Monday, January 28, 2019

Dear Sloggers, Part 2

I get really excited, even at this age, when I read something that just makes me go WOW, I came across the fact, that sometimes we look, but do not see, hear, but do not listen, know but do not understand. That has been my guiding star, leading me into previously unknown realities, or seeing old realities in a new light. So I ask you the question, from this past Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Season what is evolving, what is coming into awareness, what is now challenging you, causing you discomfort?
To put it simply that is the birthing process of a new, and a more authentic you. You are Giving Birth to The Christ within you. Birthing is a pain-full process. It is messy. Life is messy. Family life is messy. Check out the family tree of the historical Jesus, WOW. All that messiness find its way into salvation history, into the history of our salvation. With God all things are possible. Be not satisfied with the comfortable, the familiar, our faith journey leads us into discomfort, into the unknown. What is a truth you do not want to face? What have you known, but do not now want to understand, because it will demand something of you, you are not prepared to face, or let go of?  A-C-E Season can be described as a spiritual tsunami.  Great storms leave behind them treasures on the beaches so, let us become beachcombers and journey to the beaches of our souls to find new treasures that brighten our lives.  The treasures are sometimes on the sand, sometimes one has to dig for them, but the treasures are there. What is the treasure that now brightens your life, from the season we have just journeyed through.
WE are challenged, this year, to face the uncomfortable, disquieting fact, that despite all the great promises Mary, and Joseph were given, they became refugees. So today's Holy Family, is our refugee family! That today's Incarnation of God, has been taken from today's, Mary and Joseph, and placed in cages. The Incarnation tells us that each newborn, is a new manifestation of God. That great song, "Mary did you know," has these awe-full, wonder-full words. Mary do you know when you kiss the face of your child, you kiss the face of God." So kiss your children, and challenge yourself to believe this is the face of God!!! Children, grow up and change, but the reality doesn't. When you kiss that grown up child, you are still kissing the face of God. How many believe that in the celebration of the sacrament of their sexuality, they are encountering Eucharist at its deepest level (Fr. Rolheiser). I look at this, but do not I see, do I know, but fail to understand the sacramentality of sexuality, and so deprive so many of the awe-full gift. The  Incarnation truly challenges us to broaden our understanding of all that is.     
To be continued...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dear fellow, "wonder-full, "awe-full," sloggers,

The Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Season of 2018-2019 has again afforded us another opportunity to delve into the mystery of who we are, Whose presence we have been called to be, and Who has done this calling.
      This involves action on our part. Each mass I celebrate I make sure the assembly repeat, "O god, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is." The thinking behind this is the fact there is an ongoing struggle, an ongoing battle within the soul of each one of us. Yes, there is a battlefield in the depths of each soul. On that field a battle rages between the two voices who are always calling to us, begging for our exclusive attention. One is quiet gentle voice, calling us, beloved daughter, beloved son. A voice so gentle, that we have to be immersed in silence to become aware of its existence. I have always found it very difficult to accept the fact that silence is, our God’s, first language. It has been a very long, and difficult journey, to become comfortable in silence, and solitude. I can only thank the many, many hours of hiking in nature for this gift to become a reality. At one time I was so very much afraid of the awe-full, and wonder-full silence, that I listened to music to drown out the silence. Then ever so slowly I became comfortable in the quiet, accepting, unconditioned embrace of nature. In nature, each individual is accepted and loved as they are. One does not have to be anything, but who the person one really is. What a mysterious freedom we are privileged to gifted with, and called to enjoy. One does not have to earn, deserve, or qualify for this transformational experience. All we have to do is be the best we can be, right now. That adage, "We do our best, and God does the rest, works here."  All we have to do is have the desire, then The Power of Love, finds the way. It is this simple, yet we want to complicate it, right?
      The other voice can be loud, oh! so very loud. It can cause us to become deaf to the quiet voice, calling us beloved daughter/son. It is so sad that when we cease to hear, or pay attention to that quiet voice, we then get lost. Lost in listening to, and living the lie. The lie is that we have to earn, deserve, qualify for something which is ALREADY deep within us. We are listening to voice of negativity blinding us to who we really are, in our Father-God prodigal love. Our Father sent us His Son, Jesus, Who became The Christ, to reveal to us through His humanity, life and ministry of Who our Mercy-full Father truly is. It is so sad when the mercy of God is diluted, and/or denied, because of personal prejudice, and conflict. Thank God our Pope has returned us to a renewed vision of The Prodigal Father of the Gospels. There is no, if about His love. There is no precondition for His acceptance. All there is an open invitation to welcoming arms. To those who are in the business of measuring, this make no sense. Scripture warns us, "Our ways are NOT God’s ways." Never have been, never will.  We have to free God from our narrow thinking. We have to make God, BIG. After all God is INFINITE??? Why then do we want to make The Infinite into something we can define and control? This results in us making God in our image, and likeness. Hence we have NOT a living God, but an idol, a false god. WE have been warned against worshipping at the altar of false gods, i.e. power, property, prestige, control, comparison and competition. The ego, the false self demands this of us. There is a war when we cross the false self, and worship at the altar of The Living God, The Incarnation reveals to us. I like what I read many years ago, what we know is not God, what we do not know is God. So God is also called The Unknown, and The Unknowable. We have to stop spouting out, and believing as the ultimate fact, our little narrow understanding of God. We are called to journey into the cloud of unknown. It is a journey into certainty not uncertainty.  There is an old classic, "The Cloud Of Unknowing." (I just love when the anonymous author writes, "God does His best work with habitual sinners.") 
To be continued...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Happy New Year

 Many times "stuff" gets in the way of what is really important.  When that "stuff" disappears then we are left with the gifts of who we are and who we are to one another.  Then the real giving begins.  We can get wrapped up, no pun intended, in all the externals we miss out on that which is essential. We now can reveal the wonderful gift that is within, which is the presence of our God.  It is this presence, within, that Jesus came to reveal to us. It is in the sacred gift of our common humanity that each and every moment our God is revealed to us. Each and every moment we come to appreciate a revelation of God that comes to us through those people God has gifted us with.  Sometimes it takes the x-ray eye of faith and other times it takes the MRI of faith to see the goodness of God dwelling within some people in our lives.  It is ever and always present. At this time,  we are given the opportunity to renew our belief that God is with us and within us.  He is Emanuel, and so because of His promise will never be able to desert us. 

Thornton Wilder has written "You can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." So this year when there is less of the outside treasures to distract us, let us take time to enjoy the wonder-full gift of wonder, which each one of us has been gifted with. This gift will lead us into the mystery of who we are as God's dwelling place. Let us reverence the mystery of each other, which will lead us to a deeper appreciation of the mystery of the Incarnation.

The crib was not just a picture,  it was not just a scene in a church, but the crib is now, alive and well within each one of us.  So my New Year wish for you, is for you to gift yourself the time to discover all those who show up in the crib scene and see these as a living reality within yourself. Who is the angel in your life who reveals to you,  that like Mary, you are full of Grace, in other words of your essence you are deeply loved. Now who are the angels who encourage you to rejoice because a Savior has come for you, who will be revealed in weakness.  We rejoice because we have discovered and embraced the shepherds within.  The shepherds, in Jesus' time, were the outcasts of society. They were looked down on and rejected, they became the first receptors of the Good News. Who is the shepherd within us that needs to hear the Good News, a Shepherd Savior has come and is looking for us. He will never rest until he finds us. 
That's why Merton has said, "Be who we were already are." Unless we take time to reflect on that wonder-full gift of the Christ child within us,  we will always be looking outside for that which is always on the inside. 
Hoping you had a Blessed Christmas, Epiphany Season and will go on to have a  Happy and Prosperous New Year. Go forward knowing that you are the reality in which the Incarnation continues.  May you to be a living light in the place your God has placed you.  God Bless and the best of Irish luck to you.