Devotional thought of the day:
105 Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path. 106 I will keep my solemn promise to obey your just instructions. 107 My sufferings, LORD, are terrible indeed; keep me alive, as you have promised. 108 Accept my prayer of thanks, O LORD, and teach me your commands. 109 I am always ready to risk my life; I have not forgotten your law. 110 The wicked lay a trap for me, but I have not disobeyed your commands. 111 Your commandments are my eternal possession; they are the joy of my heart. 112 I have decided to obey your laws until the day I die. Psalm 119:105-112 (TEV)
881 Sacrifice yourself, give yourself, and work at souls one by one, as the jeweller works on precious stones: one by one. Indeed you should exercise even more care, because you are dealing with something of incomparable value. The purpose of that spiritual attention you give is to prepare good instruments for the service of God: and they, each one of them, have cost Christ all of his Blood. (1)
We should fear love and trust God in God above all things… and so…(2)
Over the past decade, people have taken polar sides on for little letters WWJD. Some use it as a strong reminder, an encouragement to strive against sin, especially sin of ommission. Some see it as a condemning law, a standard that can only beat people into the earth as they fail and fail again. The odd thing is that many in the latter group extol the liturgical use of confession and absolution, whereas the former group often dismisses the sacrament.
As usual, I find a third way to look at it, a different route to take.
For years churches have sung a song written with the first verse of the reading from Psalm 119 above. It is a good worship song, a prayer that is not unlike a modern Kyrie, asking Jesus our Lord to have mercy on our journey.
But how often do we look at the path described, the hardship the determination of the writer to be faithful during trial, to treasure the commandments? Are we ready and determined to risk our very lives in doing that which the Lord has willed – to assist those who need to come to repentance, to be trasnformed by the very love and mercy of God? How can we live following the path that God’s light, His glory illuminates for us?
So do we give up? Do we take the theologians escape route, and say that this passage is a prophetic look at Jesus, and is to much of a burden for us? THat it is only about Christ?
No, we cannot. This psalm is our cry as much as Christ’s, indeed it is ours the moment we are claimed by God, as the Holy Spirit quickens, brings to life our heart. (see Ezekiel 36:25ff and Ezekiel 37:1-12, Acts 2:37-39 and Titus 2:2-8) Realize that walking this path is what God has called us to, why he has recreated us and we are the fullness of His craftmanship – created for this very thing. To walk this path, with Christ, in Christ, To do What Jesus Would Do, for as we live in Him, He is doing this thing.
Living and working in His will that none would perish, Embracing hardships and suffering, learning from Him, being willing to risk it all – that someone else would know Jesus’ love (even those who know it already – but need the encouragement we are here to give each other). To take joy in GOd’s plan, in His providence. That is what it means to live in His presence, to have an incrantional theology, to know Christ and Him crucified…
That’s what Jesus did… and in Christ, absorbed by Him, we shall as well…..
Lord have mercy!
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3110-3113). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) Luther’s Small Catechism
Devotional Thought of the Day:
16 Once a man came to Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me concerning what is good?” answered Jesus. “There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life.” 18 “What commandments?” he asked. Jesus answered, “Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; 19 respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 20 “I have obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else do I need to do?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich. Matthew 19:16-22 (TEV)
636 You are constantly talking about the need to change and reform things. Good… Reform yourself! For you need it badly, and already you will have begun the great reform. In the meantime, I shall not be putting too much faith in your proclamations of reform. (1)
It seems that Rush Limbaugh has taken it upon himself to criticze the pope for not being Christian, for not being faithful to scripture. Well the claim is that the Pope is a Marxist because of the way he interprets scripture. I haven’t read more than one article on it, so I am not sure where Limbaugh’s points are. I don’t see the Pope being much of a Marxist, just one who would have Christians love the world as Christ did, taking on the form of a servant…
As I read the article, as I see all the posts about people wanting to reform our government, I have to wonder when we will slow down and consider the advice of St Josemaria, and reform our own budgets, our own spending habits. Will we hear the last “commandment” the man heard Jesus ask about? The one that where we considering loving our neighbor as we love ourselves? Will we desire the “perfection” of giving up all we have to the poor, and following Christ. Would consider giving more than just our hand-me-downs and loose coins to the Salvation Army?
If we take the scriptures in their fulness,what God wants to see develop from within this people is the same kind of love that Christ has shown, the same eagerness to sacrifice for others as Christ did. You can’t but see this in the way the Old Testament prophets confronted Israel over their treatment of the single moms (widows) and orphans. You see it in the commands of how one treats the foreignors, the responsibility of families – even multiple times removed, to care for those in their family. You see it again in the gospels (the Good Samaritan, the Sheep and the Goats) , and in Romans and 1 Corinthians 12, and the entire epistle of 1 John. This love for neighbor, this willingness to be with them in their brokenness, this love for them isn’t one that is mandated, but comes from a heart that beats in symphony to Christ’s heart.
As I write this, I myself am changing in my attitude. Maybe the reason for coming across the article wasn’t for me to defend Christianity against Limbaugh’s American Civil Religion. But to get me to think about my riches and how they are going to be used. Of what I can give away to the poor, of how our finacnes are used. How can I grow in likeness to the Lord who gave all for me?
Heavy thoughts during these early days of Advent…..but ones that I invite you to share in a well.
Thank God that He walks with us through them, and I pray we trust in Him enough to stay and follow and enjoy His presence, rather than walk away sad….
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 2679-2682). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- Pope a Marxist: Is Rush right? (cnn.com)
- Is it insane to keep doing/teaching/preaching the same thing over and over, and expecting… (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Who is more faithful to the faith? Wrong question! (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Advent Devotion: Convenient, Comfortable Christianity? Hmmm… (justifiedandsinner.com)
Devotional/Discussion thought of the day…
It may sound strange, but part of my morning discipline is looking at FB prior to praying – well actually- while I am praying as well.
Some may think it sounds strange – but I find it a great tool to figure out who needs me to pray for them. Either because of trauma, or perhaps temptation, or perhaps that they realize they need forgiveness, and seek it out. (no I am not thinking of you particularly as I write this… I swear!)
This morning, many are struggling, especially the parents and grandparents who are dropping off their children from school. There is a sense of anxiety – even a sense of fear. As I dropped my own son off this morning, it seemed like everyone was looking at everyone else differently – as if we were trying to determine who could be a threat. We are a little more defenive a little more on edge- a little more suspicious. Teachers may be as well.
Will we return to normal one person asked…will things ever be the same again? Will we ever really, truly trust our schools to be a place of safety. Will we go back to business and life the same way?
My answer may sound strange, but.. I hope not.
Not that I like the things the way they are…at all…but I think some things need to change. I like the way how a priest once put it,
Ure igne Sancti Spiritus!—burn me with the fire of your Spirit, you cried. You then added: “My poor soul needs to fly again as soon as possible…, and not stop flying until it rests in God!” I think your desires are admirable. I will pray for you often to the Paraclete. I will invoke him continually, so that he may nestle in the centre of your being, presiding and giving a supernatural tone to all your actions and words, thoughts and desires. (1)
Most of our souls are not flying today, but I question whether they were flying before Friday, when we heard the tragic news. Have we been journeying to find our rest in God? Have we sought Him, His presence His peace, Hil love, His guidance for how we are too live in life? Do we see all of our varied vocations, parent, employee, boss, child of God, as journeys toward God – as opportunities to walk with Him – as an encounter with the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit who is their, not to condemn, but to lift up? Whose correction is not simply to point out our wrongs – but to free us from that which constrains and binds us?
After tragedies – people often seek solace, peace in the church – they feel lifted and strengthened and loved – and then slowly, over a few months, we sink back into our normal patterns – trying to live without God, trying to make it all work according to our plan our logic.
I hate trauma – I hate having to deal with it… and the only thing I can find positive about it is this – it brings me back to the priorities and what should be normal. To live life adoring the God who love me, and to love the people He has given me – all of the – especially the ones that cause me to pray..to love the people He has brought into my life.
If that was our norm… let’s return to it… if it wasn’t – maybe this time, will cause us to return to the normal God desires…
Cry out daily – Lord have Mercy…. and rejoice that His mercy and peace is yours – and that you can share it others.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1957-1962). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.