“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
via USCCB | NAB – February 28, 2011.
Those of us who have been around this mountain a time or too are VERY familiar with this passage and have contemplated its deeper meaning. We have embraced the ‘spirit of poverty’ well…but what if the Lord is speaking here in Spirit AND in Truth. What if we aren’t only to embrace the ‘spirit’ of poverty…but poverty itself. Maybe the riches that go through our hands aren’t meant to stay there so that we can clutter our homes with lots of unnecessary stuff, and instead are meant for others that have next to nothing or who are going through a tough situation.
We have a government with a Robin Hood mentality…it loves to take from the rich and give to the poor. But they are stealing more then their money, they are stealing the blessings that come from their freely giving to others. When we start relying on the government to take our place in helping our neighbors and even our family members…we lose sight of our own mission.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?”
via USCCB | NAB – February 27, 2011.
I can visualize the Lord gathering me close, cupping my face into His scarred hand and whispering this to me. “Therefore I tell you, my dear Essy, do not worry….”. How did He know? How did He know that these specific things (food, my body, clothes) would become such a strugle and stronghold for ME a couple of thousand years after these words were spoken. I can’t imagine that in His day it held the same impact…it couldn’t have…right? I bet those tunics could hide a multitude of sins ; )
He’s telling us to not ‘worry’…NOT, to not be concerned or care…but not be obsessed over it or overly attached to it. Here we are heading into Lent and this is the perfect time for me to review my ‘attachments’. I think these areas are the perfect place for me to start. I now place them at the foot of the Cross and relinquish my attachment for them and now walk forward in freedom allowing myself to be lead by the Lord. Speak Lord for your servant is listening.
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
via USCCB | NAB – February 26, 2011.
“Do not prevent them”. We are living in a world that loves its freedom…especial here in the U.S! Modern day parents have embraced this passion for freedom and it shows in the current parenting styles. We don’t want to burden our children with too many rules or regulations, we want them to be themselves and so on and so forth. However, in heaven’s economy…true freedom comes with boundaries! We step outside of those boundaries and that is when our freedom is lost. There are negative consequences for disobedience. We need to teach our children this. We have a Heavenly assignment…they have been entrusted to us for a time…for us to show them the Way. We need to teach them about God’s boundaries by first setting some within our own homes and teaching our children to obey us, just as the Lord has asked them to.
Lax and lazy parenting steals our children’s true freedom from them and prevents them from coming to the Lord of their own accord.
Dear Lord, today guide us on setting Godly boundaries for our families.
Psalm 143:8 “Each morning let me learn more about your love because I trust you. I come to you in prayer, asking for your guidance.” (CEV)
Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart.
via USCCB | NAB – February 24, 2011.
Hehehe…it’s funny how we may know something but still try to sneak our own will in and then we get caught.
Ok…here’s one…it’s kind of funny…but lesson learned. God has blessed me with wonderful people in my Carmelite group that are leading me closer to the Lord. They have encouraged me to start attending daily Mass again and are praying for me. You know who you are and I love you dearly. So anyway…yesterday was my first day back. I felt the Lord asking me to sit in the front row. But being a creature of habit, I went to sit in my usual second row seat…I used the excuse that I wasn’t really sure that it was the Lord afterall…maybe it was just my mind playing with me…no need to follow through on this one little detail. Ha. I had gotten there early enough to do my morning prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours and so I had my pick of seats.
Then a few minutes before Mass started an older couple came and sat right behind me. I heard the husband who must be hard of hearing, say in a loud whisper to the wife…so we didn’t get our seat…lol. I, in my ‘tiny’ disobedience had sat in ‘their’ seat. I’m telling you, this man ‘irked’ me all through Mass (blush) by responding way too fast ahead of the congregation…then at Communion time, he touches me in the shoulder and ushers me forward (yikes…I was just waiting for Father to actually get up front…lol…I hope you are laughing along with me here and not judging me too badly for my irritation.) Ok…so this morning, I say to myself…I’m going to love this couple…I’m going to reliquish my second row seat for them and sit in the third row instead (yep…the first row thing escaped me totally). Guess what they did? LOL…they.sat.behind.me.again. (so now instead of being in their beloved second row they are now sitting in the fourth row)LOL. The husband then comments to the wife …aren’t we in the wrong seats? LOL…she says no…that’s it’s better for his hearing if he sits there. Oh my goodness…I hope this blog is really as unpopular as I’m convinced it is…lol. Now I’m beginning to think what the hey…lol. Then full conviction sets in. Sheesh…if only I had sat in the front row!
“Fear and dread she brings upon him
and tries him with her discipline
until she try him by her laws and trust his soul.
Then she comes back to bring him happiness
and reveal her secrets to them
and she will heap upon him
treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice.”
via USCCB | NAB – February 23, 2011.
When the Lord guides us with His Wisdom…He carries us out of our comfort zone. It feels intimidating and risky at first, but then the blessings flow as we step out in faith.
As we do this, another interesting thing happens…we prod others out of THEIR comfort zones as well. We’ll know this most assuredly by the their reactions. Have you ever been awakened from a deep sleep? It’s no fun…even if it is for your own good. Realizing this, helps us to not react in kind but to bring forth God’s grace instead…a smile, a kind word, a prayer…or simply letting something go with no reaction at all.
“Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.”
via USCCB | NAB – February 22, 2011.
At first look we may think that this applies to the priests, ministers and bishops of our churches only. But let’s take a closer look. Who has God put in my life to care for? All those that God has put me in community with…my children, my spouse, my family, my friends come to mind right away. Sometimes He puts us in roles of direct leadership…such as that of parent, employer or director of a community. Other times we are to work side by side in partnership with others…our spouses, neighbors, friends, co-workers. Other times we are to be in submissive roles…employee, novice etc. None are to be more or less then any other, just different ways to serve each other and the Lord. We are to do it out of great love for each other…not an ‘I have to’ …but an “I am priviledged to…and I can’t wait.” Why do I do the things I do for my husband and children? Because I’m so in love with them it takes my breath away, it is not a chore to spend time with them and love on them. The same should be true of my relationship with the Lord and doing whatever He has called me to…including loving those around me.
So are you still wondering who your “flock” is…take a look at your “contact list” on your smart phone (or address book will do…lol).
“For your own lifeblood, too, I will demand an accounting:
from every animal I will demand it,
and from one man in regard to his fellow man
I will demand an accounting for human life.”
via USCCB | NAB – February 17, 2011
One thing that concerns me is how this lack of respect for life is spreading like wild fire. I was reading a blog recently that I had enjoyed up to that point and then the author goes on to say that if and when her husband and herself reach a point of disability in their old age, they have chosen to commit suicide. How desperately sad is that? God has entrusted us with life from the moment of conception until it’s natural end…our job is to guard it and make the most of it. We are not to play God and choose when to end it…either for ourselves or anyone else. I really dislike that these things become ‘fashionable’. Can you imagine society getting to the point where this is just expected of you…someone not wanting to die, but making a choice based on what they think their loved ones want for them?
By choosing the ‘easy way out’ they end up missing so much…there are so many graces to be received as we age and our physical bodies deteriorate. As we diminish, God has the opportunity to shine forth strongly…will we let Him?
“Noah built an altar to the LORD,
and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird,
he offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
via USCCB | NAB – February 16, 2011.
We offer back to the Lord what He has first given to us. I look around and check out my ‘belongings’…my family, my relationships, my home and all that goes with it, my health, my desires, my time, my talents…all gifts from the Lord…all of it! All to be used for His purposes and His purposes alone. Lord, I lay it all at Your Altar!
“Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?””
via USCCB | NAB – February 15, 2011.
I guess this is why I’ve started this blog…so that I could remember. We are often like Dorothy and her friends in the Wizard of Ozz going through the poppy fields…try as we may, we just doze off(the world can be very intoxicating)…and need others to carry us through and to remind us of His love for us.