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Posts Tagged ‘patience’


earth-from-space-day-night[1]

Friday, December 25, 2020

James 5:7-10

Behold!

Behold, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Modern humankind has established an outpost in space, giving us a perspective of our world that the ancients could only imagine. Perhaps in our century we have strayed too far from the simple tasks of reaping God’s gift of bounty. Perhaps we have taken too much for granted the miracle that is our world. Perhaps we have learned to ignore the miracle of the Nativity.

God says: In your rush to understand me you may lose me.A bide with me for you are Christmas people who bring the Good News to the world. In your eagerness to explore my universe you may forget me. Remember me for you are Christmas people who bring authenticity and honesty to the world.  In your haste to acquire and store up you may overlook me. See me in those who have little for you are Christmas people who bring Christ himself to the world. Behold and celebrate the importance of the Nativity. Behold and share my generosity with others who have nearly nothing to sustain them. Behold and love those who suffer.  Behold . . . and be Christ in the world.

When we remember the miracle of Christ’s Nativity we also remember the patience of the prophets who foretold this arrival. We retell the stories of apostles and disciples who endured through hardship and we also tell our own stories of endurance and fortitude. When we behold the precious fruit of this Messiah who is delivered of a woman in a lowly place in a small town we also behold our own smallness and celebrate God’s gift of Christmas, for we are Christmas people.

During Christmas week . . . what did the prophets foretell?


What does it mean to be Christmas people?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KsGtMZ9HI Click on this link to listen to I Will be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman, reread this post and consider . . .

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Luke 2:25-35

Rembrandt: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Rembrandt van Rijn: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Simeon

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.               

Righteous, devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel . . . Simeon focuses all of his spiritual, mental and physical energy on God. We imagine what sort of award awaits us when we determine to live as Simeon lives.

He came in the Spirit into the temple . . . Not only does Simeon live in the Spirit but he carries this Spirit with him wherever he goes. We imagine what effect we might have on the world if we are as faithful as Simeon.

“A second Lucan theme lies in the setting: Jerusalem and the Temple. For Luke the ministry of Jesus moves toward Jerusalem and the mission of the church moves out from Jerusalem. As for the Temple, Luke is alone among NT writers in is favorable view. His Gospel begins with Zechariah in the Temple and it will close with Jesus’ disciples in the Temple”. (Mays 932)

In this Advent time of year when all the world awaits  relief from a pandemic, and when we await Christ’s coming into the world, let us consider the many directions in which we feel ourselves pulled, the many losses we feel, and let us determine to await Christ in the temple of our hearts. Let us decide to take the story of our salvation to the world.

Tomorrow . . . a third Lucan theme.


To read and understand more about the importance of Simeon’s words, click on the image above or go to: http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/2_21-38.htm 

Or enter the word Simeon into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: https://www.canvasreplicas.com/Presentation-of-Jesus-in-the-Temple-Rembrandt-van-Rijn-Painting-Reproductions.htm

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Monday, November 23, 2020

images[3]Psalm 92

A Hymn of Thanksgiving for God’s Fidelity

Fidelity: faithfulness, loyalty, patience, understanding, questioning and answering, dialog, forbearance, union, love.

From St. Joseph Edition of The Psalms notes: This is a didactic psalm, that is, both a praise of the Lord and an instruction of the faithful. The psalmist meditates on God’s way of acting.  His love and faithfulness are reflected in everything he does, but they must be comprehended. Ultimately the happiness of the wicked will fade like seasonal grass, whereas the lot of the righteous will be like the great trees whose roots are planted on solid ground. For the latter, new seasons are promised in the courts of God. God’s joy is like a new spring in the life of believers.

Again our theme of renewal. Again the idea that a righteous life is more difficult to live than a wicked one, but that true serenity and joy is found by struggling to live a life of justice.

I like the point in the citation above that God’s acts are a demonstration of his love and fidelity and that we must strive to comprehend this idea . . . an idea which is so difficult for so many humans . . . because fidelity is such a demanding quality . . . and we humans appear to be much too fickle and willful to comprehend its depth and true meaning.

Each day as we go through each hour, how do we as God’s creatures express God’s fidelity? How do we express God’s love? Are we faithful when it is convenient or when we have the time or energy? Do we love those who please us most? We recall Paul’s words to Timothy: I remember you constantly in prayers, night and day.  I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, as I recall your sincere faith . . .  (2 Timothy 1:3-4) This is the same letter in which Paul states that he is already poured out like a libation and there are times when we feel this pouring out rather than gratitude. But when we look at verse 3 of this psalm we see again the idea of loving God faithfully by praying day and night. And when we are spent . . . we might at least raise eyes and hands to heaven to thank God, and to ask that God lighten our load.

Prayer and petition are important as we near and enter into Advent, even when we feel spent. When we come to the end of an exhausting day, we can light one small candle in the darkness which comes so quickly at this time of year in our northern hemisphere, and we can repeat the antiphon we find as part of the Liturgy of the Hours Night Prayer: Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace, alleluia.

With this simple act and prayer we might remain faithful . . . even though we are spent. And so we pray . . .

We know that you watch over us, O Lord.  Grace us with the patience and perseverance to keep hopeful watch with you . . . as faithfully as you keep wonder-filled watch with us.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.


THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 243. Print.

Image from: http://brotherdismas.blogspot.com/2011/05/saturday-of-4th-week-in-easter.html

Adapted from a reflection written on December 4, 2007.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Wolf in sheep's clothing[1]Matthew 7:15-16

Sheep and Wolves

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. 

It is not difficult to think of the wolves dressed as sheep whom we have encountered in our lives. The difficulty comes when we examine the times we may have been the wolves.

God says: Some times when you see sheep they are just sheep; at other times they are wolves who have cleverly disguised themselves. I know that many of you are frightened by the truth that these wolves hides among the children of light. Do not be afraid of false prophets for they cannot harm you; they prepare you in a bizarre way to discern good from bad. Your gut reaction is often accurate but at times the disguise is so clever and the costume fits so well that you cannot discern the practiced deception. At other times these false ones present themselves with an oft-rehearsed role so they are impossible to mark. The mask is perfect and well cast. The speech refined. The gestures practiced to perfection. Yet their fruits will expose them. It may take quite a long time but in the end . . . the imposter reveals himself.

Our culture prepares us for superficial encounters but does not give us the tools of discernment, perspicacity or prudence. We regard speed and change as gifts. Patience, endurance and farsighted-ness have little value. For the former we look to the world. For the latter we must apply to Wisdom. For tools that sustain forever rather than a mere season . . . we go to God. When seen through the prism of the Spirit, wolves are quickly seen as hiding in sheep’s clothing.


Enter the words false prophet in the blog search bar and explore how wolves disguise themselves.

Image from: https://christiancounseling.com/blog/counseling/three-ways-to-spot-a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing/

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

you are forgivenPsalm 32:1-2

Remission

Happy the one whose fault is forgiven, whose sin is blotted out; happy the one whom Yahweh accuses of no guilt, whose spirit is incapable of deceit!

Each of us knows that we are imperfect. Each day we struggle with the temptation to react in anger, to share gossip, to judge, to allow envy to take us over. And yet we also hope to stand blameless before the creator. The miracle of God’s goodness and greatness brings us this opportunity for redemption, this offer of remission.

God says: I do not want you to hide from me because you know you have been unpleasant, unhelpful or even angry with others. I do not want you to believe that the obstacles you see between you and me are insurmountable. Rather, I want you to bring your fears, your worries and your imperfections to  me. Together we will lift them. I promise to take on the heaviest of loads. There is no wrong you can describe to me that will make me shudder. My patience and forgiveness are bottomless; my love and hope are limitless; my yearning to have you close to me is unbearable. Come to me so that we can lay aside all that bothers and frightens you. 

God knows us too well to expect that we will never err. God loves too well to leave us by the wayside.

Christ loves us so well that he removes all guilt with a healing look. Christ seeks us so fervently that all blemish and all imperfection fall away with a healing touch.

No threat of guile or deceit is too much for the Spirit to transform. No rumor of sin is so enduring that the Spirit will not outlast it.

Let us put aside our fear and go to God that we might receive the gift of remission.

Tomorrow, the effects of remaining silent.


Image from: https://holycrossrumson.typepad.com/pastor/2018/08/forgive-us-our-trespasses-as-we-forgive-those.html

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

eternity-time[1]2 Peter 3:8-9

A Thousand Years

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  

We have reflected before on our lack of patience and our inability to experience life patiently and humbly. We have thought about how our need for immediate gratification causes us anxiety, narrowness and shortsightedness. The millennia seem like immovable objects. The universe is far too vast for us to take in and yet we persist in trying to shrink God’s view into our own narrow field of vision. We are willing to sacrifice immense love and eternal peace for a few immediate moments of independence.

The psalmist sings: Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.  Better the threshold of the house of my God than a home in the tents of the wicked.  (Psalm 84:10)

God says: My generosity is unlimited because my vision is so broad. My love is so deep because my hope reaches to the heights. My strength is unbounded because I take in all of time. The span of a human life is brief and yet you are precious to me. I want you to enter into my tent so that you might dwell in my heart. And yet if you are unwilling to spend time with me I am willing to wait. My patience is eternal. My endurance is unmatched. My love is all-encompassing. That is why I am able to wait for you to trust me. And although I would rather have you lodged well within my heart I am willing to wait. If you only enter my tent as far as the threshold I will wait for you . . . for thousands upon thousands of years.

We humans believe that we control and even manipulate time. Today we consider the magnitude and depth of God’s presence in our lives. And we imagine the new confidence we might find, the new energy we would have if only we might fully believe God’s promise.


Image from: http://theosophical.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/science-cannot-prove-the-universe-is-eternal/

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Los Angeles Times: 2019 Fire at Carquinez Bridge

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Wrath and Anger

Last Sunday was the twenty-fourth in Ordinary time and the themes from those readings continue to resonate within. Arriving in a time when we experience great medical, social, political, and ecological stress, we must be grateful for their teaching.

Sirach 27:30 to 28:7: We are accustomed to the advice that continues to serve us millennia after Jesus ben Sirach captures God’s inspired message. Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. This Old Testament admonition leads us to dualistic thinking that we are justified in exacting an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; but the New Testament readings balance the urge to seek revenge.

Romans 14:7-9: None of us lives for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. With New Testament thinking, we remember that each word we speak is our representation of God’s breath in creation. Each action we take is Christ’s hand among us. Each prayer we raise is a prayer of the Holy Spirit. How then can we foster hate and division? How can we seek revenge in anger? How can we hope and pray for another’s destruction?

Matthew 18:21-35 offers a way forward, a way to transform our human, childish wants into childlike trust in God. How often must we forgive? The parable of the unforgiving servant is a stark reminder that when we extend mercy, understanding, and forgiveness, we extend the hand of God. When we trust that God has a plan for all that seems incomprehensible, we think with the mind of Christ. And when we love with unending love, we love in the Spirit.

Psalm 103 offers us this final thought: The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion. Not according to our sins does God deal with us, nor does God requite us according to our crimes. God pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills, redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.

In a time when a best seller work of non-fiction bears the single-word title Rage, we need these readings. In a time when a pandemic continues to turn lives upside down, we need one another. In a time when forests burn and tempests rage, we must help one another. In a time when weapons speak before words, we must listen to one another. In a time when so many ask, “Where is your God”, we must live in faith and hope. In a time when words of wrath and anger are normalized in a world called to love, we must heal one another. For it is in our steadfast response to God’s call for patience and compassion that we are transformed.

Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. How often must we forgive? Not seven times, but seven times seventy-seven times. Jesus reminds us that we must interact with our enemies as our neighbors, for in so doing we help to save the world.


For more reflections on wrath, enter the word in the blog search bar and explore. 

The image of compassionate hands is from: https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/04/14/calm-amid-covid-compassion/

Click on the image to find videos in which “UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner discusses the benefits of compassion for others and ourselves.

The image and story of the fire at Carquinez Bridge are from a 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times. 

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-27/major-fire-breaks-out-at-carquinez-bridge-in-vallejo-interstate-80-closed

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

isa_55_10_11brd[1]2 Corinthians 4:7-15

A Prayer for Plotters and Schemers

We have spent time this week remembering that God turns harm into good, that God turns all plots on their heads, and that God is particularly close to the broken-hearted.  Rather than hate those who seek to harm us . . . let us pray for their conversion as we remember that . . .

We are afflicted in every way but not constrained . . .

Despite the pain and suffering we will survive when we remain in Christ.

We are perplexed but not driven to despair . . .

Despite the confusion and fog of oppression we will survive when we live in Christ.

We are persecuted but not abandoned . . .

Despite the trials and betrayals we will survive when we abide in Christ.

We are struck down but not destroyed . . .

Despite the plots and schemes of those who hate us we will survive when we pray in Christ.

We who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

Despite death and loss we will survive when we love in Christ.

Through the prophet Isaiah (55:11) God tells us: My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will.

These words settle over us and give us a framework for our own prayer work in these quiet weeks as summer begins and we remind ourselves that despite any plot against us we are called to repair and heal ourselves and others.  We are called to receive the gift of ourselves from God.  We are asked to share our gifts with others and to send back to God this gift of self in our words and works.

So let us join one another in our journey and pledge to hear this story and truly take it in to make it a part of our being.  Let us receive it with a willing heart and return it to God in prayer and thanksgiving.  May God’s word return not void but rather full of our willing acceptance of the life offered by God . . . full of our loving acceptance of God’s will . . . full of our hope that the potential God places in us will be fulfilled according to his plan.

And so we pray for those who plot and scheme against us . . .

Good and patient God, lend us your patience.

Good and gentle God, send us your counsel and wisdom.

Good and gracious God, hold us in the eternal knowledge that you will bend all plots and schemes to your holy will.

Amen.


Image from: http://pics7.this-pic.com/key/isaiah%2055%206%2010

Adapted from a reflection written on February 12, 2008.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Normand: Esther Denouncing Haman

Ernest Normand: Esther Denouncing Haman

Esther 9 – Reversal

Yesterday we reflected on how God foils perfect plots . . . today we examine the turning point in the story of Esther and look for clues about how we might expect the same reversal of evil when we place ourselves fully in God’s hands.

As humans we too often see or experience the hunting down and destroying of either an innocent or someone we believe “deserves what she gets”.  Regardless of guilt or blamelessness, the brutal pack mentality of an attack on another human being is something to be avoided and we must work at turning others away from this ugly thinking.  We may have been a peripheral or integral part of a plot to bring someone down and if this is the case then we must go to that victim to ask forgiveness.  Association with those whose goal it is to establish an us against them mentality is dangerous for it sets us on a path that descends into darkness.  Escape from these associations can be difficult and is always permeated with its own special fear; yet it is imperative that we escape because – as we see repeatedly in scripture and in life – God will always, later or sooner, reverse the plots that schemers have conjured in dark corners on their well-worn couches.

When the day arrived on which the order decreed by the king was to be carried out . . . on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to become masters of them, the situation was reversed: the Jews became masters of their enemies.

King Ahasuerus allows a great violence to erupt against Haman and his family and this is not the sort of outcome that the New Testament faithful will want to see.  What Christ-followers will ask for is that light penetrate the darkness, that hard hearts be softened, and that stiff necks begin to bend.  And so we pray . . .

Just yet merciful God, you give us the opportunity to ask for our enemies’ conversion, grant us also the charity to intercede on their behalf.

Gentle and beautiful God, you make each one of us in your loving image, make also in each of us the patience to wait for reversal at your hand. 

Strong yet gentle God, you bless us with the capacity to forgive, bless us always with your constant guidance and care for without you we are too easily led into the darkness.

Wonderful and awesome God, you surprise us constantly with your merciful justice, help us to see that in each of our calamities we might anticipate your sweet reversal.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Spend some time with these characters and the scripture citations and study the characters in this story.  What more do we see in this story that we might apply to our own lives?

Tomorrow, what ditches are we digging?


A re-post from June 10, 2013. 

To learn more about the feast of Purim, visit: https://www.jhi.pl/en/blog/2019-03-18-purim-the-festival-of-lots

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/the-old-testament/the-historical-books/esther-from-calamity-to-rejoicing/

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