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Posts Tagged ‘fidelity’


Proverbs 7: Infidelity

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

In the past, we spent time reflecting on the first nine chapters of Proverbs.  Today we focus on Chapter 7 – a warning against listening to false wisdom – a warning against adultery.

I now understand that infidelity is not a single turning away.  Much like the codependent relationship of an addict and his or her enabler, the one who strays must have his or her passive aggressor, someone who – with silence and deception – encourages the leaving.  Although there are many roads to infidelity, the result is always the same – as quickly as it is born, it leaves shattered lives in its wake.

When we think of infidelity, we most often think of a fractured marriage, and that is the image evoked in today’s citation – “Come let us drink our fill of love, until morning, let us feast on love!  For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey; a bag of money he took with him, not till the full moon will he return home.”  But infidelity may happen in any intimate relationship – between friends, between family members, between coworkers, between our God and our selves.  We are all susceptible to the siren call of control, self-importance, manipulation of discourse, narcissistic self-fulfillment, love of discord.  And some of us feel the ancient pull to submit, go along, deny, and maintain quiet at all costs.  This however, is not a peaceful life.  On the contrary, it is a life filled with risk, thrill-seeking, and even voyeurism.  “What if” takes the place of “This I believe”.  “If only” leaps forward to stand before “This is how it is”.  Insincerity and self-deception always precede infidelity.  Integrity and authenticity never accompany betrayal.

For many are those she has struck down dead, numerous, those she has slain.  Her house is made up of ways to the nether world, leading down into the chambers of death.

All of us – although striving to be open and loyal communicators ourselves – have an intimate knowledge of infidelity that at times has left us stunned and uncomprehending.  That is because there is nothing comprehensible about infidelity.  That is because infidelity is about indifference.  And indifference is the opponent of love.

Love acts.  Love questions.  Love perseveres.  Love does not take pleasure in anyone’s woe.  Love actively abides.  We know Paul’s description of Love from 1 Corinthians 13.  It is patient, it is kind.  Love waits upon Wisdom – the perfect – and only – antidote to betrayal.  Wisdom converts to eventual joy the stunned silence and the blurred vision of the one who suffers at the hands of the betrayer.  Wisdom and her attendant companion Understanding bring a healing balm to counteract the sting which will otherwise embitter the betrayed.

[So] my son, keep my words, and treasure my commands.  Keep my commands and live, my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Say to Wisdom, “You are my sister!”  Call Understanding, “Friend!”

This is the mystery of God’s love for us.  Not that he created us in his image.  Not that he loves us; but that, despite our constant turning away from and turning to him, he remains a faithful, ardent lover – always calling, always wooing.  Calling to life.  Calling to true and lasting joy.


First written on August 30, 2008, re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2009/02/12-ways-to-mend-a-broken-heart.html

To read “12 Ways to Mend a Broken Heart,” click on the image above or go to: http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2009/02/12-ways-to-mend-a-broken-heart.html

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2 Chronicles 10: Ignoring Advice

Friday, October 11, 2019

Sometimes the advice we receive from others is worthless; sometimes it is pure gold.  The difficulty in life is to discern when to heed which words.  This can be resolved when we decide to draw on God’s wisdom  as our primary source of advice, and then allow the words of our family and friends to fill in the gaps of what we believe to be God’s message.

We may have difficulty hearing the Word within; if so, we may want to practice the art of listening a bit more until we have formed well-trodden spiritual pathways to God and back.

We may have difficulty feeling the Word of God resonate within; if so, we may want to practice feeling empathy for those unlike us a bit more until we have taught our hearts more of God’s language.

We may have difficulty expressing  the Word of God to others; if so, we may want to find a trusted friend who will serve as a sounding board for our thoughts.

We may have difficulty witnessing to the Word of God in a public way; if so, we may want to spend time with Scripture to see how others have done so through the ages.

Communication in any form does not come easily.  It takes practice.  Finding trustworthy sources of wisdom of any kind is a challenge.  It takes persistence.  Acting in a manner that matches our beliefs for any reason is difficult at best.  It takes authenticity.  Speaking in a way that calls others to Christ in any way is complicated.  It takes fidelity.  Listening in a way that leads us to good, solid decision-making is taxing.  It takes endurance.

All of this patience and compassion is too much for us humans, we say, and yet . . . we know what happens when we take the advice that suits us at the moment but does not challenge us.  We know what happens when we ignore God’s call and go our own way.  We know what happens when we are silent or when we do not act when and as we ought.

The choice before these young men in today’s Noontime is clear.  We see their example.  Do we follow it?  Or do we follow Christ?


Written on September 15, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

To find a Daily Bible Reading Plan, visit: https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=NIV

Or create a plan of your own by beginning with Acts . . . but read each day . . . and listen . . .

Image from: http://niagaranissan.com/ 

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Jeremiah 15: God’s Words

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Our lives seem full of words and in particular this recent election cycle seems to have the very air full of them. Words for, words against, words that describe, words that deceive, words that inflame, words that bring peace, empty words, words that fill . . . but so many words.  At this point in his prophecy Jeremiah has spouted many life-saving words and yet the prophet is being ignored. He will eventually disappear from the world stage but his words will remain . . . for they are God’s words. The words Jeremiah utters and writes down will prove him to be on target and in tune with God.  We might wish to be so in accord with our creator.  In the midst of so many words we stumble across this verse as we reflect on how we might make God’s words our very own.

Jeremiah 15:16: When your words came to me, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.

Jeremiah repeated the words the Lord gave him to say; we pray that we might be so ardent.

Jeremiah spoke faithfully in the name of God Almighty; we pray that we might be so persistent.

Jeremiah lived out the creator’s words; we pray that we might be so authentic.

Jeremiah sticks to the message the Lord gave him to deliver; he does not go off message nor does he incorporate his own agenda into the words he is given to speak.  Jeremiah complains to God that he is cursed by many; he says that he ought never to have been born.  He lives in pain as a consequence of his fidelity to God . . . yet Jeremiah does not give in.

Jeremiah delivers God’s words and in doing so he also delivers hope.  Jeremiah speaks difficult words and in doing so he makes them his heart’s delight.  Jeremiah makes God words his own . . . and in doing so he makes the invisible God visible.

Let us strive also to do so today.


A re-post from September 4, 2012.

Image from: http://benjaminunseth.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/martin-luther-gods-word/

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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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Proverbs 23:26-35: Private and Public Transgression

Friday, June 14, 2019

Infidelity, prostitution and alcoholism.  It is easy to brush these three nouns aside to say that they have nothing to do with us; but we might want to ask ourselves:  Do we remain constant to principles that flow from the Gospel, are we willing to sell ourselves for something we know has little value, do we numb our senses in an attempt to live a life of denial rather than reality.

These words represent not only private or individual separations from God; they are transgressions against the whole, the entire Mystical Body.  We have reflected on this concept before during our Noontimes that we fool ourselves if we believe the often repeated sentence: I’m not hurting anybody but myself – so leave me alone and stop judging.

It is true that we ought not judge one another, for judging is left to God alone.  But it is also true that as members of Christ’s Body we are called to speak and to listen to one another.  We are called to rebuke.  We are called to show mercy.  We are called to forgive and to be forgiven.  We are called to unite in the hope that all will be whole, that all will be one.

Where do we find pleasure?  Where do we find joy?  In a conversation with a friend over the week end, this topic held us for fifteen minutes or so.  Pleasure is temporary, sense-numbing thrill-seeking.  Joy is eternal, magnifying, uniting with goodness.  St. Paul reminds us in Romans 14:17-19 from the morning prayer in  MAGNIFICAT: The kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others.  Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.

In today’s Gospel from John 17 we hear Jesus say in prayer to the Father: Father, the hour has come . . . I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.  They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything they gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.  I pray for them.

Paul speaks to us, and the Corinthians, and then he poses a question (1 Corinthians 6:12-20): The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body . . . Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? . . . Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body.

We are not our own . . . when we hurt one, even ourselves, we hurt all.  We have been purchased at great sacrifice.  We are greatly loved.  When we hide in the shadows and seek temporal pleasure . . . we throw away a gift of great value . . . the gift of eternal life.  So let us call ourselves and let us call one another to joyful union that satisfies for an eternity.  Let us forgo pleasure and seek joy.  Let us give up that which satisfies today for that which will fill us for eternity.


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 5.26 (2009). Print.

Written on May 26, 2009 and re-posted today.

Images fro: http://dalyplanet.blogspot.com/2011/02/tv-police-fox-handcuffed-in-daytona.html and http://coachdawnwrites.com/2011/11/j-is-for-joy-6-things-i-love-about-coaching/joy-jump/

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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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2 Chronicles 25: With A Whole Heart

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Commentary points out to us that king Amaziah is faithful to Yahweh and wins a campaign against Edom because of his fidelity; later he is the victim of assassination.  The Chronicler feels compelled to explain this good king’s reversal of fortune and explains it this way in verse two: He did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, though not wholeheartedly. 

We can never know the truth of the detail in the story of Amaziah; however, what we can do is to take to heart the warning of the writer that in all things we must be faithful . . . with a full and open heart.  Because God has created us and knows us so well, there is no point in trying to skirt issues or in attempting to hide parts of our history.  God knows all.

Psalm 139 is often cited as one in which the Psalmist expresses this idea of intimacy with God.

Lord, you have probed me, you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.

Nothing escapes God, not even our inmost thoughts.

My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.

Nothing escapes God, not even the experiences we try to keep secret.

Even when a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.

Nothing escapes God, not even any hidden meaning behind our words.

If I ascend to the heavens you are there; if I lie down in Sheol you are there, too. 

Nothing escapes God, not even our dreams and fears.

If I fly with the wings of dawn and light beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.

Nothing escapes God, not even our attempts to strike out on our own when we have planned our flight to the last detail.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.

Nothing escapes God, not the origin of our faults, not the origin of our gifts.

And perhaps this is why God loves us so.  God knows us as well as he  knows himself.  And we are created in God’s image to abide with him in eternity for eternity.   Is it possible to be so well loved?

A conspiracy forms against Amaziah; he flees but is pursued and hunted down.   How does his story speak to us today?   The Chronicler tells us that Amaziah’s heart is not true.  The Psalmist tells us that God reads our inmost being.  When we feel compelled to run, it is better to stay and remain in the Lord.  When we feel too ashamed to face a new day, we must rise and turn to the Lord.  When we feel too frightened to step into the world, we must take courage and trust the Lord.  When we feel too discouraged to open a new door, we must stay and hope in the Lord.  When we feel too angry to interact with those around us, we must stay and love the Lord . . . with a heart that is open, and honest, and full . . . and true.

Amen.


A re-post from May 8, 2012.

Images from: https://pastorcarolmora.wordpress.com/category/1/page/2/ and http://www.robstill.com/a-wholehearted-worshiping-community/

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Jeremiah 11, 12 and 13: The Infinity of True Happiness

Saturday, May 11, 2019

These three chapters are filled with sad yet beautiful images, and they follow closely on the heels of a conversation which I have just had with a close friend.  The wicked appear to prosper – they have the immediate joys of this world – the faithful gain, through their suffering, the joy that is abiding and eternal.  True happiness comes from knowing that the correct thing has been done, that justice has been enacted, the broken-hearted have been tended to, the weary have been comforted, the exiled welcomed home.  True, deep and abiding happiness permeates the body, the soul, the mind and the heart when God is allowed to dwell within, when a welcome hearth and table have been laid for the guests, when the Spirit finds a resting place within us.  True, deep and abiding happiness blooms when the soul finds its homing path to the Creator.  True, deep and abiding happiness engenders serenity – even during conflict – when the ego is emptied of self and Christ steps in.  Today, on this Feast of The Sacred Heart, we celebrate the groom who takes us to himself.

The verses from Jeremiah speak of complaint, corruption, a broken wine flask, disgrace, skirts stripped away, violation, sacrifices to no avail . . . yet this prophet asks, as we ought, in chapter 12: You would be in the right, O Lord, if I should dispute with you; even so, I must discuss this case with you.  Why does the way of the wicked prosper, why live all the wicked in contentment?

He challenges further: How long must the earth mourn, the green of the whole countryside wither?  For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, beasts and birds disappear because they say, “God does not see our ways.”  If running against men has wearied you, how will you race against horses?  And if in a land of peace you fall headlong, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?

He speaks of innocence defiled: Yet I, like a lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living so that his name will be spoken no more.”

Then the answer to this plaint finally arrives: Give ear, listen humbly, for the Lord speaks.  Give glory to the Lord, your God, before it grows dark; before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds.  If you do not listen to this in your pride, I will weep in secret many tears; my eyes will run with tears for the Lord’s flock, led away to exile. 

Tears shed in mourning and petition rise to the Lord in a cloud of incense.  Suffering offered as an act of redemption in unity with the Christ ends the wickedness.  Our mourning becomes dancing with the indwelling of the Spirit.  The economy of God’s plan must and will be fulfilled – in a kaleidoscope array of acts of kindness that counteracts acts of scandal.  Division is transformed into union in a symphony of promise and fidelity as the Lord turns all hate to good.

There is no place, no thing, no person who heals as does the touch of Christ.  There is no achievement, no award, no comfort as lasting as is the true knowledge of Christ.  There is no separation, no sin, no evil that cannot be bridged by the covenant with Christ or undone by the strength of Christ.  There is no miracle, no impossibility, no marvel that cannot be achieved by the courage of Christ.  There is no harm, no sinner, no lost sheep that cannot be converted by the love of Christ.

Christ is the transforming bridegroom which Jeremiah promises in later chapters.  This groom will write his vow of fidelity on our hearts.  Let us open ourselves to this Lord.  Let us open ourselves to this pledge.  Let us open ourselves to this miracle of love . . . in this place where the wicked no longer prosper.


A re-post from April 26, 2012.

A Favorite, written on May 30, 2008 and posted today.  The Feast of the Sacred Heart is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost and in 2012 it falls on June 15.

For more information on the touch of grace in Haiti through Samaritan’s Purse International Relief in Haiti, click on the image above or go to: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/encounters_with_grace/

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Daniel 1-6: Tales from the Diaspora (Part II)

Friday, May 3, 2019

Early Christian Martyrs

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . .

The verses in chapter 3 will reveal something special for us.  Nebuchadnezzar asks, “Who is the God who can deliver you from my hand?”  Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah reply so simply: If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your hand, O king, he will do so; but [even] if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods.  

This demonstration of dying to self in love for the Creator is so simple yet so eternal.  Why do we find it difficult to give ourselves over to God when we know that we are here to serve, know and love this God who so loves us that he dies to self for us in the person of Jesus Christ all day every day?  Why do we serve the pagan gods of fame, fashion, fortune, power and control?  Why do we succumb to the gods of addictions to behaviors that are so damaging to self and others?  Why do we preserve self and neglect those to whom we are sent?  These young men speak to us down through the years in both their words and actions when they make their bold statement and step forward to witness to their vocation: Even if their God sees best that they be consumed in the fires of this furnace which is meant to reduce bodies to ash they will not abandon this God.  They will not refuse to witness to this God . . . for they know and understand that this God is greater than all else.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . .

We find further examples of human fidelity to God from the days of the early Christian Church when we explore the PBS FRONTLINE site at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/why/pliny.html   Here we see how Christ’s early followers gain strength from the adversity they experience.  Pliny the Younger and the Emperor Trajan exchange correspondence and agree that some of the Christ followers must be punished yet they are cautious, knowing that this Jesus movement will likely outlast them all.

The fidelity of these early Christians and other martyrs on the site is impressive.  Nothing can make them turn away from God.   As we read we wonder at the human capacity to endure such pain, the human ability to refuse the temptation to seek revenge, and the human spirit that exalts what is good in the face of wickedness.   And so we pray . . .

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . .

We are God’s works, faithful and true.  Let us act as though we believe in this truth.  Praise and exalt God above all forever.

We are God’s art, varied and vibrant.  Let us speak as though we believe this is so.  Praise and exalt God above all forever.

We are God’s children, frightened and small.  Let us love one another as the father loves us.  Praise and exalt God above all forever.

Amen. 


A re-post from April 18, 2012.

Image from: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/timeline_09.html

For more information on Diaspora, click the image to the right and explore the PBS FRONTLINE site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/jewish.html

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