Friday, November 27, 2015
We seem to get very upset about radical fundamentalist groups destroying buildings of other religions and spiritual paths. "How can they do such a thing?" "What barbarians these people are!" And so on. But we should also look at our own side of the street. In my church we have people that are declared saints who tour down, destroyed what we call pagan temples. We think of pagans as people who believe nothing or at least don't believe in God. Then why did they build temples? They believed in something. Their problem was that they did not believe "correctly." They did not have the army or firepower to hold off the destroyers. My church destroyed no buildings until it got the backing of being a state approved religion. The radical fundamentalists of today just put up with "nonbelievers," or infidels as they call them because the fundamentalists did not have the guns, army or power to do anything else. Now they do. As did other religions in the past. This is all a bad thing, yes, but let us remember that we who condemn are not so innocent either.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving. I rarely have a bad day when I begin with gratitude and focus on things for which I am or ought to be thankful. When I don't assume or take people and situations for granted I am a better person. Today especially, I have my list of things and people for whom I am thankful and grateful. I tend to be a forgetter, which leads to whining and self-centeredness. I need lots of days of Thanksgiving. Today is a reminder. I am thankful for the few people who are taking time out from special events and food, to read this blog. Hey! Be thankful for me. Put me on your list.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I read where the term "mission" properly refers to conversion from idols to the one true God. Since Jews and Mainline Protestants already believe in the one true God, there should be no need to expend missionary zeal on converting them from their faith to the missionary's belief. A lot of missionary zeal has been spent on doing exactly that, trying to convert believers. Anti-Semitism and The Reformation fuel a lot of this zeal. Maybe the zeal should be directed to idol worshippers such as Wall Street and top floor corporate types who worship money? People tend to worship their addictions. "More" is a modern god. Alcoholics focus on booze, and do not come off it on a daily basis until they are converted to belief in a higher power. Find the addicts in your world and mission to them. Of course, you are not one of them. Be still my heart.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
It seems that there is a movement to allow people a choice about when they die. The choice that is envisioned is someone who has medical options and insurance. They can undergo treatment or not. They may have undergone treatment and it did not work. Surgery did not work. Chemo did not work and so on. Do they go on suffering after all else has failed? This is how choice is envisioned by most people. But some people have no choice about treatment. They are poor and no one wants to do anything for them. The system cannot afford to care for them or is disinterested. Here Assisted Suicide says take a pill. Get out of your misery and cut the expenses of whatever system of dole is keeping you alive. Die and decrease the surplus population. We have enough poor as it is. Assisted suicide is a lot cheaper than health care.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Is there a Hell? Many people seem to think not. But I think that there has to be a place that honors our free choices. God is a Gentle God and has given us free will, though mine often seems to be bound by so many bad habits. I know people who are given a path of happiness, but seem to choose some other way that brings them misery. Eventually, they seem to deliver some of their misery to others. Now science seems to be saying that they had a chemical imbalance so they could not choose the truly good path for themselves. If so, is there not a spiritual imbalance in which we cannot choose the correct path? Try avoiding all spiritual practice, to include loving actions on behalf of others. Be selfish and self-imploded. Misery will be yours, chemical imbalance or not. If I die with a spiritual imbalance, or the lack of any spiritual maturity, will I not be given a choice by God for the next stage of my existence, should there be such an entity. I tend to believe there is an afterlife, and I will choose misery yet again, since this is how I managed or mismanaged my life up until then. God will honor my choice yet again as God did in this life. So there has to be a place or state of being for bad choices. I call it hell. I am trying to avoid it each day. I did a lot of bad choices, but thought them good ideas. Such people like me need a spiritual program, direction, and guides. Left to my own devices I will have a spiritual imbalance. Maureen said I was hopeless. I hope not.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
I like to fancy myself as a liberal Catholic, even a bit of a maverick. That is, until I lose something. Then I realize that I am a hard core Catholic. Recently, I was out for a jog on the ocean cliffs North of San Francisco, California. I took off my prescription sun glasses as I was running into a cave of trees. It was dark in there and I did not want to trip over a tree root. When I came out the other side into the sun, I put my glasses on but the vision seemed to be blurry. I ran for a while anyway, my blood cells all being in my legs and none in my brain. Finally, I took off my sun glasses, prescription of course, and found that a lens was in fact missing. It had fallen out somewhere. After shouting out a bad word or two, I started to retrace my steps. As I walked along, I prayed to Mary, my Guardian Angel and St. Jude and St. Anthony. Jude is for lost causes, which seems to be me, and Anthony for lost things. Oh, and I included God in my prayer. As I walked, I said "Hail Mary's." I found my lens. I said "Thank you," to my list of heavenly helpers. November is the Feast of All Saints Month and All Souls. I had included my deceased parents and even my deceased sister Maureen in my prayers for help. Maybe she nudged St. Anthony to help me. If so, Maureen would be in heaven now. Miracles never cease!
Saturday, November 21, 2015
This fellow fascinates me. He destroys stereotypes. In the 16th century he became a regular lawyer and then a canon lawyer in the church. You expect a paper pusher in a church office, disconnected from any social justice activity. On top of this, his uncle, the pope makes him a cardinal when Charles is only 23 and gives him an important job in the Vatican. Charles runs the third session of The Council of Trent, the session that got the most done in the Counter Reformation. He writes a catechism. Now you figure this fellow lives in his head and is a career seeking guy in the Vatican. Next he is made bishop of Milan, a neglected diocese. You figure he will neglect it to and just hang around the Vatican or feather his own nest. None of this happens. The secular press is confounded! Charles taught Sunday school, and attended personally to people in his diocese who were victims of the plague. He died at 46, which can happen when you immerse yourself in caring for victims of the plague. You just never know how grace is going to work in anyone's life. Don't judge. There are no stereotypes. Grace is everywhere. Maybe it is even in you!