Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is The Purpose?

   The purpose of life (why are we here?) is a long-sought and debated question.  Many claim to have figured it out, while only one answer can be correct.  I do not claim to be better than them.  In many cases, they have spent more time contemplating this than I have been alive.  Well, here goes anyways…
   In our country at this time, one thing seems to stand as the noblest of purposes.  Love.  Is this, then, the purpose of life?  If it is not, I would be saddened to find out what is.  However, if love is the purpose of life, then we owe it to ourselves to delve into love.  What is it in its fullness?  How can I find it?  How can I share it?
   We should indeed look for love in its fullness.  If you were a stomach, how could you fulfill your purpose with only a morsel of food?  Just as a stomach needs to be filled to fulfill its purpose, we cannot fulfill our purpose with a bit of love.  No, we need the whole thing.  Why should we settle for anything less?
   As Christians, we believe that “God is Love.” – [1 John 4:8]  So, the fullness of love exists in God, since God is love.  It is easy to dismiss this and go onto other things, but truly this is the heart of it all.  If the purpose of life is love and God created life, then God must be love.  God cannot be separated from what He created (and its purpose) no more than you can be separated from parents or children.  Our very being keeps us connected.  Our very being is maintained by God, maintained by Love.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

“The past is history, the future a mystery, but today is a gift – that is why we call it the present.”

   The past is something that cannot be changed.  No matter how much time we focus on it, it will never change.  Regret for wrongdoings is good, but it should not keep us from living the present moment, which in turn becomes the past.  If we constantly live in the past, we will miss the present we have every day.  The past can help us change what we do today.
   The future is also mysterious to us.  We can plan for the future and do as much as we can, but we do not control it.  Our control is limited to today.  If we focus too much on the future, we will miss what we can do today.  Some people never live to see retirement.  The future is good to plan for, but nothing is guaranteed.  Thinking of the future can help us decide what we do today.
   Today is our gift.  But first, we must recognize the giver.  God gives us every day that we have.  We should be grateful to Him for today.  There may be no tomorrow, yesterday may have been terrible, but today is what we make of it.  It comes as an unopened box, but it remains unopened if we do nothing with it.  Tomorrow, it will be gone.
   Cherish today.  Think of how you would like to remember it.  Think of where you would like it to take you.  I am reminded of the prayer that Jesus gave us “… give us this day our daily bread…”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How strong do we need to be?

   To be holy, we think that we need to find or create an inner strength within us.  Well, this is partly right, but it misses something fundamental.  It is God that will make us strong.  It is not creating something that does not already exist, but getting out of the way.  The Holy Spirit dwells within the baptized and we need to cooperate with and avoid getting in the way of the Holy Spirit.
   God is the source of our strength.  And as St. Paul was told, “power is made perfect in weakness.” – [2 Corinthians 12:9]  St. Paul then says, “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – [2 Corinthians 12:10]
   We are made strong through weakness, because our acceptance of weakness is a way to express our love for Jesus.  Surely, love is the strength we attain from weakness.  So, if “God is Love” [1 John 4:8], then our strength is love.  Now, let’s take the initial question:  How strong do we need to be?  Should the question not say:  How loving do we need to be?  As loving as Jesus on the cross.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jesus is the Word of God, but what does that mean?

   We express ourselves in words.  That is how we reveal ourselves to others.  So, the Word of God is the very expression of God.  Jesus is how God expresses and reveals Himself.  God being perfect, His Word cannot be anything but a perfect expression of Himself.  The perfect expression of God is Jesus dying for love of us on the cross.
   An expression of ourselves is indeed a piece of us.  It is an aspect of us that reveals ourselves to others.  Sure, sometimes we may express ourselves in untrue ways, but even these reveal us in our brokenness.  How we express ourselves is so intricately woven into who we are that the expression of ourselves cannot be separated from us, much like God and the Word of God.
   Jesus is called “the firstborn of all creation.” – [Colossians 1:15]  For nothing can come about until God expresses Himself.  Jesus, however, has no beginning, since God has no beginning.  We think about things in a timeline, but time is a dimension and God is outside of all dimensions having created them.  It is a mystery that is hard for us to understand, since we have been inside of time ever since our conception into existence within our mother’s womb.
   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – [John 1:1

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How well do we know ourselves?

   We all have strengths, but we also have weaknesses as well.  The temptation exists to look at others weaknesses and ignore ours.  As Christ tells us, “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” – [Luke 6:42]
   So, what are our weaknesses?  We need to discover them, so that we can remove them.  Of course, some are like wooden beams and are sometimes best removed piece by piece.  We grow attached to our weaknesses, not in that they are our weaknesses, but that we know the occasional good feeling that we get from it.
   Most often, we have allowed the weaknesses to come in and we think them much smaller than they actually are.  The longer that you live with something the less inclined you are to remove it.  It may be annoying at times, but we grow accustomed to our weaknesses.
   To help us identify and remove our weaknesses, we must first go to prayer.  God created us, so He knows the best way to fix us.  He can give us insights and the fortitude to fight our weaknesses.  Many are scared to know themselves and their weaknesses.  Let us not be among them.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Will you let God love others through you?

   Oftentimes, loving others is difficult.  But why is it difficult?  Yes, others make themselves difficult to love, but that is only when we are not conformed to Christ.  Not that being conformed to Christ will suddenly change them, but it will change our motives.  If our goal is to love someone with the pure love of Jesus, then we are conformed to Christ.
   One of the ways to make it easier to love others is to look at them through Christ’s eyes.  Jesus loves them.  He wants the best for them.  He forgives them and offers Himself on the Cross for them.  He wants them in Heaven.  If they are separated from Him, He cries for them.
   Our religion appears to have many restrictions; however, we must realize that they exist because of love.  God knows what is best for us.  After all, He created us.  These restrictions are there for our betterment.  Like a parent who restricts their child from playing on the street.  It is because the parent loves the child.
   These restrictions exist for the purpose of love, but we must lead with love.  The restrictions flow from love and are meaningless if we do not lead with love.  “…the greatest of these is love.” – [1 Corinthians 13:13]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why does God demand so much from us?

   There are many ways to look at this.  First, God does not demand; He asks.  We determine if we comply.  We are, after all, given free will.  But there is a problem with free will, my use of my free will has repercussions for more than just me.  If I, as a father, spend money on a new car, my family would feel the repercussions.
   Back to the question at hand, so why does God ask so much from us?  God asks much of us because He has given us much.  Not only did God create us, but the God who is existence itself, keeps us in existence, too.  But greater than both of these is what He did for us through Jesus’ passion and death.  “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” – [Luke 12:48]
   So, if God asks this of us, He allows us to say yes freely.  If we say no, He will accept our choice.  A choice that lands one in Hell.  To truly be able to love, one must be free to choose between love and hate.  God will not force us to love Him.

If you love someone, set them free.
If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were. – Richard Bach

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Do we allow God to give us His Love?

   God wants to love us to the full extent that He can.  But, how are we able to allow God to love us?  To answer that question, let’s look at how we allow others to love us.
   One of the first things required to allow someone to love us is to spend time with them.  It is difficult to love someone that you never spend time with.  God requires us to go to Mass every Sunday, but He wants to spend time with us along with the many other blessings that we receive at Mass.  As a Father, He wants to see His children come together in His presence.
   And those that spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, they allow Jesus to love them by being in His presence.  By giving our time, presence, and attention to God, He is allowed to love us to His full extent.  Sure, God does not have limits, but we do.  We limit God’s love for us when we do not do as He desires.
   Surely, we cannot always be at Mass or Eucharistic Adoration, but those are the best ways to allow God to love us.  We can allow God to love us other times too by doing what God wants of us.  Intentionally doing something with God in mind, allows God to be with us in a spiritual sense.  In that sense, we keep the door open to God and His Love for us.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

There is more rejoicing over repentant sinners.

   Jesus tells us, “I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” – [Luke 15:7]  It seems odd, but do we not rejoice more over finding that which we have lost than that which we have not lost?
   Wrapped up in this is the love for a repentant sinner, too.  Heaven rejoices for one.  Oftentimes, we do not.  We see the crime/sin that has been committed and offer no forgiveness.  Heaven rejoices and God provides the forgiveness, but we want nothing to do with it.
   How can we give to others that which God has already given to us?  God has forgiven us, but we must mirror this forgiveness.  “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  It is a tall order and not very easy, but we can do it with God’s help.
   When we forgive others, we allow ourselves to love them and God thru us.  If we are to love others as ourselves, we are to forgive them as well as forgive ourselves.  God forgives us all and Jesus asked us to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – [Matthew 5:48]  So, we should aim to forgive all as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

God Humbles Himself to be Helpless

   The infinite and only God of the universe humbled Himself to be helpless before us.  First, Jesus submits Himself to becoming one of His creation.  But, He did not come as an adult.  No, He came first as a human child within the womb of a virgin.  There He was helpless, relying on the virgin and her spouse for all of His needs.
   And again, Jesus allowed Himself to be helpless for us by dying on the cross.  With His hands nailed to the cross, He could not even swipe away the flies!  He did not take away our sins with a simple gesture.  No, He showed how far love would go, to death and back.
   These both are enough for one to question.  Why would an infinite God do such a thing?  Just show us you are God and tell us what to do.  But God is much more personal than that.  While He loves us all, He has a love for each one of us individually that is as unique as we are.
   God’s desire for a personal relationship with us, takes us to the Eucharist.  Within the Eucharist, Jesus humbled Himself in the form of bread and wine.  There, Jesus is helpless.  He cannot walk, talk, or take Himself anywhere.  But He can love.  And when we receive Him in communion, we can commune with the God that is love in our very being.  There is nothing more personal than becoming one with another.

Helpless He came into the world;
Helpless He died on the cross;
And helpless He remains with us
   in the Eucharist.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Have a great Holy Week!

   This is the holiest week of the year, hence the name Holy Week.  Many things are remembered this week, but around all of it is God’s love for us.  Jesus is the Word of God, the very expression of God.  How is God expressed to us?  By obedience, humility, but most of all out of love.
   Jesus loved us to the end.  He saw it coming, in fact that is why He came down from Heaven.  He came to suffer for us.  His suffering and death is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us.  This Love is what opened the gates of Heaven for us.  We choose whether to enter the gates.  We choose if we will accept God’s love.