Friday, June 27, 2008

Let God Do the Heavy Lifting

Like a bird being lifted on warm currents of air, I've been lifted up from earlier troubles. It's not that I've made some great change or some magnificent achievement. I have left what I cannot change be as it is and allowed it to change itself in due time. I've let the things that don't matter fade to the background. It's at this time that the important things come to the fore, where the love present comes to shine. It lets those flourishes felt before remain as a repeating comfort, a soothing assurance of peace.

And so today has been a comfort oddly enough. Midterms were today, so I did a great deal of preparation to ready myself, and yet it seems that effort has succeeded. And so a minor victory has been won while the overall victory won't be known until midweek next week but for now I am satisfied with the effort put forth. And even with a month remaining, I can see the possibility for continued success and eventual victory in August.

While I see the future as completely cloudy, I am not afraid. Somehow amid the darkest of outlooks I know not fear. Failure may come, but fear isn't conquered in a corner. It is fought—and won—in the light of the sun, in the brightness of the day. And with the currents of warmth, I am lifted in the brightness of day. I know the darkness of night will come again and that it will turn my gladness to sorrow and pain, but it is a passing thing. Pain passes into obscurity when there is trust in the Unknown.

I must let God do the heavy lifting. Just like when a friend offers to help you move, you don't ignore his offer of help and do all the lifting as he watches on. It's a team effort, and with all things joy enters in when the job is done. But is the job ever truly done? Do we ever finish and rest on our laurels of "success?" We are a people of journeys, of continued exploration and discovery. So there are actually no endings in our journeys, just new beginnings.

However, we are presented at times a vision of what the end is like, where restlessness is banished to oblivion and peace is found. The vision is illusory, of course, but small tastes of this peace are what sustain us for the remainder of the journey. Yet, joy and peace cannot be realized or appreciated without first knowing what the opposite is, the sorrow and discord. It's not that we necessarily are tempted by evil to devolve into fear or doubt all the time, rather it's that we are being strengthened ever more and being shown greater insight to the joys of life until our earthly lives are complete, until we have run our course here. We are being trained to take more of the heavy lifting that God shoulders in many ways in ways seen but often is quite unseen. This is what grace is.

We must never lose sight that all of this at present is passing and how ephemeral things truly are. There might be a travesty or trial in our lives right now that we think that we cannot surpass, that we cannot overtake or that has conquered us. But with grace, how can we be conquered? With grace, how can we be shaken from the vision of journey's end? With all things, even with the darkest of clouds, there is a silver lining that cannot be overcome by the darkness. And so in all things, perseverance is key.

Today comfort has entered in. Today security has been felt. Today the beauty of God quietly has been shown. I hope you have seen this in a way like I have today.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits

May grace and peace be yours in abundance
through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has bestowed on us
everything that makes for life and devotion,
through the knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and power.
Through these, he has bestowed on us
the precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature,
after escaping from the corruption that is in the world
because of evil desire. For this very reason,
make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control,
self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,
devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.

- 2 Peter 1:2-7
The above passage was from a reading at Daily Mass earlier this month. It is a passage that has remained with me throughout the days since. And today, among many others, I have been feeling movements of the heart and the grace that is indistinguishably of the Lord. I haven't remained faithful in my love to Him these days. I have filled my head with doubts, with failures of my heart and failures of my mind. The greatest danger is the lacking of trust in Him and in His plan for each of us.

The most debilitating failure of all is that lack of trust. Once the trust is gone in a relationship, how can either of those involved be able to find common ground with the other? The relationship enters the period of a storm, a raging storm. It enters turmoil that cannot be escaped from natural means, from temporal means. For forgiveness is not a temporal way of life. To forgive is to "lose" something that one once possessed, a claim against another. And so line up the claimants, one might say. Yet, in forgiveness there is salvation. In forgiveness there is trust. In trust there is faith. In faith there is hope. In hope there is love. And in love there is God. And with God, nothing is impossible. No power or principality, no height or depth can come between us and God, between us and His love.

So what will come of our actions in this life? What are our fruits, if you will, of what we sow now in our thoughts and in our deeds? How do we treat the others in our lives and think not only of our concerns but the other in our midst? As Jesus had said:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.

So by their fruits you will know them."

- Matthew 7:15-20

If we are to remain in Him, through the storms and through the troubles, then we must love. If we have not love then we are nothing. We are merely a clashing cymbal or a resounding gong. It means nothing if we gain all the things of the world but do not have love. It is in this love that the good fruits are found. I read recently in a discernment book a particularly charming quote from St. Thomas More, whom I could go on for hours, and it simply states a very succinct axiom which reads: "In the end it is not a matter of reason, it is a matter of love."

In all actions patience and love are required. We cannot fulfill through actions with which we are not first filled with. So love could not—and still cannot—be simply reasoned into existence. It requires faith to come into existence. It must come into existence in the form of Man to redeem what was lost in the actions of our free will, to redeem what Man truly is supposed to be—an image of the Divine.

And so there is but one thing to do then and that is love. May you find trust and peace in what the Lord has given you this day.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Prayer at Eventide

Lord, I come to You,
My whole self trembling.
Tell me of my wrongs.

Lord, I see You now,
Passing before my broken soul.
Show me Your way of peace.

Lord, I feel Your presence,
Burning into the depths of my soul.
Give me grace through Your counsel.

Lord, I know Your love,
Overflowing in my heart.
Turn my mourning into Your joy.

See my devotion, O Lord,
To the Call You have given me.
Give me peace through Your love.

Feel my yearning, O Lord,
To know You even more.
Show me the paths to Your wisdom.

Come to me, O Lord,
To guide me in my sleeping and my waking.
Tell me of Your will.

Give me peace in tonight's tranquil rest
And resolve each day to love all of You
With a heart so greatly blessed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Love Made Renewed

Going and going...
What's going on?
What's new?

Falling and falling...
Where are we going to land?
Why are we so few?

Thinking and thinking...
What's going to come next?
How are we to get through?

It's through faith, hope, and love...
And through His Son, the Christ—love made renewed.