Monday, July 18, 2011

Gardening Part Two... and some 'Wisdom'

This Sunday's readings continue the Parable of the Sower, beginning with a reading from Wisdom and Romans, then culminating with the Gospel of Matthew.  My first thoughts from today emanate from a the title of a book that stands out on my bookshelf which says "Welcome Home". It contains stories of those who return to the Catholic faith after grace filled moments and personal encounters with Christ's love & forgiveness.

This past Sunday's readings ( are about God's goodness and forgiveness. I am glad to be home in Christ's church even though the process has hurt immensely at times and left me scratching my head in wonder...  The responsorial Psalm (86 verse 5) says it all:

"Lord, you are kind and forgiving, most loving to all who call on you."

Nearly 5 years ago, God answered my prayers when I had called on him to help me return to the church and become a better Christian. This was accomplished through several awakening events in my life and a fellow Christian who served as the primary instrument, for which I am forever grateful, yet are still striving to see God's plan in all of this. God continued to show me a path to his door over time and in December 2007, I responded with a 'Yes' to those answered prayers, returning to the church. My opening the door (Rev 3:20) began a floodgate of grace and faith filled moments. The entire process has not been easy, nor has it been comforting at times, however God has consoled me in many respects along the way.  I was reminded of this on Saturday as I attended a wedding for two very faithful Catholics who exemplify God's love to each other in so many ways. They both pursue devout Carmelite spirituality and see God in everything that they do. Their wedding cake laid out Mother Teresa's words so eloquently and plainly:

"Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self."

That's right - Love is not painless. It's a total giving of oneself to another amidst all trials, temptations and struggles. Sometimes we think things should just be easy. But yet, life is a continuous gardening process.

Sunday's readings remind us that God Loves us, no matter what we do, as characterized at the end of the Gospel passage: Matt 13:36-43

"Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

So, as always, we need to be attentive to what is going on around us, cleaning our gardens, sowing good seed, and most of all, trusting God. I will never forget a personal message given to me saying to trust God. It's the famous Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths."

This is more easily said than done!

I proclaimed the first and second readings at Mass this Sunday from the ambo and they certainly spoke to me when I was up at the ambo. I vividly recall a non-Catholic Christian (actually a former Catholic) commenting once to me "Wisdom? I've never heard of that book".  The thing is that the book of Wisdom has actually taught me a bunch of wisdom in life and I simply cannot see how protestants have tossed seven books out of the bible and can defend doing so, especially with a book like Wisdom. Sunday's reading is simply powerful.

"There is no god besides you who have the care of all,
that you need show you have not unjustly condemned.
For your might is the source of justice;
your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all.
For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved;
and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity.
But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency,
and with much lenience you govern us;
for power, whenever you will, attends you.
And you taught your people, by these deeds,
that those who are just must be kind;
and you gave your children good ground for hope
that you would permit repentance for their sins."

Let us pray that true wisdom and God will guide us each day of our lives into absolute truth.

The reading from Romans is rather striking when we see that God works in mysterious ways and along with such, will "intercede" when necessary. I see this as the events in my life where I was on one path where God was definitely trying to work on me while I was off in another world pursuing my worldly interests. It reminds me of how much I used to be attached to my hobbies and things of the world that were leading me away from God.

"Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones
according to God’s will."

The following blog rolled into my email box this morning. What timing. It's definitely something I have been struggling with in my call to the Catholic desert! It is so easy to swing to either side of the pendulum in the faith. Having a balance is certainly key as I see where I have definitely swung wildly at times. Being an engineer, I guess I could model the over damped or under damped response ;)

"How do I get my focus back?"

May God always continue to work in our lives with our grace and acceptance. And as always, may we continue to de-weed our gardens.

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