Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

2 Maccabees 15: Battle – Part I

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Frans Floris the Elder: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

We know this, and yet we insist on determining what best disciplines us, rather than deferring to God’s own discipline.

For those of us who are fortunate to live outside of active warfare, the turbulence of today’s story is reflected in the ups and downs of our daily existence.  Strife appears in many forms.  We might see the bloody stories of Nicanor, Razis and Judas Maccabeus as a more sanguine version of interoffice gossip, of neighborhood one-upmanship, of family betrayal, or backstabbing among apparent friends.  Human beings are constantly striving to prove things, to win battles, to sway or coerce, to be right, to be included, to belong, to exclude.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

We cling to hope that our point will be seen.  We believe that if we work long enough and try hard enough we can win or do anything, rather than understanding that no victory without God is a true victory.  A conquest not attended by God may, in fact, spell the beginning of our end.

Spending hours plotting, gathering others to rally around us, using shrill speech to gain allies, or extreme and ugly force to obtain that on which we have set our eye, these are all tactics we read about today.  We call these measures excessive and beyond necessary; yet they remain the mark of the human struggle that draws us in constantly.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

Use the scripture links to learn more about Nicanor, Razis and Judas Maccabeus.

Tomorrow, God’s skirmish.  

Written on February 28, 2009.

Image from http://www.artnet.com/artists/frans-floris-the-elder/the-triumph-of-judas-maccabeus-_40ZvRvvvz4hHJDvb7i3sA2

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Proverbs 1:1-7: God’s Instruction

Monday, July 17, 2017

A riddle of the wise: The path of wisdom begins with awe of the LORD. 

To instruct the young, and to encourage the wise. These are the goals of the Book of Proverbs. Over the next days, we will explore this didactic poetry whose primary our purpose is to teach wisdom. We notice specific words and phrases.

Wisdom and disciplineDo we notice that those who are wise live a disciplined life. They pray regularly and consult God before drawing conclusions or making decisions.

Words of intelligenceDo we see that those who are intelligent willingly consult God as a primary resource?

What is right, just and honest – Can we define these qualities or are we willing to allow God to unfold these talents in us?

Resourcefulness – Do we think of wisdom as a source of our own creativity?

Knowledge and discretion – How well do we handle the emotions and feelings of others? What do we do with the information that comes our way?

Sound guidanceGod gives us constant direction, even when we do not hear or see it. Are we open to the presence of the Spirit in all ways and on all days?

Proverb and parableWe open ourselves to the great wealth the proverbs bring to us; and we realize that our lives are living parables to others. Do we live each day as if we believe this?

Riddles of the wiseThe mystery of God’s wisdom rests in the words of sacred scripture and in the healing presence of Jesus among us. Are we willing to trust the riddle of wisdom that lives in our hearts?

Awe of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise . . . Are these words we can believe? Can we allow our actions each day to rise from the wisdom God has planted in us? Do we hope to be numbered among the wise, or are we content to find company with fools?

When we compare different versions of these verses, we find wisdom awaiting us with open arms. 

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