Tag Archives: Creator

Why One? Commentary on Eph 4: 1-6

Why One? A challenging question. Intuitively, mystics from all religions have come to the realization of our oneness with God, each other and creation. Does this mean we are somehow absorbed in a single amorphous entity and loose our identity? Obviously not. Nor are we God. Very obviously not.

But neither are we isolated, without relationships; we are members of various communities from the human race to our families and friendships. We are one humanity. We are dependent on one another from our conception, birth, and nurturing to our familial and social relationships. We become one body with our spouse [Gen 2:24;Mk 10:8] and form one family unit. Thus, we are faced with that continuously reoccurring phenomenon of both/and; the answer is that I am both me and simultaneously one with others.

As this stemmed from the reading: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to reserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.[1] [Eph 4:1-6] we’ll start there.

In looking at the reading, the rational reasons for oneness are start with the last [whereas the intuitive insight, as Paul states it, starts with the first.].

One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Our oneness begins with God, who is one, who is Creator of all, and is the one and only Father of the one family He created [which, when viewed this way, includes all creation, angels and men, spiritual and material]. Thus, He is certainly over all. And since He is all that is, oneness also stems from not only our being created in the image and likeness of God [Gen 1:26, 27] but everything else being a reflection of the One who is one. But He is also in all, continually creating and sustaining all being; He is existence itself. Finally, it is though all being, facets of His image and continuing creation that He makes Himself known: Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. [Rom 1:20]

One Lord, one faith, one baptism

Here I have to make the leap of faith that the Jews had to do with Jesus, from the One God to Jesus as One with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, the only begotten Son. I have to recognize Him and accept Him as the Messiah. He is Our One Lord, the same for you, for me, for everybody. In believing in Him, we share one Faith; “It follows that all men and women who are saved share, though differently, in the same mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ through his Spirit.”[2] And there is one Baptism, though in the forms of water, of blood, and of desire: “For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.”[3]

As you were also called to the one hope of your call

Israel’s hope rested in Yahweh: My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope. [Ps 62:6], it is realized in Jesus life, death and especially his resurrection: the hope of eternal life that God, who does not lie, promised before time began. [Titus 1:2] As Paul explains elsewhere: But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. [Titus 3:4-7] It is to this salvation that we have been called through the preaching of the Good News: God chose you as the firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth. To this end he has [also] called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [2Thes 2:13-14]

One body and one Spirit

There is but one Spirit of God, one Holy Spirit. He who hovered over the waters during the creation is the same as He who lead the Israelites out of Egypt with a cloud and fire; who caused prophetic ecstasy in David, who came upon Mary, who filled Elizabeth, who inspired Simeon, who appeared as a Dove, who drove Jesus into the desert to be tempted, who blows where he wills, who appeared as a cloud, whom Jesus promised to send as our Advocate, whom Jesus breathed upon the Apostles, who came as wind and tongues of fire on Pentecost, who fell upon Cornelius and his household, who convicts the world of sin and righteousness and condemnation, who gives life and who has given different gifts to each one of us….why, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ. [Eph 4:12-13] For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. [Rom 12:4-5]

striving to reserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace

This unity, this oneness, was not lightly purchased. It took the Son of God to show us that we are one in Him, that He is our one and only Savior, that He suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God [1Pet 3:18] and that if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. [1Thes 4:14]

We retain this faith, this belief, as one Body, one Church. Contrary to what we witness in our Christian Community, all believing their own interpretation of Christ’s message and claiming that their interpretation is the true faith, they cannot all be right. There is only one church that has all the elements of the faith in it, the one, holy, catholic and Apostolic Church, which possesses both the Scripture and Tradition since the beginning, which has one valid priesthood under bishops who trace their line back to Peter and the Apostles, which has seven cherished sacraments, which had the true Eucharist, the true presence in every tabernacle throughout the world and which can unequivocally claim to preach the truth as guaranteed by the unity of the spirit.

This unity was not only not lightly purchased by God, it is also not easily preserved by us, claiming the blood of martyrs, witnesses to validate its claims, insisting on belief in things unseen alluded to in written Scripture and mandating adherence to moral rectitude that the world deems ludicrous, stifling and archaic.

bearing with one another through love

As pointed out above, though the origin of our oneness is the family of God, this familial, brotherly and sisterly bond is constantly being tested, torn, ripped, shredded, violated through sin. By refusing to obey our one Father, we rebel against our very essence, our image and likeness, just as our first parents did. And we alienate ourselves from the rest of the family, our sisters and brothers in God, in Christ, in the human/divine family.

These ruptures, rivalry, jealousy, fury, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. [2Cor 12:20], these self-inflicted wounds, can only be healed through forgiveness. Even within our own community, there are disagreements, strife, contentions, and the bond of peace must constantly be striven for, purchased daily only at the cost of patience, understanding, acceptance and love, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. [1Cor 13:7]

with all humility and gentleness, with patience

In this passage, Paul outlines how Love is manifested in oneness: patience, humility, gentleness. Patience harkens back to bearing with one another, enduring all things. Patience comes from the same Latin root as passion, “to suffer, to endure.” Oneness requires a huge amount of patience on the part of each of us, of passion in both senses of that word, the fire of love enabling one to endure and to suffer the other. For life with the other is not a bed of roses, there will be misunderstandings, conflicts, confusion, rivalries, disagreements, anger, tempers. Love suffers, endures through, beyond and above all of these.

How does one take up that Cross, the other, and suffer in patience. By realizing one’s littleness and the continual unveiling of God’s providence. By humility, being precisely whom God made us to be, no less but no more. And by gentleness, by imitating God’s mercy and care of me, and doing to the other as was done to me by God.

live in a manner worthy of the call you have received

By do this, by love, patience, gentleness, humility, we will indeed live in a manner worthy of the call of God, not just to our baptism into the one faith, the one Church, the one Body of Christ, the one Spirit, but that vocation, that calling to be one with the One Lord, to be a temple of the Father, to be Christ’s hands, Christ’s feet, Christ’s voice, Christ’s touch in my unique and inimitable way, and to support and encourage you to be His hands, His feet, His voice, His touch, in your special way. For only by all of us being Christ each in our own way can we hope together with our head, to be one with Christ as He is.


Oneness in Scripture

From God’s point of view:

  • One God: Yhwh: I am who I am. [Ex 3:14]
  • One Father of all: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone: other possible translations are “the Lord our God is one Lord”; “the Lord our God, the Lord is one”; “the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. [4] [Deut 6:4]
  • One Source and Creator of all being, yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist. [1Cor 8:6]
  • One Son: one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist. [1Cor 8:6]
  • One Savior and Redeemer of all: For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all. [1Tim 2:5] And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. [Jn 12:32]
  • One Spirit For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. [1Cor 12:13]
  • One Way, one Truth, one Life: I am the way and the truthand the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [Jn 14:6]
  • One Love of all: God is love…In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. [1Jn 4:8b,10]
  • One Providence: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. [Rom 8:28]
  • One Plan of Salvation for all This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. [1Tim 2:3-4]
  • One Body: We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another [Rom 12:5]
  • One Faith …everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life [Jn 3:16
  • One Spirit, many Gifts: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; [1Cor 12:4]
  • One Lord, different service: there are different forms of service but the same Lord; [1Cor 12:5]
  • One God, different effects/manifestations of power: there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. [1Cor 12:6]
  • Father is in the Son; the Son in the Father: Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. [Jn 14:10,11]

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwell in me, in you; They are one with us and we, through Them, with each other.

  • The Father and the Son will live in me: 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]
  • The Spirit in You: the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it….remains with you, and will be in you. [Jn 14:17]
  • I am in Jesus, Jesus is in me: On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. [Jn 14:20]
  • We are one with and in the Father and Jesus: they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. [Jn 17:21]

We are “brought to perfection as one” in Christ

  • We are brought to perfection as one: And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. [Jn 17:22-23]
  • Unity of mind, love, heart, thinking: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. [Phil 2:1-2]
  • Think in harmony and praise with one voice: May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Rom 15:5-6]
  • Be of the same mind and purpose: I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. [1Cor 1:10]
  • Christ is one: For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? [1Cor 1:11-13]
  • We are one in Christ: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [Gal 3:28]
  • We have the same Lord: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. [Rom 10:12]
  • We all have the same Spirit: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. [1Cor 12:13]
  • Christ is all and in all: Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all. [Col 3:11]

We are all one Body

  • We are all one body: As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also ChristNow you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. [1Cor 12:12,27] Col 1:18, 24.
  • Christ is head of the body, the Church: He is the head of the body, the church. [Col 1:18]
  • We are one body and individually parts of one another: For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. [Rom 12:4-5]
  • Together as one body, we support one another and the Church grows: Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love. [Eph 4:15-16]
  • The peace of perfection comes from being one: And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. [Col 3:15]
  • Different ministries but unity of faith and knowledge: And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ. [Eph 4:11-13]
  • Without unity and maturity of faith and knowledge, we are individual infants: infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. [Eph 4:14]
  • If we go off on our own, we are not connected with Christ in his body: Let no one disqualify you, delighting in self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, inflated without reason by his fleshly mind, and not holding closely to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and bonds, achieves the growth that comes from God. [Col 2:18-19]

We are one because we all receive the same Jesus

  • The loaf is one; Jesus is one; we are one: Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. [1Cor 10:17]

Jesus is one with my neighbor.

  • The criteria of our judgment: ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ [Mt 25:40]
  • Jesus identifies himself with the persecuted: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. [Acts 9:4-5; 22:7-8; 26:14-15]
  • The Second Great Commandment: For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Gal 5:14; see Lev 19:18; Mt 19:19; 22:39; Mk 12:31; Lk 10:27; Rom 13:9; Jas 2:8]

[1] 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.

[2] Pontifical Council For Inter-Religious Dialogue And The Congregation For The Evangelization Of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 29: AAS 84 (1992), 424.

[3] Vatican II, Pope Paul VI, Pastoral Constitution On The Church In The Modern World, Gaudium Et Spes, December 7, 1965, Vatican, History of the Councils, Vatican II, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html, No. 22.

[4]NABRE note on Deut 6:4.

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So why a Church?

So why the Church? This is actually a whole plethora of questions rolled into one. I’ll ask the Spirit to help me look at two: Why any Church? And why the Catholic Church?

Why any Church? First, I am not talking bricks and mortar. I am talking a faith community, it is the “we” in the “Our”; God is “Our” Father, not just my Father.

There is a difference between belief and faith. I recite in the creeds, “I believe”. What I believe is important, is gleaned from a faith community, perhaps many faith communities, plus my own reflections and thoughts, an amalgam of what I believe. But there is a transition from belief to faith. It’s the transition from “I believe” to “I believe,” the personalization, the identification, the commitment to, the living in accordance with the what, the belief. For the simple reason, faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. [1] [Heb 11:1] “Realization” is the making real to me; “evidence” is sometimes translated “conviction,” but either ultimately stem from videre, “to see,” not just to stand under [understand] and view, but to grok with the eyes of the heart, to peer into the essence of the reality and behold the face of God. Indeed, this is often my problem, I may believe, I may be able to mouth the words, but I haven’t made them my own, I haven’t covenanted with them, I haven’t recognized the God Life in them, I haven’t loved them, I haven’t lived them.

So why a Church? Because such lived belief, such faith, is in Jesus; from the incarnational point of view, it is not sought out there in the heavens or in the recesses of my mind, it is found in community, communion with the Jesus, with His Spirit, and through them with the Father. And not even Them out there, but in these, us least of His brothers and sisters, us whom Paul persecuted, us who gather by twos and threes and welcome Them in our midst. Because God has revealed to us that He is so intimately bound to each and every person through His Son and Spirit, I cannot hope to find Them in the Trinity’s infinite diversity and wisdom, mercy and love if I try to find Them in my sinful self alone. I need to find, to see, to experience Them in Their myriad and every fascinating manifestations in each person I meet and in each community I share. “Religion’s main and final goal is to reconnect us (re-ligio) to the Whole, to ourselves, and to one another—and thus heal us.” [R. Rohr]

Not that I do this well. I sometimes prefer to hole up in my own cubby of a world and pretend that the rest don’t exist, or at least don’t matter. It’s called self-idolization. I’m god and I believe in me and I’m in charge and everything and everybody else either better take note and fly right or get out of the way. Of course, such hubris has, as the Greeks observed, its inevitable fall, its crumbling tumble into reality. And for this I need the faith community more than ever, to bear with me when I build my Babels, to pick up the pieces and put my Humpty back together with mercy, love and forgiveness, and to welcome back the battered and scarred sheep with loving and open arms to again form our community of faith and trust in our loving God. Please forgive me, Lord, Jesus, Spirit, Father, and my sisters and brothers, I blew it again, but I’m back to try once more with Your help.

[1] 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.

Tampering with Freedom

20 But he said to them, “It is I.[1] Do not be afraid.” [2]

The two most difficult things opposites…one to comprehend and the other to do. Jesus, God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Being of all beings, the Light from light, True God from True God, right here in front of me, standing on the water, and He’s tell me not to be afraid. When God tells you something, its somewhere on the spectrum of encouragement to command. When God speaks anything other than my free will, it is, it becomes, it is done…storms cease, fig trees wither, illness vanishes, water becomes wine, bread and wine become Body and Blood.

The one thing You never tamper with is our freedom to choose You or not, my freedom,…something You could so easily do…something I would do in a heartbeat if I were God. I mean, think of it….turn murderers into guardian angels, turn the greedy into philanthropists, turn liars into Truth sayers, turn Atheists into believers, turn Pagans into Christians, turn enemies into allies, turn ISIS into UNESCO, turn Republicans into Democrats,…whoa, whoa, whoa…shades of my version of 1984, Brave New World, of Mr. Blue’s parable…of forcing all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads. [Rev 13:16]

I thank You, God, You don’t work that way. In Your wisdom and mercy, You established the inviolable law of Truth, that “the truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.”[3]

Yes, You Yourself have  “made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve…[You], and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness…[Yes,] on their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns…[You and Your] Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it. [Yes,] the Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force.” [4]

[But also, like the God who started it, the God who guides it, the God who cares for it every moment of its existence, the Catholic Church believes, states, and defends every person’s] “religious freedom,…which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, [and which] has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. It leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,…[but upholds and defends] the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society.” [5]

Thank you, God, for my freedom to believe. Help me to use that freedom as You intended.

[1] This could also be translated “I am,” an Old Testament self-designation of Yahweh (Is 43:3, etc.); cf. Jn 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5–6, 8. NABRE note on Jn 4:6.

[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.

[3] Vatican II, Declaration On Religious Freedom: On The Right Of The Person And Of Communities To Social And Civil Freedom In Matters Religious, Para. 1

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

The Father and the Rosary

I don’t know about you, but in the back of my mind, I have always wondered why the Rosary is structured the way it is…I mean, it is obviously not random but seems a bit odd…one Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s, a Glory be, and the O My Jesus…very odd.

But the Holy Spirit, designer par excellence, of course knew and knew that I wanted to know and the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. [Rom 8:28] [1] And so, just as in macro Salvation History, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption, [Gal 4:4-5] so when the fullness of time had come, the Holy Spirit let me in on the rationale behind His design.

Just as in Jesus life, everything is centered around the Father, I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me [Jn 6:38], so the Rosary is actually a huge prayer in honor of the Father and the Trinity.

We start out with its sign, the sign of the Cross, doing all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles Creed summarizes the workings of the Trinity in Salvation History. Then the initial Our Father acknowledges that all comes from and flows back to the Father. The three Hail Mary’s acknowledge our way to the Father following Mary in her humility who, throughout her life live out her initial Fiat: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. [Lk 1:38] We break it down a bit so that we can better realize the entire import of her great “Unto.” We ask in humility for faith, for hope, for true charity which is done, not for my glory, but for the Glory of God, a sentiment about which we remind ourselves by reciting the Glory be at then end of the triplet.

And then on to the real stuff: note the five or fifteen or twenty, depending on your rosary, decades are all structured exactly the same way…for a purpose. We start with the Our Father to remind us that the Father is behind, in front of, over and in everything. What is about to be recalled, He planned and knew from eternity, every minute detail was providentially worked out, not for elegance, though it has that, not for magnificence, though it has that, but for me, for you, for each and every human being that ever was, is or will be on the face of this earth and elsewhere. He did it because He loves us and what we are about to witness again in memory is that love written in our history, our nitty-gritty day-to-day on-going history, to remind us that every moment of existence is a moment of Salvation History and we’re a part of it…so let’s get on with it!

The memorial drama then unfolds through the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, each portraying a selected moment in the life, death and resurrection of the God-Man, Jesus, our Christ. We need the time of 10 Hail Mary’s to explore, examine and appreciate this facet of the jewel of God’s love. We need Mary to remind us that she kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart;[Lk 2:19] that we won’t get it in one or one thousand recitations, but we can keep them and reflect on them forever.

Fittingly, at the end of each decade, we come back up for air, and realize again that all that we have seen, all that we have heard, all that has been done unto us is due to and gives Glory “to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.”

Finally, following Mary’s request at Fatima, we pray: “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen,” a testimony to the validity of Tradition, of the sensus fidei, of the ongoing care and concern God reveals to us, of the reality of the memories in our life, in the never-ending until eternity drama of Salvation History worked out in me and in you, of the horrific reality of the stakes and of my inability to save myself, and of my constant and critical need to cast myself upon the mercy of the Father, for only by His continual love and forgiveness manifested this day will the rest of the Rosary make any sense. Amen. Alleluia!!!

 [1] 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.

Sit Down…..

10 Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”[1]

“Sit down.” How many times in my life have I been told to sit down. The experiences range from polite or friendly invitations to reprimands from teachers or officials. The words can either place me in a relaxed mode or portend discipline or worse.

How many times have I been invited by God to “sit down” and watch, “sit down” and listen, “sit down” and learn?   Being and A-type personality, I ignore You, and rush around like Martha, anxious and worried about many things, while You are trying to tell me: There is need of only one thing, sitting beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. [Lk 10: 39, 41-42]

Instead, I am probably throwing up objections to why I am sooo busy,…playing the martyr host, making everybody else happy while forcing myself to run myself ragged and all the time, at least thinking, if not voicing the chastisement: Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me. [Lk 10:40]…ah, reminisces of the pity pot… lording it over others as goody-two-shoes playing the “humble” servant and making d-mn sure everybody knows it! Hubris comes in all shapes and sizes…one for every occasion.

When God tells me to “sit down,” “take a load off your feet,” Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while, [Mk 6:31], it is probably wise to do so. Indeed, He may also be saying, “Sit down and learn something!”

Maybe that is what is behind the third commandment: Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work,…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. [Ex 20:8-11]

God must really, really like the Sabbath, the rest, the holiness. He certainly has a lot to say about it: “…it represents the longest of the Decalogue’s precepts.”[2]

Why the big deal about resting? What is the relationship between resting and keeping it holy? Keep my sabbaths, for that is to be the sign between you and me throughout the generations, to show that it is I, the LORD, who make you holy. [Ex 31:13] I guess You want to make me holy as You are holy [1 Pet 1:16; Lev 11:44, 19:2]…and this is where you start.

Maybe You are saying, rest and don’t work: “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” [Mt 6: 25, 32-33]

Scripture gives two reasons for the Sabbath:

  • God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation. [Gen 2:3]
  • Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe the sabbath day. [Deut 5:15]

Both have to do with God’s work and God’s resting and You wanting us to reflect on the fact that it is You who create, You who care for us, You who rescue us when we are slaves.

Maybe the way we are made holy is to sit at your feet and listen and learn. Maybe the Sabbath is to teach me to depend, not on my frenetic efforts, but to pay attention to what is really going on. I can labor for six days and do all my work…but, in the end, it is You, God, who are in charge. It is You, God, who provide all I need. It is You, God, who wants me to have a “time out” to sit by myself, to sit with You, to sit with our family, our friends, our congregation, and listen.

And, like the 5000 men plus women and children who are being told by the disciples to “sit down,” we too are sitting in the presence of the God/Man. We too are about to witness a miracle. We too are about to be fed…not just loaves and fish, but the bread from heaven.

Shhhh! I come in a still small voice. [1 Kgs 19:12] Be still and know that I am God. [Ps 40:10]

[1] 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.

[2] NABRE Note on Ex 20:8.