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Of course, the underlying Truth…LOVE.

Care of Creation

Here is my take on this…We as Catholics believe God communicates to us at many many different levels, including through creation.  Jesus Christ is THE fullness and completeness of the Father’s communication to us.

When we abuse Creation, we are in a sense telling God to be quiet.  We are telling God to shut up.

Is that what we truly want to tell God????  OR…Do we wish to say, “Thank YOU!” through our care and good use of Creation.

Control Freaks of the World….give it up!

I think I am like many, I have heard something I did not like nor agree with, so I rejected it outright.  I have since learned that I am reacting to something in the message; and I need to understand that.  See, its not the message, but me.  When I was willing to confront that, then I can understand and grow.  Isn’t that part of Salvation?????

Salvation is Freedom, True Freedom.  And as Catholics we understand that Freedom is the ability, the will, to want to do Good.  Freedom is to love.Endior1

This is the Great revelation, the Good news of Jesus Christ.

He came to make us free, to show us how to live and to love.  He came to reveal that the Father wants this for us.

When we are Free in Christ, then we are as God, we are true to our very core identity; and consequently we reduce the amount of suffering that occurs in our lives and in the lives of others.

Salvation is Freedom; Salvation is Love; Salvation is life.

Funny thing though…we don’t alway notice how un-free we actually are.

Here is a story I read several years ago.  A group of monks used to gather together and meditate each day.  The leader had a cat which then used to come up and rub against the monks during meditation.  This became a distraction.  So they decided that before prayer they would tie up the cat.  This worked.  As the years progressed and the monks moved on, new monks joined, they still tied up the cat, and later any cat before prayer.  In fact, they HAD to tie up a cat, otherwise they could not meditate.

See, as the Gospel indicates, we often start doing things, or we react, without really knowing the “Why?”  Our human traditions take over and we forget the big picture.  Therefore we are not in acting in Freedom we are being controlled.

Of course, Salvation and freedom is not simply about our liturgical and prayer pratices.  The real power is in how we live our lives.  The extent we experience salvation is in what we do or in what we do not do.

Why do we do what we do?  Do we do them because we have to, or because we want to?  Why do we become angry in traffic?  Why do we look down on Burners who are in town?  Why do we hold onto our hurts?  Why do we run out and buy, buy buy?

Photo on 6-23-12 at 12.33 PM #4For example, I have a long history of needing and thinking I had to be perfect, and for me and others to play by the rules.  I would get sooooo upset, angry when others and myself did not follow the rules.   Any of this sound familiar to anyone.  Well, it got really self-destructive…led to a breakdown of sorts.  And in my recovery from that, here is what I learned, and it was very Gospel.  I was doing this because I was controlled by my fears.

I wasn’t free.  I was scared what that others would be disappointed in me, would think less of me, and I wanted to be perfect before them.  So the rules and protocols provided that for me.  Sounds fine, except it left little room for true communications, true friendship, true love.  So I became filled with loneliness and sadness.    I thought I HAD to do those things to make people like me.  That was not freedom.

Freedom arrived when it became I WANTED to do good things.    Freedom occurred when I recognized that the Fear within me was defiling my actions.  Freedom was when Grace gave me the strength to so NO to my fears and YES to Love.

Jesus makes it clear, there is this stuff inside of us, our anger, our sadness, our fear, which if we do not expose to the light, will take control over us.  That stuff will cause us be reactive.   Despite what we think, we are NOT free.

This is why Jesus calls us to forgive, to have hope, to be compassionate, generous, to heal, because this exposes the darkness within to the light; and we can be healed, and thus heal.  So that we can act in Freedom.

Jesus did this through the Cross and resurrection.  His death on the cross exposed the darkness within the human condition.  IMG_2617He exposed how our own inner demons will make us do stupid things.

His resurrection revealed that there is life that comes with LOVE.  imagesJesus’ resurrection reveal the freedom of being in control, and not being controlled.

This is what we celebrate at the Eucharist.

But, when we continue to live in the darkness, to be controlled by the darkness within ourselves; we create suffering.   The loneliness we experience, the bigotry we express, the hate that can fill our lives, the poverty of others, the wars that we fight, are all is rooted in within us.  They are all rooted within the darkness in our hearts.  imgresThey are rooted in our reactions, our mostly unconscious choices that we make.

The more we allow God’s love to enter into our souls, into our hearts and minds, the more light we bring in; the less darkness and the more freedom we experience.  The more we can forgive, share, show mercy, show kindness; listen to others.

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I would dare say that many of us have not really begun to allow this to happen.

Too many of us are still worried about tying up cats and we are forgetting about life.

BE AWAKE!!

I experienced this personally.  We try to appear to others as we THINK we need to be.  We want to appear to others as we think we SHOULD.  It ends up as a disaster.  We use sooooooooooo much energy in maintaining the facade, and we have no energy left to BE the Child of God, whom we truly are.

Salvation is to accept that reality that we are loved by God, no matter what.  Salvation is also to accept that all others are loved by God, NO MATTER WHAT.  Once this sinks in, integrity begins.  Energy is found and we can love…..AND be loved in return.

I think so much suffering is caused by us and all, because we will not accept this, and we live “Fake” lives.

Where is my heart?

It becomes too easy to forget that we are loved by the Father, no matter what. When we forget, we start thinking we need to earn it, prove it, so I think we get focussed on the details and how well we do them.
We forget.

SO REMEMBER:  God loves us always, permanently, no matter what we have done, or what we think we have done.

Why Catholic?  Why Christian?  Why follow the way of Christ?

Why is answering this important?

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I promise, it will change our lives.  It comes down to ownership and integrity.  It comes down to relevance/ It comes down to our experience of salvation.

I would submit to you that the decline of the people who are active Catholics, and especially the young people who are leaving the Catholic faith has to do with that we have not concretely answered this question:  we as parents, priests, deacons and yes bishops.

I would also submit to you that if we were to find a very active and thriving Catholic community, it is because the people have wrestled with that question, not given it a superficial answer, but have chewed upon it, and know why, and importantly have communicated that WHY onto others.

We see this happening in our Gospel.  

Many “Disciples” were following Christ, and were confronted by real questions of depth; and they would not accept it, so many left.  The core group remained, and in the words of Peter, because they had found a deep and meaningful wisdom that gave them life.

They are the ones who owned the faith, and they are the ones who went out and shared that faith, they are the ones who built the church.

12apostles

Today, we celebrate a baptism.  

It is a sacrament by which we are called to recognize that God has poured out his love into us.  Not just a couple of drops, but God’s entire love is being poured over us.

God wishes us to respond in kind, so that we can be free as God is Free.

The parents will renew their own baptisms and they continue their role as parents, as the first teachers of the faith.

Holy_Family_icon1

Parents, and also you godparents, grandparents, and really all of us, we must understand that passing on the faith is not about information, but about experience, catechesis.

We can tell our children God loves you, but unless they see this as reality, it remains meaningless.

Therefore…

It is letting our children know how God’s love has empowered us, freed us.

It is sharing with them why it is important to us personally, why we remain as Catholics, even amidst hardships and questions.

It is sharing with them the relevance of our faith.

If we chose to NOT do this, they will find other things and teachings that on the surface look good; but in the end, only perpetuate the suffering.

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If we chose to do so; it will not always be easy, BUT is will be truthful.  

It will help them to grow as human persons, capable of giving of themselves for the good of others.  

It will help them to be free to LOVE, and be merciful, kind and compassionate.

It will help them to transcend the reality of suffering to see the true reality of God.

It will help them to BE Church.

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But it comes first from each of us, asking of ourselves:  Why?  Why Jesus Christ?

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