I found myself in some redundant dismay in finding that an influential, syndicated columnist, professor at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, E. J. Dionne (I assume a Catholic?), has apparently little knowledge of what drives man to sin. Oops! He’s in Wikipedia too, and the credentialed salutations of his experiences are lengthy. All the better, as with this immense resume he is so much better the perfect illustration of the difficulty in recognizing and understanding moral blindness. (I mean, if everyone of substance is blind to moral responsibility, how would you know it?) Continue reading The Real Apple
So Somebody Put Out the Fire
Perhaps by now – for those who have read a few of my posts – you might think that all things in my life are in the hands of God, and He holds me with tender care and love. I do feel His love and I shall always know that He loves me with an unquenchable fire. I also know now that He must sometimes quench the heat of my pride in the waters that will temper my spirit to the strength that it must be in order to bring about righteous sanctification. I imagine He’d rather see us all sanctified than “purgatorified”, though I also imagine only a few Saints, if any, have ever passed Go and collected Monopoly’s two-hundred dollars without some time in the waiting room.
God hands out no free passes and the trials we face are good opportunities to acknowledge the good path that God has set before us. Suffering comes into trial when knowledge is in want and the lesson must be learned. We all have those moments, as have I, and one such lesson I can recount here.
Over the past year I had worked with a client on the design of her new residence. She had a spiritual mélange of experiences; Presbyterian, Christian Scientist, dabbles with Eastern mysticisms, and New Age encounters. From this all came a mindset that saw truths as illusions and it played viciously against my efforts to move our project along a path of reality. All discussion of design became subject to the most meticulous assessment of even the smallest of matters. And decisions made through this process were continually reassessed in the form of long lists of repetitive thinking that wasted time, spawned endless dead-ends, and endorsed illogical design-processes.
This process created quite a maelstrom for my spirit and there were days when I came home physically ill from a long day with the client. I felt an intense pressure being exerted upon my spirit to another course of belief. It was as if my client had the ability to directly interfere with my walk with my Lord; to confuse all faith and doctrine within me. Honestly, I sensed evil. Poorly, I had chosen my mind to deal with this trial rather than leaving it to God. Continue reading God Is With Us
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Along with Kathryn, I attended a seminar at St. Peter the Apostle Church a few nights back in Naples, Florida. The speaker was Father Matthew Linn, a Jesuit and healing therapist from Minnesota. He asked the question at the end of his talk, “Can you think of what you have been most grateful for this past year?
My answer was immediate and simple, and also a little shocking for me. “I was most grateful for the fact that God had revealed a truth to me about human choice and human willingness.” I say shocking in the fact that this realization seemed to come so easily to a person who lived his adult life not really defining gratitude, let alone coming to any conclusion on something spiritual and meaningful.
The result of this revealed understanding – in the physical – has translated into an incredible deepening of my spiritual relationship with God; His Word, and His will through the reading of the Old and New Testaments, and an intense study in Philosophy and its relationship with Theology. In the physical, it brought me an exercise routine this year – walking – that has improved my overall health, and has brought about a loss in weight of twenty-eight pounds. In the physical, I am being led to walk the Camino de Santiago; to fulfill the death of my past and ensure the life of my future in God. Continue reading Choice or Willingness – Part Two
In order to start something one has to choose to start it, and in order to continue doing something one has to choose to continue it. I know this sounds rather elemental, and so it is a fairly obvious observation. But I venture into these waters for a purpose. There is a fundamental stumbling block for many Christians as they attempt to walk out God’s purpose with their lives; they ‘choose’ to do it. I’d like to make the argument here that choice is not dependent upon, nor advantageous to the most important factor of man’s successful journey to God; willingness.
Choice can be made from humble reason, but choice need not entail humility. In fact, choice is at its very best when issued from a boundless source of pride. Willingness, on the other hand, cannot exist in conjunction with pride. Willingness is that recurring characteristic of many Saints we look to for God’s wisdom and teachings; though there were those who came to serve God without willingness in their hearts. Moses would be one good example. Isaiah, on the other hand, is all too ready to serve the Lord without considering choice. While choice appears to be our conscious nature at work, willingness appears to precede that of the conscious nature and lie somewhere in the spiritual relationship we have with God. I can think of no better scripture to illustrate this than in the Book of Luke.
Then Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Continue reading Choice or Willingness
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
This opening verse of Galatians, Chapter Five, is a well condensed sentence of a virtue considered central to Christianity, as well as all other religions that are taken with some import. That virtue is humility. My choice of virtues may seem a little contrary or abstract to the call in this scripture to strength and resistance. So I guess I’m going to have to explain my choice.
For those Christian, Paul is declaring that Christ has set us free. I need not go into from what Christ has set us free from simply because this whole matter is the subject of the New Testament. All Christians attending church get this drilled into their heads by their Pastors continually.
Paul goes on in saying that we must therefore hold our ground and not submit again. Well to what? And why again? Paul uses the term slavery as that condition he wishes us not to submit ourselves to ever again. We know that he is referring to sin, and we also know that sin is a relational matter; a separation from God.
But most people look at sin more as an action. The average Joe conjures up into his consciousness acts of evil that are universal and absolute to any culture – a direct lie, a theft, a false imprisonment, an adultery, a murder – and proclaims, “Ah! There’s sin”. Much of our entertainment in literature, plays, movies, and television programs pits good and evil against one another in a most apparent battle. Common sense dictates to the creator of such entertainment that good shall triumph. Arnold Schwarzenegger dispatches the Predator, the hobbit Frodo Baggins finds the moral strength to dispatch evil, and Tim Allen in Home Improvement manages to dispatch his problem through the almost spiritual advice of his next-door neighbor, Wilson. Yet does this reflect what takes place in society and within oneself, and is this battle always so apparent? Well, I think I am going to put aside the first question of that last sentence for another time, and concentrate on the second question, “…is this battle always so apparent?” Continue reading The Road to Wellville