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Posts tagged ‘discernment’

Wait for it…

It is like those videos we all love. You click on it. It seems like nothing unusual is happening. The title of the thing tipped you off, though. So you know something is coming. You don’t know if it will “gross you out” or if it will make you want to say “Yes!” or if it will leave you with your mouth open and needing to hit the replay icon because you can’t believe you saw what you just actually saw.

That is what it is like to be in between with God.

The key phrase here is not “in between” but it is “with God.”

If you are with God, there is an unstated title on your life. Wait for it.

This is a lull in the action. It is a time of preparation. Your suffering. The silence. The nothingness is anything but nothingness.

It’s like your soul is being filmed and nothing unusual is happening. But if you are a person of faith and you truly believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and you trust in the Eucharistic Messiah who came to you at Mass and the One who promised that you will have life because you have received,

then wait for it.

He created you and has used you. He will use you again.

Perhaps He wants to heal you first, or equip you, or put into place the help you need to fulfill what comes next.

Or maybe He wants you to be able to look back on the work that is about to unfold and see Him, not you. If it all clicked and happened on your timetable, maybe you would be tempted to think you controlled God or you were the key player in the events.

Wait for it.

Something is about to happen. Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with eagles’ wings. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Once renewed, look out. When God acts, you’ll know it. Wait for it.

Whatsoever is Holy on the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo

Today’s First Reading hits the American ethos dead center.

Their God is their stomach; their glory is their “shame.” Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

(from Philippians 3)

Guilty as charged.

My mind races.

I think about my kids and their kids.

Who I should call and who I should text.

What people are thinking while I simultaneously want to say screw it; I don’t really care.

How much Christmas gifts will cost.

What I’m still owed for some work I did.

How little I actually made for some work I did.

How little I want to work.

How much I want to just flit here and there, talking about the Eucharist and conversion and Mother Mary.

What I need at the grocery store.

How I spent the last two nights eating the Dairy Queen ice cream cake from the freezer and there’s still some left and I really have to stop this or my middle aged metabolism will really be my nemesis.

How good it was to see everyone at the funeral today; how sad it was to be at the funeral today.

How much I want to be like my husband’s grandma; how little I am actually like her.

The dog needs a vet appointment. I need an annual exam.

There’s still leftover Halloween candy. Nobody comes to our door on October 31st. Why do I buy so much candy, anyway?

I like my new outfit from Macy’s, the black pantsuit I bought for the wake, but that black suit is not going to fit for long if I keep eating candy and frozen ice cream cakes from DQ.

Oh heck, I’m a grandmother. If you can’t be a little overweight when your seventh grandchild is due any day, when can you be overweight.

I’ve been to the gym twice in the last year. Who am I kidding?

We need to get a taper to prep some walls for painting. I should paint and get this house ready to sell. Man, we have too much debt.

Will I ever be able to travel to the Holy Land again. I think I will go into a depression if I can’t see the Sea of Galilee again.

I could put a ticket on the credit card.

Lord, we have so much debt.

What can I sell.

I should get a job.

I write.

Does it pay the bills?

No.

Okay, maybe a little.

So write.

But that book I’m working on is too honest. There’s only so much “being honest” people can handle.

That’s what St. Augustine and St. Patrick thought when they wrote their confessions. Actually, no. That’s not what they thought. It was all for Christ.

All. For. Christ.

What was the reading again? Up there, at the top of the post, the part in italics?

Their God is their stomach; their glory is their “shame.” Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

(from Philippians 3)

Okay, Lord. I’m a citizen of heaven. And I’m showing up for duty.

Attention!

 

A Month After The Yad Vashem Museum

High school debate class taught me something, and I have lived long enough to see it play out over and over.

People can argue rationally for or against almost anything. They can make both sides sound good – even if it is completely impossible for both sides to be right.

But there is one thing I didn’t realize when I was sixteen, in debate class, and learning to deliver one point after another with speeds beyond the novice level. In the real world, one’s political slant colors everything. Everything.

Truth gets messy when one picks beliefs based on the planks of the platform of a particular political party.

Credibility, as far as I’m concerned, is lost when one’s beliefs (and points) match up too closely with any political party.

While I was in Israel, I went to the Yad Vashem Museum. We were all reasonably smart people on that trip. A publisher. A journalist. A photojournalist. A freelance writer. A syndicated columnist. And we all believe in higher education. In my own family, my mother has her doctorate. My sister and husband have doctorates. My dad had a Master of Divinity, my brother has an M.B.A., and I have a M.A.

I suppose that is why it horrified me – horrified all of us at the Yad Vashem Museum – that so many of the SS officers responsible for the Holocaust were educated men. Men with doctorate degrees. Men who should have known better.

But one can rationalize anything.

And when politics and power enter into it, the mind has all the motivation it needs to embrace some truly diabolical things.

Nobody is immune. In fact, the more education… the more prestige, and the more prestige… the more power. Power and prestige can become a prison.

When the stakes are high, we can talk ourselves into almost anything.

Strip us of the power. Remove the love for the prestige. And we see Auschwitz for what it is.

And abortion, too.

And euthanasia.

And the death penalty.

And a closed hand to the poor.

And a closed door to the immigrant.

We make all things sound rational.

We can make anything seem reasonable.

So we enter the Facebook world and spew words faster than a debater. We cut and paste the best arguments we see out there and imprint them on our minds for future use.

We can defend our position. So bring it on.

Politics is not my compass. Something else guides me. And it helps me to sort through the war of words.

My parents instilled it in me:

Denise, one day, you will stand before Jesus and give an accounting. Yes, one day you will stand where Pontius Pilate stood, only you won’t be asking, “What is truth?” You will be standing before the One who is Truth. And he will be your judge.

A judge who has spent your whole life advocating for the unborn, the aging, the prisoner, the poor, the immigrant. And that is the moment when you will realize if you truly knew him. Or if you only said you knew him.

We all need an informed conscience, but there is a danger in letting our politics inform our conscience.

The Christ who advocates for the unborn, the aging, the prisoner, the poor, the immigrant, and marital love is the one who must inform our conscience.

That Christ.

And his Church – a Church that does not fit well with any particular political party. Thanks be to God!