Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hope in the dark (Christy Ann Martine)

                         I wish I could take the colors from a rainbow 
                       and place them into your heart 
                       so you would remember what beautiful feels like 
                       and know there is hope in the dark. 

--Christy Ann Martine           

Poem source

Monday, February 19, 2018

Perhaps God is calling you into the desert... (Bishop Robert Barron)

   The Biblical authors knew all about the desert, for they were desert people. 

   How often the great heroes of the Biblical revelation have to spend time in the desert:  Abraham has to cross it to get to the promised land; Moses and the Israelite people have to go through it to get home; Joseph is sent into Egypt and prison before he is ready for his mission; John the Baptist is a voice crying in the desert; Paul goes into the desert of Arabia after receiving the revelation on the road to Damascus.  Even Jesus himself spends forty days and nights in the desert before commencing his ministry.

   What does the desert symbolize?  A number of things:  confrontation with one’s own sin, seeing one’s dark side; a deep realization of one’s dependency upon God; an ordering of the priorities of one’s life; a simplification; a getting back to basics.  It means any and all of these things.

   But the bottom line is that all of them had to wait through a painful time, living a stripped down life, before they were ready for mission.  They were compelled to wait, during a time and in a place where very little life seems to be on offer.

   But it is precisely in such deserts that the flowers bloom.  Moses becomes a great leader; Abraham is the father of many nations; Joseph becomes the savior of his people; John the Baptist is the forerunner of the Messiah; Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles.  And of course, Jesus becomes our Savior.

   This Lent, perhaps God is calling you into the desert – not to punish you, but to prepare you.

--Bishop Robert Barron, Lent Day 35 (March 15, 2016)

Image source:  Stanley Spencer, Christ in the Wilderness:  The Scorpion

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sometimes we change (John Michael Talbot)

    The bottom line is that external practices without internal conversion are fruitless and vain.  So are internal changes that bear no external fruit.  The fact is that sometimes we change from the inside out, and sometimes from the outside in.  The season of Lent is a way to let Jesus purify our entire inner and outer life through the life, dying, and rising of Jesus.

--John Michael Talbot, 
Facebook, February 12, 2013

Image source:  Egino Weinert, The Prodigal Son, bronze (photo courtesy of Fr. Pat)

Friday, February 16, 2018

To face one's chaos (Fr. Ron Rolheiser, O.M.I.)

   Lent invites us to stop eating whatever protects us from having to face the desert that is inside of us. It invites us to feel our smallness, to feel our vulnerability, to feel our fears, and to open ourselves up the chaos of the desert so that we can finally give the angels a chance to feed us. That’s the Christian ideal of lent, to face one’s chaos.

--Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I., Entering Lent

To read Fr. Rolheiser’s complete article, click here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sunday Gospel Reflection, February 18, 2018: He remained in the desert for forty days...

Where is the chaos in your life? 

   In truth, chaos can take many forms.  In the story of the patriarch Noah in the Book of Genesis, God’s decision to allow the waters of the flood to ravish the earth becomes a moment of primordial chaos for Noah and his family; God, who was victorious over the waters at the time of Creation, seems to turn his back on all of his creatures in the great deluge.  In the end, however, God’s promise to Noah is clear:  there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.  God sets his bow – a rainbow – in the clouds as a guarantee, to remind God of the covenant he has made between himself and all living beings.  Thus, in Psalm 25, the psalmist can sing that your compassion, O Lord, and your love are from old… Here, chaos manifests in the form of human sin, and the psalmist must beg the Lord to teach him God’s paths and show sinners the way.  Humankind can be victorious over chaos only through the grace of God.

   Even Jesus, fully human, encounters chaos, first and foremost in the desert, where the Spirit drives him for forty days in Mark's Gospel.  There, Jesus will be among wild beasts and perhaps experience the very human fears associated with them, so that he might know intimately the human struggle to open to the fullness of God.  But when Jesus emerges from the desert, he is ready to put an end to the chaos:  This is the time of fulfillment, he says  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Unlike the flood, meant to destroy all, Jesus came to save all, as the First Letter of Peter states:  Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Jesus suffered once for all the sins that would ever be committed, for all the sin conceivable in humankind.  His death and resurrection offer an eternal end to the chaos of human existence, and salvific hope for all peoples.  In the final analysis, humankind is victorious over chaos only through the grace of God.  We have but to open to that saving grace.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:  www.wordle.net