Wednesday, September 24, 2008

There Is No Scarcity in God

I stumbled upon the following this evening at the Servias Ministries blog:

Why do people become enemies? Often, the source of this hatred is competition. The competition may be for money, power, natural resources, or simply pride (ego). People get distracted by competition. There is an underlying assumption of scarcity that drives competition. Competition is divisive in nature by separating the conqueror from the conquered, the elite from the average, and the strong from the weak. Jesus saw no need to compete or to conquer. He came to reconcile a divided world.
This thing of the assumption of scarcity, of perceived scarcity, has been a spark of insight for me today. This is at the root of so much "yuck" in the world; I think it must be one of the favorite tactical weapons used by the enemy of our souls.

I will fight, I will hate, I will become an enemy; I will harbor hurt, I will brood, I will shut down, close off, lash out -- all if I think there is a limited amount of love, of good, to be had in the world and someone else is getting it all or taking it all. I do ugly things because I think this will stop this bad thing from happening, or I do them as a pitiful, impotent protest against my miserable fate.

I see so clearly that I have fallen into this at various times in my life, and I see so clearly that others around me fall into it as well.

Solution? The tremendous grace of God. The proclamation of Truth in word and deed. Faith in the proclaimed word of God. There is no scarcity. God's love, His providence, is limitless. His care for each individual sparrow -- let alone person -- is tender and complete.

We humans are limited. Our loved ones are limited. Parents are limited. Priests are limited. Our closest friends are limited. God can and does use those close to us (and far, and strangers) to minister to us and bless us, but brothers and sisters, let us not forget that Our Lord Himself calls us to enter into His heart in the secret place of communion with Him. He is the One who is not limited. He alone is the Infinite, who satisfies.

Scarcity and the Infinite simply cannot co-exist. Now, I'm not making any "prosperity gospel" claims here -- it is not that in Christ we never encounter true material lack. That is deeply insulting to many, many people around this globe. But there is a mystery at work here. I'll speak of my own life: I wanted to be the mother of at least six or eight children. This is not a blessing God has seen fit to give me. (Instead, I have endometriosis.) Others struggle for basic means of life. Neither circumstance means that God is not the Giver of all good things. It is somehow because of, not in spite of, these circumstances that I, that we, learn that God is our all, our fulfillment. Our needs are the very means through which we learn there is no scarcity to fear in God, in the way He ultimately desires for us to be filled.

What we need is to face our own infinite need for love, and to know that our hearts indeed are restless until they rest in the Infinite.

Take Care of Your Relationships

This message of November 11, 2006 from the Blessed Mother appears in Anne's newest book Serving in Clarity.

Little apostles, gather near me in your hearts. I work tirelessly to keep you, my faithful little children, together so that you can console and help each other. In this way, you are sustained and encouraged. You understand that heaven is with you. Heaven understands that it is good for your to have earthly fellowship also. Take care of these relationships with your fellow apostles. Treat each other gently as Jesus treated everyone He encountered on earth. Those around you will make mistakes and fall victim to their weaknesses. When this occurs, you must rejoice in the opportunity to show God's mercy to them. You must rejoice in the opportunities to be forgiving. You must bring any anger or hurt to me and I will help you with it so that you can grow from it, benefiting heaven from your offerings to Jesus in the face of your pain. If you do this, offer your hurts to heaven, we can send great blessings on you, on the fellow apostle who has hurt you, and indeed, on the whole mission throughout the world. This mission is fueled by littleness, by humility. Seek out humility and you will find it. You will then be gentle as Jesus is gentle. Keep humility close to you as your most trusted friend because in humility you will find a clear-sightedness that allows you to keep God's goals in the first place of all of your service. Dearest apostles, little children, what joy there is for me to teach you about heaven and heavenly behavior. These words and graces are a great gift to your world and your reading of these words is a great gift to me, your heavenly mother.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Out Of Darkness, The Series

I have mentioned this work a few times in conjunction with other thoughts, but I'd like to specifically draw attention to this series of blog posts at Abba's Little Girl.

My friend Patty writes about her journey of healing from sexual abuse, with the aim of testifying that healing is indeed possible, and that healing consists in walking from the darkness to the Light of Christ. That road? Forgiveness, repentance, and a life lived following with those who also follow Christ.

I will come back to update this post as she adds to the series.

Out Of Darkness

A co-worker of mine cornered me in the copy room one day and said, "How can you be Catholic with all the sexual abuse of kids by your so called Priests?"
Out of Darnkess - A Little Aside
Out Of Darkness - P.S.
Out of Darkness - The Mystery of Healing
Out of Darkness - Big Mess
...I stopped at a red light and looked into the night sky and begged with all my might for a husband. Sometimes God gives us what we ask for just because we make such a nag of ourselves.
Out of Darkness - Anatomy of a Miracle
Out of Darkness - I Miss My Mother
Out of Darkness - Nightmare on Paper
Out of Darkness - Into the Lion's Den
When I got married, I was determined that I would never again discuss my experiences with my father.
Out of Darkness - Renewing the Mind
Out of Darkness - Broken Cisterns
Jeremiah 2:13 - For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Out of Darkness - Abba's Little Girl
Out of Darkness - Divorce Deliverance
Out of Darkness - Into His Arms
Out of Darkness - A Marriage that Wasn't
Out of Darkness - Following Alone
The rift between me and my two friends was very painful, but I knew in my heart that I was practicing what Diane had taught me to do: to follow Christ no matter what the cost.
Out of Darkness - Into His Embrace
Out of Darkness - Lights, Camera, Action
Out of Darkness - I Want to Make Something Very Clear
The purpose of this series is healing.
Out of Darkness - At The Crossroads
Out of Darkness - Light From Both Sides of the Tiber
Out of Darkness - It's Like Peeling an Onion
You cannot imagine (unless you're been through it) what it is like to have your own family not believe you about something so devastating as being molested.
Out of Darkness - Where Does It Hurt?
Out of Darkness - Where Does It Hurt? Part Two
Out of Darkness - A Forgiveness List
Out of Darkness - Discovering the Original Wheel
Out of Darkness - Letting Go
Out of Darkness - When Victims Feel Guilty
Out of Darkness - Doing Your Part
Out of Darkness - Doing Your Part, Part 2

Friday, September 19, 2008

Financial Crisis: The Sound of Two Brain Cells Rubbing

I have been thinking about political issues (as opposed to candidates, or races) quite a bit more than I have in other years. I am also (I admit) far more confused than I ever have been about good policy vs. bad policy than ever before.

I was a Ron Paul supporter in the primary. I was primarily and initially attracted to his campaign because of his "social" policies, particularly his strong pro-life stand, and his approach to education, health care, and his vision of reining in the reach of the federal government, per the Constitution. But many of his supporters have as their number one concern this whole financial crisis mess, the Federal Reserve, etc.

To be honest I don't have the most solid grasp on the history of the US economy or on the meaning of what has just happened this week on Wall Street. But it this little snippet does make sense to me. As a family, we discern what is reasonable for us to do, to endeavor, to spend, based on what income and savings we have. As a country, is it not reasonable for us to sometimes say "no" to meeting something someone feels is a need, simply because it is not financially feasible? This is something I have heard Ron Paul say over and over, and I think I finally get it. I see little difference between Democrat and Republican when it comes to the love of spending tax money, which may or may not actually exist.

Yet Another Serious Reason to Avoid Socialized Medicine

Baroness Warnock: Dementia sufferers may have a "duty to die"

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.

The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.

Read the rest here

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Surprise!

Sometimes little snippets of truth sneak up on me and tap at my brain like a little toddler tugging at an arm or leg for attention. Well, imagine a little toddler when you don't have any children and you are in the house alone.

Willa at In a Spacious Place had a link to this young person's literary magazine where the following quote surprised me: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. (Confucius).

The surprise is not the idea; I've thought that a billion times. The surprise was how this quote found me (hence, the toddler invading the isolated place image). It found me listening to one of my "favorites" from my old mental tape collection: "I'm not made for happiness; I'm made for drudgery."

Intellectual conviction, meet internal emotional environment. And try not to get whiplash.

Happiness is not irresponsible. Joy is not dangerous. Freedom is real and it is ok to employ it towards what I desire, as that is how God leads me to Himself.

Does anyone else out there find it necessary to remind him/herself of these things?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

May I Have This Dance?

May God grant that I have thoughts worthy of what I have received, for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. (Wis. 7:15)

Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall. (1 Cor. 10:12)

I have been reminded that if we think we are "old hat" at the Christian life, we are probably living something we only think is the Christian life! Well, maybe that is too dramatic a statement.... but let's just say that even though Christ imbues our life with a holy stability, He is always desiring to lead us in the dance of faith and life and love. If I were a better dancer I could feel this analogy more strongly. I did once dance with a very good dancer who informed me that I was committing the cardinal sin of trying to lead when it was his to lead. No wonder it didn't feel right.

So, there was a point in here somewhere. Oh yeah. Christ leads, and we follow. Therefore, we really don't know what a day brings forth. I can get all excited about my headstrong plans, or I can mope about life "as it always is" (and hey! I am multi-talented and can do both at the same time!) or I can go to my prayer time and know that Jesus is saying, "May I have this dance?"

That was a great image given to me in confession recently. I came to prayer today and said something at first that reminded me of that dance with Charlie, when he told me not to try to lead against his lead. Good old Charlie. So, I corrected myself and asked the Holy Spirit to bring me where my Savior awaited me. Better. It has just been occurring to me how I've felt pretty forsaken in this whole dance-floor business. It is often said that if we feel God is far away, He is not the one who has moved. Well, maybe He does actually move. Yes, I think He moves a lot. But the key is, if we live in Him, we need to go where He goes. Movement. A healthy thing.

So I said to the Lord, I said, Lord, teach me how to pray?! I don't seem to remember. What am I supposed to do here, now, today? I need something more than a pile of words. And do you know what? He answered. Through the course of the day, in things I did that were spur-of-the-moment-ish that I realized were like trying on a perfectly fitting pair of shoes I've needed. In a realization gleaned through a magazine article in the doctor's office. All fitting together so nicely. Yes, God really is there, really is hearing, really does answer our needs. And He gives us work to do, movements to make.

It is all part of life with Him.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ask for These Graces

On the first of every month, Our Lord gives Anne a new message about His call to service.

September 1, 2008

Jesus

Dear apostles, I want you to know joy. Eternal joy will be yours in heaven, of course, but I want you to know joy now, during your time of service. If you do as I say, as I am asking you, this heavenly joy will become more and more available to you and you will share this joy more and more freely. You will be a true representative of heaven in your joy and others will be attracted to the heaven that you represent. I want you to believe Me when I tell you that you can trust Me. If you could not trust Me, dear apostles, why would you continue to follow Me? The answer is that you can trust Me, of course, or you would fall away as others have fallen away. You do trust Me. You rely on Me and you are safe with Me. You have made a wise decision by putting yourself into My care. It is always the best decision to rely on the One who loves you perfectly and holds, in His heart, the perfect plan for your time on earth. Why would you let fear diminish your joy? Why would you let anxiety for yourself or others eradicate the joy that is available to you in the present moment? My dearest apostles, you live in the present, not the future. If the present is difficult, I am there. If the future becomes difficult, I will be there, too. You will not be abandoned and your loved ones will not be abandoned. Ultimately, the greater the trust in Me, the greater the joy in each moment. I want you to abandon fear. I want you to cast yourself into the providence that surrounds you. Fear is a snare for you or I would not treat it so seriously. Ask Me now for greater trust and I will give it to you. Ask Me now for greater joy and I will give that to you, also. It is important that others see in you an accurate reflection of the graces heaven makes available to apostles. Do not hide these graces away. Let these graces flow out from you to those around you. Share what is good, dear apostles, not what is bad. Share what comes from Me and you will help to draw others back into our family. I am telling you that I have greater graces available to you so make your Jesus happy and ask for these graces. You will be blessed with all that you need and joy will be yours. Be at peace. I will never abandon you.