++++++++++++++++++++God's timing is not our timing, but He is never late.++++++++++++++++++++

Layers - in the knowledge of God and the path to holiness

Learning about God is like unwrapping a head of lettuce, pealing back one leaf at a time. Always there is another leaf below. We will eventually reach the center of the head of lettuce; but we will never unwrap everthing there is to know about God.

The path to holiness is like pealing an onion. God shows us what is sinful and convicts us that we have sinned. No matter how sweet the onion, there are always tears in the peeling. No matter how sweet the grace of repentence, there are always the pain of letting go of the sin. As the peeling of the onion reveals another layer, so God shows us what we lack in holiness, drawing us ever closer to "be(ing) perfect even just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48




What I Believe

Why I am and always will be a Catholic. "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Tthe living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58 The words and actions of man cannot sanctify. Only the priest, empowered by his ordination, can invoke the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into Jesus so we can receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our bodies and souls. This is the core of the Catholic Church; without this there is no purpose or meaning to the Catholic Church. There are other ways to holiness, to grow in grace; there is no better way than union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Day the Paint Box fell from Heaven

The Day the Paint Box fell from Heaven'.

(This is a real place outside Bakersfield, California)


When God Paints...





We live in an awesome world.
Make it an awesome day.
Peace To All and May God Bless You
Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Joe

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forgiveness

“Father forgive them, (for) they knew not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus said these words during his final agony on the Cross. The officials, the soldiers, the people who screamed to crucify Him maybe had some sense that they were killing an innocent man, but they had no idea of just what their actions involved. Neither can we. Our minds just cannot comprehend what is God or His workings. In a like manner, though, Jesus’ words apply to all of us. Can any of us fully understand the effects of our actions on another person? Ignoring someone may seem to be a trivial slight on our part, but may result in deeply wounding the other person’s sense of self-worth. We know not what we do. Likewise, in the times that we have been hurt by other people, they may be totally unaware of what they did. Closeness to God gives us sensitivity in our relations with other people. It helps us to recognize when we are not acting out of love. Since we cannot be the other person, though, we cannot know the full impact of our words or action; but God knows, and we will be held accountable. Ann Landers or Abbie suggested that Good Friday should be a day of forgiveness. Whether the person has asked for forgiveness or not, we need to have an attitude of forgiveness for that person. Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who put Him up on the Cross (including all of us). Can we not be expected to do likewise? In the Our Father we say “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It does not say “those who ask our forgiveness.” To forgive frees our souls from the anger, bitterness, regret, all of the negative responses we have to being hurt.

Anchors

Throughout our lives, as we encounter many joys and sorrows, because we are as humans social creatures, we turn to out anchors, family, friends, co-workers. We too often neglect our relationship with the ultimate anchor, God. We change jobs so we lose the anchor of co-workers. Friends may not be there for you because of time or distance. Family may be experiencing the same trouble so cannot be an anchor for you. The only one who can always be counted on is God. But, how can we turn to God if we largely ignore Him in our lives? He is always there ready to enfold us in His love. However, on our part, we may find it difficult to lean on Him if we do not usually include Him in our lives. Imagine calling a friend with whom you haven’t spoken or written to in many years and telling them of a great trial you are going through. It would be awkward at the very least. So it would be with God, on our part. If we wait to be with Him only in times of great need, we will have trouble leaning on Him, listening to Him, accepting His peace and graces. The Church, in its wisdom from being part of the Body of Christ, has required us to maintain a minimal contact with God by saying that is a serious sin if we neglect to worship God once a week through Mass on Sundays. The Mass-where we are compelled to be social, unlike private prayer, to be a member of the communion of saints. The Mass-where we are nourished with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, compared to a meal with family or friends. The Mass-where we can lay our petitions and thanks before God in union with all in heaven and on earth. The Mass-where we off to God the ultimate form of worship, Jesus on the Cross. The Mass-heaven on earth.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Morals

Are we really ready for Jesus’ commandments to love God and love our neighbor? Or, do we really need instead to refocus on the Ten Commandments, having God ‘spell-it-out’ for us? All of the justifications of love and good indentations do not make something right if it is intrinsically morally wrong. Everyone agrees that murder is wrong, but war, abortion, capital punishment and suicide bombings are justified. Thou shall not steal is one of the Ten Commandments, but we justify not declaring income for income taxes or accepting a discount that we are not qualified for. Living together and gay marriage is justified by love, “we love each other so it can’t be wrong.”
But what is God asking of us? The Ten Commandments are God’s “basic instructions” to make possible a stable society. Following Jesus’ two Great Commandments would enable us to make possible a better society. There are times in reading the Bible that I have thought we have grown in our understanding of how God wants us to treat others. Then I look again at society and it seems as if we are back-peddling in our morality.
All religions call us to a higher morality. However one views Jesus, as Savior, prophet, or good man, his message remains the same. His call to love God and to love our neighbor enhances rather than diminishes the strictures of the Ten Commandments. What God has declared as wrong by prohibition does not become right by love or kindness or circumstance. We are called as Christians to love as God expects not as society accepts. Those who do are saintly; those who do not are sinners. It is God’s will that we redirect each aspect of our lives from sinner to saint.

Morals

Are we really ready for Jesus’ commandments to love God and love our neighbor? Or, do we really need instead to refocus on the Ten Commandments, having God ‘spell-it-out’ for us? All of the justifications of love and good indentations do not make something right if it is intrinsically morally wrong. Everyone agrees that murder is wrong, but war, abortion, capital punishment and suicide bombings are justified. Thou shall not steal is one of the Ten Commandments, but we justify not declaring income for income taxes or accepting a discount that we are not qualified for. Living together and gay marriage is justified by love, “we love each other so it can’t be wrong.”
But what is God asking of us? The Ten Commandments are God’s “basic instructions” to make possible a stable society. Following Jesus’ two Great Commandments would enable us to make possible a better society. There are times in reading the Bible that I have thought we have grown in our understanding of how God wants us to treat others. Then I look again at society and it seems as if we are back-peddling in our morality.
All religions call us to a higher morality. However one views Jesus, as Savior, prophet, or good man, his message remains the same. His call to love God and to love our neighbor enhances rather than diminishes the strictures of the Ten Commandments. What God has declared as wrong by prohibition does not become right by love or kindness or circumstance. We are called as Christians to love as God expects not as society accepts. Those who do are saintly; those who do not are sinners. It is God’s will that we redirect each aspect of our lives from sinner to saint.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Abortion

In Colorado, a pair of twins was together for the first time outside the womb. Not in itself strange, but the brothers have birthdays two months apart. Brother #1 was delivered premature. Brother #2 stayed in the womb for as long as doctors could manage. In our legal system, if someone ended the life of Brother #1 in the interim it would have been murder; if someone ended the life of Brother #2, it could have been a legal abortion. Insanity? No, this is justice in our country. The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion. In the Didache it is prohibited along with infanticide. The Church teaches that life begins at conception when physical life is formed and the being is infused with a soul. Some say that Thomas Aquinas said abortion was permitted in the early months. Aquinas was always opposed to abortion; he was just not certain of when life began (considering the stage of medicine in the 13th century). All human life has value. God would not allow conception to occur if He did not have a plan for that person, if He did not want that person to be. No one is an accident. Only our laws are ludicrous, the arbitrary time of birth is a poor factor for determining the start of legal rights. Brother#1 for two months had all the protection of our legal system, while Brother#2 had none at all. The same doctor who delivered Brother#1 could have also aborted Brother#2, all while trying to do everything possible to keep Brother #1 alive. Any wonder why some people think the world has gone mad?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Questions

Is God the Rock in our lives? Is "in God we trust?"

Who or what do we put first in our lives? Do we put "no other gods before Him" or have we made other idols? Is that idol someone else, a relationship, an activity, a career, worry (including about having enough money to survive), or yourself? Someone, I don't remember who, said that when we do not worship God on the Sabbath, that we are actually breaking this commandment because we are making something else more important than God, creating another god before Him.

Someone else told me that Martin Luther suggested making the sign of the cross upon getting up in the morning, what a good way to start the day with God, instead of remembering to include Him maybe on the way to work. When we are in pain, do we look to God? When we are in trouble, do we look to God? When we are in turmoil, do we look to God? or is God an afterthought? a "by-the-way"? Do we have faith that God is with us? Do we think and act as if we have that faith?

There is always a need for each of us to turn more to God. We cannot live this life through our own power. God is our Rock.

Solutions

The answer to life’s problems lies not in the wisdom of men. We need to turn to God. God may use the problems in our lives to cause us to turn to Him, to look to Him for support, for comfort, for the answers. Sometimes there are no solutions; we just need to endure and rely on God to get us through, as He told Job - who are we to question Him, who made the universe, in a ‘why’ and think that we may understand. The ultimate connection to God is through Jesus in the Eucharist. It is with Him that we can work out life’s problems. It is with Him that we can find the love and comfort and strength to endure problems that have no quick and easy solutions. He, the Son, is the Word, spoken in the Bible. Our first commitment, before any person or job, needs to be to God. If we bounce all other choices off of our relationship with God, the right and wrong of those other choices will become clear. It is when we try to structure our relationship to God around those choices that we get into serious trouble. The old Baltimore catechism asked, “Why did God make us?” Answer, “God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him in the next.” How we do this ranges from the Mother Teresa’s ministry to the dying to the ditch digger who goes to work every day and home at night to the embrace of his family. God gave us an instruction manual, the Bible, and a teacher, the Church. As with all teachers, sometimes the Church has to tell us to do something, like going to Mass every Sunday, because we don’t or won’t see the ‘why’ or the good of it. We do it because we are told, yet we are better for it, though maybe unconsciously, and then one day our eyes and souls open and we rejoice that we were made to do it. He is waiting to embrace us in His Love, if only we let Him.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Focus

In Matthew 15, there is the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter trying to join Him. The night was windy and the waves were high. Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on the water when Jesus said, ‘come.” Peter, however, lost his focus on Jesus and began to notice the wind and the waves, and became frightened and started to sink. Jesus needed to rescue him. We too need to keep our focus on Jesus. Our problems can otherwise overwhelm us and we can feel like we are sinking. We need to have faith and focus on our goal to be with Jesus, now and for eternity, that faith will help us endure and persevere through trouble.

Corpus Christi

The Catholic Church celebrates in Scripture and liturgy the feast of Corpus Christi, the belief that our Savior, Jesus, is truly and wholly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated bread and wine. This was His gift to us at the Last Supper and was celebrated and revered by the earliest of Christians. It is, if we chose, our daily Bread. Those Catholics, whom the world has called holy, are also ones who have centered their lives around the Eucharist both in their devotion at daily Mass and in private adoration. The eye looks upon the Host, and the mind says that it is impossible that it is Jesus. The soul looks upon the Host in faith and proclaims that as with the Incarnation, if God wills, it is indeed possible and it is indeed real. We are called to look upon Jesus in the Eucharist with eyes of faith so that the mind accepts what the soul embraces. The devil may tell us still it cannot be so, as he told some disciples in John 6; but Jesus told us it is the source of eternal life. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:54 Then He said in John 6:56, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in Him.” That is why it is so important to approach the altar with repentant hearts. To do otherwise would be to invite our Savior into a filthy, sinful soul, which is why the Church considers it sacrilege to receive the Eucharist in a state of soul deadening, mortal sin and urges frequent confession of sins for all. The cleaner our souls and hearts the more open we will be to His transforming grace as He abides within us.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Teaching Authority of the Church

Jesus told us that “thou are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The Church will until the end of time be made up of saints and sinners and often, as currently, the sinners will seem to be predominate. But, sin will not conquer. The Church and its teachings are safe from Satan. If the Church fell into error in its teachings, then Satan would have prevailed. But, we have Jesus’ promise. Therefore, I must believe in its rightness because of Jesus’ promise. The Church’s members may fall into sin, but the Church will never fall into error in its teachings. Jesus taught his disciples. The Holy Spirit guides the Church in understanding His teachings. The Church has been directed to teach all people about Jesus and entrusted to safeguard His teachings against all falsehoods. I can be secure in my beliefs. I do need to research and test a doctrine, maybe for my own understanding, not for its rightness. Anyone can look to the Church’s teachings and be secure in the belief that that’s what Jesus wanted us to understand about Him, because Jesus promised.

Transformation

“We are what we eat,” is a well-known phrase from this health conscious world. The food we eat is transformed into us. Bread, peppers, meat or cheese becomes part of our body. But in another sense we become what the food is. If we eat a lot of fatty foods, it is no surprise if we become fat. If we eat the healthy foods, most likely we’ll be healthy. Jesus gave us Himself in the Eucharist as our spiritual food. When we eat His Body, He does not become us; it is we who are transformed. As a person whose diet consists mainly of milk shakes and Twinkies is transformed into a walking advertisement for summa wrestling, so we are to be transformed by the Eucharist into a walking advertisement of Christianity by the love that we show others. We eat the Word, the Word transforms us. We are transformed into Jesus, who is Love Incarnate. The more we participate in the Eucharist, the greater the transformation. By Baptism, we become part of the Body of Christ. But just how much do we participate in the Body? Are we like a strand of hair that begins alive but has grown away until some day we fall off? Or are we like the hair follicle which is alive and continues to grow more hair? By eating Jesus in the Eucharist we are to be transformed by His Love into a vibrant member of his Body. We are what we eat.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

JOY!

J O Y!
Jesus Overflowing (in) You!

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday. Today, also, the Church tells us the story of Thomas, doubting Thomas. We are challenged. How much do we trust in God's Word? How much do we trust in God's love? How much do we trust in God's mercy? Jeus showed us how much God loves us through His passion and death. Today the Church emphasizes the boundlessness of that love and the mercy that God shows us when we respond to that love. We are called-to believe, to repent, to turn to God this day and every day of our lives.
"Lord, I do believe, help me in my doubt." Mark 9:24

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good Friday

“Father forgive them, (for) they knew not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus said these words during his final agony on the Cross. The officials, the soldiers, the people who screamed to crucify Him maybe had some sense that they were killing an innocent man, but they had no idea of just what their actions involved. Neither can we. Our minds just cannot comprehend what is God or His workings. In a like manner, though, Jesus’ words apply to all of us. Can any of us fully understand the effects of our actions on another person? Ignoring someone may seem to be a trivial slight on our part, but may result in deeply wounding the other person’s sense of self-worth. We know not what we do. Likewise, in the times that we have been hurt by other people, they may be totally unaware of what they did. Closeness to God gives us sensitivity in our relations with other people. It helps us to recognize when we are not acting out of love. Since we cannot be the other person, though, we cannot know the full impact of our words or action; but god knows, and we will be held accountable. Ann Landers or Abbie suggested that Good Friday should be a day of forgiveness. Whether the person has asked for forgiveness or not, we need to have an attitude of forgiveness for that person. Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who put Him up on the Cross (including all of us). Can we not be expected to do likewise? In the Our Father we say “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It does not say “those who ask our forgiveness.” To forgive frees our souls from the anger, bitterness, regret, all of the negative responses we have to being hurt.

Friday, February 8, 2008

God’s Forgiveness 2

What happens when we go to Confession? We are humbled when we vocally, publicly admit our sins. Saying it does make a greater impact on us than just thinking about it in our minds. We are given absolution by the priest speaking, by virtue of the ordination, in the person of Jesus. We are given guidance and reassurance so as to keep ourselves away from repeating those sins. We are given a penance, an action to show God our sorrow for sinning. Our souls are washed by the blood of Christ to be as clean as when we were baptized, if our confession was complete. Going to confession, but holding back some sin would be like taking a shower, but not putting an arm or leg under the water; it would not become clean. Our souls are given graces by God, to strengthen us against temptations and bad habits. Our souls are refilled with the life of God’s love which we pushed out when we sinned. We new receive God’s forgiveness in confession. We are also given the assurance that we are truly forgiven, that it is not just our minds telling us that everything is now ok. Even if we have to live with the temporal consequences of our sin, i.e. health problems from overindulging, a baby from pre-marital sex, broken relationships, our eternal punishment is gone, paid for by Jesus. A final blessing of Confession is that when we receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, God forgets those sins as if they never happened. Nothing can match the mercy of God.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ash Wednesday

“Remember man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shall return.” Ash Wednesday is a day when the Church collectively recognizes its condition as a sinful people (for those here on earth) journeying to God. It is a day to remember as a people that material things here on earth have no lasting value. It is a day for the Church as a whole to redirect itself towards God. People can do this as individuals; but we are not solely individuals in our relationship to God. Jesus pointed that out when He spoke of the vine and the branches. Paul spoke of us as members of a body with Jesus as the head. So, collectively the Church worships, the Church ministers, the Church repents. To do something as a group helps to anchor those of us who approach God unsteadily. The prayers of those gathered embrace us and uplift us. They encourage us to follow the right path. ‘Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there.” Matthew 18:20
Today in the midst of a materialistic culture, we need reminding that our focus ought to be on the spiritual rather than the physical. The body does need as much attention as the soul. It is the indulgence of the body that the Church looks at on Ash Wednesday and the succeeding days of Lent. Its message is to rather indulge the needs of the soul than the needs of the body, for the soul is what binds us to God. All that is physical is naught until our bodily resurrection at the end of time, and we do not know what that entails. How filled our soul is with grace will determine the depth of our beatific vision of God, our heavenly reward.

Separation from God

“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

These lines of Paul can be used in an argument for the assurance of salvation - once saved, always saved. None of the things that Paul mentions can have a greater power over us than God can. Nothing can snatch us from God through its own power. The one element missing from Paul’s list is our own free will. Although nothing outside of us can separate us from God, we can choose to do so. Forget the horror movies where someone is attacked by an evil and is possessed or loses his soul. God does not give Satan that power unless we co-operate. When we sin we open the door to the devil and invite him in. It is true that there is a war being waged for our souls, but we can choose sides. If we choose God, even in sin, He will not let us go. If we choose Satan, God will let us go. Satan knows every trick to convince us to let go of God; but for every trick of Satan’s and for every obstacle we encounter in life, God is there to help us endure. On our part all we need to do is trust God and allow Him to walk in us.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Barriers

What is the barrier that is keeping us from going to and being in communion with Jesus?

Is it a failure to recognize Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist? Jesus said, "for my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." John 6: 55-56.

Are we not able to commune with Jesus because we do not present ourselves to Him at the altar? "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8 "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people." Acts 2:46-47

Is it a failure to put God first in our priorities? In our life decisions do we put our wants and desires ahead of those things that God wants of us? "Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it...how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?" Hebrews 2:1,3

Are we failing to keep God's commandments and putting our sin between us and God? "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3

What things are we doing daily that are against Christ? What do we need to put aside that puts a wedge between us and God? What are we attached to that makes us like St. Augustine saying, "but just not right now," to God? "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Cor. 10:13

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ignorance of Church Teachings

I’ve been reading message boards about the Catholic Church. The amount of ignorance about the Catholic Church is almost overwhelming. These people ran the gamut from those who are still Catholics, (some sounded rather nominal), to those who left the Church, (the worst seem to be ex-Catholic priests who act superior in their knowledge and authority), to Bible ‘scholars’, (both those who ‘used to Catholic’, and those who ‘never were’) who knew nothing about the teaching of the Church and from their comments also had a limited acquaintance with the Bible, to those openly hostile to any religion.

Sacraments. Some denominations say all that you need is a personal relationship with Christ, that you don’t need to do ‘things’, i.e. sacraments to know Christ or to get into heaven. One needs to look at the sacraments from a different frame of mind, i.e. sacraments as a manifestation of a personal relationship with Christ.

Most educators today agree that children learn best by combining teaching methods, oral, visual, touch-as in writing. I learn best by the visual. I can hear directions and write them down, but I don’t really know where I am going until I look at the map and see my path. Others do just as well by the hearing or writing method, not getting lost that is.

God made men both spiritual and physical. To reach all of us better, He made our encounters with Him, both spiritual and physical. Think of Moses and the burning bush and sound. God could have just put a thought into Moses’ head, but would it have made the same impact with him? God also thought it necessary to have someone write down the Ten Commandments, or for that matter Scripture. Why not let people pray and have the Holy Spirit lead them?

Some people are able to develop an intense relationship with God by just praying. Most others need to add physical manifestations of God’s presence, like a sunset, a flower, or a church setting, or singing. Sacraments are encounters with Christ and His love and grace. Christ has given us physical actions to accompany the spiritual. In Baptism, the pouring of water engages our senses so that the physical part of us is joined with the spiritual as our sins are washed away. In the Eucharist, Jesus engages our five senses so that our whole being can be in communion with Him. Our ears hear the words of consecration, we see the host and the wine, we touch the host and taste and maybe smell the host and the wine as we follow His command to eat His Body and drink His Blood. Thus, our communion with Christ is not only spiritual, but also a physical communion with His Body and Divinity. (The hearts of the disciples on the road to Emmaus were on fire when Jesus explained the Scripture, but they did not recognize Him until the ‘breaking of the bread’, the early Church’s term for the Eucharist.) The other sacraments likewise are physical actions united with the spiritual action of God’s grace. God gives us every chance to ‘get it’. When we meet with other people we don’t just stand there and stare. We shake hands, talk, kiss, hug, etc. Sacraments are what happens when man meets God; they are not an action that we do to get something, like going to work to earn a pay check, I do this so you give me that.

Don’t assume that someone else, especially a ‘used to be’ or a ‘never was’ really knows what they are talking about in regards to the Catholic Church.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Health of the Soul

Think of the health of the soul in this way. No matter what you do to keep you body fit, it is all for naught if you don’t eat properly. If you have a health crisis, the chances of surviving are diminished. For our souls, if we absent ourselves from God that also negates whatever else we may be doing to be spiritually ‘fit’. If you then have a spiritual crisis, the chances that you would turn to God are diminished. In times of trouble, we turn to the people with whom we have a relationship, not strangers. If we have not maintained a relationship with God, then in times of trouble, He is like a stranger to us. God is always there to help us; it is our own attitudes which block Him since He will not impose His will on our freedom to choose our paths. Mother Teresa once said (paraphrase) “If we weren’t doing it for Jesus, everything that we do would be just social work.” Likewise, if we concentrate on living ‘good’ lives, i.e. volunteering, giving to charities, etc., but have no place for God, all our efforts are just works. Our actions need to come from a base of faith, not from ourselves. Only then will they be of value to us spiritually, helping us to grow in the love of God as we act out of love of God. If we do not have God as the base of our lives, then when trouble comes, all else can just vanish leaving us alone, empty and purposeless. God is there but we don’t even feel worthy to approach Him having ignored Him in the ‘good ‘ times. God wants us to give Him room in our lives. He wants to nourish us, encourage us, help us, love us. He wants to fill us with His love, grace, the Holy Spirit. Filled, we can face anything, endure anything, and survive anything. “God is love, and He who abides in love, abides in God and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

Accepting God's Love

You cannot love what you do not know .

St. John of the Cross paraphrase of Luke 11:9
Seek in Reading and you will find in Meditation;
Knock in Prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation.

We do not make ourselves fit for God, rather we must accept God’s love for us after that every else is possible. (Too Deep for Words)

Paul Tillich on faith - “To accept the fact that I am accepted in my total unacceptability.”

Prayer is a gift of grace to be received from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we do not force ourselves to pray, rather we open up ourselves to pray. God is everything; and thus without God, we are nothing. In opening ourselves to God, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us, to change us. The more we accept God’s love, the more we will be able to love Him and those around us. As a flower turns toward the sun and unfolds its petals in the sunlight, so our souls are drawn by the love of God (grace); and in that love we are changed and filled with that love. The flower is naturally drawn and responds to the sun. Our beings are drawn and desire to respond to love - both divine and human; but we, with our free wills, decide not to allow ourselves to respond. We would need to let go of grudges, biases, hurts and other things, that we tell ourselves we need to hold on to, to justify our feelings or actions. Sometimes we fear God changing us, knowing how radical the changes would be, letting go of all of the thoughts and feelings we are comfortable with. Sometimes we are afraid that if we let God in just a little bit the power of His love will cause us to want more and an irreversible process will begin. That is our decision, our conversion, - His will to be our will. Abba, Abba, Father, you are the potter, we are the clay, the work of you hands.