God is simply Amazing!
Today, I met some wonderful brethren at church. They were visitors in Maine from New Jersey and California. They were indeed some of today's blessings!
**** On a different note: Please keep Andy L in your prayers. Going to Virginia this week for a consultation and possible experimental surgery for cancer in the upper right-shoulder area. Thank you.
When find or think you are discombobulated, fall back into the Presence of God in Jesus Christ.
God is so wonderful. There is absolutely nothing under the sun that can even remotely compare to the love of Christ Jesus!
I recently heard and read a couple things that have been on my mind. First of all, I thank our Lord God for the love and mercy He instills within our souls. The relationship never wanes or diminishes from God's point of view. That said, if anyone thinks that I am coming across with a big-head, as God's right-hand man on earth, full of myself, a know-it-all, non-trustful, better than thou, ... etc, i give you permission to give me a brotherly "dope-slap" to straighten me out. Of course, steeped in prayer. My intentions are never to exemplify such fruits. I hope and pray that what is going on internally would be the only ground of what is produced externally. Lastly, please warn me before the brotherly dope-slap.
It's been 16,578 days since my regeneration in the faith. Some people call this experience a "born-again" experience. The Spirit has blessed me with the knowledge that my life in Christ started way before the aforementioned number of days. Yes, Jesus opened my eyes to His love in January 1973, but He has and will love you and me forever.
The redemption of the cross, of the Love of God, flows from all and through eternity. The birth, life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus permeates the fibers of all God is. What a joy!
I may have some "bad" days, but God is in all that is my life. The Holy Spirit living within me knows, touches, hears, sees, feels, understands, enters into all. God transforms the good, the bad and the ugly into the Glory of God. "There is nothing I shall need". Thank you God for your mercy, peace and joy.
There is much paradox in the Christian life.
Did Jesus have any shred of egocentric consciousness residing in his soul? Should we?
Lord, thank you that my body lives in my soul.
To Jesus, all is Yes.
The invisible reality of grace is relationship.
In reality, these Jesus bead sets are no more than a step-stone, a chair to sit on, a rock to sit by, a tree to lean against, a soft lawn to lay down in, a river to listen to, an ocean wave to take in it's power. In essence, in all the aforementioned circumstances; these Jesus bead sets are simply a _time_, or perhaps, a _space_, indeed a _relationship_ in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Lord, I need nothing, I own nothing, I want nothing, Thank you for YOUR deep intimate gift ~ ♡ YOU ♡. The only "right" I have is to love.
Imagine for a moment all the massive amount of powerful and beautiful water that envelopes the earth. The water represents the Triune God, thus the Body and Blood of Christ. Now imagine one single grain of salt. That is you, me or us. Now imagine that one grain of salt is initially found in any part of that vast body of powerful and beautiful substance. Result? The one, almost unseen, tiny speck of salt dissipates into the "fabric" of the water and thus becomes one with the water. Lesson? That (grain of salt) is you transformed (part) into God (water).
Reflection of Pentecost
Growing up in Lewiston, going to Holy Family church, parochial school and CCD, I definitely received my share of teachings about the Holy Spirit. Having stated the aforementioned, actually what stands out the most in my consciousness about the Holy Spirit, from those spiritually formative years, is a picture in my mind of a bird (dove) descending upon Jesus' head at His baptism. Yes, I am not kidding.
I cannot move on without touching on the Holy Ghost. Casper the friendly ghost. Tongues of fire? Need I say more? Give me a break, I was a simple minded kid!
The very-focused Latin orientated priests and good Sisters of St. Joseph I am certain did their utmost effort to leave behind in my soul's consciousness a vastly different picture, or more appropriately, understanding of this Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
The scriptures note the following: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." My editorial note relative to this verse is to point out the obvious; the scripture says "and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove"..., and that it does not say ..."and he saw the Spirit of God descending was a dove, So God makes it clear the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is not a bird. Phew! Key word: Person.
And by no means am I trying to undermine the historical symbolism of the dove as the symbol of peace. No doubt a wonderful symbol of the Peace our baptism brings into our souls during the sacrament. A peace only Jesus can give.
Some may say I am being a bit foolish with the below text. Am I? How many of us, including me, have grown into a deeply soul infused understanding of the Holy Spirit?
With sincere elementary wisdom and humility, let us humbly look at Hebrews 5:11-14 that follows:
11 Concerning him (Jesus) we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."
I would take the liberty to change ... "discern good and evil". ... to discern the dove from the Third Person of the Trinity.
OK, now that I have knowingly stepped on my own toes, and possibly stepped on other's toes, indulge me to continue (please).
In retrospect, as I grew in my faith, I really believe the teachings of the Lewiston Holy Family ordained religious did indeed and quietly flourished in my spirit and soul. Very sublime in nature for quite some time, but none-the-less flourished.
Fast forward to January 1973, after twenty yeas living life in and on (I thought) my own terms, God brought to a "close" a season in my life. At a Cursillo at Saint Paul's Center in Augusta, Maine, January 19-21, then and shortly thereafter, I was given two consecutive "burning-bush" experiences. I made a concrete decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior (in a Catholic orientated event), and a short time later, subsequent to a moment of "lack of judgement", was presented with Deuteronomy 30:19, which simply says to choose life or death. God again was very straightforward and clear.
Obviously the Holy Spirit had been "working", or a better word, "gracing" my life from conception (as he does for all of us).
All the above actually was a regeneration (manifestation) of my infant and young-adult sacramental life and the blessed teachings that God was secretly planting and nourishing in my soul for future revelation.
Not long after my Cursillo and experiencing the blessings of the Charismatic Renewal, I was prayed over by members of the St. Charles Prayer Group for the "Gifts of the Holy Spirit." I see this as an extraordinary renewal, if you will, of my Confirmation. I sincerely apologize, but I cannot express or explain the "booster-rockets" (spiritually speaking) those moments have had in my life going forth, bringing me to this "place" 46 years later. Only God in His Divine Wisdom (Jesus) can do justice to tell you what He wants and is willing to grace you with. The gospel, the writings of the Mothers, Fathers, Doctors, mystics, and the teachings of the church all point to such an awesome relationship with God, that only you can share Who He is, to you, from your inner-person ~ your soul.
About that key word mentioned above: Person. The Holy Spirit/Ghost is a Person really distinct as such from the Father and the Son, He is God and consubstantial with the Father and the Son. I find this (mystery of the Holy Trinity) very difficult to wrap my head around (duh, right?), but God promises us divine wisdom and revelation, so let's be open to His promises.
In the last 46 years, I have experienced the Holy Spirit experience, my joys, my pain, my cries for help, my yelling at him, my confusion, my limits, my sin, my shame, my bad attitude, my self-importance (ego), my agitation, my loneliness, my bad feelings, my good feelings, my prayer, my stubbornness, my weakness and my strengths. The list goes on and on. But you see? The Holy Spirit is God intimately sharing in my life. God knows of every hair on my head, or lack thereof. God, The Person, lives within you and me. This is beyond awesome!
God gave us His Son, in Human Form, so we can and do share life in the divinity of God. "Jesus was/is the "first-born" of many," You and I are some of those many.
In hippie terms: this freaks me out (of myself into Him).
To end. I can only tell you the radical (root) experience I have come to know (so dimly) that has revolutionized my life; and am forever thankful for my wife, children, extended family and friends that I have the humble gift of sharing life with, IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
In Isaiah 65:19, God says that He, the Lord, rejoices in "Jerusalem ". Where is this Jerusalem? This spiritual Jerusalem is God's Presence. Both here and in heaven. "...on earth as it is in heaven..."
"...and exalt IN my people" ... God experientially manifests His Exaltation (His Glory, Honor, Mercy, Justification, Peace, Joy and Agape Love) IN His people (in our souls).
This Jerusalem (Presence) and Exhaltation (Grace Movement) is the Immediate Reality, the intimate relationship God graciously desires and indeed shares with us.
How can we contain such an amazing Love, short of sharing it with one another.
With humility and humbleness we say "Yes".
A long break.
Read the written works of the early mothers and fathers of the Church. There is an abundance of extraordinary wisdom to be found, and yes in line with "guidelines" the Holy Spirit has given us.