Tuesday, August 18, 2015

...ye shall have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of.....

I have decided that there is a difference between "choosing to be happy" and being of good cheer. One cannot nor should not always choose to be happy. If so, we would never mourn with those who mourn, we would never experience the sobering, tutoring process of loss, and we would not experience empathy for those who struggle or who suffer pain or injustice or abuse.

On the other hand, to me being of good cheer as found in the 16th chapter of the book of John means possessing a grounded, calm sense of peace, laced with hope, that is pretty constant in both times of celebration as well as times of deep sorrow, fear, confusion, anger or suffering. It enables us to act positively and calmly and effectively to navigate those struggles in our own lives and to assist others with more open eyes and hearts.
Good cheer dwells comfortably with and deals peaceably and carefully with the reality of a far from perfect existence and the loss of dreams. Choosing to be happy too often tries to pretend that those imperfections and losses should be ignored or glossed over, which, I believe, can actually prevent our spiritual growth.
So, with the grace of God, I will not "choose to be happy" but I do hope to be "of good cheer".

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Just because it seems like a good idea here doesn't mean it makes sense there.

For Americans in particular, life in a global Church means realizing that just because something seems a no-brainer here doesn’t mean it plays out that way everywhere.”

~John J. Allen, Jr., associate editor of the Catholic journal "Crux", at the end of his interesting article about current catholic debates in India.

True about my church too.

The sentence above is towards the end of the second part of the interesting article that you can find HERE.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Taking a Nap

Luke 8:
22
"Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples...
23
But as they sailed he fell asleep..."

Drawing by Ali Wright, shared with permission.  Thanks, Ali.

Good for me to remember at times when a nap is needful but my North American culturalized brain objects to my taking one.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On writing fiction. From William Faulkner's 1950 Nobel Speech in Stockholm

...the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

Speaking Under the Stars

I've been reading the last chapters of the book of John.

I noticed Jesus' words at the end of chapter 14:  "Arise, let us go hence."

Then chapters 15-17 continue the discourse that he began as he and his disciples sat together at the passover feast and the end of that (chapter 17) is his wonderful intercessory prayer.

So I imagined that these chapters may have been a message to his disciples, spoken out of doors, beneath a night sky, somewhere between the upper room in Jerusalem and the Gethsemane garden.

Cloudy or clear, given the general absence of light pollution, the sky would have been magnificent.





And I imagine, under that night sky, these phrases:

"All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace."

"O Father...I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from the, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them."

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth."

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us;"




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

John 16 Jesus' message to his 12.

There will come a time when people will see you as dangerous and will think that killing you and your message is a service to God.

When someone thinks like that, it is a sure indication that they do not know God.

When such times come, do not be taken by surprise.  I'm telling you ahead of time so that it will not throw you off.

When I am no longer physically with you, be assured that I will send the Comforter to be with you.

He will show where right and wrong judgment lie by showing and testifying that I have gone to be with the Father.  And he will convince people of the reality of divine judgment by showing that the prince of this world is judged.

When the Holy Spirit comes he will guide you, speaking the word of God, alerting you as to what will come and testifying of the glory given to me.  All things of the Father are mine and the Holy Spirit will receive of that from me and share what he receives with you.

There will be times of deep sorrow and difficulty ahead.  But, be assured, the magnitude of the joy that will follow will make that sorrow seem like simply an instructive, challenging, new experience.

There will be sad times, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice with a kind of joy that no person's actions or words can ever stop.

When you need something, ask in my name.  But ask directly of the Father yourself.  You do not need for me to pray for you.  You can pray directly to Him.  He loves you.  He loves that you love me and that you understand that I came from Him.  Ask Him directly, and experience the joy of receiving communication and instruction and help from Him.

Shortly things will become so scary that you will scatter and leave me alone.  But I am not alone. The Father is with me.

Why have I told you all this? So that you may understand that, as you stay connected with me, you will have access to what you need in order to feel peace in your heart.

Tribulation is part of life and you will experience it.  However, be hopeful and of good cheer. Continue to do good. The reality is that because of who I am and  what I do  I  am able to undo and overpower the effects of anything bad, wicked, catastrophic,  tragic, unfair, unjust, sinful, horribly misguided or destructive that this life or the people in it did, does or will inflict upon you and anyone else.