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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus trusts the Father’


Saturday, October 31, 2020

daniel-3-furnace[1]Daniel 1-3

Reality

This one prophecy teaches us much: it tells us how to recognize God in the midst of horror, it reminds us that only God saves in an infinite way, and it exhorts us to witness without actually fighting . . . for the fighting must be left to God. If you can make time today . . . spend awhile with Daniel.

In the first two chapters we read of two important lessons: that all divine dominion comes from the God of Israel, and that false, pagan gods offer nothing. In Daniel 3 we watch as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are tossed into the fiery furnace. Not only do they survive, but a fourth figure appears to accompany them in song: an angel of this marvelous God. This is how much God loves each of us. God is so mindful of us that when we are in distress, God sends word to us and God even protects us from the fire of destruction.

There are many instances in our lives in which our perception is that God has let us down or has turned a deaf ear to our petitions. This thinking comes from our ego rather than from our Spirit. All that we see, touch, taste, smell, and hear is a chimera. All that we perceive, sense, know, intuit, and feel in God . . . this is reality. This is truth.

In a world where so many pagan voices call us to fame, fortune, outward perfection, celebrity, science, power, comfort and self-absorption, we find it difficult to hear the one voice of truth which speaks softly of union, dynamism, mystery, discomfort, humility, change, transformation and inner peace. What Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego know and witness to is the lesson which this prophecy drives home so well when we are able sit to read the entire story . . . the faithful do not need to fight . . . they only must refuse to do anything which separates them from God . . . they must not fear . . . they only need to rest in God . . . and they need not worry about God’s plan . . . they need only to find their place in it.

What we know is this . . . that when we begin with simple tasks such as the food test we read about in Daniel 1, we are being eased into following God in many small ways because these little ways will train our neural connections to focus on God rather than the other world that lures us by calling itself real.

What we also know is this . . . that once we set our feet upon the path of God in all of these little ways our union with God will be stronger than any fiery furnace we must endure. And this is a reality that lasts forever.

This prophecy puts into words the mystery of our faith. This prophecy assures us that the more we let go to fall into God’s trust, the less we will fear. This prophecy reminds us that the more we lose self to let the Spirit enter our souls, the less we struggle. This prophecy promises us that the more we follow Christ rather than our own little plans, the less we stumble. This prophecy is a reality we will want to trust.


Adapted from a reflection written on April 1, 2009.

Image from: http://aeroventure.com/Prophesy-101/Prophets/Daniel-3-furnace_BODY.htm

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Friday, October 23, 2020

cc_jer29_11plant[1]Jeremiah 18:13-17

An Unnatural Apostasy

Therefore, thus says the Lord, “Ask among the nations – who has heard the like?”

God speaks to us of a behavior that has gone far away from the norm.

Truly horrible things has virgin Israel done!

We know this story – Israel has rejected her close relationship with God and has chosen to align herself with pagan gods.

Does the snow of Lebanon desert the rocky heights? Do the gushing waters dry up that flow fresh down the mountains? 

Israel’s actions are as unnatural as snow melting in freezing weather or rivers ceasing their journey through mountain valleys.

Yet my people have forgotten me: they burn incense to a thing that does not exist.

Israel abandons the covenant that has brought her out of Egypt and established her in fertile lands.

They stumble out of their ways, the paths of old, to travel on bypaths, not the beaten track. 

Israel goes against all advice and convention to insist on her own journey that is full of danger.

Their land shall be turned into a desert, an object of lasting ridicule: all passers-by will be amazed, will shake their heads. 

Those who do not remain faithful will find their lives arid; they will be embarrassed by their own actions once they have the opportunity to look back on what they have done.

Like the east wind, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back, not my face, in their day of disaster.

Old Testament thinking sees God as an angry, vengeful creator. New Testament experiences God through a messianic lens that perceives God as merciful and forgiving, beckoning and tending, guarding and guiding. New Testament thinking teaches us that we can trust the creator to care for us when we look for wisdom and peace. Messianic thinking places hope in the presence of the creator among us in human form. Messianic hope teaches us that no one is too lost, nothing is too disastrous and no obstacle is too impossible for our God who loves us dearly and well.

Jeremiah also brings us these words: For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

When we reflect on Israel’s unnatural turning away from so great a love, let us also consider our own relationship with God. Do we scatter before the east wind . . . or do we cleave to the source of all good and all hope? Do we bow to an unnatural apostasy . . . or do we remain as steady as the snows upon the high mountain tops . . . and rush down mountainsides with joy as we fall into God’s own hands?


Image from: http://www.crosscards.com/cards/scripture-cards/jeremiah-29-11-5.html

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Psalm 131: Humble Trust in God

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

This is one of the shortest psalms in the Bible – only 3 verses – and yet its message is one of the most important.  We must trust God.  And if we truly do, we will have less anxiety, less fear, more hope, and more serenity.  This is so simple, and yet so difficult.

Jesus demonstrates his own filial boldness when he tells us, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.  (Mark 11:24)  He abides by the Father just as the Father abides by him and he reminds us to knock, seek and ask.  (Matthew 7:7-14)  Jesus believes that the promises he has been given will be fulfilled . . . and they are . . . but not without suffering.

We need not look to Jesus for our only inspiration to trust.  We also have the marvelous examples of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman. (Matthew 8:10 and 15:28)   Jesus himself remarks on the depth of their faith, and we can see their persistence.  The Catechism in paragraph 2613 reminds us to pray always without ceasing and with the patience of faith (my italics).  And this many of us do, but perhaps we leave out one important step.  A true prayer of faith is not only the words and the intent, but the true disposition of one’s heart to do the will of the Father.  (My italics again)  Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.  (CCC 2611)

Why do we not trust God enough to let go of our little and big worries?  Why do we doubt that God will do anything but what is good for us?  God is goodness itself and truth itself, and so God is incapable of doing anything but the best for us.  Perhaps we mull over conversations we have had with God which have not brought us precisely what we thought we deserved.  Maybe be believe that we have a better plan in mind.

As I watch my life and that of others, as I observe the sun and the stars and the moon and the seas, as I watch a flock of birds lift in unison, or trees bend before the force of a hurricane, I am stunned by how little I trust.  The simplest and greatest of God’s creation trust that all will be well better than I.  Perhaps I do not humble myself enough.  Perhaps I think I understand more than the birds or the planets or the flowers because I am a creature who has the power of reason and problem solving.  If this is so, I must turn to this simplest of psalms which holds so much truth.  And I must humble myself to believe that God has a far better plan for my life and the lives of those around me than I could ever devise.

Lord, I am not proud; nor are my eyes haughty.  I do not busy myself with things that are too sublime for me.  Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child.  Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me.  Israel, hope in the Lord, now and forever.  Amen.


Written on October 5, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite. 

Image from: http://www.mikepedersen.com/building-trust-online-to-maximize-your-business-growth/

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