Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where is the Scribe and Pharisee......Within?

It is time to take another look at the chart at the beginning of the blog. The heading reads, "The Battlefield of The Soul". When we read down, the words we read are, "My Free Will". This free will, we are always reminded, is a gift freely given to us by God. This free will will never be interfered with. At times we wish we did not have it. Then there would be no chance of us making mistakes, we could say to God "you do everything, I will be just along for the ride. I expect it is going to be a good one because it is all up to you". To do this is to surrender our free will. To surrender our free will under any circumstances is a sin. Our free will is that which makes us human. When we do not act as healthy human beings we revert back to acting like animals. Our God given ability of being able to think and act make us rational animals. God will not take our free will away. We are not puppets. So each and every moment, of each and every day, we have to make a choice. That choice is made either consciously, or subconsciously. We read in the Scriptures, before us is presented life and death, good and evil. Whatever we choose will be given to us. So in every moment we are going to life-givers or death-dealers. We are going to choose between a life lived as the beloved. When we choose that life to live, we live a life that is permeated with the light, life, and love of God. When we deny ourselves that gift, we are choosing to live a life lived in guilt, fear, and shame. One way of living is a life lived in the freedom our gracious God has chosen for us. To choose to live a life locked in the prison of guilt, fear, and shame is the life of a victim, not that of the beloved.

Thank God, our God is a just God. Again in the scriptures this God "understands man and woman's every deed". We often hear it be said of a judge in our courts, "He really takes into account all sides of an issue". Not all judges are like that. Some work out of a personal agenda. Then there is injustice. Our God understands us better than we understand ourselves. He loves us more than we ever can imagine, or hope for. He looks at us through the eyes of infinite mercy and compassion. Jesus had a real problem with those who were rigid, and inflexible. Jesus called this group the Scribes and Pharisees, a bunch of hypocrites. Jesus here was not being a " nice guy', He was being an honest person, much to the chagrin of the latter group. The Scribes and Pharisees we caught up in religiosity, while Jesus was revealing how hard and difficult it is for the self righteous to get to the Kingdom. The Kingdom is for the poor, broken, the sinner, a concept the Scribes and Pharisees were either unwilling or incapable of accepting. Now here is the nasty part, the Scribes and Pharisees are alive and well, and have taken up residence within you and I. When we are lured into the lie that we must earn, deserve, or qualify for our God's love we have joined the above group. When we compare ourselves to others so as we relish the feeling of being better than, guess who is in charge at that time?

Jesus did not come and assume a perfect humanity. His humanity IS the same humanity you and I share, no different. He continues to use that same imperfect humanity of today, to carry on His mission and His ministry. Our spiritual journey is that conscious effort, on our part, to acknowledge while we are beaten, bruised,and beaten, just like Him somehow our God has chosen this way to reveal His presence to and to the world. This is the "WISDOM Of GOD" that makes no sense to this world, as it made no sense to the Scribes and Pharisees. It is our calling to struggle the day to day living while all the while the mystery of grace is bringing about the Kingdom, using our mistakes and blunders as the main instruments of its creation. It is NOT for us to analyze how it happens, it is up to you and I, to allow the grace to flow. Please enjoy, and above all please celebrate the hike.

Fr. Adrian van Kaam, C.S.Sp. wrote;
"The Lord wants to incarnate Himself in the world through persons involved there as fully human beings."

"My daily environment should not be looked upon as the Divine but a possibility of entrance into the Divine. Every new enterprise, reading, or encounter may reveal to me another aspect of God's presence. I should never identify one task, place, or assignment with God Himself or dub this the only road to God. In that case, I might suffer from religious fetichism, which means that I isolate one specific person or place and tell myself that this is the only road to God for me. If I do so, I may be danger of closing myself off from the rest of reality and remaining fixated on one or more parts of my total situation. In such estrangement from reality, both my daily and spiritual life may become FICTION."