Archive | June, 2015

Requiem for America

29 Jun

Dog Tags on Flag

 Our nation has not been defeated by a foreign power—but something of its soul, its grit and its vision certainly have been, at best, tainted by our present federal government and our Supreme Court.

In its latest ruling on the right of gays to be legally married, the Court has put another nail into the coffin of our existence as a nation born and bred in Judeo-Christian values.

Of course, there are well-meaning people who support the right of gays to be married—in spite of the fundamental reason for the existence of marriage: that one man and one woman enter into a holy covenant to love and support one another and to bring children into this world.

In our present age, far too many people consider personal “happiness” and “fulfillment” as the motivation to do everything from eating lunch to robbing a bank to destroying another person’s reputation to desecrating the God-given bond of Holy Matrimony.

Someone, before this evil-bred ruling of the Supreme Court re gay “marriages,” opined that Christian churches and Jewish synagogues would face persecution if they obeyed God and not this infamous ruling of the Supreme Court.

I recently told some friends, “I believe in America as long as America believes in God.”

Our nation hangs in the balance, looking to Congress for protection of our religious freedom, freedom of conscience in our private, public  and professional lives.

We who believe must stand for what God wants of his people. How can we ever help other nations become free if we, in our own nation, are fettered by confusion and wrong-mindedness?

Oh, how I want once again to be able to believe in America as I once did.

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An Allegory

20 Jun

The Cross of Christ calling multitudes to salvation, calling you and me, calling our family. Givng us identity, continuity. Letting us help God in making and remaking sociiety into an image of his Kingdom.

Once there was a young man name Pete.

One day, he discovered Truth. Pete thought about Truth and embraced it. He was thrilled with Truth.

Other believers in Truth gathered in assemblies they called Communities of Believers in Truth. Pete considered himself a member of a Community of Believers in Truth.

He looked at his fellow believers and the leaders of each community. Then he cast his gaze on the Leader of the leaders of communities.

He discovered sin and foolishness in each believer and in the entire Assembly of Believers.

“I must,” decided Pete, “straighten out this mess.” He knew he had a few faults himself. So, he decided to purify his faith in Truth. He thought, “I desire to be perfect, therefore I am perfect.”

“But how can I straighten out all this mess?” he asked himself. “I have to reach everybody in each of the communities in the entire Assembly.”

Now, all believers in Truth gathered together once a week in the Meeting Place, with their leaders and the Leader of the leaders.

Pete decided, “I will shout out the errors of their ways and their sins against Truth. I will make them aware of their selfishness and myopic vision. They seem to think themselves special. They shun others who want to know Truth. They are self-absorbed.”

So, that’s what Pete did. He mounted the steps of the Meeting Place and began to shout aloud the sins of others. He attacked the leaders of the various communities: “You are too interested in building monuments to yourselves.” He charged the Leader, and everyone in the Assembly, with “ignoring the plight of the poor,” or he accused them of “living in a vacuum of nothingness.” He shouted, “You do not know Truth.”

And so, Pete went on year after year. He suffered great anguish because no one listened to him.

One day, Pete descended from the steps of the Meeting Place one last time. Totally discouraged, he went off into a Dark Place to nourish his wounded spirit.

“Did I not embrace Truth. Did I not heroically shout out to everyone what was wrong with the Assembly of Communities and the people and leaders in each community? Why did not someone believe me?”

It was then that Pete once again encountered Truth. But this time, it wasn’t thrilling at all.

Truth helped Pete see himself as Truth saw him. He groaned with inner agony, with total embarrassment, with a guilt so heavy he thought he might collapse.

You see, Pete now knew that he was part of the problems he so vigorously condemned. He was a sinner like everyone else.

Then Truth showed Pete the great Love that is Truth. Pete’s spirit lifted with a warm and energizing elation.

Pete went back to the Meeting Place and went inside. He stood shoulder to shoulder with the other believers.

Pete, at last, had discovered Truth.

 

 

God’s Perspective

3 Jun

 

 

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Careful. Don’t rest easy with where you are in  prayer.

You can go deeper and ever deeper.

No one can enter into the height and breadth of God’s intelligence and wisdom—but he made us in his image and invites us into a full and intimate relationship with him, the One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I want to share an insight I received through concentrating on the mysteries of the Rosary.[i]

For example, the Annunciation: For years, I focused on myself and the fact of faith that the Angel Gabriel did indeed visit Mary and that the Holy Spirit did come upon her (See Lk 1:1-38}. I marveled at the faith of that young Virgin. I wondered about what Mary might have thought and felt. I wondered how I could live this mystery in my own life.

My meditation was good and helpful.

Then, I felt motivated to reflect on this mystery from God’s perspective.

For example, how was the Father personally involved in this historic moment? Did he observe it from his throne in heaven?

That can’t be. For he and the Holy Spirit are One God–along with the Son who was taking to himself a human nature—body, blood and soul—in Mary’s womb. So Jesus the Christ was at once that vulnerable human being who could be killed by sinful men, and the omnipotent God through whom the Father created all things (Jn 1:1-5).

And how did the Father “feel” about that saving mission of his only Son?

He knew, of course, that Jesus would be born and die the agonizing death of the Cross. Did the Father experience sadness or joy?

Of course, these are human emotions and are, therefore, a stumbling block to true understanding and wisdom.

Think rather of a God so pure and so full of love that he indeed would send his divine Son to assume a mortal body, live completely as a human being, and die a terrible death—all for the sake of men and women of all time, for the sake of those who denied him, ignored him, and who misused and abused the gift of life.

How to understand a love that is so pure and so complete?

Years ago, I told my spiritual director that I could not identify with the Father. He told me to focus on Jesus and I would eventually know the Father as well.

He was right.

I do have a relationship, in Jesus, with my Father, my Abba.

But, he was also wrong.

How can my finite mind sufficiently grasp that infinite Being who is perfect Unity? It is by faith that we know and believe there is only one God, one divine nature, equally possessed by three Divine Persons: Father, Son and Spirit.            

 

[i] The Rosary is a prayerful meditation on the life of Jesus Christ, his birth of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, his salvific mission through the Cross and Resurrection, and the commissioning of the Apostles to form the Church and spread the saving love of God and the Gospel of Christ throughout the world. 

There are five “decades’ in the “beads”—an Our Father and ten Hail Marys.

There are  twenty “mysteries” we pray as we pray the Rosary: 

  1. The Joyful Mysteries: the Annunciation, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the Nativity of the Son of God, the Presentation of the Infant in the temple, and the finding Jesus at twelve years of age, speaking with the learned of Israel.
  2. The Mysteries of Light: Jesus is baptized in the Jordan, the Wedding Feast at Cana, Jesus preaches the Good News and heals and forgives, the Transfiguration, and Jesus gives us himself in the Holy Eucharist.
  3. The Sorrowful Mysteries: The Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, our Lord is Crowned with Thorns, Jesus carries his Cross, and Jesus is crucified and dies on the Cross.
  4. The Glorious Mysteries: the Resurrection, the Ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, and lastly, Mary Queen of Creation.