Oh, to Live Aright!

10 Dec

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I tend to divide life’s experiences, good and not so good, and file them away in separate folders.

That’s a handicap to spiritual growth.

A pilgrimage or journey is one continuous movement from its beginning to its end, incapable of being categorized into separate and unrelated experiences. It is all one.

But, what of the bad memories, bad deeds, failures and sadness? How do they fit into a continuum toward happiness and glory?

Sometimes on a journey, you get a flat tire, run out of gas or maybe just sprain your ankle at a rest area.

None of these end the journey. You fix the flat, find a way to get gas, or limp along on that sore ankle—and continue on the journey.

The “bad things” should remind us of Pope Francis’ call to a year of mercy. God is indeed merciful.

During the celebrations of the Advent and Christmas seasons, the Babe of Bethlehem is such a joy-filled wonder. But that Babe grows up to be the Suffering Servant, the Just One wickedly condemned to death. He was condemned for your sake and mine—to save us from ourselves and the enemy of peace, justice, hope and love.

We might do well to see our past mistakes as ill-advised detours from the chosen path we have decided to take—and accept the sufferings we endure as sacrifices of thanksgiving for God’s great love and mercy.

Regarding God’s mercy, there are two extremes we must avoid:

  1. The error of some people who claim “once saved, always saved,” while they ignore the need for ongoing conversion. St. Paul reminds us “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
  2. The other error is to believe that you have sinned so greatly that God cannot forgive you, or that your guilt remains after confessing your sins and receiving God’s merciful forgiveness.

Dear Lord, help us to avoid extremes. Help us to fuse our will to your divine will so we will know what you want us to know, think what you want us to think, say what you want us to say, and do what you want us to do.

 

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One Response to “Oh, to Live Aright!”

  1. David Hennessy December 11, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Thank you Henry – encouraging and helpful!

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