Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

New Life

July 13, 2010

Yes, this site has been largely abandoned.  But I’m still alive.  And even more joyous is the fact that my wife and I have welcomed a new person into the world, a precious baby girl.  I find myself fully immersed in the responsibilities of adulthood and parenthood now, in a way that is irrevocable.  And because it can be overwhelming, even now I feel the need to get organized.  More specifically, to ensure that I stay connected to God, despite all the tasks to attend to.

I found myself re-reading some of my previous posts and it is like preaching to my self.  I am still seeking Jesus, and I’m frustrated that my communication with God is not the first priority in my life.  I want to change that.

I know I need to cut out all the constant stream of useless information and make way for the Gospel.  So that is what we will do.  I plan to return to the original aim of this blog and spend some time in reflection on the Good News.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Lord, please transform my intentions into actions!

“This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of heaven has come near. Repent and believe in the Gospel!

Yet That is What We Are…

August 8, 2009

Anyone who has spent time reading the Gospels will notice how frequently Jesus refers to God as Father.  It can be hard to imagine God as father when our own experience of fathers has been of flawed men who make decisions out of their own self-interests rather than meeting our needs.  Yet we should remember that we were made in God’s image, not the other way around.  So we should look to God as the prototype of fatherhood, not look to the earthly fathers we know to form our truth about God’s fatherhood.  

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? 

Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.

But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.

 If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’

All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness,  and all these things will be given you besides.

This morning I signed a document committing me to a mortgage that I will pay off over 30 years.  That is a little less time than I have spent living my life thus far.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent over the course of my lifetime to maintain our family home.   By making this commitment, I hope to provide my wife and future children with a safe, comfortable and loving environment, in which we can grow in faith, hope, love and the knowledge of God.  This is surely a serious and momentous decision.   In light of the global economic crisis, and the fall of companies that we thought we could always rely on, we are forced to ask ourselves, “In whom can we trust?  How can I be assured that my family and I will have everything they need, despite the many obstacles?”  

Surely we cannot depend anymore on our employers, in our bank accounts, or even in the basic necessities we need to function, such as physical and mental health.  God may place these things at risk in order to get us on our knees again, because that is the posture of prayer.  And prayer connects us to God.  Our relationship with God is what makes life worth living.  I would rather spend my life living in a dilapidated shack, in the joy of God’s presence, than to live in a mansion in Beverly Hills, where my gods are money, fame, power and self-inflation.  For example, we all know how many successful entertainers struggle with alcohol, drug and other addictions.  All their material needs are met, yet they are plagued with an emptiness that begs to be filled.  They rise to the top of society’s ranks, then they fall as quickly out of fame, fortune, and public opinion.  Once that happens, their sense of self has been lost, and horrible fears of being unlovable and unwanted overwhelm them.  But ask yourself,  if you are broke, does that mean you are worthless?  If you have no home, are you not worth being sheltered? If no one knows your name outside of your family and friends, are you not special?

See what love the Father has bestowed on us, that we may be called the children of God.  Yet that is what we are.

Yet that is what we are. 

 

Remember the Love of Jesus Christ!

July 20, 2009

You may have heard of the latest internet craze – Twitter.  This is how the Twitter website describes its purpose:  “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” For those that use facebook, it is basically like a status update. For example,  I might write, “Seeking Jesus is blogging” or “I’m at the DMV standing in line” or some other super-current piece of information, and then all my associates could know what I was doing immediately.  In the news, there are numerous celebrities announcing “follow me on twitter!”  Consequently, thousands of people can follow that celebrity’s day-to-day activity. 

In this media age, we are being seduced by the idea of being constantly “in the know”.  It’s almost like a 21st Century Gnosticism – only certain people are privy to some exclusive knowledge or enlightenment.  A person not connected to the internet through his computer, Iphone or Blackberry, or a non-member of myspace, facebook or twitter might as well be in a Trappist monastery, since he will be so “out of the loop” in terms of worldly happenings. We should be so blessed! 

The other day I had a powerful dream.  I found myself in the back of a church, upstairs in the choir loft.  I was sobbing.  The image of Christ Crucified seemed to be the reason for my grief.  I was mourning for Christ’s sufferings and for the “distance” between myself and Christ.  When I woke up that morning, the words “Remember the Love of Jesus Christ” were pressed upon my heart.

We are in serious danger.  We are at risk of losing our memory of God’s love.  Jesus said on the night he was betrayed, “Do this in memory of me.”  We need to make a choice.  Do I want to preserve the memory of Christ’s passion in my heart, or do I want to fill my mind with trivial, useless scraps of information?  If I am not careful, my mind will be overrun with “TMI” and I will find myself straying farther and farther away from communciation with God. 

A lack of meaningful contact with God will eventually kill our spiritual life. I notice that my prayer life is suffering, because my mind does not turn towards God until I lie down to bed at night.  That seems to be the only time of stillness for the mind.  Of course I start to pray but sleep eventually overcomes prayer.  And that is as it should be; there is a time to sleep, and there is a time to pray. 

God is calling us to give up this aimless pursuit of trivial updates, and in doing so, make time to spend in silent communion with Him.  To remember what He did for us then, and what He is doing for us now. 

Jesus, help me remember the love you showed for me, when you offered your life upon the Cross.  You are Mercy and Love.  I never, ever want to forget You.

Remember the Love of Jesus Christ!

Goin’ to Work…

April 27, 2009

As I mentioned in my last post, I am in the midst of uncertainty regarding my employment.  In order to stay in a spirit of faith and trust, I have renewed my commitment to participating in the weekday liturgies.  Due to my work schedule, the only one I can attend is the 6:30 am service.  I am not a morning person!!! I have always had difficulty getting up early in the morning.  But God makes all things new, right?  Perhaps he is trying to transform me into a “morning person.”  At any rate, I have found that this job difficulty has had the positive effect of pushing me right back into the heart of God.  Each morning a different Word sticks in my mind – I am trying to hear what the Lord is saying to me.

Today this is what struck me:

Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.

This is our true work: To believe in Jesus and God’s love for us.  As long as we live and breathe in this world, we will need to work to earn our daily bread; however each day Jesus is offering us Himself in the supernatural Eucharistic bread and we should never reject Him.  I will have faith that God will provide for my needs and the needs of my family.  My “work” will always first and foremost be to believe in His Word.  God’s Word is true – “He can neither deceive nor be deceived.”  DEUS CARITAS EST

Darkness

March 30, 2009

“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” – from Psalm 23

Psalm 23 is the arguably the most famous and most loved of all the 150 psalms.  It is very familiar to most Christians.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, I recommend you read the whole psalm for its beautiful and timeless images depicting God’s faithfulness and love.  When I read this particular passage, some thoughts come to mind.  In this time we are all facing uncertainty, especially here in my Midwestern state.  There is great fear of financial ruin in the form of job losses, foreclosures and bankruptcy.  Things upon which we used to depend are turning out to be unreliable.  How will we cope with this uncertainty?

The psalmist’s faith shows that he had no fear, even in the darkness, because he believed that God was at his side.  Notice that he does not pray to God to take away the darkness.  That would be an understandable approach to being in such a tenuous and unnerving state.  But instead, he praises God for simply being at his side.  The presence of God was enough for him to feel safe and secure.  So, perhaps God will not alter the failing global economy overnight – to make us all “feel better”…so we can go back to seeking fulfillment in materialism and trivial pursuits.  Instead he may let the darkness remain, while we fumble around in the dark, until we finally decide it makes sense to seek out an unfailing source of light.

 Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”


“While we were still sinners…”

March 16, 2009

From the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans

“For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

One of the roadblocks in the spiritual life is that when we fall into sin, we begin to feel shame and withdraw from God.  We fall into the trap of believing we can only be loved by God if we are pure and clean from all stain of sin.  This is a great temptation that should be considered diabolical, because to believe this would build a wall between us and God.  Satan would have people believe that they are unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness.  He will try to choke the believer’s prayer life by suffocating him with shame and guilt.  Jesus, on the other hand, wishes to demonstrate His love towards all of us by giving us everything good, even when we are completely undeserving.  Remember this the next time you sit down to pray, at home or at church.  Or better yet, remember this when you are feeling depressed after having fallen repeatedly into the same sins.  You may be thinking, “Here I go again. I clearly don’t love the Lord or appreciate His blessings.  I continually reject Him. I just keep making the wrong choices. There is no hope for me. I should give up.”  WRONG!  Jesus is the personification of Mercy.  He is ready to lavish his mercy upon us.  In fact, he chose to reveal Himself to certain notorious sinners who were outright opposed to Him.  Do you recall St. Paul?  St. Paul had been focusing all his attention on eliminating the early Christians, believing they were a cult that should be stamped out.  He approved as followers of Jesus were imprisoned and even executed.  And amazingly, Paul was not even repenting or asking forgiveness when Jesus appeared to Him and revealed Himself as the Lord.  How much more then, will God embrace us when we ask Him for mercy? 

I will conclude with an excerpt from John Donne’s poetry, reminding us that “all occasions invite His mercies.” 

God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day, and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons: But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of his mercies. 

 He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light; he can bring thy Summer out of Winter, though thou have no Spring; though in the wayes of fortune, or understanding, or conscience, thou have been benighted till now, wintred and frozen, clouded and eclypsed, damped and benummed, smothered and stupefied till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of the spring, but as the Sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. 

All occasions invite His Mercies, and All times are His Seasons.” 


“Come, let us set things right”

March 10, 2009

A reading from the prophet Isaiah:

Come now, let us set things right,
says the LORD:
Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.

I began this blog like I do many things – with an initial burst of energy and enthusiasm which becomes hard to sustain over time.  The pursuit of holiness can be like that.  I know that my heart desires God “like a deer yearns for running streams” but I continue to be consumed by business and busyness, and most regrettably, sin.  But this reading gives me hope again.   God is “rich in mercy” and always ready to forgive.  To be “white as wool” suggests that we will become like lambs.  Once again, God is speaking to us on many levels.  One of the titles given to Jesus was the “Lamb of God.”  He offered himself as a perfect sacrifice, taking upon himself all the sins of mankind.  Astoundingly, Jesus is still inviting me to place my sins upon his back, to free me of their death-dealing. 

Once I was praying the rosary and meditating on the mystery of Christ carrying his cross to Calvary.  While I was praying, this scripture came to mind: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  I was surprised at this, because surely Jesus’ cross was extremely difficult to carry, not only for its real weight, but also because his body had been tortured, and he was suffering spiritually with the weight of all Sin on his back.   But the Lord showed me that His love was so great that indeed he rejoiced in being able to take our sins upon himself.  Even now it makes me tear up thinking about that time spent in prayer and what Jesus communicated to me.    

It is never too late to set things right, for “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.” Amen!

The Door Will Be Opened!

March 5, 2009

The Gospel of St. Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

As you read today’s Gospel passage, did you find yourself reading more quickly than you normally do?  I did.  I believe that is partly because I have heard and read these words many times before.  They do not sound “new.”  And I think it is also because of my internet surfing habits – we are used to quickly scanning a page for interesting information, while trying to ignore pop-ups, advertisements, and other portions we just simply aren’t interested in.

Now is the opportunity to …s  l  o  w. . . .    d  o  w  n.   Jesus first spoke these words over 2000 years ago, but he is also speaking them to us today in the here and now.  If we skim the surface of his preaching without “plumbing the depths” we will fail to benefit.

If we are properly attentive to today’s Gospel reading, we should experience these words as a difficult challenge.  Even in our culture where we have become accustomed to instant gratification, even we recognize that we don’t always get what we want when we want it.  But here Jesus is telling us Ask and you shall receive.  What comes to mind when you consider what you want to ask of God?  If you ask, do you believe that he will give it to you? And if he does not, does that mean he does not exist?  Or does it mean he does not care about you?  Or does it mean you asked for the wrong thing? Or perhaps what you asked for will be granted, but not yet.  “God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials,” as someone once observed. 

But there is a deeper issue involved in this matter.  When we ask someone for something, it is usually someone we know and trust.  Jesus uses the image of a parent and child.  A child is totally dependent on his parents.  If his parents do not provide him with food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities, his life will be at risk.  When the child asks his father for something to eat, the child has the belief that his father has the ability to provide what he is asking for, and will do so because of their familial relationship.  Jesus had complete trust in God, whom he frequently addressed as “Abba”, a word which is equivalent to our english word “Daddy.”  This is a word used by a trusting, dependent child.  Jesus is saying to us that God is a loving parent who wishes to give us good things, and we should have faith that He will provide them if we ask. 

What “good gifts” do you seek?

Refresh My Soul!

March 3, 2009

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.  

We tend to think of laws as rules and regulations that limit our freedom.  We resent when others place demands on us.  Perhaps there is something that Jesus commands us to do but we find ourselves recoiling against it.  We think that if we follow his teachings, our individuality will be stamped out, or we will be deprived of joy or pleasure in some way.  It is hard to understand, but in fact joy is found in doing God’s will.  Think of the saints who sang unceasing hymns to God even when they were in the midst of deep suffering.  Something was sustaining them, allowing them the ability to rejoice in God.   One of the most moving scenes in the Bible is in the Acts of the Apostles, in which Paul and other believers were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel.  Let us stop to recall this scene, right when the townspeople are bringing Paul and his companions in front of the local authorities.  

They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.” The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.  When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 

Clearly, sincere and heartfelt praise to God has power.  It has power to make miracles happen.  Prayer and praise can connect us to God and bring us joy.  You may think you are seeking security, pleasure, or prosperity, but in fact your soul is seeking joy.  Joy is a gift that transcends all earthly circumstances.  In fact, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”  Today, praise God, no matter what chains are weighing you down.  Be assured that God will hear your prayers and break the chains of sin in your life.

Wisdom

February 23, 2009

I decided to begin this blog in part because I used to enjoy writing a great deal and I wanted to get into it again.  I  fell away from writing after years of school when writing assignments became not creative outlets but laborious chores.   I realize currently that I am struggling to find a comfortable style.  I appreciate your feedback, positive or negative.  Do my reflections resonate with you?  Are they too abstract?  Do you want more personal reflections?  I’m concerned that my tone may seem ‘holier-than-thou.’ I definitely don’t want that.  If I don’t approach this endeavor from a place of humility, I don’t think I’ll be successful in pursuing this  itinerant preacher “with no place to lay his head.” 

Today’s first reading spoke to me today. Here it is, for your prayerful reflection: 
Sir 1:1-10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways ?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

I especially like the words, “The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom.”  Like the secondary title of this blog suggests, I am seeking Jesus with faith that in Him is all wisdom and knowledge.  He can offer eternal treasures – in fact, He himself is the “Hidden Treasure”, which Matthew’s Gospel speaks of.  I am enjoying this blog because it has helped me stop my compulsive websurfing and opened the door for me to read and reflect on God’s Word.  Even in just these few days I notice a difference within myself.  The Word of God is reverberating in my mind and heart.  As I go about my day I continue to think about the words I have read that day, and what they can tell me about Jesus.  A person dearest to me recently asked me, “What’s the big deal about Jesus? Why all the focus on him?”  It’s a great question, and ultimately the most important question.  I feel like I need to encounter Him all over again to really answer that question. 

In today’s Gospel reading (Mark 9:14-29) Jesus heals a young man possessed by a mute and deaf spirit.  Whatever your belief about Jesus, I could argue that He seems to have cured me of a mute spirit – hence this blog! As for whether or not what I am writing is preferable to silence – well that is for you to decide.  At the very least, if your visit today connects you with God’s Word, then all is well!