Devotional Thought of the day:
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.
John 20:19 (NLT2)
7 Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:7 (MSG)
Whatever be the facts about this method of deterrence, men should be convinced that the arms race in which an already considerable number of countries are engaged is not a safe way to preserve a steady peace, nor is the so-called balance resulting from this race a sure and authentic peace. Rather than being eliminated thereby, the causes of war are in danger of being gradually aggravated. While extravagant sums are being spent for the furnishing of ever new weapons, an adequate remedy cannot be provided for the multiple miseries afflicting the whole modern world. Disagreements between nations are not really and radically healed; on the contrary, they spread the infection to other parts of the earth. New approaches based on reformed attitudes must be taken to remove this trap and to emancipate the world from its crushing anxiety through the restoration of genuine peace.
This post isn’t about global politics, nor is it about gun control, or any other political issue.
It’s about you and me.
It’s about how we deal with each other, and those around us.
It is about finding peace and rest in a world that doesn’t know peace, and to be honest, doesn’t know conflict. In a world where the absence of major conflict is “assured” by the doctrines like “mutually assured destruction”, we still find smaller conflicts, fueled by the same people that won’t fight each other, because our weapons stores say we are at peace. And as the above, 50-year-old section points out, the disagreements are really and radically healed and the crushing anxiety still exists.
This same picture takes place in our own lives, as we become more an more insular, trying ot achieve peace. We avoid confrontations, we flee from disagreements, lest they become fights, we see people not getting married because splitting up is somehow less damaging than getting a legal divorce. We even see this in the church, as churches shrink without any consideration, or as denominations fight over property in court, rather than working with each other, confessing our own sins and unfaithfulness. (and both sides are always sinners in such)
The problem is that we are looking for the illusion of peace, more than peace itself. We don’t see mercy, that incredible act and attitude of love, as essential to real peace.
We don’t see a need for Jesus, and the peace He gives, as He loved us enough to die for us, to remove that sin which ensnares and divides us. He can really and radically heal the divisions among mankind. The peace He brings removes the crushing anxiety that we dwell oppressed by.
It settles us down, knowing that God would love us so much, that He would be so merciful, that He not only died for us, but that He rose, and came back to us, and will come back for us.
It is only understanding this, that we are loved, that we are cleansed of sin and injustice (same word as unrighteousness)
Jesus is our peace, He is our rest, He is the cure for our brokenness. Simply because His love creates the healing in us, that frees us, and enables us and creates the desire in us to love others more than we care for our own selves.
So we pray, Lord, open us to Your love, help us to see the changes your mercy creates in us, and help us not to avoid or flee those you send s too, no matter how uncomfortable, Lord help us to love them as You do. AMEN!
Catholic Church. (2011). Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: Gaudium Et Spes. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Devotional/Discussoin thought of the day:
“”Domine – ‘Lord’ Si vis potes me mundare – ‘If you will, you can make me clean!’
What a beautiful prayer for you to say often with the faith of the poor leper, when there happens to you what God and you and I know may happen. You waon’t wait long to hear the Master’s reply: “Volo Mundare’- ‘I will! Be made clean'” (escriva)
As I have been writing on brokenness this week, (and having to deal with it in my life, and in others, I came to this quote in my devotions this morning. As a pastor who knows the blessing of the sacrament of Confession and Absolution, it is in those italicized words that I see what needs to be heard. and heard loudly. When dealing with sin, there are three options.
The first is to claim it isn’t sin, that God didn’t really mean to label that as sin, and therefore it isn’t. Such is a lie, and will require many more lies and the hardening of conscience against that particular sin and many like it. It will eventually spiral out of control – and we will find ourselves at rock bottom. (Even there we may point to others and say they are worse off!) In the end, we have to remember that what we’ve done is sin…and that can be more painful, and harder to deal with. ( I would highly suggest that this is one of the benefits of knowing a good pastor or priest – who can help bring the comfort of Christ’s love as you peel back the levels)
The second is to simply ignore that it is sin, to revel in its pleasure, and to find the emptiness that occurs when the pleasure fades. This results in escalation, and broadening of the sin, looking to something that satisfies even more. Suffice it to say, this is the addictive bond that many sins have – as they are poor imitations of a blessing that is fulfilling and right, and God ordained.
The third is the most simple – and the best way, the God ordained way, to deal with those times that St Josemarie described as this, “when there happens to you what God and you and I know may happen.” St John in his first epistle talks of this:
1:7 But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus washes all our sins away. 8 If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. 9 But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.1 John 1:7-9 (CEV)
He can always be trusted to forgive us… always…ALWAYS…
My friends, we don’t have to play the games, we don’t have to deny our doubts our fears, we don’t have to hide behind words that betray us, clinging stubbornly to positions we KNOW are wrong. We don’t have to play the game that “everything is all right”, when our relationship are broken, when our lives don’t seem to be filled, when we are waiting – even fearful that everything is about to come crashing down.
Come and learn of the Lord, the One who doesn’t make you wait long to be cleansed, healed, and made whole.
Take it from someone who gets to help in that process, even as I am being healed myself.
We cry “Lord, Have mercy! Lord make us clean!” and we look at the cross, and as our sins is cut away and discarded…we realize that He has!!!