What I Heard from the Pulpit…

Today is the celebration of the Transfiguration, a moment in Luke’s Gospel (our reading passage for today) in which Jesus reveals Himself in His Divine Glory to Peter, John, and James.  The sermon this morning offered a different perspective on this event.  The lectionary reading also included Moses, face shining from having experienced the Glory of God atop the Mount, descending from Mt. Sinai and being asked by Aaron and the Israelites to cover his face — they were scared of what they saw in Moses. Continue reading

The Cloud of Unknowing

“The quality of the contemplative effort which measures all progress in the interior life of the solitary is immediately related to the reflex conscious awareness of the self in its relationship to God, the supreme and single object of its desire” (64). While James Walsh in writing the Introduction to The Cloud of Unknowing understands that the author is not directly writing his text to a single individual nor is the author writing strictly for a solitary contemplative as Walter Hilton did in The Scale of Perfection, Walsh does bring forward the author’s intention of addressing all who desire to love God with intentionality and of single purpose. Continue reading

Genesis

The book of Genesis offers identity, purpose, and hope to God’s chosen people through the land; this tangible gift from God allows the people to suffer and thrive according to their obedience to Him and commitment to His promise.

God gave to Adam the gift of land in the garden of Eden, to tend it and care for it.  It was in this place where God came to man and walked with him, shared a relationship.  At the time of the falling out, God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and cursed the ground to which Adam would seek for food (Gen. 3:17).  So sacred was this place that upon being driven from Paradise, God sent a cherubim to guard the land and the tree. Continue reading

Dancing About Architecture

Life is funny: there can be times when we feel so connected to one another, we are in sync and almost finishing one another’s sentences, and there other times that we could be sitting beside one another right now but there is a gap miles wide between us. Sometimes we can be engaged with one another and other times that no matter what we say, no one can understand exactly what is going on inside. There’s a quote that has been attributed to many people over the years, but it’s in a movie that I really like called Playing by Heart, and the line goes like this: “Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.”

The Trinity is much like this quote: we can talk and talk, and while the discussion would be amazing, our understanding would still leave us wanting more. Continue reading

adesse.

“This realization of your own unworthiness will drive out of your heart all unreasonable interest in other people’s affairs and criticism of their actions, and will compel you to look at yourself alone, as though there were no one in existence but God and yourself.  You should consider yourself more vile and wretched than any living creature, so that you can hardly endure yourself, so great will be your consciousness of inward sin and corruption…For whatever defiles your soul or hinders its knowledge and experience of God must be very grievous and painful to you.”

~Walter Hilton, The Scale of Perfection, Book 1 Chapter 16

Pray for me…

I first became aware of Josèmaria Escrivá’s teachings in a little movie called The DaVinci Code.  However, as we all know, that film is a highly entertaining one built upon a teeny tiny foundation of pseudo- truth and an overwhelming amount of fiction, fantasy, and “what if”?  In the past few years I have discovered that the teachings of St. Escrivá to be ones that do not allow any “wiggle room” or opportunities to make excuses and rationalizations — something that I can do with great flair! Escrivá cuts to the heart of my humanity and challenges me to be better, stronger, through the grace and passion of Christ.

“Put your heart aside. Duty comes first. But when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into it. It helps.”

“You strayed from the way and did not return because you were ashamed. It would be more logical if you were ashamed not to return.”

“Is it not true that your gloominess and bad temper are due to your lack of determination in breaking the subtle snares laid by your own disordered desires? The daily examination of conscience is an indispensable help if we are to follow our Lord with sincerity of heart and integrity of life.”

“Don’t say, ‘That person bothers me.’ Think: ‘That person sanctifies me.’ ”

“If obedience does not give you peace, then you have pride.”

I believe that we should all seek those people in our Christian past with whom we can identify. The saints give us hope that, even through our ugly and selfish humanity, we can continue to be sanctified through the blood of Jesus. If I know I fail at holding to the teachings of Escrivá, how much more do I fail my God. But, thanks be to God and with His help, I pray that He draws me closer and continues to change my heart.

Pray for me, St. Josèmaria Escrivá, a sinner.

How Much Does It Cost?

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Henri Nouwen writes: “Nuclear man no longer believes in anything that is always and everywhere…He lives by the hour…His art…is a combination of divergent pieces, is a host impression of how man feels at the moment [emphasis mine].” Further, “We see man paralyzed by dislocation and fragmentation, caught in the prison of his own mortality…We also see exhilarating experiments of living by which he tries to free himself of the chains of his own predicament.” And finally, there are those who have, “deep-seated unhappiness with the society in which the young find themselves. Many young people are convinced that there is something terribly wrong with the world…everywhere we see restless and nervous people, unable to concentrate and often suffering from a growing sense of depression.”

It would be easy to slip into a ministry that tries to be all to all. We see a great deal of pain and isolation and disappointment in our world. We see congregants on Facebook share frustrations, speak out using less-than-Christian language, and come against others with something akin to a verbal-online flogging. However, Continue reading

There is Peace in Patterns

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I have the immense honor of writing for The Ambrose Institute, a spiritual formation  and congregational development program through Nashotah House Theological Seminary. This is my latest article written for Formatio, the online journal of Ambrose.  Just click the links and see the amazing work they do to form and encourage the Body of Christ!

Is it live, or is it Memorex?

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In post-modern culture we guard the written word and even the ideas behind the ideas with patents, trademarks, and copyrights.  We protect and lay claim to our creation like a dog marks its territory.  However, there are some scholars who find it necessary to analyze the verbiage, syntax, and style — to distinguish the “authentic” writing of Paul from those of a scribe or follower.  There are scholars who say that only about seven of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul truly had his direct hand upon them.  Of those are the Pastoral Epistles — 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus — are truly doubted as to have been written by Paul and significant doubt exits as to the direct authorship from Paul of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians.  The main argument for doubt is the variations in style of Greek vocabulary — as Paul mainly wrote in Koine Greek and referenced the Septuagint rather than the Hebrew canon.

For Paul and other writers of his age, Continue reading