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Posts Tagged ‘Beatitudes’


Proverbs 14: Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Melanie Rogers: Portrait of Lady Wisdom

We have visited this chapter of Proverbs before during Lent to see if we might use these axioms to help us examine our lives. Today we reprise this thinking.

The title of this chapter in THE MESSAGE translation is, “The Road that leads to Hell,” and it begins with these verses.

Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
    Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

Just when we believe we have found sure footing, Sir Fool comes along to tempt us out of our commitment to living in Christ. The writers reference frivolous talk, derisive smiles, false witnessing, cynicism, and ridicule.

There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

As a counterweight to destructive behavior, an opposing way of living presents itself. Positive advice open-mindedness, true witness, honesty, a strong ox for the plow, and holy living. And amid all these axioms we find this nugget.

The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
    will be an outsider at their celebrations.

The advice to abide with those who suffer is a harbinger to the words and actions Jesus offers as he preaches and lives out the Beatitudes.

John Watson Nicol: The Court Jester

In verses 14-35, we again hear the recommendation to sift and weigh every word. We do well to remember that meanness, keeping the company of fools, putting prudence aside, making decisions with hot heads and cold hearts, ignoring the needy, subscribing to conspiracy, and exploiting the powerless are all actions that bring our own demise. And again, this negative way of living is balanced against the positive. A final reminder calls us to think about what we are doing, and to act with understanding, integrity, honesty, and holiness.

Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
    fools never even get to say hello.

Today we have the opportunity to reflect again on what we do and why we do it. Do we wish to greet and abide with Lady Wisdom or Sir Fool?

Find the Beatitudes at Matthew 5:1-12, and enter the word into the blog search bar for reflections on this Law of Love. 

When we compare other translations of these verses, we explore the difference between Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool. To visit another Noontimes post on this chapter, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/03/13/proverbs-14-axioms-for-living/

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Proverbs 1:20-33: Wisdom in Person

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How is it that we constantly seek wisdom and feel that we have not found her? The writer of Proverbs tells us that hatred of knowledge and the choice to reject God are the characteristics of the one who lives outside of wisdom.

In city streets and squares, we find wisdom not in obvious leaders or well-heeled citizens, but in the lives of the marginalized.

At the busiest corners and at the city gates, we bump into wisdom not in the beautiful or powerful people but in the homeless.

Wisdom calls, wisdom holds out her hand to us, and in these verses wisdom will mock those who have ignored her and later find themselves facing calamity. But, Jesus brings us another version of wisdom. Through the Beatitudes, Jesus points out that we find peace and serenity when we go to the edges of society to interact with the poor and disadvantaged. The practice of compassion mends wounded hearts. Constant prayer and attention to God’s voice open our minds to the wisdom we seek, to the wisdom that is already standing before us.

When we compare different versions of these verses, we discover that Wisdom appears to us in person each day in many ways. These words remind us that

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Matthew 5:3-12: Trinity of Three

Thursday, June 15, 2017

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and God’s rule.

“Think about it”, Rohr and Morrell tell us, “It’s election season, and you feel passionate about your favorite political candidate. You represent ‘first force’ in the Law of Three – you’re in the candidate’s corner. Your co-worker – or maybe your parent – backs the other candidate of the other political party with equal passion. They represent ‘second force’. The way we live so much of our lives stops right there . . . But the Law of Three asks the question we’ve been asking: What if we didn’t live in a binary universe, but instead a ternary universe?” (Rohr and Morrell 92)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. You’re blessed when you care. You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

Rohr and Morrell continue to explore the world of three as an alternative to the world of two in which we live. If we spend time with Rohr, we know that he always ask us to include rather than exclude, to say, “yes, and” rather than “either, or”. Rohr reminds us of the Franciscan guiding thought that we do best in this binary world when we sink to the bottom to align ourselves with the poor, the mourning, the marginalized; and we suffer most when we insist on governing the people and circumstances that surround us.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. 

Today we examine the Beatitudes while thinking of the Law of Three that Rohr and Morrell propose. How do we perceive God? As Creator only? As Savior only? As the Holy Spirit alone? How do we put together these three persons as one in us? And how do we allow these three to call us to live in union with them, and with all of creation?

The Beatitudes in today’s reflection are from THE MESSAGE. When we compare this translation with others, we allow all three voices to speak to us. Tomorrow, divine energy.

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 

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John 15:12-17: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XV

Wednesday, January 25, 2017loa-logo_heart-small-e1457054980226

Over the last few days, we have seen how Jesus lives his life in an inverted way.

My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. (GNT)

All the days of our lives, Jesus asks us to a live in a way that turns the world on its head.

This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you. (CJB)

Jesus calls us to a life of inversion with patience and mercy.

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. (MSG)

God says: The call to inversion asks you to put aside all power, wealth, fame, status and glory that you have amassed for yourselves. This call asks you to look at world from the bottom rather than from the top. When you put your feet into the shoes of the homeless and abandoned, your priorities change, and these changes will bring about your transformation. When you see with your ears and speak with your eyes, you come to understand the inversion that actually lives in you. My Spirit nurtures a desire in you to tend to those who are broken and lost. Listen to the Spirit. My Spirit sustains your desire to show mercy and tempers your urges to seek revenge. Allow the Spirit to govern you. When you move toward the marginalized, you move into an inverted life. When you follow this one commandment that Jesus gives you, you move into the deepest part of my heart.

As we consider how to live an inverted life well, we remember the lessons of old stories and people, we recall the prophets and their words, and we rest in the Beatitudes and their embodiment in the person of Christ Jesus.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we feel the power of this inverted way of living.

 

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Matthew 5: God’s Yardstick – The Law of Love – Part VI

Jesus The Word and LawJava Printing

Sunday, January 24, 2016

We continue to see God’s yardstick in the New Testament, rising from the covenant in the Old Testament.

Often when a group begins a gathering in prayer and reads Christ’s Beatitudes, the leader will trail off after the “blessed” verses, omitting the last words Jesus gives un on persecution. This may be in error. By forgetting the final verses, we think only about the irony of verses 3 through 9 and that irony seldom fulfills or satisfies. The true paradox of Christ can only be seen when we include the final two verses that speak about the paradox of joy being gained through suffering. To recite the first seven blessings without the last two is to tell the Gospel story ending at the crucifixion and omitting the Resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the meal shared with the apostles along the bank of the sea, the return of Christ to the Upper Room, the Ascension, and finally the descent and in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing lasting if we neglect the last two verses. The prayer becomes hollow. And so we pray . . .

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Beatitude is blessing. Beatitude is happiness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Beatitude is a gift freely given by God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you falsely on my account.

The desire for beatitude is written on each of our hearts by God.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

sermon_mount

Cosimo Roselli: Jesus Delivers the Eight Beatitudes

Beatitude is a promise that challenges us to make moral choices. It is a covenant that invites us to purify our hearts, to seek God, and to rest serenely in beatific joy with God . . . because God alone is enough.

When we spend time with Matthew 5, we explore the idea that we are salt and light, and we give ourselves the opportunity to unfold Christ’s wondrous Law of Love. 

Tomorrow, concluding our reflections on the Law of Love.

Adapted from a favorite written on January 5, 2007. 

 

 

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Proverbs 9:1-6: God’s Yardstick – Wisdom

Wisdom’s Feast

Jan Vermeyen: The Marriage Feast at Cana

Mary urges Jesus to step into his ministry.  Jan Vermeyen: The Marriage Feast at Cana

Sunday, January 17, 2016

In these opening weeks of a new year, we have looked at women in scripture who see and use God’s yardstick in their lives. We conclude our look at women today with a reflection on wisdom described as a woman who invites all to her feast. When we take time to consider the portraits of the special women we have seen over the past two weeks, we understand how their lives can serve as tangible yardsticks for us to use today. 

Anselm Feuerbah: Miriam The Prophetess waited along the banks of the Nile until her brother Moses was pulled from the reeds by Pharaoh's daughter.

Moses’ sister waits along the banks of the Nile until her baby brother is pulled from the reeds by Pharaoh’s daughter.  Anselm Feuerbah: Miriam

We pause to consider the spaces we inhabit at home, at work, at prayer and at play. Are  they sacred, serene dwellings that invite others to enter? Do these places bring us peace?

Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
    it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
    wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.

Naomi shares wisdom with her daughter-in-law Ruth. Togther they find stability a nd peace.

Naomi shares wisdom with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

We pause to consider what we do with the peace we find. Do we hold it closely to ourselves? Do we share it with others?

Having dismissed her serving maids,

Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, 

and invites everyone within sound of her voice: “Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?

We pause to consider how our serenity becomes evident to the world. Does it nurture us and others in our struggle to live the Beatitudes? Does it sustain us as we move into a world that measures with a yardstick that is often far different from God’s?

Judith acts to save her people.

Judith relies on the trust engendered by her long and faithful relationship with God, and acts to save her people.

“Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
    roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
    Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

We pause to consider how the world reacts to Lady Wisdom. Do we give in to the pressures of the world, or do we move forward in our journey with God despite the obstacles?

We find strength in the gentle yet persistent heart of Lady Wisdom.

For more reflections on Wisdom, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore.

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Matthew 5:17-20

Teaching about the Law – A Repriselaw-of-love

April 17, 2015

We humans rarely understand how the new law of the Beatitudes brings the Mosaic Ten Commandments to fulfillment. We who hope to testify to the Easter miracle struggle to comprehend the depth of God’s love for creation. We who want to enact the Gospel in our daily actions look for a present-day structure to lend us strength.

To better understand the Law of Love as Jesus sees it, read different versions of these verses using the scripture link above, spend time with the Teaching on the Law Noontime posted on April 6, 2012 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/04/06/teaching-on-the-law/ Click on the image above to reflect on the importance of forgiveness in our lives. And consider how we might bring the Law of Love to our daily prayers, thoughts and actions.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about anger.

 

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Matthew 5:13-16: Salt and Lightbigstock-sea-salt-34380128

April 16, 2015

As we celebrate Holy Week and Easter, we have spent a number of days with the Beatitudes, exploring the inverted ways of the kingdom where the poor are central, the mourning find comfort, the meek receive abundant gifts, the merciful are treated with mercy, the clean of heart see God and the persecuted inherit God’s kingdom. This way of living is not celebrated and is even alien to the first century and modern societies in which power, influence and comfort are the most coveted goals. As much as Jesus enacts Gospel thinking, we humans seem determined to strive for the opposite; and perhaps this is why Jesus describes his followers as salt and light.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Salt without taste is like life with a misdirected purpose.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house.

Light of its own nature moves outward in warmth and does not retract in coldness.

You are the salt and the light of the world . . .

Let your salt bring out the goodness in life. Let your light shine before others and glorify God.

Matthew records the words of Jesus’ lessons in his Sermon on the Mount. During this Eastertide, let us savor these words like fresh salt. Let us hear these verses in new light. And let us determine to put away our tastelessness and darkness to live the Gospel as salt and light to the world.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about the Law.

For an interesting read on salt, check out Mark Kurlansky’s novel about salt at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/salt-mark-kurlansky/1102487050?ean=9780142001615 

 

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Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23: Heavendressmakerkhair-hc-c_custom-04a264c841961e0a604539154daf878633162c96-s200-c85

Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: You have heard it said that your reward is great in heaven, and today I have more good news for you . . . Heaven is now. First, you must open your heart and mind to me alone. Then consider these questions. Can you see each sorrowful experience as an invitation to allow my faith to abide in you? Can you allow each betrayal to become an opportunity for alliance with my son? Can you open your heart and mind to my healing, serene Spirit? If so, your reward is now. Heaven is now. Ultimately, my plan encompasses all sorrow and converts it to joy. All suffering becomes celebration when you live in my love. Do not be afraid; I am with you. Do not shrink; I am your guide. Take heart; I am your strength. Take heart; I am your fire of love.

Today we remember and re-live the last meal Jesus shared with his followers. In his discourse after this meal, he reminded the apostles that although they might not understand his need to be away from them a little while, they need not fear. As we celebrate this Last Supper moment in our own lives, let us heed these words. Let us allow the fire of God’s love to transform all that troubles us. And let us remind ourselves and others that Heaven is with us even now.

kamila sidiqi npr

Kamila Sidiqi in the foreground

Read about Kamila Sidiqi, the dressmaker of Kabul, or listen to the NPR podcast by clicking the images in this post. What heaven on earth has she encountered and share with others?

Tomorrow, Luke’s woes.

 

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