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Posts Tagged ‘constancy’


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hosea 11: Destruction Not for All

dew[1]As we near the half-way point in our Lenten journey we hear Yahweh’s word that he persists in loving the child Israel just as Hosea loves the wayward Gomer . . . he recalls that he raised her from a child and so cannot destroy her as he might be justified in doing.  This is the promise of restoration we long to hear.

I will resettle them in their homes, says the Lord.

This is all so simple, really.  There is nothing complex in truly loving someone.  At least this is the case if we love as God asks: justly, wisely, authentically.

To love justly is to act with mercy rather than leniency.

To love wisely is to be vulnerable to God through one another.

To love well is to amplify rather than obliterate, to persevere rather than control, to speak to truth and listen for authenticity rather than to mollify or pacify.

To love with integrity is to be honest with ourselves and to look for solutions within rather than from some outside source.

To love well is to follow the example of Christ . . . and this we are all called to do.

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. 

We look for peace.  We look for serenity.  We look for healing and restoration.  In order to find these things, we must fasten our eyes, our ears, our voices, our hands and our feet to God and not let go.  We must watch, we must wait, we must listen, we must speak, we must witness.  God always abides.

For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Hosea is constant.  Gomer is fickle.  We run to the high places to worship a new idol when we grow bored.  We seek out some old addiction when we grow tired.

new_easter_lilies[1]The more I called them, the farther they went from me . . . yet it was I who taught [them] . . . to walk . . . though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. 

We do not have to go off to far or exotic places to find this God we seek.  We need only tum and return to one another.

How could I give you up . . . or deliver you up?

My heart is overwhelmed . . .

I will resettle them in their homes, says the Lord.

Restoration is upon us.  The end of our exile is as far away as our own fingertips, our own lips, our own feet.  We must turn and return.  How much are we willing to risk?  How much are we willing to love?


Images from: http://restministries.com/2011/02/21/devotion-seeking-saturation-at-the-lords-feet-in-our-pain-not-just-getting-by/ and http://www.mydesignideas.com/images/Garden%20File/garden_gallery_dupe.html

First written on January 22, 2008. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hosea 1: The Covenant Path

path[1]I will save them by the Lord, their God; but I will not save them by war, by sword or bow, by horses or horsemen.

I am always struck by the deep sadness which permeates this prophecy and also by the intense loyalty which the prophet shows his harlot wife, Gomer.  This is the same fidelity which God demonstrates to us, the same constancy to which we are all called, the same covenant we have entered into with Our God.

. . . for you are my people and I will be your God.

The good news about this prophecy is that we are told again that no matter how often or how far we stray, we may return.  The tough part is that we must leave everything we have in order to follow this loyal, constant, ardent spouse.  In Luke 5:1-11 we hear the familiar story we have heard so often – Jesus calls Simon Peter and his partners James and John, sons of Zebedee, to follow him.  “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”.  When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.  Jesus worked a miracle for these men – when they did as he told them, they suddenly hauled in a huge catch where previously there had been nothing.  They recognized his divinity, left the things of this world and followed.  Jesus works miracles for us constantly yet for the most part we are unwilling to leave all and follow.  Do we act with constancy?  Do we maintain our covenant promise or do we return to the straying path which seems so much easier and so much more fun to follow?

Hosea forgives Gomer countless times.  Yet he maintains fidelity in the face of scandal and shame.  He demonstrates fidelity to her through great cost to himself.  He forgives.  We too, are forgiven.  We too, might forgive.  We too, are called.  We too, might follow.

We are asked to be faithful to our God and to God’s call, to the promise of fulfillment placed in us at our birth.

We are asked to follow the path less traveled, the road on which Christ accompanies us, the road with Christ as it destination.

We are asked to respond to the Spirit within, despite our inconstancy, our blundering and our misunderstanding.

We are asked to put all blaming and name-calling aside and we are asked to follow the covenant path of promise . . . for it is the only true path worth walking.  It is the only path that can save.  It is the only path that binds us in covenant love.


Image from: http://calebcompany.org/2012/09/gods-path-to-success/

First written on September 4, 2008. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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1 Maccabees 12:19-38: In the Face of Great Odds

Friday, December 20, 2019

Jonathan Maccabeus

We have looked at the verses that precede and follow today’s citation, reflecting on friendship and betrayal, on constancy and convolution.  Today we see Jonathan Maccabeus experiencing success as he follows the call of God.  He is later betrayed, but his betrayer suffers a sad end.  We might learn about the kind of patience needed for fidelity when we ponder this story; and we may better understand the need for fortitude and hope when we follow God’s call.  Jonathan’s victory in today’s Noontime comes from his faith in a God who does not abandon his creatures.  Jonathan’s true triumph is not the battles the battles he wins . . . but his commitment to the promise he has made to God.  His true reward is not the fame of the battle won . . . but the serenity of knowing that all is best and all is well when our work is placed in God’s hands.

From today’s Evening Prayer in MAGNIFICAT:

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.  1 Peter 1:8

Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.  It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ.  Philippians 3: 7, 12

Although Jonathan did not see God, he loved God and followed his calling . . . even to death.

Whatever gain or loss Jonathan had, he had in God.

May we too, be as constant and as hope-filled as Jonathan . . . even in the face of the greatest odds.


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 16.11 (2010). Print.  

Written on November 16, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://all-generals.ru/index.php?id=1193

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1 Maccabees 12:1-18: Safe Conduct – Renewing Former Friendships

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini

Amid the war and intrigue of the Old Testament, we may easily overlook the moments when sanity conquers depravity, when diplomacy takes the place of bloodshed.  This is something we may forget once we read it . . . as it seems to happen so seldom.

So often when we are about to embark on a dangerous mission, we search for a letter of introduction, an entrée, an hospitable opening, envoys of safe conduct, forgetting that all the while we already possess these securities . . . in the person of Christ Jesus.  We are never alone when we receive word that we have been assigned to a dangerous mission; we always are accompanied by the one who undertook the most dangerous mission of all . . . confronting Lucifer on his own turf . . . in order to save all of humanity.  Jesus daily takes on an awesome foe . . . that we might be saved from the darkness.

In today’s citation we read about how Jonathon Maccabeus tries to establish diplomatic links with two pagan, strong states.  We notice that he waits until the times favored him.  He does not blunder ahead following his own senses or agenda.  We also notice that he sends selected men.  They are to conform and renew old friendships, old links . . . but not old habits.  Jonathan hopes to find a newness in this resurrected union, just as Jesus finds with us in his New Kingdom.

What are the old relationships we need to resurrect?  Who are our selected emissaries?  Are we overly preoccupied with first finding envoys of safe conduct?  Do we hesitate to begin the trip for fear of failing?

Once we have heard the call to resurrection, an overture must be made; and once made, the outcome of this overture must be left in God’s hands.  If instead of openness and acceptance we receive deceit and rejection, then we know that we must step back to re-evaluate.  Perhaps people and situations have not yet evolved to their harvest time.  Perhaps we ourselves need a bit of repair before stepping again into our mission shoes.

But beyond all of the worry and anxiety about what to do when we feel called to renew an old, and perhaps shaky, friendship . . . we must know that this is the kingdom call.  And we must know . . . that we are never alone.  Christ himself accompanies us as the most seasoned warrior of all time and all creation.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT, page 179: Do not be dismayed by rejection and mockery.  Go forward always, with serenity and fortitude of angels, because you are the angels of the earth and so must continue on your way in the midst of so many contrary influences.  Everyone can be serene when things run smoothly; it is in difficult situations that fidelity and constancy are proven. St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Fidelity and Constancy . . . the characteristics of a true envoy of safe conduct.  There is no better companion than Christ.


Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Meditation for the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 13 November 2008: 179. Print.

To read more about Frances Cabrini, click on the image above or go to: http://www.mothercabrini.com/legacy/life1.asp

Written on November 13, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sirach 51:11: I will ever praise your name and be constant in my prayers to you.

When we celebrate, let us remember to thank God.

God says: I am happy to help you when you call on me.  I love to rush to your side when you are in need.  But I especially love to dance and rejoice with you when your news is good.  Remember me in joy even as you remember in sorrow.  Call on me in happiness even as you call on me in sadness.  And love me in your grief even as you love me in your exultation. 

God remains ever constant in us . . . let us try to remain ever constant in God.

For another reflection of Faithfulness click on the image above or or go to: http://biblestudents.net/2012/06/25/the-faithfulness-of-god/


A re-post from August 24, 2012.

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Psalm 121:3: The Dangerous Path

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Psalm 121:3: God will not let your foot slip and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Málaga, Spain: The World’s Most Dangerous Footpath

We panic too quickly.  We lack trust. We believe in our own futile powers more than God’s.  We forget that God has and is all.

God says: I do not mind that you are afraid to trust me.  I do not worry that you believe in yourself more than you believe in me.  I will always be waiting for you.  I will always be guarding you.  I will always be guiding and calling you.  There is nothing you can do or say that will cause me to turn away. I am with you always.  If you are exhausted, put down your head and sleep awhile.  If you are hungry, dine with me this evening.  If you are lonely, spend some time with me.  If you are sad or fearful, come to me. 

Let us be mindful that God does not break the promises he makes . . . and let us aim to keep our own promises.

Let us remember that God abides by the covenants into which he enters . . . and let us endeavor to remain faithful to our own vows.

Let us consider that God is the eternal shepherd and sentinel . . . and let us aspire to the same constancy and abiding love in our own relationships.

As we travel along today’s portion of our journey, let us consider that even the most treacherous path becomes an easy passage . . .  when we walk with God.


A re-post from July 24, 2012.

To learn more about the Caminito del Rey, or the world’s most dangerous footpath, click on the image above or go to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6055150/The-worlds-most-dangerous-footpath.html 

To reflect on becoming a good shepherd, click on the image of the forest path or go to: http://skyranchskymoms.blogspot.com/2011/12/teach-intentionallygod-is-good-shepherd.html 

Enter the word fidelity into the search box on this blog and spend some time reflecting today.

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Esther 7 & 8: Deceit and Retribution

Monday, August 5, 2019

Millais: Esther

We have no way of knowing what plans are schemed against us.  We have no method of seeing into the private places where the covetous lie on couches to weave their plots that entangle others.  We can be certain, however, that when the faithful find themselves the victims of these plots – as the Jews do in the story of Esther – that God will redeem his people, will release them from oppression, and will decide how the connivers are to be judged.

In the story of Mordecai and Esther, Haman becomes jealous because Mordecai does not play the game of courtier as Haman would wish, yet has influence and prestige – which Haman covets.  Rather than find union with Mordecai, Haman builds a gibbet on which to hang his perceived enemies . . . only to see his family executed . . . and himself led to the scaffold on which he had meant to exterminate the Jew he so hated.

For several weeks we have been reflecting on honesty versus deceit . . . and today we find another clear lesson of what is expected by God of his faithful.  Earlier in Chapter 4 when Esther tells her uncle that she is afraid to go to the king to tell him of Haman’s plot, Mordecai reminds her that the faithful must do as God bids . . . for if they do not, God will find another willing to do the work.  Then Mordecai reminds his niece of the fate she will suffer if she goes against God’s will (4:14).

So when we read these later chapters . . . and when we spend time praying, meditating and reflecting on God’s word to us . . . we know that we, too, hear the words of Mordecai, we also feel the tremors which Esther felt when she saw a task looming before her that was too great to bear.  It will serve us well to read this story from beginning to end, including the later insertions, and to ponder God’s plan for us as we move through our days.

We need not worry about plots schemed against us; nor do we need to create a plan of reprisal.  We only need to be constant to God each day, to maintain our covenant, to lay all problems at God’s feet for resolution.  For this is the only way we will find peace amid the noise of the world.  This is the only path to a serenity that lasts and sustains.  This is the only true Way in which to live the gift of Life.


Written on June 15, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://thingselemental.com/2012/03/cultivating-beauty/

For another reflection on this story, go to the Esther – From Calamity to Rejoicing page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/esther-from-calamity-to-rejoicing/

For more information on Queen Esther and her story, go to: http://thingselemental.com/2012/03/cultivating-beauty/

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Matthew 22:1-14: The Wedding Feast

Sunday, August 4, 2019 

Tintoretto: The Wedding Feast

When I was a child, each time I heard this parable I thought the king to be a bit harsh.  How was the man tossed into the night to know that he should have dressed up for the party?  Hadn’t he been halted on his way down the road of life and invited suddenly to the Wedding?  Now as an adult I understand that the point of this story is about being prepared always.    It is about going about life as if each day holds an invitation for the Wedding.  It is about rising each morning knowing that we are called.  It is about taking the time each morning to put on the wedding garment before I step across my threshold into the world.  It is about checking the garment for readiness several times a day.  It is about laying out that garment each night as I go to my bed . . . in preparation for dinning the next day.

Christ is constantly prepared to receive us.  God the Father is constantly guiding and protecting us.  The Holy Spirit is constantly abiding and comforting us.  Can I not be constantly mindful of these great gifts of being called . . . being protected . . . being loved?

May we never be reduced to silence as is the guest in today’s parable.

May we always be ready and willing to go to the feast.

May we always strive for constancy . . . just as our God is always constant with us.


Image from: http://abcdfinnestad.blogspot.com/2010/06/parable-of-wedding-feast.html

Written on July 14, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.  For more on The Wedding Feast, click on the image above or go to: http://abcdfinnestad.blogspot.com/2010/06/parable-of-wedding-feast.html

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Habakkuk 2:1-3: Waiting

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

I will stand at the guard post and station myself upon the rampart, and keep watch to see what the Lord will say to me, and what answer he will give to my complaint. 

I love these verses. They speak to us of fidelity, constancy, and patience. They call us to commit ourselves for eternity.  They ask us to be reliable as God is reliable.  They are difficult words to follow but they are a life-giving and sustaining command.  They also give us permission to deliver our grievances to God, asking for intercession and deliverance.

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. 

We live in an “instant” world.  I have just read that video gaming causes us to expect reward every 10 to 15 seconds and I find this to be sad.  Our insistence on immediate gratification cheats us of the exquisite anticipation of God’s intervention and reply. Our denial that God is responding in God’s time erases the opportunity to arrive at a deep knowing that God hears us and is considering the best reply.  Our impatience leads us to believe that God does not love us, that God is off tending to some other business far more important, or that we are too insignificant for God to even notice that we exist.  We are a people who do not wait well.

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. 

By deciding that God is “late” when we do not receive instant messages to all of our requests we admit to the belief that God is a puppet to be manipulated . . . or they we are puppets who merely respond to God’s string pulling.  We refuse to see that we are in conversation with God and that the creator is giving us a bit of space to grow and learn.   These words speak to us of hope. They tell us how to suffer well.  They remind us that we survive best when we rely on God.

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. 

The message of Habakkuk is one that any human being who has suffered can comprehend.  He wrote his prophecy in the face of intense corruption and desperate circumstances.  The notes in the NAB tell us that “there was political intrigue and idolatry widespread in the small kingdom”.

On a personal level, many of us are aware of intrigue and idolatry, either as an interior, personal flaw or as something we experience in a work or family group.  It seems that no matter where we go we will not escape plotting, conniving and deceit; but the one with integrity will wait on the Lord.  We often hear these verses read out to us when we touch on the theme of waiting.

How long, O Lord?  I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene.  Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?  Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.  Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.  For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.  The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

And this life that we will live is foreshadowed in the closing verses of the prophet Zephaniah, the book following Habakkuk.

At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; For I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, When I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord.

This is surely something worth waiting for.  This is surely the life we have been promised.  It is the life we can expect . . . if only we might wait.


A re-post from May 15, 2012.

Images from: http://reachforencouragement.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html and http://kingdomnewtestament.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/acts-1-waiting-in-prayer/

For more on this prophecy see the page Habakkuk – Keeping Faith, Trusting in God on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/habakkuk-keeping-faith-trusting-in-god/

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