Monday, February 1, 2016

I Know You, do you Know Me?

Friends of Faith:

God knows what is best for us. Do we allow God to show us His way or do we choose our own path?

While the bible, God’s word, should be taken as a whole, and not just a partial phrase here or there, I have a favorite instruction from Paul’s instructions to the early Church that I believe if we even thought about once every day would bring every household closer to the heavenly household.

“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. 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, it 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.”
1 Cor 12: 31 – 13: 1-8

Love isn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love is a verb. Love is an action word. It is not what I feel when I receive and it is not what I feel when I am served. Rather it is what I give WHEN I serve and it is what I give when I forgive. Love is not to WANT some THING, but to WANT TO GIVE something, to put Christ IN things (our choices).

Paul’s definition of God’s love is a reading that I like to go back to as a guide in making my own decisions and in guiding others towards theirs.

How many times am I an angel, who gives away everything, and has faith to move mountains and yet, when I speak I complain about someone else’s faults –and I am a clashing cymbal; who finds it easy to give a dollar in the collection plate but am stingy with saying yes when it comes to helping at a funeral dinner or taking the time to check on a neighbor? And has my silence in the political arena become approval for those who say “it’s my choice?”

Patience, kindness, humility, putting others first, choosing life, forgiving, choosing God is, are, and can all be tough choices.

It will hurt when I have to watch my child sit on the bench because I made the choice that Sunday mass came before practice or an early morning game.

I may have to “make up” time because I “gave up” time to check in on a neighbor or to listen to a friend’s woes.

I may feel like a failure or be shunned by a longtime friend because I courageously spoke the truth about God’s gift of life: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” Jer 1: 4-5 (Will your candidate in tonight’s caucus protect human life from the very moment of conception?)

This is the Year of Mercy. Will I forgive those who think differently than I do, or the person who disrespected my space or belongings? Forgiveness is one of the toughest challenges of love.

Love is the greatest and often toughest choice. Choosing God’s love is much different than choosing who, what and when I want to love. Choosing God’s love is serving others needs before my own. Choosing God’s love means to forgive and to have tolerance of the faults of others. Choosing love means owning up to my mistakes and to find God in the acceptance of whatever challenges I face. (Think about this in terms of your spouse, a wayward child, or the brother, sister or parent who has done something hurtful or unjust towards some member of the family.)

God knows me. Do I know Him? Am I expecting someone else to take care of the problems, or am I being called to be the solution?

Heavenly Father, You are patient, kind, all knowing and all loving. I know that I fail you in many ways by choosing what I think is right for me, better for another, or best for the world. Help me to know you, to seek you and to serve you in Your way, not mine. Teach me how it is that you want me to love. Help me to forgive and to find the good in others. Thank you for allowing me to see Your love especially when I am not loved for trying to follow You.  Amen.

To know Him is to love Him. He knows (loves) us regardless of what we do or have done. Do we know (love) Him and do we allow Him to forgive, know and love us? And do we love and forgive others AS He does for us?

Strive for patience, kindness, understanding and humility. Love may not always FEEL good, but LOVE never fails.

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