Saturday, November 30, 2019

The need of new lenses

Yet ever so often we feel so alone on this co-creative journey.  The place our deepest knowledge assures us we are not alone.  We can be surprised by the events and challenges of life, God is not.  We have the assurance "That the Lord is my strength and my salvation, so there is nothing for me to fear." "The lord is my Shepherd, so there is nothing I shall need" in this perfectly imperfect world.  Where has the care of your personal Good Shepherd been a reality in your journey so far?  Where does The Good Shepherd appear in the gospel that is being written by your daily actions?  Where are your today's Good Shepherd, Good Samaritan? What is the cost to you?  We are slowly lead to the freedom and courage to be able to pray these two courageous prayers, "God make Your will my will, make my will Your will." "Your will not mine be done. For some of us these prayers are all we can utter in or moments of our sheer desperation. (This awe-full place we can call our, "Calvary Moment," is visited again and again, always leading to a deepening of Easter Joy) The two simple prayers are more than enough for our Higher Power. The desire of our heart is known to God, and that desire will be responded to.

God always sees and responds to our deepest desires but not always in the way we want or expect.  As Shakespeare wrote,:  "There is the rub."  Because of this we constantly have to deal with the sad assumption that when our prayers are not answered the way want them to be answered then either God is not there or I am not liked because of something I have done, or not done.  Both are death dealing assumptions Our God does not hold grudges.  God Who is infinite love does not take offense.  Our Gracious lover does not harbor resentment.  That is the trouble when we see God the way we see, and in so doing we create a death dealing idol.  How much time is wasted in the forced worshipping at the altar of resentment.  We have to be constantly converted.  We are in the constant need of the adjustment to our spiritual lenses.  The lenses of my glasses have to be changed once a year.  I have to approach each new moment of each new day, with a new set lenses.  Yes, this takes work, but be assured the real heavy lifting is being done by a Power greater than ourselves, with a love beyond all our of limited finite ever so human understanding.  It now appears that we are, and ever shall be, be wresting with what those three awe-full words finite, infinite, and infinity.

Our prayer is always  answered.  We just need the time and place to allow God’s answer to filter through to our consciousness.  Here is another paradox in that so-called place of our loneliness The Holy Alone reveals all the hope-full, mercy-full, healing, strengthening love we need. So then that place of loneliness, that place of fear and desperation now becomes the place where the power of solitude, and the need for solitude is revealed.  WE will constantly journey between loneliness and solitude.  Such is our journey "as spiritual beings immersed in the human condition." I am indebted to Henri Nouwen for the wisdom shared in his classic book "Reaching Out."

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Only what we give away we keep Part 2

On I hike I had been surprised with the approach of a dog that approaches to be petted.  That dog did not know me but the way she/he behaves it is as if we have been friends forever.  What a great feeling bubbles up when we are greeted with a joy-full hello or sincere hi!  Is there anything better than a child breaking out in a glorious smile.  Does this not warm us as nothing else can?  That smiling child awakens the child within, so this a grace-full moment.  That child and place is a presence and a place of mystery.  It was and always will be sacramental.  It is one of the many places The Holy Other is encountered.  On top of this mystery we are told by the mystics that we are forever "in the hug of God."  I am constantly grateful for those hugs that are in reality God’s hugs, mediated through another one of God’s creation. Where God can, God always uses human instrumentality to reveal the power of Presence.  That is why we must be constantly be aware of the co-creative dynamic always present in all of creation.  We all have been UNIQUELY CHOSEN for this vocation.

"We are called, we are chosen, we are Christ for one another" Nice words to sing but are we ready to answer the call, and respond to the challenge? Now, here in 2019 we are being challenged as never before to become not someone who is taking up space, but is a living and active presence.  To become an uncomfortable presence for those who need to be confronted.  We are called to be prophetic voices that challenge the powerful on behalf of the powerless. 

The list of today's powerless fellow humans is growing longer by the minute.  Add to that the powerlessness of Mother Nature as she is ravaged and raped all because of avarice.  Yes our Sister, Mother Earth has a reason to groan. (Pope Francis).  I would go further today in all of our communities, and countries there are the screams of the today's crucified.  Those who are aching for mercy, and care are in our homes and families, as well as in distant lands.  We are all a community. We are all interdependent.  There are no individuals in a healthy creation, all are one. Yes, we all are The Body of Christ.  Today "we are The Body Of Christ Whose body is again being betrayed ,beaten and battered in new and repulsive ways.  Let us be Veronica and reach out to the Suffering one.  Let us be a contemporary Simon of Cyrene that when challenged to carry the cross we do so, knowing we have been prepared and strengthened to face whatever comes.  "I believe Lord, help my unbelief/disbelief." The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, let us be His living and active closeness so that these words become a reality for "the least of our sisters and brothers and all of creation."

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Only what we give away we keep

Our Gracious Lover through The Guiding Spirit will make sure we are provided with what we need NOT what we want. This strength comes BEFORE we need it not just when we need it. "God fits the back for the burden" is an Irish saying with which I was raised.  There is great reassurance in the fact that all I need is NOW placed deep within my being.  The spiritual journey is all about the journey into the depths to connect with the mother lode of sustaining strength already placed there.  Once it has been discovered, "this Pearl of great price" is not to be hoarded, stored away.  It is to be given, shared with the fellow travelers.  There is that spiritual principle we must constantly be aware of:  "What we keep for ourselves we lose.  What we give away we keep" (Another paradox). The only way to keep a well fresh is to draw water from it. The more we give away the more we discover all in which we have been gifted.  We then are gradually lead to the ever deepening awareness that there is then an endless reservoir of giftedness in which we have been entrusted.  Your reservoir of gifts are not generic gifts.  You have been uniquely chosen and gifted for the unique contribution you are to make as a co-creator.  That is why we have to sometimes fight to be who we really are.  Because it is only when we are true to our real selves are we reveling the truth, God, within.  What strength you need to fulfill your unique vocation IS present this moment within your authentic true self.  So then: To thine own self be true:  We can be really, really surprised and shocked, in a good way, by what bubbles up from our depths.  Yes our God is a God of surprises.  What surprises have you encountered in your moment to moment daily living?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A paradoxical journey into... Part 2

Our Gracious Lover through The Guiding Spirit will make sure we are provided with what we need NOT what we want. This strength comes BEFORE we need it not when we need it. "God fits the back for the burden" is an Irish saying with which I was raised.  WE are surprised with the events and challenges of life, God is not.  "The lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall need" in this perfectly imperfect world. The courageous prayers, "God make Your will my will, make my will Your will."  "Your will not mine be done." Warning!!!  God responds to our deepest desires.  What may seem impossible to us is where our Higher Gracious Power works the miracle of transformative and transfigurative love." With God all things are possible."  The possibilities of the spiritual journey are infinite and way beyond what our minds can fathom and comprehend.  We have to pray for patient acceptance and an ever deepening understanding of the process we are all caught up in.  This is why we have been chosen to live right now. This choice was made in eternity.  We live this chosenness in time, all the while knowing the eternal is our home.  St. Augustine, "You have made us for Yourself O Lord and we will never rest until we rest in Thee." The explanation of our ongoing restlessness and discontent.

Like all of us, our world IS being perfected, and has been in this process for billions of years. We sadly neglect to acknowledge this fact The Guiding Spirit of Creative Love has been operative in creation from the beginning of time. We sadly neglect to acknowledge, particularly right now, that The Spirit was and will ever be a guiding presence in the evolutionary process.  A process we are to discover that is happening in us right now as it has been a reality in all creation. We are participating in a continuum. Our challenge is not to understand the finite, but to come to encounter with the Infinite in the finiteness. What we see in creation mirrors what has been happening for eons and is happening right now to human kind. Over these billions of years there has been, and is right now is that constant process of birth-death-rebirth.  Somehow through this process we are constantly being brought to a new and a more fuller understanding of ourselves "as spiritual beings immersed in the human condition." (Chardin).

Belief in that presence of The Guiding Spirit provided us with the courage to face birth-death-rebirth process that is part and parcel of our daily reality living. The Guiding Spirit has been secretly working to make certain that everything work into a wholeness.  God makes all things work together for good. As it is for creation so it is for you and I. As it is with you and I so it it with God’s creation. For our own faith-groundedness we have to recognize and come to accept the many, many experiences of birth-death-rebirth which have molded us into who we are today. As we are today, right now ,so we will be for the eons to come.  It cannot be otherwise.

Monday, November 18, 2019

A paradoxical journey into...

I can still remember my introduction to paradox.  When we were in grade school we were very proud to be able to repeat the following:"I went to the pictures(movies) tomorrow.  I bought a front seat in the back. I fell from the floor to the gallery, and broke a front bone in my back." (That was being cool back then!!! That is way. way back then when we lived the simple life)  Would that be my only encounter with the challenge of paradox?  No such luck.  On looking back, I am seeing more clearly that my whole life has been spent first embracing and then becoming reconciled with the paradoxes that come with life, and the everyday living of this mysterious life we are gifted with. ("Life is not a problem to be solved it is a mystery to be lived.")  We are daily challenged to live this life in accordance with the intention and plan our Creator God, as it is constantly being revealed to us. We are being educated anew as in the proper stewardship of our earth and cosmos.  There is a growing disconnect between what is in the best interest of all creation and the interest of those who want to create nothing but wealth.  This wealth creation comes at the expense of those who can afford it the least.  When will this exploitation of the poor and vulnerable cease?  Only when a new consciousness breaks through as the result of real conversion.  Conversion is tough.  It involves a new way of seeing.  It means we turn in our old set of glasses and be ready for the vision that both shocks, and sickens us.  Then we will have to decide whether to take the risk of real involvement or choose to let the death knell be rung louder and louder.

Only actions and prayer can transforms us from our egocentrism into way of thinking and acting into a Christ-centered way of living.  It will be a combination of Gethsemane and "Calvary moment" for all who dare.  We just cannot stand as spectators to the rape and abuse, we must take the actions that are demanded of us.  A deepening of our understanding of Eco-theology and Eco-spirituality will help in our conversion.  We are never converted once for all but again and again.  This is with ever increasing pain.  The deeper the pain the more we will live in freedom and joy.