Saturday, March 20, 2021

Moving Day...

Posts for Chocolate For Your Brain will continue over on the Catholic Channel of Patheos at Chocolate For Your Brain!  I started this week and am still learning the ropes of adding photos and proper posting.  It's going to be a learning process. 

So it's a renewal of my blog but with some new bells and whistles.   
Welcome to the Renaissance of my writing...I hope.    

Sunday, March 14, 2021

What if God Measures Us By How We Measure?

 It is a terrifying thought, and my brain plays little games, like when we die, God shows us all the ways in which we were harmed by sin, by others sins, that we are given one more opportunity to be merciful and forgiving as He is, and that allotment we allow, we use towards those who hurt us, is then used as a weight against the ways in which we've hurt others.  That puts it in stark contrast, and reminds us, we need more mercy than we've ever given.  

It would be frightening except that God by His very nature is more merciful and loving than we could ever imagine.  That we struggle to approximate His mercy and love and fail so regularly is a discouraging reality.   The through my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault line of the prayers always feels like a fissure of the soul, revealing how much we don't do what we ought, how much we do what we should not. With covid, these days I know I struggle with paying attention prayer, in mass, watching television, listening to conversations. It's as if my ears, heart and brain are simply tired of giving anyone the full attention required, and doing so requires tremendous effort. I don't want to give the time I must, I should, I ought.  I do, but it always requires wilfulness where it used to be easy. 

To complain would show a callow nature, and yet, I know that shallowness is somehow attractive because it seems to require less effort.  It doesn't, because the less effort satisfies less with each time it's tried.  Yet, it promises an ease that cannot be acquired. It's been a year and many of us feel shallow, drained and thin of spirit, and want that promised fullness brimming over that used to come so easily. 

I suspect it is the problem with Zoom, with online instruction, with many of modern relationships. They can't convey the intangible, so the experience itself becomes ephemeral.  Friendships in real life and online, with the living, and those we cannot see, most especially God,  require we seek it, even when we do not feel it.  It's a recognition that the gulf is always on our side.  

Asking the God who sees through attempts to appear holy that aren't, and through efforts that appear fruitless but are full, to pour into us grace beyond anything we deserve, and reveal via scripture, via beauty, via truth and via the sacraments, the so much more we could be, and the so much more He offers.  Where we see water, He makes wine. Where we only have a few loaves and fishes, He feeds the 5000.  It's always there, the bigger reality below the surface of the world.

Life and sin and struggles and distractions can obscure our dim vision.  We're reminded of all the blessings of the moment when we encounter another, for whom the struggles seem to us, even greater than our own, such that we feel embarrassed we ever felt anything about our own.  Praying for others, offering what we struggle with, for them, is an attempt to measure the way God measures, which is to say, with generosity, with what is needed, beyond what is asked.   

If we want to love as God loves, we need to stop measuring it out in teaspoons, and pour out the biggest buckets of prayers we can find onto Heaven, expecting to be drenched in graces as a consequence.   

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Small Success Thursday

We're half way through Lent. I realized, I haven't quite managed to find a rthymn to my devotions or my prayer life. It has remained organic and impulsive and not entirely focused. This is not a confession of a bad Lent, only a reality of how this Lent has thus far progressed.  

1) So today, I recommitted to my Lent.   

Things were hard, but less so, because that's how grace works.  It makes it possible to do what we cannot do without it.  This alone counts as a success, and not  a small one, because it was a reminder to begin again.   

2) In adoration, I recognized I've overtaxed myself in every place of living, and Lent reminded me, I needed to give up trying to do everything, to give up trying to please everyone, and do whatever it was that needed doing, not for approval or success, but out of love.  It sounds corny, but I'd struggled with this past year of obligation, which robbed the ordinary of its joy.  There were and are a thousand reasons for counting blessings because of this year, but I'd grown tired of looking, tired of counting, and begun counting the wrong things. 

Recognizing I'd overdone, was the first step of recovery. Lent would begin again on this, March 11th, with the goal of more surrender each day.   

3) Today, we celebrated as my son turned 17. It's hard to believe 17 years have passed since the year the Red Soxs won their first world series, the Return of the King came out and won best picture and John became part of our lives.  We're so happy he is.   


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