Creative Genius Sees Life Beyond The Veil

The recent article describing Steve Jobs passing noted that in his final few minutes on his death-bed, after looking at his family members, he looked off into the distance and said, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow”.  What a wonderful affirmation of life beyond the veil.  While many will say his remark was the result of low oxygen concentration, or a reflex, or anything else less than the positive possibility that he had a view of the afterlife and was overwhelmed by the beauty.  If anyone could appreciate beauty it would be Steve Jobs whose whole life had been dedicated to bringing beauty into the otherwise boring frontier of technology.

For the most part we live on the surface of a very complex life and sometimes miss the depth of it.  Every generation produces a few souls who are able to see God in the fullness of His creation.  Yes, they may be flawed in many other aspects of life but still they excel in seeing beyond the veil.  Let us ask God for the gift to see and appreciate His beauty and describe it to the world.

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Death Where Is Your Sting

In 1 Cor 15:55 Paul speaks this classic.  For those who suspect they are approaching the time in their life where it is time to go home, the answer is very clear.  The sting is leaving behind all those unfinished projects that had taken on an importance they did not deserve.  The sting is leaving behind those loved ones who depended on us maybe more than they should.  The sting is letting go of all those “things” that mean so much to us, way beyond what they should.

The sting is in knowing we have to leave behind all those familiar things and take on “God only knows what” that lies ahead.

Ah, but, if he is truly the Good God who has loved us unceasingly and provided for us during this lifetime, then can He do less in the world that lies ahead.  Maybe He will be able to do even more for us now that we have thrown off the limitations of this world and entered the new.

Waiting On The Lord Seems To Take Way Too Long

Since the Lord has to work very hard to communicate with us without tripping over our free will, it sometimes takes Him a long time to make it all happen.  Consequently, we wait and we wait some more, often blaming Him when the problem is clearly ours.  There is a method in the madness because truly waiting makes changes in us that involve how we relate to Him, and puts us in the right posture with respect to Him, He calls the shots and we don’t.

Let me count the ways that we wait: for the birth of a child as the days draw near, for a loved one to get out of surgery, for a new job when we are down to 50 cents total cash, for the pain to stop when we can’t stand it another minute, for the gloom to lift and the sun to come out in our lives, for the needed changes in me to finally become a reality, and infinitely more.

Avery Cardinal Dulles, “Models Of The Church”

The RCIA class heard a presentation tonight on Models of the Church written by Avery Cardinal Dulles.  The five basic models of Institution, Community, Sacrament, Herald, and Suffering Servant were explained so that each class member could find the one that defined his life.  Once we know our particular model then we are prepared to meet and share with others in a way that pays attention to what is important to them.  A lot of strife in churches through out the country could be eliminated if this exercise were followed.  Each model has advantages and disadvantages.  All five models are valid and should be present in an active vital church.  Unity is not uniformity.

Oh God help me to be aware of the differences in others in a positive way that leads to unity though we are different.

But It Hurt My Feelings, Lord

When the announcement was made it struck me as highly insensitive.  Furthermore, it was followed by a supposedly clarifying comment that hurt even more.  So why did it hurt at all?  Because it smashed my ego back down to earth, and my ego had been riding way too high.  So, in a way, these thoughtless announcements & comments were ultimately a very good thing.  They exposed my ego and gave me a chance to right my skewed thought processes.

So, Lord, is this a pattern that You use to help us?  Do the slights and hurt feelings serve the purpose of showing us that there is work to be done on our over inflated egos?  Hummm, probably so.

But, Lord, I Just Don’t Even Like Those People, How Can I Love them?

At a public function tonight, someone asked us to come to a party at their house in a few weeks.  It sounded like fun as they ran through the possible menu, but when they got to listing the other people they planned to invite, it didn’t sound like fun anymore.  There in the middle of the list was a couple that I have long had a problem being around.  Worse, they always seem to be at the center of controversy and I worry that they may drag me into one.

Later during prayer time, my conversation with God turned to the question, “Do I really have to go if they come, Lord?”  Instinctively I knew the answer, “Yes, and be nice to them, and don’t judge them, and love them like I do.”  Easy for you to say, Lord, not easy for me to do.  “Ah, yes”, said the Lord, “and it wasn’t easy for me to die for you, but I did.”

As I grumbled to myself, I distinctly heard the voice of my sainted mother telling me years ago, “Go to the party, son, and play nice.”  Since when does God’s voice sound like my mother’s?  (When it doesn’t sound like my wife’s).

When Breast Cancer Comes Out Of The Blue

What did I do to deserve this?  Did I do something wrong?  Is this the result of sin in my life?  Am I really ready to walk this journey?  These and many more questions ran through the mind of a friend of our family when she learned her news.  She confided her news and we thought she might expect an answer from us.  We had questions of our own but no answers that did not seem like offering cheap grace.  All we really had to offer was our willingness to walk the walk with her and pray for her especially when she could not pray.

Thus begins the journey that lies before us.  Mainly our prayer at this point is, “Oh God, don’t let us fail her.  We know you will be close and doing everything in her best interest, but help us to help her and at least be genuine and present to her.

A Bishop Is Ordained And Installed In Savannah

Today I witnessed my first ordination of a Bishop and I can only say,”Catholics know how to do pomp & ceremony”.  It was a wonderful service, rich in tradition, and signs and symbols.  The music was pumped out of a pipe organ and the choir added their heavenly voices.  There were hundreds of priests and deacons present and dozens of Bishops from all over who came to encourage their new brethren.  Actually, there was also a Cardinal present.  The pews were packed with parishioners from all over this Diocese and the Atlanta Arch-Diocese. If I had dropped in from another universe and witnessed all of this I would have guessed that a new king had been crowned, wait, actually there is a temporal dimension involved when you are dealing with a Bishop.

Today I experienced first hand a piece of history at the passing of the guard from one Bishop to a younger, newly ordained Bishop.  With the ceremony being held in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, it was not hard to imagine a slight glance at the heavenly kingdom that awaits us all.

Looking At A Small Segment Of The World Of Prayer

Tonight I received an email from a dear friend expressing futility at praying for things when there is a feeling that God does not hear, is otherwise occupied, or feeling arbitrary.  Since I sometime have those feelings myself I answered the email by stating just that and adding that anymore I rarely make requests of the Lord.   Is that because I am despairing that God will ever answer?  Hardly, I have seen incredible answered prayer.  More, it is because of a growing feeling that God’s every response to me is one of His deepest love for me and therefore it matters little if I ask for something or not because He already has my best interest at heart and is able to see far more than I can.

If we are to pray without ceasing then what do we pray about if not requests?  I’m thinking we should pray expressing our thanks for His interacting with us, expressing wonder and worship at his goodness, and offering Him glory for His love of us mere humans.  At least, that’s what I’m thinking at this point.  Tune in tomorrow for perhaps a different slant on the age old art of prayer.