Sunday, September 27, 2009

Who do the crowds say I am ~ in my heart, in my life, in my stillness

Emmanuel ~ God is with us.

How many times have we found this to be true even when we’ve ‘stepped back from God,’ if you will?  God came to us in the Garden. God came to us at the tomb.

I hope to talk about the times God came seeking our assistance; to work with us ~ Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, The Twelve, Preparation of the Gifts for the Eucharist.  I loved touching on the times God came to us just to visit ~ Abraham & Sarah, The Transfiguration. A few times God talks about us with others ~ Job, The Tower of Babel ~ I really need your help with that one.

Today, let’s talk about Jesus asking us, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

This blows me away...I hear Human Jesus seeking affirmation from us.  How Human...The Word Incarnate...The Word Made Flesh...the very human Jesus.  I ask my friends, my family this very question every time I am introduced to new people, ‘Do you think they liked me?  Did I make a favorable impression? Am I making sense?  Do people get what I am talking about, what I am doing here?  Is what I am doing enough?’  I hear Jesus asking me these same questions...God has a crush on me...

I pray I am not afraid to ask God the same questions.

I remember the first time I had a crush on someone. I asked a mutual friend, ‘What do you think?  I like (that person).  Do you think (that person) likes me?’  I hear God asking me, 'do you like me? I love you. Do you love me?'

WARNING ~ tangent

I suppose you’ve figured out at this point...I hold to a pretty Low Christology.  I know most contemporary theologians...christologists...moved away from Low/High Christology.  I miss this linear thought.  It helps me to better better better pray...when I recognize how I ‘got there,’ if you will.  See, when I think...feel...pray...with human Jesus I God’s love because God walked a mile in my shoes, if you will, with “nothing for the journey except a staff -- no bread, no haversack, no coppers” -- just our company.  I find I hold that Emmanuel is constant...always...because “the kingdom of God is within (me)."  Again, I am challenged with ‘what comes first:  attitude or behavior?




I hear Jesus’ orders not to tell anyone about being The Christ differently.  I hear him thinking, ‘I believe that, too...don’t tell anyone...I am not ready...thank you for affirming me...affirming my message...Emmanuel...God is Love…’


let's sit back...feel our hearts beat and sigh

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Triumph of the Cross ~ In my heart

The Triumph of the Cross is Emmanuel.

God is with us despite ourselves...always.

I pray I will be with God always...
...despite myself.

I see Jesus hanging there...
I know what we put him through to get there:

the humiliation    the mocking    the scourging    the nailing

I am not sure that my humanity would be so quick to forgive.

Then I hear Human Jesus' word differently.

Perhaps Human Jesus hanging as the New Fruit from the New Knowledge Tree was finding it hard to forgive on his own.  

THAT's when he called on God to help to forgive.

I hope when I am so hurt...
so angry...
prone to revenge
I will call out to God for help 

"Father, forgive them" 

because right now I am struggling.
 Do this for me until I am able to Be With You.

I am blown away.

I pray I learned this lesson.

I pray I apply this Knowledge from this strange fruit hanging from this new Knowledge Tree.

I hold that The Cross was ~ still is in too many ways ~ a natural consequence of Jesus’ words and actions. Jesus bucked the religious system. He challenged everyone: the righteous and societal sinners alike ~ you and me. I believe Human Jesus understood this; that it didn’t take Divine Jesus to ‘prophesy’ the catastrophe...

It is our propensity to judge one another.
We judge God’s Word relentlessly to support our personal agenda.
Man alive, we judge Jesus through Jesus’ own words and actions.
We judge The Word manifest in Flesh.
And we kill him…

Matthew shares a public event with Jesus, “I have not come to abolish the law…”

Jesus responds to others’ question, “What is the greatest commandment?” through the Truth: Love God completely and Love each other completely. This is rather radical.

To love God is to follow the commandments as outlined in the Tablets. God’s commandments are concrete and measurable. I can see clearly when I break any of the Ten. The Ten are behavior based.

It is much more challenging to clearly define Love One Another, Turn the other cheek.

The Greatest commandment Jesus outlines requires an attitude adjustment.

Matthew reports concrete and measurable examples Jesus does offer,

“If someone wishes to go to law with you to get your tunic, 
let him have your cloak as well. 

And if anyone requires you to go one mile, 
go two miles with him. 
Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

'You have heard how it was said, 
You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 
 But I say this to you, 
love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”



Jesus told us the Greatest Commandments. We broke (break) both of them.

We killed Human Jesus.
We killed Divine Jesus.
And yet,

God returns to to each of us by name,


This is the Triumph of the Cross.

I will begin daily journalling with Advent. I look forward to exploring how Jesus’ attitude toward another manifests in his daily walk, in his teachings, in the miracles.

Let’s sit back for a bit. Breathe and feel our hearts sigh...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Triumph of the Cross ~ In my prayer

I like the image of the Cross as the New Knowledge Tree. Jesus is the New Fruit, if you will. This time around we’re invited to eat of the fruit. As a Catholic man I accept the challenge to ingest...digest...knowledge everyday through the breaking of the Word..the breaking of the bread...Eucharist.

What do I do this time around with all this new knowledge?

In the Garden I hid from God. I blamed another for encouraging me to eat.

The early people did hide in the upper room. This time around...they hid from people they feared; not from God.

Again, God returns to us in the garden.

This of the children was there because that child was looking for anoint be with God…

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark,
when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.
John 20: 1

God approached her with questions; like God approached the first people with questions.
“Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?'

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.'

Jesus said, 'Mary!'

She turned round then and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbuni!' -- which means Master.
John 20: 15 & 16

Today, we ~ the people in the garden ~ participate with God.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer,
fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become our spiritual drink.

My heart beats and I sigh

The Triumph of the Cross ~ In my life

We celebrated the Triumph of the Cross Feast earlier this week. Let's talk about the amazing experience we all share the Cross. I want to explore this Tree of Knowledge, if you will, and the one in the Garden.

A prelude to the next journal entry.

Ah man...The Truimph of the Cross…

Texas Jeweler James Avery forged a pendant: the I Minus (a cross meaning "Others Come First, I Minus). My Aunt gave me one at my confirmation 34 years ago. I still wear it…

I tied three knots in a leather strap long enough to wrap my wrist three times. From there the I Minus hangs.

One knot is my Integrity Prayer: “Listen to the Word of God always. Feel the Word of God in my Heart. Speak the Word of God in my actions.”

Another knot is my Chastity Prayer: “Interact with another free of agenda. Interact with another as an expression of God’s Love. Greet another like Elizabeth hailed Mary. Hail another like Mary greeted Elizabeth.”

Another knot is my Poverty Prayer: “ God is everything. Everything is before me. My desire is God’s Love.”

One wrist wrap is God ~ the Altar.

One wrist wrap is the Word Incarnate ~ the Tabernacle.

One wrist wrap is The Holy Spirit ~ the Transubstantiation.

Be with me…

I breathe and my heart sighs...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Abraham, Sarah and The Triune God pray

Genesis 18

Yahweh appeared to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground. 'My lord,' he said, 'if I find favour with you, please do not pass your servant by. Let me have a little water brought, and you can wash your feet and have a rest under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further, now that you have come in your servant's direction.' They replied, 'Do as you say.'

Abraham hurried to the tent and said to Sarah, 'Quick, knead three measures of best flour and make loaves.' Then, running to the herd, Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking curds, milk and the calf which had been prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree.

'Where is your wife Sarah?' they asked him. 'She is in the tent,' he replied. Then his guest said, 'I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.' Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.

Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods. So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, 'Now that I am past the age of childbearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again?' But Yahweh asked Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Am I really going to have a child now that I am old?" Nothing is impossible for Yahweh. I shall come back to you at the same time next year and Sarah will have a son.' Sarah said, 'I did not laugh,' lying because she was afraid. But he replied, 'Oh yes, you did laugh.'

From there the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to speed them on their way.

Ah man...look at the difference in this prayer between God and Abraham compared to the prayer between God and The Two in the Garden. We really grew in appreciating time with God…

Abraham ran to the Triune God. Abraham checked in, if you will, and anticipated what the Triune God needed...what we might need when we visit others: rest, water, food. He asked the Triune God to visit, “please don’t pass your servant by” stay awhile…

I pray I will invite God into everything. My favorite prayer time is first thing in the morning. I grab a cup of coffee on my way into the backyard to watch the sunrise. I hope I always remember to invite God to grab a cup, sit with the sunrise together…

Abraham invites Sarah to be involved in this prayer, too, “Quick make the bread.” And, he invites his servant to be a part in this prayer by simply offering him the things the servant needed to be involved...concretely preparing the tender calf.

I pray I will always accept the invitation another offers to pray through the vehicle presented ~ here “the best flour” and “the tender calf” ~ when I am Sarah or the Servant in this story…

Warning ~ TANGENT

I pray I will never be afraid to ask another to pray with me. I pray I will always accept an other’s invitation to pray with them
At Mass one day the Priest invited us to pray with our body sometimes even if that meant a simple sway back and forth or as complex as to dance.

A person handed me a Rosary once.

The person standing next to me extended a hand.

I remember fondly the first time I was invited to a Hindu temple...She even handed me a bouquet of flowers to present.

Where was I...oh yeah...

God asked his host where his partner was BY NAME...isn’t that beautiful…”where’s your wife Sarah?”

I pray that everytime God asks me where someone important to me is I accept that as an invitation to call out to that person, ‘hey, come here with us!’ rather than leave my significant other in the tent. Maybe then God can ask my friend a question directly rather than through me, “Why did Sarah laugh…?”

Sarah engaged anyway, “I didn’t laugh.” I can see God’s eye twinkle gently…’yeah, you did.’ No judgement. Just acknowledgement. I can see God’s body language saying it’s alright, sister…

This part of the story ends with Abraham finishing the walk to the Triune God’s destination...

My heart beats and I sigh

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Show me how to pray

Jesus is the Word Incarnate. Jesus is God made flesh. God manifested as human in Jesus. That’s Truth for me.

For too long, I couldn’t get a grasp on what I saw as major flaws in that truth as presented in Jesus’ Good News and God’s interactions with us before the Incarnation. I decided I needed to simplify Jesus’ Good News; define “good news.”

Warning ~ TANGENT!

Great little book: NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING six-word memoirs by famous & obscure writers. The challenge presented to the contributors as outlined in the introduction was “submit short, short life stories for a contest - a battle of brevity.”

Over dinner with friends ~ amazing things happen over dinner, ask Fr. Bill Faiella or his book, Sharing Meals Heals: An Italian 'Menu' For Inner Peace ~ I read my favorite Six-Word Memoir to my guests, Colin Stanton’s “He knew her bruises would fade.”

So, what’s Colin’s story? One could suggest he is a wife beater. Another could suggest he is a compassionate father talking about his daughter’s bruised heart after the love of her 12 year old life said, “Let’s be friends.” How ‘bout a younger brother sharing his thoughts to his sister after her fall from a tree?

I suggest we do the same thing with our Triune God. Each of us will read into the Word the Truth closest to our experience. Be Free!!!! I wonder if this is what The Ignatian Exercises might be about?

OK where was I?

Oh yeah...What is the Good News for me? three words: GOD IS LOVE.

The simplicity brought me to prayer...I find God is Love everywhere. Praise God.

I find prayer practice in this Old Testament story. (does someone have better terms for me than Old Testament and New Testament?) Please tell me what you think.

Warning ~ TANGENT!

I was on retreat once. The leader asked us to “tell the story of (prescribed scriptural passage).” Each of us grabbed our Bibles. He asked us to put them away, “You know the story. Just tell us.” He suggested that we will remember from years of hearing the story and reading the story what we remember because THAT is what we get from it; perhaps, THAT is what we need to get from it...THAT is what we need to explore further...kinda like the first tangent in this entry?

Yet, here I go copying directly from The Jerusalem Bible rather than just telling you the story...

Genesis 3:8-13

The (One) and (the Other One) heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. But Yahweh God called to the (two). 'Where are you?' (Yahweh God) asked. 'I heard the sound of you in the garden,' (The One) replied. 'I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.' 'Who told you that you were naked?' (Yahweh God) asked. 'Have you been eating from the tree I forbade you to eat?'
The (One) replied, 'It was the (Other One) you put with me; (that) gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then Yahweh God said to the (Other One), 'Why did you do that?' The (Other One) replied, 'The snake tempted me and I ate.'

Whew...I am first struck by God walking around in the day’s coolness. This EVEN after knowing what the first two people were doing ~ God is all-knowing. I find this to be the first evidence of God is all-forgiving. God is Love.

God invites us to pray, regardless of what we do/did, “Where are you?”

I hope I never hide from God in my sin when I hear God ‘walking in the garden.’ I hope I will always answer God’s question honestly regardless of how hard the answer might be.

God continues in prayer, “Who told you that you were naked?" with me here...I wonder if the original sin might...just found here (if in-fact Original Sin is more than tradition): The one blamed the other. No responsibility owned. Oh my back…

Later let’s talk about God’s Will as Jesus. I suggest: maintain integrity to the message ~ God is Love ~ regardless of how We are received…’even to death. Death on a cross.’

God keeps asking questions and I keep making excuses for my behavior. Instead of engaging, I 'hide in the garden's trees.'

I wonder what could happen if ‘when I eat of the Knowledge Tree’s Fruit’ I answer God, “Whoa...I know I am naked now. Be with me so I use it best. Help me to be with You especially now. I have all this new knowledge. What do I do now?” Imagine if I were to run toward God with my questions rather than hide…

Oh my back...breathe...feel my heart beat and sigh…

This is too much. I’ll digest this for awhile and get to another story later. If you want to work with me, here are two stories: The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-8 for those of us not quite ready to trust how we hold the story in our hearts) and when Abraham talks with God about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 starting with line 20.

Peace...let's sit back…feel our hearts beat and sigh