Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fully Devoted or Held in Love?

While I was on internship I was taught that a mature Christian would be described as a "fully devoted follower of Christ". In my dreams last night I was taught a deeper truth.

I was asked in my dream how I would describe my relationship with Christ and I said that I was a "fully devoted follower". After saying that my heart was pierced becuase I knew that was not essentially true. For me to be fully devoted it would mean that there was no area in my heart that was not yieled to God and that my will has already melted into Divine Will. Perhaps that might be said of one of my spiritual fathers, St. Francis but not of me.....

If I am not "fully devoted" then what? It was revealed to me that "I am my beloved's and He is mine. And His banner over me is love". I am held in divine love by the Most High. That is the deepest part of my being, love from the Most High which in turn leads to desire for my Beloved. God speaks deep within our soul that we are loved and it is that word which creates life and returns back to God as love, adoration and praise.

Rather than trying to achieve some status of "fully devoted" it is more than enough simply to be loved and to love. I love my Beloved and He loves me....I live because of Divine Love.....

Nothing can separate me from Love. St. Paul say that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.. Elsewhere the scriptures teach that God hsa loved us with a never ending love and so God maintains his steadfast love for us.

Dear friends, you are loved and held in Divine Love, it is God's great pleasure to love you....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spectacularly Ordinary Part 1

The spiritual life is spectacularly ordinary. What I mean is that the spiritual life is life. There is no real difference between our spiritual life and the rest of our life. The ordinary things of daily living are the makings of the spiritual life. Some might ask how changing a diaper can be spiritual or how paying bills can be spiritual. They are spiritual because God is present.

Changing diapers is a chance to learn love and care for the least among us. Paying bills is a change to think on stewardship and to realize that God is in the ordinary. God is not "out there somewhere" or confined to Sundays and the occasional church meeting. The incarnation of Christ shows us that God is in the daily stuff of the world.

The fact that God is in the ordinary does not necessarily mean that we are aware of God in the ordinary, in fact it seems that the opposite is true: we look for God in the extraordinary and long for great signs and wonders. In doing this we miss what is right in front our eyes: Presence in all things.

Our first step is to realize that God is in the everyday stuff of life and those things are the materials for the spiritual life. They are a gift and each moment is an opportunity to receive grace...

If God is in the regular stuff of life then the tools of the spiritual life are the tools of life. They are not luxuries but necessities. They are gifts from God, pure grace....

Things like divine reading, prayer, silence, solitude are necessary to life. They are the places of refreshment, formation and grace that helps us be formed for life...The ordinary is quite beautiful simply because of God's Presence.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Tonight I washed the feet of God's people here at MLC. It is a humbling experience. It reminds me that as a pastor I am called to serve Christ and His people. So often pastors are in the spotlight and it is good to be reminded of our true calling.

However the Bible tells us we are a "priesthood of believers" (see 1 Peter). Therefore we are called to serve all of Christ's people, those who know Christ and those who do not. Again the question: to whom are you called to serve? Who is God putting in your life for the sake of communicating their beauty, worth and choseness by God through Christ? Pray for them, love them and serve them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jean Vanier Meditation 1

Whenever I read Jean Vanier (founder of L'Arche) I am moved by his ability to love the unlovely. It is so Christlike. It reminds me of Romans "while they we still sinners God sent his son to die". Jesus loves us when we are unlovely, therefore making us lovely. Vanier and L'Arche radiate this love and I think they live deep truth: all are loved by Christ and all contain beauty given to them by their creator.

Who are you repulsed by? As Vanier says "to whom are you called?" I guess it is there we will discover our life, love and passion. Someday I hope to be mature enough to walk amongst the poor, not as their savior but their servant and friend.

Friday, March 14, 2008


As people we are all tempted by the evil one. If we think that we are not tempted then we are decieved and being lead by forces that we are not aware of and frankly are under their power.

The desert fathers were tempted and we have records of their battles with demons and the evil one. Benedict doesn't recommend moving into seclusion as a monk until one has been seasoned in community. It is not surprising that the desert fathers were tempted in the desert, Christ was lead into the desert and was tempted. Again if Christ was tempted what makes us think that we won't be tempted???

The first movement is to acknowledge that fact that we will be tempted to live and act in ways that are contrary to God's ways and are not life giving. Then we need to become self aware as to how we are tempted; to discover what are the areas that we are weak in. For some it will be areas of pride, others it will be greed and others lust and still others addictions; you get the idea.

Once we are aware of our temptations then we can enter into them. One of the things that often happens is that we fight them head on and fail, sometimes repeatedly. This leads to another way that the enemy gets us, we despair. We begin a pattern of performance spirituality and begin to live to fix or overcome our problem. This cycle can be devastating to our interior life because we begin to understand God's love in terms of our ability to overcome and master our tempations.

The fact is that we will always have some temptations and times when we fail...We need to simply recieve God's love and mercy in our failings and in our temptations. Recieving forgiveness, mercy and love makes us stand naked before God, powerless and yet utterly loved in who we are....

Christ's forgiveness is the power to live with the contradictions that are our life. Luther says that we are both saint and sinner. Humility is the ability to see ourselves truthfully which is to know that we are mass of contradictions. I like to say that there are always weeds in our garden.. There are vegetables there too....

What I've found is that the mercy of God has the power to help overcome temptations, to fall into them less often and to not let them destroy us when we do. We can come to confession, recieve forgiveness and the power to begin again. It is always grace and it is grace that has the power to heal and open up new life...

Seems paradoxical and it is....

As we spend more time with God and grow deeper in our sense of being loved and understand who we really are in Christ it will shape our heart, give us a new sense of self and more power to fight temptation.

Other things we can do are to work on disciplines of abstince in areas we can have a greater success and this too will give a better ability to say no...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Holding it all together

It seems like suffering is foreign to God, or at least we were brought up to think that. Looking at the cross it shows that suffering is not foreign to God, in fact Christ enters deeply into human suffering. Rather than being foreign to God, Christ makes suffering a place for God.

Often I think that our suffering opens us up to God, it works like a big wake up call. It shows that we are not in control, life is bigger than us and that we have to yield to something or better yet someone else.

Why do we resist so hard, what scares us and keeps us from God? Why does it take wake up calls like losing a relationship, job, or money to force us into the God question? What could be done to help prepare us for the time when suffering comes so that we know it is a God place, a sacred space and not a foreign place. God is in the desert.......