Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In Humble Service

Friends of Faith:
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 1: 11

God has a unique way of showing us right from wrong; of humbling us when we feel “good;” of guiding us on HIS path of righteousness; of asking us to learn His wisdom; of guiding us to understand others and of putting us in places which remind us to be more Christlike.

“My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.” Sir 3: 17-18, 20

It isn’t easy to humble myself and let God determine if I have done right. I can’t just say I am saved and then make choices that are against God’s law; and being “good” doesn’t save me if I know that Christ wants me to profess to others His life (by living in His footsteps). So I must learn to be faithful and obedient, if that is what I profess to be. I must continue to pray (listen) to God, serve like Christ, discern through the Holy Spirit and ask His Church for guidance.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” …. “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Lk 13: 22-30

Like many people I want to be assured that I am saved. I want to know I am right. I have a tendency to judge myself as “deserving” salvation rather than learning the patience, humility and courage that comes from knowing that I must allow God alone to judge me and that I may not always get what I want. I may even have to suffer here on earth to receive the rewards in heaven for DOing the work of BEing a Christian.

“For they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

God asks us not to love ourselves, but to make ourselves humble by loving Him and loving others. 

Jesus could have been taken the crown of the righteous King of the Jews. Instead he bore a crown of thorns and died on the cross, showing us how to suffer, showing us how to give up everything we want and have by dying to our own selfish desires for the sake of others. And Jesus showed us how to love by allowing God to have the ultimate control that He modeled to us by doing the works of a Christian.

Jesus gave up everything because love doesn’t come from a feeling, love comes from a service, that of serving others, of serving those who have less. Love is shown when the first become last, when those who have give to those who don’t; when those who are first give to those who are last; and when those who have wisdom find compassion – seeking to understand the foolish and downtrodden.

Love is shown in families when we say “I’m sorry for hurting you;” “I will take care of you even when I have something else planned;” “for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health;” and when we forgive “seven times seventy” the spouse or the child who continues to (by our standards) to make a mess (of their rooms, or their lives). THIS is true love. This is God’s love. This is how God teaches us right from wrong, humbles us and shows us the straight and narrow path.

Heavenly Father, Mold and fashion me into someone who trusts you with humble innocence and a childlike faith. May my faith be so strong that it obeys with courage when I am asked to put my own desires last and others needs first. Help me to find peace in being powerless and joy in giving others the hope of seeing beyond this life into the next. Amen.

Be humble. Be last. Serve others. God will not forsake, for eternal, not earthly, happiness is His promise.
Blessings,

Charlotte

Monday, June 13, 2016

Countercultural Truth

Friends of Faith:
Cultural and political voices have us believing that we are our own gods; that we can be, should be, and are in control of our destiny. They have us acquiring whatever it is to please ourselves and believing that a simple desire, a faithful promise, will makes us worthy (deserving) of every treasure – even God’s.

God gives us the message much differently. He created us in Love and said He would provide everything for us that we need. But even in the beginning, before today’s political and cultural voices, instead of believing that God would provide every gift, humans chose to be in control and to believe a deceitful being (Genesis, original sin). 

So, in fact we are not as worthy as we were originally created, nor are we all deserving.

And God continues to be countercultural.

So as discouraging as the culture can seem I am constantly affirmed by His one resounding message, that He is waiting for me to ask Him for Him. Because He, God is Love. And Love Never Fails.

He says we must ask Him for His love, that He GIVES all gifts, and that He is the only truth. He promises us heaven IF we affirm Him. And to affirm Him we must live in, with and for Him – in Love. We must not only say we are faithful to Him, we must seek to live in a way that is faithful to him, we must become Holy. And we are called to bring others to Him and to holiness.

True love isn’t controversial nor is it divisive. Love is caring and sharing; giving and serving.  Love is entirely different than sex; has nothing to do with equality; and is completely intertwined with His design of the free, faithful, fruitful, and totally committed, unitive, and procreative marriage. A marriage which can only happen between a man and a woman and which faithfully continues His own creation story.

God tells us in a very direct way what is right and what is wrong; how to love like a saint and how to avoid being a sinner. He uses the verb, love, to mean a total gift of oneself to another so that when we give love we feel long term joy vs the fleeting happiness we feel by when we “feel the pleasure” of love.

Evil is the unfaithful, untruthful, search for a self satisfying love, a love which doesn’t satisfy. 

The issue, as I see it, is that the culture, politics and powers of the world lie to us about what God intended about love. The culture tells us that love is a feeling, a happiness that we deserve and that our success is measured by how I feel individually, what I have individually, and how I can get others to give me what will make ME “feel” good.

Our current culture has us believing that everyone should feel good equally, and that if I feel good all will be right regardless if someone else is slighted, walked on, or even denied life itself. AND in order to feel good I must get what I want as quickly as I want without regard and respect for the human being He created in His image or the creation He put here to serve us and give us our daily bread.

My favorite Scripture verse simply says it all:
If I speak in human and angelic tongues  but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1Cor: 1-8

Heavenly Father: Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Help me to avoid worry, rudeness, and self-righteous behavior. Give me the grace to be patient and kind to others, loving them as you love me. Forgive me when I fail, and help those I hurt to be tolerant of my shortcomings. Please also help me to be tolerant and forgiving of others especially when the temptations of the culture pull us away from each other. Help me to seek, share and find peace and joy thru love. Amen.

As countercultural as it is, may we strive for the truth that is in God’s voice, remember how he served (loved) us with his gruesome death on the cross and seek the only truth that will get us to heaven: love Him and love one another.

Blessings,
Charlotte

Monday, April 11, 2016

Convicted

Friends of Faith:

I am convicted in my faith. And I, like Jesus and His followers, will be convicted (judged and persecuted) because of my faith. Sadly enough I will even be convicted and judged by other believers because of the faith which allows me to “be silent no more.”

If you, like me, find yourself feeling saddened by our nations seemingly Godless views, discouraged by today’s political division, and with a sense of powerless to protect basic human rights then I would encourage you to go see the movie “God’s NOT Dead 2.”

The knowledge alone that a movie with this title is in the theatre gives me hope, and reminds me that I must constantly champion the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and find a voice in today’s all too secular society for God. The movie proves God’s existence using means other than the Bible and promotes and gives courage to Christians that there is strength in prayer and in the support of a community.
As Christians we must not be silent – we must be convicted in, even persecuted by, and for our faith in God.

“The high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” …..So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. Acts 5: 27-41
There are days when I, like Jesus and the main character in God’s NOT dead, Grace Wesley, pray: “God, please don’t forsake me.” There are moments when I hear the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church challenged and I find myself with the faith to rejoice because I am “suffering dishonor for the sake of the name.” And there are times when I am challenged by some of my closest Christian friends who are either complacent, “stuck” or in denial of the power of Jesus; who believe that standing up for life, marriage, prayer or even the sanctity of Sunday worship time must be politically correct, non judgmental, and is a “freedom of choice.”

But, thankfully, God constantly allows me an awareness that He is in charge. I see the Spirit opening hearts and minds that are willing to take on the challenges of growing deeper in faith, answering His call and saying Yes to His will. I see religious leaders who are reaching out to each other, finding common ground and speaking common truths. And I rejoice when I hear those who openly witness to their faith and ultimately seek to return to the fullness of the Church.

My faith is a relationship with Jesus that gives me the courage to say: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.” Nicene Creed, 4th Century Statement of Belief

And the more I learn and the more as I study, the more convicted I become and unfortunately, just like Christian followers before me, the more dishonored by human judgment I will become. And in those times I will rejoice because I have been chosen to suffer for the sake of His name.
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6: 10-17

Am I convicted enough that I am willing to be convicted? Will I stand up for my faith? Can I defend what I believe against the tactics of the devil, even in a court of law?

Lord, I call on your name because I am weak. But because I am weak, I know it is in your power that I will become strong. Give me the courage to stand up and say I am Your follower forever. Give me the strength to stand up and say YOU are the Truth. Give me Hope so that I will “not be afraid.” Dear God, make me strong, make me yours, help me to do Your will, in Your name. Amen.
Is my faith in God’s protection, in God’s power, in His truth, enough to shout to the world: “God’s Not Dead –because His Church is Alive?”

Will my choices be done because of faith in the power of His Way, His Truth and His Life?
May you receive the grace and peace of living in the conviction of Jesus’ hope and help,
Blessings,
Charlotte

 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Christ's Truth's, Societies Lies

Friends of Faith:

I had the opportunity yesterday to read and review some of my past reflections, including my first formal introduction done almost 7 years ago.

I say my “formal” introduction because these reflections were a growth of informal more targeted and shorter private messages which I wrote to encourage women who shared with me their personal struggles.

And as I wrote those private words of encouragement to them I realized that the struggles they shared with me, which included very personal conflicts within their marriages and families, while they seemed lonely and individual, were shared by us all AND that those struggles very much influenced and/or were being “fed” by societal lies.

“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”  Lk 16: 13-15

So as I reread earlier reflections, I was again reminded that each of us share the same struggles because we are being influenced by the same worldly lies which are created by a devil who is cunning and sly, who sneaks in and who tempts, who conquers by dividing, and who constantly tries to get us to choose him instead of God.

Our choices ARE choices because God created us with free will: the only right “freedom of choice,” the first and only freedom to choose, the choice of choosing him over every other choice. Because without this freedom, God’s perfect creation of us in love would never have needed this world at all – we would simply have been created in heaven with him, we would have never gone beyond the paradise of Eden, there would only have been an Adam and an Eve without sin– because, as God proclaimed, “It was good.” (Genesis 1).

And just as I did when I wrote the first private words, I reflected yesterday on the purpose and need for sharing my writings, the need for my own personal change, and how I hope my writings continue to encourage and support others. 

My desire is that each message will continue to revolve around how powerfully Christ’s truthful message of love, joy, peace and hope remains forever a Lenten journey through the sufferings and the sacrifices caused by the influence of societal lies we hear almost everywhere we turn.

So even in those early short private writings I have tried not to share an answer designed with my own thoughts, but rather to be led by the Spirit and to be influenced by Christ’s truths.

And I thought again as I often do about how the devil lies to each of us. Things like: “it doesn’t make me happy;”  “it’s my body, so I should be able to choose,” “the kids will be okay,” and one I heard last night in a TV show: “you’re not Catholic, so you won’t go to hell if…..”

Believe it or not that’s really what the devil is so good at telling us and what the devil so wants us to believe. And believe it nor not much of the division in society is because we do react, act and live in the beliefs of these lies: the need to be happy 100% of the time; the lie that it’s my body, so if I want, I can kill any another body; the belief that what we do doesn’t influence our kids (and others); and even that, oddly enough, only Catholics can go to hell because they have a certain rule that says so about a certain practice. REALLY???

While much “advice” seems to be cliché, Christ’s message has an obvious nature and the truth of it is that Christ’s answer really has only one central message: Love—for all, not just Christians, Catholic Christians, Muslims, believers or non-believers, but for ALL. In this one regard we were all created equally, by God, with an equal (infinite) amount of God’s love. It is God’s eternal love for all for which every human is made, and for which eternal peace, joy and happiness is created.
Jesus chose God and he suffered for God. He accepted the sufferings, blaming no one else for what happened to him. He gave up everything of this world to achieve God’s world (purpose). And in the process He did not judge us, but rather He mercifully and compassionately guided us, forgiving us our shortcomings so that through our own choice to follow Him we too might have the hope of eternal life and find peace and joy in the process.

By my constant, daily choices to choose God I am saying yes to his influence, yes to his honor, yes to serving others, and yes to giving up my worldly desires. I am saying, “yes, I want to attain holiness, not only for myself but that I want to lead others to holiness so that we may all have eternal life and eternal happiness.”

Brothers and sisters: Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast,
so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,  inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
 1 Cor 5: 6B-8

Heavenly Father: I choose you because you have chosen me. Help me to resist the lies of the devil and to realize that as imperfect as I am, I am not alone, but am created by you, for you, and to be with you forever. May my desire for you allow me to influence those I love in a positive way and may I always be ready and willing to show the same forgiveness, mercy, and compassion that your son, Jesus, showed to us when he died on the cross for my sins, so that together each of us may likewise rise with Christ Jesus on the last day. Amen.

Follow Him. Choose His Truth!

And may the Blessing of His dying and His Rising be with you always,
Charlotte
 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Writing in the Sand


Friends of Faith:
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” Jn 8: 1-11

What was the writing in the sand? Could it be that what was written in the sand was not quite as significant as the patience that Jesus displayed as he was writing? A patience that gives all the characters in the story time to examine themselves as sinners? Only God knows.
Not only is God all merciful, but it is only God we need to please. And it is in our task on the journey of life to not only know what pleases him, but to know how and if we are pleasing him. We can’t fool God.

Yet sometimes I try. I know sometimes that what I do, big or little isn’t what God would want or wanted me to do.
It’s not necessarily that my choice is to be a hypocrite, or even to do wrong. It’s that I am human. Sometimes I don’t know any better and I need someone with better judgment than me to tell me that I am, or what I am, doing is wrong.

Sometimes I haven’t yet received the wisdom to know differently and I need to study more about how the Christian Church was formed.
And sometimes I just need to understand that I am listening to the wrong voice within me. And while it may seem “easier” in my human nature to do what everyone else is doing, or what makes me feel happier because it gives me pleasure in that particular moment. If it is not God’s right it won’t leave me with a lasting happiness so that I may feel joy and peace forever.

One of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit at Confirmation is the gift of Right Judgment (1Cor: 12). The gift to know what is right by God and what is not right by God: the gift to be able to make choices based on knowing the difference between right and wrong in God’s eyes. It is a gift given so that with every step I make I can see the “writing in the sand” and hear and feel the mercy of God so that I can “go and from now on sin no more.”
Not only is this a gift I am given to know my own right and wrong, but it is a gift that I am asked to both be a witness to and to share with others so that each of us may become more holy. As a Christian I cannot judge how God will see someone, but it is my duty, regardless of how I will be treated, to share His commandments and to learn and discern the difference between Gods right and wrong.

I cannot say “it doesn’t affect me, or that some choice wouldn’t be my choice.” Would it be God’s choice? If we know what God’s choice would be, if we know what God’s writing in the sand would be, then His message must be shared with compassion and mercy.
In the words of St. Paul:This third time I am coming to you. “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a fact shall be established.”I warned those who sinned earlier …. that if I come again I will not be lenient, since you are looking for proof of Christ speaking in me. He is not weak toward you but powerful in you. For indeed he was crucified out of weakness, but he lives by the power of God. 2 Cor 13: 1-11 (Continued as a prayer)

Heavenly Father:  So also we are weak in him, but toward you we shall live with him by the power of God. Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, of course, you fail the test. I hope you will discover that we have not failed. But we pray to God that you may not do evil, not that we may appear to have passed the test but that you may do what is right, even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak but you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement.  I am writing this while I am away, so that when I come I may not have to be severe in virtue of the authority that the Lord has given me to build up and not to tear down. V. Conclusion*
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor 13: 1-11 Amen.

Sometimes the message God shared falls on fertile soil – soil that is being nurtured, that wants to grow and learn more. Sometimes that message falls on sand and withers as it dries up waiting for a rain (tears) to bring it back up because it is not yet ready to bear fruit or grow. And sometimes it falls on rock – a hard heart, a stubborn “I know better” or “I like what I know and I don’t want to know more” attitude.

These attitudes, while they may look hypocritical on the outside are human nature.

But as long as my choice is to grow closer to God then God’s writing in the sand will not condemn me, but rather it will nourish me and help me to “go, and sin no more.”

Don’t ignore the writing in the sand.

Grow closer to the writing in the sand. Be patient with the writing in the sand. And share compassionately the writing in the sand.

Blessings,
Charlotte

Monday, February 29, 2016

Extra Time


Friends of Faith:
Everyone I know wishes for more time. More time with our spouses, more time with our families and friends, more time to get one more thing finished on our list. Even more time for God.
This is February 29th, a Leap Year. Today IS an “extra day.” What will I do with my “extra time?”

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.
These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 Cor 10: 1-6, 10-12
As St. Paul recalls, God gave everyone the same baptism, a Baptism that gave us each grace. Grace to do God’s will.

God also gives everyone a second chance, just as he did the Israelites coming out of Egypt in the Exodus.
And God gives us all time. Extra time, because no time is really ours, time does not belong to the creature, but to the creator. All time is really Gods. And St. Paul reminds us in this passage that we are not secure if we don’t take good care of our time by being truly IN God’s time.

As baptized Christians our most “inner being” isn’t what tempts us to desire “evil” things. Yet, in fact, we know that there is much evil in this world.
Nor is it grace that allows us to choose to not use our time wisely or as God wills.

In fact, as baptized Christians our most “inner being” has and knows a desire to be fulfilled by God, to know God, to love God (and his creation), and to bring others to know him. St. Augustine wrote: “Thou hast made us for thyself O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.” So whether those desires are staring us in our face, or have been pushed as far back as we can, the desire, the grace to become holy is deep inside.
And this same grace is a grace that allows me to know that I want to spend my time doing whatever God wants me to do for myself and for others. But making those decisions and managing my time is difficult – because I am human – because God gave me the free will to make my own choices and because God allows there to be both His choice and the opportunity to choose something other than His choice.

God gives us all time—because God made all time. Every millisecond is a time to make God a habit. And each second, each hour, each day – TODAY – we are important to him.
Everyone fills their time with something. Everyone is busy, or gives the impression that they are busy doing something. So this is about what I am doing with MY time, how I am justifying MY time.

Am I really too busy today, or am I just putting it off until tomorrow; am I hiding behind other “jobs and duties,” too busy to see or to want to know, how God is calling me; or am I too busy doing what I think of as God’s work and missing what God is actually wanting me to do? Or am I so busy doing good things, but like those wandering in the desert so long ago, grumbling about the things that go wrong, the people that don’t appear to be doing “anything” to help or wishing that had more time to do what I selfishly want to do for myself?
God’s desire for my time is quite simple. It is for me to spend that time to know him (study, seek the truth); to love him (spend time with him); and to serve him (by being a servant to others, no matter how difficult that job may be.)

Yet, how will I spend my “extra time?”

In many ways my answer to God’s call, what I do at times other than the hour I spend at Sunday mass, reflects what are my truest priorities—whether it is what my heart desires or not. Those “free” minutes, the unscheduled hours that I spend  grumbling or gossiping, being tuned into TV, Facebook, or email, or really anytime that I am doing what I want rather than doing what God is asking of me tells God who I am, what I value and how important He truly is to me.
There is no time like the present time! There is no time like this extra day in a normal year. There is no time better than now to read and study God’s scripture,  Church teachings, and early church fathers like St. Augustine, to become a servant (yes this may mean doing something difficult, or not in my comfort zone), or to sit quietly and answer the yearning in my heart to be in God’s presence.

Heavenly Father, You call me to know you, to love you, and to serve you TODAY. Help me to seek Your grace, to serve Your people, and to know the truth. Thank you for this extra day to remind me that every day I have to be with you is “extra.” Amen.
Make today “extra” special for God – and for someone else in your life as well,
Blessings,
Charlotte

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Be Holy

Friends of Faith:

Often times my goals are short sighted, or short lived, but the Lenten readings help me recall that my mission here on earth isn’t fame, wealth, power, prosperity or even happiness. As a Christian my true mission here on earth is to become holy.
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: “Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.” Lv 19: 1-2 (This verse is followed by the list of the Ten Commandments.)

In the New Testament Jesus gives us a greater commandment: “To Love one another, AS I have Loved you.” And his instructions and witness were on HOW I am to accomplish this task:
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.  And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food,  ….’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Mt 25: 31-42


As a Christian, a friend, a parent and a spouse it is good to be reminded that my goal shouldn’t be for WHAT I can achieve on earth, but for HOW God calls me to be for others. Becoming holy doesn’t happen because I am “good,” becoming holy happens because my actions help others see Christ in their lives. My true goal should be to achieve heaven, to think about HOW GOD will judge me when I die and to remember that I don’t know when my last day will be so I need to take every opportunity to love today. Being Holy is about living EVERYDAY as if it is my last day.
The Bible (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth) is in fact full of ways to make me holy – none of them exclusive of any other. If we believe in one page, even one verse, then we must believe in the entire book.

God is a package deal. Not only did He leave himself in the physical words of the Bible, BUT his “word became flesh” in His son, Jesus, who instituted a physical Church to instruct and unify His people AND who died to redeem our sins. AND, finally he completed the “package” by sending the Holy Spirit to place himself into our hearts.
Becoming holy isn’t to pick and choose from a buffet line of offerings to say I am good at one thing or another or that I believe one thing, but not the other. Becoming holy is to be ready to do whatever God’s call is for me today even if it is something I don’t feel particularly good at, or want to do, or that take me by surprise, or happen unexpectedly (good or bad).

Not only am I called to be holy in and for myself, but my call is to be a witness, to lead and to bring others to holiness.
St Paul in his famous passage on marriage (Eph 5: 21-33) says that husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loved us (he died for us) so that in doing so the other will be made spotless and unblemished – holy in his sight.

Wherever and whenever I turn in my reading and reflection, God’s Holy Word inspires me to do for others, be for Him, ask of Him and to be ready to receive Him as a WHOLE, so that I can become more like Him: Holy in his sight.
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer: Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you. (Ps 19:15) Make my Lenten journey be one of holiness, wisdom and good judgment. Help me to recognize and not turn my back on the sick, homeless, naked or imprisoned, especially those who are struggling nearest to me. Thank you for giving me instructions and a Savior, Jesus, so that when I fail I can be redeemed. Open my eyes to understand, my thoughts to find wisdom and my heart to have the courage to choose Your goal for me, holiness, instead of living to achieve my short term desires. Amen.

Just as Moses spent 40 years leading the people to the promised land and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before his death, these 40 days of Lent are my time to “wander” closer to holiness: to welcome, visit, feed, cloth AND love whomever, whichever, least of my brothers is set near, on, or even “coincidentally” in my path.
God, Jesus, Spirit. The Word, The Flesh, The Soul. The Bible, The Church, The Heart. Teach me to Love, Guide me to Love, Form me to Love. Holy, Holy, Holy.

Be Holy and inspire others to be Holy.
Blessings,
Charlotte