I just looked at my most recent blog post on this site and realized that I haven’t posted anything since April. It’s not as if my life has been so busy that I couldn’t write. I think I was totally wrapped up in unimportant things like Facebook and just didn’t do what I really like to do which is reading, writing, and art.
I have started creating again. In fact, I just finished making an Art-Journal for a friend of mine for her birthday. (BTW, she loved it!) That got the juices flowing again and I’m ready to finish some of the projects that have been hanging around since I retired last October and start some new ones.
I am reading at least a book a week. That’s a good thing. Working my way through some series that I had been wanting to read for years.
Now, we have to tackle the writing part of the big three. Thought I’d begin today with some random thoughts that I have been having. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my mind is always busy; so much so, that sometimes I can’t quiet it enough at night to get decent sleep. However, I digress.
So here are my thoughts in an entirely random order.
- We watched “Superman versus Batman” last night. Not the worst movie I have ever seen. I don’t understand the “hype” over it though. I’m glad that we didn’t pay movie theater prices to see it.
- This election cycle has me stymied. How did we get here where our only choices for President are a narcissistic business man and a narcissistic criminal? Really, the only principled vote for me is to not vote for either. As I have explained to others, I have been working in the pro-life movement for 40 years. In all that time, not a single pre-born baby has been protected by law. The most that our lawmakers have done is “regulate” abortion. They have never understood that one doesn’t regulate evil and expect to retain one’s soul. No matter who is in the White House or Congress, my work will continue as I try to save lives (and souls) one at a time. I’m reminded of what John Adams said. Only a moral people are able to govern themselves. We have ceased to be moral as a nation so we have ceased to be great. Greatness cannot be restored until we turn back to God.
- I pray for our Pope, Francis. He has managed to sow confusion where there should be none. Of course, as a mother of 6, all of whom are in irregular unions, I would love that he would be right and that they aren’t living in a state of objective mortal sin. However, I believe that Jesus spoke the truth and so I pray continually for them and their spouses that they return to the faith that they were baptized in and get their messes cleaned up before it’s too late.
- Another mess that has me stymied is gay faux marriage and transgenderism. Sodom and Gomorrah have nothing on this world that we live in now. I know that people have been homosexual since the beginning of time; however it wasn’t in my face all the time. Just like I want to keep my life in the bedroom private, I wish they would, too. Sodomy is the only sin that has its own parade. And, make no mistake, it is a sin. I know that the Church dances around it by calling the act but not the inclination a sin. Jesus, though, told us that even if we lust in our hearts, we commit sin. Doesn’t matter who one lusts for, man or women, does it?
- I was going to say that I don’t understand the whole bathroom thing. This wouldn’t be totally accurate, though. This is just another thing to distract us from what is truly going on in our country–total moral decay and the total breakdown of decency and the family. This has been going on for about 50 years. Fifty-eight million dead babies later. . .is it any wonder that we are sliding to perdition on a highway greased with Pam? (I think I’m mixing a whole lot of metaphors, but you get the idea.)
I think that’s enough for today. I plan on writing much, much more in the future. I’ve given up Facebook, so I will have more time for the things that matter. I might lurk on FB once a week for a half-hour so I can keep up with what some of my grandchildren are doing. And, then again, I might not. They know how to reach me if it’s important.
Can I get a great AMEN!?
#35 The Letter to the Hebrews tells us of the “just ones” who sought God even before He made the covenant with Abraham. One of these was Enoch, who “had pleased God.” We can’t believe God exists apart from faith. In Hebrews 11:5, “whoever would approach God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” God is not impossible to find. He rewards those who seek Him by allowing Himself to be found. (I love this statement from Lumen Fidei. I believe that one of the prayers that He always answers if we pray sincerely is “Please show me that you exist.”) “God is light and He can be found also by those who seek Him with a sincere heart.”
In the New Testament, the Magi are seekers. The star is a sign of God’s patience with our human eyes. He knows that we must grow accustomed to His luminous light, which is a bright as the primordial fire that it is. As we approach God, we are not engulfed by the immensity of His fire, but rather we begin to shine all the more brightly. “There is no human experience, no journey of man to God, which cannot be taken up, illumined and purified by this light (fire.)”
Faith is a way, so if non-believers are sincerely open to love and search for whatever light they can, they, even without knowing it, are on the path to faith. They intuit that the presence of God would make life’s grandeur and beauty all the more beautiful. “Anyone who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God, is already sustained by His help, for it is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk towards the fullness of love.” (I read this quote twice because it gives me hope.)
15. St. Augustine stated that the Old Testament patriarchs like Abraham were saved by faith in Christ who was yet to come. All Old Testament threads converge on Christ. God guarantees His love by sending Christ to us thus Christian faith is faith in a perfect love; love that has the power to change the world.
16. Christ died for our sake. Because of this, Christ’s love for us is true and reliable. By contemplating His death, our faith should grown stronger; receiving such a dazzling light that we can believe completely in His love. His self-gift of embracing death for our salvation overcomes every suspicion I might have so that I can trust Him completely.
17. “Precisely because Jesus is the Son, because He is absolutely grounded in the Father, He was able to conquer death and make the fullness of life shine forth. Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world.. . But, if God could not act in the world, His love would not be truly powerful, truly real. . .It would make no difference at all whether we believed in Him or not.”
18. We need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Christian faith turns to Christ as our authority. Faith sees things as Jesus sees them. Jesus IS the one Who makes God known to us. St. John brings out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus in order to truly know and trust God the Father. We believe what Jesus tells us to be true. We believe in Jesus when we welcome Him into our lives. Christian faith is faith in the Word of God made man. It is faith in a God who entered our human history. He loves us completely and passionately and He love our world, so that He is constantly guiding it and us to Him.
12. In the Book of Exodus, God promises to set His people free and Israel trusts in Him. Their primordial faith leads them on a long journey and God is presented in the accounts of the journey as a Father. Israel celebrates God’s mighty deeds by celebrating them and passing the account of them from generation to generation.
13. The history of Israel shows us how we can be tempted to put our faith in idols. I think Papa Francis’ own words are beautiful in this passage. “Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our hands. . . Idolatry, then is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another. Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth.” Believing in God and having a personal relationship with Him means “. . .entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history.”
14. We encounter Moses in the faith of Israel. Moses is the mediator between Israel and God. He speaks to YHWH on the mountain and then tells others of God’s will. God describes Israel as “My first-born son,” so that the whole community is seen as one. Israel must learn to journey together as one. They show us that through our encounter with other, “our gaze rises to a truth greater than ourselves.” Accepting God’s free gift of faith calls for humility and courage; the courage to trust.
Abraham, our father in faith
8. Faith must be witnessed in the Old Testament if we want to understand it. God reveals Himself to Abraham by speaking to him and calling his name. Thus, faith takes on a very personal aspect.
9. God speaks to Abraham a call and a promise. Abraham’s faith is linked to his steps toward an unforeseen future. Abraham’s faith is a response to God’s word. Faith remembers the promise and is therefore bound up with hope. Abraham doesn’t “see;” he hopes and believes.
10. God is fidelity; so faith becomes “absolutely certain and unshakeable.” God’s Word becomes a solid rock and a straight highway. As St. Augustine explains: “Man is faithful when he believes in God and His promises; God is faithful when He grants to man what He has promised.”
11. The God Who asks Abraham for complete trust reveals Himself to be the source of all life. “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall name him Isaac” (Gen 17:19). Faith in God helps Abraham realize that his life is NOT a chance happening. Abraham is the fruit of the Creator; the Origin of all that is. The Word could raise up a son to one who was barren. And, so, the Word is a promise of a future beyond death.
Next time: The faith of Israel
This Year of Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is ‘the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; . . . and also the source from which all its power flows.'” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei (n. 9)
Cain and Abel: This tragic story revolves on their experiences of offering to God sacrifices from their crops and flocks. Cain’s sacrifice is not pleasing to the Lord, so he become jealous and murders his brother.
Noah: The next act of worship in the Bible is after Noah and his family leave the ark. Noah offers a sacrifice that so pleases the Lord, that He makes a covenant never to flood the whole earth, again.
As Abram leaves Ur and Horan for Canaan, he turns away from worship of pagan deities to worship the one true God. Sacrifice becomes more frequent. Here are the places where Abram built altars and offered sacrifice:
- Sechem (Gen 12: 5-7)
- Bethel (Gen 12: 8)
- Oaks of Mamre near Hebron (Gen 13: 18)
- Salem (Gen 14: 17-20) where Melchizedek offers bread and wine for Abram.
- (Gen 15: 7-21) God renews His promise to Abraham of many descendants and “he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.” This act of faith is followed by the building of another altar and another sacrifice.
- (Gen. 22: 1-18) Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham obeys, takes Isaac to Mt. Moriah where an angel of the Lord stop him and he offers a ram instead.
Jacob: For considering Jacob’s sacrificial/worship relationship with God, let’s read Gen 27-32: 22-32 in our own Bibles. One note on Gen 32: 22-32–when Jacob returns to Canaan with his family and wealth, he wrestles with God’s angel who injures his hip. God lets this happen so Jacob knows that He is in charge of their relationship, not Jacob.
Moses: The Lord calls Moses and instructs him to deliver Israel from Egypt and bring them to Canaan, the land that was promised to the ancestors. He tells Moses that He will be with him and he shall lead the people to worship on Mt. Sinai. After all the angst and crises of the Exodus, the Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai where six things happen. For additional details, the passages are presented.
- (Ex 19: 3-9) Moses presents God’s offer of a covenant and the people accept the offer.
- (Ex. 19: 10-15) The Lord asks Moses to consecrate the people.
- (EX. 19: 16-17) God comes down to the mountain, causing the people to be afraid, and summons Moses to meet Him.
- (Ex. 20-23) God gives Moses the 10 Commandments (and other laws), determining the moral quality of life the Israelites must lead to be His chosen people.
- (Ex. 24: 1-42) Moses returns to the people with the law and the people hear it and give their acceptance of it as a community.
- Ex. 24: 4b-11) Moses offers 12 bulls as sacrifice, pours the blood on the altar and on the people, and there follows a sacrificial meal on the mountain.
Joshua: The book of Joshua contains a number of liturgical events. Joshua 4: 190-24 describes the first shrine in the Promised Land at Gilgal.
Next Time: Jesus’ new liturgy
Meditation: For understanding this new liturgy: John 6: 22-71
Filed under Abraham, Catholic, Exodus, Faith, Genesis, Gospel, Liturgy, Moses, Noah, Old Testament, Sacrifice