Friday, March 2, 2012

All the Small things

So I wanted to start off with the story that happened to me a few weeks ago that led me to write this post. It goes something like this...

I was out going to some food for lunch about two weeks ago and decided to get some fast food. At drive thru I order and was pulling up to pay. The man at the window says $7 and change. I gave him a ten and received back the same ten plus $2 extra (by accident). Thinking to myself, in that 4 seconds, ok cool...but before I pulled up to the next window I paused and asked the man if I had given him a ten and the man said yes. I then gave him what was rightfully his and he thanked me very much and I went on with my day and he, his day. He may have not/will not think about the incident again for the rest of his life. However, it was quite the opposite for me and really stuck with me.

In the grand scheme of things it seems to be very small compared to everything else that is good going on in the world. Almost as small the man in the picture is compared to that wave. But to me, a lesson I learned was that, its all the small things (not the blink 182 song) that matter!!

The verse that pops into my head and is  from the gospel according to St. Luke, when Christ says, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much."

The small things are the values that you have built you whole foundation on all these years. They are the things that make you who you are and drive you to make certain decision. 

Just so you don't think I am tooting my own horn or anything, this was probably one victory out of A LOT of loses. I kind of felt like this guy a little bit: 


But anyway, one thing that I started realizing that these little things are the foundation of everything that we go by in our lives! For a while, I would just worry about the big things and put the little things on the side. If I got to it, it's a bonus. However, there is a reason why St. James in his epistle talks about how the tongue, although a very small part of the body, can defile the whole body! He compares the tongue to treats that we would give a horse to make him follow us and also to the rudder of a ship. How it can move a huge ship any way by simply moving it left or right. Also the eye, which Jesus talks about, can make the whole body dark. And there has to be a reason why St. Paul makes it a point to talk about little things such as too much food or drink or sleep. 

Somethings that I have to ask are, do I take the little things lightly? Is giving into the small temptations a big deal? Most importantly, what are these small things?

Come to think about it, the Devil uses the small things all the time. We can see the big things that are "bad" but it's the small things that sometimes lead us to fall into temptation. Sometimes we can have a sense of "spiritual pride"  and say that "I can't fall into that!" Maybe thinking that being honest in THIS situation isn't necessary. Or a big one self pity!

To take an example from the book "Way of the Ascetics" by Tito Colliander, he talks about self pity as being the root of most sins that we fall into. Something that I never thought and something that we can all say we do is telling ourselves that this ONE can slide because... We all have different "ones" but it can vary from having a smoke or drink and saying "it's because I had a stressful day at work/school" or lashing out on someone not deserving of it because I had a bad day or being dishonest that time at the drive thru because "they are ripping me off anyway." 

One thing we can all look into is the little things in our lives that the Devil uses to creep into our lives and steer our whole being into darkness. 

"...we must most carefully look after the field of our hear, lest the tares of evil, slothfulness luxuriousness, self-indulgence, envy, hatred, and others, should grow within it; we must daily weed the field of our heart...we must by every means implant in the field of our heart the seeds of the virtues, faith, hope in God, and love for God and our neighbor. 'But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.' Matthew 13:25" St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
Look for the small things and celebrate in your victories knowing that, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Splitting Hairs or Houses?

A wise man named Abe....Oh wait he wasn't the first person to say it? May be the response when someone is quoting "A house divided against itself can not stand." Actually a smarter Person, but not person, He was actually both Person and...Forget it I'll just say it, it was Jesus who said this in the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Since it is presidents weekend I thought this would be a good subject to talk about.

This subject actually popped into my head after a discussion I had with some of my friends last night. Although this exact verse was not discussed I feel that it is very applicable to our conversation now.

The conversations and questions were awesome and it really inspired me to dig a little deeper. And lo and behold this verse hit me.

"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Matt 12:25)

It really makes a lot of sense when we talk about our lives. We talk a lot about how we can not co-exist with the beliefs of the Bible and the beliefs of this world. The Bible tells us to sell all we have and follow Christ and the world tells MORE MORE MORE. Whether it be money, cars, houses more anything is better then nothing. How can I spread the love of Christ to everyone they'll think I have _________(fill in the blank). How how how and why why why??

Well it is simple (not really), these two can't be separated. St. Ambrose writes of this when likening us to a wheel,
"Think of yourself always as like a wheel, the more lightly the wheel touches the earth, the more easily it rolls forward. Do not think of or speak of or concern yourself with earthly matters more than is necessary. Remember, too, that a wheel that is completely in the air cannot roll."
Even St. Ambrose a 4th Century Bishop faced this problem but describes it nicely in the last paragraph,  "a wheel that is completely in the air cannot roll." We have to live in this world. But something we don't understand is that all though we are bond to the earth doesn't mean that the words that we pray everyday, "On Earth as it is in Heaven," can not really happen.

A really good book that was recommended to me, and I recommend to all who haven't read it or are wondering how Heaven on Earth can exist, is called "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence.

But until you read it maybe we can think of it like this and use some of the sacraments to help us out with this crazy concept. In our liturgy we partake of Body and Blood of Christ and by this we are the dwelling place of Christ. But this isn't limited to those who only partake of this mystery. 
By th reading and doing of the scripture we have Christ in us so in all places that I went to that day, Christ was there, people were able to experience a real and living Jesus through me. 

This is true even in our liturgy.  The church in her wisdom made it so that the believer and non-believer can experience this mystery in that there are two times that we receive Christ. One time of course during communion but also in the readings of the scripture at the end of the liturgy of the Word. 

This is all around us and Christ coming, showed us that it is not something to only talk about but something to actually do! The critical thing is to not be weighed down by the world and the worries the can really bog you down. 

God has put us in the world for a much bigger reason then for us to simply say that these can not co-exist. And its not even God saying to us don't be successful or don't get an education or any of that all He is saying is, let them see YOUR good works and give glory to our Heavenly Father (Matt 5:16), to seek first the Kingdom and all things will be added (Matt 6:33). He doesn't want to take us away from the Earth He wants us to experience Him in all the small things. 

P.S. Is this turning into a holiday blog?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Limitless Love!

Card from my dad to my mom (thought it was funny)
Although I should have written this yesterday, it's better late than never. Recently I was on a retreat with our high school Sunday School class and one of the servants read a passage from the book "In Thy Presence" by Father Lev Gillet. I had read this book back in my first or second year of high school and I remembered it to be in all sense of the word, awesome.

For those of you who don't know much about the book it is written as if God is speaking to the reader as His [God's] loved. In the book God at times is portrayed as "the Lord Love." Being that this retreat was just a week ago and that Valentine's Day was just yesterday,  I decided to read a part that I have engraved in me to this day. It was not me being a hopeless romantic and feeling unloved that led me to pick it up but it was a way, I felt, to actually celebrate a day of love!

The chapter is titled "Thou Art Loved" and I just wanted to share some things that I liked and hopefully you will enjoy as well. Father Lev Gillet says that these three words (Thou art loved) are enough for us to cross through the threshold of the mystery of the burning bush and to inflamed by the love of God. That by Jesus' coming we no longer have to stand far away and marvel at the mystery but we have become the mystery.

The author likens Love to be a movement. God's movement from heaven and coming to Earth was not simply done to be know or even imitated by us. But, it was done in order to unite with us and to have a love that is incorruptible and limitless something that we can't get from flowers and chocolates.

Sometimes we bank on the fact that we will have someone to love us and that at all times no matter what happens they will but we forget that we are humans and have a flawed for all things and that is love that we are seeking?

Jesus in the Gospel of John says, (John 8:19) "If you knew me, you would know my Father also."
Only if we knew Jesus, we would know the Lord Love! We would get a glimpse of this indivisible Love where there isn't more love today then tomorrow or yesterday that is without measure. That is beyond feeling and can't be described. That this mystery is just not a word that we say and is not an adjective we use to describe the things we do in our churches, but it becomes us. We become the living testimony to this mystery and basically by default are going to get involved in this love!

This is why I feel that there is nowadays, a lot of suicide, depression and unhappiness because as humans we are looking to be loved and unfortunately at times we are looking in the wrong places. We look to money to fill a void or another person when first we should look for Jesus and not only will He fill you when you need Him but be there at all times. This love and value only comes from one place and that is the love that Jesus gave us not only in His death but in His birth and in His resurrection.

For those who have tasted this then maybe you agree but for those who have no idea what that means hopefully its an encouragement to find it and have hope because 'Thou Art Loved'!

First things first...

I guess to start this blog off I want to say and stress that I am by no means at all a "writer" that is not my goal in starting this blog. I am just a person who would like to share some of the things that God has been putting on my heart.
I feel a blog should be a place where the blogger (in this case, me) gains and learns something first but I may find something useful for you, too. This is just a means to an awesome end which is in Christ. A way to share with you how I am becoming a new creation day by day (but I won't be blogging everyday)and a way to bring Christ right to your computers wherever you are sitting in the world . To share the ways that God not only loves those who love Him but for Him to show how much He loves all of us.
This blog is not meant for a certain group of people but for all and we will dabble in just about everything. 
That is my only prayer with this blog. Not persuade anyone or sell anyone on anything it's just a value that we've all learned since we were kids. That is to share what we have received and this gift that I and you all can receive can't be contained (Hebrew 12:29).

Hopefully we can grow together. Stay tuned more to come. :)