Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going the Easy Way or the Hard Way


andy dean photography
Jesus begs us to come to him and our own needs take us to him
                                                                 M. Scott Peck

Jesus, you left your Holy Word, your sacraments, your Rock the Church and your vey self in the Eucharist for us. And you wait. You are present in each and all of those things just as you are present in my daily life and the persons and situations in it. Every moment of every day is filled with opportunities to meet you. And every second of the day I make a choice to go about my way or to look for you. If I just remove my self-centered glasses I’ll see the opportunity more clearly. I’ll see you more clearly. But if I keep those glasses on I’ll have to learn the hard way.

Obstacles mount, unclear vision, evil…so many things get in the way. When I fall and become weak under the pressure of it all my needs will drive me to you. Where else is there to go?

Why don’t I just take the easier route to where you are already waiting for me?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude and My Nothingness

Reflections on thoughts from Thomas Merton and The Shack

Self-loathing and lack of self-confidence are not from God. DaVinci knew he created a great work of art when he finished the Mona Lisa. God knew the same think about me the very moment I was conceived. For me to feel under whelmed by God’s design only speaks about my own ignorance. For me to wish I was something or someone else is a rejection of God’s wisdom and love. These feelings and wishes of mine can only lead to despair. They can’t fix anything and they exist without hope because I cannot become anyone else. I can only be me. To really turn this around (metanoia) and to put the devil back in his place (who else would these thoughts be coming from?) I need to value or at least appreciate my weaknesses. Jesus himself didn’t please everyone when he walked on this very same earth! What makes me think everyone is going to like me?

It feels like I keep making mistakes. Am I ever going to stop committing the same sins? It seems I wake up each morning with the intention that this is the day I’m going to make God proud of me. Today I’ll be Christ-like, i.e. patient, kind and gentle. But I only increase my self-accusations and sense of failure if I live my self-imposed rules. It also fuels my need for control. What a mess I’ve created. If God created me uniquely and considers His creation to be special and precious then I can’t increase my value. I can‘t be any more worthwhile than I am. Setting goals like that becomes a useless activity. It brings me to a sense of defeat when I can’t keep them and (duh!) I can’t make God any more proud of me than He was when he created me. He’s not proud of me because of what I’ve done, He’s proud of me for who I am. “Rules only have the power to accuse.” (The Shack p. 201) “And to the degree that you resort to expectations and responsibilities, to that degree you neither know nor trust me.” (The Shack p. 208)          Heavy.

You are wonderful beyond imagination- the pinnacle of my creation and the Center of my affections.” (The Shack p. 192)

My good deeds are more likely to be accomplished and are of much more value if I do them because God deserves them. They are my gifts to Him out of love and gratitude. They show Him I’m trying to look more like my Father by imitating Him. The focus is then on Him and not on me. My lived-out gratitude to God for his indescribably delicious unconditional love becomes my actual life.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

We Begin This New Year

by Sister Joyce Rupp

We begin this new yaer with amazement at the presence of the Holy One.

We begin this new year with gratitude for life.

We begin this new year with hope that all shall be well.

We begin this new year with courage to meet what will be difficult.

We begin this new year with eyes ever alert for beauty.

We begin this new year with openness to greater truth.

We begin this new year with desire for continued transformation.

We begin this new year with compassion for the hurting ones in the cosmos.

We begin this new year with a sense of kinship with all whom we love.

We begin this new year with respect as others mentor and deepen our vision.

We begin this new year with determination to use out time well.

We begin this new year with willingness to help those who will need our care.

We begin this new year with longing for greater inner freedom.

We begin this new year with happiness, that we are invited to live life fully.

We being this new year with love for Holy One, our Intimate Companion.