Archive for November, 2015

Asleep at the Wheel???

Posted: November 17, 2015 in World On The Edge

Today is a time of mass deception. And what do we do? We ride along in the breeze of all that deception because we are asleep at the wheel.

We are asleep to truth.

If we don’t want to hear the truth about ourselves or our actions, we become defensive. We ask “What is truth?”  We come to the conclusion that truth is what I say it is because “I think for myself.”

And then we attack the messenger. We go down the road of ME, where truth is relative, where no one else is as important as I am, and no one else’s needs are as vital as my own. And we tell the messenger of truth that he is wrong.

But we’re deceiving ourselves.

We deceive ourselves as Pontius Pilate did. We use clever words. We wash our hands, so we won’t be blamed, and we allow truth to be hung on a cross.

Sadly, we barely notice the hanging.

The general population seems more concerned with the newest electronic device, or the latest reality show, while the ethics, morality, and honesty of our leaders are in decay. And we react to that decay like G.K Chesterton’s analogy of dead fish floating with the current.

Even if we do notice, it’s never our fault, is it? We may be first to point a finger, but often, we’re the last to lift a hand.

We use all sorts of clever ‘talking tools;’ silver tongues to make our way seem correct. And some of us—-especially in politics and the entertainment industry–have the shiniest of silver tongues.

But Truth is still there, whether we’re asleep at the wheel, or not.

Absolute truth cannot be changed by us or anyone else who tries. Shouldn’t we make an attempt to discover it, and then be changed by it?

Who’s Your Best Friend??

Posted: November 16, 2015 in World On The Edge

friendsA loving, best friend is one who understands us, a person who knows what’s in our hearts and–for better or worse–loves us anyway.

But a loving, best friend will also tell us the truth. He or she will not lie to us about our shortcomings, but will address them in a loving way, without keeping a record of those wrongs.

Why?

Because loving is all about truth. A truthful love necessarily calls for interaction. It requires a recipient. And the recipient is offered the chance to love back.

Here is our best friend speaking:

Come to Me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon your shoulders and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will rest, for My yoke is easy and My burden light. Mt 11:28-30

Our best friend talks about yokes and burdens. He talks about those circumstances each of us will sometimes find in our life. He offers assistance. He offers refuge.

Make no mistake, our best friend knows our heart and still loves us. But as the recipient of His love, we are called to become more like Him.

Will we???

Are you a Hero??

Posted: November 13, 2015 in World On The Edge

hero

With 24 hour news showing us cheater after cheater, murder after murder, greed after greed, we may wonder if there are any heroes left.

Well, there are. And you may be one of them.

Are you a hardworking father, loyal to his wife and children?
Then you are a hero.

Are you a mother who may work two jobs–caring for her children and providing for them financially as best as you can?  Then you are a hero.

Are you someone who is a caretaker for those in need?
Then you are a hero.

Are you a person who rather than lying for his/her own gain, rises with courage to speak the truth?
Then you are a hero.

Despite what the headlines tell us, our world is full of heroes. Yes, it is an often violent, selfish, and dangerous world, but these are exactly the things that can MAKE a hero. Heroes rise from dire situations.

Heroes are those who courageously rise from struggle and change those around them for the better. And we can all do that!

Photo  above in Public Domain

Seven Deadly sinsHave you heard of the Seven Deadly Sins? Not the movie, although it was a good depiction of all seven. But the deadly capability of each of the seven deadly sins exists in each of us. And even the movie’s advertising agrees. In listing the seven sins, it pronounces: Seven Ways to Die.

Sometimes called Cardinal Sins, the Seven are: Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. They are the evil in humanity.

Each of us has the capability to commit these sins, but not all of us do. What keeps us from doing so?

Well, there are the Seven Cardinal Virtues. Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, Humility. And they are the goodness in humanity. So let’s concentrate on the Cardinal Virtues, rather than the Cardinal Sins. The positive, not the negative in our human nature.

And let’s start with Chastity. Its opposite is Lust.

Just mention the words, human virtues, and see what reaction comes from it. You’ll probably figure out that some people resent the virtues. Instead of using them as inspiration to live a better life, they try to destroy the moral standard of a virtue in the eyes of others.

The Catholic Education Resource Center says that Chastity is probably the most resented virtue. Chastity is no longer seen as something good, something noble, something we should all pursue. Just the opposite: Chastity is now often portrayed as something evil something harmful for human persons! Some argue that chastity is harmful to the psychological well-being of young men and women, because sexual desire is natural, so it’s ‘unnatural’ to restrict it in any way–i.e. No restrictions.

Today, our very culture seems to resent chastity. We see the resentment in many college classrooms, in many “sex ed” programs, and especially in the media. For example, when a Hollywood film or prime time sitcom portrays romantic relationships, how often is chastity held up as a moral ideal? How often is chastity presented as something good, something that makes us happy, something that heroes intentionally make a priority in their lives?– Catholic Education Resource Center

Instead, we get the opposite. How deceiving!

“The greatest deception in modern times has to be the illusion that lust is love, therefore to balance the equation love must be lust. It is becoming clearer day-by-day that, on one hand the world needs an injection of the energy of real love, respect, and understanding, and on the other hand – lust – the kind that not only violates others, but destroys the innocent lives of children and adults, is now prevalent everywhere at every level of society. Lust is the ‘sweet’ deception, that very same tool that is used to sell us everything from clothes, to cars and even lifestyles. When are we going to wake up from this illusion?”–Confluence Media, ‘It’s Time’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London

The American Soldier

Posted: November 11, 2015 in World On The Edge

soldierToday we honor the American soldier to whom we owe so much! But what can we give him or her in return for their courage and steadfastness? Our prayers, of course. But we must also support our military in our actions–individually and through our government.

A little history of Veteran’s Day:

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

President Eisenhower’s letter to Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs
The White House Office
October 8, 1954

Dear Mr. Higley:

I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. With the thought that it will be most helpful to coordinate the planning, I am suggesting the formation of a Veterans Day National Committee. In view of your great personal interest as well as your official responsibilities, I have designated you to serve as Chairman. You may include in the Committee membership such other persons as you desire to select and I am requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch to assist the Committee in its work in every way possible.

I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day, 1954.

Sincerely,

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
—–From the History of Veteran’s Day, Military.com

There is no one more worthy of our respect and our gratitude than the American Soldier. Let’s make sure we give it to each of them.

Is God a Sugar Daddy??

Posted: November 10, 2015 in World On The Edge

Candy-Sugar-Daddy-Wrapper-Small

Sometimes as Christians we get a little smug, especially when we’ve been blessed with some good fortune.

We may think we are favored more than others by God.

We may even think that those who suffer from something caused by their own choices are not as good or as righteous as we, because WE have followed the will of God, and THEY haven’t.

That kind of thinking is prideful, and judgmental. It puts others below us—and those others, no matter what they have done, or didn’t do, are equally loved by God.

Sometimes, we have the idea that God is some kind of Sugar Daddy. that God is saying “You do this for me, and I’ll do that for you.” In other w0rds, if we’re good, He’ll give us what we ask for, and if not He’ll pay us back with suffering.

If we think this way, we’re deceiving ourselves.

God does not always give us what we ask for, but what we need. And what we need may be hard to take. We may even have to suffer because of it.

We have in our heads that God is a good God. Of course, He is. But He is also a wise God who sees us as we truly are–after all He created us and He knows us intimately.

What we think is good for us is often the opposite of what we need. Remember our goal is eternal life. Only God knows what it will take for each of us personally to achieve it.

So how do we come to grips with the fact that God has allowed suffering in our lives–not because we are less than good, but because we are meant to be more than we are?

The only way is through Trust. A total surrender to God, knowing He loves us as a parent, as our Creator, and not as our personal Sugar Daddy.

 

Pointing a Finger??

Posted: November 8, 2015 in World On The Edge

finger pointing

How many times have we publically ridiculed another person for something she/he has done while we have done the same thing and gotten away with it?

How many times do we point a finger at someone else to shove the blame away from ourselves?

How many times have we criticized a person to make ourselves look better?

How many times have we looked down on someone else because we see them as less than we are?

Why do we behave like that?

For one of two reasons. Either we are excessively interested in self. (narcism) Or we lack personal confidence. (insecurity) Either way we need to look in the mirror and see the earthly reality of who we are, or have become, so that we can change our behavior.

But what is absolute truth about who we are?

Each person–not just some people– each person is created in the image and likeness of God. So, any earthly look at ourselves ought to mirror God, shouldn’t it?

When we genuinely realize this, our attitude toward other people changes.

We want to help them rather than hurt them.

How do we help?

We accept that we are all members of God’s family. We show empathy to another when he/she is wounded by sin. We no longer hide our own sins, but ask forgiveness for them. We see each person living with us on this earth as God’s child. And we love them as brothers and sisters.

Why then do you judge your brother or sister?
Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister?
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
for it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.
So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God
.
–Romans 14:9-12

Photo by Jclk8888, Morguefile.com, 2015

Photo by Jclk8888, Morguefile.com, 2015

You know me through and through, from having watched my bones take shape when I was being formed in secret, knitted together in the limbo of the womb.” Psalm 139:15

Only God knows us as we are. When the Psalmist said God knows us through and through, he meant every aspect of our creation, life, talents, temperament and characteristics. He knew the crosses that would come our way and how each one would help to change, mold and form our soul to His Image. Like all fathers, He looked forward to the day He would see Himself clearly mirrored in us. He anticipated our choosing Him above all things and saw what marvelous glory those choices would give us. He saw the holiness we might obtain, the humility of heart that would be like a shield around us. He saw the tears His love would gently wipe away and the times He would lean down to take hold of our hand as we fell from grace. He saw our bad choices and grieved over our pain and then sought ways to bring good out of everything. Yes, He knew us then, through and through as He knows us now and—still He loves us. —Mother M. Angelica, founder of EWTN

Anytime God asks us to ACT in love, to do a particular thing, or grow through a particular trial, it is because God knows us so well. He does not ask us to do what we cannot handle. It may be something we don’t want to do, but be assured–if He asks it, He has already given us the ability to suceed. All He wants from us is: Yes Lord, I will. Send me.

Will it be easy to carry out God’s call to love? Many times the answer is no.

Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.–Matthew 10:3-6

One of the Troubled Ones??

Posted: November 5, 2015 in World On The Edge
Photo By Crit, 2005, MorgueFile. com

Photo By Crit, 2005, MorgueFile. com

A Psalm of David.

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your loving kindnesses,
For they have been from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your loving kindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.

All the paths of the LORD are loving kindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.

The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.

The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.

Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.

Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.

Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.

Jeanne d'Arc au sacre du roi Charles VII, dans la cathedrale de Reims (1854)

What is the difference between an active and passive faith?

A passive faith is rote: a mechanical repetition of something so that it is remembered, but often without real understanding of its meaning or significance.

A passive faith is when we only think about God in church on Sunday.

Some of us Catholics go to Mass and Communion on Sunday, but forget the absolute miracle we have received in the Eucharist as soon as we walk out of the church door.

And on Monday, other ‘more pressing’ things take over and Sunday is forgotten.

We may throw out a few prayers the rest of the week. We may read a little scripture, but literally, many of us sleep through being in tune with Jesus.

AN ACTIVE FAITH IS ONE YOU CAN’T SLEEP THROUGH.

Act and God will act, work and He will work.” —Joan of Arc

There have been thousands of books and movies about Joan of Arc and her faith. All of them stir questions. Why would God even want to save France? How could an eighteen year old lead an army, defeat a world power and crown a king in a matter of six months? How could she face the awful entourage of Bishop Cauchon– who was professor and a pompous academic as well as a Bishop– and still trust in God and her visions? Yet she did all this, and she did it for her God.

Yes, there were moments when she doubted, when Satan whispered in her ear as he does with us. “Look where you are. See? God doesn’t love you. You’re not that good. You will fail,” and on and on. At times, haven’t you heard the same whispering voice? I know I have.

Still, in the end, Joan of Arc kept her Trust in God.

And so can we. We can get to that place of total Trust.

First, we have to realize how much God loves each one of us individually–no matter who we are, or what we’ve done,God is madly in love with us. An active faith begins with that realization.

Secondly, if we know that God loves us, we are able to surrender our lives to Him. Then, we will act, and God will act. We will work, and God will work. We will see that God influences and directs human affairs in this world that He created. And because we have His divine life within us, we will participate with Him.

There will be no way to passively sleep through His love in our own lives.