My Dad was a police man. Yes, he was an Irish cop. In my younger years we got to move quite a lot. That is why I always have an eye out for newcomers. I was a "newcomer" many times. In some parts of Ireland, we are called "blowins". Our last move as a family was to the village of Castlemartyr. When we got to the kitchen and looked out we saw a back yard, a very large backyard, and a even larger garden. That was the good news. The bad news, the garden was overgrown with briers, thistles and weeds. Let's say that is what I saw. My father, a farmers son, his vision was different, it was. Well let us now fast forward to see where once there was an overgrown disaster, now there is a well ordered garden. With peas, carrots, tomatoes, celery, lettuce and of course rows and rows of "Irish Rice", potatoes. It did not happen overnight, nor in one year. It was a gradual transformation . If my memory serves me right, I spent a good part of at least two Summer vacations in and among those thorns and overgrown weeds. It took a great deal of pain,hard work, sweat and some blood. Encounters with thorns and briers will always, always leave you with a little bloodletting. That adage, "No pain, no gain" was so very true, in this case. There had to be serious effort before the good earth was revealed and a harvest could be harvested. There had to be the clearing away, before the seed could be sewn.
These scenes and thoughts welled up as I listened to, and reflected on the third reality, the seed cast by the Sewer, found Itself. The Seed, The Word of God, The Good News, is received. The circumstances, the reality in which it has been received are not conducive to growth. For growth as authentic, healthy, human beings it is essential we are immersed in an atmosphere of healthy love. Healthy love is indispensable for our healthy spiritual growth. Yes! Healthy, loving, and authentic human living are one and the same. We are told again, and again that we are loved recklessly by our Prodigal Father. A love without any conditions, restrictions, or reservations. Do we believe it? For the most part no. Why? Because nobody in this journey of ours can replicate that love. Human love,"the second love", is of it's essence incapable of meeting this great challenge. As a result, those we love, and say they love us, will hurt us. In the same way the people we so desperately want, and wish to are the victims of our selfishness, and self centeredness. That old song, "We always hurt the ones we love". So the, we hear the wonder-full Good News that there is this extravagant love we hear it with our ears, but never get to accept. We hear "You are loved". The next question that pops up right away, "well what have you done to deserve that"? "What are you going to have to do to repay that love"? "I love you just the way you are." "If you REALLY knew me there is no way you would be saying that." The conversation goes on, and on, like that. We all have that committee in our heads that has a relentless energy, resulting in our endless restlessness. That voice of negativity is always present. That voice has only one purpose, and that is, to prevent you and I from accepting, believing, enjoying, and above all, celebrating The Gospel"s Good News, you have been, are now, and always will be My beloved daughter/son.
That committee, speaks only words that trigger feelings of Guilt, Fear, and Shame. These three I like to call, "the toxic trinity" The "tt's" only goal is to destroy us. They are death dealers, and will go to any means, any extremes to make sure we have our own personal hell, here on earth. They are the 'briers' of the gospel. They choke the new life that has been given to us, through God's love for us. Their job is to get us to loose ourselves chasing power, property, and prestige. We go chasing that which will make us look good on the outside. Why? Because we do not believe our essential inner likeableness, goodness, and lovableness. We are in desperate need to become more accepting of what is means to be human, to be limited. We are, and never will be, in this life, perfect. The toxic trinity wants us to believe the lie that perfection is there, that it is possible, if we would only somehow make a greater effort.
That leads to tremendous insanity. This insanity is so easy for us to observe. It is present, and can be observed in so many individuals, families, and as a consequence in family based institutions. The games that go with "control, comparisons, and competition" leave so many victims in their wake. Every addiction,and compulsion can be traced to the power given to the 'tt" in our lives. We all have to get to that point where we have nothing of ourselves to meet the challenge of the 'tt". There is one who has all the power. We must bring our powerlessness to the All Merciful, Lenient One and there spell out what it is we of ourselves cannot do. The prayer of desperation, crying out from the depths of our nothingness, is always. That is the prayer that comers from the gut. It is our deepest truth. In this prayer there is no sugar coating. There is no effort to look good, or sound good. Here we meet who we really are, and as we meet who we really are, lo and behold there meeting us is The God of Jesus Christ. The briars, brambles, weeds, thorns, and thistles slowly are moved away, and the good earth, which has ever and always been there is revealed. That is the next blog.