Monday, May 2, 2011

God loves Osama

I am arrogant, I am weak, I am perpetually plagued by self-righteousness.  I do not claim to have anything together in my life.  And whatever good witness that I give in this world is a direct result of God's grace in my life, and NOT a result of something that I did or am doing.  It's a miracle, plain and simple.  I am crawling through this life trying to make it to heaven. Yet, I crawl confident that God will accomplish His good work in me, eventually, that one day I will wash up on His shore, naked and torn to shreds, nothing good of my own, so that He gets all the Glory and Honor of a life well lived. 

As we sort out our thoughts on the fateful demise of Osama bin Laden, let's not forget that God never rejoices when a child of His is lost.  His mercy far outweighs His wrath, and ultimately the cross and love and forgiveness wins.  Had Osama repented in his dying breath, God could (and would) forgive him. It would go against His nature to do anything else.

Now, my fallen nature wants, so bad, to go off right now on the behavior that I saw displayed last night on social networks by professed Christians, but I'm not.  I could speak about how wrong on so many levels, it is for us to say in any way that Blessed John Paul II intercession had anything to do with the death of a man (see fall of communism), but I'm not.  I will muster up some self-control and simply offer some biblical principles that I myself am adopting.

First, before we, as Christians, go pointing fingers and sharing our opinions, I believe it wise to take a hard look at ourselves and whole-heartedly adopt whatever virtue that we believe is lacking in others. Let's leave the hating to non-believers, let's love first.  Secondly, I believe that we should spend at least the same amount of time in prayer as we do sharing our opinions on social networks or blogs.  Prayers for our culture, our nation, our soldiers, our own families can never be underestimated.  Remember that God desires us more than he desires to use us.  Prayer might not change situations in our world, but it always changes the one's who are praying.

Lastly, let's not forget that God is accomplishing His plan with or without us.  His Son will eventually reign over all that stood against good.  Let's choose today to open ourselves to His plans, join together in an authentic brand of Christianity that loves neighbor and enemies alike, and watch as His name and fame make headlines.

I love you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross

At Franciscan we always prayed these scriptures with the Friars from noon until 3pm. I will be praying them with my family, along with composer Franz Josef Hayden's Seven Last Words in the background.

Here is a brief reflection you can do at home. I like these because they are fully customizable to your time and your state in life.  For example, you can insert some wrote prayers or some brief examen in between. Good Friday, everybody.

The Seven Last Words of Christ

1. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  Luke 23:34

When the crucifixion procession reached Golgotha, Jesus was crucified along with two criminals.  The Roman soldiers divided up his clothing by casting lots.  "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Son of God, the Chosen One".

2. "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  Luke 23:43

One of the criminals who was crucified with Jesus said: "Aren't you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!"  Another rebuked the first one: "Don't you fear God since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."

3. "Woman, behold, your son!"."Behold, your Mother!"  John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw  his Mother and one of his disciples standing near, he said to his Mother: "Woman, behold, your son!".  Then he said to the disciple: "Behold, your Mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

4. "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"   Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"  When some of the people standing around the cross heard this they said: "He's calling Elijah."  Some believe that at that moment Jesus took on himself the sins of the world and was for the first time truly separated from the Father.

5. After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said to fulfill the scripture, "I thirst."  John 19:28

The verse says, that he said "that the scripture might be fulfilled."  In verse 15 we read: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws."

6. "It is finished."  John 19:30

The prophecies had been fulfilled.  Everything was in order.  The plan was complete.

7. "Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said: "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.  Luke 23:46

Thursday, April 21, 2011

#11 Our kingdoms

Dang it's getting crazy out there. 

Just take a look at the world around us. Tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, radiation, poverty, governments, tyrants, racism, abortion.  Things can look pretty grim. 

With all of this around us, I think it's hard sometimes for me to remember that God is not sitting on His throne, with forehead sweat, worrying about whether or not things are gonna work out.  The truth is, He's fine. He's more than fine, He is absolutely confident and certain that one day His Son, Jesus Christ, will literally destroy everything on earth that ever stood against Him, including death. And you and I will enter into a new heavens and new earth.  Period.  That's the story that God is accomplishing. 

He started this thing. He's running this thing. He's gonna finish this thing. It's my job to trust and merge into what He's doing. 

Happy Triduum everyone.