Lessons to learn from Pope Benedict’s Resignation:
Whatever faith we choose, whatever religion we belong to, whatever spirituality we adopt, we can all learn from the news this past week regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict’s XVI. Here are the points that I want to take away from this:
+ No job is so important that it can’t or won’t continue when I step away from it
+ It takes a real humility to accept my limitations
+ Whatever my position is, even if my title may be the Head of the Catholic Church on earth, the Church ultimately belongs to God and the Holy Spirit will guide it
+ There comes a time, no matter what my role or service in the church may be, when it is time to remember that the relationship is ultimately between God and me
+ And…..it is at that time that I must really look deep inside and, through prayer, get my personal ‘house in order’ and be willing to take a step into the darkness
It’s so tempting to think that I am in control…..but….
I must pray for the strength to not ‘eat that apple’.
So many of us struggle with God’s love. When we first come to know that we are loved, our reaction is something like, “Oh, isn’t it wonderful that God loves me!” If we could only stay with that pure, simple, child-like statement! But often it can become a little distorted and our thoughts of God’s love may actually become more of a burden….
As we live our lives, we like to do things ‘our way’. I may act out in anger, I may hurt someone, I may be totally selfish, I may put my own ego first (and this was just yesterday!!!). And then I am reminded – God loves me.
What comes next? Feelings of guilt and oppression? God loves me, how could I act like that? How could I think those thoughts? How could I say things like that? This really makes me feel bad – God….maybe you shouldn’t love me….it might be easier!
Here I go again….confusing the definition of God’s unconditional love with conditional love – the only kind of love that I am capable of.
The truth is that God loves us ‘in spite of ourselves’. His love does not depend on me and what I do. God’s love is a freedom, not a burden. He loves me as I am – flawed and broken. He sees and knows me and loves what he sees and knows. I don’t have to ‘clean myself up’ for him – I go to him as I am and he loves every bit of me! That is freedom!
So, at times I am:
The Prodigal Son
The Lost Sheep
The Lost Coin
How does that make me feel?
I only have to concentrate on the ‘ends’ of those stories…..
I am loved!
I saw a video the other day. It was about a man who lost his pregnant wife and his only daughter when the car that he was driving was hit head on by a teenage drunk driver.
It’s a tough one to watch but SO POWERFUL. There is so much in it….the forgiveness, the healing, the mercy, the love. But, by far, the greatest message, at least for me, was this (paraphrasing):
‘It’s not me who forgave him, oh-no, I could never do that. All I had to do was to move aside and let Christ work through me!’
We need to get out of our own way sometimes, and let God do his work through us.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26
Move aside, just move aside!
Next week I’m giving a short talk on prayer to adults. I’ve done it before, I have something prepared, and the reflections and thoughts from your blog posts help to inspire me. The problem is, however, the older I get, the more I realize that my words fall short.
Oh sure, I can define prayer, describe what it ‘looks’ like, even present many different types, kinds and methods of prayer……but, I cannot give them the ‘experience’ of prayer. That is too intimate and too sacred.
Every relationship begins with boundaries and guidelines. Even the Chosen People were given the Ten Commandments to help them get started. But then, if your heart is open, the relationship takes over and everything else falls away.
Prayer is the invitation, the embrace, the knowing. Prayer is the heart’s voice in the Love Story.
This morning we begin our religious education program with about 150 first through third graders. Am I getting too old for this???
I can see it now, those little faces, the smiles, some tears perhaps, all arriving with excitement and some trepidation. Some will recognize their teacher and know exactly what to do and where to go, some will wander and begin to fear that they don’t have a place. Some will settle down, some will fidget and fidget! Some will have to go to the bathroom and then others will follow (the domino effect). Last year, one little second grader informed us that he had the mind of a twelve year old and didn’t need to be there!
And so it begins…..
I love to watch, to simply observe…there is much to see, there is much to learn, there is much to be thankful for!
And then it is over and I come home at about noon – change clothes, kick my shoes off, sit for a bit….and then
Energy Required – the seventh graders come this evening!!!