Lenten Contemplations

 Day Seven - Tuesday 

Solutions - what are solutions to the things which concern us?  How do we know what choices to make and when?  In seeking answers to our problems, we often consult our families, friends or the ones we trust the most.  And all these people offer their bits of wisdom and advice based on their experiences and hopefully are wise and compassionate enough to relate to your condition.  But what about those times when no one can really offer advice - those times when an answer doesn't seem to be available? 

I found myself in this position - that no matter what anyone said to me - it was not the solution and this became frustrating and quite scary.  I met all kinds of people offering all kinds of insights yet none of them were my answer.  

I would meditate, but all I would hear was quotes of "experts" who claimed the simplicity of an answer, but this just created more confusion.  It was when all seemed lost, especially me, that I found myself parked outside my church late in the evening, with tears rolling down my cheeks, looking at St. Jude, and desperately asking, "What do I do?"

What began next was a series of events that led me to the answer(s), however, it didn't occur overnight, in one day, one month, one year.  No, the answer happened over a long period of time.  In fact, those answers are still coming.  What I learned, with great maturation of my spiritual self, was the Word of God.  Throughout my life I attended church, I went to Catholic school and did the sacraments, however, what I was missing was a firm grasp and understanding of the Word.  I would read the bible and yet it didn't make much sense.  It wasn't until a moment of fear of losing all that I held dear in my heart, that I could begin to read His word and begin to understand His meaning. 

It was strange, like a light turned on and I started to comprehend the deeper meanings of the stories in the bible.  I spent three years reading the bible, cover to cover and I asked so many questions and I received so much insight.  I chose to take my time with His word and with the lessons.  I learned that all the other spiritual books I had delved into throughout my life, from various philosophies to christian science and new age; I studied cultures and their beliefs and mores and customs - always searching for this truth - and what I discovered is that all of them, rooted back to the Master.  They took his words from the bible, rearranged them to fit their discourse and never credited the source. 

I leaned what authority is, and I learned that Christ is the authority.  I was shown in the natural, very supernatural truths and I cherish these lessons.  For what it did for me internally, spiritually, was take me out of this void that I am in control of all things - because this is a lie.  If it's up to us, without help, without guidance and without wisdom, we will definitely be distraught, for we would never send ourselves into the fire and not know how to maneuver though it.  I learned that even though I was in the fire, I was receiving much help, not of this realm, but of the heavens.  I heard authority and so my actions responded accordingly.  I heard authority in my teachings.  I received this authority through my lessons. 

When you call upon the Savior to be your teacher and Master, you call upon the one who created all things - you, me, the earth, the heavens, the universe and whatever else there is that we have yet to discover.  So, the solution is prayer.  As he taught,

Then he told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.  He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.  And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'  For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, "While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'"  The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.  Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?  I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.  But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Luke 18:1-8 - The New American Bible

 Day Eight - Wednesday 

Responsibility and action.  I've learned that we can pray and be guided, but without acting upon the guidance and answers to our prayers, what good is it to anyone, including ourselves?  It does become our responsibility as the Lord matures us, to respond to his teachings and do as he teaches:

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? 
Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for
the day, and one of you says them, "Go is peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do
not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?  So also faith of itself, if it
does not have works, is dead."

James 2:14-17; The New American Bible

There are varying interpretations of this scripture because it is known that we are forgiven and receive salvation through Grace alone.  But I don't think the scripture is saying that through acts we receive salvation rather I believe it is teaching that acts of kindness and charity and all those wonderful things Christ taught us become natural and it is because of Grace we receive salvation and because of grace that we have faith. It's the Father who sends us to the Son.  A person can lead their entire life charitable, being influenced by the Father and perhaps at the end of his life on earth, the Son arrives.  We cannot know His way, except to be His way - even if you don't know you're doing it.

So, if we hoard all the gifts given unto us, which were intended to be shared, what good is faith?  Who does it serve? 

Christ said,

"Do to others as you would have them do to you.  For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?  Even sinners love those who love them.  And if  you do good
to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?  Even sinners do the same.  If
you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? 
Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount.  But rather, love your enemies
and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and
you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 
Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful."

 Luke 6:32-36; The New American Bible

So, in essence, it becomes our responsibility to act upon the gifts given unto to us.  And it's not an obligatory responsibility, because truly, if you are in the Spirit, this nature of giving becomes natural.  It's an urging, a quest to fulfill and a strong desire to give the beauty of the grace bestowed onto you.  I kind of liken it to this one time when a friend of mine made a peanut butter, cream cheese pie with chocolate syrup.  OMG, it was sooooooooooo goood!  I wanted to eat the whole thing, but it was so delicious I actually couldn't keep it to myself.  No one was home so I went to my neighbor's house and shared it with them  It was tooooo gooood for me to know it alone, I had to share the experience.

And that to me is just how good God is - it has to be shared.

Day Nine - Thursday (St. Peter Damian)

Throughout the bible are stories of choices that people have made - choice which God gives freely to all of us.  He is not a God of force or demand.  He offers us choices.  Many think the bible limits our behaviors because it teaches the consequences of choices made through the storytelling.  Some interpret the outcomes as the Lord imposing his will upon us.  But when you look at what is really happening you realize it's not a force of will - it's a matter of choice and their consequences. 

For instance, God's angels warned Lot and his family to flee Sodom and Gomorrah and not to turn back - no matter what they heard.  As they fled, Lot's wife, (Edith by some accounts), turned back to look - as I'm sure the sounds and explosions were compelling - however, she was turned to a pillar of salt.  By all accounts she did nothing "wrong", but she disobeyed the word of God.  It wasn't necessarily that she was outright punished, rather she became a consequence of an action.  The rest of the family did not turn to look and they survived the destruction, yet Edith turned to look and suffered the consequences of her choice and so her family suffered it as well as they lost their loved one. 

God doesn't seek to control us through his laws and order of things.  He creates order out of chaos, that is how the world came into being, through his specifically spoken word.  His intelligence is so overwhelming you really can never understand it.  But when you live your life according to his laws you begin to see why there are such laws.  Some seem really imposing, really difficult and in some ways, unnecessary - and it is the human perception to see things this way.  But when you open your heart and mind to him and allow him to elucidate his reasons, you begin to understand that his law is your protection.  It should be warn like a shawl that covers you for protection from the elements.  By abiding by the law, you cannot break it.  If you cannot break the law, you cannot be held liable for wrongdoing.

Jesus said,
"The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. 
If therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true
wealth?  If you are not trustworthy with with belongs to another, who will give you what
is yours?  No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon." 
Luke: 16:10-13 - The New American Bible

To me, this is God's law.  While we are not held to the law for salvation, for our salvation comes through Christ, Christ did teach that we should obey the law.  He told the masses to do as the law states, as the Pharisees teach, for they knew the law, but he warned not to behave as they do, for he named them hypocrites.  So, following the law is our protection and our reward.  It covers us with innocence and wisdom.  The law is God, God is the law.  His law is love.  God is love. 



Beginning         <Back      Next>

Share this by email
Enter your search terms below.