Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The.....Antidote......To... War.....Violence.......Solitude.

As this is being written, I am so very conscious of the violence, pain, suffering, abuse, that is being endured by millions of our fellow human beings. Would it be better if I had written, "by our brothers and sisters"? After all we are all children of the same Father, are we not? We do not pray, my father, we pray rather Our Father. We have to keep before us, even when it causes discomfort to bubble up, we are all brothers and sisters. There are no exceptions. We cannot choose who belongs to the Family of our Creator God, and who does not.  From the streets of Chicago, to the cauldron at the borders of Arizona, to the harsh and heartless deserts of Iraq, Iran, and Syria, Palestine, there is a great bloody reenactment of Calvary, and the Crucifixion. These above mentioned are just a few of the places where The Crucifixion is reenacted in the same bloody manner. This Crucifixion is revealed to us, through the events of each and every moment of every day. So many are entering their own personal version of hell on earth, a hell so awe-full for us to contemplate.

        So as a defense, we shut tight our eyes to the horrific images that appear in the many sources of communication. We can, and do offer deaf ears to the pain-full screams of those who are the contemporary Suffering  Christ. Yes we can, and do have hardened hearts, and closed or blinded eyes, and minds. The awe-full result is that those suffering will continue to endure their pain in loneliness and isolation. How can we ever leave our place of so called comfort and security to embrace the pain and suffering of our sisters and brothers? Where am I going to get in touch with that which will empower, enable us, to "to be Him, Whom we have been called to be," and reach out in meaning-full, transforming service. How can we expand our narrow view of what it means to be a "Contemporary Christian?" A Christian who will go beyond the confining limits of religiosity, and instead be a living example of the universal love of our Gracious Creator God? In other words, when are we going to stop being sheep, and instead become shepherds? Shepherds that will continue the universal outreach of The Good Shepherd. A sheep does not become a shepherd without radical transformation. Radical transformation is not something the ego will choose. There is too much to let go of. Becoming the living presence of The Good Shepherd demands that we let go of everything, and enter the place of abject poverty and powerlessness. This was modeled for us on Calvary, and we are called to enter into the same reality. This does not happen in a vacuum. Grace is operative in each step we take. The Crucified Shepherd now journeys with us, and in us, and continues to live through us. The same Spirit that was with The Historical Jesus on His transformation to be The Risen and living Christ is the same Spirit that brings about our transformation.

                     We are told it all begins with our journey into our inner being. There will be those who will recoil from journeying within the depths of who we are. Solitude is a necessary prerequisite for this great adventure. But solitude like all blessings brings with it great pain. Here is what Thomas Mann wrote:    

                    "Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous- to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit. the absurd."

           In solitude we are asked, forced to meet, and embrace all of the pain, all of the suffering, all the isolation, all the loneliness, all the powerlessness that another can experience. In other words, I meet my sister/brother in the depths of who I am discovering myself to be. That is why the journey into the depths of being an authentic human being is not readily embraced. For me it seemed to begin without I being aware of it. It was not until I was led to the blessings of solitude that I began to get just an inkling of what I needed to learn most. It has been a long, long process. It is not false self enhancing, it is about the false self destruction. The false self, the self of my creation, does not die easily. This process  has been going on for some time.  When will it end? only end with my final breath. So I do not know when my journey will end. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month ??? All I know is that it will happen.

                             Getting away from the noise and busyness of life is both a blessing and a curse. As long as I am busy I do not have to listen to, or pay attention to all that bubbles up from within. So much of what bubbles up does not lead to peace serenity or peace of mind. What bubbles up results in disquiet and discomfort. It is great to know this is not just my experience alone. It is shared by all who are exposed to silence and solitude. It was with great relief that I  read, many years ago what Fr. Rohr wrote in his book, everything belongs that when we enter solitude we have to face our personal issues of addiction, negativity, fear, and control. Each time one enters solitude these issues, for me, are always there. I must also admit that it does not get any easier to face the above issues. My shadow comes to the foreground and must be embraced and become reconciled with. If the my shadow is not embraced, made friends with, then I will project the guilt, anger, and resentment to some unfortunate I meet. All war has its origin within the depths of the human heart. When I am responding out of fear and anger that is my false self. No matter how I dress it up prejudice, bigotry, rash judgment, all begin with me and how I deal with my shadow. The only answer is that I grow in the understanding and acceptance of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a process darn it!!! I have found, and do find great difficulty with this process. I want reconciliation and acceptance, and I want it now. I want everything to be perfect, so I can a life free of stress and discomfort. This is not going to happen much to the disgust of my ego centered ego, the false self. If there is going to be peace and harmony in our time it has to begin with each one's journey into the depths. Nothing will happen until we make that journey. If we do not choose to make it, then life will force us to make it.

                           "Lord make me an instrument of Your peace" but first lead me to that place of peace where You dwell in a Love Community of Father, Son and Spirit. Gift me with the grace to love all that I fear and detest. Strengthen my faith that it is in those places I recoil from Your Compassionate Love, and mercy will be revealed. Give me then, the courage to carry this gospel to those who have not heard it, and if they have have found it difficult to believe. It is so hard at times to really believe in Your Infinite mercy-full love. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me." Why have you not made it so? I guess the journey continues!!!

 

                       

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our…Unique…Presence

"Summertime and the living is easy" are words from a wonderful musical, "Porgy and Bess." There is a wonder-full haunting melody that goes with those words which does the soul good. It pretty well stops you in wonder, just as Summer is supposed to do. I am just speaking of the ideal here. Reality is something completely different as we well know. For the millions that find peace, freedom, spiritual enlightenment, refreshment, rejuvenation, there are millions more living out the tragedy that is, the human condition. We are challenged to live within an inclusive lens. There is the great temptation to think our little world, and the little vision that comes with that, is all there is. We must work on developing an attitude of gratitude for the gifts, that are always gifted, in the sacrament of the now. There is no moment that in some way we are encountering the self revelation of The Mystery, God, and a gracious God at that. As we are unique by reason of our creation, we are also unique through grace, in our relationship with The Great Spirit. 

                     As I look at the many, many photos posted on Facebook, I become aware of how different are the ways individuals respond to the reality lived in each moment. Each photo is a person's way of communicating a depth of awe and wonder at this aspect of creation that is being experienced right now. There are photos of the ocean in its many moods. We are invited to join the presenter their wonder of mountain lakes, rivers, and sprightly streams. WE are caught up in the communal joy that is part and parcel of family gatherings, that is again the ideal. We are welcomed to enter the feelings of the mystery that accompanies the setting of the sun. Is there not something awe-full, and wonder-full, that is an essential part of a setting sun. We in Arizona are spoiled with the frequency of awe inspiring sunsets. We can take them for granted. When I used to travel,  I used to look forward each evening to the gathering that would take place, without fail, and at the bluff, the water's edge.  Individuals, couples, families, seem to be drawn by some unseen force to stop their individual doing, so as to share  their being in this now, communal event. Sunsets have a way of transforming us from human doers to human beings. Sunsets are an everyday ordinary occurrence, yet why is it that this particular sunset triggers both awe and wonder? I cannot put into finite words the answer. Your individual, unique will bubbles up from within. One can see couples getting closer. Hands are held, or wrapped around to trigger an even deeper closeness. Families gather as one. It is awe inspiring to see a family standing as one, cuddling together into a deeper unity, so as to enjoy, and capture within their depths, the mystery they are sharing. On year in San Diego, I was driving at sunset when I saw, what was a musical group playing their music as their tribute to the setting sun. Does not nature have a wonder-full way of communicating the presence of Creator Spirit? She does so in an endless manner. As She did, She does, and  She will do, forever and ever. In nature there is the union of time, and The Timeless. This is a spiritual experience that can and  will lead to a deepening of our unique prayer life, reflecting our unique relationship.

                          Each one of us is gifted with a unique relationship with The Mystery, The Great Spirit, The Great Unknown and the Great Unknowable. No two prayer lives are the same, because no two relationships are the same. We each  have  been blessed with a unique path to trod, or trudge. So we are never to compare our prayer life to anybody else's. They have theirs we have ours. Nothing will be missing from our prayer life. We will be graced with all that is necessary for our special relationship. We will get what we need, not what we want. Our prayer life is no better, or no worse than anybody else's. We grow in the acceptance of what is offered to us in the here, and now. Our God cannot short change us so that someone may be more blessed. So in this moment, all that we need is being gifted to us. Moments can become so ordinary that we take them for granted. As we take each ordinary moment for granted that take every "ordinary person" in the moment for granted, by this we choose to live a life empty of Mystery, and meaning. We live without actually living. We are the walking dead that need to be awakened through the power and the mystery of grace. We need a so called "ordinary moment" to rise up and kick us in the butt so as to awaken us to all that is hidden, and yet, present in a mysterious way right here, right now. It will always be in "the right now" that this will happen. It cannot happen otherwise. This is the way The Mystery has chosen to communicate. So it has to be God's way not our way. How long does it take to learn this lesson? A whole lifetime is required to be spent in the hard school of spiritual growth. In this school it is not about learning it is about unlearning. There are no diplomas handed out. Who wants a diploma that recognizes our growth in failure? Where would that go on our walls? We have a deep need to be recognized for our successes. Our secret, or no secret failures are our own. Now if you are blessed to be in a Twelve Step program it will take an honest communication of those secret failures to enter recovery. NOT to be cured, as "the soul is never cured. It is only cared for."(Moore) This daily caring is not easy. As it is a journey into honesty, rigorous honesty is the goal.


                           Whenever I am on a journey "with nature" that spiritual experience for me, can be summed up in the following verses from the hymn, "How Great Thou Art."
         O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; how great Thou art! how great Thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: How great Thou art! How great Thou art!" It is these following words that  really triggers something within.  "When through the woods and forest glades I wander And hear the birds sing sweetly in the tree,  When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:  then sings my soul the wonder and majesty of my Creator God."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A…Journey…of…Trust

"It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering ourselves," are the great challenging words of St. Theresa of Avila. This is not easy. It is  downright scary "to delve into the depths of who we are," for this journey we "need reckless courage"( Yeats). Today there is more and more written about the challenge of that inner journey. This journey into our innate poverty, and absolute powerlessness, which is the opposite of today's popular gospel of prosperity. The journey into what it means to be human is a hard and difficult one. On this journey, we will become afraid, disheartened, discouraged,  and depressed. All these things must be encountered, embraced, and brought to prayer. No pious words will get us through this our dark night, or desert experience. It will be prayer from our agonizing gut that will see us through to transformation. We will slowly, and reluctantly grow in the acceptance that this is the only journey worth taking. Without this journey, we will never discover who we really are as authentic human beings. We will be led to embrace the harsh reality that we are, and ever will be perfectly imperfect. We will be led to our absolute dependence on grace. Through this our own personal hell, we will  discover the source of our  serenity, real happiness and true freedom. Without plunging the depths of our nothingness and powerlessness, we will never discover The Treasures hidden deep within, each and every one of us. There are no exceptions. We are all called to "trudge the road."

             This is not a short one moment, one day or one year trip. It is our life long journey, and so, to use the words of Neil Diamond, this journey into the true and real self," is the longest journey of all."  We must not give into fear, or worry about what is ahead of us. We do not make this journey on our own, or by ourselves. From all we have been exposed to over these many months, we know we are following in the footsteps of Our Good Shepherd. This Good Shepherd will never leave His flock unattended. He cannot desert or abandon us. It is a physical  impossibility. His guaranteed faith-full-ness is ours because of the covenant relationship we have been gifted with by our Gracious God. Covenant love is  not earned, deserved, or qualified for. It is our everlasting gift that is not dependent on our goodness but on the infinite goodness and mercy of God." It is not that we love God but He loves us.  It is not that we give love but that we accept it." (John)  It is hard for some of us to accept a gift so great that we cannot match its value in a return gift. All we can say is "Thank you." I must always remind myself of this fact, when I am in gratitude then I cannot be in resentment.

                            Resentment is the killer of joy, and all that is offered in this present moment. It makes it so difficult to enjoy the blessings that come with each sacramental now. When I am caught up in resentment, what is being offered to me in this moment is ignored. We will begin to live lives of unease and disquiet. Peace of mind, and the possible serenity we have chosen to reject. Eventually, I will come up with this question, often asked in anger, Where is God? Why do I feel so alone and abandoned. Is there anybody out there that cares for me, or is concerned about me?  Yes, there is a God, a Great Spirit of Love, Who forever and always wants to communicate infinite, endless love to each soul, His masterpiece of creation. Each person is reached out to uniquely, and so each relationship with The Great Spirit is unique. We can learn from the spiritual journey of others, but we have to live it uniquely. WE must never allow ourselves to compare our journey with the journey of any one else. All we can do is reverence the mystery that is their journey, as we grow in reverence of the mystery into which we are being led into. God, Great Spirit, The Ineffable, Who is The Mystery, is ever and always present in the mystery of the right now. The Great Mystery is always being revealed in "the right now." The fullness of His love is being offered to you and me, right now. We are being brought into an ever deepening relationship through the love Spirit that has been poured into our hearts, right. Our Beloved is ever and always in a creative mode, and that creative Spirit is being creative, right now. 
 
             "This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, He so deeply longs for our love that He keeps calling us to come closer. This voice that is so sweet that the poor soul falls apart in the face of her own inability to instantly do what He asks of her. And as you can see, hearing Him hurts much more than not being able to hear Him...For no, His voice reaches us through words spoken by good people, through listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred scripture. God calls us in countless ways all the time. Through illness and suffering and through sorrow, He calls us. Through a truth glimpsed in a state of prayer, He calls us. No matter how half hearted such insight may be, God rejoices whenever we learn what He is trying to teach us." St. Theresa of Avila. She later warns us of the following: "the devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so instead of putting our hands to do what we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities." So we need to be grounded in the reality of who we are, and where we are at. It is in and through the concreteness of life, our God connects with us and we with God. This extraordinary relationship is grounded in the ordinary. In this encounter the miracle of Grace happens, and we are led ever forward to live our destiny. Our destiny, our vocation, our calling is to be a sacrament, a life giving presence, of a gracious God, Who is awakening in us all that He has called us to be. We(I) need that constant reminder of the challenge. We (I) can and do become complacent. We can get lost in the routine of our daily living, and so the mystery of who we are, and Who we have been called to be is lost to consciousness. We are on automatic pilot, on cruise control. It is necessary to stop and claim, again and again who we are. We have to "name our deaths, and claim our births." So we can be the source of hope for those who will be placed in our lives. This is an endless process, and how often have I wished that this process was not necessary. Of all the books I have read, tapes I have listened to, I have never read or heard of a short cut to transformation. Jesus, to become The Christ, did not have any short cuts. He knew what was before Him. While in His humanity He recoiled from the oncoming agony, He was able to mutter "Not my will, but Your will, will be done."  Where He has gone we are to follow right behind. The more we enter the fullness of the totality of the Paschal Mystery, we are  being fashioned into the likeness of Him, Whom we have been baptized to be. Deeper and deeper we go not by choice. It is grace Who called us and it is grace Who will free the life of The Risen Christ that lies deep within the depths of our nothingness.

                 As I started with a quote from  St. Theresa so I might as well end with this, one of her most familiar words.   "Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks (with) compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, YOU ARE HIS BODY. Christ has no body on earth but yours." So when pain and suffering comes to us with the living of life, God does not intend the agony. In time we will see this is our participation in the sufferings of Jesus The Christ. In this participation, in His suffering,  we will come to see and slowly accept, as the necessary purgation is necessary for unity to happen.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Triune…The…Never-ending…Gift

Birthdays are times of gift giving. We, as the church, are having a birthday which is contained in a fuller understanding of The Feast of Pentecost. Will you have a conscious celebration of this ever new event in your life, and in the continuing life of The Body of Christ? When we do not have a conscious celebration of a significant event then we are not drawn into its deeper meaning. When that is our modus operandi we will not see our lives through the lenses of awe, and wonder. We will never see or come to appreciate the life that is both hidden and revealed in the mystery we call daily living. We will then complain how dull and boring life is. There will be nothing to trigger the awe and wonder that is essential to living life and living it to the fullest, which is our Father-God's dream for you and me. This is a dream we have had to claim again, again, and again.

Religious celebrations allow us to celebrate the deepest reality within us. The purpose of religious practice is not to give us religion, rather it is intended to help us celebrate that which is already present. You do not put religion into a person, it is our challenge to provide the opportunity which allows the person to come to an awareness of what our Gracious God has already placed within each and every person. Regardless of how we see, or what we see in an individual, that is the reality hidden deep within all human beings. This is the in-depth reality which is hidden within each human being. We have at this time of year, three celebrations which provides us with an ever new awareness of this reality.

Pentecost Sunday is the first of three celebrations that reveals to us our great calling, our deep mysterious reality. The celebration of Pentecost is followed by two celebrations of equal mystery and majesty. They are The Feast of The Blessed Trinity and The Feast of Corpus Christi. In the celebration of Pentecost, we will celebrate The Spirit that has descended, has come to bring the new Spirit leading to a new way of living for a community that was discouraged, and doubtful. They needed a new unique spirit to live the new life that was now theirs. This Spirit was to be the living, vitalizing presence of Him who loved His own, and loved them to the end. He left but promised not to abandon them or leave them orphans. That promise is directed toward you and me, as we are their successors and the inheritors of that same promise. "As it was, so it is, and ever shall be." This Spirit will lead us to all truth, as has been promised. We will not ALWAYS like or embrace the Truth. Real Truth will always challenge us, to reach beyond what is easy, and comfortable. I personally do not like this. Then I am told, I do not have to LIKE it. However, I will be led in time to the wonderful promised land of acceptance.

In the celebration of The Holy Trinity, we are drawn into an ever deepening understanding of who is The Family that has chosen our bodies, to be their dwelling place. The Family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have out of their Triune love for each one of us, have chosen us to live within, "the prisoner of our finiteness." We have within us here on earth, here in our earthly existence, what is present in the life of Heaven. We are temples of the living God. A God who is in reality, a family, living in loving unity. They live within us, so we can make our dwelling with them, as they dwell within us. In that way, we can have here on earth a taste of the life of Heaven. Pretty neat!!! There is this Celtic prayer that has been around for many, many centuries:


'I arise to-day
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of
the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
of the Creator of Creation.

In time, with grace, can this bring about the change necessary so we will have Guests to visit, rather than PRISONERS to be feared???

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The ...Risen...Christ's...Shalom

We are still in Easter time. That time between Easter Sunday and The Feast of The Ascension. It is now looked on as the time spent in adjustment. These are the days and weeks we visit each year so as to reflect and be taught anew  by  The Risen Christ. We learn each year something new from the events of the time spent time by Christ with His disciples. He spent 40 days, a long time, providing them time  to adjust to His new way of relating with them. It was a time of letting go of the old, so as to embrace the new. This is hard work.  The disciples had to let go of their old way of thinking, and their old way of relating. This Jesus, whom they knew in His mortal life, is now present to them in His risen reality. A reality that is beyond anything they could ever imagine. He appears and disappears. Closed doors are no obstacle  to The Risen Christ. They encounter Him on the road. He is with  them when they are fishing. The Risen One eats and drinks with them. He even cooks for them. Things may in way be the same, yet in another reality essentially different. It took some adjusting to, and in the end the disciples did not really get the whole picture. We are told in Mark's Gospel how, on The Mount of The Ascension, the disciples worshiped the Risen Christ, but "they still doubted." How consoling is that. Those who were personally called, and formed by Jesus The Christ, did not get it. It is still more amazing that Jesus left them in their doubt. He went off up to heaven, and left behind a bunch of doubters. Yet these were the ones who, in time, were going to take the Gospel message to "the ends of the earth." Many were to lay down their lives as a testimony to the truth of what they were taught. How could this happen? What they saw or thought as an ending was actually the beginning of a deeper journey with The Risen Christ. He was no longer with them; He was to be within them. As it was with the early disciples so it is with us, His present day disciples. We, because we are alive, have to face the consequence of death. For who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ will over time, come to see and believe that this death we are so afraid of is not an end but an actual beginning. This death, leading to new life is called, Paschal death. As long as we are alive we are constantly in the process of deepening our understanding of this mystery. The opposite of Paschal death is temporal death. There is death, and then there is nothing. Where do you see the reality of this Paschal death in the life you are living right now? Where is Easter time, that time you are forced to let go of the old ways of relating, and there is now a new reality to be encountered and accepted? We must always keep before us this hard fact, acceptance is a process to be entered into. When we enter a process we never know where it is going to lead to. So we need faith. Our Gracious Lover has provided us with a model that is to be lived out uniquely by each one of us. The journey of the prophet Jesus, becoming the Christ of God, is the model we follow. So we will not be caught up in fear and trembling.  We have been blessed to have The Spirit of The risen Christ deep within the depths of who we are.


                       What does it mean to have The Risen Christ journey within us? How do we know that the life we are living is the life  of The Risen One? It helps to remember one of the first appearances of Christ. The disciples are scared. He, Who they thought was going to do so much, left them with so little. Their expectations were crushed. They were dejected and very much alone. They were living behind closed doors. Closed to keep them safe, but not safe from the reality of The Risen Christ. Into that room, despite locked doors Jesus, now The Christ appears. We can  guess at  the thoughts, the feelings, the contrasting emotions coursing through their hearts, souls, and minds. These, His chosen ones, were so well aware of their limitations as followers. When the going got tough, there was no toughness to be seen. Fear and flight was their answer to disaster that was Good Friday, and the crucifixion. When they were most needed, they were shown to be wanting. Wanting in empathy, compassion and courage. The weakness of as yet unredeemed humanity became oh so self evident. What weaklings they were, when the chips were down. Even the favored ones, Peter, James, and John were not able to provide companionship and support when Jesus in His agony most needed them. They were unable to "watch one hour with the Suffering Servant." Peter, who prided himself in his loyalty, became a cropper when it came to crunch time. He, who was ready to die with Jesus, was unable to admit that he was a follower of The Prophet from Galilee. When it came to Good Friday, how many were around? It was the women, with the beloved disciple who showed any willingness to be identified with The Crucified One, and they "stood at a distance." Those in that room, who are our ancestors in faith, were left with nothing when brought face to face with The Risen Christ.


                        How did the Risen One greet them? With words of recrimination, and judgment? No way!! That is our human way of dealing with denial, and betrayal. Not so with Jesus The Christ. He, Who is the incarnation of the mercy of God, was mercy-full to these broken ones. He did not call anyone out. He did not let the ego gloat by saying "I told you so." No His greeting to them was "Shalom." Shalom is not just peace. It is so much more. Shalom has about 15 different levels of meaning. I found the following on the internet. "According to Strong's Concordance shalom means completeness,  wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety,  soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. "Now that is a real mouth full!!! It appears to be too much for my little brain to handle. There is nothing in this world that we can compare shalom to. No human being, that I know of, has all those qualities. There are some who we can say have some of what shalom means but not all. We are all perfectly imperfect. So what is left, the desire to grow into a fuller understanding, and an ever deepening embrace of the full meaning of shalom. This will happen the more we encounter Christ in our everyday living. The spirit of Shalom is the Spirit of Christ, constantly reminding us of who we are, and Whose presence we are to reveal in our gospel hike/walk/journey.


                           The disciples were offered shalom in their moment of weakness, and absolute powerlessness. It is essential to remember that it was when they were most aware of their weakened, broken humanity, it was then they were given power to forgive sin. What great confessors Peter, and the rest would be. He, who was to be the successor of Jesus Christ, denied that he ever knew him? God seems to choose the little and the least to proclaim that which is beyond human belief.  As it was with those early followers, so it is with you and me. The way it seems to me that in order to be open to, and I am speaking just for myself, I have to journey into, and take up residence in the reality  which is the opposite of living in shalom. I remember how things changed for me when I read of the connection between being, whole and being holy. You cannot have one without the other. So my journey is into wholeness, into oneness. Oneness with myself, others, Creator God and with all of creation. Wholeness is a gift to be desired. Wholeness comes at a great price. Wholeness comes as the result of an endless war that is waged in the battlefield of the soul. Shalom wants to call us to recognize  our essential goodness that is not harmed by sin and human frailty. It is ONLY through the acceptance of our humanness, with all of its weakness and brokenness, can we begin our journey into the fullness of The Risen life. This is where we ask for the gift of humility. On our own personal Emmaus journey we need of the constant appearance of The Scripture Teacher Who will rekindle from the embers, the fire of The Divine  Creator Spirit. We and all of creation will be strengthened and renewed. We will be given the necessary grace, "our daily bread, which will strengthen us to pick up our cross and journey into the constant process of renewal.