Greetings in the Lord brothers and sisters! It is amazing to see the summer arrive at its consummation and I have yet to dip my foot into a chlorinated pool much less bathe in the salty warm waters of the Carolina coast. I am going almost two years strong without maintaining the youthful glow of basking in the summer sun, but I experimented with a fake tanning product available by Jergens and by golly it actually masquerades as the real thing sans the cancer potential. Ahhh, and most certainly most parents are ready for a breather as their progeny begin another school year. Keep in mind Christmas is lurking around the corner. Gulp, yes I said the C word. I began a new job at the beginning of summer and like anything else work can become all consuming as time slips by quickly ending another season of weather as a new experience in life begins. I am momentarily resuming a prior occupation, the lingerie business, as I await patiently the inception of a new career hiding for my arrival in an unknown future. I informed the Lord during our last private consultation that if I must do retail, it is mandatory that I only contend with pretty lingerie. I deal with female bodies all day long so it makes my burden bearable. It is simply refreshing to my by the book and controlling personality that during unexpected moments of grace, I can do something so mundane and meaningless such as taking the trash out to fulfill a responsibility while stealing a quiet minute, and BOOM there He is. I dispose of the refuse and perch on the dilapidated wooden bench, just to regroup, and the atmosphere becomes categorically transfigured and elevated. Just like that He arrives unexpectedly and the world as I know it melts away and true spiritual ecstasy ensues. Oh, how I love Him because our God is such a GOOD God. Jesus is simply the most exciting person I have ever known and He indeed makes all things new for His beloved children. The enthralling reality for me is the endless possibilities in the ordinary life when we attempt to live a christocentric existence. Yes folks I am indeed back in the bra and panty business and after it all began once again for me I found time to see Him in adoration. Truthfully all I could do was cry. Whiny me, oh Lord my life is so meaningless, is this what I was created for, women's underwear? Oh the drama of unchecked grief. Yet I had occasion to meet a woman who proclaimed working with foundations is important for after all women are the foundation of creation and thus the world. Her analogy intrigued me and since I have to earn a living anyway, I did appreciate her input for it revealed a Marian perspective. but I have a fabulous job and I structure with my personal input and efforts the foundational existence of humanity. How about that for a calling?
The business of daily life can be extremely distracting and a sufficient preoccupation dimming the light in our spiritual vision, but all the more reason why He is so awesome for His benevolent mindfulness of us never escapes the soul of one betrothed to the Bridegroom of Divinity. So once again the drudgery of ordinary, grinding existence when infused by the Divine Breathe of the Holy Spirit becomes a fascinating journey renewed with eternal possibilities, and only then does the real joy of human existence become compelling and life's simple but practical duties become privileged opportunities to grow in Grace and to serve Him unceasingly. Oh how I used to unknowingly mourn the days when I had the time and ability to attend daily Mass and to pray for hours, and to engage in a variety of seeming holy endeavors, and of course God would just sit back and giggle at my scrupulous but sincere attempts at seeking Him, spending time with Him, and doing for Him. And then the engine of the human psyche, the soul, our creatureliness runs out of gas and we just do not comprehend why the struggle ensues, the darkness envelops, and the proverbial rug of comfort gets violently yanked out from under our tentatively steady feet, and the existence of Job's testimony becomes our own personal hell.
The lesson is this. We serve God out of our comfort zone unknowingly because His zone of discipleship involves the Cross. Fulton Sheen defined a term called staurosphobia, or "fear of the Cross." Honestly I do not think too many of us Catholics fear the Cross, we conveniently want absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever for it requires the crucible of the humiliation of human pride, particularly spiritual pride under the guise of orthodoxy and hiding one's self in innumerable but honorable spiritual activities, but in the end we truly only seek a Divine or catholic illusion of sanctity but we are absolutely not going to tread beyond that self-defined boundary of comfort. A rationalistic and scientific society requires a method, a guaranteed cause and effect equation that demands a cemented outcome of personal intent, ultimately blinded by the fuel of self-interest, and self concern is an empty resource that will utterly fail to take you the distance leading to God. For instance, have you ever witnessed the poker hand of prayer cards technique for acquiring Divine assistance. Sometimes the poker players linger after mass or set up game in the perpetual adoration chapel. The prayer card deck requisite for spiritual poker involves a minimum of 20 but can include in excess of 50 cards. Invoke your respective saint and just keep going through the hand, one after the other, and watch the methodology unfold as the intense desperation rises. It almost mirrors a gambling addiction. Oh Lord just one more card, just one more card please. Eucharistic Jesus just winks from His hiding place in the monstrance or tabernacle but waits patiently nonetheless. He whispers so quietly and imperceptibly at times one just misses the personal invitation to gaze upon and to elevate one's attention upon Divine substantial presence. It is not about the card game folks.
Consider the charismatic endeavor or attempt, for if you haven't witnessed such a demonstration and your wellspring of joy has run dry or is as arid as baked mud, the clucker venue will titillate you for a least one moment and promises at least one or two outbursts of unrestrained laughter. And what in heaven's name does the word charismatic actually mean to an inquiring or should I say unprepared and unsuspecting mind? In terms of sound definition according the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Greek term charisma denotes any good gift that flows from God's benevolent love (charis) unto man; any Divine grace or favour, ranging from redemption and life eternal to comfort in communing with brethren in the Faith (Romans 5:15, 16; 6:23; 11:29). The term has, however, a narrower meaning: the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his task in the Church: "Every one hath his proper gift [charisma] from God; one after this manner, and another after that" (1 Corinthians 7:7 etc.). Lastly, in its narrowest sense, charisma is the theological term for denoting extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others. These, or most of these, are enumerated by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31), and form the subject-matter of the present article. They are: "The word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues, interpretation of speeches" (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). To these are added the charismata of apostles, prophets, doctors, helps, governments (ibid., 28). "The aforementioned description is a responsible explanation of what constitutes authentic charismata, however in terms of parish activity and practiced reality a completely different manifestation of commentary typically occurs. The human experience predictably brings God down to our finite scope of supposed spiritual but inherent psychological behavior, and we unwittingly but once again methodologically attempt to conjure up God's holy presence with a maraca. And you are probably wondering or at least curious about the clucker venue I mentioned. Clucker is my personal pet word for any sound or posturing that resembles a chicken. If you have ever visited a barnyard you are reasonably aware that chickens somewhat roam haphazardly, strutting sometimes spasmodically up and down, and squawk or bawk intermittently yet incessantly, and their personal dialogue possesses no cohesive rhyme or reason of understood communication. The charismatic display of what is legitimately coined glossolalia or speaking in tongues, for this is a genuine gift of the Holy Spirit, merely becomes reduced to the appearance of chicken clucking. God forbid I would have ever rolled off my chair of witnessing formulated prayer group experience and dropped my Bible on the tile floor, for only then would a true miracle suffice to stand me up and to deliver me from hidden, unexpressed hysteria. I tell people all the time if you need a good laugh go to church, for the unfolding of the insanity of all human drama marked as spiritual pursuit becomes apparent for all to see if you are just willing to show up and await the entertainment
In all seriousness I absolutely do not go to church to be amused for sanctification is Divine and serious matter, but the fringe benefit of seeking grace is the unanticipated but repeated inevitable exposure to the spiritual and psychological insanity plaguing the human race and the culture at large. Fulton Sheen once remarked, " to conclude that one mass is charismatic while another mass is not, is to say the soul is separate from the body." We human beings are so ridiculous at times in our methodology and attempts at genuine spiritual experience however we are also fortunate to have such an understanding and patient heavenly Father. Yes, I do believe He does indeed smile down upon us everyday at the mortal silliness of it all, and I am emphatically convinced Jesus maintains a profound sense of humor at times. The human being is the most fascinating creature I suppose that Our good Father ever created.
My question for you is this, and it will undoubtedly lead to our next discussion are you "your brother's keeper?" We live our lives thinking we are so darn Holy but are we really willing to step up to the plate? Are you truly willing to lay down your life for a brother or sister? Are you willing to bear the burden of sacrificial love and to give up your delusional version of self holiness but inherently selfish desire in exchange for that greater good, which ultimately benefits the good of your brother? I am ever so tired of putting others first and it has truly cost me everything in the temporal sense. Yet, God has informed me that if I am to be reserved, and set apart for something magnificent, I cannot afford to deny Him His Holy opinion, and thus Divine involvement in my personal agenda. No, we must not deny Him. The Sacred Image of Divine Mercy desires to permeate the human being and endeavor, and we must contend with those Holy Feet and Holy wounds, and He asks each and every one of us, am I enough for you? Do you trust Me? I do not claim to have it all reasoned and figured out, but yes Jesus, I feebly trust in you. The person of Divine Mercy, Jesus Christ, is the reason for our being and one could clearly weep every time when reflecting upon such holy notion, for the soles of those pierced feet speak to the broken soul, for they are the golden feet of intercession. Do you trust in Me? Yes, Lord I do because what choice do I have? I weep every time I look at those feet for they tread upon and serve as a perfect guide on the pathway of the Journey underscoring the grace He has availed those who seek Him, defined by His Cross. The suffering of the Most High God should never be in vain in our eyes.
We all have knowledge of God and can quote Holy Scripture like scientific geniuses, and we join the choir, attend mass, and hang out with all of the Holy correct persons and a engage in all the right activities in the eyes of the parish, but at the end of the day how much have we actually loved and cherished Him? How do we love Him? My consistent experience with Jesus is this, how can I love Him anymore? The ardor that this God avails us can pierce our heart and thus being, and consume the soul, and one literally loses the air of the breath of human inhalation. It does hit that strongly. He loves us that much, but the question is how much do you love HIM? Do not lip service Him and perform upon self-defined Christian, proselytizing platitudes, but just love Him. The nature of the Cross is to appreciate His sacrifice, and to ultimately self deny. Catholics are poor at this commitment to and endeavor of self-denial, because they want to live their lives as is, maintaining an ultimately selfish status quo, surviving by the avoidance of any resemblance of discomfort. Look at the examples of two modern day saints, Mother Angelica and Father John Corapi, and we will clearly see the significance of spiritual success. What is your choice for truth going to be today? Do the right thing and choose Him. Begin with turning off your television, aka the devil's mental rot box, and avoid the computer and cellular phone, and go to perpetual adoration. Do you eat food everyday? Do you spend a few hours gazing upon the television? Feed your soul and thus mind with some holy substance. No excuses suffice in the end for avoiding time with Eucharistic Jesus.
We adore you oh Christ and we praise you, for by Your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Peace out girls and boys for I will be back.