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Posts Tagged ‘trust God’


Mark 14:1-2: The Plot

Bama da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Barna da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Thursday, September 1, 2022

And they plotted to do away with Jesus . . .

We have spent time thinking about what it must have taken to plot against a man who showed such compassion for the ill that he put his own life in jeopardy to heal them on the Sabbath. We have meditated on what it must be like to live in such fear that we annihilate one another in our attempt to survive, even to the point of wiping out the innocent. Today we turn again to a familiar refrain . . . the plot against Jesus . . . they were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death . . .

Some of the verses in the MAGNIFICAT Morning Psalm remind us of how we can allow ourselves to be twisted by evil when we stray too far from God.

Sin speaks to the sinner

In the depths of the heart.

There is no fear of the God

Before 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.

Psalm 36

If we do not want to become one who connives with others to bring about the end of those we distrust, we must first trust God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who conspires with others to bring about the end of those we dislike, we must first love God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who becomes lost forever in the plot we ourselves weave, we must first turn to God and willingly give up the tools of deceit and darkness – and then to ourselves . . . to step into the newness we are offered.


Image from: https://www.raydowning.com/blog/2020/3/19/holy-week-in-art-jesus-plots-to-betray-jesus

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT.10.9 (2010). Print.  

A favorite from September 10, 2010.

 

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Mark 8:11-13: The Demand for a Sign1765_Jesus-Man-of-Sorrows-628x416

Saturday, August 27, 2022

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

I am certain that Jesus sighs deeply in his spirit many times in a human day. And I am equally convinced that he smiles with our many little triumphs over self. His humanness wants to celebrate with us. His divinity wants to heal us. Despite all of the evidence we have before us of God’s constancy and love, we still do not trust God. We still ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

Luke 3:10-18 is a story of an encounter which John the Baptist had with the Jewish and pagan world.  He cautions the Jews that they must share what they have rather than hoard it for themselves.  He asks the tax collectors to cease cheating people.  And he reminds the soldiers that they ought to be content with the power they have and cease their grumbling. As Bishop Robert Morneau tells us in Daily Reflections for ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2009-2010 when he writes about this episode: Joy lies in perpetual gratitude.   The more we practice gratitude, the easier it is to live in trust and faith.  The more we live in trust and faith, the less need we have to ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

In Matthew 21:23-27, Jesus is asked by the chief priests and elders by whose authority he speaks. Jesus replies with a question – as he does frequently when he knows he is being baited. He asks who gave his cousin, John, the authority to baptize.  He wants to know: Was it of heavenly or human origin?  When they refuse to commit themselves, Jesus declines to answer their question. They had not really been looking for an answer. Are we always asking for an answer when we question or are we trying to control God in our lives?

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We humans question God continually. We want to know our next steps. We want to know the reasons, the origins, the causes and the effects. We are a bit afraid, or a bit too proud, to allow our sophisticated selves to experience wonder or mystery; and yet it is through the mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives each day that we are stirred to ask questions, to delve deep within, to step outside of ourselves.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We imagine that Christ sighs a great deal as he accompanies us in our journey toward him. We also imagine that he smiles a great deal as we learn to capitulate ourselves into the safety of his hands.


Image from: http://biblefeet.blogspot.com/2009/03/and-did-those-feetthe-meaning-of-feet.html

Adapted from a reflection written on December 14, 2009.

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John 19: Glory, Part X – Fans and Followers

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Carl Henrich Bloch: Christ on the Cross

Carl Henrich Bloch: Crucifixion

Today’s lesson on Glory: It is the quiet follower who lives in union with the shepherd while the boisterous fan will not hear the shepherd’s voice when it is crowded out by the jeering crowd. Yet, the loving shepherd continues to invite us all.

There is a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower.  While we may find it easy to cheerlead a message we long to communicate, it is something else entirely to live the message with great love. We like to gather with those of like minds to celebrate meaningful occasions but we shrink from sharing time and space with our enemies or even those with whom we may not agree on important issues. We listen to new stories that reinforce our already-formed ideas and turn away from information that will ask us to re-think or re-group. When Christ extends his offer of celebration we may find that our attendance requires work on our part – before, during and after the event. It requires that we trust God. It requires that we carry the Spirit so she may be easily identified. It may even require our willingness to take up a new cross that leads to crucifixion.

Fans appear for a special occasion and may even show up through a season but true followers are always present, willing to suffer persecution, slander, and even crucifixion. Fans hide when kangaroo courts form, put their hands out money appears and sidle up to cameras when fame is offered. Followers are not influenced by wealth or power; they are not turned by bribes or corruption. Followers continue in solidarity for strength and in prayer with God.

Carl Heinrich Bloch: In a Roam Osteria

Carl Heinrich Bloch: In a Roman Osteria

In John 19 we read that Jesus is mocked, beaten, humiliated, taunted, and made to carry the instrument which will help people to kill him.  In bowing to God’s plan and by suffering through this act of self-gift, Jesus offers us the opportunity to collaborate with him in our own redemption. Jesus invites us to spend time with him so that we will know the shepherd’s voice, hear the master’s footstep, and rejoice at the lover’s touch. Fans struggle to maintain their connection to this lover once the party turns into the passion of the crucifixion.  Fans slink away into the darkness when the lover calls to them and asks for their witness.  Fans go home once the party turns into something they do not control or do not like; they do not stay to pick up the leavings or to gather remnants into baskets for the poor. Fans have no way of experiencing the lasting joy of union because they have been practicing the art of separation; and yet despite all of this . . . Jesus continues to invite these fans to join him as followers. And for this we are grateful.

When we sit quietly for a few moments today to read this description of Christ’s passion and ultimate descent from the cross, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves these questions: Where and how do we see ourselves in the life of Christ? And how do we imitate this one who deserves not our overt fanaticism . . . but our quiet, persistent, and faithful following?


Carl Heinrich Bloch: Woman at the Well

Carl Heinrich Bloch: Woman at the Well

Use a search engine to find more images of the work of Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch as we reflect on the fans and followers of Jesus, or visit the slide show at: http://www.carlbloch.org/slideshow.html 

Adapted from a reflection written on June 5 and 6, 2008.

Images from: http://www.carlbloch.org/Woman-at-the-Well.html

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2 Corinthians 12:6-10: Power Made Perfect in Weakness

girl power...it was rolling down the hill, she stopped it, I grabbed the camera, what can I say?

Friday, July 15, 2022

Here today we see the words which are so familiar to us that perhaps they cease to penetrate our consciousness. Yes, yes, we say as we nod and read, I know what this means because I have heard this before. But here it is anew for us to examine again.

What perfection does God ask of us? God asks for our persistence and our willingness to become weak in Christ.

Reading the footnotes helps us to understand that our full potential is realized through suffering and that the transformation which Jesus models for us is both individual and apostolic. It is the potential which God has planted in us. It is the fullness the Spirit expects of us. This transformation will take place when we strive for it, and will occur in others all the more quickly when we take this redemptive message to them through our action in Christ.

As we struggle to become ever better and ever more faithful servants, this transformation becomes visible and even audible in all of creation that surrounds us. As we open ourselves to the will of God, we become weak so that the strength of Christ may enter into us.  By becoming small in our ego, we make room for Christ to become one with us.  By giving over our petty worldly power to an unending, perfect and intimate union and communion with God, we become one with the Spirit.  How easy all this all is, if we only trust God.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 10, 2007.

For a better understanding of how we become strong in our weakness, visit the Mystery of Wisdom reflections posted in The Noontimes by using the blog search bar. 

Image from: http://25inchange.org/is-showing-weakness-strength-or-weakness-itself/

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Isaiah 42:16: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIIheart-path

Thursday, July 7, 2022

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know . . .

God says: Never doubt that I am with you.

In paths they do not know I will guide them . . .

God says: I know that anxiety and fear too often govern you.

I will make darkness into light before them . . .

God says: Believe it or not, I love you and will not let you go astray.

And rugged places into plains . . .

God says: What look like insurmountable obstacles are opportunities to draw close to me.

These are the things I will do . . .

God says: I always keep my promises. This trust I ask of you may at first seem foolish, but in the eternity of my wisdom it is prudent and wise.

 And I will not leave them undone . . .

God says: Of this you can be certain. This is the mystery of wisdom. Trust it, and you will flourish.

Tomorrow, wisdom from Jesus.


Use the scripture link to explore this verse in other versions of the Bible. Or enter the words God’s promises or trust into the blog search bar and reflect on the mystery of wisdom and promises.

Click on the image above for another reflection on Isaiah 42:16

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Matthew 6:16-18: True Fasting . . . True Hopewhats-the-point-of-fasting

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The prophet Isaiah (58) describes the hope that arrives when we practice fasting as Jesus describes it.  When we fast, our physical hunger not only unites us with those who are marginalized, it will also – if we so allow – remind us of the hunger we feel as we seek God, immortality, serenity, joy and peace.  These are the gifts we are already given by God yet we so often do not see them.  We feel alone as so beautifully expressed in verse 3: Why do we fast and you do not see it?  Afflict ourselves and you take no note of it?  Why this aloneness?  Because we have forgotten to turn and return. God is present and waiting, it is we who forget to turn to God.  We have forgotten the simple law of love brought to us by the Christ.  Isaiah himself explains our estrangement in chapter 59: we have erected barriers, isolated ourselves, made little groups and cliques of exclusion. The peace we eagerly seek can be found only in unity, in remaining open rather than closed, in remaining ready for union rather than separation, in remaining ready for the broad and all-encompassing hope of Christ rather than our own small dreams.

We cannot know or understand God’s plan but we can trust God’s wisdom and love. We cannot calculate the complication of ways in which God’s plan will be fulfilled with or without our participation, but we can believe that God’s plan will arrive as best for all.  The problem with God’s apparent silence is not God.  It is ourselves. The Lord has called diverse people to himself, and in the approach we shuffle and bump against one another.  Sometimes we find ourselves walking alongside people who do not share our views or our understanding of The Word, and in our crowded lives we think we are alone. Yet, God is always abiding.  We have only to open our eyes and ears.  We have only to seek intercession for those who obstruct our way.  We have only to trust.  We have only to reflect, to meditate, to fast and to pray.  We have only to open ourselves to the newness of life, to new possibilities for more Easter miracles, to the acceptance of gifts already given.  We have only to empty self and receive this knowing, this sublime gift, this Jesus Christ. As we make our hearts ready to receive the gift of resurrection and redemption offered by Christ, let us acknowledge that in Christ, the time of fulfillment of dreams is here. The time for outrageous hope is already upon us. The time for newness is now.

Tomorrow, our treasure, our hearts, our God.


Image from: http://cureeczemaslowly.com/3-day-water-fasting-experiment-journal/

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Genesis 1:1-5: The First Day

Dawn from the International Space Station

Dawn from the International Space Station

Thursday, March 3, 2022

In the beginning great darkness covered the wasteland . . . In the sterile or futile moments in our lives we remember that God creates great beauty out of desolation. During our Lenten journey, let us offer the darkness and wilderness days of our passage to God for conversion.

A mighty wind swept over the waters . . . In the empty or fruitless moments in our lives we remember that God brings light and life out of nothingness and despair. During our Lenten sojourn, let us offer any emptiness of our days to God for healing.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed – the first day. In the confusion or turbulent moments in our lives we remember that God brings order out of chaos. During our Lenten pilgrimage, let us offer any misunderstandings in our days to God for transformation.

John, the Beloved Apostle, reminds us that: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) Let us trust the One who has always been and will always be. Let us trust the One who creates and loves. Let us trust the One who accompanies and heals, guides and protects. Let us place all our trust in this One.

Today we gather all the trials and difficulties we experience and we hand them all over to the One who brings light out of nothing, order out of chaos, energy out of weariness and fullness out of nothing. On this first day of our Lenten passage, we offer all to the One who is worthy of our trust. And so, we pray,

Good and powerful God, you bring all darkness to light; bring us also to your truth.

Good and gentle God, you bring all injury to healing; bring us also your comfort.

Good and gracious God, you bring all disorder into your plan; bring us also into union with your loving heart. Amen.


For more images of the world’s best view of sunrise, click on the image above or visit: http://article.wn.com/view/2012/05/28/The_worlds_best_view_of_sunrise_Space_Station_astronaut_snap/

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fruit_of_vineThursday, September 16, 2021

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Seen and Unseen

If only we might remember Paul’s words when we are overwhelmed. If only we might trust in God’s plan for us.

We are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

If only we might recall that we are all souls that join in Christ’s body and that Christ is the vine while we are the branches. If only we might join God in outrageous hope by asking for the impossible.

For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen . . .

If only we might take a moment to pause and relax rather than launch into reaction before thinking. If only we might allow God’s wisdom to settle into our bones.

For what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.

If only we might hold on to the promise God places before us that redemption is eternal, that hope is infinite, and that God’s love knows no bounds. If only we might be open to God’s amazing grace.

Much of Jeremiah’s audience looked for all that was seen while only a few loyal followers saw the eternal meaning in God’s words as delivered by this prophet. Today we have the choice clearly before us. If only we might share with God all that is unseen each day in our lives.  If only . . .


Enter the words 2 Corinthians in the blog search bar to see what else St. Paul might tell us about what is seen and unseen.

Compare several versions of this citation by clicking on the scripture link above, or choose other versions from the drop down menus on the scripture site . . . and listen for God’s word to us that has previously gone unheard.

Image from: http://www.themooresonline.org/blog/journal-thoughts-vine-branches/02

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Tibetan Nomads

Tibetan Nomads

Jeremiah 35

Wayfarers

Build no house and sow no seed; neither plant nor own a vineyard. You shall dwell in tents all your life, so that you may live long on the earth where you are wayfarers.

Many of us in the developed world live a life of storing up and putting away, of saving for an emergency or the unexpected event. When we read today’s Noontime verses we have the opportunity to assess our level of trust in the creator who knows every detail about us, of our willingness to follow Christ who knows each strength and weakness within us, of our openness to the Spirit who dwells in the heart of each of us to cure, to heal and to console.

We might take this opportunity today to examine our readiness to trust God more than possessions or status. We might also open our minds to the possibility that in many ways we are called to be wayfarers.

God says: I do not ask that you free yourself of your shelter and your stores; rather, I ask that you share them with those who have nothing. I do not ask that you rely on others to provide for your welfare when I have given you gifts with which you might care for yourself and those who live on the margins of your busy life. I ask that you consider your relationships with others in your life as valuable pearls of great price. You are created a social creature and I ask that even your smallest interactions and the briefest of encounters be held as sacred moments in which you meet me. I do not ask that you live as nomads with no purpose or mission; rather, I ask that you put down willing roots into the soil of my kingdom. For there you will flourish and bear fruit in my name. There you will journey with me to experience the mystery and gift and surprise of new life in me. And you will discover the plans for peace that I have in mind for you. You will celebrate with timbrel and dance and tambourine. You will sing and cry and laugh with me. And you will realize just how great my love is for you.

As we reflect on Jeremiah and the Rechabites, let us consider what we store up, what we share, and what we love. Let us consider our life as a wayfarer in God’s kingdom.


To learn about Tibetan nomads, click on the image above or visit: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/tibetan-nomads.html

For more on Jeremiah 35, enter the words Taking Correction into the blog search bar and explore.

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