Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Do we give God a chance to work in our lives? Or do we expect instant results? We live in the what I call the "INSTA syndrome", instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant mash taters, instant everything. We want what we want, and we want it right now!

When a web page takes five seconds to load, we get upset. When we have to wait in line at the supermarket, we get irritated. And if we're in line at the bank behind an elderly person, we quickly forget that we will be old someday too. Unless we kill ourselves from our own impatience first.

Something to think about, your status in society reflects whether you have to wait or make others wait for you. The lower your “status”, the more you have to wait on other people. The most "important" people make others wait for them.

God is the most important being in the entire universe. He's at the top. So it stands to reason that all of us have to wait for Him. But that's not how we like it, so we get all worked up and try to hurry him along.

When we don't give God a chance to work out a solution and insist on an immediate answer, you're telling Him to obey you, to hurry up because your way is best. Some people get through their entire life and never learn that lesson. They think that God is like their bell-boy.

Genesis tells us that God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day he rested. Don't you think this all-powerful being could have created everything in one day? Sure he could have! But God did not rush, and he won't allow us to rush him either.

If you ask God to act in your life, you may try to impose a deadline on him. You may believe that the opportunity of a lifetime has come up, and if you don't get God's intervention right away, you'll miss it altogether.

Fortunately for us, God knows the future. In my own life, I have prayed those kinds of desperate prayers. God knew what was best for me, though, and looking back, I see the wisdom of his delay. And sometimes, what I thought was the opportunity of a lifetime would have, instead, turned out to be a lifetime of misery.

Many of us want a "drive-through" life, but nothing worthwhile can be done in a rush. Fast food may be fast, but it's certainly not the tastiest, most nutritional meal you can eat. If we don't give God a chance to do things his way, in his time, we risk stepping outside his will ... into failure.
When you give God a chance--both time and opportunity to work--you're obeying him, and obedience always brings blessings.

So don’t give up, take it slow and give God time to work. Remember He who began a great work in you, will be faithful to complete it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life - A Bumpy Ride

Peter uses an eye-catching phrase to describe the excitement he and James and John felt on Mount Tabor: “ Lord it is wonderful for us to be here.”

It all started three years earlier when the Apostles met Jesus. It was a meeting that changed their lives. It was the greatest thing that could have happened to them. For three years they were with Him practically day and night. They ate, drank and literally walked the length and breath of Galilee with Jesus. They witnessed countless miracles, listened to numerous sermons, they were familiar with Him yet they did not know Him.

There are so many of us, husbands and wives, parents and children, living under the same roof, breaking bread on the same table, sleeping in the same room and we still do not know each other. Something goes wrong and we are astonished that that person could have done such a thing. We are amazed to know that the person is capable of such nobility and heroism. It is possible to spend an entire lifetime with someone and at the end still not know him or her, we can spend a whole lifetime in the Catholic Church and still not know Christ personally.

Jesus takes them up the mountain, there was nothing but rocks, stones, silence and solitude. There was nothing to distract or disturb them. It was easy for them to give Jesus their total attention. It was in that atmosphere of peace and quiet that Jesus reveals himself to them. Their eyes were opened and they saw Him in all His glory. He was transfigured and they were completely overwhelmed.

What a moment it was! They were so happy, they just wanted to stay there forever and never leave. “Let’s pitch tent here, away from the pain and suffering and ugliness of the world.” But Jesus’ work was not finished and theirs had hardly begun. So the vision ended and He led them down the mountain, back to earth to finish life’s work, back to face the challenges thy had not even imagined when they said “yes” to Jesus a short time ago.

We can all relate to this experience. Each one of us have had one of the rare moments of transfiguration., the first love, the proposal, the wedding day, the first child, graduating from school or college, getting your driving license, your first car, first pay check. We have been to the top of the mountain at least once. Life did not stop. Like Peter, when we have our moment, our response is to hold on to the moment, freeze time.

Let’s follow the plot. Moses and Elijah are speaking to Jesus, they are talking about the road to Jerusalem. It is the road that leads to Calvary and suffering and death. In this transfiguration moment, life was not standing still, it did not last forever, for anyone.

The feelings that a couple feel at the beginning of their relationship are not quite the same feelings, one maybe two years later. They may be better, hopefully deeper and richer. But they may also be worse. The feelings are never the same. We grow older, loved ones die, the job gets boring, the neighbourhood has changed. The “transfiguration” did not last. In its place we have a sense of loss, the loss of the wonderful, the loss of expectation.

The next stage begins here for those who persevere. It comes with reflection and prayer and often a lot of pain. It begins when we share the burdens with each other, with sympathy and wisdom. Life is not lived on the mountaintops but in the valleys. Slowly we begin to see a different light – the losses, the sicknesses, the disappointments, the addictions, the weaknesses and failures, the baggage we take on the journey. We catch a glimmer of what Moses and Elijah were talking about. It was necessary for Jesus to come down the mountain and hit the road to Jerusalem and climb Mount Calvary and carry on, beyond death to Resurrection, from suffering to transfiguration. It will be the same for us, we follow a crucified leader.

As life unfolds we come to understand that the price of the things e hold most dear is far greater than we had imagined in the beginning. Everything looked so simple when we said ‘yes’ or “I do.” The price of our lives and dreams become clearer, we experience the desire to ask for a refund, to run away and retreat to a place that is warm, comfy and safe. This is how we can “relate” to Jesus, we know He has gone through it all. He knows what it is to be worn out and afraid, to feel that you have had enough and cant take anymore, to want to run away and not come back. He tells us “Have courage, fear not. I am with you every step of the way.”

So we hit the road together. There is no avoiding the road to Jerusalem. It takes us up another mountain called Calvary, to certain death and beyond, to Resurrection and final glory. We should never forget the voice of God ringing in our ears saying to us “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”

Life is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. The desert experiences are simply the only way to the next oasis which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could have possibly have been without it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


A study on human behavior was carried out at Stanford University. Pre-school children were seated at a large table and a big fluffy marshmallow was put in front of each of them. The researchers said “Children, we’re going to leave the classroom for a short time. While we are gone you are not to touch the marshmallow. If you resist the temptation and wait until we return, you will be rewarded with an extra marshmallow. So what do you think happened? How did they cope with the temptation? Well, as soon as the door closed, some of the children could not wait, they grabbed the marshmallow and swallowed it. But some decided to wait. They had to put into action a strategy to deal with the temptation. One child knowing his strengths and weaknesses pulled his chair to the end of the room, thus removing himself from the temptation. A second child marched around the room singing a song. A third turned around, so that her back was to the marshmallow.

Temptation is part of the human condition. Only us humans can be tempted. A bird can fly in the sky but it cannot be tempted. A dog is man’s best friend but he cannot be God’s best friend in the way we are. To be human is to be tempted. The temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden and the temptation of Jesus in the desert is the story of every man and woman under the sun.

Saint Paul looked at himself and described the symptoms of temptation like this: “I do not understand my own actions. The evil I want to avoid I do. The good I want to do I avoid.” This is a remarkable analysis of the human condition. Men and women are never more credible than when they admit their mistakes. Unfortunately this kind of honesty is short in supply. When we do wrong we are quick to plead innocence, blame someone, anyone but ourselves. We are like Adam and Eve. When found out and confronted by God, they went straight into denial. Adam blamed his wife Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent blamed God for his misfortune.

Times have changed but human nature has not. We have a tendency to blame someone else and we are full of excuses. There is a failure to accept personal responsibility. It’s always someone else who drove me to do it! The implication is this: I am not to blame for my actions, you are to blame. Sadly we can go through life blaming others for our sins. Blaming others makes us feel better but it changes nothing inside us.

We do a great disservice when we cover up outrageous and irresponsible behavior. When we get into trouble and are found out, our problems are compounded by well-intentioned family members and friends. They feel sorry for us, become over protective, make excuses, tell lies, cover-up, let us off the hook, bail us out and allow us to get off scot-free. We are given more lives than five back alley cats put together. Perhaps without realizing it and with the best intentions, they enable us to continue living a negative and destructive lifestyle. In this kind if world, our actions do not have consequences. It is easy to become accomplished manipulators without any sense of guilt. The chances are that we will remain in a permanent state of adolescence. Something to think about, maybe half of the prison population would have never ended up behind bars had well meaning people never covered up for their irresponsible and outrageous behavior.

Is there anything unique about being human? Well, man is the only animal that blushes or better said, man is the only animal with good reason to blush. What was the first thing Adam and Eve did when they realized that they had sinned was that they knew that they were naked. They were ashamed and hid themselves. They were blushing! When we sin we are not blushing, we are denying our humanity. We are being amoral. Nowadays we hear a lot about human rights. We stand up for our rights but it is not enough for us to simply proclaim our rights, we must go further and also proclaim our responsibilities. We are responsible for our actions unless we are criminally insane and morally incapable.

Think of how different the outcome would have been if Adam and Eve instead of running off and going into hiding and blaming someone else had turned to God and said “Forgive me Father for I have sinned.” Instead of it being the fall of mankind it would have been the rise of mankind. Let us stop pretending all is well and good. Let’s stop burying our heads in the sand. Let us confess to Papa God, “Forgive me Father, I’m not perfect, I’m no angel. I’m not as innocent as I look. I’m weak. I’m fallible. I’m a sinner. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. Have mercy on me Father, a sinner.” This is being human and Christian. We are telling the truth and telling the truth is a sign of strength not weakness.

Temptation goes with territory, it goes with being free. We have choices and we are who we are because of our choices. Temptation is always a choice between two alternatives, good and evil. In the desert we see Jesus chose the tremendous, to lay down His life for his friends and to live for others not himself. There are things in life worth living and dying for. He invites us to follow His way. We know His way has been tried and know His way is sure.

Temptation offers us the opportunity, in the desert of life to choose what is good, noble and beautiful and to leave behind the world of instant gratification and opt instead for the less, not the more traveled road because that is the well trodden road that Jesus went down. This is the road that leads to the slow, painful death of ego, selfishness and self-indulgence which leads to the fullness of life and glory.