Meanderings: Random Inspirations along the Journey #1

[There is no particular pattern to these inspirations of the Holy Spirit, His sharings into the spiritual dimension. They merit a comment but do not necessitate a complete mediation.  Enjoy!  Amen.  Alleluia!!!]


Are distractions a way to God?

Yes and no, I guess. Depends on how we use them. If I acknowledge to God that I am distracted and ask His grace and helping focusing back on Him, then, no matter how many times I have to do this, I believe God is not just pleased, but right there by my side, encouraging me. He’s my Spiritual coach, my trainer, instead of “One more push-up,” whispering: “Once more, back to basics. Back to Me. You can do it! Good. Keep coming back.”

However, if I stay away and allow myself to be captivated by the distraction, bowing to it rather than to God, it becomes my god, my idol. If I try to fight distractions on my own, it is a loosing battle from the start: the effort of trying to get rid of the distractions is itself distracting and, realizing this, I try to get rid of that, and thus the never ending vortex, the black hole of oblivion. The additional problem, of course, is that, in this scenario, the entire focus circles back to me, me, me and never on God. This, of course, is the poster child for insanity or at least obsession: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

So, correctly used as a humbling reminder of my dependence on God, distractions can be true prayer…perhaps not the gentle abiding communion for which I was hoping, but definitely a workout in the gym with the Almighty.


The many faces of faith

There’s

  • the I believe in one God, the Father Almighty[1] faith vs the moving mountains faith;
  • a past faith with a present faith;
  • a passive faith with an active faith.

These are both/and faiths. We must have both.

Then there’s

  • the God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you[2] faith vs take up your cross daily and follow me faith;
  • the many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life faith vs the Where shall we go. You have the words of eternal life faith;
  • the we wish to see a sign from you faith vs the blessed are those who have not seen and have believed faith
  • The ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go faith vs the ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went faith;
  • The I have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry! Faith vs the take nothing for the journey faith;
  • The I will follow you, Lord, but first faith vs the Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God faith;
  • The Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs? faith vs the whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me
  • The “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” faith vs the “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

These are the choices along the journey of life faith. These are the: “Lord, help me. I do believe, help my unbelief!” [Mk 9:24]


How to live in Heaven NOW

Jesus modeled and taught how to live on earth in a loving way, and he said that this was indeed heaven! But Christians have all too often pushed heaven into the future. We’ve made Jesus’ death and resurrection into a reward/punishment system for the next world, which creates tremendously self-absorbed and self-preoccupied people. It doesn’t transform anyone into compassionate, loving individuals.[3]


Indifference with a difference

A contradiction with Ignatian discernment is that “indifference” is far different from its more common usage: I am indifferent = I don’t care. In the Ignatian sense, to be indifferent is to care whole-heartedly towards something, with full desire and hope; but with equally full openness and freedom towards whatever the outcome. In other words, it would be with full hope but no expectation.[4]


 When is Good not Good…

When it is a temptation to distract from a greater good. And all goods, both material, physical and spiritual, are relative when compared to God. “All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.”[5]


The Glad Tidings of Cana

While I often think of Cana as a miracle, one of John’s seven Signs, it was also one of the first instances of Jesus’ fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of bringing glad tidings to the poor. [Is 61:1; Lk 4:18] In Jesus’ Kingdom, glad tidings are not just preached, they come in many forms: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised. [Mt 11:5] What better glad tidings, at that embarrassing moment in Cana than to tell the frantic bridegroom you have kept the good wine until now? [Jn 2:10][6]


Emmanuel: God with Us

God is with me, right now, right here. Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.[Jn 14:23] Remain in me, as I remain in you.[Jn 15:4] Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age, [Mt 28:20] I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.[Jn 14:16] By creating the Eucharist, He guaranteed that He would be with us through both here on earth and throughout Eternity. By creating the Church, we are united to each other and to Christ; we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. [Rom 12:5] Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. [1Cor 12:27] It is comforting to know that I am never alone.


[1] First words of the Nicene Creed, our profession of faith, the what of our faith. http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/

[2] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. The contradictory quotes are: Mt 16:22 vs Lk 9:23; Jn 6:66 vs Jn 6:68; Mt 12:38 vs Jn 20:29; Mt 21:30 vs Mt 21:29; Lk 12:19 vs Lk 9:3; Lk 9:61 vs Lk 9:60; Mt 25:44 vs Mt 25:40; Mk 4:38 vs Mk 4:40.

[3] Rohr, Richard, A Change in Consciousness, Buddhism: Week 2, Sunday, September 6, 2015, Center for Action and Contemplation

[4] Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. Daily Inspiration from JesuitPrayer.org September 10, 2015

[5] St. Ignatius as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J., “The Principle and Foundation: Who We Are Before God,” Jesuit Collaborative, Fordham University, New York, NY June 19 – 21, 2009, http://jesuit-collaborative.org/principle-and-foundation

[6] Of course, many, many things came afterwards which were literally, infinitely better: sins are forgiven, living water, the bread of eternal life; and the pièce de résistance, resurrection and eternal happiness with God in heaven.

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