Archive for April, 2015

I’ll Wait for YOU

Posted: April 30, 2015 in World On The Edge
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file191306947831Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,

it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight
in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

Love perseveres.

Because most of the time loving is difficult.

It may require a patient waiting.

How many times have you set out chairs for your wants and patiently waited for them to be filled?

If you’re like me–not many times, not patiently anyway.

Today’s world is one of instant gratification. We are like toddlers. We don’t want to wait. We want it and we want it NOW.

Sometimes we even become impatient with God when He doesn’t seem to ‘get it,’ and answer our prayers as we’d like Him to. There are some who get tired of waiting, and give up on God altogether–never mind that He might have an even better plan than our own.

But how long has God waited for us–to really grow up, to learn what’s truly important? How long has He waited for us to change our wayward lives?

Am I in a hurry to do that?

Not really. Yet God perseveres. He remains, always there for me, and for you, as if each of us is His favorite child, as if no one matters more to Him. God waits for us with infinite patience. He expects the same from us in our relationships with family and friends.

My five children know that each of them is my favorite. I think they know I’ll always be there for each of them. I hope my grandchildren know it, too.

Since she was an infant, I’ve been helping to raise one of my granddaughters.  To say that it requires perseverance and patient love is an understatement.  From infancy,  through toddler-hood, through three year old tyrant, she and I have been through some times! She is now five, and I haven’t always been as patient as I could have. However, I try to persevere.

I wouldn’t take anything for my experience thus far—not anything for my  sixth ( close-up) opportunity to watch a child develop and grow.

Oh yes,  sometimes it’s crazy. Sometimes it’s loud, Sometimes there are tears–on both sides. That’s just the way it is with children.

But then comes the warmth of arms, the kisses, the smiles, and most rewarding- –the irreplaceable words: “I love you, Grandmommy.”

…….followed immediately by: “Will you paint my fingernails again?”

“Again?”

Again. What a word!

Again? Yes again. And again. As long as it takes, for as long as I’m here. I will try to be patient and to persevere. I will be there to do what I need to do.

And God will be there, too, waiting for me to do it.

Far Things, Close up.

Posted: April 29, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001191597629“In the novelist’s case, prophecy is a matter of seeing near things with their extensions of meaning and thus of seeing far things close up. The prophet is a realist of distances, and it is this kind of realism that you find in the best modern instances of the grotesque. Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.” Flannery O’Connor

What are the “far things” O’Connor is talking about?—the connection between close-up realism on Earth and a higher spiritual Truth. God and our relationship with Him, however weak or strong or strange; this is what O’Connor writes about. This is what I strive to write about, too.

To show God’s presence in the world, a writer who wants to bring far things close up often uses the strange or the outlandish. O’Connor called it the ‘grotesque.’ She was an author who wrote fifty years ago, when not only the South, but most other areas recognized the outlandish as just that.

Today, the rules concerning what is strange have changed. Oddity has become almost normal. Yet God hasn’t changed. He is just as apparent in our world, maybe even more so. And to present Him in fiction, a writer cannot just whisper, or use sentimental fluff to show His action through people. A writer concerned with presenting the chance of salvation has to yell above an already noisy and distracted world.

Many of us yearn for a chance of restoration. And most readers have a desire for some redemptive act in a novel or story that offers the chance of restoration as well. We long for that moment of grace that will turn us, or better us, or lift us up to higher place in the eyes of those we love. Yet we often forget that the price of restoration sometimes takes the grotesqueness of a crucifixion.

I’m polishing up a novel about restoration now–and I ask for your prayers that I succeed.

angel deathBoth in this life and in the next, all men and women are called to the same end: God himself.

But the human person needs to live in society. Society is a requirement of his nature. Still, we are only a breath away from leaving it. Only a breath away from our own death.

Death is something we all must face, but sometimes we live as if we’ll never face it. We take a journey on the road called, ME.

We intentionally hurt others. We lie when we should tell the truth. We cheat in school, in business, in marriage, when we should remain faithful. We use others to our own means. We stick needles in our arms. We swallow pills, the propaganda of sexual freedom, and the taking of innocent human lives. We pay no attention to what our conscience is telling us, and instead, go on to do what we know is wrong. Then we blame others for the grief that comes from our own lack of responsibility.

At the time of our death, do we want to be caught in situations such as those?

Not so long ago, people used to talk about ‘a good death,’ an honorable death, one preceded by repentance. That is all well and good if you have time to do it. But often death doesn’t give us that luxury. Our last breath can be sudden.

The truth is that knowing we will die ought to affect how we live. And for many, it does.

Am I one of them?

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Last weekend, my husband and I went to New Orleans to see one of our grandsons in “The Music Man,” playing the role of the infamous Professor Howard Hill. Our grandson, a junior at Jesuit High School, was fabulous, and so was the production! You can see from the above picture how professional it was.

From the onset of the play, the audience instantly recognizes Professor Hill as a Con-man who gains the trust of a small town in order to sell them a bill of goods (in this case, band instruments) and make money for himself. Of course, in the end, he changes his tune, so to speak. The very successful Broadway play was the fantasy of American composer, Meredith Wilson.

But in real life, con-men, or women, are not fantasy. There are many, and they are real.

Can you recognize a Con-man? (i.e. a Confidence man, or woman)

He or she is a practitioner of confidence tricks–an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, used in the classical sense of trust. He/she makes himself a false shepherd that people will follow. And next, he or she exploits the characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naïveté and greed.

If we practice awareness, we’re able to see con-men all around us. We deal with them everyday in our government, in business, and perhaps even in our own families.

They stir up trouble and create distractions so that their selfish ways can be accomplished.

A fanciful Con-man (or Con-woman) is great fodder for a play or musical. But a real Con-man is dangerous. This so-called shepherd of the people, does not genuinely work for, or care, for his sheep. He works only for himself and leads people astray to accomplish his personal ends.

Today, more than ever, we need good shepherds to lead our government, our businesses, our families. And I pray that we find the persons to do that–and that they will mirror our ultimate Good Shepherd, whose grace is always present, and available to everyone–even to the worst of Con-men.

I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father
.– Jn 10:11-18

Welcome???

Posted: April 24, 2015 in World On The Edge
By MUmland, Morguefile.com

By MUmland, Morguefile.com

What is the action God performs most often?

I think it’s that he welcomes sinners. In other words, He forgives.

Isn’t that wonderful? No matter how we fail, we can always be welcomed back by God.

When it comes to welcoming others back into our hearts, how do we compare to our wonderfully welcoming God?

Do we hold grudges? Do we plan for the downfall of someone who’s hurt us? Or do we open our arms to them despite what they’ve done to us.

If we hold a grudge against someone, the door to God will be closed. It will be absolutely closed, with no way to him. Only if we forgive others will we be forgiven. I am sure that many prayers are not heard because the person praying has a grudge against someone, even if he is not aware of it. Jesus says more than once that before we pray we must forgive. If we want Jesus, we must have a forgiving heart.
– J. Heinrich Arnold

It all comes down to this question: Can we forgive others as Jesus did on the Cross? Are we able to accept that we are sinners, too?

Welcoming back into our world those who have hurt us, is a Christian requirement. And God is waiting for us to do it.

On a See Saw???

Posted: April 23, 2015 in World On The Edge
By Dancer in the Dark, Morguefile.com

By Dancer in the Dark, Morguefile.com

A seesaw is a long, narrow board pivoted in the middle so that, as one end goes up, the other goes down. A person sits on each end, and they take turns pushing their feet against the ground to lift their side into the air. Playground seesaws usually have handles for the riders to grip as they sit facing each other.

Life is like that, isn’t it? We face each other. We go up and down. Up and down.

One minute all seems right, the next minute our world comes crashing down. It might be divorce, death of a loved one, debilitating disease, loss of livelihood, a dream gone wrong, or hurtful words or lies, targeted at us by another.

Or we may be the one who brings down our own world by the bad choices we make. We are made to be people of goodness, but sometimes we corrupt ourselves through addictions, hanging around bad company, forgetting who we are—-children of God.

We are on a dangerous end of the seesaw then. We might think it’s over for us. But we should never give up trying to find our balance again.

One problem with a seesaw’s design is that if a child allows himself/herself to hit the ground suddenly after jumping, or exits the seesaw at the bottom, the other child may fall and be injured. For this reason, seesaws are often mounted above a soft surface such as foam or wood chips. In other words, a soft place to fall.

Because in life, we will certainly fall at one time or another. None of us is perfect yet. All of us here on Earth sin against our innate goodness.

And in doing so, we condemn ourselves. Still, don’t give up.

Strangely enough, God doesn’t condemn us. He forgives when we ask Him to. The softest place for us to fall is into His merciful and loving arms.

Christianity is in danger of extinction. And no one can explain why as well as Dr. Peter John Kreeft.

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and also at the King’s College (Empire State Building), in New York City. He is a regular contributor to several Christian publications, is in wide demand as a speaker at conferences, and is the author of over 55 books including: Back to Virtue; The God Who Loves You; Heaven, The Heart’s Deepest Longing; Everything You wanted to Know About Heaven; Your Questions – God’s Answers; How To Win The Culture War; The Journey; Before I Go – Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters; and Jesus Shock.

Dr. Kreeft is a convert to the Catholic Church from reformed Protestantism. He earned an A.B. degree from Calvin College, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Fordham University, followed by post-doctoral work at Yale University. He has received several honors for achievements in the field of philosophy, including the Woodrow Wilson Award, Yale-Sterling Fellowship, Newman Alumni Scholarship, Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and a Weathersfield Homeland Foundation Fellowship.–From: The Integrated Catholic Life

This video is a MUST LISTEN.