Monday, June 28, 2010
St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians says, "When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free." (5:1) I'm thinking that this freedom is closely related to freedom of conscience.
Paul often writes about the Risen Jesus' living within us and sharing his new life with us. That means that Jesus within us shares his goodness with us. This is the source of our Christian morality: Jesus within us sharing his goodness with us.
Jesus within me shares with me his way of thinking, of doing moral reasoning. He shares with me his conviction of what is right and what is wrong. He shares with me his will, his deepest desire to do always the right thing. He shares with me his prudence, his ability to decide what is the best thing to do in any particular circumstance.
When I act out of that sharing this seems to me to be closely related to following my conscience. Maybe they are the same thing. Listening to the promptings of my conscience seems very much like listening to the promptings of Jesus within me.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Last night's sunset. It was raining hard and I had come in earlier than usual to start watching a Netflix movie. Just as I sat down I noticed a beautiful amber color outside. I went out to check and found that the setting sun had come under the clouds and was shining through the rain.
A few hours before the rain a very large and ominous cloud, moving low and slow, almost filled the sky. It was rounded at the edges, with puffs of cloud within it, and a few hints of white light breaking through the dark gray. It so filled me with awe that I was not even tempted to go get my camera. I wanted simply to surrender to it. I thought of the many times in the Bible that a cloud is used to show God's hard-to-grasp presence.
Afterwards I began playing with the word "awesome." I presume it began as a way of describing something that had "some" awe, a bit of awe. This cloud, however, was full of awe, but "awful" has come to have a very negative meaning. Maybe "awe-full" nature.
Then this morning we had a mighty wind and just a short while ago a magnificent, hour long thunder, lightning, rain, and hail storm. God is not just in the "sound of sheer silence" as the prophet Elijah experienced the Divine.
Friday, June 18, 2010
We finished our retreat this morning and everyone has gone home. It was good being together with like-minded men for a week. It helps us to grow a little more in our awareness of God's presence in us and it helps us to surrender more completely in love to God within.
Matthew's Gospel seems to me to be saying that Jesus is not only the Lawgiver but is the very Law personified, not only the Teacher, but the Wisdom that is taught. In the Sermon on the Mount he says several times, "You have heard it said, but I say...." In 11:28-30 Jesus says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart....my yoke is easy and my burden light."
In Galatians 2:20 St. Paul says, "I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me." Jesus, the Law, lives in me and shares with me his knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. He shares with me his own way of behaving, his love for every human being. He becomes the source of my moral living, the prompt of my conscience. The more I surrender to Jesus living within me and the more I listen to his promptings, the better my chances are of doing the right thing.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I am making a retreat with some friends. We are reading Matthew's Gospel and reflecting on it. One of the passages that means a lot to me is chapter 6, verses 25-34. Jesus tells us not to worry about food or clothing or even our lives. We are of more value than the birds and the lilies of the field which God takes care of.
I was caught up in worrying about how things would work out the next day. I found the advice to trust everything to God very comforting. The last verse in this passage especially hit home: "So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."
The mountain laurel in our hills is now in glorious bloom without any of us doing anything about it.