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Posts Tagged ‘openness’


Psalm 145: Trust in God Alone

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Open%20gate%20at%20Bayou%20Bend[1]Grace us this week with your presence, O Lord, that we may focus our hopes and our work in you.  Amen.

We sometimes wander aimlessly in search of happiness or peace . . . when all the while we do not notice that God has gifted us with a beautiful Eden in which to live.

We sometimes are so intent on completing tasks and chores that we miss the beauty surrounding us . . . when all the while we rush past opportunities to build relationships that will bring us joy.

We sometimes see all windows and doors as closed or obstructed pathways . . . when all the while Christ waits on the other side for us to knock and seek.

Let us spend some time with Psalm 145 today . . . and let us learn to trust in God alone.

The Lord sets captives free . . . let us ask for our own freedom from fear.

The Lord gives sight to the blind . . . let us ask to be healed of our own blindness.

The Lord is good to all . . . let us put away our childish envy and see that God has enough for all.

The Lord is just in all his ways . . . let us strive to act in justice each day.

The Lord is gracious and merciful . . . let us forgive all those who have harmed us.

The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love . . . let us put aside all anger and anxiety.

The Lord is trustworthy in every word . . . let us treat all whom we meet with openness and honesty.

The Lord is worthy of high praise . . . let us praise God joyfully and without ceasing.

The Lord is near to all those who call upon him in truth . . . Come Lord Jesus, come!

When we trust in God we find new strength to open old doors. When we trust in God we find transformation. When we trust in God we are restored in newness.


A re-post from December 3, 2019.

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 Sirach 36:18-27: Choosing Associates

Sunday, October 20, 2019

He calls from the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.  “Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice”.  Let the heavens declare the righteous cause; for God himself is judge.  Psalm 50:4-6

The mark of a solid associate is one who will sacrifice self in order to seal the covenant promise with God.  We are not called to submit to abuse, but rather . . . to witness to that which is indifferent, self-serving, deceitful.  We are asked to build bridges to one another, to be open to one another, to form community with one another in trust, fidelity and prudent stewardship of ourselves and our resources.  To do this well, it is best to choose associates who are open, worthy of trust, and who witness to the values brought to us by Jesus in his Gospel story.  At the same time as we gather those around us who think in like manner, we are also called to be open to the possibility that redemption and salvation nearly always comes through sacrifice, through suffering – particularly when this pain is offered for the conversion of those who have harmed us.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week from THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME by Phyllis Tickle is useful as night falls and we turn toward home.  Grant me, O Lord, to trust in you with all my heart; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Trusting in God to speak to us in the hushed depths of our hearts empowers us to wait in quiet and in patience until God speaks the words we must hear.  We also know that Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.  There is no fear before God in his eyes.  He so flatters himself in his mind that he knows not his guilt.  In his mouth are mischief and deceit.  All wisdom is gone.  He plots the defeat of goodness as he lies on his bed.  He has set his foot on evil ways, he clings to what is evil.  Your love, Lord, reached to heaven; your truth to the skies.  Your justice is like is like God’s mountain, your judgment like the deep.  (Psalm 36). 

When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . .

Whether we are the sinner or the victim, God knows the path to our heart.  Whether we are betrayer or betrayed, God knows the words that will call us home.  When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . . to explore our own depths, calling on God to reveal his truth to us in a way that we can take it in.

I believe that many of us shrink from our deepest consciousness and that this is evidenced in our addictions to too much television, too much internet, too much food, too much narcissism.  So often I hear the phrase, “I just don’t want to go there”.  But no matter how much we avoid our own path of conversion, God will seek us out.  Jesus ben Sirach instructs us that a deceitful character causes grief, but an experienced man may turn the tables on him.  For my part, when confronted with deceit, I find it best to rely on God’s judgment and wisdom . . . he has far more experience than I.  On God’s wisdom I wait.  For God’s patience I pray.  In God’s love I trust.  Amen.


Written on September 07, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Images from: https://me.me/i/hold-onto-good-friends-they-are-fe-w-and-far-4085896 and http://www.eagle-divers.com/scuba-news/item/is-there-a-best-time-to-visit-the-red-sea-for-diving

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Genesis 47Willingness

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Konstantin Flavitsky: Brothers Sell Joseph into Slavery

In Genesis 45:5-8 we hear the beautiful words of forgiveness which Joseph speaks to his brothers who colluded to exterminate him . . . do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here.  It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me ahead of you . . . for you are a remnant on earth and to save your lives is an extraordinary deliverance.  So it was not really you but God who had me come here . . . Joseph understands how God’s plan arrives at benefit for all through the suffering of some.  He believes – because he has witnessed it in his own life – that God turns harm to good, envy to love.  Today we reflect on his action of interceding with Pharaoh on behalf of his brothers who sold him into slavery.  This is a message of willing obedience . . . open readiness . . . faith in goodness . . . hope in the outrageous . . . and love for the unlovable.  It is a story of fidelity in its truest sense.  Fidelity to God, to the remnant people, to self.  Joseph lives up to his true potential, to God’s best hope for and in him.

I love this story of a joy-filled child who invokes envy in his siblings, of a handsome youth who innocently stirs lust in his mistress, of a young man who continues to believe in his God despite his apparent ill luck.  I am moved by the willingness in which he lives.  I am encouraged by the honesty with which he treats not only others but himself.  I am inspired by the magnitude of his gestures, the purity of his thinking.  Joseph carries no rancor.  He is not bitter.  He refuses to be discouraged.  He rejects complicity and deception.  He is cautious and prudent; yet giving and tender.  Joseph is one of my favorite figures of Scripture.  His story is a good one; and it is one to which we ought to refer when we find ourselves in endless turmoil or deep grief.

Joseph knows how to mourn.  He knows that when he waits in God, goodness will follow on the heels of evil.  He knows how to sacrifice in honest willingness.

Joseph knows how to keep his word.  He knows how to abide in patient loving, just as God has abided with him.  He knows how to wait for fruition and fulfillment.

Joseph Bourgeois: Joseph Recognized by his Brothers

Joseph knows how to share.  He knows with a keen understanding that his success is sweetest when given back to God.  He knows that God is the source and summit of all that is good and that to hoard this goodness for himself is counter to the action of God’s mercy which he himself has experienced.

Joseph knows how to celebrate.  He knows that he cannot take credit for the goodness he experiences.  He knows that humility conquers pride and that littleness is greatness, for he sees this in the actions of God in his own life.

Joseph knows how to praise God.  He knows that even when success finally arrives, he must continue to follow God’s lead.  He knows that all that he has and all that he is belong to God alone.

Joseph waits, he witnesses, and then he acts out of his own salvation.  He allows his own conversion in God to convert others . . . and so in this way he allows his willingness to save more than himself.  He helps to save the very people who would have seen his destruction.

We might want to sit with the story of Joseph for a bit today to ponder our own willingness to enter into God’s plan . . . to examine our own willingness to intercede with Pharaoh for those who would have eliminated us, but who have begun their own conversion.


A re-post from February 14, 2012.

Images from: http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/josephs_dreams.htm and http://www.biblical-art.com/biblicalsubject.asp?id_biblicalsubject=92&pagenum=1

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Matthew 9:18-26The Tassels on our Cloaks

Saturday, October 13, 2018

In this reading we have a clear sense of the kind of excitement Jesus creates and the energy that moves through him.  We see this healing power as something beyond our own selves, something we see or watch  and even thrill in but never expect to experience much less wield on our own.  Too many times we regard miracles as myth or fantasy, stories that people pass along to one another like little worry dolls that lessen anxiety.  And too often we close our eyes to the miracles that happen before us or worse, we declaim them as the result of science or coincidence.  We miss the powerful and life-changing truth brought home to us in today’s Noontime: Miracles happen to and for and in us every day . . . and they have the power to heal others – not only ourselves – as they pass through us.

In this portion of Matthew’s Gospel we see Jesus immersed in a throng of people.  Some of them are merely curious about this Jewish teacher; others distrust him and look for tidbits of information to sell to his enemies.  And still others are desperate for Jesus’ healing touch like the woman suffering hemorrhages or the synagogue official.  They believe so honestly and deeply that they dare to approach him with their request.  Mark’s version of this same story elucidates for us (5:21-43).  The woman suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all she had searching for a cure.  She reaches to touch only the tassel of Jesus’ cloak, and Jesus is aware that the power has gone out of him.  A miracle has taken place.  When she is called forth, the woman approaches in fear and trembling, and Jesus explains: Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.  Commentary tells us that Mosaic Law prescribed tassels to be worn on the corners of cloaks as reminders of fidelity to that law and we might wonder: Is it possible that a single touch of the tassel dangling from Jesus’ cloak is enough to heal this woman?  Can it be that her belief in the possibility of a miracle opens her to receive the power emanating from Christ?  Might we be as open to this possibility . . . or are we more doubting than believing?

The official Jairus also puts aside his fear to ask Jesus’ help.  He dares to approach the man condemned by many in his community on the chance that his daughter might be brought back to him.  Do not be afraid, Jesus says when word arrives that the child has died.  Just have faith.  Do we dare to go against the pressures of society to believe that there is more to healing than science?  Do we have the courage to publicly ask help of the one who is so powerful that even the tassel on his cloak transmits this incredible curing gift?  Might we be as bold in our belief . . . or are we more fearful than fearless?

The intertwined stories of this high official and the Canaanite woman speak to us clearly . . . but we must be as open and as bold as these two believers.  From the highest to the humblest . . . we are all so valued by Jesus that he will heal us.  From the strongest to the weakest . . . we are all so precious to Jesus that the simple touch of his cloak will heal us.  From the prominent to the insignificant . . . we are all so loved by Jesus that he wants to bring us back from the death of disbelief to a life in faith with him.  And how marvelous it might be if rather than hoard up these special favors . . . we might share them with others as signs of our belief . . . as tassels on our cloaks.

And so we pray . . .

Powerful yet tender Jesus, we know that our lives are intertwined with yours like the warp and weft of the interlocking threads in your miraculous cloak.  We ask boldly yet humbly for the marvelous, life-giving and sustaining gift of your miracles.  Help us to knit these miracles so powerfully into our lives that our own cloaks emanate your healing touch.  Remind us to wear these miracles you grant us like tassels on our cloaks so that we might share the good news that each of us is free to reach out to you each day, and that you are eager to come into our homes and hearts.   

Keep us ever open . . . keep us constantly bold . . . and remain with us always as we struggle to believe in you.  Amen. 


A re-post from September 10, 2011.

Images from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/

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Mark 7:31-37: Seek Consolation – Deafness

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How often do we listen without really hearing? How often do we pass along information we believe to be correct but which is, in fact, not true? In the enormous universe of God’s love, we find that we are given countless opportunities to be open to the voice of God.

Some people brought him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak, and they begged Jesus to place his hands on him.

How often do we believe that we cannot bear to hear the day’s news? How often do we turn away from information we cannot take in? In the infinite presence of Christ’s healing, we discover that we have endless access to understanding.

So Jesus took him off alone, away from the crowd, put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and touched the man’s tongue.

How often do we grope to comprehend the purpose of the conflict that surrounds us? How often do we open ourselves to healing and transformation? In the immeasurable gift that is the presence of the Spirit, we encounter consolation that changes us forever.

When we do not feel Christ’s presence in our lives, when we fear that we will not hear God’s voice, when we look for consolation we believe will never arrive, we might offer our deafness to the one who created us, in the Advent hope of the presence of God among us.

When we compare differing translations of these verses, we find that our deafness might be more gift than curse.

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John 14: Seek Presence

Thursday, November 30, 2017

With the institution of the gift of Eucharist, Jesus promises that he will remain with us always. Matthew 26:26-28

With the gift of bread and wine as the real presence of Christ, the Spirit dwells in us today. Mark 14: 22-24

With the physical remembrance of transformed bread and wine, of God fulfills the promise to live among us. Luke 22:19-20

With the gift of Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, we have the way to be in the real presence of God. John 14

Richard Rohr, OFM writes: “The Eucharist is an encounter of the heart, knowing Presence through our available presence. In the Eucharist we move beyond mere words or rational thought and go to the place where we don’t talk about the Mystery anymore; we begin to chew on it. Jesus did not say, ‘Think about this’ or ‘Stare at this’ or even ‘Worship this.’ Instead, he said, ‘Eat this!’ It was to be a bodily action and a social action with the group . . . We are the very Body of Christ. We have dignity and power flowing through us in our very naked existence – and everybody else does too – even though most do not know it. This is enough to steer and empower your entire faith life”. (Rohr 299)

We can infer from these verses and Rohr’s words that realizing the true presence of God in our lives will not happen when we are alone in a quiet corner contemplating God’s existence. Rather, we best find God as we act as Christ asks us to act, when we abide in the Spirit as the Spirit urges, and when we agree to become the Body of Christ as God invites us.

Finding the True Presence, then, is more likely when we are moving through our days with Christ ever on our minds and in our hearts, hands, lips and feet. We find the presence of God when we are truly open and thankful. We encounter the presence of God when we remember that Eucharist means Thanksgiving, and when we thank God for all that we have and all we are.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we use the scripture links and drop-down menus to compare varying translations of these verses, we discover the presence of God within.

 

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Romans 12:1-2: This Age

Monday, October 24, 2016pauls-letter-to-the-romans

Jesus has spoken to his own generation and he speaks to ours.

I urge you, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (NAB)

Paul reminds us that our own generation lures us to sleep if we are not watchful.

So here’s what I want you to do. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (THE MESSAGE)

We might call one another to holiness, to newness of the heart, to openness of the mind.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (DOUAY-RHEIMS AMERICAN)

A 17th Century depiction of Paul writing his epistles

A 17th Century depiction of Paul writing his epistles

We step outside of that familiar place where we begin as children, come to age as adolescents and form our conscience as adults. We examine our fears, our motives, our addictions and our loves. We take stock of our resources. We rest in God. When we examine our own generation, what do we have to say for ourselves? What do we have to say about this age?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to examine other translations of these verses, we begin to see humanity’s march toward union in Christ. 

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Job 28: The Inaccessibility of Wisdom

Tuesday, September 20, 2016pearl-of-wisdom

A Favorite from September 9, 2010.

This is how we feel many times when we are at our wits end – that we have no access to wisdom, no way of figuring out where we are, where we want to go and how we will get there.  The clamor of the world quickly erases all of the serenity we stored up to carry us through the day.  We feel as though wisdom is ephemeral and unpredictable when in truth it is solid and consistent.  Wisdom – true wisdom – is always present and open to the moment.  True wisdom is the voice of God within that calms the interior and exterior turmoil just as Jesus calms the storm on the sea.  When our little boat is being swamped by gigantic waves, and when we feel that understanding is unreachable, it is time to consider how much silver, gold, copper, pearls and sapphires we have in the mine of our being.

No price can be paid for wisdom.  There is nothing that is wisdom’s equal.  Beasts have not trodden it.  It is not in the abyss.  Death does not know it.  So where is it?  And why are we enslaved by the fear of its inaccessibility?  Perhaps we do not look for wisdom in the proper place. There is only one true place for true wisdom . . . God knows the way to it, it is God who is familiar with its place. 

Click on the image to visit the Peace Partnership Counseling and Education site, or go to: http://peacecounseling.org/2016/06/01/the-oppression-of-should-the-wisdom-of-why/

 

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Sirach 3:17-29: An Attentive Ear

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Woman whispering and woman listening on a white background

These words are so simple. These words ask so little. These words bring us so much.

Be humble in everything you do, and people will appreciate it more than gifts.

God says: Listen to the words of my servant Sirach. Watch the actions of my incarnate self. Ease into the hands of my always-present Spirit. Be humble, as I am humble. You will receive more than you can imagine.

Don’t try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know. Concentrate on the Law, which has been given to you. You do not need to know about things which the Lord has not revealed, so don’t concern yourself with them. 

God says: When I ask you to focus on the Law, I am speaking of the Law of Love that I show you in the life of Christ. Love your enemies. Gather those on the margins and tend to them. Your reward in this life and in the next is waiting for you.

Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment.

God says: It is tempting to listen to yourself alone. While it is true that you need to test the teachers, prophets and spirits to see if they come from me, remember that listening to yourself alone is dangerous for it narrows your world. Open your ears to my voice and attend my wisdom.

Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end. If you live dangerously, it will kill you. A stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. 

God says: The attentive ear is always open and discerning because it spends more time listening to me than any other voice that clamors for your attention. When you listen to me, your hear good news that overwhelms the chaos of the world.

There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in them. Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn.

God says: When you think more of yourself than you do of others, you cannot hear my voice. Your ear cannot attend. Your eye no longer sees the beauty that surrounds you. Put your pride behind you and follow me. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your heart. The peace and joy I have already planted in you will begin to grow and flourish. Hope and fidelity and love will mark you as my own.

 

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