Archive | December, 2013

On earth as it is …

17 Dec

Heavenly Sun Beams

… Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven …

Jesus has indeed taught us to pray.

And the prayer he gave us is rich, full of hope, mercy and direction. For example, Jesus wants us to live the Father’s will on earth exactly as it is in heaven.

It seems these words can just roll off our lips and become somewhat dulled by familiarity and even carelessness.

The question looms: “If we want to do his will on earth as it is in heaven, how is his will done in heaven?”

It seems we need to have some idea about this. Otherwise, exactly what are we asking for and pledging in prayer?

Consider the following:

  • In heaven, there are no distractions, no temptations; there is only total union with God.
  • Since God is whole, complete, One Being, he does not have “parts:” he is his love; he is his mercy and justice; he is his will.
  • His will is no longer seen as something apart from ourselves; it is not extraneous from reality or rules imposed from above. When in heaven, we are totally one with and in God; his will is reality for us as well as for himself.

So, what does this mean to us as we strive to do God’s will in the here and now?

  • To do God’s will is to be totally united to him. For Christians, this means being one with Christ. It means total surrender to Christ and to accept him as Lord and to follow him as the Way to the Father, the Truth of the Father, and the Life of God, the Holy Trinity.
  • In a word, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Such acceptance, if genuine, leads the believer into the depth of Scripture, the life of communion with God in his Church, faithful reception of the sacraments, and personal prayer which prompts the believer to participate in the Eucharist and in ongoing study and reflection.
  • This union with the Holy Trinity, in and through Christ, strengthens the believer in times of temptation—and it provides inspiration and actual grace to live one’s commitment to family, friends and the Church.

The Lord Jesus has not left us orphans. He sends us the Holy Spirit to inspire, form and guide us along the way.

We say that the kingdom will indeed come, but it is also here right now. The kingdom is now when we are faithful to God.

Then, when we close our eyes for the last time, we will already be in the embrace of God’s great and good will.

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Christmas and Easter: One Reality

10 Dec

049

Jingle bells, shopping, rushing and trying to stay calm! It’s Christmas!

 

Christmas makes no sense.

Yes, that’s what I said.

Christmas makes no sense—especially when certain retailers decide that “Christmas in July” is a great way to boost sales; or when Halloween decorations die a sudden death, giving way to a nod at Thanksgiving; and  then Christmas glitter quickly moves King Turkey out of the picture.

Black Friday too often ushers in a frantic rush with shoving, pushing, and even violence.

Christmas makes sense only when it is seen as part of God’s merciful work of salvation.

Our first sin in Adam and Eve expelled us from a paradise on earth. It broke our wonderful intimacy with God. But he promised a Redeemer. He came as that vulnerable Babe of Bethlehem. He lived with us, completely human and completely divine. He gave witness to the Father’s love. He promised the Holy Spirit. Finally, he died and rose from the dead. And we anticipate his coming at the end of time, when he will judge the living and the dead.

Christmas is our promise of salvation. It is realized when you finally say to Jesus, “I accept you as my Lord and Savior.”

And that, dear friend, is no easy decision. It is a promise to live as Jesus lived on earth, to love others, to live for others, and to live and die for God.

We are faced with both challenge and opportunity.

The Challenge

God calls us to everlasting life.

Heaven will be a state of sheer blessedness. We will be forever intimately united with God and with all the saints of heaven, including all whom we cherished and all whom we tolerated during our life on earth.

Imagine! No pain—only sheer bliss, comfort, and joy. No anxiety or worry or alienation—only peace and belonging. Seeing forever the Face of God, living intimately in the embrace of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

But there is another option that we may choose freely: an eternity without God, an eternity of suffering.

What Can Hell Be Like?

As a child, I was terrified of God. No, I’m not talking about “fear of the Lord.” I’m talking about utter terror of a vengeful God who would cast me into everlasting flames—flames that would forever torture but never kill. I could just hear God saying, “See there! I told you so! Now suffer!”

As I’ve grown older, I see the true torment of hell in this way:

  • Hell is a static state of being—endless nothing.
  • Aloneness will eternally pierce your soul.
  • There will be an unrelenting sense of loss and crushing guilt;      you will know that God did not send you to hell; you chose to be there.      You will realize how foolish it was to take God for      granted—or to have ignored him and his loving call to good and moral      living.
  • You will suffer a never-ending and never-satisfied hunger and      thirst for God, for love, for belonging.

The Opportunity—A New Perspective

The opportunity is to develop an ever-deepening understanding of who we are as creatures of God, our God who becomes, through Jesus, our Father.

  • Find time to be still, alone, to reflect; let God give you      his peace.
  • Let your heart and mind go into the depths of God’s love and      mercy.
  • Let the joy of Mary and Joseph, seep into the depths of your      being.
  • Rejoice with the angels and the shepherds.
  • Walk in the light of the Lord.
  • Put on the armour of divine light; put on Jesus Christ.
  • Remember: Christmas and Easter are One. Christmas points to      Easter and to what comes between.

Be faithful to this daily visit with God. You will come to know and understand his commanding invitation:

Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10).

And then you will look forward, beyond Easter, to that Second Coming of the Lord—that glorious day when we will at last be with God in body and soul.

And now … Merry Christmas!

Christmas at a Traffic Light

7 Dec

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I was headed west from Longwood on 434 and had stopped for the red light at 436. Over to my right and one car ahead, I noticed a driver in a late-model grey sedan.

I found it strange that I should notice him and not others around me. Somehow, when I saw him, from behind and at an angle, I felt an unusual sense of connection, even though I did not know him, he did not see me, or even know that I exist.

He was of dark complexion, tight black hair clipped closely to his scalp, and he was running a short-bristled brush over his head.

He was just there, as I was, waiting for the light to change. Who was he? What were his joys and sorrows?

I wondered, “If we ever met in a store, would we speak or just walk on by?”

The light changed.

Merry Christmas … friend.

He went his way.

I went mine.