Collection of Stories and Observations.

I like to consider myself a Catholic Christian.  These are some of my stories and observations.

 

A Catholic On The Plane.

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A Must See Movie.

“The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are.”
-St. Teresia Benedicta (Edith Stein)

With no thanks to the media and advertisers, I did manage to see the move, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.”  I had to search for it by name since it was not listed in the paper nor in the, “Now showing in your area,” link, on the Fandango website.  The movie was very well done.  For those who do not know the story, this was the true case of an abortion doctor, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with murder.  He ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia for nearly 30 years. The movie is based on the book, “Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer,” written by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer.  When the book ‘s sales figures revealed it should be placed on the New York Times best seller list, the Times refused to add it to the list admitting they adjusted the list based on an “editorial decision,” which basically means they refused to give it any mention because it placed the sacred white cow of the political left, abortion, in a bad light, proving once again that when the left cry for abortion to be safe for women and girls, they lie.  If anything, they should have been decrying the horrible conditions of the clinic, instead they were working to keep it quiet and in effect became complicit in all of the killings done there.  In this true story, there are a lot of different groups who were complicit and this was just one of may different things about the movie that were so disturbing on so many levels.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and
sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

One of Gosnell’s first run in with the law happened in the May 1972, in what was called the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” Harvey Karman, a psychologist pretending to be a doctor, came up with a new abortion method using what was called, the super coil which he apparently tested on hundreds of Bangladesh women.  It was ball that contained 97 sharp blades. The intent was to push the ball into the uterus and then the knives inside would eventually spring open to destroy the fetus growing inside.  Gosnell and Karman convinced 15 impoverished women from Chicago in their second trimester, to take a bus to Philadelphia where they would record their new improved abortion method on Mother’s Day.  The women were never warned they would become guinea pigs in a horrible experiment.  The results were disastrous with women suffering lacerations, hemorrhaging, infections, pieces of their dead babies remaining inside them and one woman cut up so badly, she had to undergo a hysterectomy.  What happened to Gosnell?   Nothing.  Nothing happened.  Gosnell retained his medical license.  He left the country for a short while then returned to Philadelphia to continue his abortion business.  A joint federal state investigation did little to pursue the matter. The Pennsylvania Board of Medicine turned a blind eye to the whole incident.  They hold a share of blame in this modern-day holocaust.

“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who turn a blind eye will be greatly cursed.”  (Proverbs 28:27)

Returning to Philadelphia, Gosnell continued his abortion business.  When he was finally charged with a crime 30 years later, it started as a drug bust.  He was selling scripts written out to the names of his abortion patients and being filled by drug dealers.  Search warrants for drug dealing revealed his abortion house of horrors where the most unsanitary conditions imaginable existed. Single use instruments were being reused over and over again without sterilization.   When the bathrooms were unusable or full, women routinely had to urinate in the hallways.  Bags with fetal remains were stuffed into the refrigerator and never disposed of.  Medical waste was sitting in bags all about the clinic.  The smell was said to be unbelievable. The horror would decend into obvious depravity as numerous see-through, carefully labeled containers were discovered in Gosnell’s office filled with the amputated feet of the babies he aborted like some sort of perverted collection.   All of this would never have been brought to light and result in the murder charges against Gosnell, if it were not for the numerous illegal late term abortions he performed and the one recorded death of a woman who died in his care.  [The movie was excellent in that it did not show the full extent of the horror.  It only describes it, thereby avoiding the possibility of sickening the audience.]

 “I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their guilt.  I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, the insolence of tyrants I will humble.”  (Isaiah 14:11”)

In the grand jury, the women representing the health department was asked why she or the department never inspected the clinic when even nail salons were subjected to yearly inspections.  Her response was that they do not inspect unless there were complaints.  When shown a large stack of complaints, she simply said that this was abortion and a women’s right to abortion was to never be impeded thereby making the health department complicit in the serial killings.

  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Gosnell showed untrained employees with no medical background, how to administer drugs and anesthetize patients and allowed them to treat patients without him being present.  They also witness Gosnell snipping the spine of babies born alive with scissors.  They would become complicit as well in his murderous reign and their silence allowed the gruesome acts to continue unimpeded.

“They are odious; they have done abominable things, yet they are not at all ashamed, they know not how to blush.” (Jeremiah 9:12)

Baby A was the largest fetus found in Gosnell’s abortion clinic of horrors.  Pediatric doctors estimated the baby boy to be no less than 32 weeks gestation, was born intact and alive and had his spine snipped with scissors.  Gosnell was found guilty of murder for this little baby. Yet, I cannot help to wonder why a woman would go almost all the way through her pregnancy and then walk into an abortion clinic to have the baby killed when there are many women who cannot have babies and are desperate to adopt, raise and love that child?  The only answer I can think of is that fear makes people do crazy insane things, even making them complicit in the death of their own babies.  Like prey in the sight of the serpent, they freeze and allow themselves to be consumed by evil.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

Abraham Lincoln once warned that the sin of slavery would only be expiated when every drop of blood caused by the slave master’s whip was paid for by blood drawn by the sword.  And so, it was and ten-fold.  War is not a punishment meted out by God but the direct result of our own un-repented actions.  We have sown the winds of innocent deaths and we will reap even more.  Let us not be complacent and become complicit.  Let your voice be heard for those who cannot cry out.

 “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”    (Deuteronomy 31:6)

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It’s Official.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
George Bernard Shaw

 

    I saw it coming for a long time.  If I had not, by now, I would have been beyond living in denial, I would have been delusional.  After all, every birthday is another candle and even my beloved grandson Henry did not recognize me in old family videos.  The march of time brings changes on gradually but it still marches in tough old army boots with one hand on the trigger of the gun.

   So, there I was, walking back from church to work.   It was a nice crisp sunny morning and my path took me down the street next to the middle school where a group of six and seventh grade boys were playing some sort of game where they throw a tennis ball against the side of the brick school building and when the ball is in the main boys hand, they can run toward him but when it is in flight against the wall, they have to stop.  The boy with the ball held up the game so I could get safely past.  The other boys in an obvious attempt to exploit the good manners of the boy with the ball kept running.  Just past them, I heard the boy with the ball say, “You can’t run.”   They laughed. “No,” he continued, “I had to stop to let the nice old lady go by.”

   And there you have it.  “Out of the mouths of babes and innocents,” I thought as I smiled up the street.  It’s undeniably official. I have become the nice old lady. 

“Lord, let me know my end, the number of my days, that I may learn how frail I am.”  (Psalm 39:5)

   When I look in the mirror, I do notice that things are not like they used to be.  I cannot say exactly when I went from mature women to old lady, but sometime when I was not exactly looking too closely, I crossed the line.  I looked in the mirror again at a wrinkle around my mouth and think, “When did that happen?”   I poke the small (OK I do have some denial) muffin top over my jeans and think, “Where in hell did that come from?”  I realize things are not like they used to be and maybe I need a glass of wine to recover. 

“You have given my days a very short span; my life is as nothing before you.  All mortals are but a breath.”  (Psalm 39:6)

     I have come to realize that there is mercy in the aging process which is proof positive that my God lives.   Maybe why our eyesight starts going is that it keeps us from scaring ourselves to death looking in the mirror in the morning.   Maybe why our hearing starts to go is so we cannot hear our bones creaking.  When I was younger, someone asked me, “Why do old ladies wear so much perfume?”   Well, now I know the answer….   Its because old men stink.  (Just kidding, guys.)  God is indeed merciful in all of his ways.

“Mere phantoms, we go our way; mere vapor, our restless pursuits;  (Psalm 39:7)

   I now have a special appreciation for my Father in heaven.  He promises to renew my youth like the eagle.  That someday I will run again and not get tired.  That He will restore my beauty from ashes.  The goal is to one day see him face to face and He will not see the old lady I see in the mirror.   The ultimate test is if He sees the face of Jesus instead of me.

“And now, Lord, what future do I have?  You are my only hope.”  (Psalm 39:8)

   The key to passing the test is to empty myself of all that is me without Jesus and ask Jesus to replace it with his Holy Spirit.  At my age now, it’s not too much to empty myself since I am becoming a lot less than I was.  Yes, I have also shrunk an inch in height.  But that being said, I am forgetting exactly who I thought I was so it’s much easier to give up myself for Jesus.  God is good, of that I am sure.  I am going the way of my parents, my grandparents and all those before me.  Even in the midst of this aging process, I give thanks to God for every ache and pain, for every small loss of youth and all new adventures to being an old lady.   Now if I could just retire.

“From all my sins deliver me;  let me not be the taunt of fools.”  (Psalm 39:9)

  By the way, young man with the ball, thanks for saying I was nice.  It would have been much worse if instead you had said, “The batty old lady.”

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One Look.

We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us.
-Saint Teresa of Avila

 

   In her visions, Blessed Therese Neuman would describe the life of Jesus. In one account, she saw the visit of the wise men and described it as such:

“At first, they were disillusioned at seeing the simplicity and poverty which greets them, and they feel they must have made a mistake.  Nonetheless, St. Joseph cautiously comes outside.  Only the brown man can speak a language that St. Joseph understands.  He brings them inside, where they bow low to the mother and speak with her.  Then the child Jesus, who is already almost two years old, looks at them in the eye with a ‘divine look.’  Immediately they recognize that this child is the goal of their journey and they throw themselves to the floor.”  

“Then he turned to his disciples and said privately “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”   (Luke 10:23-24)

   How blest were the disciples to be able to look into the eyes of Jesus!   For much of their time with him, it may have seemed that Jesus looked so very ordinary.  After all, no one could look upon the face of God and live.  But God made man changed that.  The word became flesh so that those who saw Jesus saw the Father.  Until they believed in who He truly was, they would be unable to see how the divine was among them.   But when the veil was lifted, the disciples would be privileged to see the very divinity of Christ.

    “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  There he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as the light.”   (Matthew 17:1-2)

   I have often wondered what that ‘divine look’ would be like.  Was it like the blinding light that that Paul saw on his journey to Damascus?  A look that would turn his path 180 degrees around.  A look so deep he gave up everything for the sake of the name.  Home, wife, family, he forsook having anything for Christ his Lord.  There was nothing he would not suffer for the name.  Beatings, being stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked and deserted did not deter him from the race.  St Catherine of Siena said of him, “Imitate that dear Paul, who was so in love, and be a vessel of affection that bears and proclaims the name of Jesus.  It seems to me that Paul gazed into this eye [ sic of Christ] and lost himself in it.”   I think St Catherine would know what captured St Paul as she herself would have the visions of our risen Lord and would give up all to follow him. And like Paul, would bear the marks of Christ on her body.

   “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.  His eyes were like a flame of fire.”  (Revelation 1:14)

    The look of love from the savior’s eyes must have the power to crush us in sorrow over our sins as when Peter denied Jesus three times.  “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.” (Luke 22:61)   The moment their eyes met must have been a memory that haunted Peter his entire life searing into his heart the depth of pain he caused his lord and savior.  The look was not accusing or perturbed, but of deep sorrow at being betrayed again by the one who professed he would die with him.  Each of us must cause that same look to be cast our way every time we choose to sin when we know full well the price for which our souls were ransomed.

“Immediately a rooster crowed.  Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’  And he went outside and wept bitterly.”                    (Matthew 26:75)

   In faith, we look into the mirror dimly at the face of Christ and like the song, “I Can Only Imagine,” I wonder what it will be like when I can see him face to face and look into his eyes and be forever lost in his love.   If it only takes one look of love to place our feet firmly on the path of righteousness, then Lord, cast your look of love our way and open our eyes to see it.

  

Steiner, Johannes (1976).  “The Visions of Therese Neuman”,  Alba House, New York

“I Can Only Imagine.” By Bart Millard.  The Worship Project.  Mercy Me. 1999

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From Whence Do You Come and Where are You Going?

“Christ acts like a loving mother. To induce us to follow Him, He gives us Himself as an example and promises us a reward in His kingdom.”                    –  St. Anthony of Padua

 

Contemplating the crucifixion, one cannot help but be moved by the sacrifice Jesus made for us that one Holy Friday.  I think over time, it is somewhat normal for us to start taking it for granted.  As Catholics, we pray the Stations of the Cross and the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary to renew our remembrance and awe of the love shown us on that day and refresh in our hearts his sacrifice.

In these prayers, I am reminded of his sufferings at Gethsemane where the agony was so great, his sweat was filled with blood.  It was as if He was shown the sins for which He would suffer and they were loaded upon him like the scapegoat so that He who was without sin would become sin.

“But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.”  (Leviticus 16:10)

“But the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.”  (Isaiah 53:6)

He endured the horrible scrounging so terrible that even Pilot would be shocked.   And our Lord knew that as bad as the scourging was, the worst was yet to come.

“Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, Behold the man!”  (John 19:5)

Then baring his cross, He struggled under the weight of the beam strapped across his shoulders so that He could not even wipe the sweat and blood off his face.  Stripped of his clothes, laughed at and humiliated, He was nailed to the cross.

I am in complete humbled remembering his suffering and death on the cross, yet even this is not the most surprising to me.  I am amazed in his capacity to be stay silent when questioned and not try to defend himself.   What surprises me is that our Lord Jesus never reached that point where the spirit rises up and says, “NO MORE, these sinners are not worth it.”   He would be right to have done so.  We were not and are not worthy, yet his meek silence humbles me.  I was taken aback on how much Christ suffered and did not utter one angry word.

   “Like a lamb led to the slaughter or sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.”  (Isaiah 53:7)

This is not like me. I have often reached the point in suffering with pain and sorrow so much so that I get angry and say, “NO MORE!”   I reach my breaking point where I really believe I cannot go on.  Too often, I have said to our Lord, “HEY, I didn’t sign up for this!”  as I turn to walk away.  Then giving me a little time, in his truly loving way, He reminds me of my promises I made in love to follow him where ever He leads.  Oh, yes, now I remember too well, that I did indeed sign up for even this.  And I humbly bow my head and return to the fold.

“Return to me, and I will return to you.”  (Malachi 3:7)

In his beautiful book, “Quo Vadis?”  Henry Sienkiewicz, uses the story from apocryphal Acts of Peter (Vercelli Acts: XXXV), where Peter is fleeing from crucifixion in Rome, disgusted with the Roman persecution of his Christian brothers and sisters.   As he walking away from Rome, he passes Jesus walking the other way.  Peter asks Jesus, “Domine Quo vadis?”  meaning, “Where are you going Lord?”  to which Jesus replies, “Roman eo iterum crucifigi.” (“I am going to Rome to be crucified again.”)  Jesus explains that if Peter abandons the others in Rome, then Jesus will have to take his place.  Peter cries out, that it must be him not his Lord, that it should be crucified and he turns quickly back to Rome where is he crucified upside down because he said he was not worthy to die as Jesus died.

“Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you.  Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”  (John 13:35-36)

I believe that the only place in the bible, where an angel of the Lord actually asks, where did you come from was when Hagar was fleeing the abuse of her mistress, Sarai.

“The Lord’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur and he asked, ‘Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?’”  (Genesis 16:7)

Then the angel tells her to return to Sarai and submit to her abuse for the Lord intends to make her son the father of a great nation.  And so, Hagar humbly returns.

The Lord has little need to ask where we came from.  He knows where we have been.  He knows what we have done and what has been done to us.  The question we need to answer is, “Where are we going?”  He does not need to tell us exactly where, we just have to follow and He will show us the way.

“I did not tell you this from the beginning, because I was with you.  But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’”  (John 16:5)

 

Sienkiewicz, Henryk (June 1896). “Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero”. Translated from the Polish by Jeremiah Curtin. Quo vadis, Domine?

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Believing is Seeing and Hearing. Part II

“Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.”   –   St. Augustine

 

I laughed until I cried watching them [Collin’s special needs baseball game] that late afternoon.  Then I looked around me.  While I was laughing everyone else was silent and stone faced.  Some of the parents were watching the same thing I was seeing, but I seemed to be the only one around me who could see it all.  Why eludes me.  I wondered if this was like when Jesus was baptized and God’s voice pierced the silence saying that Jesus was his beloved son, and many of them thought it was merely thunder.  It is as if, you have to believe in God to hear his voice and truly seek him to see him.  Seeing in not believing so much as believing is seeing.   It is not that I am more blest when watching the children to see them in that special way, it may be only because I know that God sees them in a special way and I am open to seeing them in that special way as well.  While some parents may see their children as kids who cannot hit or catch a ball or barely run the bases, I was able to see them as beautiful innocent children at play.

“On coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit like a dove, descending on him.  And a voice came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”   (Mark 1:10-11)

When stories of the saints are told, some things sound almost too fantastic to believe but if we are to believe the words of Christ telling us that we would be able to greater things than this, the raising of the dead, walking on water, healing the leapers and multiplying the loaves and fishes, then why would it be too implausible for saints to levitate, carry the marks of Jesus on their body and live only on the consecrated bread and wine?   Why would it be impossible for them in the name of Jesus to heal the sick and stop battles and natural disasters?  Why should their visions of Christ’s life be dismissed as foolishness?  Should their witness to Christ be treated with disbelief just because they are Catholic?

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  (John 14:12)

We have been given the gift of faith yet too many times, we live like we have no faith at all.  Getting up each morning to the sound of the alarm clock, the one thing I want to do is close my eyes and go back to sleep.  Yet if I live for something greater, then getting up and opening my eyes of faith to seek the Lord, should make me want to jump out of bed and begin to seek him with all of my heart and all of my mind and all of my soul.  If we believe we will see him, we will see him.  And we will see him in the land of the living.

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”   (Deuteronomy 4:29)

There are the times we complain to God about not being there and say, ‘Where are you God?’  In faith we should know, He is right there next to us, holding us in his arms and trying to comfort us.  I think we miss his presence when we need it the most because we do not trust him.  Our problem is not that God has abandoned us but that we did not exercise our faith.  We reached out in blindness and came up empty when we should have stepped out in faith and received blessings and visions.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God may believe that He exists and the He rewards those who seek him.”   (Hebrews 11:6)

If today we were to hear his voice, would we say it was only thunder?

 

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Being is More Important than Doing.

Part I

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!” St. Catherine of Siena

There have been several times, and why not more I cannot say, but it is as if all the stars align and I get a glimpse of the world as God sees it through the presence of our special needs children.  One of those times was when Collin was playing on a TASK baseball team. The day was a perfect blend of summer and fall, sunny but not too hot.  Floating through the air, much like I imagine the angels do around our beautiful children at all times, were fluffy seeds from the nearby white cotton wood trees and it gave the scene a most unworldly essence except for the fact that our children still had special needs.  When the final ball was hit into the outfield, it landed between two boys just feet from one another.  One picked it up and held the ball not knowing what to do with it, while the other boy next to him, yelled, “Throw it to me. Throw the ball to me.”  The fact that he could just have handed the ball to the other boy did not seem to occur to either one.  In the meantime, with the air fluff angels flying around, every one was yelling, “Run HOME!”  This encouraged not only the batting team to run around the bases but even the other side joined in and everyone began running the bases home together.  In joyful pandemonium, both teams felt they had won.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  (Matthew 19:14)

Only with a special needs group would such a victory be achieved.  Whenever one of their team members crossed over home plate, they called out their names and gave each other high fives.  There is no calculated pretenses or subtle nuances with these children.  Just the joy of seeing a friend touch home base.  They clap and applaud each other’s victories just as they comfort each other in their failed shots.   Like an extended family of abnormal birth, they have become kin to one another.

I clearly understand what Henri Nouwen says in the book, “Love Henri, Letters on the Spiritual Life”,

“As I am trying to understand this better, I have come to realize that mentally handicapped people, first of all, teach me that ‘being’ is more important than ‘doing.’ In our competitive world so much emphasis is given to doing that we forget that God first of all asks us simply to be with Him and with each other.  Mentally handicapped people, who can ‘do’ so little, can ‘be’ so much.”

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.   For I tell you that in heaven their angles always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 18:10)

And the ‘doing’ we seek always seems to be to win the race, the fight or the test.   Did you get the highest score?  Did you win the most races?  Who is the current title holder and how to you related.  Yet not one of those accomplishments can exceed the grace of one special needs child encouraging another.   St. Paul never says he won the race or the fight.  Only that he ran and did not give up.  It should be so comforting to us to know that Jesus wants to just be with us and that all of our winnings and failings are not what He sees in us.  He sees us for who we are in him.

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  (Luke 18:17)

Our special children will most likely never win the Nobel Peace Prize yet our Father in Heaven could not love them more.   They will not be granted Ph.Ds. yet the Lord is not disappointed in them.  They will make hundreds of mistakes, yet not one of them is abandoned by God.  To simply be with God, is why God gave us the gift of his presence.  His flesh is real food, his blood is real drink and we can go and simple be with him in the form of the transfigured bread and wine.  We do not have to pretend to be anything except who we truly are.  We just have to be with him.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

How much farther from the mind of God can we be?   On some level are we not all mentally handicapped in comparison to the mind of the almighty God?  Yet with faith we are given the very gift that leads us on the path to God.  He provides all we need to find him, hear his voice and see him in all of those around us, even the least of us.  Our prayer should always be, “Lord, let me see as you see, let me hear what you hear and be what you want me to be.”  I longingly seek those moments when angels fly over us and love triumphs over winning and I can take comfort in just being with Jesus.

“Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child.   Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me.” (Psalms 131 2-3)

 

 

Henri J. M. Nouwen, “Love, Henri  Letters on the Spiritual Life,”  Convergent Books, 2016

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Look Up.

“Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry”
-St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcino

 When Collin was rather small, washing his hair was a big ordeal.   I would tell him to look up so that when I poured the rinse water on his head, the shampoo and water would flow down his back instead of into his eyes.  He would look up for a fleeting moment then suddenly in fear he would put his head down forcing all the soapy water to go into his face, eyes and mouth causing him pain and tears.  I would even hold his chin in one hand while pouring with the other but it was still a struggle to keep his eyes looking at ceiling.  “Look up and trust me,” I would tell him. Yet still he pulled away from me.   I had to wonder just why it was such a hard thing for him to do.   It was as frustrating for me to wash his hair as it was for him to have his hair washed.

“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.   Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)

I suppose it is an old cliché to tell someone to look up when attempting to make them feel better.  But it is so very true.   And I am not saying that everything we go through with our children is a lesson for us to learn from our Father God.  Although I did write the book, did I not?   Still I do the exact same thing to God as Collin did with me.  When there are problems, I looked to him ever so fleetingly and then look down at the problems and even at times obsessively work over them in my mind as if somehow, I can change the situation.  The very thing that I may fear the most comes down into my senses blinding me with pain and tears.  How silly of me to not look up and be unafraid.  Yet I struggle with trust.  Can this awesome perfect God really care about my problems enough to hold my chin in his hand while he washes away the dirt that I have managed to bring upon my head?   I do believe that God is an awesome God of Love and I do believe that He sent his only son to die for me because He loves me.  So why do I not believe that He will take care of me?  How do I come to accept that his love for me is greater than my unworthy existence? 

“For am I convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers in the sky above or in the earth below, indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   (Romans 8:38-39)

  I can only imagine how frustrating it has to be for my Father God to keep telling me to look up and not be afraid only to have me pull away and look down.  “Someday if only you would trust me,” had to be in his thoughts.  What more could I have done for you that I did not already do and you still do not trust me, he would say of the Israelites.  He decimated Egypt and put the Egyptians first born to death so they could live as free men and women.  He separated the waters of the sea before them.  He gave them water from the rock and bread from heaven yet still they grumbled against the Great I am, not looking up to him but down at probably about anything for which they could find fault.    

“Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.  His faithful love endures forever.”  (Psalms 136:13)

    If today I decide to trust, if for no other reason than to see what this loving God will do for me, would I be any worse off than looking down at the problems most of which I have created all on my own and filling my soul with fear and anxiety?  Of course not. So, at some point even now at this late hour, I have to change my thinking.  I have to deliberately put fear away and look up to see God with me, cradling my chin in his hand and wiping my tears away.  It is very possible that while I was looking down, He was looking at me, smiling, and telling me softly, “Do not be afraid, I got this one.”    I do not want to miss seeing him smile down at me again.  I want to look up. I want to be as sure as Paul was sure that nothing can separate me from the Love of Jesus Christ.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5)

“For those who know your name, put their trust in you, for you, O Lord have not forsaken those who seek you.”  (Psalm 9:10)

 

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