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Posts Tagged ‘sacred heart’


Proverbs 16: Plans of the Heart – A Reprise 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Today, as we journey through Proverbs, we reprise a post from several years ago in which we see that . . . Everything Belongs.

Man may make plans in his heart, but what the tongue utters is from the Lord.  All the ways of man may be pure in his own eyes, but it is the Lord who proves the spirit.  Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.  The Lord has made everything for his own ends, even the wicked for the evil day . . . In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.

Humans have a fertile imagination; and weaving a story about ourselves is part of what we do as we form our self-concept.  We are often anxious about the future:  What am I to do?  Where am I to go?  What am I to say?  How am I to act?  We may worry about the past:  Why was I so blind?  How did I miss what they were saying?  And all the time we worry . . . we are missing the blessed present . . . with its opportunity to open our hearts to God’s economy.  The writer of Proverbs reminds us that the best plans are those guided by God.  Trusting in divine providence is so very difficult . . . yet so essential to serene living.

Better a little with virtue, than a large income with injustice . . . How much better to acquire wisdom than gold!  To acquire understanding is more desirable than silver . . . A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city.

Wisdom is our best instructor.  Living a life characterized by prudence and temperance is difficult in a society which values the supersize in everything.  It is easy to overdo: too much food, too much drink, too much money spent on heat or air conditioning, too much television, too many movies, too many books, too many people making claims on our time, too much aloneness, too much neglect, too much fuss.  Is there such a thing as too much justice?  Too much hope?  Too much faith or hope?  Too much love?  Finding moderation and balance is a challenge; but our model is the Christ, who interchanged periods of heavy activity with times of prayer and retreat . . . leaving his sacred heart open to God’s plan.

By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by fear [love] of the Lord man avoids evil.

It is never too late to be open to a conversion of the heart.  There is always time to enter through the narrow gate, to step onto the narrow road, to sow peace rather than discord.  It is never too late to open the door and windows of the mind . . . to allow the master planner to enter the heart . . .  to move us through our days . . . to guide us in our thoughts . . . to thaw our stiffened necks . . . to melt our hardened hearts.

Let us vow today to open ourselves . . . to the mind of God . . . that we might receive our plans from God’s own sacred heart.

 

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Proverbs 6:12-35 and 7: Something Nasty

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God is perfectly aware that not all creatures understand the goodness and generosity of creation’s gift. Having that in mind, the writer of Proverbs reminds us that the riffraff and rascals who plot and scheme will always – in God’s time and in God’s economy – wind up suffering the consequences of the chaos they plot against others. In a literary context, we refer to this as irony, the end of the twisting plot twisting back on the antagonist. We often believe that in reality the outcome is different: he who plots and schemes becomes rich and powerful; she who plots against the innocent escapes destiny’s karma.

Riffraff and rascals
    talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
    they cross their fingers behind their backs.

If we live in a timeline of the physical world, we might see ourselves as correct in thinking that the spiritual world holds out false hope. When we live in God’s eternal time, we find that we have misunderstood God’s plan for the kingdom. When we ignore God’s time and plan, we find that we have become like the riffraff and rascals we deplore. We have given in to something nasty. We will have rejected the advice of Proverbs that the final total smashup will arrive at our door, and we will become the hypocrites who cross our fingers behind our backs.

Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
    always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
    a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.

In the following verses, we hear about human actions that induce God’s ire; these items are laid out clearly. Various translations present differing translations but this interesting list is always the same, a litany of easy signs that we might look for in our own daily actions.

  • A proud look.
  • A lying tongue.
  • Hands that kill innocent people,
  • A mind that thinks up wicked plans.
  • Feet that hurry off to do evil.
  • A witness who tells one lie after another.
  • And someone who stirs up trouble among friends.

As Easter People, we share the Good News Jesus brings to creation that God’s merciful patience and generosity are always waiting in hope to redeem us. God’s persistence and wisdom are always presenting in faith new lessons for us to learn. God’s justice and consolation are always bringing us new opportunities to love as God loves.

The final verses of this chapter reprise the hazards of adultery and we might wonder why the writer brings this theme to us again. Besides the obvious danger of wanton men and women, might we also need be wary of addiction to lusting after power, wealth and fame? Might we need another practical warning to steer clear of riffraff and rascals lest we becomes one of those who ignore God’s call away from something nasty?

Even so, when the dust settles, we find that despite our recalcitrance, despite our rejection of truth, despite our haughtiness and ego-driven behavior, God’s compassion is awaiting us with Christ’s open and holy love. We are invited today to become one with that sacred heart.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to find different versions of these verses, we explore God’s transparent plan for our good, and the good of all creation.  

The original definition of hypocrite is “actor”. (See Merriam-Webster at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/hypocrite-meaning-origin) For interesting thoughts on hypocrisy, click the image of masks above. 

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Luke 21:5-6Destruction of the TempleGods-own-heart

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Yesterday we reflected on the idea that Jesus replaces the Jerusalem Temple, and that Jesus invites us to be stones in this temple.  He describes the coming destruction of this house where God abides; but although they have ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts to comprehend and live this message, the people do not understand what Jesus tells them.

Nor do we.

Each time we focus on our own needs and fears rather than placing faith in the Creator, we have ears but do not hear.

Each time we lust after our own outcomes rather than the hope delivered to us by the Redeemer, we have eyes but do not see.

Each time we sink into revenge rather than rise in petition for our persecutors, we have hearts but do not love.

Each time we gnash our teeth and pull out our hair about what we perceive as a stone in our path, we reject the nurturing care of the Holy Spirit.

From yesterday’s Noontime Reflection:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple?

Do you not know that God’s spirit lives in you? 

You are not your own.

You were bought at a price. 

You too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  

And so we pray.

Good and great and wonderful God, guide us in understanding that we are a diverse people with diverse views and diverse voices coming together in your everlasting sacred heart.  Help us to see that the new temple rises from the lessons learned in the destruction of the old. Walk with us as we go up to the New Jerusalem knowing that we are gifts to one another and to you, knowing that we are a collection of pearls purchased at a great price by Christ, believing that we are not our own, living in your Spirit of grace, and peace and joy. We ask this of you today and all days. Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on September 11, 2008.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

light-under-door-300x225[1]Psalm 32:5

Admission

At last I admitted to you that I had sinned; no longer concealed my guilt, I said, “I will go to Yahweh and confess my fault.  And you, you have forgiven the wrong I did, have pardoned my sin.

When we are in the wrong we sense that a huge ogre stands outside our door if we even begin to admit that we have erred.  And when we finally open the door of the soul to enter into an honest conversation with God we find that the imagined ogre is less than an inch in height.  We have been held hostage by our own imaginings that festered in the dark silence of our troubled hearts.

heart-of-god[1]God says: Do you see why I have been calling at your closed door for so long into the night?  I want to bring you out of the corner in which you have been crouching.  Your sins are never too great for me to forgive.  Your transgressions are always smaller than the love with which I heal.  Do you know that the conversation I am waiting to have with you will bring you more joy than pain?  Do you remember that my prophet Jeremiah has told you that I have plans for you, plans for your joy and not woe?  Do you recall that my prophet Isaiah predicted that I would walk among you as the light?  Do you not hear my voice on the other side of that closed door – the voice that encourages you?  Do you not feel the love I send to you through the closed thickness that separates us?  Open the door.  Answer my call.  And allow me to fold you in to the immense love of my sacred heart.

We say that we seek God when all the while God is seeking us.  We say that we look for serenity when all the while God offers us peace.  We say that we have nothing to confess when all the while our troubled thoughts weigh heavily on our hearts and minds and souls.  And all the while . . . God awaits our simple admission with a healing touch and a generous heart.

Enter the words sacred heart, forgiveness, or God’s love into the blog search bar and explore the many ways God persists in calling us to union.

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