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Archive for the ‘My Beliefs’ Category

The book I’m reading¹ shows Jesus as a very tender, intimate friend.

My scripture reading² last night shows Him as fierce judge, waging war in righteousness with fiery eyes and he himself will “tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty.”

I know Jesus as a tender, personal and intimate friend to whom I can pour out my heart and with whom I can laugh and be filled. I run into our Father’s arms for comfort and protection. I seek the Holy Spirit to guide me, teach me, advise me.

When I read passages about His power and fury and wrath, I wonder if I will be fearful of Him. I wonder if I have created an image of Him that is more in my own mind than it is reality. And I wonder if it’s like a child who experiences her father as very tender and loving at home while his enemies experience him as powerful and destructive on the battlefield.

The Bible depicts Jesus in many distinct, opposite ways:
The lion … and the lamb
The king of kings and lord of lords … and the suffering servant of all
Ruling with a steel rod … and taking care to not break the bruised reed.
He is creator & commander of great clashes of thunder, seas that roar, and quakes that level mountains … as well as fragile flowers, rainbows, and delicate flakes of frost.
God … and man

I think I do need to take care not to create a god in my own image. I can learn much about God by reading the Bible and believing He is everything it says He is, even when I find it fearful and I don’t fully understand what it means. And I also can trust what I know from my relationship with Him … He is indeed my intimate and tender friend, comforter, teacher.

And I think no matter how well I now Him and how close He draws me, I barely know Him at all. He is so much more than any man can fathom or dream.

While I think it’s good to ponder and wrestle with these things sometimes, I still laugh out loud when I think of the passage He gave me one time when I was demanding an answer:

What is too sublime for you, seek not.
Into things beyond your strength, search not.
What is committed to you, attend to;
for what is hidden is not your concern. (Sirach 4:20-22)

¹He and I by Gabrielle Bossis
²Revelation 19:11-16

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This reflection from today’s Give Us This Day magazine brought me to tears. It seemed a direct and personal Word of comfort and guidance for me from the LORD:

“The Lord addresses His mother in the hour that, for her, is the hardest. She is not unprepared for this hour, but the hour does not therefore weigh any less heavily upon her. For it is now that she gives her beloved Son back to God. She does this in darkness …

“A sacrifice that is performed in full view would not be a Christian sacrifice. If a man renounces some lower good for the sake of some higher one that he knows and has in view, then that is no sacrifice but only a choice between two goods, one of which appears more important than the other.

“But if he renounces some good that he loves in order that God might receive what he desires, then that implies a true sacrifice, because he does not know what form God will give to that which he offers him. The sacrifice lies in surrendering the ability to hold this in view.”

Adrienne von Speyr, The Birth of the Church

It gives me much to ponder.

 

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A Moment

It’s been two months since our trip to Portland and the wedding. I wrote description to my friend after we got back:

I had a moment one day when we were walking downtown – all the kids were quite a ways ahead and I was hanging back with Julie (my sister-in-law) who couldn’t keep up. As I watched the kids ahead, I had an overwhelming feeling of being blessed – like a pitcher of water being poured over my head filled with blessings, overflowing.

Suddenly, like a switch, as the kids got further ahead of us and further away, I felt overwhelming sorrow at my loss of them. It’s a little hard to explain but God has gently been removing them from my life for quite a few years now and I’ve learned to surrender them to Him.

But in that moment, I realized He’s not done yet and I have to let go even more. It makes me so sad but Jesus, I trust in You.

I’m still pondering that experience and what it might mean. I don’t suppose I’ll really know until everything unfolds in due time.

But Jesus, I do trust in You. Lord, help my unbelief.

 

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Father Secora loves to teach and at daily mass he said that the family – mother, father, children – is an icon … a reflection of the holy Trinity.

My first reaction was pure delight. It seems so obvious now that he said it, but it had never occurred to me! How cool is that? The Holy Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and Son, just as children are between husband and wife.

As I pondered it, I thought of how every one of us is that child – we all had a mother and a father. We don’t all marry, nor do we all become a parent; but we all have been the child in our little reflection of the Trinity.

My delight turned to sorrow as wondered how much longer that will be the case. Recent news stories report that scientists are close to creating children without parents. Headlines such as “Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human” and “Report: It’s ethical to create embryos from DNA of 3 people” were once purely science fiction; now they are current news and not at all unusual.

This all seems to go beyond man wanting to be equal to God. In a very real way, it seems man is trying to kill God by destroying His earthly icon … families.

It would be easy to fall into despair considering all of this. But today a particular quote caught my eye and though I’m not a “prophecy” type of girl, it does give me hope:

“The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. However, Our Lady has already crushed its head.” – Sr. Lucia of Fatima

God’s got this. I just need to remember Isaiah 30:15:

“For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a mental list of passages that remind me to be grateful for trials. Here are only two of them:

Now this trial the Lord therefore permitted to happen to him,
that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, as also of holy Job.
(Tobit 2:12)

“Besides all this, let us give thanks to the Lord our God for putting us to the test as he did our ancestors.
Recall how he dealt with Abraham, and how he tested Isaac, and all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he was tending the flocks of Laban, his mother’s brother.
He has not tested us with fire, as he did them, to try their hearts, nor is he taking vengeance on us. But the Lord chastises those who are close to him in order to admonish them.”
(Judith 8:23-27)

I was reminded this morning of a beautiful story about the Refiner’s Fire. It’s not long, and I’d like to share it!

And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:
and he shall purify  
the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

 (Malachi 3:3)

While reading Malachi chapter 3, a woman noticed a remarkable expression in the third verse: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”

She went to visit a silversmith and, without telling the object of her errand,
begged to know the process of refining silver, which the smith described to her.

“But, sir,” she said, “do you sit while the work of refining is going on?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am,” replied the silversmith. “I must sit with my eye
steadily fixed on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining is
exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver will be injured.”

The woman at once saw the beauty and comfort of the expression,
“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” God sees it needful to put
His children into a furnace: His eye is steadily intent on the work of purifying,
and His wisdom and love are both engaged in the best manner for them.
Their trials do not come at random: “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

As the woman was leaving the shop, the silversmith called her back
and said he had forgotten to mention that the only way to know when
the purifying process is complete is  . . .

 . . .when he can see his own image reflected in the silver.

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I think today I just feel like writing disconnected odds & ends.

  1. A few weekends ago I attended my second Christ Our Life conference in Des Moines. It is AMAZING to sit in Wells Fargo Arena, filled with Catholic brothers and sisters, and hear all those voices raised in the “Alleluia” at mass. I especially enjoyed hearing Cardinal Dolan and Father Larry Richards speak – they were wonderful!
  2. It’s a little strange though – in a way the conference filled me UP and re-energized me. In another way, as I sat there in that enormous crowd I felt very alone people-wise. I had traveled there alone and didn’t know anyone else attending.  I love the very personal way God walks with me and leads me and teaches me … but wow, I sure miss having one friend in my life with whom to talk about God and our faith, with whom to pray. Within my own family I have to take care to temper my enthusiasm, to tone it down so I don’t come off “preachy” or like the “church lady” because it sets off defensive reactions in others whom I love so dearly. I don’t ever want to push them away from God nor be a stumbling block. And so in some ways, I am very lonely in this earthly life.
  3. I’ve started through the Bible again … fourth time. The first time I read through it I was so full of “WOW!”s as I saw scripture unfold in order and in context. The second time was also filled with many “aha!” moments as new things stood out to me. By now, while the Holy Spirit still reveals new insights to me, it is less of a new, exciting, exploring love … and more of a comforting, familiar, mature love.
  4. I so treasure my time in the quiet reading scripture and praying, that I’ve decided to give a Bible to each of my nieces and nephews with their names on the front. I don’t think any of them will be particularly excited about it, but then again I was in my 40s before I started reading scripture on my own. It is my hope and prayer that they will receive it knowing it was given with great love and many prayers for them, and that some day it may be a blessing to them when they need it most.
  5. This morning in Genesis 9 I found it interesting that God told Noah, “Every creature that is alive shall be yours to eat; I give them all to you as I did the green plants.” I’ve heard people say that man was vegetarian in the beginning … I see now where they get that and the footnotes in my Bible agree that is the case. Earlier, Abel was noted as a keeper of flocks; I guess the flocks were used for wool and milk, but not as food. There are no animals designated “clean” nor “unclean” at this time; that comes later with Moses.
  6. I’ve been reflecting a lot on “where I am” spiritually and I see clearly the things God has taught me, the trials He has brought me through, the great blessings He has poured out into my life. And I can see some of my path ahead – ways He is using me to help others and new things He is preparing me for. It’s all such an exciting, wonderful, hope-filled journey with Him.

I am so very blessed.

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Spending time in the quiet can teach you a lot about yourself.

When I first started Eucharistic Adoration, I quickly learned that being quiet for an entire hour isn’t easy. Not just being physically quiet, but mentally quiet as well.

And more than that, I learned what REALLY is going on inside my head.

I learned that I spend a lot of time “replaying” events … songs I’ve heard, tv and movies I’ve seen, and books I’ve read. I replay conversations, and sometimes imagine arguments or things I “wish” I’d said.

And I learned that none of that noise … none of it … brings me peace. It doesn’t make me a better person. It doesn’t help me to grow in holiness. It doesn’t draw me closer to God. It is nothing more than a very noisy distraction and waste of time.

As I’ve spent more time in the quiet, I’ve found myself watching less tv; being more discerning in what I read; turning off the radio more often. I am more careful about my interactions with people – I don’t want to hear gossip or dwell on judging others. I find myself turning to God in prayer more often, asking Him to help me with my patience and to bless people with whom I may be irritated.

Gradually I’ve found myself more at peace, less troubled by the ugly things that used to race around in my head. I’ve learned it’s easier to fill my mind with things of God, to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Being quiet takes effort, but things of value usually do. The blessings I’ve gained are enormous and I find myself seeking the interior quiet of prayer even when – especially when – I feel physically in the midst of chaos.

Quiet helped me make more room for God, and to be more purposeful in spending time with Him.  I hunger and long to dwell more fully in His presence.

Quiet has taught me.

 

 

 

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