Monday, April 7, 2014

Mistaken Notions

Friends of Faith:
I think I started this message last week, but Archbishop Jackels perfected it for me at mass this weekend when he talked about “mistaken notions.” His message projected a part of what Pope Francis keeps trying to instill in us as Christians; that it is not just okay to call ourselves the faithful, to be pious by attending church and praying, if we aren’t really doing something for each other with good intentions, lifting up those around us (the needy) in mind and spirit, and serving each other with kindness and compassion.

Each of us is a vehicle to help others make the right choices to become holy and it is the path of holiness that leads us to heaven. 
My mistaken notion may take the belief “that everyone else is doing it” to justify my own actions. I may condemn another’s beliefs by misreading Scripture to fit my own beliefs. O I may and spend a lot of time within church walls piously praying.

But if I’m not disciplined enough to look for God’s justification instead of my own, if I don’t learn about Christ’s teachings from the Church itself, or if I don’t take the time to serve others and do the work it takes to help others first then am I really driving the vehicle I am down a path of true holiness?
I don’t have the liberty to justify everyone’s action as freedom of choice nor should I make someone feel good when they are making a wrong choice, but instead I have the responsibility as a Christian to live up to God’s standards and God’s freedoms, hating sin, but loving sinners.

God put us here on earth as an extension of himself (we are created in His image (Gen 1:27)) and He gave us helpmates (our spouse (Gen 2:18) and the Spirit within His church (Jn 14:26)) to teach us and to guide us to accept His grace and eventually lift us back to Him for all eternity (Rev 19: 7-9) holy and unblemished—clean of sin (Eph 5: 25-27).
“Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.

God designed for us the vehicles to holiness: he taught us to pray, he gave us the commandments and he initiated the Sacraments so that we would not have any mistaken notions about our roles here on earth. We are to love and serve one another as Christ did.

In the Sacrament of Marriage (as designed by God, see Genesis and Ephesians above) we are to be helpmates to our spouse, a vehicle to help another attain holiness. Just as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for it, so a spouse is to care for and love the other, serving each other as Christ served us.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are taught to say “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive you,” just as Christ forgave us.

And in the Sacrament of Holy orders the priests are given the duty to carry out his examples of prayer and discipline by sacrificing their own desires and using their talents and time, just as Christ sacrificed His own life for us.
And that is enlarged upon by Pope Francis’ message of caring for and serving  each other, to rid ourselves of the mistaken notions that Christ’s grace given freely to all ends when we accept that grace, but rather becomes our beginning to act upon that grace, to touch others, to become a vehicle for others, by our thoughts (prayer) and actions to live our lives as God designed.

All of life is a balance. I am called to choose to be disciplined enough to avoid making myself feel good, to be disciplined enough that I don’t  justify my own actions with the filter of human eyes, but rather to search for and see my actions and my intentions through God’s eyes and Christ’s example. I am called to avoid the earthly “mistaken notions” that I have rights, or that I should be given rights other than what God has intended for us in the beginning.
Heavenly Father, You created each of us in Your image. I know that I fail, sometimes miserably, in my decisions, in my mistaken notions, and justifying my choices. Thank You for the mercy You extend each of us. Help me to avoid my mistaken notions and to search diligently for your purpose in my life. Help me to do what it is You want me to do, rather than what fulfills my own desires. Help me to accept Your decisions in my life and to have the patience to bear heart aches and physical aches. Help me to remember that Your son, Jesus, died, not so that I could be fulfilled in this life, but so that I would have eternal life. Amen.

I have a lot to learn. The world has a lot to learn. It is my job, it is our job, to avoid the mistaken notions, to go out and seek God’s truth, to go out and to be Christ to others this week,

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