Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Legalism


"This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me," says Jesus in one of several passages in the Gospels where Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for their legalism (Mark 7: 1-23.)    Religious people must be careful not to make an idol of the law, holding it in place of God.  Richard Rohr has said that law is necessary, of course, but it is not the guiding star; it has been wrong and cruel too many times.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Depth


One of the short prayers that I pray as I begin my morning prayer is, "You are in the deepest part of who I am."  I sense that there is an ever deeper part of me that I will always be reaching for.  I suspect that at the very bottom of who I am is a Depth that I can only begin to fathom.  John Haught says this is one way to answer his title's question, "What Is God?"  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Decide


"Will you also go away," Jesus asks the Twelve (John 6:67.)  Some of his followers have found his teaching on eating his flesh and drinking his blood too much and have gone away. 
Joshua asks the Israelites who have been delivered from slavery in Egypt and have reached the promised land, "Choose this day whom you will serve....as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wisdom


We pray to Wisdom for insight into the Eucharist and Assumption and into what God is.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Secure


The May before I retired I took a long trip by car to Florida.  As I drove from west to east across Georgia I saw a sign for President Roosevelt's home in Warm Springs.  It was not something that I had even thought of, but I immediately turned off to make a pilgrimage to the house where he died.  I decided to make the pilgrimage to thank him for Social Security which was making it possible for me to retire in two months.  The pension from my job would not have been sufficient.
80 years ago today President Roosevelt signed the law creating Social Security.  There was much objection to it from left and right, but it finally passed Congress.  It has now become so much a part of our American life that we don't even advert to it.  A great example of caring for the common good.




Thursday, August 13, 2015

God Beyond All Names


As I meditate on the book What Is  God I remind myself of St. Augustine's saying that, when we think we know God, then what we know is not God.  Even in any healthy human relationship we always want to know and understand the person better.  If we want to have a healthy relationship with God it is crucial that we keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of The Divine.  We each grow at our own pace.
In thinking about The Divine we are always limited to analogy and metaphor.  The more comfortable we get with ambiguity, the more we want to know how to think about The Divine. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Neither She nor He


(The spectacular cut in Sideling Mountain, Central Maryland)
In the introduction to his book, What Is God, Father John Haught thinks that using the neuter phrase "the divine" helps to express the fullness of a "Presence" that we cannot wrap our minds around.  We do not have human concepts or words that would completely capture what we mean by "God."  Not using male and female pronouns might help us to avoid thinking of The Divine in human-like images. 
We can rest in the all-surrounding Mystery that knows us and loves us without being at all like us.