“. . . God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)”
I find one of the most difficult words to understand is comprehend, to perceive, to take in. I prefer take in because to truly understand something I have to take it within myself to truly feel its effects. This is the way I understand darkness and light. Darkness is not just the absence of light; darkness is that which is totally devoid of understanding! Saul was in complete darkness until his eyes were opened by Jesus on the road to Damascus.
I am on my own barren road of discovery, totally devoid of light. However, as I near my own destination, my own Damascus, my grasp of Reality grows. I find that the need of a Sun or moon to light my way is not necessary, for the light of God, as Jesus taught, lights my journey with the blinding light of God’s Truth. I am a child of God, a creation perfect in every way. I am both honored and humbled by God’s choice to have me share His Love and His Truth as taught to us by the Pascal Lamb, Jesus Christ.
I often consider myself to be independent of outside influences. Ha! This is as untrue a statement as there ever was. people influence me every day of my life. as a prayer minister and a lay chaplain, I am very attuned to all those I meet because my mission from God is to bring comfort and prayer to anyone in need. To do this, I need people; but most important, I need God. So, I am not ashamed to admit that my two most influential dependences are God and everyone.
I look at God’s creation and see beauty, birds, flowers, and people. The beauty I see gives me unbelievable power to prayer and healing to others. I strive to bring God’s Love and Peace to the forefront of good relationships between people and each other and between people and the rest of God’s creation. I thank others for allowing me to pray for and with them; then I thank God for allowing me to pray for and with others.
God wants to be with us on our life journeys. He invites us to open ourselves to His will and follow His desires for our beloved planet. It is our gift from God. When I use the words “open ourselves,” read awakening. We awaken to the Love and Grace of God’s presence. Our faith keeps our relationships with God as key to the beginning of our life of grace and peace. We are never alone. Personally, I continue to strive to recognize and express my appreciation for all of the people I meet; after all, they also are children of God as I am.
God is in everything, and God is everything. God cannot be seen; God can only be felt by the presence of calm and love within each of us. The great artists of history have tried to capture the image of God. This task is impossible because God is without body; God is not human. So go outdoors, see God’s creation working; you know, the creation that man is slowly destroying because it may cost money to protect. Do you fee God’s presence when you hear the birds singing their lovely songs, or when you look to the stars and see the magnificence above you?
In our world of indifference, God is at work within us. The love and peace we feel, and share, is God. This true love and true peace is eternal, as is God. If God is Love, then God is also Life, eternal life, not the life we think we have that seemingly dies when we shed our bodies. I mean the life that God creates every day, every day we awaken to a new world, every day created without any strings attached to it.
God is within me, and I am within God. I know this because I love; I love unconditionally as God invites me to do. God gave me free will to do as I pleased; but God also gave me Love. This determines all. I have been on both sides of the coin, good and not so good; I prefer Love. I am overjoyed with Love; I am overjoyed with God present within me. I am perfect because I have accepted God’s invitation to Love and to share this love with all whom I meet.
Have we ever thought about the similarity between the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the parable of the Prodigal Son. The message is virtually identical. In each case, the father, the shepherd, the caretaker drops everything he is doing to welcome home the lost victim of self-limited mortal intelligence.
In the first instance, the sheep is too busy enjoying the taste and smells of its daily routine of eating. Its shallow thinking is just the present physical enjoyment of eating. We’ve all been there!
With the Prodigal Son, the lost sheep goes in search of good times and wealth. . . and fails. Returns home stripped of all his worldly goods, basically naked before his father.
In both cases, the father welcomes the lost soul back to the foal, whether it is gluttony or mammon from which it has returned. This is God glorifying us when we return to His house, His creation. We have sinned; He does not care; He loves us.
I remember my return. I thought I was alive before; how wrong I was! I live now in God’s glory, my physical stature has changed due to age, but my spiritual self, my true self, the self belonging to God is perfect. I am the Prodigal Lost Sheep.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrew 11:1).
I think (maybe) too much about faith and Substance. One Truth I never ignore is that God is the only true Substance there is, and I am permanently a part of this Truth. I cannot ignore my feeling that this substance directs my heart to prayer every morning I arise to face God’s re-created world. I am faith, but it is more realistic and more relevant that I say that I am more than faith; I am trust.
I meditate often and at times (most of the time) I over-think what I should just accept. Maybe this is because I am so used to requiring my college students to do so. I put my complete trust in God. There is no doubt in my mind that I am His child and therefore a perfect creation. But as with many people before me, I discover that there is a void within me that requires something more.
What digs as me constantly is my need to live a life of prayer. It is God’s desire for me to do so for a life without prayer leads to an unending void. God is not a specter that appears and disappears in my mind’s vision. God is. . . God is a true Substance. My need to pray comes from my soul, and my soul is my heart, and my heart belongs to God. How can I not live a life of prayer for the issue of prayer is not me; the issue of prayer is God. This is when He speaks to me. This is where and when my heart legitimizes the fact that I trust.
The knowledge and trust that comes from the substance of God within me, of the Holy Spirit within me, comes from the fact that living a life of prayer enables me to live the life that Jesus exemplified, a life of Wisdom, a life of prayer, and a life of humility. This is faith; this is substance.
We are all hypocrites!!! We scurry through life with chips on our shoulders, trying to impress those that we meet as to how in we are with those of seeming importance. We try to impress people with how in control we are, and we boast about how generous and giving we are. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
I know this is not true. We proudly proclaim our authenticity, yet we walk by the homeless person sleeping in an alley. We attend our church, or synagogue, or mosque and proclaim how holy we are and upon leaving return to be thinking about the next killer deal we will make that pads our pockets with gold. Nowhere in any of the holy books of our desert religions is there praise for the accumulation of wealth. All are devoted to praising God and serving others. Think of all the stories we learned similar to the prodigal son or good Samaritan.
We need to change our direction in life; if we want to be drawn closer to God, we must practice true authenticity; we must Love others; we must serve God by serving others. We must open our hearts and proclaim “Lord, I am listening!”
Gracious God, whatever be thy name, bring me back to your fold, allowing me to be the humble servant you desire me to be. Allow me to see the devastation that society is doing to your children. Strengthen me with the determination to strike down those powerful forces that increase poverty and devastation to your children. Let me find others so that we may defeat those who are only concerned with the accumulation of wealth, not allowing all to benefit from your grace.
We open our hearts to God as we listen to His prayers; our prayers come from God and are therefore His. This is why all prayers are holy and all prayers are of Love, Divine Love, God. Prayer is our first nature; our first being. We are prayer before anything else, therefore, we are Love before anything else. We pray to listen to God; we pray to hear the teachings of Jesus. We pray to be comforted with the loving presence of the Holy Spirit.
My very image and nature changes when I pray; this is God’s doing. Although I am an imperfect mortal creature, when I pray, I become one of God’s beautiful flowers, pleasant to see, pleasant to touch and hold in your arms. This is not my doing; this is God’s. I become a perfect beautiful creation. Love. Truth, Life itself.
I write prayers daily. I do this because the world does not make sense. It is evil, malicious, and so threatening and uncaring that we tend to lose confidence in God’s message of Love. Prayer helps to comfort us in these dark days of our mortal existence. Each morning when I awaken, I write, I am reborn in God’s image. I share His words. I become Love. The light of God’s image shines through His words that I put on paper.
My prayers are His writings to me, to us. My prayers are His and therefore holy. My prayers are His and therefore spiritual.
When we follow the invitation of Jesus to love our enemies, we open our hearts to the possibility of our self-healing from prejudice and hate. This is Jesus’s message about all of us together as one body of Christ, regardless of who we are or where we live. Jesus leads us to unity and Love and empowers us to be His messengers, spreading His healing and Love to all we meet.
Following the teachings of Jesus, we become vulnerable to all those we meet. This may seem to be a challenge, but we are empowered with God’s Love that cannot be defeated by mortal egos and evil thoughts. We walk the path of Jesus free of the rules and regulations imposed on us by modern, mortal-centered religion. We are free to be God’s true disciples led by His nature and Love. We become messengers of the Good news for all.
As with the mortal man Jesus, we may not be beautiful, and we definitely are not of the privileged class. We are servants. God sends the Spirit to dwell within us, blessing us and all we share the good news with. We travel a bewildering path on this spiritual journey; but being led by God, we are safe and assured of our destination.
Personally, as a caregiver and spreader of the good news, I am the image of the old well-used tool, dented, a little rusty around the edges, worn beyond good looks, but still extremely useful to the master craftsman. That craftsman is God. And I am His trusted tool, led by the teachings of Jesus.
There are two types of meditation that I practice by necessity. Sometimes, I go against the pros who preach that I must empty my mind to truly meditate. But when I am in need of spiritual uplifting, I always clear all thoughts that come my way. Regardless of which method I use, I revel in the one true course and that is to serve God and then with His guidance, serve others. My meditations comfort my soul for I am with God in this holy time, and I know that I am His child and a follower of Jesus’s refreshing light.
While I meditate, God teaches me that I must be willing to be open to His Grace, exposing the grace in me and all others. He also reminds me that He has known me long before I was in my mother’s womb and am His child only.
We all should meditate; how else can we discern what mountains we have climbed erroneously. meditate and open your heart and mind to God. Follow this as I have been taught, recognize where we are today, ang engage in the hopes and values that God offers us freely every day of our lives.