Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mother of thunder

I love it when God responds quickly to my prayer, as it seems to reassure my doubtful side which questions God's existence. My prayers began last night after I erupted in thunderous fashion at my five year old's unruly behavior. Despite long talks on good behavior vs bad behavior, time outs and toys taken away, he persisted in a disobedient fashion and last night I just had enough. The mother of thunder unleashed her firey breath quite loudly. I think it went badly for both of us....seemed hopeless at the time so I prayed for some divine intervention.
In the wee hours of the morn, I read today's gospel reading (Luke 9:51-56), and wondered if I'd found an answer. Jesus and disciples traveled through Samaria, stopping in a Samaritan village looking for some local hospitality. Instead they were unwelcomed there, as their final destination was Jerusalem. The deep seated animosity between Jew and Samaritan reared its head. So the sons of thunder, James and John planned to call down a firey punishment, just like Elijah in Samaria many centuries before (2 Kings 1). Yet Jesus rebuked His disciples and moved on to another village. Later, He dies in Jerusalem for everyone, asking His Father to forgive them...
The online format of The Word Among Us had a wonderful reflection on this reading. It stated that we, in our "excess of zeal," begin to label people in our heads and out loud, convinced of our right viewpoint and their wrong point of view. We see them as enemies instead of just ordinary people. In contrast, Jesus modelled mercy and compassion even for sinners on the wrong path in life. He died for everyone's sin, even His enemies! Perhaps we could start a spiritual revolution by blessing instead of cursing our "enemy," and ask God to change both our heart and "enemy's" heart to ease misunderstanding, bringing God's wisdom to play in both our lives, to make the world a better place!
I wondered if that would work for an unruly five year old boy? I had nothing to lose, so in the words of Zechariah 8:21: Come! Let us go to implore the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of Hosts. This morning I blessed him, signing a cross on his head for good thoughts and behavior, on his lips to control his sassy words, on his heart to make him realize his goodness, and on each hand so they would be respectful of others. I prayed all day, praising God and sure enough, the lad had a perfect day at school! Thanks be to God for all His gifts, especially for Jesus, a perfect model of God's compassion and mercy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Justice vs Fairness Continued

 As we read  last Sunday, God's ways are far above ours, but we are called to open wide our hearts and minds to receive His wisdom, His transcendence. Proverbs 9:10 states that: "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy one understanding."  This Sunday's readings begins with Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 18: 25-28
Thus says the Lord:  "You say, the Lord's way is not fair!"  Hear now, House of Israel:  Is it my way that is unfair, or rather are not your ways unfair?  When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit inequity and dies, it is because of the inequity that he must die.  But if he turns from the wickedness that he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
It is in this reading that we see that the House of Israel's perception of what is fair, is not God's!  I am instantly brought back to last weeks post in which justice, God's justice, is compared with our human fairness.  It is not that fairness in and of itself is always wrong, but when we are cut lose from transcendent justice (God's ways), fairness is only based on the most superficial concepts of justice, and it often can only address the material realities, which leaves us blind to the ultimate unseen realities, and adrift in moral relativism! Grave injustice will always be the result, because this kind of superficial justice is blind (and not in the impartial sense) and cannot address the sickness in human souls, it can only respond to the outward manifestations of the inequities that hold individual souls hostage.  We become enslaved to the sin, because we cannot see it, and each one of us becomes weaker. And so, abortion becomes a difficult, but, compassionate solution to inequities in our social response to crises pregnancies.

 It is much harder to struggle to provide justice for the innocent child and the mother, but that is real justice, and it is not always comfortable.  True justice requires a deeper understanding of the the transcendence of God and of the ultimate eternal nature of each and every human being. We need to understand that to turn from virtue means death, eternal death.  We must be obstacles to that a turn that means death!

In the Pope's German address he says " we must rediscover our capacity to perceive God, a capacity that exists within us." In order to do this, we must understand how much we need God's mercy!  Collectively and individually.  "Ezekiel points out that we need to turn from our inequity, and we will receive God's mercy. But alas, we need a bit of perspective and perception to do that!  For this we need to allow the Spirit to give us a truer vision of the Lord, and a truer vision of who we are before the Almighty.

  And from here the readings flow into Philippians for the encouragement and further guidance needed in the light of Christ!
Phill 2 1-11
Brothers and Sisters if there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind with the same love, united in heart thinking one thing.  Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory, rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves. each looking out not for his own interest, but also for those of others.  Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, who, though was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance he humbled himself becoming obedient even to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Because of this God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father forever!
I must admit that Paul always gives me cause to pause and self examine, "do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory" (even blogging!)  Always  "humbly regard others as more important that yourselves"  As a frail and fallible human being, and as a mother, I know that this takes practice, and guidance and a vision that is strong in perceiving beauty and truth. And since I cannot uproot Paul from Sacred Scriptures, I have to read it in light of Ezekiel, to always be aware that God's justice is much higher than mine, and the mercy we bestow must always be guided with the keen awareness of the immortality of each and every soul.  We must in every way be stumbling blocks to those who are turning or have turned from the path of virtue! And we must be humbly vigilant over our own souls as well.

  How we need to be emptied of our selfishness and our vainglory to begin to truly move forward in authentic justice and lasting mercy! How we need to recover our sight , to recognize the holiness and authority of Christ Jesus, who showed us the way to the Wisdom of God!   How we need to have our eyes opened to the glimpses of the almighty and transcendent Lord, to open our hearts and turn away from the superficial, grasping at justice, to turn away from our ideas of fairness that encourage complacency and discourage virtue. We need to open wide our hearts, minds and souls to God who is pouring his love and mercy out upon us. We need to have our spiritual vision restored, or we will be like the Pharisees in the gospel, complacent and comfortable in their understanding of the Scriptures and of God,  unable to understand authentic justice, even when He is standing right in front of us!  

May the Lord grant each of us the heart mind and humility to seek Him in truth, to show us his paths and to remember not  the sins of our past!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reflections on Justice vs. Fairness

Isaiah 55: 6-9:  
 "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near.  Let the scoundrel forsake his ways and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God who is generous and forgiving.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts".
In preparing for this Sunday's Scripture reflection a quote from one of my favorite C.S.Lewis novels, a book called 'Till We Have Faces' quickly came to mind.  The book is a wonderful read, it contains an underlying theme that nothing we see here on earth is yet in it's true form, thus, we do not yet have the capacity to understand it all.  In the book the main character, Orual, has come to the throne of the gods with a book of complaints that she has written against them, (it is set before the Christian era).  She is in the company of a dear old mentor of hers, the Fox, when he makes the extraordinary claim that she will not get justice from the gods, at least justice as she understands it.  "Are the God's not just?" she asks the Fox, to which he replies:  "Oh no child, what would become of us if they were?"

Thank goodness God's justice is not my justice. I can speak of understanding the gravity of God's justice, but his justice is perfect, and mine can often become shallow and petty, and fairness can triumph over justice in truth.   Does seeing justice done always mean that fairness is achieved?  And is we cannot see justice in a truer light, how will we ever be able to grasp what is true mercy?  It is not fair that a woman who is raped has to bear the emotional and physical burdens of a pregnancy for nine months, but how can we call abortion justice, or mercy? Have we lost our ability to perceive transcendent realities, like an innocent immortal soul that despite the injustice that has occurred in his or her conception, God has allowed and willed to live?  If we cannot discern the higher justice in allowing the child to be born, how will we even begin to be able to have an inkling about God's justice that is so far beyond our capacity to know?  Or how deep His mercy is?  Can I accept that I do not know all ends, and I must continue to call upon the Lord, whose greatness is unsearchable so that I can begin to understand that I do not understand!

If we lose the ability to appreciate the magnificent and unfathomable transcendence of God, and that our universe is full of signs pointing to this, directing us toward it, I fear that we will stunt all of our highest aspirations, both on a personal and a cultural level. Even if we mean them to provide lasting justice, these attempts will  prove to be a crumbling facade. We will get short term fairness, but in the end we will be weakened and our ability to call upon the Lord in truth will fade, because we will not have the heart to endure His greatness.

Anyone who has children knows what it can mean to serve the tyrant of "fairness" all the time.  It means that all projects have to be carefully weighed and measured, and generosity and creativity are sacrificed for it.  I have been a room mother to more that a few school parties, and it is getting increasingly difficult to find really fun and creative games, because, well....we don't want to seem unfair to the other class if your games are more fun, the other kids will be upset (seriously)!   Sometimes, though an apparently unfair situation can root out in you an area that really needs the generous mercy of the Lord.

The Gospel of Matthew has Jesus telling another parable, this one about a landowner seeking laborers for his fields.  At the end of the day all the workers are payed the same wage, even those who have only worked the final hour of the day.  And at this the faithful workers who labored all day in the sun complain that it is not fair!  His justice is not ours; and here he has, in his mercy, revealed that the faithful laborers in the field harbor in their hearts envy.  I say 'in His mercy' because it is all to common for the spirit of envy, or anger, or fear to be deeply hidden inside of us, and it is sometimes only revealed when our superficial ideas of fairness and justice are challenged.

 Here is the beginning of knowing the truth about ourselves, not so we can despair, but so we can call out to the Lord in truth!  And when we start to call out to the Lord in truth we will begin to understand that our understanding of life, joy, happiness suffering and death are far from complete.  He will begin to root out the ways in which we thwart authentic justice and therefore, authentic mercy. We will know of mercy undeserved, yet generously poured out, like Orual discovered in the book.   Because all is not yet revealed to us.  We can discover authentic fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, a wisdom that we dearly need.

Here is an awesome reflection by Mon. Pope on the Archdiocese of Washington blog.
Peace and Grace, Heidi

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Essay on Angels by Diane Muelleman

Of importance -What difference does it make if I believe in angels or not?    
I liked the way Peter Kreeft addressed this question in his book on Angels. (p.21) He suggested that “believing in” can mean three different things; simply an opinion, a personal trust, or religious faith. According to Mr. Kreeft the third meaning, religious faith, would suggest idolatry or worshiping false gods and would not make sense for us. But I want to share with you why having a personal trust or reliance on angels is a real gift from God.
                I admit it was not easy for me to open my mind to the possibility that angels exist.  I had to stretch myself spiritually. In doing so I began to experience wonder and awe as if a small child again. I think my research for this paper has helped me begin to develop personal trust in angels and that gives me a feeling of security and hope with much gratitude for God’s wisdom in creating these “beings” just for us.

Substance If they exist, then what are angels made of?
  Angels are non-material, pure spirit; they do not have physical bodies like
us.  But they can affect matter such as assuming bodily form.

… “God is infinite bodiless spirit, your soul is finite embodied spirit, and angels are finite bodiless spirit.”  (Kreeft p.41)

“The spirits of angels are indeed bounded by space, yet their knowledge extends far above us beyond comparison; for they expand by external and internal knowing, since they contemplate the very source of knowledge itself.” (Aquilina p.10)

 “There is not always a sharp distinction between the angel as a personal being and as a personification of the divine word or the divine action.” (DBM p.31)  

Angels are messengers and Jesus is the message.  God sends them to
guard and guide us. Angels circulate between the soul and heaven to assist God in transmitting  spiritual goods from him to us. Angel isn't really a name it is more of a job description.

On the basis of references to them in the Bible, angels are traditionally ranked in a so-called celestial hierarchy of nine orders. (Catholic Encyclopedia p. 68)

The first three levels see and adore God directly:

  1. The seraphim, the highest choir, comprehend God with maximum clarity, and therefore their love flames the hottest.
  2. The cherubim contemplate God too, but less in himself than in his providence, his wise plan for creatures.
  3. The thrones contemplate God’s power and judgments.

The next three levels fulfill God’s providential plans for the universe, like middle management personnel:

  1. The dominations or “dominions” command the lesser angels below them.
  2. The virtues receive their orders from the dominations and “run” the universe, so to speak, especially the heavenly bodies.
  3. The powers serve the virtues by fighting against evil influences that oppose the virtue’s providential plan.

The last three choirs directly order human affairs:

  1. The principalities care for earthly principalities, that is, cities and nations and kingdoms.
  2. The archangels carry God’s important messages to man.
  3. Ordinary angels are the “guardian angels”, one for each individual.
(Kreeft , p. 75)

Quantity –So what is the significance of the number nine?

 The number nine  (three times three) is the perfect plural which is the perfect unity.
(Catholic Source book p.441)

Dilemma Yes there are “bad” angels”.

 Some angels were jealous of man because he was made in the image and likeness of God. They fell from heaven (Rev.12: 9) breaking the unity of God’s spiritual creation.  Now we find ourselves in the middle
of a spiritual battle between the powers of light (angels) and powers of darkness (devils).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“The angels were created with free will. They could accept or reject God, and not all of them made the right choice.” (Aquilina, p.10)

Perhaps because of pride, some did not return God’s love. (Catholic Source p. 97)

Wisdom 2:23-24 “thru the devil’s envy death entered the world.”

Be of consequence -Are they necessary?
To the extent that we are imperfect, yes we do have need of angels. They are messengers of hope and protectors of souls.

“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” (Article 328 In C.C.C. p.85)

Significance-The coming of Christ changed our relationship with the angels.

Man now has in Christ immediate access to the Father without passing through the intermediary of the angels who are only there to aid him in the first stages of his ascent.” (Danielou P. 34)

Friendship with an angel lifts humans up because that is what God intended.  This is beautifully illustrated in the book of Tobit in the Old Testament beginning with chapter 5 verse 4.  The angel, Raphael, journeys with Tobit providing companionship and teaching him along the way.

In Rev.19: 10, in the New Testament, an angel said that they are now “fellow servants” with us. They worship with us so that together we give greater glory to God.

Angels are present invisibly at the liturgical services.
(DBM p. 31)

Angels are co-workers with God for our good.

God created a universe of beings that are interdependent (Aq p. 39)

If we develop a personal trust in our guardian angel, that finite bodiless spirit can become a positive aid for us and help us gain interior peace as we progress in our spiritual life.

 I once read that an active spiritual life makes the soul enter into the world of the angels. I understand that statement better now. We are meant to work together and if each one of us learns to trust in the guardian
angel delegated to us by our creator, there will be spiritual unity as God intended.

His will be done.

copyright 2011 Dianne Muelleman 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forgiveness and 9/11

Here is a link to the prayer said by Pope Benedict at Ground Zero from the blog Whispers in the Loggia.  It is a fitting prayer to be read again on this day of remembrance.  How appropriate that our readings for today are centered around forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a hard thing, and we greatly need the grace of God to enter into the freedom that forgiving others offers.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Icon of Mary's infancy

The Feast of the Birth of Mary originated in Palestine, going back the consecration of a church in Jerusalem; tradition identifies this church as St. Anne's. This photograph was taken at the St. Anne's Basilica in Jerusalem and is an icon depicting the infant Mary and her two Saintly parents, Anne and Joachim. Mary is the tiny person in the lower left corner, sitting in a caretaker's lap.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My reflection on Mary’s birth and importance in the Divine plan:

I've often wondered about Mary, her life and relationship to the Triune God, and her role in the salvation of humanity. My initial view of Mary was child-like: a perfect human being, not suffering the same woes as the rest of humanity-- very beautiful, blessed and holy. Bible study introduced me to her life and trials, so I thought I'd start praying the Rosary like all good Catholics do. I tried to discover the real Mary through St Louis De Montfort’s book, The Secret of the Rosary, but came away thinking I lacked in my devotion to Mary, ashamed in my thoughts and actions toward her. Not that I had disrespectful thoughts/actions, I just didn't have any special thoughts or actions toward Mary. No, she just seemed less important in the grand scheme of my life. Also, the way Mary is sometimes described by St. De Montfort and saints puts her in an ivory tower of sorts (for me anyway). She seemed so much unlike me that I began to feel she was more like the Ten Commandments, an indicator of my failures and sin in motherhood and as a disciple of Jesus--not seeing her as trusted role model. Perhaps, because I fell so in love with God after really studying the bible, I couldn't see Mary’s influence in my life. Then in my musings I began to contemplate her life as outlined in the mysteries of the Rosary, imagining her life as a teenager confronted with an unexpected pregnancy, totally breaking with the taboos of society in the realm of marriage and family. What courage she possessed to have said, ”Be it done to me according to Thy Word!” Yes, I could admire her trust and confidence in God to take care of her in this difficult and potentially life-threatening predicament. Next I pondered her pregnancy. Somehow Mary had to be extraordinarily special in her role as the Ark of the New Covenant, the God-bearer, the one to give God a human form. Back in the ancient days of wandering in the desert, the Israelites carried the most sacred words of God, a jar of manna and the staff of Aaron in the Ark. Remember the man who touched the Ark in David's time, and immediately died (2 Sam 6: 6-7). God somehow created a creature who was to hold Himself as Word, Son, Savior, yet not die! Someone to behold the face of God, and yet live! A mother who could contain within herself the Bread of Life and power of God...Ok, that would be someone special….According to St Andrew of Crete, “This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator.” How amazing is that—that a person could contain God! Now my erroneous ideas on the perfection of Mary were really crumbling, my disbelief that anyone could be that graced was in fact dissolving! Reflecting more on Mary made me realize that “Full of Grace” really means filled with all of God's grace necessary to complete the assigned mission. The mission of Mary, as God-bearer, was miraculous so the grace must also be miraculous, supernatural and full or complete when given to Mary. Only through the complete assistance of God, with the fullness of all needed grace, can I even imagine anyone enduring what Mary did in her life, as outlined in the mysteries of the Rosary and Bible. Thinking deeply on her life, the poverty and hunger, traveling by foot or donkey in hills and deserts, the fear and oppression from civil authorities, following the footsteps of Jesus where ever He went, suffering the loss of her beloved husband and Divine Son...Now after this pondering, I can finally see Mary as a role model and not a stumbling block, for her life, with all its challenges, exemplifies what is possible with the fullness of God’s grace. This grace is exactly what I need in this sometimes miserable life! And this grace from God is made possible because she said,”Yes!” Finally, with Mary’s “yes” and all that followed, I too am able to be a (very imperfect!) dwelling for a most Holy God, which is beyond comprehension! Thank you Mary, a most holy human model for all of us, as we strive to be like you, the most holy and perfect God-bearer! And thank you God for your creation, Mary!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Torrents of Love: Reflections on Paul, Ezekiel and Matthew 18

The readings for this Sunday are themed around being attentive to the directions of God, and helping others to be attentive as well, even if it means that drastic measures must be taken. And Gazelle's post last week on Lectio Devina is a terrific guideline for how to really stop and listen to that ever present voice of the Spirit.

 This is always hard for me because I have this ADD tendency to flit around the Scriptures seeing nuggets of beauty and wisdom here and also there, but never settling down to get beyond my sentimentality, biases, or maybe even boredom. I am either pulled in different directions, and thus, quickly overwhelmed, or I stop too short and fail to hear the Word of God in its depth and fullness.  If I follow the guidelines of Lectio, I will allow the superficial to filter through, and the still small voice begins to emerge.  For me, I usually do not settle with one of the readings, the Spirit often emerges as an image of water flowing through the readings the Church has put forth for us.

 I love the peacefulness of water.  In my mind I first see romanticized images of still lakes, filled with the glorious reflection of the setting sun or softly chattering streams that draw you to dip your feet in and refresh yourself after a long hike.  Even the powerful, but beautiful waterfall invites me to linger and meditate on how inspiring the water is.  And so I often let the readings flow like this to refresh my soul and revive my Spirit.

In Romans 13: 8-10 Paul speaks of love:
Brothers and Sisters:  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  The commandments. "You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be are summed up in this saying. namely, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself."  Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence love is the fulfillment of the law.

 That flows so sweetly and gently, but, upon further reflection I realize that water can  also flow like this:

                                            Gavins Point Dam, Yankton SD

Ez 33:7-9
"Thus says the Lord:  You son of man I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me.  If I tell the wicked, "O wicked one, you shall surely die," and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death.  But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself."

Ezekiel now comes crashing down upon me as a torrent, stripping away the sentimental idea that love just accepts and tolerates.  The love of God does not will me to be a captive of sin, and each one of us is charged with bringing this true freedom to our brothers and sisters.  And this freedom does not release me from the commandments, as we read in Paul it brings upon those who grow in it the strength and courage to live those commandments with integrity.  We begin to love with the love of Christ, dying to ourselves, availing  ourselves to that scouring torrent of love for the sake of others!! Thus the ability to bestow the fruits of our freedom on others by encouraging and strengthening those around us is made greater by loving others as we love ourselves, or else we ourselves will become weaker and  more complacent, or full of pride and judgmental.

I now begin to see that Paul's message of love is not the sentimental, shallow message that I can so often settle ;for ( and quickly get bored with).  It is not "everyone must get along at all costs";   it is the message that growing in holiness is growing in strength and courage and passion for others.  The river of love can be a gentle stream, but it can also be a surging wall of water, scouring, cleansing and putting to death the evil in our midst (even in the midst of our own souls). But, how do we separate our own failings, self righteousness and hypocrisy out of fraternal correction?  Matthew points us to start out in the gentlest way possible, and from there to proceed with the facts being established in a credible and just way, so that no public accusation is made hastily or arbitrarily, not so easy for any of us, especially if we have not really strengthened ourselves in love!  The final judgement is made by the church, where it is binding, and may include the casting out of the unrepentant.

Matt 18: 15-20
Jesus said to His disciples:  "If your brother sins against you go tell him his fault, between you and him alone.  If he listens, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take on or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.  Amen, I say to you whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and, whatever you loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth for anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where there are two or three gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them,"
And it should grieve our souls that individuals would choose to be separated from the community, rather than be reconciled, and it should demand reflection of our own interior dispositions.  Some people endure separation from the community for reasons that eventually prove to be unjust or they are in a situation that they do not yet have the strength to correct.  What do these situations demand of us?  They demand prayer and humility, endurance and prayer.  The profane is washed away in the churning river of Christ's love and passion and the humble and the repentant will rise again.  They demonstrate that the path to holiness for each individual is treacherous, that our faith is not niceties or warm fuzzies, but our faith demands an attentive soul, and a courageous willingness to allow God's love to wash the profane away, to soften the hardened heart and, above all, the tenacious belief that in Christ, though we die to ourselves we will eventually rise in Him.

Psalm 95
If today you hear his voice harden not your heart; come let bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us; for he is our God and we are the flock that he Shepherds.
Peace and Grace to all,