Little Thoughts about a Big God February 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 9:15 am

I think justice is overrated. If God were completely just, I’d go to hell. I have every reason to be grateful for mercy.

Sunday is the Lord’s day. Do we ever stop and ask ourselves why? It is because every Sunday is a feast day — the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord.

How much does God love you? Every bit of love in the world, even throughout history and the future, comes from one source: God. His love for you is greater than all love that has ever existed on earth and ever will.

 
 

A short Bible reflection on suffering September 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 10:03 am

Monday’s reading this week was interesting. In it, we see the value of redemptive suffering.

Col 1:24–2:3

Brothers and sisters:
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

We often hear from people of some branches of Christianity that we should not suffer. Some take it to the extreme, saying that if we have faith God will give us whatever we ask, so if you suffer it means you are faithless. This philosophy, frequently referred to as the “prosperity gospel” is a popular one on TV. It attracts viewers, in part, because they are hungry for hope and the hope for material success and physical comfort is the easiest hope to appeal to.

However, it doesn’t work. When a person finds that God does not bless him the way that he has demanded, he may feel frustrated, even altogether hopeless, thinking that it means his faith is not real. Or he may feel that God has let him down. But as we see in Colossians, this “promise” is not a genuine Biblical understanding of Christ’s promises. The promise of the Beatitudes, in fact, is rather the opposite. Those who suffer in this life receive their reward in Heaven.

A less extreme view of suffering is that it is unnecessary and not redemptive. Many is the time I’ve heard people say that suffering cannot be redemptive because Christ’s sacrifice was complete. As we see in this writing of St. Paul, though, redemptive suffering is helpful to others. By offering suffering and sacrifice on behalf of others, we are “filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, which is the Church…” In other words, we are not completing Christ’s sacrifice, but completing the suffering of others in the Church, and of the Church herself.

We do not attempt to “complete” the sacrifice of Jesus, which was, and is, perfect. Rather, we join in it in order to be a part of it. We begin this journey by baptism, through which we die and rise again with Him. Our joining in His death and resurrection are not for His sake, but to unite us with Him for our own sake.

Finally, we see in this reading that suffering for others is not an act of misery or to “buy” salvation, but rather an act of love.

Today is a good day to offer a sacrifice for someone you love.

 
 

Ten Cents Worth September 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 1:15 pm

1. The most important words in the English language are please, thanks, and sorry. If you can learn to use them regularly, your life will go more smoothly, you’ll have less need to make excuses, and people will like you better. Use them, and mean them.

2. Christians: when sharing your faith, ask yourself what your goal is. Do you want to win an argument, or do you want to help someone to know God? Putting the other person in his place will rarely soften his heart.

3. People you like will sometimes be wrong, and people you dislike will sometimes be right. Listen, and think, before forming your opinion.

4. Don’t assume that people are stupid if they don’t believe what you believe or know what you know. It’s usually better to overestimate them than to underestimate them.

5. Keep a toolbox with basic tools. Every home should have at least two screwdrivers (flat head and phillips), a hammer, needle nose pliers, a box of nails, and a box of screws. If you are moving into your first apartment, buy these tools before you buy a television set.

6. Education is worthwhile for its own sake. Many people will tell you it isn’t worth it unless it will get you a career, but they’re wrong. Whether you go to college or not, spend your whole life learning.

7. Intelligence is not the same thing as superiority. You are not better than those who are less knowledgeable or less intelligent than yourself. You are not inferior to those who are more knowledgeable or more intelligent. You have value because you are a human being. So do all other humans, from the rocket scientist to the disabled baby.

8. Have patience. This life is short, and what is to come is eternal.

9. Avoid credit. It isn’t worth the stress or the self-deceit.

10. Give kindness. It doesn’t cost you anything to say a kind word or help someone out, but it can turn around the whole day for the other person.

Go ahead and post your own Ten Cents Worth, either here or on your own blog. If you post on your blog, please post the url to your post here in the comments.

 
 

Worth pondering August 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 2:01 pm

A lot of people who can’t accept the idea of infallibility are really only opposed to the idea that someone besides themselves might be infallible.

 
 

Fear August 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 2:28 pm

Do not fear. He loves you, and He will not go away merely because you fear that He will abandon you. He will not go away because, in your fear, you wish He would. He will be there for you always.

Test it: pray.

 
 

Football Is My Life March 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 4:47 pm

No, not really. Actually, that’s a phrase that just conjures up old memories. When my nephew was first learning to talk, his dad decided that his first sentence would be “Football is my life.” I don’t know if it actually was or not (though I somewhat doubt it.)

But the fact is, football is most emphatically not my life. Poop is. Some people are called to be great philosophers. Some are called to be the best classroom mom. I’m called to poop patrol. I’m called to clean poop off of walls, out of carpets, and even to cut it out of hair. I don’t know why, but this is the life God has called me to, so He must have a reason. And I know I can’t leave the poop in Monkeytot’s hair, no matter what demon possessed her to put it there; so I clean it. And whether I have a good attitude or a bad attitude, it still needs cleaned.

Would I love to be called to be a great writer, or an influential public figure? You betcha. Would I love to be one of those people who inspires others by having a perfect family and a house that smells like apple pie? You know it. But for some perverse reason, God deigned that my place in the world should involve excrement. And He knows best.

So I guess I’d better learn to give to Him with joy and love, even when He asks something I’d really prefer not to give. He’s the boss… if He wants it, He gets it. I really don’t care for the alternative.

So, Monkeytot, though you can’t yet read, I think I’ll take this moment to tell you that I love you. I really wish you’d leave the droppings in the diaper, but even that won’t stop me from loving you. And despite this phase (which, God willing, will pass) I still love the One who made you, too.

 
 

The Reason for the Season January 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 6:52 pm

It’s a phrase you didn’t expect to hear again for a while, isn’t it? We heard it again and again during Advent, and possibly even during Christmas season (for those non-Catholics here, I’m referring to the time between Christmas day — the Feast of the Nativity — and the Epiphany). And then, somewhere along the line, the phrase started fading.

But He is still the reason for the season. Not just the season of Advent or Christmas… He is the reason for every season. He is the reason for everything. Now that the local discount store is putting up Easter and Fourth of July decorations, let’s keep on remembering Jesus. Out of commercial sight shouldn’t mean out of mind.

 
 

Catechism Highlights October 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 10:36 am

Some teaching worth reflecting upon as those of us in the United States prepare to vote:

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel,[139] the sin of the Sodomites,[140] the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,[141] the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,[142] injustice to the wage earner.[143]

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
– by protecting evil-doers.

 
 

Why Politics Makes Me Hurt August 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 5:23 pm

Many people today put their political labels on such a pedestal that even the “compassionate” learn to harden themselves and even the logical learn not to think for themselves. It doesn’t matter whether you are conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, if you let your political persuasion decide your views for you, then you have lost sight of your humanness, at least just a little bit.

Let me give two examples: abortion and the poor.

First, let’s examine poverty issues. While I do not think either of the major parties has come up with adequate ideas for how to help the poor, I think the Republican party often forgets to be compassionate. Not having a solution is quite different from not giving a damn because you think they somehow deserve it. And anyone who doesn’t want the government to be part of the solution had better be doing something on a private citizen level to help, or he or she is a hypocrite of the most selfish kind.

Now what about abortion? The Democratic party makes such a dogma of it that its members frequently feel that being pro-choice is the litmus test for being a good liberal. Let’s put that litmus test to the test. Again, while I do not think either of the major parties has come up with adequate ideas for how to ensure women’s full rights, I think the Democratic party has forgotten the very concept of compassion in naming the right to kill a positive step. The Democratic nominee for president has gone so far as to put himself on record — by legal vote — as opposing the right of a born baby to remain alive. Even if you believe that a person does not gain legal personhood until birth, and that until then the baby is merely part of the mother’s body, the mother is free to walk away once that baby is outside her body; how is killing him after the fact going to affect her right not to be pregnant? How does the death of a born child help the unpregnant birth mother?

I know that few Republicans are going to read this post and say “Oh, man! Now I realize that I can’t stay Republican!” And Democrats are unlikely to say “Now I see that the Democratic party doesn’t represent my perspective after all!” I am not asking you to change your affiliation, or your self-image as a liberal or a conservative. But I am asking you to take a moment and ask yourself if the things you support are compassionate to all people involved. Nobody can hear your thoughts; you do not have to feel disloyal for asking the question. It is all right to ask; thinking people do stop and consider sometimes.

If you are to be truly human, ask yourself hard questions. Put aside the rhetoric of your people, no matter which “side” they are on, and just face the questions as though you were looking at them for the first time. Then ask yourself “What can I do to help my brothers and sisters to work toward a kinder world, even in the places where compassion and rhetoric disagree?”

 
 

Daily Bread August 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Christina M @ 8:21 pm

A thought:
How often do I say “Give us this day our daily bread”?
How often do I go to daily Mass and receive Communion?

Hm. Maybe I need to work on that.