Posts tagged ‘articles’

We Are Two-Way Mirrors

Taken from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

There is only one thing you must definitely answer for yourself: “Who am I?” Or, restated, “Where do I abide?” If you can get that right, the rest largely takes care of itself. Paul answers the questions directly: “You are hidden with Christ in God, and God is your life” (Colossians 3:3-4). Every time you start hating yourself, ask, “Who am I?” The answer will come, “I am hidden with Christ in God” in every part of my life. I am bearing both the mystery of suffering humanity and God’s glory. Maybe right now I must bear the suffering part to be in solidarity with both humanity and “Christ,” which is just another word for everything (see 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, 15:20-28, or Colossians 1:15-20).

God keeps looking at what is good in the human person. What is entirely good in me is called God and, of course, God finds this always and entirely lovable. God fixes God’s gaze intently where I refuse to look, on my shared, divine nature as God’s daughter or son (1 John 3:2). God looks at me and sees Christ. And one day my gaze matches God’s gaze. This is what we mean by prayer. At those times I will find God entirely lovable and myself fully lovable at the same time. Why? Because it is the same set of eyes that is doing the looking (2 Corinthians 3:18), and we henceforth look out at life together and agree on what we see.

“The eye with which I see God is the same one with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love,” said the non-dual teacher Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1328). No wonder they called him “Master”! All you have to do is receive the gaze and then return what you have received. It is an entire agenda for your whole life. All you really do is complete the circuit, “love returning love” as my father, Saint Francis, put it. We are two-way mirrors.

We are saved by standing consciously and confidently inside the force field that is Christ, not by getting it right in our private selves. This is too big a truth for the small self to even imagine. We’re too tiny, too insecure, too ready to beat ourselves up. We do not need to be correct, but we can always try to remain connected to our Source. The great and, for some, disappointing surprise is that many people who are not correct are the most connected.

All we can do is fall into the Eternal Mercy — into Love — which we can never actually fall out of because “we belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:23) as Paul so beautifully stated. Eventually, we know that we are all saved by mercy in spite of ourselves. The supreme irony is that we are saved much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right! That must be the final humiliation to the ego.

Our holiness is first of all and really only God’s holiness, and that is why it’s certain and secure. It is a participation in love, a mutual indwelling, not an achievement or performance on our part. “If anyone wants to boast, let him boast in the Lord,” Paul shouts at the end of his long argument (1 Corinthians 1:31). Jeremiah said the same long before Paul (Jeremiah 9:22-23).

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How Bright is Your Light?

How strong is your Christian testimony? Does your life testify to the truth of God — not just your words, but the way you live your life? Does your life reflect the light of Christ so much that it brightens the darkness in others?

In Gospel reading (John 5:31-47) explains that Jesus was persecuted because he spoke the truth uncompromisingly, and because his whole life was a testimony to that truth. A barometer of how well our lives reflect his is whether or not we’re being persecuted. When we are truly shining as light in the darkness, those who prefer the darkness react against us. Their eyes need time to adjust.

Think of how you react when you’re sleeping in a dark room and someone turns on the lights. Do you smile and say, “Thank you”? Not most of us. Startled, we react with hatred for the light, even if we know it’s time to wake up.

When your life testifies to the truth of God, the light of Christ in you startles people out of their sleep. They will bury themselves deeper under the covers of their darkness, because it feels like a security blanket. But your continual light will seep through even the thickest blanket fibers. Read more…

God’s Gift Exchange

God has his own exchange policy when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. It takes a little getting used to — it’s not what we normally experience in the earthly world.

“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give,” Jesus says in (Matthew 10: 7-15). God has freely given us his mercy, his kindness, many blessings, our talents that can be turned into income, our homes, our families, and best of all, his salvation — even though we have not deserved it. But that’s only half of the equation. Whatever gifts we’ve received from the Lord we are to give as gifts to others without stopping to consider whether or not they deserve it.

Reflect on your talents, the knowledge and insights you’ve gained, the skills you’ve learned, the maturity that grew out of your sufferings, and so on. These blessings have made you rich in non-material ways. They have lifted your spirit, graced you with joy, provided healing, and filled you with a satisfying peace.

Consider also the material goods that he’s provided. Even if you worked hard to get them, God is the original source of everything that you own. If what you have purchased is good and does not lead to sin, God is very pleased with his investment, but it is meant to be shared. Read more…

Living in Higher Realms

To receive the blessings that Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes and to rise above the “woes” that he warns about, we have to set our hearts on what pertains to the higher realms, “what is above,” as St. Paul mentioned.

Are we a new creation or not? When you were baptized, you were made holy, a new creation that was different from the solely human, sin-prone life into which you had been born. But that’s not enough!

When we make a conscious decision to allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, our baptisms became more than a sacrament. They became a way of living. Every time we make this decision, Jesus takes our self-centered lifestyles and our reliance on worldly wisdom and carries it to the cross of 2000 years ago — God does a time warp! And then he raises us to new life in the Easter power of his heaven-filled life.

Just because it doesn’t feel or look like we’re experiencing a heaven-filled life doesn’t mean that we’re not. Heaven is within us until we physically die, at which time we’ll enter into the fullness of heaven (first purging out any remnant impurities, a process called “purgatory”). When the Father raised Jesus from the tomb, he took us with him! (There’s that time warp again.) Our bodies have not yet received this blessing and our souls are not yet in heaven, but heaven is in our souls. Read more…

Lessons from Mother Mary

Why is it when we were younger we thought we knew everything, yet the older we get the more we realize we don’t know what we thought we knew?

Thank God that He gave us such a good mother that can teach us in simple and quiet ways. These are the lessons I’ve learned from Mother Mary:

Perseverance in hope

I once had a young teenager come up to me after my presentation on chastity. She was six months pregnant. With tears of joy in her eyes she thanked me for the encouragement to practice chastity and live a pure life with Christ. She shared that after she became pregnant, even when no one else knew of her situation, she rededicated herself to purity. She was made fun of in school, teased by people on Facebook and suffered the emotional pain of the breakup with the boyfriend.

Her peers called her a walking contradiction with her new outlook on purity, offering no support and tortured her with hateful comments. Even still, she went on with her new mission in life – to be a mother to this unborn baby with a rededicated heart to purity. She accepted her responsibility but also believed that God had a plan for her child. Since then, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl who was adopted by a couple, and the young girl is still dedicated to purity. Read more…

On This Earth For A Purpose

We are on this earth for a purpose. To discover that purpose and fulfil it is our mission in life. The idea of service and a true sense of duty cannot be separated from a fruitful human existence; they are at its very essence. Anyone who fails in these essentials… Will never find the road to self knowledge.

Following St Matthew

But Saint Matthew was exposed to an additional temptation… For he not only possessed, but he was engaged also in the pursuit of wealth….

The danger of possessing riches is the carnal security to which they lead; that of desiring and pursuing them is that an object of this world is thus set before us as the aim and end of life. It seems to be the will of Christ that his followers should have no aim or end, pursuit or business, merely of this world…. It is his will that all we do should be done, not unto men, or to the world, or to self, but to his glory; and the more we are enabled to do this simply, the more favoured we are. Whenever we act with reference to an object of this world, even though it be ever so pure, we are exposed to the temptation – (not irresistible, God forbid!) still to the temptation – of setting our hearts upon obtaining it. And therefore, we call all such objects excitements, as stimulating us incongruously, casting us out of the serenity and stability of heavenly faith, attracting us aside by their proximity from our harmonious round of duties, and making our thoughts converge to something short of that which is infinitely high and eternal…. Read more…

Gateway to Silence

“There is nothing better or more necessary than love.” ~ St. John of the Cross

What are you afraid of?

In the Gospel reading (1 John 4:11-18) and (Mark 6:45-52), one very clear message is: Fear not!

We all have fears, and they divide us from God. They prevent us from entering fully into his love. They hold us back from doing everything that God asks of us. They trap us in unhealthy patterns of living that keep us feeling miserable and cause us to make others feel miserable. They paralyze our emotional healing and our spiritual growth.

Why do we put up with them?

Think of the word “fear” as F.E.A.R., which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.

Fears have power over us because they are lying to us and we believe their lies. Imagine how silly it would be for a bird to say: “I am not going to learn to fly, because I can’t see how the air can hold me up! Even when I see other birds flying, I know that the air won’t hold ME up.”

Trusting God is like that. We cannot see how God, who is no more visible than air, could enable us to fly with the wings of faith. If it doesn’t look possible, then we assume it is impossible. Read more…