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Posts Tagged ‘trust’


Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 39:15-18: A Gesture of Comfort

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Even among the twists and turns in the tangled web of intrigue which surround Jeremiah’s life, this prophet remains true to his God.  Both his words and actions reveal his total devotion to the Lord, and his life – like the flight of a well-aimed arrow – arcs through turbulent history to blaze a path as safe passageway for the faithful to follow.  No one, after reading this man’s story, can say that their burden is too weighty to carry.  Anyone can see – from Jeremiah’s story – that tragedy and loss are not always a bad thing.  We frequently find redemption in the ashes of failure.  But we must be open to the belief that all is possible through God.  We must demonstrate trust.

Today finds us at a point in Jeremiah’s story where he is rewarded by the invaders for maintaining his fidelity to God.  In the midst of horror comes a gesture of comfort.  Horrible events spin around Jeremiah.  The king and his sons have been captured by Nebuchadnezzar’s troops.  Zedekiah’s eyes have been put out, his sons have been executed.  The palace has been burned; the walls of the city are demolished; the deportation to Babylon has begun.  Jeremiah will be given permission to live where he likes – with the exiled or with the remnant.  A time of respite is upon him.

We do not know precisely where or how or when Jeremiah eventually dies; but one thing we know for certain is that he will remain as true to his God in his end days as we see him today.  Jeremiah will be rescued as he is always rescued.

Although there are times when we sit in the mud of the cistern of life, we too, are always rescued.  A word of comfort pierces the darkness.  A gesture of healing staunches a bleeding wound.  The sign of peace arrives at our door.  We know we are blessed.

In these graced moments amid life’s battles, we might pause to give thanks for such a healing and loving God.  All God asks in payment is our trust.


Written on October 20, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on this prophet and his prophecy, see the Jeremiah – Person and Message page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/jeremiah-person-and-message/

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Luke 10:1-24: Serpents and Scorpions

Sunday, October 27, 2019

In the past few days at daily Mass we have been reading from the tenth Chapter of Luke’s Gospel; we have witnessed the sending forth of disciples by Jesus, and we have heard his words of counsel to these followers of The Way.  These words are not only for those who accompanied Christ in his journey; they are words for Christ’s twenty-first century followers.  They are words for us.

“I rely on you,” Jesus says to them . . . and to us: The harvest is abundant but the workers are few . . .

“The work will be dangerous,” Jesus tells them . . . and us: I am sending you like lambs among wolves . . .

“My followers must rely on the message of freedom and hope that I have given them to carry into the world,” Jesus reminds them . . . and us:  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals . . .

“You must not be deterred,” he says . . . and neither must we: Greet no one along the way . . .

“It is imperative to always operate from a perspective of peace,” Jesus reminds them . . . and us: Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household”.

“You are to remain focused on your work,” he says to them . . . and to us: Do not move around from one house to another . . .

“You will not be able to convert all who hear the message of salvation which you carry,” . . . and neither will we: Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, “The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shale off against you”.

Jesus warns his followers, “The rejection you will surely experience is your badge of honor,” . . . and it is to be ours: Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.

Jesus tells them, “You carry the Living Word with you” . . . and Jesus tells us: Whoever listens to you listens to me.

Jesus reminds his disciples, “I will protect you as you move about in this most dangerous of worlds,” . . . and Jesus also reminds us: Behold I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.

We humans worry about our physical safety more than we do our spiritual welfare.  We have this backwards.

We creatures of God spend great amounts of time and talent and energy amassing power and wealth rather than storing up treasures that are impervious to rot and decay.  We have this upside down.

We children of God turn to false, exterior gods too often rather than to the Living God who has given us life and who dwells within. We have this inside out.

As we read the work that Jesus has outlined we see that it is not a complicated plan he has in mind; but it is the reversal of that we have come to understand as powerful and lasting.  It is the inversion of the world as we experience it. And it is the only way to live cheek by jowl with the evil that we know exists.  Jesus does not promise to remove all obstacles from our path; rather he promises that our journey is the one that leads to honest happiness. He does not swear that he will make the way easy and smooth; rather, he swears that he will accompany us through the narrow gates of our passage.  Christ does not guarantee that we will find peace once we complete a prescribed checklist of tasks; rather, he guarantees that when we follow him we will experience a serenity that is everlasting.

We must not fear the snakes and scorpions we encounter as we step into our journey; rather, we must trust God’s message that even snakes and scorpions are subject to our will . . . when we follow this simple plan.


A re-post from October 6, 2012.

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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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Psalm 4: Joyful Confidence in God

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

This cannot be more simple, nor can it be more complicated.

As humans, there is only one thing required of us – that we trust God and allow God to move in our lives.

As humans, there is only one thing we wish to have for ourselves – control of all we and others say and do.

If only we might be as ardent in our following God as we are in our building up of our self defenses.

From the St. Joseph Psalter footnotes: Those who are well established in life delude themselves by seeking happiness in riches and worldly vanities.  The psalmist, rich in divine trust and joy, invites them to discover the price of God’s friendship: “the light of God’s face”.  This is an evening prayer (see verses 5 and 9), filled with desire for God; Christians move beyond its earthly perspectives.  Prayer brings openness of heart, assurance of God’s help, faith, divine approval, joy, and peace. 

The poor often have more confidence in God than the wealthy . . . because when there is no earthly place to fall back . . . we realize that there is only God.  The things of this world upon which we depend are only illusions.  We live in the dream that this world is real . . . even when we are told so often that this world is passing away.  Thinking in this way, we realize that our comfort may well get in the way of our spiritual development.

From the week-end intercessions in MAGNIFICAT.

When we waver, make us firm.

When we refuse to do your will, soften our hearts.

When we forget we are your children, bring us back to you.

Amen.


For some links to music which celebrates our joyful confidence, click on the image above or go to: https://todaysworship.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/todays-worship-dailyseptember-10-2012/

THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 30. Print.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 9.25 (2008). Print.

First written on September 29, 2008. Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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Romans 4:18-21: Being Prepared

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Last week-end when I was returning home after several days packed with more activity than reflection, I turned on the radio and the words of a sermon saluted me in the dark.  The voice spoke through the car speakers saying: Life is not about knowing and understanding what we are doing next, it is about being prepared.  The homilist then developed his theme by reminding his radio flock of the number of times that God leads people into greatness . . . without their full comprehension of how or when this plan God speaks of will unfold.  The radio voice then told a series of stories and it pointed out that this string of figures from scripture hold something in common: the protagonists are all prepared to receive the word . . . and to follow it in faith . . . hoping against hope . . . obeying, trusting  and loving God.

As I made my way home through the warm, falling darkness, the headlamps of my car were only lighting the winding way a hundred yards or so before me.  The night was creeping up behind and snugging in beside me; the light before me was fading fast.  And even though I was traveling a well-memorized route, I really had no idea of what lay ahead of me in the darkness the headlights did not pierce.  But the voice on the radio and the night beyond the car’s head beams drew me on.  The homilist reminded listeners that when God invites us to move to a new place he does not divulge the entire plan – this plan is too complex in the first place and knowledge of its entirety is not necessary in the second.  It is enough that we follow and enact God’s will as best we can.  That is all that is required of us.  God knows our strengths and weaknesses.  He did, after all, create us.

This always happens to me when I tell God that I think he has chosen an improper servant to do his work after he has sent me into the fray of life and I feel that I have come up short of God’s and my own expectations.  Without fail when I am feeling this way, I receive a clear signal that God well knows what he is doing . . . and that I must doubt God and myself less . . . and trust in God and myself more.  He delivered the message again on that beautiful dark night last week-end, and here he delivers it again through St. Paul in this recounting of Abraham and Sarah’s leap of faith.

I must devote myself to being more prepared in this life.  I must remember that with God all things are possible . . . and I must be prepared to answer God’s call, being fully aware that whatever God has promised he is able to perform.


Image from: http://www.turnbacktogod.com/pray-for-gods-servants/

Written on September 27, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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1 Kings 7: Building Palaces

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Herod’s Palace

What do my faerie castles look like?  How thick are the walls of the fortresses I build to keep the world out?  How many rooms do my palaces have?  What are the furnishings?  Whom do I bring home to my safe havens?  How do I spend the precious gifts of time and space that God has given to me?  Where, and when, and how and why do I construct my palaces?

Are these spaces and times meant to keep the world out or to invite the world in?  Have they become oases on the road of life or have they devolved into chaotic and jarring experiences?  Are they God-absent or God-centered?  Am I relying on myself, my skills as an architect and designer . . . or am I trusting God completely?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are not you more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?  Why are you anxious about clothes?  Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin.  But I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  (Matthew 6:26-30).

Why do we worry?  Why do we spend so much time building barriers when we ought to be disentangling ourselves from enabling relationships?  Ought not we spend more time bringing The Word to one another and building bridges?  Imagine a world in which we are free from anxiety and fear, a world in which we trust God completely with our needs. Does he not know them better than anyone else?  Ought we not to go to him for our shelter and our shade?  Why do we build so many palaces when God has a dwelling place already fashioned for us?

From last evening’s and this morning’s MAGNIFICAT intercessions:

God is our promised shelter and our shade.  To him we pray: Protect us from all harm.

In the midst of life’s tribulations, strengthen our hope in your promised kingdom.  Protect us from all harm.

In the midst of physical ailments, grant us trust in your healing power.  Protect us from all harm.

In the midst of worry and distress, send us peace of heart.  Protect us from all harm.

With trust in the love our heavenly Father has for us, we pray: You are our life, O Lord!

You care for the works of your hands: teach us to help and not to hinder your loving providence.  You are our life, O Lord!

 You feed and clothe all of your children: forgive us the greediness that seeks to deprive others for your own benefit.  You are our life, O Lord!

You provide for all the earth: grant us the wisdom to see and to serve your purposes.  You are our life, O Lord!

What need of we of palaces . . . when our God provides us all?


Written on August 26, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.  To learn more about ancient Jerusalem and Herod’s Palace, click on the image above or go to: http://www.biblestudyspace.com/page/herod-s-palace

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Psalm 121:3: The Dangerous Path

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Psalm 121:3: God will not let your foot slip and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.

Málaga, Spain: The World’s Most Dangerous Footpath

We panic too quickly.  We lack trust. We believe in our own futile powers more than God’s.  We forget that God has and is all.

God says: I do not mind that you are afraid to trust me.  I do not worry that you believe in yourself more than you believe in me.  I will always be waiting for you.  I will always be guarding you.  I will always be guiding and calling you.  There is nothing you can do or say that will cause me to turn away. I am with you always.  If you are exhausted, put down your head and sleep awhile.  If you are hungry, dine with me this evening.  If you are lonely, spend some time with me.  If you are sad or fearful, come to me. 

Let us be mindful that God does not break the promises he makes . . . and let us aim to keep our own promises.

Let us remember that God abides by the covenants into which he enters . . . and let us endeavor to remain faithful to our own vows.

Let us consider that God is the eternal shepherd and sentinel . . . and let us aspire to the same constancy and abiding love in our own relationships.

As we travel along today’s portion of our journey, let us consider that even the most treacherous path becomes an easy passage . . .  when we walk with God.


A re-post from July 24, 2012.

To learn more about the Caminito del Rey, or the world’s most dangerous footpath, click on the image above or go to: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6055150/The-worlds-most-dangerous-footpath.html 

To reflect on becoming a good shepherd, click on the image of the forest path or go to: http://skyranchskymoms.blogspot.com/2011/12/teach-intentionallygod-is-good-shepherd.html 

Enter the word fidelity into the search box on this blog and spend some time reflecting today.

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2 Chronicles 25: With A Whole Heart

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Commentary points out to us that king Amaziah is faithful to Yahweh and wins a campaign against Edom because of his fidelity; later he is the victim of assassination.  The Chronicler feels compelled to explain this good king’s reversal of fortune and explains it this way in verse two: He did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, though not wholeheartedly. 

We can never know the truth of the detail in the story of Amaziah; however, what we can do is to take to heart the warning of the writer that in all things we must be faithful . . . with a full and open heart.  Because God has created us and knows us so well, there is no point in trying to skirt issues or in attempting to hide parts of our history.  God knows all.

Psalm 139 is often cited as one in which the Psalmist expresses this idea of intimacy with God.

Lord, you have probed me, you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.

Nothing escapes God, not even our inmost thoughts.

My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.

Nothing escapes God, not even the experiences we try to keep secret.

Even when a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.

Nothing escapes God, not even any hidden meaning behind our words.

If I ascend to the heavens you are there; if I lie down in Sheol you are there, too. 

Nothing escapes God, not even our dreams and fears.

If I fly with the wings of dawn and light beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.

Nothing escapes God, not even our attempts to strike out on our own when we have planned our flight to the last detail.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.

Nothing escapes God, not the origin of our faults, not the origin of our gifts.

And perhaps this is why God loves us so.  God knows us as well as he  knows himself.  And we are created in God’s image to abide with him in eternity for eternity.   Is it possible to be so well loved?

A conspiracy forms against Amaziah; he flees but is pursued and hunted down.   How does his story speak to us today?   The Chronicler tells us that Amaziah’s heart is not true.  The Psalmist tells us that God reads our inmost being.  When we feel compelled to run, it is better to stay and remain in the Lord.  When we feel too ashamed to face a new day, we must rise and turn to the Lord.  When we feel too frightened to step into the world, we must take courage and trust the Lord.  When we feel too discouraged to open a new door, we must stay and hope in the Lord.  When we feel too angry to interact with those around us, we must stay and love the Lord . . . with a heart that is open, and honest, and full . . . and true.

Amen.


A re-post from May 8, 2012.

Images from: https://pastorcarolmora.wordpress.com/category/1/page/2/ and http://www.robstill.com/a-wholehearted-worshiping-community/

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Numbers 14:11-38: The Lord’s Sentence

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tissot: The Grapes of Canaan – The scouts return from the Promised Land

Written on April 22, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

In the Old Testament God measures out rewards and punishments and today’s reading is an example of this kind of relationship that humans have with the creator.  This is a story about trust, fidelity and awe (or fear) of the Lord.  Jesus and the New Testament tell us a broader story, one of forgiveness, compassion and love.

I do not believe that God really means to strike down his own people in this episode; rather, I believe that he gives his creatures the opportunity to enter into dialog with him and to speak on their own behalf.  What I like most about this story is first, the way that Moses steps up and speaks frankly with God and second, the way God responds in fairness.  It is easy to see that fidelity and trust are paramount in God’s kingdom.  These are qualities that bring Caleb and Joshua to the Promised Land.  They are also qualities that bring serenity to us today if we can only believe that God provides all that we will need in life.  And this is the sentence he delivers to each of us . . . God always gives us guarantee of mercy, forgiveness and love.


A re-post from March 13, 2012.

For more on the Book of Numbers, visit the Numbers – Arrangement of the Tribes page on The Book of Our Life tab on this blog.  Tomorrow we will reflect on the Israelite’s’ Unsuccessful Invasion.

Caleb and Joshua are interesting players in today’s story and for more information about this pair we might go to http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Story-of-Joshua-and-Caleb&id=19374

Visit The Stones Cry Out site to take a walk through the Bible.  Click on the link or the image above or go to: http://thestonescryout.com/the_bible/walk_through_the_bible

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