Reflections -The Power of God’s Promise

Grace, as defined here by St. Peter is the Divine power of God bestowed upon everything that makes for life and devotion, through knowledge of God himself. Our Christian life and ability to live that life to the fullest is through the gift of Grace from God, He shares His divine nature with us.


2Peter 1:2-7

Greeting.

1Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ:

2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3 His 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.


 

The more we seek Him, the closer to Him we are, and the further from sins of the world.

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”

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This knowledge compels us forward with the desire to learn more.

With our knowledge moderation/self-control so that we can bring order to unhealthy habits (my lack of menu and exercise schedule require self-control) temperance. The term, self-control can tend to scare some people off or make them concerned that make you think you can’t enjoy life. There is a difference between mindless eating or desiring a loving relationship keep your thoughts in check.  With moderation/self-control we gain endurance.

As our knowledge and faith in God grows deeper still, which naturally brings us to be more devout in our faith. Our devotion to God and one another, brings about mutual affection with love,  sometimes a more mutual love as that can be a progression of Gods gifts.

So here we learn how the Grace of God, is truly a blessing in the lives of Christians and how the fruits of the spirit work together in bring us to new a better places but for our asking, and at times His prodding.

With all things religious, we must work to gain knowledge of what is being taught. We may not agree with something today, that tomorrow a new light may be shed upon that will allow us to learn something new, see something new. Alternately – that can work in reverse. Somethings we think we know or understand, we in fact truly need to spend time on our knees and contemplate. It is both part of being human and a gift that we have knowledge and faith in God and he teaches all of us to grow.

Originally Published 2016

The Carpenters Son? Mary’s Son? ~ The Begotten One. (revised)

This mornings gospel reading from the book of Mark was a reminder to me of the differences in how things are interpreted and how those interpretations affect the lives of so many people following church leaders.

The divine office readings that I follow are from a free source that utilizes the Jerusalem Bible.

Here I read:

Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.


In my morning email I receive the daily mass readings from the USCCB – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  It can be really interesting to see the difference between the two readings -but today’s are very clear.  They are almost exactly the same.


Mark 6:1-6
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.


Here in the book of Mark we learn Jesus was indeed a carpenter (and a Rabbi – husband? “Master” refer to previous writings, I will link back here when I have time). Do you see how  Jesus himself managed a working career (carpenter/craftsman) with being a Rabbi?  Most probably also a husband “Master”? 

Jesus was born a human.  This is referenced in scripture.  i.e. Jerusalem Bible (my divine office reading)  Acts 2:32  God raised this man Jesus to life,  Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law – to meet the conditions of the law, everything I have read indicates Jesus was born human.  We really, really have to look at the fact that that throughout the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we are all children of God.  Jesus was the “begotten” – “chosen” one.  This is one of those believable facts that tie into what I have written toward the end of this article.  These biblical facts are what teach people about Jesus, our Father, the Holy Spirit and salvation.  Pure, Simple.  No embellishments needed.  ~ This is how we bring others to God.

You have to be really open to looking at this and that is not easy for many.  We are raised, taught and indoctrinated with certain beliefs.  The Spirit will guide you to see truths.


St. John 14:15-21 The Advocate.

What does Jesus tell us here?

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth,which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 2Judas, not the Iscariot said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him,Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“will keep my word” > The Gospel

Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him > As Christians – we do!

The divine is within all.  Those of us who believe in and love Jesus will find It’s our job to find it, share it – and help it grow.


Reading the notes on the USCCB website for the New American Bible, Revised Edition version of the bible, we learn that this is the only Gospel that refers to Jesus as a carpenter.  Historically speaking it would make sense, He would have learned the trade from His earthly father Joseph.

“”* [6:3] Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have “the carpenter’s son,” as in Mt 13:55.”” (Footnote Mark 6:3)

If we compare this verse from St. Mark 6:3

“”Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.””

        …  to the same story in St. Mathew 13:55

St. Mathew 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

It seems to me that both verses state Jesus is a carpenter, St. Mark refers to Him as the son of Mary (a possible nod to Him being the son of God…?) but… in St. Mathew it is written as “the carpenter’s son” (Joseph), occupations handed down through generations.

Do we also learn that He had siblings?

Reading the notes on the USCCB website, further on we read;

“” The brother of James…Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v. 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5.   The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.“”

Researching the topic of Mary’s lifelong virginity (not something I grew up hearing as a Protestant, not something most Catholics I have spoken to know of – or believe) this was not a teaching early on but something written about over the years. 

*Note: some may not approve of my terminology i.e. “made love” but I feel it is important to drive home the teachings of marriage, love and family life.  I could say consummate, I could say intercourse – but a married couple?  Blessed by God? Make love.

There are stories written that are not biblical.  I have not put a lot of thought into why anyone felt Mary – a married woman would have to remain a virgin for life.  She was married – making love is a natural part of family life.  A gift from God.  If Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage (legally would have had to – no?) would that not make them more of an attainable role model for families?  He was the step-father of Jesus, why would they not have more children?  Why  would they not partake in marital love making?  Actually, isn’t that required in a sacramental marriage, as well as no contraception – but openness to receiving more children?

Perhaps those Catholics educated in a Catholic school system, indoctrinated (“teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically“) ?  know, and believe in her perpetual virginity.

I can’t say whether they believe it or not.  Considering my limited research on the belief of the Eucharist (now an article) being the body and blood of Jesus,  I am going to hazard a most (American Catholics) don’t believe it.

Why is important? 

Why am I daring discuss this? 

This is part of my view from the bottom up.  It is what I see, what I know and what I feel. 

People walk away from what they do not believe

The church has grown so complex people cannot even follow along.  Like an old fashioned game of “Operator” or “Telephone”.  That is not necessary.  That is very much is not in tune with the teachings of Jesus, is it?

Looking at things like this is important when one considers the decline in the Roman Catholic church and I believe Christianity as a whole. 

In this day and age, as I have previously noted people are able to read more easily, research, study and discern.

When we have the simplicity, the purity of the Holy Gospel and even the readings I have studied so far (a lot more to go) of St. Paul –  there are those that challenge the life of Jesus Christ.  That number multiples now, most especially among young adults and our youth because so much of what the church teaches takes those simple, pure – beautiful teachings and embellishes upon them. 

There was no need to all of the additional stories or sightings or personal visitations.  Why would there be?  We have been taught all we need to know in the bible.  Simple.  Pure.  Believable.

I have brought up in the past that Mother Mary’s parents – Sts Anne and Joaquin are not biblical.  They are not.  They are referred to as “Catholic legend” on the Catholics online website.  References are given to them being brought up in unauthenticated writings. 

There again is not reason to even hear of them but to further add ? credence to Mother Mary’s virtue because Catholic teaching teaches that Mary too was born of immaculate conception – meaning Mary was conceived and born to a virgin St. Anne.  That is the “Immaculate Conception” that was made dogma in the Roman Catholic church in 1854.  1854.  Yes.  Not all that long ago

Most Catholics I have spoken to think the Immaculate Conception was when Jesus was conceived.  Interesting, is it not – that Mary is still held in high esteem, requiring no additional story or background. 

Many Catholics believe Mary made love to her husband Joseph after the birth of Jesus.  His siblings are mentioned in the bible.  It seems many don’t know or believe an immaculate conception was necessary for her to be held in high esteem as the Mother of Jesus.

I was a Catholic for many years before I myself heard these teachings of Mary.  Many people today pray to Mary, though it is clearly written in the bible that Jesus Christ is the only intercessor with our Father.  Doesn’t that put a bit of a wedge between children of God and their father?  Why?  He is always with us – why try to hide that fact?  We do not need anyone to intervene for us.  He is our loving Father and He has time for each and every one of us.  He is Life.

If one steps back and looks at this – is it really that hard to see why people in this millennium walk away, no longer believing the teachings of the church?  To many, these teachings seem far fetched.  Over complicated.

 The teachings of Jesus –  simple, pure gospel of Jesus.

St John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, Whoever loves me will keep my word,

Here too, in this reading (both versions) Jesus is referring to His own house/home.  Something too often contested in the church – but Biblically correct.

Less is more.  Isn’t it? 

I understand it may be easy to look at what I have said and “write it off”.  You can’t.  Not really.  Not when it comes to being a true disciple of Jesus. 

One must seriously examine why people are leaving the church, many going to other Christian churches (maybe they are right?), though we know Christianity as a whole is shrinking.

Many are leaving religion all together. 

How many – are completely walking away from Jesus and our Father?

This isn’t just about good seeds or bad seeds – this is about replanting and fertilizer. 

Looking at things carefully is prudent and looking at ways to approach some of these things, openly has the possibility to retain, and draw children of God – to Him.

Santa Claus is a legend.  It seems even on Catholic websites there are teachings (more than one) that slips into that category.  Is this fixable?  Without saying “it’s a mystery” which is how my children were answered – as millions have been, when questioning teachings.

I don’t believe in a defeatist attitude, that is not godly.  However, many things need to start changing and they need to start changing today in order to save the church – and grow Christianity. This is about God.  Not ego’s, not Catholicism per say.  This is about the teachings of Jesus Christ – the reason we Christians, are Christian.  Standing back and looking at things, I can begin to see why other Christian denominations state – emphatically, that Catholics are not Christian.  We need brave clergy, Bishops to stand up and make changes.  I am not so sure a basically elderly, celibate clergy is going to emotionally and spiritually deal with the changes that need to be made in order to really stabilize and grow the church.  Painful words, with loving intention.  It is asking a tremendous amount from  men who have given up life that God never intended them to give up. It is in life experiences that we experience God.   It requires them to begin to live life in a new way, new eyes, new growing hearts, expanding souls – and living, earning real life experience.  It is asking a lot.

God first.  Always.  Living the Gospel.

 

Christ and His Commandments

The first section is a short Reading from this evenings divine office, I am adding in the first two verses

1John 2:1-2

1 My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

1 John 2:3-6

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, ‘I know him’, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
In the book of 1John we are reminded that Jesus is the intercessor, our advocate with our Father.  He has atoned for our sins – we can saygreatestcommandment “I know Him” but if we are not following His commandments, we are not honoring His gift on the Cross then we are liars.  We are to be obedient to our Father.  We are to to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, love our Father with all of our heart, mind and soul.  Love one another as ourselves.  Realizing I think, that we are one in Him. Carrying out our lives in this way, working for the good of all in God.

The Greatest Commandment

St. Mark 12:28-30

28One of the scribes,i when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?”

29 Jesus replied,“The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! 30bYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j

Turning ourselves over to God is a lot more than going to church on Sunday. It requires; patience, understanding, compassion, forgiveness and love – of ourselves. We are going to work through all of those emotions when we truly open our hearts and souls to God.

Jesus brings us to God – once we get there, it is our job to fully accept and allow God into our hearts, soul, mind and body. He is there now, inside of your being but for you to allow Him to grow. Nurture and Nourish your soul. Take some time to read about prayer and how to best go about it for yourself. Study your Bible.

St. Mark 12:31-34

31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ 33And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34And when Jesus saw that [he] answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.

Do you love yourself? Do you think positive things about yourself, your intellect, appearance, actions?

Do you believe God loves you?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

God is part of us, as we are His children. The more we allow ourselves to grow in Him, the more He grows within our souls. Yes – we are walking around with God in us. Do you respect that?

When we love ourselves, we are loving God in part too. When we realize this we are better able to really love everyone that we encounter, not just our family or friends – we learn to be more patient in kind to the harried mom in front of us at the check out who’s baby is crying and two year old is pulling on her arm. Our love radiate can radiate out in a oneness with another. How would we like to be treated if dealing with crying kids? Smile at that mom, why not engage the two year old so mom can focus on the baby for a few minutes?

Or the new waiter at for favorite pizza place, its his first night and he spills water all over the table (and a bit on your leg)? Now he is scared of loosing a new job, after spilling water. Can you help the waiter clean up the spilled water and share a time when you made a mess with a glass (who – had – not?) – maybe slip him an extra dollar tip.

When your husband (wife) comes in late from work, on your anniversary with not so much as an “I Love You”, you feel crushed – right? Reach inside and pull out some of that good love and see how well that plays out for you. The husband who may be short on money, is short on time? Totally stressed about something (work? and ill parent?) that he did not have his focus on your marriage, but was a million miles away, would he really want to hurt you?

This one is more difficult, it really hurts to feel forgotten by your love.  Your spouse is deep in your heart and soul. Take a few minutes alone, perhaps in the bathroom (it works) and have a few minutes with our Father. Ask our Lord for help and guidance. How the evening plays out is in your hands. Give him some space, let him talk. Then maybe walk over and give HIM a big hug, tell him you love him as much today as you did 8 years ago when you married him. His may be rendered speechless, but he will feel that love and that is what life is all about.

Love God, love and nurture your relationship with him as well as everyone you touch.

Love another as you would love yourself.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness.

One simple word that can evoke a wide range of emotions, for both the “offender” and the “forgiver”.

Christians know we are required by God to forgive, or face God in our inability to extend forgiveness. (continued below)

From the Gospel reading:

Matthew 18:21-35

“Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.”
– Then Jesus told this Parable;

” ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’”

We all have times in which we find it difficult to forgive. What child wants to say “okay, I forgive you for breaking my favorite toy?” Right. Or, how about the husband to the wife “oh, geez, ummm you threw away my favorite sweat-shirt because it had a tear in the hem?” Yup. Those are the easy ones too, aren’t they?

What about the big things? The ones that tear you to your soul, leaving your heart wide open, bleeding? There are so many things that hurt us this way, a drunk driver causing a car accident that paralyzes your mother, backing into the driveway and accidentally running over napping Fido, who is old and deaf.  Spoken words that cut like a knife and wound your soul.

We all have things.

Every one of us.

They leave deep scars.

My own range from having a mother who didn’t want me, who had no trouble telling someone, with me just a few feet away that “I would have aborted her if it was legal”, she was emotionally detached from at least two of her three children. – My ex-husband who abused me emotionally, mentally and physically for many years, leaving scars both literal and figurative. What do you do with that?

Forgive. Jesus tells us to Forgive. My mother, was easiest. I cannot relate to her in any way shape or form. I pity her for the upbringing she had, her inability to bond or grasp what love is. I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt, because there are times that it does hurt but – I have forgiven. I also have no contact with her any longer. Sometimes that decision must be made and my choice was very well thought out, including with the help of professionals. I’ve done my work.

My ex-husband? Not so much. Forgive him? What – are you kidding? I couldn’t even stand to realize the hell I had lived in for so long that I allowed myself and my kids to do (oh…. good timing here, forgiveness of self! – we cannot forget that). Well, I did learn to forgive him and it remains the most difficult act of forgiving that I have ever done. I prayed about it for quite a while (I mean months, maybe even a year or two). One day, someone suggested rather than pray how to forgive him, to pray for him. What a concept!

I did. I prayed for him. I wasn’t happy about that idea at all, why should I do something “good” for him anyway? At this point I was still terrified that he would find me one night and kill me, “stab you to death while laughing staring into your eyes, as I watched the life fade from them” (oh yes, he said that and a good deal of other things).

My love for Jesus Christ called me to forgive him, to pray for him, so I forced myself to overlook my self centered dislike, fright – and pray for him. He is the father of my sons and they to date are the biggest gift God has graced me with. I prayed. I cried and I prayed. I prayed – and one day, I smiled because I was able to let go and forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t always mean you say the words to someone. In fact, I doubt I ever would even have to opportunity to do this with my mother or my ex-husband. In my heart and soul though, I forgive them. I feel sorry for them. They were both incapable of loving me as I should have been loved. In the ways most daughters are loved by their mothers and wives are loved and treasured by their husbands, people who love and protect them at all cost.

I never had fear of God’s wrath if I did not forgive these two people because my love for Him knew He understands my heart and how I was treated. In time my heart began to heal, it had to or I would allow those terrible emotions to follow me and into my own relationships for the rest of my life.

One thing I do know about myself. I am an awesome mom. I love my boys to the moon and back. I’ve loved other kids too, that’s what moms like me do. My kids love me very much, they come to me for an ear to listen, advice, love (to give and receive) and … they bring others to me. Always have. Always will. One day, by the grace of God, I may also have that loving relationship in my life, which I could not have, if I had not learned to forgive. My heart would have hardened and become bitter.

If there is someone who is or has been in your life that you need to forgive, pray for them. In time, you will be able to forgive – and – you will heal ♥ By the Grace of God.

Originally published 2016

A Spiritual Reflection of the Crucifixion

117

I really enjoy this portrayal of Jesus. Just a regular guy. A man of flesh and blood. He was born in a time long, long ago to loving parents here on earth, that nurtured and raised Him into the man who Loved God with all of His heart and Soul. Who was chosen by our Lord, God to save literally billions of human beings from themselves.

Jesus at the age of twelve, in Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary for the Passover festival, as an adolescent traveling with a large group was not missed for two or three days, when His parents realized Jesus was missing from the group they returned to Jerusalem. He stayed behind to be found in the temple studying with teachers.

Luke 2: 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”*

Our Lord, God brought Jesus to us.  With Him, a new way of life, a new way of thinking. Jesus – brought our Loving Heavenly Father to us, and through Our Father we are  gifted with  the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps you can take a few minutes to visualize what the life of Jesus may have been like, the parts we don’t read about. Regardless of your relationship status, you can relate. A young man? An older gentleman? Woman, teenage girl. Wife, grandparent, husband, single person. We all know children, young men, teenagers – men. Jesus was human. What was His unwritten/unseen life like? These details of His life on earth don’t seem necessary to His overall mission, which is in essence, to bring peace and goodness to the world, to bring others to our Heavenly Father. I think though, it is critical to realize Jesus was a man. His lessons are those we can all live by.

This may sound like an oversimplification, and religiously speaking, it really is, but that is the synopsis or perhaps Spark-note version.

I readily admit, I am reading, studying and learning more about the Holy Bible and Catholic teachings which do conflict (at times). I suppose that’s where the “Cafeteria Catholic” comes in. I read other (Catholic) religious and spiritual writings and I encourage everyone to take some time doing the same. Just as living through life physically is a journey, so must our spiritual self travel to learn and grow.

The following reading is from today’s Divine Office Reading 3/23/16.

Mid-morning reading 1 Timothy 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 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.

His belief in our Lord, God the Father was so strong, He was so deeply filled with the Holy Spirit that He gave His life to bring us to Him. Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied: greatestcommandment“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The price he paid for the sin, of billions of humans – was His life. I think, in a way as a mother considering the man child Jesus, the child, teenager, man – Jesus Christ and understanding that He really was just like you or I in human flesh, with wants, needs, desires. He had human relationships, but He was chosen by God; “John 3:1616For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

I will note, this is the first bible verse I memorized as a child. This version “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that he who believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” The background reading I have done on this reading/translation, has deeper meaning and value (to me) today than it did as a child. I have found this translations to mean spiritually more than the Catholic Bible translation, and more than the face value written in this paragraph.

I will reference this link What does it mean that Jesus is God’s only begotten son? (not Catholic, but I was researching something from my childhood), which in truth gives a much deeper meaning to the Jesus we all know and hear about. We know He was chosen, but having a better understanding of the original wording/translation puts so much more meaning (and “common sense”) into this phrase. No longer is Jesus, God’s only son, or only a son of God. He is the chosen one, chosen by God, and as we know we are all children of God.

Jesus was God‘s begotten one. His unique human child with Holy Spirit on earth, brought forward for the purpose to bring us to Him. Upon the Crucifixion and resurrection we see the Trinity in full, God the Father, God the Son together in the Holy Spirit.

(4/29/16) In a recent Mass, an elderly Priest was rather upset. He insisted that Jesus WAS God. There are various readings in the bible too that refer to Jesus as human in form on earth prior to the resurrection.

(5/9/17) 1Peter 3:18  “18For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.g”

* [3:18] Suffered: very many ancient manuscripts and versions read “died.” Put to death in the flesh: affirms that Jesus truly died as a human being. Brought to life in the spirit: that is, in the new and transformed existence freed from the limitations and weaknesses of natural human life (cf. 1 Cor 15:45).  NAB (USCCB)

Today (4.29.16) DO Readings include:


Mid-morning reading (Terce)Acts 2:32,36

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.

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Does God want us to be happy? On earth?

A portion of a recent daily reading reminded me of some words spoken at Mass this past Sunday. Now I will admit, I don’t remember the exact words – but – they went something like this; “Happiness is not for earth, we are to look to finding our happiness in heaven”. Again, that is not the exact quote, but it is the sentiment that was stated. This is a dangerous statement.  This makes the general population afraid they are bad (sinful) for being happy, wanting to be happy – Catholic Guilt?  Is this being said because it is what our clergy are being taught?

That infamous phrase (this is not only a Catholic issue). Let’s be careful about scaring people away from church and scaring people away from God – and look at some facts

God does want us to be happy human beings right here on earth. When we take the time to read scriptures, we can discern the meaning behind what information St. Paul is passing on to us. This article is based upon scriptures only, not  Catechism teachings.

The below readings are taken from a letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. The Galatians, written to here are said to be recent converts, possibly Celts who had invaded Asia Minor (etc.). They were being woo’d by other missionaries who wanted them to added Jewish laws to (i.e. circumcision) as a means to the salvation of the Cross.

Also, we can reflect upon the words of Jesus here in St. John 14:

The Advocate.

St. John 14: 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

What a gift indeed! The Holy Spirit is generous and gifts us with much.

~

Mid-morning reading (Terse) Galatians 5:13-14

My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbour as yourself.

Noon reading (Sext) Galatians 5:16-17

Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing, and it is precisely because the two are so opposed that you do not always carry out your good intentions.

Afternoon reading (None) Galatians 5:22,23,25

What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.

~

The last verse lists the Fruits of the Spirit. In reading this, in conjunction with above scriptures we can see more clearly how our Father has blessed us!

If we truly believe and keep our overall focus on God – who is goodness and Love, the Holy Spirit within will guide us in His goodness and love. Jesus “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.”

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness & Self-control.

Catholic “tradition” lists additional “fruits” that I am not going to list here. The biblical listing above is taken directly from the current version of the (NAB) Bible which the Roman Catholic Church uses here in the United States.

There tends to be a leaning toward denying self of the true gifts given from God, when they become translated in the church. Long after Jesus and St. Paul, and long before today. A balance needs to be found and can be found in honoring the seven fruits of the spirit as listed above.

These gifts are to be used along with honoring the Laws we have been asked to follow;

#1 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength” God First!

#2 “Love your neighbor as yourself” #2 Do not put yourself above anyone.

#3 The Ten Commandants and

#4 The Beatitudes should also be honored.

– In giving of self, we receive.

With this knowledge:

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Trustfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

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Everything listed as a Fruit of the Spirit; emotions, actions, attributes that bring about happiness in our lives right here on earth. Living following the rules and guidelines provided to us as living for in, for and with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – God has provided us with true ways to live to honor He and each other.

You may hear at Sunday service, or from a well meaning person that we’re not to look for happiness here on earth – that happiness is after our earthly life – to be found in the Kingdom of Heaven above. Jesus stated the Kingdom of God is at hand.  Today. We can have both.  What is true that we are told the above gifts will be multiplied in a magnificent way when the time comes that we are called Home to our Lord.

Live ~ Love ~ Laugh With Our Lord

Our loving & Generous Father is pleased when His children are happy living in Him.

 

published 2016

Ancient teachings are relative today

I The Purpose of Parables and those who understand , I wrote about Jesus speaking in Parables. This was His was of weeding out those with a hardened heart with those of purity of heart – who would hear His word.

I am going to bypass the readings from Mass this morning which in part I have covered already in and refer to scripture in No longer concealed in the tomb . I would like to share, the Roman Catholic Church – Pope Francis has elevated July 22nd the Memorial Day of Saint Mary Magdalena to a Feast Day, which is a very special honor. Reading some articles today I am afraid there are many who will still not accept her position in the life of Jesus and the other Apostles. The role of women in general, and perhaps all laity – well, I see points are being missed and I hope they keep the focus on Jesus where it should be and remain – in time they will get it -the wheels of the church move slowly, I think a very long road lay ahead. We are all “one”, the church makes divisions that Jesus did not.

~

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No longer concealed in the tomb

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Easter Sunday, the resurrection brought Jesus Christ back to the world. There are different versions of this event. In this DO reading, offer the version the girl in me holds most dear. I know there are other women who feel the same way. Many I have “met” on the pages of Catholic periodical’s online.

Gospel  John 20:11-18

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognize him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.”

This particular reading shows us a side of Jesus and Mary M. in a context many choose to overlook, not acknowledge. The human Jesus that I hold as dear to my heart as the resurrected Christ. Mary M. ran to the disciples to tell that Jesus was gone, they investigated, saw he was gone – and walked away, back home they went.

Mary M. who had traveled with Jesus, followed him, was at the cross when He was nailed to it, remaining at the foot of the cross as His body died away. How can you not read these verses and not picture Mary, laying in heap, mourning the loss of Jesus? Further heartbroken by His missing body. He chose to appear to dear Mary first. A faithful woman, she remained where she last saw Him. Imagine her shock and surprise when he appeared?

Her vision blurred by her tears, not recognizing Him. “Rabbuni” she called out. The translations of this vary; Rabbi, Knowledgeable Rabbi, My Master” according to the US Bishops website (a term also used for husband repeatedly in the Bible). I know, I know. So many dislike thinking Jesus so human but He was, He lived and walked the earth. We don’t know and will likely never know the truth according to scriptures, because there are so many missing years. For myself, the importance of Jesus appearing first to Mary M. shows His respect and love for her. Respect and love I know women often do not feel in the church. The Apostles went off on their own way. Mary M. loved him so that she stayed and wept.  He came – to her. Before completing His earthly mission and ascending to be with God, the Father.

On a personal note, when I began researching “Rabboni” and seeing Master and Lord were also terms for husbands, I came across scriptures where wives are to submit to husbands.  That led me to write Wives Submit to your husbands…

The Purpose of Parables

In  Gospel reading  of St. Mathew 13:10-17  the disciples question Jesus on why he teaches crowds in parables, and the privilege of discipleship. I think considering today’s environment these teachings remain the same today. If only more could come to understand the word of God, live and love each other, tear down barriers – work together for the greater good of all. This is not something for a select few, it is for all of us.

St. Mathew 13:10-17

The Purpose of Parables.

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’

14Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. 15 Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’

In this reading Jesus explains that many of those listening “hear” and “see” but they do not believe he is the begotten son of God. He teaches in parables, using simple examples of daily life to teach important and deep spiritual lessons.

“For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me.”

Jesus knew many would not want to hear the loving teachings of God, those with a good heart would understand His teachings, those with hardened hearts would not – because it meant they would have to correct their ways of living.  Disciples place God and others first, live simple lives not in palaces with gold and glitter. Live to love all and serve God, those in their lives – and strangers.

The Privilege of Discipleship.

“16But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 17 Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Because the disciples were pure of heart, they understood He was the Begotten one, they understood He spoke for God and the better way of life.

Walking in His path is a lifelong commitment to God. To learn, continue learning, opening of mind, heart and soul. Some may seem more committed to growth than others, but that is not what God looks for. He looks for an honest and sincere heart. He knows us as he formed us. We have different learning and teaching styles. The most important things to remember is God first and all else will fall into place.

 

 

 

He knelt and wrote in dust

One of my favorite events written about in the Bible, is when Jesus stood strong against the scribes and Pharisees who brought a women before Him, caught in adultery. I remember this from my childhood, though I know I had no idea what adultery was then. I just knew a lady was being accused of sin by a group of men and Jesus stood up to them saying “who among you is without sin, cast the first stone” and they left.

As an adult, I fully understand what adultery is and I realize the writings are telling us the story of men who, trying to set Jesus up to fail, brought before Him a woman accused of a great sin. Adultery. They brought a woman before Him, scared and alone, in the center of the group. Jesus knelt to the ground and in His handwriting, began to write with His finger. There is speculation about what he was drawing or writing. One source I came across, but have not had time to look further into, is that when people were accused of a crime their names and the crime would have been written in dust while tried (as writing in dust or sand was temporary not “written in stone”. This theory sounds the most likely to be. The truth is – we will never know.

What we do know is this – rather than condemn this woman to death by stoning, Jesus stood and said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” Interesting thought here – Jesus did not cast a stone either. . . I will have to ponder this thought, my human Jesus ♥ he was a good man – He never said He was perfect, which makes Him all the move approachable, no? He stood up to teach and say “Let he who among us, who is sinless, cast the first stone”. As they walked away, He told her – “go, your accusers have left. Go and sin no more”. {Footnotes on this at the USCCB website indicate this portion was added to original writings of the bible, style seems more in line with book of Luke authors, though is accepted Canonically}.

This event is important, regardless of when it was written, what Jesus really wrote on the ground, whether the woman had really committed adultery – those things don’t matter. What does matter is Jesus stood up for what was right. Don’t bring me the woman accused of a crime without the man or men she is accused of sinning with, as they have sinned too. This is a sin that hurts hearts and souls, such sin is not a sin of one, and in fact she is a victim too. We need to look into our hearts and souls and feel and love with compassion and empathy – to heal hearts and souls. Not condemn, beat, maim. Jesus has taught us that God is Loving. When we love we are acting with God. Love is the proper response.

Holy Bible, Book of John 8:1-11 For the full readings please refer to the United States Catholics Bishops Conference website – which also provides foot notes.

A Woman Caught in Adultery.7:53 Then each went to his own house, 1while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.* a 2But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.* So what do you say?”b 6They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.* 7* But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them,c “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.9And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. 10Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”d 11She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”

 

 

Jesus was raising a ruckus!

The gifts 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, He 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                                                                              John 5:52-59

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 for ever.’
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.

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 – and pray. 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.

Unfit for the Kingdom of God???   ~   Reflections of St. Luke 9:51-62

Jesus taught in parables. His manner of teaching is taught as fact, and then ignored – or perhaps only understood by a few ? can be distracting at times. I sat listening to a talk in which this reading was explained in the literal sense. I found my lips moving (thankful the voice box was off!) saying “oh, no – that is not what Jesus said”.

What is Jesus talking about in these readings? It sounds scary (what is it about some readings that cause people to tense, become fearful and say… um no???”). Presentation. So, lets take a look at  our master teacher Jesus, and His parables.

Gospel Lk 9:51-62

“When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,

he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,

and he sent messengers ahead of him.

On the way they entered a Samaritan village

to prepare for his reception there,

but they would not welcome him

because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,

“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven

to consume them?”

Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village”.

If we look back to Luke 9:2-5 which I have discussed in my post The Mission of the Twelve we read; 2and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]. 3He 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.” So, it would be natural for Jesus not to be surprised that they were turned away from any location and to chastise His disciples – their reaction was out of line with His teachings.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus answered him,

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Parable? Right. Traveling along on this mission, it’s clear they were turned away from lodgings. We already know He did have a Home as did the rest of the Disciples. In this case – they were traveling.

And to another he said, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”

But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.

But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,

but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow

and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Here, Jesus in His normal teaching style is saying “Follow me”, I can almost picture Him standing among a group of people or sitting on a boulder, getting off His feet for a bit and having a refreshment. Right? Casual discussion, important lessons. We know He is the fisher of men. He knows not all will follow. Here, we see a frank exchange, a discussion. “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” Christs reply? “Let the dead bury the dead”. Another states “let me first say farewell to my family at home” Christs reply? “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom.”

Say … what? Jesus is pulling in His net, let’s see which fish He has caught. “Let the dead bury the dead” is stated in translations as let the spiritually dead bury the dead. Now while that is quite possible, I tend to see this more as a case of “don’t use your aging father as an excuse to not spread the “word”. We really are not give a lot to work with here so it is purely speculation. However, when we consider the next sentence “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom.” It is clear, Jesus is saying “Look here folks, if you really are going to follow me to our Father then stay on task (on the path), you’ve put your hand to the plough – don’t back down now. Carry forward. You are called to be a disciple”

We are not being told we have to give up our families. We are not being told we are to give up our friends or home. In fact, what we are being told – clearly is; If you say you will follow me you will spread the word of God. In those times (as even today) it can be dangerous to travel to certain area’s to spread the word but we can do so and we can go with our families too.

Jesus – did not leave His human family and friends until He physically died.   Why would He expect a human being to live life on earth without intimate lifelong loving relationships???  Nonsensical – mixed up by humans unable to see the difference of parable – and *living the blessed life God gifted each and everyone of us with*. 

In truth, we really do not know that Jesus the human was not married.  There are indications that He may have been.  Mary M. was the first person He appeared to upon resurrection.  She was financially self sufficient if indications that she financially supported Him and the ministry – she did not need to be taken  in when He passed.  Being without sin certainly does not indicate He was not married . . .  His mission is what we learn of, His lesson.  He had loving relationships that very well may have included a wife and children (remember – Rabbi’s were married).  We could go back and forth on this but in the end it is not worth a real argument.  It ends with “we do not know the truth in this”.  We do know – God made us for Love as human beings, designed for human relationships, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  We do know for a fact Jesus both lived at home and traveled with – and died in view of those people who were His loving human family, friends and beloved.

In the Church of Latter Day Saints, young adults “How long is a mission for a Mormon? Many missionaries learn a new language at a missionary training center as part of their assignment. Missions typically last two years for males, 18 months for females, and 6 to 18 months for older couples. The LDS Church strongly encourages, but does not require, missionary service for young men.” I remember reading about this when I was younger, and it came to mind again when I came across an article on Elizabeth Smart and that she and her husband met abroad, on “mission”. – My Christian (Protestant) grandparents used to offer financial and emotional support to missionaries. They assisted several couples over the years (some whom I had met).

It is I think a sad thing, that the simple words of Jesus, taught in parables are too often taken literally. In reality, our loving Father did not create His children only to directly serve Him. Love (God) created love. He who created us, did so in a manner that we would be drawn to loving and helping each other, in peaceful and loving relationships. Yes, that parable of Adam and Eve does explain free will (which is not all bad) but we also have the Holy Spirit within to guide us and help us grow through life with each other, in God, toward our Heavenly Father.

In what ways do you serve as a Disciple of Christ?

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 we-were-createdwhat 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

 

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.

 

Discipleship

Let’s take a look at discipleship.  Some say we are all called to be disciples – are we?

First, let’s look at what Jesus said;

The Holy Bible, Gospel of Mark Chapter 8, verses 34 – 38

The Conditions of Discipleship.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Again, from the United States Bishops website, refer to the bottom of the page – we find a translation of His quote: “This utterance of Jesus challenges all believers to authentic discipleship and total commitment to himself through self-renunciation and acceptance of the cross of suffering, even to the sacrifice of life itself. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it…will save it: an expression of the ambivalence of life and its contrasting destiny. Life seen as mere self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.”

Looking at this in simple, realistic terms, with a bit of Cafeteria Catholic thrown in, Jesus tells us that we must first believe in Him, who is God on earth.  Our Trinitarian God (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) are to be first in our lives – always.  Before yourself, your spouse, your children, your job etc. etc.   Without God, we are nothing, we have nothing.

After putting our Lord, God first – we are to bring others to know Him.  We are to do this at risk of personal loss, including those Christians who are persecuted and executed for their love of God.  This teaching has to be balanced out with some common sense.  We are being asked to live good, godly lives. 

Following the Commandments as he taught us: Mark 12:30-31 30You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. This doesn’t mean we are to – or have to live the life of martyrs.  God did give us life – to live.  This is one of those readings that tend to scare people… being human and having selfish tendencies.  It is important to explain this fully.

In the book of Mark  Chapter 1 Verse 17 Jesus 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

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

 Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word.These 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. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But 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 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.

In the Book of John Chapter 15 Verse 1-11

The Vine and the Branches. I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

While the bottom of the same web link does offer the Roman Catholic churches take on this parable, I offer my own – which is actually what I remember being taught in my childhood as a Protestant;  Here, Jesus is saying that as His followers we have already been pruned to become  fruitful, in His name.

Our love and devotion does not come without cost.  Being His disciple means being selfless and putting God and others before ourselves.  Thankful we are that our God is a loving and forgiving God, because in our  humanness,  try as we must, we are not perfect.  What a gift to know He has said  “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”   Remember ~ Mark 12:30-31 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’j 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor *as* yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 Part 2 – How do we go about discipleship…

The beauty of Gods gifts allow us to grow in all things we do.  Bringing others to God doesn’t happen in a church service (per say).  To use a common phrase of Christians; What Would Jesus Do? Where did Jesus Christ go?  Among the people

What do I mean?  For people to truly know God they must experience Him in their heart and soul.  We can sit at Mass, or in a church service and listen but how often does one experience something in a church service that really reach into the souls of people?  It is rare indeed.

Don’t these people, already in a church have a relationship with God?

I believe active disciples are people have a fire (light) that burns within. That draws them deeper to God.  I believe that pull comes first from a calling of the Holy Spirit, and it requires an acceptance to turn oneself fully over to God.

What was Jesus asking us to do?  He sent forth his disciples in sets of two, to go out and teach His word.  To spread the Good News, the Gospel.  How do I think we do this?  First, trying to live as Christlike as possible while acknowledging and accepting as He does, we are His human children.  In this we also are given many gifts from Him, gifts that include Faith, Hope and Love.  Our life example, our story – our testimony, which at times means allowing our soft spots, our most vulnerable selves to be seen in order to help others heal and when we can, bring them closer to Christ.  I know myself, all that I am and all that I will be are due to Him

I believe in personal relationships such as marriage or parenting, it is a responsibility to draw your loved ones ever closer to God with you.   We are all taught – God first, then spouse, before self and this builds a solid, sacred bond.   Married couples who have this foundation and work together with God are able to set a solid example of a committed loving relationship. 

I believe it is important to work together in service to bring others to God.  Both in family life, service / volunteering.  I have read one of the best type of “dates” is to serve where God is needed (which is – everywhere, so be it a homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter group home, a school, a prison,visit a nursing home or pack up and move to Appalachia or a southern border overflowing with poor migrants). How about a “food drive” for an animal shelter (God loves animals too).  In all of these types of outreach we are able to spend some time with people who need to be loved.  People who need to feel God’s love and when we have a testimony or story to share, it brings people together – and closer to God.  There are so many place and opportunities to spread the word.

Where there is God there is Love.  Where there Love there is God.  So there is to an extent discipleship that does happen within our intimate relationships.

Some ways I share Christs love for me is by sharing my every day life with people.  It does have an affect and it is beautiful to be a part of.  In another essay I mentioned a couple of things.  One was – when being asked for a donation at a cashier and being asked for what name I wanted to put down.  “God” was the first name out of my mouth.  It wasn’t “my” dollar, it didn’t feel like it.  The kids loved my reply (a spot I also “pay it forward and pay for an order behind me on occasion at the drive up).

As part of my job, I meet and work directly with executives in lieu of the owners.  We were assigned a new gal recently, when she called to introduce and set up an appointment to meet with me, she asked when was a good time.  I said we open at 8:30 – but I go to Mass in the morning before work and usually get in later than that. (I have permission – it is a “perk”).   She remembered our conversation and when she came in to sit with me in my office it was an opportunity to share a bit of my love of God and how He has worked in my life.  I literally had a bank Vice President sitting across from me with tears trailing down her face.  God works through me.  It’s not forced, it is not fake, it just happens.  Well… perhaps not “just”  Every morning I turn myself over to God in prayer and ask Him to use me in the ways that serve Him.

Today. . .  I had sent a woman at a company that we do some work for an email, requesting needed information.  Three or four emails, no reply.  Hmmm, this is odd.  I let it go for a few more days.  Yesterday, I received the information in snail mail,  today I received an email from my contact.  We exchanged several (friendly) emails back and forth.  She shared first that she had been out due to a family emergency and apologized for not getting back to me sooner.  I responded :sic: not a problem at all, I knew something was off – I hope all is well now. – A longer response from her,  sharing with me that her 88 year old father was ill, had two surgeries and had to go back in for another.  My response?  “Oh God Bless!  I will offer a prayer, I hope that is okay. – I no longer have my parents, I do however take a lovely 88 year old woman out to brunch after mass every Sunday.  It is amazing how resilient our elders are!  Be well, XXXX”.

I know at least some reading this are saying – you did this with a business contact???  Yeah, I did and yes – it can be risky in the secular field – but I walk with Jesus ♥.  Her response?  “How nice of you!  I was having breakfast with my dad after mass each week.  I miss that time with him but I am blessed to have him all of these years.  Thank you for the prayers.”   – More emails flew back and forth.  A simple way to share God’s love with others.  Be patient, kind and loving – even with business associates.

Oh – and my Sunday brunch date?  She and I have on occasion had the opportunity to witness to others while dinning out.  Never in a “door knocking witness” sort of way.  We literally had two young women with a baby stop by our table a few months back to talk about church, (they overheard our conversation) raising kids in Christ, etc.  Be open to opportunities to share God with others.

Teaching our children to be disciples of Christ comes by their witnessing us in action (honestly – is that not how many learn?).  My sons have the biggest hearts.

One child of mine has helped three other young people with addiction problems in the past six or seven months.  It is a gift – seeing this one in action – bringing others to Christ too is amazing.  He too has no fear of posting bible quotes or inspirational works to his Facebook wall (along with all of the crazy motorcycle and otherwise crazy young man things). He brings others to church with him too.

One of the days he was over to visit me last week, we were talking about Bibles and I ended up giving him a chronological bible I had recently purchased for a study group that I lost time to participate in.  Between going to mass most mornings, (reading those bible readings ahead of mass) and recently adding several of the Divine Office readings (and other readings as I have done for these essays on discipleship) I am reading a lot (far more than the bible study class).  I wish I could say my other two sons have followed this path, to date they have not but youngest and I still have hope.

It is my hope that at least one of these suggestions will work for you should you choose to step out in discipleship.  I hope that sharing some of my experiences shows that with time

Sharing my love and knowledge of God flows naturally and freely.

I know there are others on this blog website who also share their love, hope, knowledge and experience with God.  I have some (real life) friends on Facebook who enjoy bible and spiritual posts – one openly shares that she does this as a service to God.  Facebook too – is a great way to spread the word, just remember we must walk what we talk leastwise we are hypocrites and dishonor our Lord, God.  No human is perfect, we endeavor to do our best.  God knows our hearts.

Thu, 28 Jan 2016

“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:

greatestcommandment

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 ~

 

“Let the children come to me and do not prevent them”

I learned when I married, that religion was going to be a big issue in my life, though I had no inkling I would end up divorced and where I am today.  I was raised in various Protestant denominations, attended Roman Catholic with friends, (one more often – who has at this point left the church for Lutheran).  I have written a bit about this in the past, at some point I will probably re-post something I wrote when I first set up my blog “Who am I?”, which was an extension of my “About me” and religion. 

A really short version here is this;  I was raised Protestant and converted to the Roman Catholic faith in order to be able to bring my children up as Christians.  It was the only way my exh who did not attend church (and swore literally that we never would attend a Catholic church after he spoke with a priest prior to our marriage (justice of the peace).  – So, I have a little background on the difficulties and choices we make in order to raise our children to be children of God.

Something I believe I shared last winter was that Little Miss has a two-year old son who is currently being raised by his paternal grandparents.  His father lives in their upstairs apartment.  The details of her life other than, won’t be shared here.  She has had a very difficult life and has come a long way in just the past few months, from when she first entered our lives.  I don’t think she ever really had anyone to love or guide her.  I find her eager to please, fun to be around and a really good person.  When I became involved, aside from wanting to help her, I wanted to help her reunify with her son who she had not seen in several months.  Somewhere along the way she and son became…involved in ways that should have waited.  Now, we have baby little on the way.

Saturday mornings, and any other vacation or holiday I have off work have become our “date” time.  I pick her up, drive to another city to the clinic for Methadone (she became addicted to heroin  sometime after the birth of her first son).  We often go to breakfast before or after and sometimes we go shopping.  I have been waiting for a small Catholic gift  & book store to reopen.  I really like to support the woman who has made her shop her life’s passion.  After the clinic this past Saturday, we drove to the shop and though it was not “quite” open… (awaiting CO) the front door was open so in we went.  I could buy everything in the shop :chuckles:  Really.  Seems my little miss is the same way.   The baby’s room theme is “Noah’s Ark” (seems like many things in my life bring that portion of the bible up :) ).  We picked out a Noah’s Ark nightlight, two inexpensive bracelets for the little parents (leather with cross for son, yellow braided with tiny crosses for moma – as she picked hers out and made sure I’d get one for son too ♥).

20161113_171536Psalm 139 is very near and dear to my heart.  It is my favorite.  “I am wonderfully made” with the little lion was my choice.  Little Miss chose the Noah’s Ark themed cross “God keeps His promised”.

I also bought two crib medals, one for the crib at my home and one for their home.  I have told the kids to bring theirs to the hospital to put in the isolate when baby little is born.

While moma little and I were looking at everything and making a decision on what cross to get for babies wall (my choice will be on the wall, little moma’s on his dresser – her choice).  I told her as he gets older we can pick out a different crucifix for his room and she liked that.  We looked at a couple of other things that I’ll pick up later on.

Here is where things get sticky – and upsetting – for me. 

Though both raised Roman Catholic my little’s are not attending a Catholic Church. 

Moma Little’s toddler is not attending church.  He was not Baptized.  His current guardian (a Practicing Roman Catholic – my understanding) has forbidden young lady to talk to her son about God, Jesus.

Right.  I can imagine what you are thinking.

Many months ago I had bought some Catholic/Christian toddler books and Little Moma brought them to her son on visitation (she now has visits twice a week, for two hours each time – so she is moving in the right direction.  He also adores my son, who visits once in a while – and son adores him).

On Saturday, I told her we’d come back after the baby was born so we could order one of the frames that you add footprints, a photo and birth info to.  I also told her we could pick somethings out for her older son when we came back for Christmas.  This is when she told me she’s been forbidden to talk about God.  I asked her about the books and she said she hasn’t seen them anywhere since the day she brought them there.

The other part of this story is this;  Young lady didn’t want to have the baby Baptized when he was born.  In truth, she was not doing well in her life at the time and wasn’t emotionally or mentally able to deal with any responsibility at that time.  She also thought it would be best to wait and let him make his own decision.  Apparently the grandma bought a Christening outfit and wanted to throw a party and Little Moma and the babies dad said “no”.  Now, the grandma is still licking her wounds – and keeping the little one from Jesus.

My sons were brought up Roman Catholic.  I taught CCD when they were little – even bringing my youngest, a toddler in tow because I had no babysitter.  I worked at summer Bible Camp – and introduced the Catholic Cub Scout awards to my parish.  My oldest and youngest were both alter servers.  The older two – confirmed.  Unfortunately by the orders of their father, not by their choice as it should have been presented.  Neither attend church currently.  Youngest son was not confirmed.  His first session for confirmation class was “why be Catholic” and the DRE, at the time also his teacher – couldn’t tell him why (epic fail on her part).  I spoke to her and she promised to have the Pastor speak to him – and never did.  Around the same time our family split and my ex husband (the reason my family is Roman Catholic…) refused to bring the boys to Mass or CCD on “his time”.

Son still worked at church Bingo taking it over from his older bother, until he was old enough to get a real job (all three boys worked in high school).  He had a two-year relationship with a Protestant young lady (they were “pre-engaged” … due to young age) she had a promise ring.  She had no desire to attend Mass so he attended her family church here and in Florida, and an Evangelical church nearby.

When son and little miss began hanging out, they began attending mass out of town (her family reasons).  Then they began attending the Evangelical church where they felt more comfortable.  They asked the grandmother/guardian of her toddlers if they could bring him and the babies dad (the dad supposedly was willing) to go to the Evangelical Church and the grandmother refused.

A good Catholic? ? ?   A bad Christian.

St. Luke 18:16  Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

The emotional games of tug and war that are played out by adults!!!  Keeping a child from Jesus!  I don’t understand how  this could be – but it is.

What I do know is this.  One day two little brothers will be playing together, hopefully living in the same home with their mom who is trying hard to move forward in her life (though admittedly – she needs a lot of encouragement, support and love herself).  She is capable.  Those little boys will be able to go to church, read stories about Jesus and play with Noni’s age appropriate nativity at Christmas.  One day – because I am sure God is watching.

Meanwhile, toddler brother is in my prayers along with baby little.  When the kids came to dinner tonight I told my son (talked to little miss about this Saturday also), that I am going to buy big brother / little brother shirts because – they are brothers.  He “knows” there is a baby in mommy’s tummy.  The hard part is going to be when she visits, when she brings baby and leaves with baby  – and not toddler child.  I could see this on her face when we were talking the other day.  She didn’t say it, but she felt it.

Please, if you have children, grand children  – any children in your life and you proclaim yourself to be a person of faith – do not withhold God from a child as a means to punish a parent.  Even children that are not “family”, if you have a Saturday night sleepover ask the parents if they mind if  their son or daughter attend church with you.  I can’t tell you how many times I attended mass as a child with friends (other churches too).  I can’t tell you how many little boys attended mass with my sons and me.  I never had someone say “no thank you” and – I never had anyone keep their child home the next Saturday invite either.

St. Luke 18:16  Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Closed minds are not Godly

With news of the election results here in the United States a division can be seen among Americans in a way I have not seen before. While there has been division before, this seems larger than that.

I see ignorance and taunting.  Educated human beings, lacking the emotional capacity to truly empathize, and love others as Jesus Christ would do. Even among my own religion I see this, having just read a letter from a local religious leader, there is continuation of an inability to grasp the intellectual and emotional growth outside of their walls, not by all but by those in power.

In all cases I am seeing a tendency  for some overblown egos … who don’t even realize that they have one.

People in powerful positions who fail to have the knowledge, experience and ability to truly empathize with other human beings is a misuse of power.  When one closes off their mind, heart – and soul they are unable to truly lead anyone in a positive manner.

With all of the gifts we have been given in Trinity there is so much abundance.  There is room for everyone in the United States ,and there is room for everyone in the Kingdom of God, both here in our physical life, and after our passing from this life.

It frightens me honestly to seen this inability in leaders because situations are going to implode upon them and they don’t see it coming.  We can’t build a fence along the entire southern border of the US.  We cannot fill up buses or planes and just send people who have established lives “away”.  I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, muslim, jew, christian, or buddhist, I love youwe’re all in this life together

A unity could be seen, in some area’s still in infancy, some on toddler or preteen stages.  We cannot allow this growth to regress.

We need to pray for all of our leaders.  Government and Religious who are removed from real life experience, they cannot see the forest through the trees.  Sadder yet, is to see them make jokes of God’s gifts and too often I hear that gong banging…

A portion of today’s readings from the Divine Office;

Mid-morning reading:
Romans 12:17,19-20,21
Never repay evil with evil. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back, says the Lord. But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink. Resist evil and conquer it with good.

Noon reading:
1 John 3:16
This has taught us love – that he gave up his life for us; and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers.

Afternoon reading:
1 John 4:9-11
God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away. My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.

~I’m going to share a little story of my life.  Some of you who know me, or those of you who have read my blog from the beginning,  have heard part of this.  I was born without hip sockets in 1962.  Medical technology wasn’t the same then as it is now, combine that with having parents who were not well-educated and lived a bit of a gypsy lifestyle – I was almost four years old before I was diagnosed and what I refer to as guinea-pig surgery became part of my life. 

One time I was in the hospital for over 7 months straight, sent home only because the measles were going around the hospital and had not yet hit my ward.  The surgeries failed and in truth ended up causing me a lot more problems (and pain) than I had prior to.  Good intentions though and what they learned with me enabled them to help other kids.  I do find solace in that . 

Now, I am going to skip past years and many details of my life, I’ll add in the short sentence:  I was married for 20 years to a man who was physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive.  It was a lonely sad life, during which I did undergo three surgeries in which I had hip sockets constructed (and I “grew” 4″ taller! – in my 30’s).  I wouldn’t wish any of these experiences on anyone.

The first reading above, never repay evil with evil is what brings this part of my life to my writing this evening.  Several months ago my former husband  was in a very bad motorcycle accident.  His pelvis was crushed (he lost a testicle, almost both…).  Very traumatic, painful.  I still remember the phone call from my son and how I felt.  My very first thoughts were to God to protect and save him.  That surprises people who don’t know me, those that know me were not surprised.  What did surprise me is in recent weeks all three of our sons have commented on how they had felt it was deserved and now he knows what I have endured my lifetime.  He apparently walks with a bit of a limp, is having a difficult time maneuvering which makes his work difficult – and he is in pain. 

While it is good my sons felt able to confide their feelings to me, it made me sad that they would consider retribution of this sort being just, because that is not what God teaches us.  So, I had some good discussions with the boys  (separately).

The next two verses tell us of God’s love for us and His desire for us to truly love one another.  I try to live this in my every day life and I pray to grow in this. 

I have to consider what I have said about people in powerful places, leaders above and pray for them – and I will add as a survivor of domestic violence this very real truth;

There are things in life we learn as we grow.  Some of these truths are realizations of those powerful folks using methods of emotional, physical and spiritual – abuse.  These things may be laying below the surface and not visible, but, to the persons being abused.  Our loving Father does not look lightly upon anything that hurts his children.  We are committed to Him directly not the government of a country, employer or religious institution.   I have read judgemental comments stating recently, in reference I believe to things I have spoken of – things like “not wanting that on my conscience”. 

I’ll take that and raise you one

I would not be able to live with myself, seeing truths, not to voice them, at times in very painstaking ways because I fear the hurt it may cause . . . not because of “my conscience” – but because I answer to my Triune God.  The Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit. 

~Blessings & Prayers for all of the courageous people who work hard to have an open mind and accepting heart.   f-john8_-31-32

Spiritual Seeds

Recent readings from a morning  Mass are good reading and for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth.  Spirituality can mean different things to different people.  For myself, this is my relationship with our Triune God. 

The three readings are helpful for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth.  Spirituality can mean different things to different people.  For myself, this is my relationship with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.1

The first reading this morning was from the book of Jeremiah which I am not going to quote in the entirety, realizing this was written at a time when the nations were at war. Here we have another reminder in the Bible that God created each and every one of us and he did so with a purpose in mind Jeremiah is told his purpose is to be a prophet to the nations, to tear down – and build up.  This I am going to look at in the spiritual sense.

 

As we go through life in order to grow spiritually strong, we will go through many challenges.  If we look at events as challenges – not obstacles in our growth, they become more of an ally – a friend, than a fear or foe.  dYes, it’s putting the positive spin on situations, finding whatever good we can in them in order to push through and out the other side to be able to grow in our spiritual strength.  When we are spiritually strong, we are better able to serve God and others.  Far easier to type or read than it is to go through, it is hard work at times.  As we grow through life experiences there is a tearing away of who we were and a then the building or planting of the new, wiser, stronger self – who is able to offer more to others, which is pleasing to God. 

 

The next reading at Mass are excerpts from Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17

 

Here praise is given to our Lord for all that He is and has done for us, from the moment of conception. 3

In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.

 

Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.

 

For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.

 

My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.

                                                   I will sing of your salvation.

 

A very important aspect of a prayerful life is to remember to honor and share our gratitude with God for all He is and all He has given.  5This too is a way of growing spiritually, as we sit before our Lord – to put Him first, before our cares and worries (which He already knows about).  Just like seeing a friend “Hello, how are you?  So good to spend time with you, thank you dear God, thank you for . . .”  God before self.

 

 

 

Lastly, the third reading, the Gospel of St. Mathew 13:1-9

 

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In this story Jesus explains very clearly how we may begin our faith journey with the intention of following Him to God.  Some start off on a path, trampled into hard ground by those walking to and for.  The ground has not been worked or fertilized, the seeds fall and roll – a bird comes by and finds some dinner.  The seed never taking hold.6

Next, we have some seeds that fall on rocky soil.  They take root but there are not many plants hardy enough to survive in the shallow soil, where rocks block the ability for roots to take a deep hold.  With strong sunlight, the leaves burn and the plants die – having no roots deep in the soil to provide moisture for sustenance and growth.

 Walking off the beaten path, we lose some seeds from our pocket – they fall among weeds and having so many so close together they choke out the little seedlings trying to grow, offering little crop.

Lastly, we plant our seeds in loose, fertile soil – full of nutrients, few stones or pebbles to block the way of the roots ability to grow deep allowing the plants themselves to flourish and produce a large number of strong plants.

In our humanness, there will be those that start off in their faith journey like our first seeds, snatched away by the birds.  We have people that struggle to grow among the rocks in their surroundings, not able or ready to move on to more fertile land, some survive their journey but are not able to grow strong roots. 

Those folks who are surrounded by the weeds, or perhaps more easily explained as others who do not believe, will may be smothered by the sinfulness around them and here we will find few able to flourish and grow to a great depth. 

The final planting is in fertile ground, people who are nurtured and cared for who will be able to grow and continue to grow their roots of faith and spirituality deep in the love of God.

I heard an interesting scenario, which can serve as a good reminder.  If care isn’t taken the good soil may wash away to less fertile ground, or a rocky path.  I found this interesting for a couple of reasons.  First – it is a great reminder to stay focused on God in our faith journey.  The example given interested me because it mentioned change in person’s demeanor that could lead: sic: to less fertile ground.  This is true, however one must also carefully consider the full context of a given scenario.  What is really a danger to the soil or – a new fertilizer that will enable the plants to grow and flourish, care must be given in that consideration.  Also, those birds may have dropped some of those seeds from that first part of our story, on fertile ground where in time they took root and grew to be strong and solid.  This too happens with humans.

Serious care must be given to all of God’s children – embrace the final words of Jesus in this story “Whoever has ears ought to hear”.  Just as we must take care to remain in fertile ground, stay close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – any one of us, may begin our lives in a thorny patch of weeds –  and find ourselves transplanted with life changes to strong and fertile soil with our roots growing to a great depth with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.

 

A new coat

This mornings first reading is one often spoken or referred to.  I think it is one of the most beautiful readings, one that when lived, brings us both closer to God, and He further into our midst.  Humility.  Empathy, Love. Serving each other.

First reading
Philippians 2:1-4
 

“If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.”

However, it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between serving others, giving of yourself and being true to the person God wants me to be.  Huh?  I know, Right – what did I throw in there?

I have been giving some serious thought to this of late.  I’ve had some conversations with my Father and I am beginning to see that while I give great advice (ahem), I have to step back once in a while and say “Is this right for me?”,  “How do I really feel about this?”,  “Is this what God wants?”, “Spirit – where are you leading me?”.

There have been several times in the past few days that have given me pause.  In truth I feel gratitude for having different experiences.  My formative years were spent in a more formal environment than many of my peers (it seems).  I remember dinning with my fathers business partners and being served a finger bowl and finger tip towel. 

I’ve had the occasion to dine out with a younger mother who, though picked restaurants herself had no idea of the menu prices or etiquette at “finer” establishments. Because of my experience growing up,  I felt confidant.  I totally enjoyed her company and was able to keep her comfortable despite any  faux paus.  At the end of our meal I suggested a pizza place near her home for our next adventure out. 

It was fun to share these new experiences with her – just as much as I will enjoy sharing a pizza at our next monthly moms out.  I was also happy to learn after chatting with her over time (she is the housekeeper for my office) that after our last dinner out, she chose to take the big step and register her son for faith formation.  It’s my understanding he has not been to church since he was baptized so it is a huge step for them in a new direction

I have written bits and pieces here and there about Moma Little, at this point I am trying to write as little as possible.  Being winter time, knowing she had no winter coat (and lost her state assistance until after the baby is born because she did not go to her job training, bus travel paid for…).  I told her to pick out a winter coat and I bought it for her.  Charged it more like.  I’ll be paying bills off until I die at this rate – but she needed a coat so a coat, hat and gloves I bought.  She is twenty one years old and I’ve been told she has never had a new coat of her own.  My grandparents bought us a new winter coat every year!

I remember last year she talked about wishing for a wool pea coat and that’s what she now will own.  If it’s really her first brand new coat, I am not sure but I tend to think it may be.  If not it is the only new one she is old enough to realize she is getting.  Growing up all of her clothes were hand me downs.  During my early teen years mine were too, then I began working.  She has yet to have had a job but that is another story. 

I also have two gently worn, freshly dry cleaned wool coats in my closet.  I am going to pass on  to someone else who can use them.  They no longer fit and were not a size for Miss Little. 

What I am sharing is not anything great or good about me.  It is realizing not everyone has the same advantages in life that others do.  I know, at least I think I know many people in real life don’t know details of my life.  Even the kids I grew up with.  Though I have had challenges in life, I feel very blessed to be able to reflect on experiences that I had growing up. They have helped me grow into the woman that I am.  Life is a journey for sure.  My happiest times have been in giving to others.

I am in the midst of challenges and changes on  two emotional fronts both very deep in my heart.  While I am in this place I see past experience has brought me through to today, today I remember words a gal I used to work with would adamantly state “Laurie, God is preparing us for the right man”.  I smile as I type that (this was ten years ago!) but the lesson in that is – “God is preparing me”.  He is molding me.  I look back and know my own life story and He has blessed me.  I trust he will continue to bless me and know anything is possible in Him.

~ When is the last time you went through your closet?  Did you donate items you can no longer use to someone less fortunate?  How about other things you no longer need? 

~ Love is a gift too   ~ to give, to receive.

Lessons from a tiny seed

St. Luke 13: 18-19
The Parable of the Mustard Seed.

mustard-seed118 Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? 

dv031678_xs19  It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’”

In this Parable, Jesus explains that while the Kingdom of God, right here on earth –  begins as tiny as a mustard seed, when the seed of faith if planted it grows and spreads across vast space.

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A portion of this mornings reading was from the book of Luke.

In the reading of

St. Luke 17:6

Saying of Faith. 5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”  6 The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

There are several references to the small size of the mustard seed and what it can do for us when we plant ourselves in faith.  With God all things are possible, it if it His will.  We remember when we pray, if we are compelled to ask for something that we do this in a way that honors God.  “God if it is your will I ask that . . .”.

Do you place your hope in your faith?  Do you trust God’s love to help you through your growth in life, in Him?  It is an ongoing process.

Trusting in Him.

~ Blessings

Waiting on Him

proverbs-3-5-6

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

Reflections of Proverbs 19:2

proverbs-19-2

Another way to word this:  “Ignorant zeal is worthless:  Haste makes waste.

Grow a wise heart – you’ll do yourself a favor:

Keep a clear head – you’ll find a good life.”

 

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The Fruits of the Spirit include forbearance. A gift of patience in a difficult situation, self-control, the ability to lean into God and trust His timing and direction.

It’s important to remember the fruits of the spirit.  These are gifts from God to all of His children who believe in Him through Jesus – who asked our Father to send the Spirit to guide us through life.  When we’re able to apply lessons learned and grow in the fruits our gifts multiple through Him.  Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self-control.  Against these gifts there is no law.

Are you familiar with the gifts of the spirit?  Do you work to grow and apply these fruits in all area’s of your lives?  If you have children – do you take the time to talk to them about these gifts?

Reflections of Proverbs 19:1

proverbs-19-1

Another way I have found this written is this:

It’s better to be poor and live an honest life than to be a dishonest fool.

When we truly surrender our lives to the Lord, we seek to live life in Him.  Honest and true.  Genuine Integrity.  God understands we will fail but the purpose is for us to strive to be honest in our lives. 

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He knows us.  He created us.  Our days were written in His book.  We allow the Spirit to guide us.

The dishonest fool is one who lives a false life which contains lies that cover up the wrongs or sins of themselves or others.  Lies protect no one and in truth harm everyone.  Right down through the generations, damage is done.

What do you think?  Are you living or working hard to live a life of integrity? (or) Is your choice to lie, cover ups sins of others and live the life of a dishonest fool?

God see’s all.  He knows all.  What is your choice?  Through Jesus Christ, we are offered a clean slate and new life – just for the asking.