to learn and that you will guide me. I know, one day I shall fully be in you as you are in me today.

This entire reading is about understanding the gifts that God graces us with. The first two sentences above: “Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them. these, are the final two sentences in the previous chapter, which discusses Spiritual gifts and what is being taught next rises far above any of those gifts. If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

There are people, and we all know someone that is charismatic, simply knew how to turn the charm – and off at a moments notice. I am not referring to someone who has a bad day or an event that has thrown them for a “loop”. Maybe that fair weather friend who extends a hand, only to show their true colors are not about friendship and love. You realize their motives were based on selfishness. Those are actions feigning love, but empty. The words and actions fall in a loud crash to the floor.

Or Prophecy – an intuitive knowledge, vision – even with having “faith in all its fullness” means nothing without love, A prophet must have a deep loving relationship with God in order to serve Him. True prophecy is a serious responsibility, which may be able to “move mountains” but without that bond of love with God, may veer off course of what He is asking or directing. Proper discernment is needed.

If I give away all that I possess and even let them take me and kill me in the name of God, but I do not truly Love God, I am nothing. I know a man who once gave all of his belongings away and kept only a minimal amount of clothing, looked like a beggar and claimed to do this for God, he was without love. Lost, lonely unable to love or receive love – closed off.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

God is Love. Love is God. He is in me, the Holy Spirit resides within my body His temple. I walk with Jesus, I pray/speak to God. God is patient and kind, God is never jealous, boastful or conceited. He is never rude or selfish and does not take offense, he is not resentful. God takes no pleasure in our human sin – but delights upon our truths. He will always excuse, trust, offer hope and He endures all that comes our way with us. He is our Loving Father.

Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will disappear.

Love does not come to an end because God is infinite.  He is the Alpha and the Omega. Gifts of Prophecy will fail (to err is human). How many times has it been said the world would end? The gift of languages will not continue forever (languages are dying off). knowledge is ever changing, as more things are learned and taught. Even in cases of religions – right? Only God is perfect, when He comes at the end all imperfect things fall away and only Love – only God is left.

Because our Father is so loving, He graces us with these gifts and it is for us to practice, improve on- celebrate with each other. Love is an action word that we practice & celebrate with others, God is living – our love must be living.

Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

(Our) Love does not come to an end, because our hope, when we die is to have our eternal rest with God, as God lives forever- so will the love we carry in our hearts. Our love for our spouse, children, family, friends – everyone.

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is… love.

Originally published: 02 Feb 2016

 

Choice, Chance, Change & God

I was talking with a friend recently.  We found ourselves thinking about our lives, the paths we chose,  the knowledge that we have been graced with the ability and options to make choices and decisions to travel different roads.

We are all gifted with the ability to make choices in our lives.  Often, we put a lot of time and thought into decisions that are going to affect not only ourselves but other people.  While we have to look at how it will affect others, the truth is we have to discern what is really best for ourselves because God is within.  I add caution to say not best for ourselves in a selfish way, rather – in a true honest and loving way.  Too often people put their unhappiness on God, but God is such an awesome loving being – all we have is from His abundant love.

Earlier today I read this reading from today’s DO.

Mid-morning reading   1 John 4:16

“We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves. God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.”

I have read through this a few times today, each time my eyes read this a little differently from the way it is written.  What I read is more like this;We know and trust God loves us.  He is love.  He loves us.  We know He knows us intimately, inside and out.  Our thoughts, desires and our human needs.  Our needs to be truly cared for and truly loved.  Our need to have and participate in loving relationships.  He created us this way, this is why it is written all throughout the bible that he created pairs of humans and pairs of animals to live and share life with.  This is natural, this is His gift to us.
Needs are not to be confused with. . .

Noon reading  Galatians 6:7-8

“What a man sows, he reaps. If he sows in the field of self-indulgence he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit he will get from it a harvest of eternal life.”

. . . Needs are not to be confused with self-indulgence.  There are times, particularly within strict religious teachings that teachers will confuse the two and suggest that the true gift of desire that God gifts us with is not a true gift but something self-indulgent.  It is not the same at all. 

True Godly desire of caring, loving, intimate relationships is pure and both self emptying and filling back up by those we love.  Like that power exchange we hear about and that I wrote a bit about in my article on marriage.  Our weakness may be found in our love and our strength may be found in the same love – we exchange.

Self-indulgence is when one acts upon a whim with no consideration of others, their needs, it’s not give and take – it becomes “take”.

When we sow our seeds, plant ourselves firmly in Spirit we are reaching God, we walk toward light and goodness with one another.  That caring, loving intimate relationship with another will find eternal love with our creator, our Lord.

Afternoon reading  (Galatians 6:9-10)

“We must never get tired of doing good, and then we shall get our harvest at the proper time. While we have the chance, we must do good to all, and especially to our brothers in the faith.”

What happens when we live our lives bringing good into the lives of those around us?  Good flows back to us.  Gods design – not?  I am not thrilled with the words “especially to our brothers and sisters in faith” because that doesn’t sound Christlike – it sounds Paulish but after all St. Paul was human so I suppose I have to overlook that.  You understand what I mean though – no?  We should always work to do good, not matter who it is for, as we are on this earth are all children of God.  No one better than the next.

 

When we look at our lives at the beginning as young people our eyes are big and we are excited and so very sure our lives will play out in a certain way.  Our parents will be proud of us and God – our Father will be proud of our choices and decisions.  As a mom looking at my sons right now (22 – 28) I realize an innocence they had (as did all of us I suppose).  I also realize looking at my 22 year old who is taking on the responsibility of being a dad (etc.) that he is at the very beginning of a journey.

 

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While he thinks he sees all that may lay ahead, I know as an older experienced and wiser person that he is in for a heck of a ride.   He has had options thus far and has chosen the path that is right for him right now.  A path I hope will work out well and be the correct one for all concerned.

The truth is there are going to be times that he feels like he is traveling that road alone but for God and – he will be. path-pic Wet, muddy, fog down the road.  Not quite clear on choices.

 

 

Among our choices we really do have more than one path that can take.  The easiest is two-paths-same-destinationusually to remain in the place in which we are most familiar, with  very little chance of change to our lives or growth.  

Sometimes we may make a choice to change our path, merge with change and others on a different path.

 

When we consider and embrace we have the choice, to take a chance to make change in our lives it can be a really scary realization.  When I left my marriage after twenty years, 754fc4071c3255a51244d0cdeb0b371aI made a choice to take a chance to change my life and the lives of those in my life and – I did.  What a growth experience this has been!!!  I realize now how courageous I really am.

d166c6ba2fc430cc9da00131adf9436bPlaces He may want you to be. 

Discern what you want.  Discern what the God you know are or are really beginning to see in a new light may want.  They say there is more than one way to skin a cat – and there is more than one way to arrive at the same destination. 

When we consider changing our lives, we look at those closest to us, and those whose lives we touch but not in the same intimate way.  Remember God created us to be loving human beings with … needs and desires to be with others in caring, loving relationships

Jesus calls us to be disciples.  We can do both within our homes and without and we can very definitely share God, teach, evangelize and most likely reach people in deeper ways when we are able to have true friendships and relationships with them.  Let the walls down.

I have Miss Little in my midst.  How many ways has my faith touched her life?  How many ways will it touch Baby Little?  How many people will God reach throughout them over their own lifetimes.  It is less about the masses of humans and more about the individuals that we touch and reach in life.  Consider the parable of Jesus sending the disciples out into the world.  We will reach who He intends us to and how that works in His plan is His knowing.

34886d5ae6bf24027dcaad738d325b79Always turn to our Father.

Remain open, listen and He will make paths straight.  Change can be scary no matter what it is.  Staying in the same spot can be scarier. 

Jesus Christ did not teach planting seeds and growth for amusement.  It is fully the intention of our Father that we grow in faith – and in truly living life.  No matter what  a choice is He loves us and we are loved by others.  Real love allows our loves to be free to make choices, support them – but we can still say, hey – I am here too.

My choice of allowing Miss Little into our lives and hearts is to become a Nona (with not a drop of Italian blood I must admit) in just a matter of a few weeks.  I’ll be holding a little tiny baby boy – something I have barely ever honestly considered.  Even with all of the shopping and planning and – even making an appointment for the kids to meet with (my sons) Pediatrician in two weeks.  A nona.  Noni.  Hmmm.

What change will your choice bring into your life?  The lives of others?  So many options, so many doorways to step through.  With love, support of others who have walked in your path is there – as is support from a love no matter what.

~Blessings

Reflections, Called to Service

Over my somewhat short blogging experience I have written, edited and deleted some different  essays.  I am rebuilding my website now at a slower pace.  Today I found there had been two searches of the above that brought someone(s) to my page.  When I looked this up myself on Bing I found hints of an article I had written several months ago on discernment and exactly how much trust did I think I was really giving to God at that time.  I had second guessed what I felt He called me to, actually struggled with it for a long time though as time has played out I am sure I have followed along and am headed in the way He wants, though – I’m still not sure what that means completely.  Today – I continue to turn my trust to Him, heart, mind and soul.  Personally, I am staying in prayer and listening for direction.  A somewhat  intense time in my life.  That’s as much as I am going to divulge. 

Early on in this journey I came across what I have been told (and read) is the Prayer of Discernment by Thomas Merton.  In truth, I cannot remember how I came across this, I believe it was at a summer retreat that I participated in at a neighboring Parish.  The retreat was held every other Sunday afternoon over the summer.  It was at this retreat I came face to face with some issues that I really had not paid as much attention to up to that point.  Rather than veer off point and continue on with those issues, I am going to continue on and return to those topics in other writings at some point.

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The above .gif is something I installed as the background on my cell phone for several months as I tried to come to discern what God was asking me.  This prayer is one of many that are used for some discerning Holy Orders, though that was not my purpose for this prayer.  Others use this prayer apparently to help them through difficult and challenging times in their lives.

The mid-morning, noon and mid-afternoon verses included in the Divine Office readings today are from  1 Corinthians as noted below.  I am going to inject verses 7-11 that were not included in the readings for the sake of this discussion.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 Corinthians 12:4-6

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them.

7. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.  8 To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;  9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; 10 to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Noon reading (Sext)1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptized, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Afternoon reading (None)1 Corinthians 12:24,25-26

God has arranged the body and that there may not be disagreements inside the body, but that each part may be equally concerned for all the others. If one part is hurt, all parts are hurt with it. If one part is given special honor, all parts enjoy it.
The above teachings of St. Paul were written as a lesson to the Corinthians on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to us.  He further goes on to teach that these gifts can help assist all of us in our calling to serve God.
 
One thing that struck me yesterday about these readings, while reading a post by a friend over on FacePlace was one of those  lists of what a mom does.  I have thought of this in relation to these readings before but never found myself sitting down and writing about it.  There is a reason I am going to used quotes on “mom”.  Please note, I sincerely believe the same can be said for many dads too! 
 
Please pardon any repetition
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I personally don’t know anyone who has written such a list, it seems kind of  ? self serving.  These things are just what we do.  Moms, Dads and others who help us out – right?  In addition to all of the above “jobs” many of us are blessed with a marriage or other adult relationship . . .

 

 

ee1ff7351f626e7ce4252695ee48e78aThat relationship usually comes before children in hopes of providing a really solid family foundation.  This type of relationship requires work and gift of self too!

In addition to these relationships and endless list of responsibilities comes our career.  What we do outside of the house to bring income “in” as a means of being able to provide for ourselves, those we love and others who also need a hand up.

For myself – God is before all of these human relationships.  When I put Him first, I am able to serve Him and others as He asks us to do.  Worship our Triune God – and Serve.

What does all of this have to do with the words of St. Paul?  We all have many gifts.  We are not limited to any one special gift of the spirt, though some may have more of one gift than another, some may really only have one or two, some may have several – and they may flex or change over time.

St. Paul’s words as taught in the church limit the abilities of everyone, whereas looking at the broader scope, maybe with the female mind – we can see how all things in our life are all interchangeable, possible, and though they may not always be as simple as a list of words on a page, they are our lives.  Our relationships.  Our loves.  All gifts from God – who never has limited His children in any way, shape or form.  All things are possible in Him.

“We thought depriving ourselves or doing something contrary to nature, will, or body would somehow please God, whereas it only made us feel “strong” and significant. Jesus never advocates either asceticism or heroism. In fact, Jesus says, “John the Baptist came along fasting and living an ascetic life and you were upset with him. Now I come along eating and drinking and you don’t like me either” (see Matthew 11:18-19). Jesus is neither a rigorist nor a legalist. He is scandalously free from these ego games”  R. Rohr

We are all called by Him to serve.  He does not limit our lives, He gave and gives Life.  Live.  His Love and the Gifts He gives us are in abundance, Unlimited but for our own minds.  Faith, Hope & Love, the greatest of these is Love.  Serve with Love ~ but, Live.