Understanding our place

A Rosary Meditation: The Second Sorrowful Mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar.

“This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37.

There was never any doubt in the mind of Christ as to his place in the scheme of things. He knew why he was born, why he was here. He understood completely his vocation.

Vocation. Our place. It can be a little tricky for us, can’t it? Things that are hard for us to spot, for whatever reason, can cloud issues. We are, after all, only human. And that’s the truth. Sometimes trying to figure out our God-given place in life can be a painful experience. Look at what so many of the saints went through trying to find God’s will for themselves. Its like a kind of scourging. But that’s why God has given us people in authority, people with training, friends and family, spiritual advisers, our confessors, people with insight. They often see in us the obvious, things that, again, we may over look.

I remember years ago working with a guy who had, well, lets just say issues. I liked him, we worked well together, and we talked. He was divorced and had been for a long while. The marriage had ended badly. He had a daughter that he hadn’t seen in years and years. When she was old enough she found him. And after all that time they began forming a relationship. He was happy about it and I gathered she was too. Then she decided she was going to get married. She was 16 and I think her boyfriend was in his twenties. My friend tried to talk her out of it, to convince her it was a bad idea (lots of details, it WAS a bad idea). Her reply was always, “Mamma was my age when you married her!”  And she had him. Now his time of pain, his own scourging, began. He had no reasoning to come back with. What she said was absolutely true. How could he combat an obvious truth? He was telling me all this. Exasperated, desperate, he stopped talking, looking dejectedly at his feet. I just looked at him. To me it was obvious. So I said, “You know what the answer is to that don’t you?” “Well, no.” I looked at him and said, “The next time she tells you her mom was her age when you married her you tell her, ‘Yeah, and you see how THAT turned out.’ ” In his eyes I could see the light come on. “Yeah, yeah! You’re right. That’s what I’ll tell her!”

He was actually trying to help his daughter with her vocation at that stage of her life. And probably help her avoid a scourging all her own that was completely unnecessary. They were both missing the obvious. A disinterested party had a clearer view, emotions and history not getting in the way.

We all have a place in the scheme of things. Jesus knew his.

“But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … Some one says, “Just because Jesus knew his doesn’t mean I know mine.” True. That’s why Christ provides guidance. He has people here to take care of issues like not knowing our place. He will speak to us through them. (Anyone not believing this, please explain away the First Vatican Council and Papal Infallibility for me.) So you don’t know, so what? That doesn’t mean you can’t know. And the fact is that you CAN know because HE already does.

Friday, December 7

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. “They bound Jesus and delivered Him to Pilate. And Pilate asked Him, ‘Art thou the king of the Jews?’ Mark 15:1-2. Just prior to the scourging Jesus is bound and taken to Pilate. It’s the word “bound” that is, at the very least, frightening here. Not the literal act, the Romans put chains or ropes on prisoners every day. Police do the same thing today when they put the cuffs on criminals. It’s no doubt unpleasant, but it just is what it is. What it represents, or can represent, in our own lives is what can be frightening. There are lots of things in this world that need to be done. Things that require courage, strength and faith. Sometimes a person comes along, a Padre Pio or a Mother Teresa, and with those qualities and not much more shake a complacent world out of its self-inflicted stupor just long enough for it to see whats real. This seeing leaves it, the world, without excuse. But why do these saints come along so seldom? Why doesn’t God call more of them? And that’s where the binding and the frightening comes in. Because God does call others. Currently He’s calling to a little over 7 billion of them. But because we lack faith we put Jesus in chains. He can’t do through us what He would because we bind Him by our lack of faith in His ability. And that’s frightening. Because we’ll answer someday for not having answered today. We forget, because the tasks look so big and so hard, that we aren’t the doers of these works but rather the tools used by the Carpenter Who does the work. In binding Him we give Him over to Pilate, give Him over to a world that doesn’t recognize the Truth even when He’s standing right there in front of it, and the miracles that could be are never given a chance. Its one reason the world questions the validity of Christ’s kingship as Pilate did. If we bind Jesus by our lack of faith so that He can’t work through us the answer to this problem is really very simple. Keep reading …

Today … St. Maria Giuseppe Rossello. She founded a religious order. Hospitals, teaching, charitable works, and 68 foundations were the result. The beginning of all this? At 16 she became a third order Franciscan. Later with three friends she founded the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy. Everything else, the hospitals and the rest, followed. Four young women, one with a plan. A God-given plan. None of this happened by accident. All of it happened because she was a willing tool in the hands of the Carpenter. She was a willing tool because she had faith. Period. Faith. Faith, like everything else that’s good and praiseworthy, comes from God. Things come from God when we ask. And asking for faith is the simple answer to the problem outlined above. But asking is only the first half of the answer. The second half is believing you have it and acting like you’ve received it after you’ve asked.

Faith … Never say, “I can’t”. We all know we can’t. That’s not the point at all. Remember that you aren’t the doer of the work, accept the fact that you can’t but He can if you’ll let Him and say, “Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief.” Miracles will follow.

Published in: on December 7, 2012 at 6:09 am  Comments Off on Friday, December 7  
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Tuesday, November 20

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. Here we see Pilate have Jesus whipped even though he knew Christ to be innocent. Today we would call Pilate a people pleaser. People pleasing normally stems from fear. Fear of being disapproved of, spoken harshly to, disliked, fear of fill-in-the-blank. Now the Romans had the upper hand with the Jews so it’s a little hard to understand what Pilate might have been afraid of. Maybe in his case it was a matter of expedience. Whatever his reason he had the innocent Christ scourged. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke 19:1-10, we see Zacchaeus, a tax collector, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus. But he was too short to see over the crowd. I can almost see him at the back of the throng jumping up, trying to see and not being able to. And then he spotted the tree. If he climbed up into the tree he could see Jesus. Jesus, the itinerant rabbi who didn’t condemn but accepted. Accepted even tax collectors. Of course Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was trying to see. Wasn’t that the reason He came? So that people who couldn’t see could? Some can’t see because their blind, some can’t see because self-will is blinding. Others can’t see because, well, they fall short. Or at least they think they do. Jesus knows better. Jesus called to Zacchaeus and told him that He would have dinner with him that same day. Can you imagine the surprise, the joy of Zacchaeus? The result of that meal, the kindness and acceptance of Jesus, was the conversion of Zacchaeus. But there were some, the ones blinded by ego and self-will, who complained. And when people did that, when they complained about the things He did, what did Jesus do? Did he give in to people pleasing? Pilate did when he gave in to the crowd. Jesus never did. Jesus got results, conversions. Pilate’s people pleasing ended in death. Not the death of Jesus so much as his own death. Spiritual death, the death of self-respect and self-worth, all at the hand of fear. God tells us to fear not. When we give in to others, when we follow the crowd, when we cave into peer pressure because we’re afraid of being “different”, we do exactly what Pilate did. And we do the exact opposite of what Jesus did. We are supposed to be conformed to Christ, not the world. This doesn’t mean we can’t give way to the wishes of others when there’s no harm in it. Jesus did that for His Mom once at a wedding. Its ok. But people pleasing out of fear? The desire to be accepted, or just taking the easy way out? When we do that at the expense of our Faith we stand at the pillar, obeying Pilate or the mob rather than God, whip in hand.

Today … St. Dasius. Honestly, I clicked on this saint because I liked the name. I think it has a nice sound. Day~z~us. Poetic, pretty. Little did I know. He was a Roman soldier picked to lead a festival in honor of the pagan god Kronos. He, being Catholic, refused. People pleasing logic might have said “Its ok just this once. God will understand. If I do this now I’ll live to witness for Christ later and for the rest of my life. Surely that would be in accordance with God’s will.” But Godly, saintly logic said “It’s never ok to worship any god but God. I understand that. If I do this now I’ll tarnish and make worthless my witness for Christ for the rest of my life. Standing firm for Jesus is in accordance with God’s will.” The end result was two-fold. From a worldly perspective he literally lost his head. From a Catholic perspective he was faithful unto death, he gained Heaven, and his witness lives on after centuries and into eternity. So much for people pleasing.

Romans 12:2 … “And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.”

Published in: on November 20, 2012 at 5:13 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, November 20  
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