This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The warm, soul satisfaction of a father.

Watching four of my children enjoying each other's company

"From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind."  Ps 33:15

Two weeks ago, my son, Galen, visited us along with his daughter, Maggie.  Toward the end of his visit, Brendan unexpectedly visited with his son, Brock.  Even though we had had a family dinner two days before at Erin's.  We all gatehered again for some barbecue and visiting.  
As I looked out our windows and saw four of my children and others visiting, laughing, and telling stories, I experienced a warm sense of satisfaction.  I was not part of that scene but was observing it.  Every time I look at that photo, I re-experience that sensation.

Surely this must be what the Divine One feels when observing humanity when we are acting at our very best:  Relating to each other out of fondness, love and concern.  I saw charity and mercy being played out on my deck in a very natural and ordinary way, without pretense and without conern about who was "best."  If I had witnessed the opposite, I would have been sad and sorrowful.  Surely these, too, are the feelings on the Divine One when observing what Paul calls "living in the flesh" and not the spirit.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We speak a new language.

Erie Canal approaching Lock 32 from the west.

"The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Among men, who knows what pertains to the man
except his spirit that is within?
Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
We have not received the spirit of the world
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.
And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom,
but with words taught by the Spirit,
describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms."  I Cor 2:10b ff.

What exactly is a person's "spirit that is within?"  Apparently it is some identity that knows each person in an intimate and complete way.  I could say that this is my "self consciousness."  So it somehow makes sense to understand the spirit of the Divine One as divine self consciousness.  But really my self consciousness is far from perfect.  I don't fully and completely understand myself.  But then neither did Paul.  How else to explain his lament that the good he wants to do, he doesn't do and the evil he wants to avoid, he does?  

Paul is telling me that in Baptism I experience a true ontological change.  I am still human but I have been set on a path toward a participation in the life of the Divine One.  It is the Spirit that is with me on this journey.  It is the Spirit that give me the capacity to experience that path and to describe it, however imperfectly.  

I am a new person with a new life, a new way of seeing myself and the world, and a new language to describe all this.  It makes no sense without this transformation.  It doesn't make a lot of sense even with it.  And yet there is a reality there, dimly glimpsed to be sure, but real nonetheless.

Monday, August 29, 2016

On what is my faith based?

August Sunrise at Buckland Homestead, Brighton NY

"...my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God."  I Cor 2:5

Paul tells the community at Corinth that when he came to preach to them he didn't rely on rhetoric, logic, or any human reasoning.  Rather he only wanted to rely on "Christ, and Christ crucified."  In this way, their faith and also his would be based on the power of the Divine One and not on any human power or influence.  Of course, the Divine One can only be present to us in ways that we can detect.  In this case, the power of the divine was available to them through the person and actions of Paul.

There is no way around this conundrum.  The divine is by definition totally and completely beyond our capability to experience or sense and yet somehow the divine life is accessible or we would never come to know about it.  This is a profound mystery which I am called to live in and through.  It does no good to eliminate the problem through human reasoning and thought.  If that does work in any way, it only appears to work.  Paul understood this and tried mightily to live his life and preach his message in a way that would highlight the power of the divine rather than his own knowledge or eloquence.

I can assess my life by the way in which I am a vessel for the divine to access others.