Lenten Contemplations

 Day Four - Saturday

And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."  Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you harbor evil thoughts?  Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."  He rose and went home.  When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings."

Matthew 9:2-8 - The New American Bible

There are moments in our lives when fear comes to our psyche and challenges our beliefs attempting to negate what we hold as truth.  For a period of time we may be built up with confidence, ready to conquer, then, without notice, we hear those ideas, or as some call them - voices, which start picking apart our efforts.  The result is the stinging on our consciousness that perhaps we are wrong; perhaps we should go back to old ways and forget about the progress we are making.  This is why they call it, "the devil's advocate" - the voice that seeks to keep you from success.  The voice that seeks to snare. The voice that challenges your authority from God.                   

But on our path with Jesus as our teacher we know he is our salvation.  We know, through his works in our lives, and through what he teaches, that he is the master physician for all our dilemmas, whether they be emotional, physical or of the soul - spiritual.   

The beautiful thing about Christ is that he chose those with dilemmas, or imperfections, to follow, learn and to teach the truth, the way and the light.  Matthew, who Jesus chose as an apostle, was a tax collector.  In those times tax collectors were considered lowly as they were enforcing the monetary laws of Rome upon the people of Israel and many considered this an infringement upon their rights - taking advantage of both the poor and rich - in effect, a form of theft.  So Matthew wasn't necessarily considered an honored man of spiritual respect when Christ found him.  Both Matthew and the company Christ chose to keep were criticized by the Pharisees,

"While he  was at the table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.  The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'  I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Matthew 9:10-13 - The New American Bible

So when those ideas of unworthiness or inability attempts to stop me from moving forward on my path I recall the words and teachings of our Lord Jesus - who loves us dearly - and I rebuke in his name.  For it is he who taught us that we have authority in his name and it is he who has shown his authority in my life over and over again.  
  Day Five - Sunday (The First Sunday of Lent)

Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but
believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.  When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions."

Mark 11:23-26 - The New American Bible



If we listen to what Jesus is teaching us in the above parable, we realize he is telling us we have authority over our lives.  He is teaching that through prayer to our heavenly Father, with belief, our prayers will be answered and it is only through our lack of faith that we do not receive answers to our prayers.

When you look deeply at the parable you realize he is not instructing you to go out and command things which you have no control over, things which God has control over.  He is teaching that our mountains are our obstacles in life.  Our limiting thoughts and negative beliefs about our life situations - the mountains - they are our challenges.  We can climb these mountains and move over them if we speak not about them, but rather command and rebuke the blocks they represent.

And if we think that he is not answering us, perhaps we are asking for the wrong things.  Our Father will not give to us that which will not help us or that which we don't need.  He will only answer prayers that are in alignment with His truth and His promises.   He is a God of his word and his word is Holy.  If you are asking for unholiness, you will not receive it from him. 


Often in life we are confronted with our own imposed limitations.  Our inner speech and our spoken words can cause us to stumble while on our paths to attaining God's will for our lives.

We are asked to respect and recognize that he does know what we need and when we need it.  We should approach the Father with great patience, humbleness of heart, and gratitude.  And when it seems as if something isn't being answered, we should ask him to help us to know why.  Perhaps then our mountains will begin moving and we can continue to ride the wave in pleasure, joy, awe and appreciation.

 Day Six - Monday
One of the main dedications of my lenten mission is to pray for the emancipation of the enslaved.  Yes, I know, slaves were freed years ago, however that's just a legal freedom - it doesn't mean it isn't happening and who it is happening to isn't limited to the human being.

I hear and read stories - horrible, frightening stories - of those living in oppression; those who are stolen from their homes; those who are sold into a very dark market of sexual slavery where they are drugged and sold to the diabolical who wish to "own" a human for their own satiation.  Men, women, children - stolen, harbored and sold into a fate none of us could imagine nor would want to imagine. 

Yet they live in this darkness.  Some are held in cages, in caves, or abandoned buildings and dirty chop shops, drugged up, waiting in horror to be thrown onto a dirty surgical table and have their organs removed while they are still alive.  These organs in turn go onto the black market and are sold for top dollar and ironically - their organs save lives.  One life saved, another life destroyed.  And man thinks he has the right to take what is not his and profit. 

Then there are the girls, young and old, who have found themselves in a lifestyle they may not necessarily have chosen.   They are prostituted by men who think they own them.  They are beaten and drugged into submission --- the fear of the beating keeps them in line and of course the drugs are used to continue the stupor of fear.  These girls, not knowing who they are anymore, are kept  in apartment buildings, massage parlors or strip clubs and sold for an evening of pleasure to those who know nothing of discernment of any kind.  They live like this until a buyer comes along.  The buyer, in his great wealth and power, chooses his woman in an auction-style bidding and names a price.  The woman, so drugged up, cannot stand without assistance.  She doesn't even know her name.  She is lost in darkness, but this is still attractive to the buyer.  She's been used, beaten, raped repeatedly and now will fall into the arms of her final assailant.  Meanwhile her family, if she has one and if they care, are spending time and money to find their missing child.  They probably will never see her again.

And of course, there's the children.  Children used for others profits.  Children in India are used by the same type of pimp, but solely for monetary gain.  These children are used for begging.  The pimp cuts their eye out, or perhaps cuts off one of their hands, or a foot, to disable the child, this creates sympathy from his market.  So the child can now go on the streets and beg, but will yield a higher dollar amount because of their disability - the visual of the disability wears on the compassion of the passerby, who in turn gives them money.  And of course, children are sold into sexual slavery for the pedaphiles who have sexual appetites for the very young.

And last -  the factory farmed animals.  Who would think about an animal's oppression?  Who would consider the hell our factory farmed animals endure?  Who wants to know about it when you're biting into that hamburger?  Well perhaps we all would want to know if we truly understood and knew what these animals endure and just how contaminated their bodies are and the illness it can create not only in our bodies, but our psyche. 

First,  factory farmed animals don't get movement.  That is not to be considered.  They are clumped into unclean, tight living quarters that are riddled with feces and the dead animals who don't survive this brutal farming,  The stall or cubicle they, (cows, pigs, live in are essentially the length and width of their bodies --- this means that whatever they eat on one end comes out the other and it's all in the same place.  They are abused by the workers who must have become desensitized as they beat these animals, stomp on them, cut them without pain killers - things like cutting a hens beak of to avoid pecking one another from overcrowded living conditions.  Or cutting the tails and genitals off a piglet and nail gunning a nail through the pigs snout - just to mention a few of the processes involved in factory farming

They are fed GMO food that is so toxic they become ill.  They have massive tumors growing externally on their bodies; hemorrhages that when your eyes see them you shudder in outright disgust and pain as you realize how much pain these animals must endure.  They are fed such unhealthy food, that they have to put antibiotics into the feed to keep them alive, not healthy, just alive. 

They stand all day and essentially have no room to lay, although they manage when fatigued enough, to work themselves to the ground.  The food given unto to them is thrown on them by the workers who are screaming their hatred at the animals.  Since the animals can't move to eat they eat what is lying on the floor, that includes their feces.  In some factory farms, water is not necessarily an option either, it's a limited provision. 

The farm factories harbor dead animals.  The live ones live atop them.  The live animals scream in pain.  Little piglets get thrown with great force by their tails across the room, just for fun.  Chickens get stomped on while heavy metal music plays to mask the sound of the screaming chickens. They live thousands in massive hangars, not grazing outdoors, but indoors, with not much room to move.  In some factories, they don't get cleaned out, so the chickens end up walking among the dead and they too have cancerous tumors and are fed antibiotics and corn to make them fat. 

Hens get crammed into 12 x12 inch cage, approximately 12 hens to a cage, and get to spend 2 years in this environment.  Many are trapped by the cage doors and hinges and their feet are caught in between the cage wires.  And since no one checks on them and maintains these cages, they spend the rest of their lives snared.  And when they die, well they just rot and eventually, a worker may come along and clean it up. 

And the cows


The abuse is similar and they usually end up crippled.  There's no nutrition in the corn and antibiotic blend of food they feed them so they get really fat, really fast.  Just like the chickens and pigs, their organs don't develop and yet they are fat because corn does not digest and provides very little nutrition.  So they are force fed this "feed" and they are crippled because their muscles haven't developed so they can't stand. They too are sold at auctions, and the ones that can't walk are shocked with a cattle prod to move them, so they attempt to stand, collapse and try to crawl.  The cow has been fed so many antibiotics that the meat is actually white, so they dye it.  The same with the eggs from the hens, the yolks aren't yellow so they add an additive in the feed to turn the yolks yellowish.

In the Old Testament, the Lord commanded that the animal to be slaughtered be laid down, peaceful and unaware that it was to be slaughtered.  We were instructed to use compassion, sympathy, empathy, gratitude and expediency.  I think about this and I know from many hunters that it's very important when you kill an animal you shoot them in the heart, directly - the first time.  This causes the animal to die instantly.  If you miss, the animal flees in fear and adrenaline runs through the body of the animal and it spoils the meat.  I won't go into detail, but the slaughtering techniques of factory farming are far from creating a peaceful environment - it's more like a brutal slaying.  It's supposed to be humane, however it unfortunately is so inhumane it frightens one to watch it. 

I could list so many abuses, like horses and dogs being subjected to the slaughter and sold to other countries that don't consider it taboo to eat them, but that's not the purpose here, I have another forum dedicated to these issues.  What is at stake is that the factory farm workers, like the animals are sick.  They complain of respiratory conditions, they have skin rashes and find themselves nauseous.  In other words, enslavement spreads, it's a disease.  Cruelty spreads, it's a disease and it's among us.  And this disease takes on many new forms when these actions are overlooked by our eyes as we bite into the flesh of a factory farmed animal. 

Our modern world is experimenting with genetics.  Scientist's are cloning animals and those are in the food supply.  Scientists are crossing the genes of one species with the genes of another and potentially modifying human beings.  And, another form of stem cell experimentation has led to legislation being introduced in Oklahoma to stop the use of stem cells and flesh from aborted fetus' in our food supply to make it taste better.  While this process is being investigated, it's scary to think it even came up as an issue.  

So what are we doing by thinking it's OK to do these things?  Is it OK?   

Oppression and slavery take on many forms in life - whether you are the oppressor or the oppressed.  The oppressed experiences the pain and suffering of abuse inflicted upon them for no reasons except to satisfy their oppressors will - the will to control.  But in reverse, the oppressor is enduring much suffering and pain from the abuse they are afflicting.  For while they do not recognize their agony in the present moment, their soul awaits the inevitable judgement upon it and this is a suffering perhaps none of us would want to encounter.  Cruelty is cruelty - regardless if it's human or animal.

Lent is an interesting time, for while you are giving up things to better yourself, as you evolve through Lenten pilgrimages, you find you're no longer as concerned about yourself as you are for others and the world where you live.  Your compassion expands as does your consciousness and you find at one point in life, that the behavior you gave up for Lent, or the food, or the desires - are no longer a part of your experience. 


 He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'  And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Matthew 25:45-46 - The New American Bible





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