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Can you remember times in your life when you became aware that what you were doing conflicted seriously with what you believed?
I remember beginning to read the New Testament, thinking I was never going to sin again. I was only a couple of chapters into Matthew when it dawned on me that change was going to take longer than I expected….
I wonder if anyone else out there has a clue just how far off the mark our country’s behaviors are from what we ‘profess and confess’…
“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” (Matthew 25:41-46)
It was bound to happen… Piece by piece, the areas of my life have been making it into my blog. I started out talking about prayer, but the discussion threads have become as much about the twists and turns of my life’s journey as about intercession. This thread is about my jewelry designs. Continue reading
My New Life Mates!
Lola, my Yorkshire terrier mix, is 7 lbs, 4 years old, very high strung, and can leap on and off any surface, no matter how high, easily! Think ‘Wonder Mutt’!! She loves Pepper and me, going for walks, table food, and her own space. She does not like strangers, male humans or dogs, being house-bound, or dry dog food.
This is Pepper, a 12 lb, 5 yr old Bichon Frise, with a lovable, laid back personality. She loves snuggling, food, Lola, and me. She does not like dry dog food, being left alone, or strangers.
They both have barking and separation anxiety issues. We have a lot in common.
Two wonderful creatures have entered my life! Pepper, a 5-yr old Bichon and Lola, a 4yr old Yorkshire Mix. They’re bringing me unconditional love, compassion, hopefulness, and joy, in the middle of what is for me a period of uncertainty, with significant financial and health challenges! They are God’s precious gift to me this Christmas!
Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.” (John 9:39-41)
It’s not easy swimming upstream. Salmon know how. They are genetically wired to buck the tides to preserve their species. Humans, however, are socialized to ‘go along to get along.’ Well, at least most of us. “Counter-culturalist” is right up there with ‘anarchist,” “anti-social misfit,” and “loner.” So what does ‘counter-culture’ mean?
A counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior deviate from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores. A true counterculture includes a significant number of people and persists for a notable period of time. A countercultural movement expresses the ethos, aspirations, and dreams of a specific population during a well-defined era.
For Christian believers, that era began with Jesus and his first followers, and has continued through the centuries into the present day. It’s been a difficult choice at times–for most of us–having to choose to live in faithfulness to Jesus and His Gospel, in the middle of a world whose choices are expedient, selfish, and ego-centric.
But I don’t want to recount all our failures here. We all know some of them–and our friends or enemies can point out the ones we deny, or overlook. Pointing out failures is an exercise of Darkness.
This is a reminder–that we are called to live as Redeemed Brothers and Sisters in a world that is largely unredeemed. We are called to be marginal, to demonstrate, with our behavior, our words, and our lives that Jesus is Real, that He can redeem,. restore, and renew our failures, our missteps, our mistakes, and our violence–if we acknowledge our failure to Love and surrender to His transforming power to heal and empower us. But we need to surrender, and be willing to swim upstream–even if it scares us!
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love…If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating…he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.(1 John 4:7-8, 21-22)
The process of sorting out the last thirty years of my life has uncovered papers and memories that are reminding me this week of people who have blessed and enriched my life. They have also been giants in relationship with Jesus.
One of the most influential women in my life–and there have been, and are, several, was Sr Rita McManus, OP. She was a spiritual powerhouse–a true Apostle among disciples. She was a spiritual coach, guiding me along the road to discipleship through her words, actions, and prayer. SrRita touched my life and imparted her gifts of spiritual discernment, wisdom, and passion for the full Gospel life, here and now. She showed me, by the way she lived, how to see His world in this one! I also thank her for giving me, through the community’s psychologists, a full psychological evaluation, including a detailed list of all my God-given strengths. That information sustains me even now, as I begin to feel the restraints of aging. Throughout her preaching ministry and religious life, according to her biographer, “…she insisted that personal prayer and genuine reflection on Scriptures were essential to spiritual life regardless of changing tides…” Today those essentials are buried deep into the direction of my own walk with God.
Fr Tom Heath OP was another of my spiritual ‘parents’. His passion, adventurous spirit, solid scriptural approach to life, and his strong sense of commitment to gospel living, no matter how turbulent life became, endeared him to me, as I struggled to make sense of my own committed walk with the Lord in community. Responding to my desperation one day he laughed and said “…there are no ‘normal’ communities.” I never forgot that piece of advice! Fr Tom ended up being murdered in the Dominican compound in his beloved Kenya.
Their earthly lives may have come to an end–but their legacy lives in me and in thousands of lives across the world. These are two Apostles that I’m sure are waiting for me at the Father’s feet… Right now, I’m just trying to do them proud here on earth…