deacon Blog 12/16/2018
The Currency of Heaven
While this blog is not completely new, it has been a while since I have written. During my diaconal formation I wrote to you, my family in Faith, to talk about certain issues. Faith, as in a devotion to mysteries that transcend our dependence on fact. A belief in fact is science. My desire here is to engage all of us in the mysteries common to our faith. The key word here is engage, and my prayer for this effort is just that. Faith is a big word…much bigger than five letters or what we refer to as The Church or our personal belief in the ways of GOD. It’s the Mystery, or that which is unknown, I want to explore. Faith, after-all, is what saves us scripture says. It begs all of us to answer the question of what our faith is based on. It asks “Is our faith a weekly visit to Mass”?… “Is it service to others or daily prayer”? Does our faith lift us up or burden us. I want it to be a discussion we have, to read and reflect on. I want to dialogue and explore our understanding and experience of “Church”. And most of all… I want it to be one of the lights that illumine the pathway for the journey of holiness we are called to. For this to happen our “landscapes” must be revealed. The journeys we travel all pass-through different places and events, and those experiences form both the character and expression of our faith. To acquire this “map” there are several ways to share our stories. One is to come to the office or stop me on the street (if time is an issue we will make an appointment to meet later). You can write me a letter. I love reading letters. We can have coffee or a meal together…breaking bread is a wonderful opportunity to gather. Notes, emails (sorry no Twitter), and any other means of communication, other than telepathy, are welcome. I want it to be the kind of conversation a family has. It will always be confidential, unless you want otherwise, and it will always be honest. It will also be weekly (hopefully not weakly) so your ideas are much needed.
One of the saints said (paraphrasing) “Gratitude is the currency with which we acquire GOD”. Without a heart that is grateful we cannot expect to gain the intimacy with our Creator our souls long for. It isn’t GOD’s desire, it’s our doing. The first century Church instituted the Sacrament of Communion or as they named it… the Eucharist. A Greek word meaning “Thanksgiving”. Jesus didn’t name it that, but He most definitely taught them what a thankful heart would mean for their lives…so they named it. And so should we.
We enter the season of Christmas that highlights being grateful. Grateful for loved ones, employment, friends, and the birth of our Savior. We are grateful and expectant. We long for time together, rest, and holiday festivities. GOD, our GOD, has come to us and we celebrate the event of HIS birthday… God’s arrival among HIS people. You would waste a lot of time looking in scripture for references to Jesus and HIS apostles celebrating this day. So much for Sola Scriptura. Instead what we do find is a remedy for all the sadness, loneliness, and yes, our mistakes. I have said before that as a child, and many years after, Christmas was a time of sadness for me. Even as I was surrounded by happiness and lots of kids (my own) who were genuinely excited at this time of year. It took me a long while to realize Christmas reminded me of my own family’s implosion when I was young. While I no longer feel this way at Christmas (just the opposite), it has made me keenly aware that others are suffering year-round and this time of year only magnifies their pain. It could be loneliness, it could be financial stress, it could be a relationship that is toxic, it can be illness. I have a brother-in-law battling a brain cancer that is winning. And yet, for two years he has gone through all the devastating effects (physical and emotional) with humility, humor, and courage…the hallmarks of a grateful heart. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself, he wills only the best for those around him. That is the very definition of Divine Love.
Please consider yourself a contributor to this blog. This one is me rambling. Seek me out and trust me with your thoughts. As we continue this season of Advent, a season of anticipation, let’s find some new ways to prepare for His coming, to prepare for our arrival at His birth… a wise people bearing gifts for our King who is Emmanuel. Let’s make our offering a heart grateful for loved ones and for “not-so-loved” ones (they teach us the most about our faith), but especially let’s open our hearts to receive those around us who need our assistance and compassion.
May GOD Bless you and Keep you in this, HIS birthday season.