I pasted this writing in October 2015 and it is arriving you now in July 2018 with no source attached to it; however, the meaning rings just as true today so let’s be thankful I get to post it for us all to learn from today:
I have to believe that the simple beauty of nature – something we all long for – could and should be a model for the way we live our own lives. Our complicated lives, plagued by problems of our own making, could be so less complicated if we let God be God and us be us.
Recognize and embrace what God has given you. Use your free will to act on the things God has given you … stop wasting time second-guessing God’s plan and regretting things you may have or have not done.
As Christians, we are challenged to accept ourselves as God has made us. Even when we don’t think it was the best choice – and, frankly, we can see ourselves being something completely different – our true challenge in life is not to try and become our own god of creation.
Instead, be a man. A woman. A child. Be yourself and let God bring to fruition the plans he put in place when we were first mended in the womb.
(For me, this applies to nature):
God speaks through all of creation, and all his gifts are meant to get our attention and turn our thoughts to the loving presence of the Gift Giver. When a gift is given us, we are touched not by the object given, but by the love that it expresses from a friend. Paul is telling us that God does not hide himself but manifests himself in so many ways that we cannot miss him. Somehow, however, as humans we can let our uncomprehending minds miss out on the reality of God’s love and expressed beauty. We may not be “sun worshippers,” but we may have turned into “TV worshippers,” “food worshippers”, or even “children worshippers.”
As Christians we have the ever-presence of Jesus, the greatest of all gifts, to remind us to see his Father in Him and in all creation. Have our minds been darkened by the propaganda of the world? Do we need to resolve again today to see God in his creatures, and rerecommit ourselves to being “Son Worshippers?”
Both my wife and those who would be judgmental have similar starting points: They witness a seeming problem. They formulate a mental mindset: “This isn’t right.” But then – and here’s the key difference – the judgmental cast judgment, while my wife actually tried to help solve the problem.
There is no contradiction. Jesus himself sums this up in today’s Gospel selection, in his rebuke against the scholars of the law: “You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Paul agrees in today’s reading: “You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.”
When it comes to ultimate judgment, God takes no joy in condemning souls to Hell. Ideally, we’d all work together to ensure that everyone makes it into Heaven. Christ died to make everyone’s salvation possible, and the fact that some people won’t take advantage of that opportunity should sadden us all. The impulse to judge should not be the end of our obligation toward others, but rather the beginning.
How many times do we full prey to fear? You know, the fear that robs humanity of the peace Christ offers in the present moment. The fear that causes us to “live” in the future. After all, fear is typically nothing more than a thought focused on the future combined with a belief that the future will be painful. Fear robs us of the blessings God wants to bestow upon us in the present moment – his peace, his love, his joy. No wonder the evil one wants to keep us fearful! He doesn’t want us to experience the multitudes of blessings God so deeply desires to bestow upon us right now – don’t believe the evil lies.
I know this may sound a bit esoteric; however, I believe we have the ability to create a life of happiness and wholeness when we align our heart with the heart of God – a place where fear is obliterated. This does not mean life will be easy, it does not mean we will not experience pain and heartache; no, it means we can become virtuous and our heart can become filled with love. This is much different from the New Age concept of “manifesting” and creating our dream life – there is a lot of “me” going on there. Rather, when we co-create with God, we serve others because it is about the other – our fellow brother or sister in need. We turn our life over to God, surrendering all to him, giving him control. Then what could we possible fear? God, the creator of the entire universe, most certainly has the power and ability to direct our life.
Once we become renewed Jesus so beautifully directs our next steps. He warns us of the leaven of the Pharisees, an unrealistic adherence to the law. Leaven is the small, yet mighty substance, that causes bread to rise. The leaven of the Pharisees, akin to our modern-day religious legalists, set individuals up for failure. Not one could follow the law as they preached it. Their preaching, while they believed to be rooted in the Ten Commandments, was sterile and cold – lacking the love and compassion of God. God calls us to love and serve one another, to lighten one another’s burdens. Even Jesus broke their laws when he healed on the Sabbath. God, who knows the number of hairs on your head, God who calls you to not be afraid, God who alone offers us eternal salvation is the only one who can perfectly guide our hearts and show us the way to love more.
So the next time fear tries to steal the peace, love or joy God has for you turn inward, examine your conscience and visit your confessional. Your priest, God’ servant, will meet you there and you will become more fully aligned with the love God has for you.