Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today Is a Very Acceptable Day

So God does make time for you even if you don't plan for it or don't want it. So it was for me this morning trying to get going for a day-long trip. Well, plans change, but it made me realize how much I do love early mornings—if I'm fully awake for them. Dawn is just a great time of the day.

I have bounced a great deal between feeling immense joy and sadness lately. A lot of the troubles have been of my own making. I know when my life on this earth is over the first words I hear from God will be: "John, you've worried too much." And—as if I could argue with God Himself—my response would be: "Because I care. That is why I have worried."

So God has been pushing me to not worry so much. I still care, but my worrying, at best, muddies the waters of my heart or, at the very worst, causes true pain. Today is a very acceptable day for change. Not only to change the worrying I do but also what I do. I've taken these past few days of Lent as a new bond with be even more faithful to Him. The homilies as of late have spoken to me requiring me to look at my relationship with Him a little different. The renewal of our bonds with God is why we have Ash Wednesday and we remember that we are dust and to dust that we return.

I shared with a friend the other day the first reading from Friday's Mass, which I found to be a visible connection with her work as of late. The passage spoke of a new kind of fasting for our days of penance, one specifically human and a very personal one. It is a fasting from selfishness and self-importance.

The passage, which I've included below, almost reads specifically to the work she, the other missionaries, and the Sisters are doing there in Chile right now. The passage below spoke to me of her experience she has shared thus far on her blog, an experience and selfless service that truly amazes me.
Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!"

-- Isaiah 58:1-9a

If nothing else, the work being done there is one that makes this day a day acceptable to the Lord. But not only this, it provides both her and the people she is coming in contact with these several months an indelible human touch of compassion in both directions, as both in giving and in receiving. It provides for me, too, a modern day example to follow, to further aspire to, and to strive for. I am thankful for having an example of faithfulness to the Lord and an example to help me center more fully on Christ this day.

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