Saturday, November 3, 2018

"What the Hell am I here for?" by:C.C.

"I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. And this I know with confidence, that I shall remain and continue in the service of all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your boasting in Christ Jesus may abound on account of me"(Philippians 1:18-30)

St. Paul well knew his mission. With great clarity and reverence he had pierced open the interior life by radical surrender to God's grace and deep desire to partake in His glory. His mission was one of proclaiming Christ in a manner far reaching, a mission for the good of others and the glory of God. He was given immense light to help us see.

If we remain in the flesh, aware of the goodness of eternal life, what is our purpose? 

We too have a mission to fulfill for the Lord, for the good of God, for others, and truly for the good of our own soul, not yet secured beyond, not yet radiant with the glory of the Saints before us. 

It is presumptuous of us to prematurely yearn to be Home, and not first ardently ask God sincerely, what our purpose is here, which is yet to be actualized.

I remember vividly when heaven became more real to me. Obviously I had faith that it was indeed a reality, but it was a distant one. As the reality of eternal life became more apparent to me I was flooded almost terribly with a sense of sorrow, which to me was totally missing the point. But it was from that moment, sitting in a retreat house in 2013 looking out a window sulking , that I opened my mouth with the most sincere prayer "Then, Lord, what the Hell am I here for?"

I recognized in my sentiment a disordered longing for heaven. Because it was motivated at that time with more of a desire to escape the Cross, than for union with God, and  this to me was a humble awakening. St.Paul understood and pined for heaven with a deep love for union with God, not for the love of himself or as a means to escape difficulty, but he had the honest desire to be one with God.

Faithful awareness of heaven imbues us with our purpose for toil and loving service below.We do not long for heaven to escape the world and become indifferent while here, but find inspiration to share fruits of being secured in the knowledge of the eternal, by sharing the love of Christ.

This humbling lesson was important. It was this realization that also helped me understand what my vocation was. Prior to this I had wrestled immensely with where God was calling me to serve. Ironically such a simple prayer as "What the Hell am I here for?" opened a well of clarity.

If we know of heaven, if we believe in God, if we desire union with Him, then from this our love and compassion for others naturally takes root. Loving charity is needed.

We can then see the importance of praying for all of God's children, even those who have seemed to desert themselves from all goodness. We should strive to walk with joy, letting others gently know that it is God's love that most strengthens and fulfills. 

It is love which they most need. Still, many deny Him and seek tirelessly. Often numbing themselves to the reality of their own emptiness; empty as a result of not knowing God. We deny Him too, in our failure to love. We should pray for others and not judge, for it is Our Lord Who gave us mercy. It is Christ Who dwells within;within the weakness of our humanity so that we are made most strong, by choosing to be receptive to His love for us. In various ways and roles, we are all sent forth by God in charity. With stern instruction by Him we are urged to love.

To share fruits of the knowledge of heaven, to share the goodness that is God's alone. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Holiness Is Happiest by: C.C.

I am being made holy, what use is it to be only happy ? There can be joy beyond measure, joy beyond the temporary feeling of happiness and those circumstances that we frequently deem as necessary in order to be content and happy.

Happiness and it's lack sends people escaping where their joy is found. Keeps them searching without, avoiding within, avoiding above, where our Lord demands our gaze to make sense in an ordered manner of our call to serve Him, and utilize what we possess presently, so to see the goodness and taste the true happiness joy of it at all  .

There is more to living than being merely happy, and nothing of happiness is truly known without the joy of striving toward holiness, and the fulfillment of seeking to be perfected in virtue.

Sanctity is the happiness we seek, unknown to us while we suffer to find it. I have learned to take my reality, that can often seem plagued with a seeming lack of things, or temporal struggles and disenchantment, completely to God.

In resting it there with Him in honest prayer, I am met with consolation of accompaniment. The providence of God's love and grace to be able to praise all lack as an abundant good for me on this path toward holiness.

This pursuit of sanctity is made possible by the humility of recognizing those times where I claim things need to be "remedied" born from my own selfishness,  opposed to viewing these challenges themselves as the medicine to great healing of the soul, and a greater union with God, and helping to form an increased love toward others in authentic charity.

The bigger the thorn it seems, the greater the providence of God when we recall to lean toward Him lovingly (often more in a sense of desperate pining than a loving lean!)

Sometimes there can be the temptation for me to think of myself as avoiding things that are truly troubling or greater issues that need more practical attention, but I can't deny God's supernatural aid amidst everything, holding all things together and making clearer the way, by blanketing all of it with His love by the simple witness of His profound gift of grace.

If this were lacking , surely I would suffer greatly, and truly there is suffering also now , but it is a blessing that produces wisdom and only more endurance .

We should not despise the means we are led to encounter the Cross. It is here we are instructed and opened to receive more love,we become accessible to a love that can give and pour out from all of this apparent toil, a deep empathy and love to others, in the true mindfulness of God's unconditional love for us.

Most importantly there is the bold assurance of God's undeniable accompaniment in the sacraments and the Divine Assistance available to us in the life of the Church that we so infrequently stir into flame. The sacraments serve to keep us nearer our Joy, and nearest our Living God on this path toward sanctity,  while the rest of the world settles for being "happy".

Today's Gospel reminds us of the narrow gate, we have many wide worldly loves that we need to shed so to enter into union with our Lord. Let us pray to persevere on this path, being witnesses of joy, children of hope, and learn to smile in our search for sanctity.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Gratitude and Heaven by:C.C

Bethany Retreat House Yard-Abbey of The Genesee 
Gratitude blasts open an attentiveness of Heaven, and suddenly an awareness wells open. In that moment God's reality is not just observed with thanks, but participated in. As if the very breath we breathe in knowledge that it's completely God's , breathes out life around us, and we are one with Him in this, and there is nothing that can take it away or make even one little breath insignificant.

I am most at peace in this, even amidst life with the two tots and plenty of duties. There remains present a place kept above and beyond it all, when hidden in Christ.
And rather than risking me to become estranged and an "enemy" of my world, this sacred hiding place in Christ, kept above and beyond,helps me to emerge as a lover in the most profound sense. 

Gratitude to God is the aching appreciation for eternity, in the humble recognition of glimpses of it's beauty present to us daily.

Simple gratitude must be the dwelling place of one who longs to know eternity. From here we begin scratching the surface of thanks for the immensity of the Eucharistic offering to us, sustaining us to reside, as if hidden in a small part of Heaven, in the midst of the world. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Faith in Suffering & Purification. By:CC

All that is known to us presently is of God's wisdom, here for His glory, and somehow for our good, despite our limited knowing.

Even despite our pain in lack of understanding. 

To be purified isn't to wrestle overtly with how we're tried, but to desire the Cross in all things . Fastened to it, it's weight upon us, there we're carried to the clarity and knowledge to have some sense of what God's will may be in this time of fire. Suffering endured faithfully is the assurance of Christ's accompaniment. The subtle sense of not being abandoned or alone. A peace that surpasses all reason, and the supply of hope though nothing seen. To stir endurance in trial , lean on the Cross of Christ, by it we're carried.

If we're to aid by our gifts , or to offer relief to another, we should pray for it to be made known to us. 

We should reserve ourselves primarily to trust in God, a deep love of God that can face all suffering, not with sense of abandonment, but with holy participation, assured that the grace of the Cross joins us in our time of want by fulfilling our every need. 

We may despise evil, as is natural, but we must also be mindful not to deny God full dominion , or neglect to trust in His sovereignty. Even an over attentiveness to try and solve everything professes only belief and faith in oneself. 

To stir up the grace of our belonging, to persevere amidst the sufferings , to endure the fire of purification, we need to desire holiness , and desperately. 

Everything that God has promised and spoken is true,this alone should comfort us, and entrusted to Him faithfully we can succeed in growing in sanctity. 

Nearer to Him lovingly so that we may have glimpse of what is yet known, and work to be a humble and faithful servant wherever we are called to serve.(CC)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Pause And Appreciate The Beauty. By:CC

Why does everything , even things most significantly splendid and beautiful seem at times to fade away slowly with familiarity into disenchantment?
The bitter-sweet cross of our belonging to the infinite seems to bring us the grace of knowing what we're made for , but also leaves us pining with more longing in face of all that is made.
All of this resolved perhaps by seeking the infinite moment to moment , God's visitation and resting with the discipline to stay there and gaze at beauty that we know passes us too often.
Even still, how true of love. We look at the other, get to know them  and are drawn toward beauty. With familiarity this should only enhance the experience of enchantment , but often the opposite is true. This truth says more of us than the other. For they are no less enthralling. Our appetites bigger than our need , and our love more upon ourselves than born from the depth of Love.
 It is not with fresh eyes we must greet the beauty around us , but sober ones, awake to it all, and aware of the tragedy we bring upon ourselves failing to be drawn by love, smothered by self-absorption and disordered lust for beyond. (CC)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Never Alone By: C.C.

One thing that most humbles me in my walk with Christ and in striving to daily live out my faith, is the encounter with the awareness that others may not sense His nearness, that they should feel alone opposed to discovering that at the most radical point of solitude, if we truly give ourselves over toward faith and toward God , then we find there the most consoling company of all; our nearest Companion, and the truest capacity of communion.
The thought of one having to suffer loneliness or fear of being alone in being God's beloved, prompts me to such empathy and simultaneously such responsibility to shout as from a mountaintop that there is never any depth of loneliness too deep, or distance too far where God is not with us. We may not sense the closeness of peaceful sentiment perhaps at all times, we have no clarity to see beyond what God is presently doing, and we can't fathom or know the joy that lives just around the corner from where we are, or if it shall come. To reconcile ourselves to accepting the closeness of Christ and the nearness of His company that gives us more than anything we can imagine for ourselves, encourages us to live in the presence of God, and we then can rest in the trust of being God's beloved children. The peace of rest belonging to us most when we sit in trust, as my dear friend, Arleen once said on the comfy "beanbag chair of God" , and accept that we are loved. The awareness of this can be instructed, it must be learned deeply though by experience, often by the experiences that most wound us and pain us. Those times that unite us most deeply with the Cross are too the moments that confront us most intimately with the opportunity for resurrected joy born there. To question why some experience this clarity of grace or try and find a reason why people are perhaps disposed to the assurance of God's company is not important to answer. What is most vital is our need to live out from this place of understanding and depth of experience God's unconditional love toward all, including those we judge poorly as most far from Him. Our role becomes one of sharing the joy of the risen Lord by accompanying another at the Cross. To remind them that they are never alone , and to encourage there the experience of encountering the nearness of God's love that is "nearer to us than we are to ourselves". The joy of consenting to carry the Cross daily is encountering all of the unexpected "Simons" that the Lord sends our way to help carry the burden. Christ accompanies us in ways unknown to us, may we grow always in the awareness that we're never abandoned,never alone,but deeply loved.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Remember God's Mercy to You,So That You May Love: CC

The glories of the Lord and his might
and the marvelous deeds he has done.”
(Psalm 78)

Genesee Path 2013

Everything I was has been absolved by God's merciful love. Greater than the love of this mercy is the love that wounds in recognizing that even while seemingly apart from Him, I was always His. This belonging remained near to me even as I remained far from Him. That we are Hiis reason for rejoicing and inspiration for ongoing conversion through the Cross. To know our eternal belonging is the beginning of joy on earth and the sustenance to endure until we meet Him face to face.

If we are attentive to the inner transformation we experience in turning from sin to a life of striving to embrace and live according to God’s precepts, we quickly recognize how absolutely difficult this is if left to our own esteem, and if we have little love for God.

There is a necessity to return to the remembrance of God’s goodness, to reside in it so that we are constantly pulled deeper toward His reality and will for us, rather than to the baseness of our passions and sinful inclinations.

To see ourselves in light of God’s love should inspire our wonder. The amazing realization that we indeed belong to Him should continue to motivate our desire to fit the mold of what this belonging implies. To recall the “marvelous deeds he has done” does not need to take us solely into Scripture and study, but into our very hearts, and into reflection of our own life.

This remembrance should not inspire a dwelling in the muck of sinful memories or the lowly places where we may have lurked before, but motivate an honest account of the loving grace that helped out-root this way of life, and it should never be forgotten. We should be cautious as to not become scrupulous in this process, but work instead toward cultivating a deeper gratitude to God for His mercy, for His love, to remember His faithfulness and the power of transformative grace.

It is when we loosely remember the glory that God personally brought us, the mercy He so lovingly extended to us, that we forget the need for obedience to Him presently. When we are weak to remember His goodness to us, then the good we do for Him and the glory we bring to Him becomes weak also. To recall God’s goodness encourages our perseverance in the Christian life, and primarily our endurance in love of what is truly good, and makes more possible our loving of another. How often we can quickly judge those we deem “sinners” neglecting our own, and worse forgetting from where we came and our shared potential for sin.

As my birthday approaches each year since my conversion and “lightening bolt” God moment I find myself more reflective than usual about my past. It is a source of great humility for me, and one of renewing my understanding and gratitude for God’s unconditional love, and the power of His mercy.

I live with the thorn of my past in my side. Not in a scrupulous way, but it reminds me time and time again of God’s goodness and mercy in my life. It reminds me of the ongoing journey of conversion. I used to fear encountering those who knew me before I began practicing my faith. I was worried about their judgement and truthfully a bit self absorbed in how “they” would see me, or remember me. Over time I began to recognize the amazing way God’s transforming grace spoke through in these encounters and eventually brought great joy. Hearing “there’s something so different about you” reminded me of the Someone greater than all of us that knocked me off my horse! The memories, not so glorious have been healed by our Lord, but every now and then there is the grace of a thorn prick to remind me Who God is and who I am not. A prick that corrects my judgement and allows me to recognize that being perfect is not important to serve God. The prick of the thorn reminds me to see others through the lens of my own brokenness and not with partiality.

May we always remember God's mercy to us so that we will renew ourselves in love.

God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). He does not take account of nobility of birth, length of time in his service, or the number of our good works. What counts with God is a devout soul’s increased fervor and more ardent love. He does not consider how you once behaved, but what you have now begun to be.” – St. Bonaventure