Archive | February, 2020

Make me aware

24 Feb

If something is tempting then at least we are aware of it and indeed it might not actually be ‘sinful’ though we Christians often associated temptation with sin. See if you can think of things that you are attracted to which are quite ok! But we are sometimes tempted by what we shouldn’t be thinking or doing and these we have to avoid. If there is a habit of this it can be difficult to eradicate. I remember someone pointing out that if you get rid of the first letter of a habit you still have a bit; and if you get rid of the first letter of that it is still there – (it was Sister Blount at Craiglockhart College who said this). But also we should be aware of temptations we don’t even recognise as such – for this reason I can’t tell you what such temptations I have, I need someone else to make me aware!

When I was teaching a Primary class, once before morning break I told the class that when they came back there would be a piece of paper on each desk but they were not to turn it over to see what it said. When they came back after break I looked at the class and said “someone has turned their paper over and read it.” I could tell by their reactions who had done this. It said “remember Adam and Eve and the forbidden apple tree!” And that was what my lesson was about.

At, off and why

17 Feb

At.            First I want to say, we should sometimes (surely we do) stop and wonder at something – look at it with amazement. It may be a large complex like a view of some kind, or something more fleeting like a shooting star or a leaping fish. Whatever it is we are told it is made up of microscopic ‘elements’ like atoms and invisible forces – something to wonder at. We are looking at the beauty of what God is – at that very moment – holding in existence! We can wonder at the wonders of nature and beauty of God. Its amazing!

Off.            Next let me assure you that it is quite common to wander off the subject. Our mind (our concentration) will go off at a tangent and we start thinking of something else. This must have happened often when we were at school and supposedly learning a lesson, but even as adults our mind will wander off whatever we ought to be concentrating on. It may be when we are cooking, or working on some project or just attending some ceremony or performance.   Its not always a bad thing because it can lead us to new ideas and new ways of seeing something – ike if you were to wander off the path in a woodland or in a busy town; it can lead you to some new and beneficial experience – but don’t get lost!

Why.            We can find it quite tiresome when younger folk are asking us all the time why. Why do we drive on the left, why do you go to church so often, why does the weather change each day, why are some people quite different from us. It is good to wonder why about some of the things we do and regularly experience or think about. Because when we wonder why, we are looking for a deeper understanding of something, hoping for some reason for common practices, rituals or expectations. God and His creating everything all the time (keeping it in existence) is something to query – but especially to ask ourselves about our own behaviour and customs – why do we do this – whatever – as reasonable beings we ought to have a reason.

So let us wonder at the beauty of everything, but wander off into new thoughts and attitudes and finally wonder why – for we should have a reason for what we think and do!

Exceed to succeed

10 Feb

Imagine someone who has an interest in some activity or the like or who enjoys the company of certain people.  They can get on quite well with these hobbies and friends, but this relationship can sometimes overreach this level of activity or interest.  It can become an overwhelming passion or – in the case of companions – even like falling in love.  When you get to this stage with some hobby or activity then you can become totally engrossed and can excel in the associated activity; but with some interpersonal relationship it becomes love and devotion – we take it to excess.

I hope you may have experienced something like this and understand what I am meaning.  It rsults in a devotion that can, even simultaneously, bring about great devotion and difficulty or even pain.  Think of your understanding of the life of Jesus!  He showed love to all, but also suffered opposition and pain (even eventually accusation, condemnation and death).  We must be prepared to exceed in our devotion/attachment to loving our world and its inhabitants and even expect challenges and apparent failure.  But to get to this level of life (Christi-like) we must exceed in our ‘devotion’ and then we will succeed.

Acts before facts

3 Feb

We Christians say the creed which was formulated centuries ago after the initial struggling for expression in the early church. It is the opening (“we believe”) that still dominates our being Christian; we believe in the Trinity (three persons in one God, the divinity of the person Jesus, of the Father and of His Spirit), and Catholics especially believe in the real presence of Jesus in their celebrations of the Eucharist. We take these facts as what define us as Christians – followers of Christ.  But…

But when you think about it seriously, what really should be of prior importance for us should be the way we live: the way we show kindness and love to all, respect those with different creeds or none, forgive those who have failings and help those who have any need. It is interesting that it is the reading from the Old Testament that seems to make this emphasis that the way you live is (should be) your distinguishing feature. And this gospel passage has a similar vane (be like the salt on food and a light in the dark). I must resolve to get the balance right in my own life – how I am towards others outweighs any importance of doctrines I may hold. Acts are more important than statements of facts!

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