In The Presence Of

Deacon Blog                                                                      August 11,2019

 In the Presence Of

Who doesn’t want to be in the presence of GOD? Aside from non-believers, of course. Augustine said it perfectly… “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds it’s rest in You”. Even those who choose not to believe in GOD speak of a restless nature that compels them to seek some form of respite or peace. Virtually everyone looks for meaning in their lives which, if you think about it, speaks in-directly to an acknowledgement that “someone” had a purpose or reason for our existence. Otherwise, we become our own “creator”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a non-believer or atheist say “This is what I was meant to do” after finding purpose in a certain activity. Who meant for them to do it? Everyone loves goodness, but where did our notions of good (or bad) come from? If we have abilities uniquely suited to a certain activity, who gave them to us or devised a way for everything to “work” together? Who brought order to our world… even for nature to function in harmony with all creatures, elements, and environments?

In my last blog I wrote of Virtues as the way we express our love for GOD, how we accomplish the life we are all called to live. The virtues are how we honor GOD by imitating HIS SON. We can’t accomplish an honest life if we are not first “disciplined” in the virtue of honesty. We cannot be strong and confident (courage) in our faith if we are not first accustomed to the Word of GOD. We will never know how to care for others in this world, if we first do not express compassion for those around us. I realize this all seems so obvious, but recognizing the Virtues of Christ, understanding what it looks like in our lives specifically, and then striving to live our lives accordingly, is how we walk a path of holiness. It takes dedication, it takes determination, and… it takes love. In these efforts, the awareness of GOD’s presence around us (and in us) is revealed and we begin to realize, exactly, why and how we were created. No one is without gifts. No one is created to stand alone in life. The way we are connected is known only to GOD, but all our actions, even thoughts, are tied together in a way that blesses each of us with a presence that only GOD understands. The difficult part of this “dance” is tempering our own self-desire to do or be something, as opposed to seeking and desiring what our creator desires of us. These two mindsets could easily be the same, or completely opposite of each other. The “canary-in-the- coal mine”, as they say, is the level of true peace we experience in life.

I do understand that the world we live in is changing…and challenging. But it always has been. The pressures and distractions in walking a path of holiness have never been greater, but they have always been present. I’ve studied the history and psychology of child abuse and have learned it has been a scourge the Church has battled from the beginning. It was an acceptable and popular practice of the pagans long before Christ. Unfortunately, it is a practice that infiltrated the clergy early on and as the dedication to virtue has waned, so too has this heinous activity increased. But…I feel, not for long. I strongly believe this is our moment in history when this practice can be removed, at least from the Church. We have lost brothers and sisters from the faith because of this scandal and this is a very sad thing. We will have to accept our Church will be smaller. But those who remain will be stronger and more resolute that the will of GOD must continue…through our hands. This is the moment in history when we remove the blight of abuse from Her family once and for all. Humanity is no longer “looking the other way”. This our time to rally and abolish these evil behaviors once and for all. GOD has not done or allowed this activity to occur. This is all humanity’s doing. GOD’s will was for all of us to manage our world, without interference from above, in and with the spirit of LOVE.

I bring this up because we have “sold” our tools of Virtue to a society that defies their existence.  We’ve sold them for the price of convenience, selfishness, power, and personal desires. No longer do we prize qualities like honor, courage, integrity, honesty, temperance, compassion, generosity, and respect for others. The clearest view of this is the public debate that takes place with our elected leaders. Our shallow sense of what’s sacred is causing us to drift away from the “voice” that gives us an awareness of GOD’s presence and purpose in our hearts. I look around at the world the deep apathy towards GOD saddens me. It speaks directly to the epidemic suicide rates we are experiencing. For parents, grand-parents, mentors, all of us really, let’s return to a focus on living lives anchored to a foundation centered on the virtues of Christ. For me, two things are at stake here, 1) Helping our kids be their best version of Christ’s image and, 2) Making our world a better place for them to live in. We could BE and DO SOOOO much more than we are doing… and experience true, lasting Joy doing it. Read this scripture verse slowly to yourselves, meditate on it for a while, and let me know what ideas come to you…“You shall Love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and strength… and your neighbor as yourself”.  HE said it…not me.

PAX CHRISTI, Deacon Mike

Comments, Questions, Random Thoughts?                deaconmike@gunnisoncatholic.org

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