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Posts Tagged ‘Ten Commandments’


Exodus 40: Seek the Word

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Claiming the Word

I am thinking of how careful Moses is as he prepares a place for the Lord’s word to rest.  The tablets of the Ten Commandments are contained in the Ark of the Covenant along with a jar of manna that fed the Hebrews in the desert, and Aaron’s rod which blossomed and performed miracles in Egypt.  This special ark was adorned with gold and placed in a special tent, and the tent later became a temple. The children of Israel – led by Moses – took care to set aside these emblems of the covenant in a special place.  We too, are called to prepare the temple of ourselves in which the Holy Spirit might take up residence.  Several times in this chapter we read: Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded him.  We – like Moses – must prepare our hearts for the in-dwelling of God’s spirit just as God asks.

In his letters, St. Paul reminds us that our bodies are the New Testament temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19, Ephesians 2:21-22) replacing the temple in Jerusalem.  In Romans 10, Paul tells us where to find this word of God, and also how to claim it as our own: The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith, the faith which we preach, that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.  It is by believing with the heart that you are justified, and by making the declaration with your lips that you are saved. 

Belief that God creates, that Jesus saves and that the Holy Spirit comforts does not make us followers of Christ in and of itself; we must also proclaim this story to others with our own lips and our own actions.   Yet, even this declaring alone does not bring us into full participation in Christ’s body.  We must, as James tells us in his letter, be doers of the words and not sayers only.  (1:22-23) When we claim this word with our lips and hearts, and when we act on this word, we enter into full partnership with Christ.

The prophet Jeremiah predicted that there would come a day when the word of God would no longer be contained by tablets but would be written on our hearts (31:31), and it is with this writing that God claims us as his own.  It is this stepping forward on our part that designates us as the faithful.  We who come willingly and openly to sing God’s praise and to claim God’s word . . . also join our hearts with God’s.

A Favorite from November 23, 2009.

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Joshua 4: Memorial Stonesstanding stones

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We have reflected on the contents we will find when we open the ark of our lives before God.  Will we find stone tablets with God’s law written upon them, or will we see an open and softened heart converted by God’s love?  Will we find manna of God’s word that we have kept for ourselves but forgotten to share, or will that sustaining Word be present in our interactions with God’s people and all creation?  And will we find the staff of life, the rod of God’s miracles in our lives kept in darkness, or will we see that it blooms in all we think and say and do as a result of our intimate relationship with Jesus?  What will we have saved as treasures and tokens of God’s active presence in our lives?  Will we want to unpack and re-pack what we find?  Will we be content with the content of the ark of our life?

Today’s Noontime continues this story of God’s power and willingness to save.  The Israelites have for a second time crossed a rushing body of water that under normal conditions would have swept them away; and what we read about now is their eagerness to record the wonder of this event, how they respond to God’s request that memorial stones be set in place to commemorate the bond between God and this people. And they agree to make a kind of outward and long-lasting verification of their internal union.  The stones are there to this day.

When we mark the wondrous times of our lives, we must do so with reverence and joy; we must share the good news of our entering into holy relationship.  We must pass the commemorative stories on; and we must be willing to allow the marking stones of our story to remain forever as a sign of God’s goodness.  The stones are there to this day. 

We can choose to dwell in the sadness of our journey or we can decide to celebrate and recount the saving power of God.  We can curse the darkness in our lives or we can delight in the love we share with our Lord.  We can grumble that God has not answered our prayer exactly as we would have liked, or we can set up memorial stones in honor of God’s goodness.  The stones are there to this day.

stones-stack-940x360When we stand before our maker, what will we bring with us?  What symbols will mark the celebrations in our lives?  Will the stones we haul into the waters of the Jordan be meager and small, or will they take effort to move, symbolizing in their greatness the enormity of God’s justice and mercy?  Will the stones that we set on the hill for all to see be the ones that lie most convenient to our hands, or will they be ones that take great effort and cooperation with God’s plan to bring to the memorial site?  They are there to this day.

When we are called out of chaos into truth and integrity, how will we mark that day?  Where will we place our monument?  And how will we answer our God?  This is what we must decide today.

Adapted from a reflection written on September 12, 2009.

 

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

International-children's-day[1]The Interior Law – Part VI

Therefore, take these words of mine into your heart and soul.  Bind then at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead. 

We study Hammurabi’s Code; we memorize the Ten Commandments; we risk all that we have to create constitutions that guarantee security and liberty; we come together as nations to proclaim that children have universal rights; we preach our own set of laws each day in the way we interact with others.

Teach them to your children, speaking of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. 

UNICEFWe pass along the good and the bad, the graced and the terrible; we live our own Gospel as we go about our work and play.

And write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates, so that, as long as the heavens are above the earth, you and your children may live on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers he would give you.

It is a great irony that so much violence takes place in the name of God.  Let us consider these words today and determine to live an exterior life that enacts the love of God who lives within each of us.

For more on the UN Declaration of the Universal Rights of Children adopted in 1959, go to: https://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp

To learn more about UNICEF and corporate responsibility, or International Children’s Day, click on the images above or go to: http://www.unicef.org/csr/ or http://www.ecpat.net/news?page=1

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Thursday, January 17, 2013 – Deuteronomy 5 – Speaking with God

We have heard his voice from the midst of the fire and we have found out today that a man can still live after God has spoken with him.

Reubens: Teresa of Ávila

Reubens: Teresa of Ávila

Moses acts as mediator for the Chosen People because they believe that anyone who sees the face of God and hears his voice must live no more. This thinking changes when Jesus acts and moves among his people to heal their wounds and cure their anxieties.  This thinking is altered with Jesus’ death and resurrection.  This new idea of a God among us transforms our human fear if we only allow it.  Christ becomes our new arbiter with God, interceding for us with our petitions before the Father. 

Like the Hebrews, we also have the opportunity to hear the voice of God.  We might see his face in those who live as Christ asks; but perhaps like the Hebrews, we are a bit afraid to approach the Holy Presence to petition favor.  What we read today tells us that we need not dread God’s presence, and we need not hesitate to ask Jesus for his help . . . this is what he awaits – our realization that he loves us more than we can imagine.

Prayer is the best way to hear the voice of the Creator, Redeemer, and Consoler, and God has advice for us that is better than any offered by any human.   We may not have time for formal, liturgical prayer.  We may not feel comfortable in communal prayer.  We may find that individual prayer lacks direction and intensity.  However, whatever our condition or opinion regarding prayer, we must address all obstacles to it . . . for this is the only way to reach the serenity that God promises, the peace that Christ purchases, and the love that the Holy Spirit offers.

Today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation is taken from words of Teresa of Ávila regarding prayer.  The good that one who practices prayer possesses . . . is that in spite of any wrong they who practice prayer do, they must not abandon prayer since it is the means by which they remedy the situation; and to remedy it without prayer would be much more difficult.

This does not mean to say that those who pray each day have a magical entrée to God’s presence and favor; but what it does say to us is that people who pray daily have a place to take the stresses that come to bear on them as they maneuver their daily obstacle course . . . and that place is God. 

We might wish that God would show us a physical smoking presence with a loud booming voice as he does with the Hebrews in today’s reading . . . but would this be more helpful than that quiet voice which speaks to us from behind to which Isaiah refers in 30:21? 

We might wish we had stone tablets on which are written God’s words clearly . . . but is this more loving than God’s writing on our hearts as Jeremiah predicts in 31:33? 

Teresa of Ávila tells us that she trusts in God’s mercy and love; she perseveres in prayer through the dry times in order to maintain contact with this God of compassion and peace.  When we struggle with our own desire to know God intimately and to commune with him daily, we will know that we are not unique . . . for holy and saintly people have their doubts, their fears and their anxiety when they speak with God.  We can do no worse and no better than this then, to listen for the voice of God . . . a God who loves us in spite of any wrong we commit. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 28.5(2010): 385-386. Print.   

Written on May 28, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

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