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A few weeks ago I went to my priest inquiring about spiritual direction. We talked a bit, he asked me about myself, what I had been doing, then he told me a couple of things.  One was about how I needed to develop a more personal relationship with God.

Letting go of my emotions is a very hard thing for me. I have spent a lot of time wondering why and can find no defining moment in my past that stands out as the day I chose to shut everyone out. The day I decided to put my heart in a box, a la, Pirates of the Caribbean, and protect it. Funny really. Protect it from what? Love? Life? Joy?

The more you love the more you have to lose. So perhaps what I am really protecting is my day-to-day life. My balance. My tiny little world.  An old professor (and Brother) told me — “I’ll take Love or Hate any day, just don’t be indifferent.”   And hiding inside my heart is indifference.

Father Barkett also said I should think on/pray about what’s keeping me from God.

Fast forward three weeks.  Feeling down, alone, sorry for myself (although I have no logical reason) and am stuck deep inside my head. I pick up Surrender, by Father Larry Richards. And it all hits me again, and again,as it has been the past few weeks. . .  It is that heart . . . . .there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”  MARK 7:15.

In addition to Father Barkett, I have been seeing a lot signs.  This weekend my friend sent me a note saying he thought of me during church — the reading, the wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Yesterday I read article on business, and it had a reminder: Just by joining something, doesn’t mean you belong.” At first my mind raced to my recent separation with my company, and how I was feeling slighted.  However, dig a bit deeper, and belonging requires love, commitment, opening of oneself to the possibility — and working like Hell to get there. It’s a relationship. A very personal one.

Today, Larry Richards talks about sin.  He begins with John 8:34-36

34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Then he talks through how sin creates a hole in your heart that cannot be filled. That saying sorry isn’t enough to repair the damage. How confession shouldn’t be a list, but a true conversation with God, about what you have done/are doing that is hurting him. And that to Jesus — the worst sins are not sins of commission, but sins of omission.

“What we haven’t done. How we have not been doing the will of God. How we haven’t been taking care of the poor. How we have not been people of love. How we have not been the people of forgiveness.  Those are the things that keep us bound and those are the things that Jesus Christ wants to set us free from.”  — Surrender

Seems I can hear things over and over again. But can I act?

Father Richards addresses that as well:

It is in His Word that you will find the strength to stop sinning.

Right. So, I paused here. Picked up my Bible and opened to the first random page of the Gospels to see what was the Word for me today,  And it is this. . .

          Would-Be Followers of Jesus

18 Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 A scribe then approached and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of his disciples said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

 

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