Tag Archives: tender mercy of God Jesus

To Be a Witness, If My People, Day 6

Standard

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

 

Today, in our If My People prayer pilgrimage Day 6, we are looking at those final words Jesus spoke to the disciples before he ascended into heaven to be with the Father.  Evangelization, plain and simple… We are to go everywhere, teach everything and baptize everyone.  It doesn’t get more forthright than that when looking at what Jesus asks of us.  If He knows that I am fully capable of going, teaching and baptizing, then why do I find this direction from my Savior so daunting and overwhelming.  Who am I to evangelize?  I’m comfortable in my faith and uncomfortable when forced to be anything other than a Catholic mom who walks the spiritual side in her life by attending Mass, practicing the Sacraments, raising her family in the faith, teaching Sunday School, going to Bible studies and writing in her blog.  I like the easy way.

“To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living Mystery.  It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”  Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard

 

Several years ago, this quote by Cardinal Suhard was printed on the back of our Parish bulletin.  I was so filled with joy when I read and thought about the meaning of this quote.  It seemed so natural, easy.  No street evangelization.  No asking strangers, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” No Bible Thumping. No propaganda.  Not even stirring

people up with insults and insinuations that they needed to get right with Mother Church.  Just simply living my life as a mystery… a prayer… in such a way that only God’s existence would complete my life and make my life story valid.  The most compelling way to share the message of the Gospel, the Good News of His coming, to bring wild hope to others, would be to live a conscious life for Him, to bring Him glory. Jesus came to redeem the assault of evil on our lives and to offer another way to live, filled with mercy, love, kindness for the least of our brethren rather than revenge, eye for an eye justice, and a harsh life of fulfilling man’s law in God’s name.  Somehow, this idea of evangelization seems more fulfilling, an easier way of following His path that makes sense to me when I see how He treated the least of His followers in the Gospel.  He did not judge nor condemn the sinner begging for healing.  How many times did He chose the more difficult aspect of healing His people’s faith through forgiveness?  “Your sins are forgiven.  Go in peace and sin no more.” A much more important healing for each of us than the easier physical healing that many of us have begged for over the course of humanity.  And yet, He lovingly and faithfully healed physical ailments as well. So it must be for each of us to find a way to live as a Mystery for Him through our willingness to show steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, unasked for forgiveness.

Soren Kierkegaard: “All genuine instruction ends in a kind of silence, for when I live it, it is no longer necessary for my speaking to be audible.”

So we look at the propaganda that goes on in the name of evangelization and realize that many times it is not love, mercies, hope, nor forgiveness.  It comes down to the words.  Are you saying the right words with the correct tone of voice?  Are you saying the words loud enough and often enough and to everyone?  In the end, it truly is not about the words.  People will agree or disagree or be noncommittal with our words.  We must begin the hard work if our life is to relay the sense of God’s existence, to show our beliefs, values, convictions into our daily life; our worship, our work, the sustainability of our life, our interactions with others.  This is our witness.  As James said in 1:22, ‘Be doers of the Word and not hearers only.  Thereby deceiving only yourself.” To be doers and not hearers only we must do two things.  First, we must commit to a God Centered, not culture centered life.  We must seek out His Will and conform our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions to what we know He is leading us to.  Then we MUST respect the silence, the quietness with gentleness and kindness towards others.  We quietly go about showing steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, and unasked for forgiveness to whomever crosses our path, #BlackLives, #BlueLives, #AllLives, #MuslimJewishProtestantHindiCatholicAgnostic………  We leave the judging and condemning to God, who loves us with a Holy Love and who judges with Holy Condemnation.  We become His living Mystery.

Praying that each of you may step out into Evangelization with steadfast love, tender mercies, unabandoned hope, and unasked for forgiveness to all whom cross your path.

May you find gratitude and peace in every moment,

Joan Marie

AshWednesdayCross

 

 

A Slave of God, If My People, Day 4

Standard

Deuteronomy 28:1-3 New Living Translation

28“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:

Your towns and your fields will be blessed.

slide_15

If My People prayer pilgrimage, Day 4, has us really thinking about some hard stuff, mainly,  on obedience to God.  In our ego driven culture of self fulfillment, immediate gratification, monetary wealth, it is hard to think of answering to a higher being… to God.  While few of us have any trouble maxing out our credit cards and selling our soul to the banks for immediate gratification of whatever trivial thing crosses our path, we bulk at the thought that we owe our humility, our love and respect, our very existence to One Mightier than All Others… God.  

Today’s Word tells us that if we fully obey God and carefully keep all his commands, that he will bless our nation and each of us individually. In James 1:1, he begins his book with “James, the slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”  A slave of God. I have to tell you, the first time I read this verse several years ago, I was irritated.  Who wants to be a slave to anyone, including God.  If I was a slave to God, that would mean that I needed to give up who I was and become totally who God wanted me to be and continually do His bidding.  I just didn’t want to think about it as I had been existing quite happily with my compartmentalization of God to Sunday morning Mass and Thursday evening small church group with a prayer tossed in here and there.  It was a balanced life with no one even thinking of tossing me into the Bible Thumping Group.  I knew where God fit in and more importantly, God knew where He fit into my life.  It was convenient.  It was safe.  It was acceptable to the culture that I lived in.  But it wasn’t the plan He had for me, which I soon discovered entailed so much more.

A slave of God is actually found many times in the Bible.  In the Old Testament the word doulos (meaning slave, one who is subservient to and entirely at the disposal of his master) is used from ancient Greek to describe the Patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament including the following:  Moses (1 Kings 8:53), Joshua and Caleb (Joshua 2:8 and Numbers 14:24), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deuteronomy 9:27), Job (Job 1:8), Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3), Amos 3:7, Zechariah 1:6, Jeremiah 7:25.  For these men of the Bible, the title of doulos was one of honor.  Was it difficult?  Yes.  Challenges and strife along the way doing God’s work?  Definitely.  Worthwhile and meaningful?  Without a doubt.

“Obeying God to the point that we are His slave,” what does that really entail? Am I filled with images from Civil War era movies of cuffs, starvation, ill kempt, bone weary work.  Is this what God has in store when I grudgingly agree to do His bidding.  No!  Of course this is not His desire for any of us.  I have to get my heart in the right place when I think of being His slave.  I give Him my absolute obedience.  I am absolutely His possession and I agree that I will follow Him in whatever He has in store for me without thought or question.  I give Him my absolute humility.  I focus myself on my duties and obligations to God over my privilege and rights.  I give Him my absolute loyalty.  I am utterly pledged to God and to everything for His glory, not my own.  If I can fill my heart with obedience, humility and loyalty to Him who knew me before He formed me in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5),  He will bring blessing not curses to me.  Blessings too numerous to list here.  For being His slave is so different than being man’s slave or even slave to this battered world we live in.  He brings light into the darkness of the world (John 8:12), beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3), plans of hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

light_of_the_world_wide_t_nv

So in this time of darkness with racial tension and ISIS and inflation and lack of jobs to the point of homelessness of many, where many children are being raised by social media and our elderly mostly forgotten, it is time to grab on to His promise that if we commit our ways to Him, trust in Him, He will act (Psalms 37:5).  He will act with justice and steadfast love and tender mercies.  He calls us to obey Him and follow His commands.  The greatest of these is to love our God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as our self (Matthew 22:38).  He says love all our neighbors as our self, whether they are black, blue, Muslim, homeless, disabled, gay and on and on and on.  He does not say to pick and chose the neighbor that makes you feel most comfortable and looks like you and thinks like you and has all the same stuff you have.  No, He gives us more of a challenge today just as it was when Jesus walked among us 2,000 years ago.  Love the Pharisee. Love the Gentile. Love the Good Samaritan. Love the Police Officer. Love the Thug. Love the Woman in Burqa. Love the Transgendered Woman in the Target Bathroom.  Love the Gay Couple stating their vows.  Love. Love. Love.  Let the judging and the justice come from Him above, not from us.  Reach out your hand, though you may be filled with fear and just Love….  Then, He will place you where your doings and loving and kindness will bring the greatest glory to Him and He will then bestow you with great, magnificent blessing.

download

Praying that you find that place in your heart to say, “Lord, I am your slave.  Do with me as you wish.”

May you find peace and gratitude in every moment.

Joan

AshWednesdayCross

Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows

Standard

Stations of the Cross

i.  Jesus is condemned to death.

 

condemned

sinless Lamb of God

innocently guilty

unafraid, blameless, yet condemned

sinless Lamb of God

you take away the sin of mankind.

majestic reign

humbled as Perfect Sacrifice

sinless Lamb of God

Savior


 ii.  Jesus carries his cross.

 

cross

i am forgiven

sin, separation

my burden is heavy

i am forgiven

daily, Jesus carries my cross with his

grace given

faulty footsteps following Him

i am forgiven

salvation

 

iii.  Jesus falls for a first time.

 

fall

your majesty protects

weakened, vulnerable

most powerful Jesus falling

your majesty protects

God’s weakness is stronger than man’s strength

Angel strengthened

sinless burdened with sin

your majesty protects

Arise

 

iv.  Jesus meets his mother.

 

Mary

full of Grace

humble, willing

Ark of the Covenant

full of grace

knowing Jesus would be about God’s work

prayerful submission

in this suffering moment

full of grace

obedient

 

v.    Simon helps Jesus carry His cross.

 

simon

carrying His burden

human weakness

your cross bearing shoulders

carrying His burden

offering your strength to the Son of Man

comforting the Great Comforter

carrying His burden

servant

 

vi.  Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

 

veronica

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

tender mercy

wiping His sacred blood

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

mark of Jesus’ love imprinted on her

veiled image

offering all she had

gentlewoman’s loving kindness

compassion

 

vii.  Jesus falls a second time.

 

downtrodden

we all fall

oppressed, persecuted

the Lord lifts up

we all fall

come you weary and burdened to Him

Jesus fell

the burden so great

we all fall

arise

 

viii. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

 

weeping

tender mercy of God

Jesus’ suffering

let us weep too

tender mercy of God

along the road He saw ALL women

reaching out

compassion, healing for them

tender mercy of God

comforting

 

ix.  Jesus falls a third time

 

weakened

falls…falls…falls

Jesus carries

every sinner’s tragic fall

falls…falls…falls

twisting, winding sorrowful way to God’s glory

Spotless Victim

undelivered from wicked hands

falls…falls…falls

arise

 

x.  Jesus is stripped of his garments.

 

naked

nothing separates us

vulnerable, indignant

God is with us

nothing separates us

Love of God is with us ALWAYS

embarrassment, shame

God is with us

nothing separates us

Love

 

xi.  Jesus is nailed to the cross

cross

Christ lifted high

Fragrant Offering

Divine Love for us

Chris lifted high

my redemption is found in the cross

Perfect Sacrifice

all people drawn to Jesus

Christ lifted high

crucifixion

 

xii.  Jesus dies on the cross.

 

death

arms spread wide

humble submission

as He embraced all

arms spread wide

may His sacrifice bring gratitude and peace

every moment

into this sinner’s heart

arms spread wide

rebirth

 

xiii.  Jesus is taken down from the cross.

 

dismounted

holiest of sorrow

unbearable task

burial of our Lord

holiest of sorrow

joseph, nicodemus, love won out over fear

profound grief

Mary held her son

holiest of sorrow

Pieta

 

xiv.  Jesus is placed in the tomb.

 

burial

laid to rest

joseph’s tomb

Jesus wrapped in linen

laid to rest

we grieve his death.  God promises life.

stone closed

yet opened and empty

laid to rest

Resurrection

 

xv.  The resurrection of Jesus

 

Resurrection

go to Galilee

empty tomb

intense desire to encounter Jesus

go to Galilee

now let us be on our way

Risen Lord

Holy Light overcame darkness

go to Galilee

proclamation