Monday, October 20, 2014

Wisdom of Age

Friends of Faith:
Wisdom of age says to “Know Him, Love Him and Serve Him.”

Marriage is the core reflection of God’s wisdom because He created marriage with a purpose to unify and procreate—to know each other, to love each other and to serve each other within a family.

Beyond this core are all other relationships – especially those of our neighbors and the “stranger.”

The wisdom of God is handed to us through Scripture and the 2014 years we have known Christ in our world.

So I found it interesting how the wisdom of 153 years of marriage (4 couples) without planning and yet profoundly developed the same theme in our Date Night panel discussion last night for our relationships—to know, love and serve each other in marriage.

The parallels from the following 6 wisdom of age “pointers” tie directly tied to our personal relationship with Christ – to know, love and serve each other AND Him.
1)Life isn’t about me – life is about we! When we marry we can no longer think just about doing something for ourselves, but rather if we are going to strengthen and build our relationship we need to make each decision based on the WE – how will this decision impact us, and how this decision serves our mutual purpose and each other. Likewise if we truly believe in Christ’s presence in our lives, then we will make our decisions based on how it impacts our relationship with Him—making our decisions based on Him, loving one another as he loved us.

2)Make Time for Each Other: You don’t build a bond with someone without taking time to be with them, physically, mentally and spiritually, so take and make time to continue to date your spouse for a lifetime. Likewise if we don’t make time for Christ for a LIFETIME then at some point our relationship with Him will falter. How much quality time do we spend with our spouse? And is spending time with God a priority?

3)Know Them—Communication and Education: In any relationship, but especially in marriage, we need to learn what matters, what impacts, and what is important to our spouse through continuing education and constant communication. By paying attention to details we learn what is important to each other because it probably isn’t the same as what is important to us because of male female differences and our life experiences. Likewise we need to grow comfortable with Christ to build a lasting relationship with Him. If we don’t know what He/She/They/Christ wants and needs from us then serving and loving them/Him is almost impossible. Knowing, loving and serving our spouse will bring us peace and joy, just as knowing, loving and serving Christ brings peace and joy to the world.

4)Let God lead you: Prayer for and trust of the circumstances God places us in. Marriage mirrors and strengthens our bond with God because it is the very bond that God initiated in Genesis to teach us about His love for us. When our faith is our stronghold then we are allowing God to take charge of our lives and through him all things are possible. Do you value the opinion of your spouse? Does God lead you in prayer together?

5)Expect Good: Too many times we blame, don’t take responsibility, or forget the reasons and purpose of our marriage. Likewise it can be in our faith or lack of it. We may blame God for our circumstances instead of looking to Him to help us make our choices in life. We can try to do marriage and life on our own, but without God our focus will become blocked by life’s circumstances instead of revealing to us the beauty God has created. If we have faith in God and accept Him and His creation as good, then he must have a purpose for the spouse and family He has given us.

6)Support of Others: Every couple who spoke of hard times in their relationships (illness, broken dreams, accidents) spoke of the faith and family communities who supported them and made those difficult times not only bearable, but true learning and enriching experiences. That is what Church is all about – a community of support—of knowing, loving and SERVING each other.

"Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” 1 Thes 1: 1-5

Heavenly Father Your wisdom is beyond all ages. Grant us Your mercy when we fail to know You, love You and serve You, especially when we fail to know, love and serve you through our spouse . Give us wisdom to learn through our marriages and our relationships the reasons for which you have created us. Thank you for the blessings of the bonds of marriage, family and the Church who You created as our community of support. Amen.

God is all knowing so it makes sense that He would teach us about Himself through others. Allow us to show our love for Him by the way we know, love and serve others.

Reflect upon what the wisdom of all age looks like—know him, love him, serve him,

Monday, October 13, 2014

God's Glorious Reminders

Friends of Faith:
There are those things which I see occasionally, but which from one time to the next I fail to remember the meaning of the beauty of the glory. This week was one of those occasions when the Harvest Moon appeared. I know it appears in spectacular glory every year, but I needed to be reminded that God made the seasons so that when it is our time we will see and reap the harvest of what we have planted.

In a similar context, how often do we pray the Our Father? I say it every day, most days more than once. And yet this week when it was a part of the daily scripture at mass it felt like a new prayer.

“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” Lk 11: 1-4

It was a reminder that I am called to pray AND to forgive: To ask daily and to forgive everyone.  And that same passage continues:

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Lk 11: 5-13

And like the harvest moon, I will reap what I have sowed. I will receive that which I have asked for. If I seek things of this earth, I will receive things of this earth. BUT if I seek things of God, I will receive things of God.

So what is it I want? What is it that I ask for, that I seek? And am I an example to others, am I asking for what I want or is God just supposed to know it because I think it? Have I really opened the door of my heart by giving and forgiving others AS he forgives me—70 x 7—without limit, without boundaries, doing for EVERYONE what he has done for me?

Heavenly Father, You continue to show me the beauty of Your glory. Help me to see Your glory and to put the beauty of the glory which is all around me into Your context. Thank you for your glorious reminders to love and serve. Thank you for Your forgiveness. May I ask and seek so that instead of receiving and finding what I think should be mine I instead receive and find what is yours.  And help me to knock daily so that I may remain filled by your beauty. Amen.

Ask and you will receive. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Knock and the door will be opened. Jesus is waiting for your Prayer, your heart, and your will – so that His will may be done,

Monday, October 6, 2014

God's Turntable

Friends of Faith:
I find it interesting how “all roads lead” to a destination, and while some weeks it feels like I am on a turntable, I find that with God’s gift of grace no matter which road I decide to take, God keeps pointing me to the same destination. Call it coincidence or God’s providence, in either way I believe God’s hand is definitely at work if I choose to pay attention to Him.

I know though that I can let obstacles get in the way and get tired out by being on a turntable which is spinning uncontrollably or I can make the choice to realize God’s hand and allow Him to steer me to the destination of His desire.

And I believe this to be the case not just for those of us who actively know and listen to him, but for those who either only have some knowledge of him or for those who have never even heard of him because for them he asks us (His faithful) to be His missionaries and guides.

I started the morning with a quote sent to me regarding the Synod of Families taking place in Rome this week to formulate the Church’s formal response to issues facing families today. And then I went to today’s first reading which is from Galatians.

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal 1: 11-12

"If we assume His way of thinking, of living and of relating to others, we will not tire of translating the Synodal works into guidelines and courses for the pastoral on the person and on the family." (Pope Francis homily 10/4/14 to open the Synod of Families in Rome)

“Brothers and sisters: I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!” Gal 1: 6-8

Stan and I often talk about the ruts we get in, how we can be led astray, where like the movie “Ground Hog’s Day” the same problems and stumbling blocks seem to keep getting in the way day after day. And like the turntable we don’t seem to be able to change enough to get off.

And that what seems to put one person into an unchangeable “awful” situation with the turntable spinning faster and faster out of control, for another person with a very similar situation there becomes an opportunity and a change which converts their life overnight spinning them off of the turntable and directly into God’s waiting hands.

Life is a turntable of choices, opportunities and obstacles. How fast or hard or even how difficult the turntable spins depends on whether we recognize God’s presence and intentions for us, and whether we allow God to join us on our journey. It depends on our willingness to allow Him to steer and our readiness to make a leap of faith by jumping off into His waiting arms.

It means that we must choose to think, live and relate to others not in human standards but in the untiring standards set by God: for His way is not our way.

Heavenly Father, you have chosen us as your people. Help us to choose You as our God and to push aside those who try to pervert Your word and Christ’s deed which are meant to guide us. Help us to see only You when the turntable is spinning out of control. Thank you for giving me the perseverance not to tire of searching for Your heavenly destination. Amen.

If we choose to make our turntable God’s then His hand will guide it, slow it, even stop it on occasion. You will not tire if you assume His way of thinking, of living and of relating to others.