Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Mouthpiece of God

Robert Bellarmine has a publication entitled, The Mind's Ascent to God.  Step 14 of the ascent is "On the Consideration of God's Mercy."

Bellarmine talks about how created things can take away some of our miseries; drink can take away thirst, bread can take away hunger, and so forth. He then reminds us that some "miseries" are only curable by God, such as "the snares of the devils" including "error and blindness of mind and of warped conscience, which we do not notice in ourselves."

This is where "support" comes in. This is where I need to have a friend, family member or spiritual director who is willing to say to me, "that seems kind of rash" or "what about your calling?" With their boldness and insight, they hasten the "cure" of which Bellarmine speaks. Such loved ones, such ones who are brave enough to say what they see, are the mouthpiece of God.

It is my nature to be a quick actor, particularly in crisis, I tend to see clearly what I need to do and I set about getting it done. I have good instincts, and usually it pays to follow them, but not all my decisions are sound ones or the best thought out. That's where deconstructing it with someone I trust can be so helpful. They can see the impulsivity, the rashness, or any hardness of heart, that is hidden to me. Likewise, at a time of weakness or faltering, such ones are the ones to give a word of encouragement or offer a prayer. Sometimes that word is enough to help me stand tall.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by those who are willing both to lift me up and to set me straight. It takes courage and an open heart to be the mouthpiece of God. May I also be so for others.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Manner of Love?

"See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed* we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure."
1 John 3:1-3

It was unbridled joy for me to open my Bible and encounter this reading today. It comes to my mind as an old Sunday School song, "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us; behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us.  That . .. .we. . . should be called the Sons of God."

"What manner of love," indeed.  How can it be that He has chosen me?  How unworthy I am and yet how filled with unquenchable joy! How undeserving and yet, how it makes me stand erect, how this knowledge fills me with pride! 

What manner of love, indeed, has so lifted and elevated me? What manner of King exalts his servants so? What manner of Savior is also brother and guide and counselor? 

It is indeed only by the fullest description of love that such gifts, such grace is possible. It is the greatest gift of grace and is made even fuller in the promise of the next verse: "What we shall be has not yet been revealed . . we shall be like him."  

Dear Savior Jesus, make it so. Help your humble servant.  This day, this hour, though undeserving, may I be like you. May I strive to be in the present moment in my words and acts. May I stand tall in the knowledge of your grace and love and be equal to the tasks you have set before me.  Help me to know you and to see you in the hands and words and hearts of all I encounter.  May I be in some small part worthy of the name, "Beloved."  In the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.