All you big-shots who swagger, and stride with conceit. I’m talking to you.
Really awesome band and song.
All you big-shots who swagger, and stride with conceit. I’m talking to you.
Really awesome band and song.
Justice. We look for it in our rights based system relying on our attorney to know the law and push our position. It is our way of life. We cling to it tightly and use it for every problem we have. Justice certainly does not always come out of the courtroom. We know that. History has shown us that repeatedly. Sometimes, justice comes over slow periods of time with lots of struggling, pain, sacrifice. Other times, no justice is felt.
We Christians believe that Jesus Christ came for one purpose – to reconcile us to the Father and, in other words, to make us right with the Father. We owed a debt we could not pay so He who did not owe the debt paid it for us. It was His purpose from the beginning – to pay the cost for sin. And the cost? the death of the innocent one. Yes, the innocent one – condemned by the worldly power after much trial-like proceedings. Was that justice in the worldly sense? no way. Did He do it willingly and out of Love. yup. Are we called to do the same? Yup.
So how are we to save ourselves, move forward, live in the face of injustice? Hold on to Him who tells us to Love. That when we are in conflict, when we are at odds with others, love more not less. That’s right…step back and love more. We have plenty of examples of people who have done this. Some have loved more within the system, others have loved outside of it. Mostly, their lives end in sacrifice because, what greater love is there than when one gives his life for his friend.
Do we do this for our neighbor, our wife, our child, our workmate, our friend? Or do we cling with everything we are to our own position seeking to control the outcome and putting our faith once again in a justice we have such a small chance of finding. No matter what the problem, we must control it and we do not trust Love to solve it. We cannot wait for the effects of love. We know it will be rejected and we are fearful of the next step. We will not take the pain – the very real pain – that comes with taking the position of Love. Our impatience, fear and need to assert our will gets in the way. But being patient, letting go of fear and allowing His will to control will bring you a peace you can live with and move with and most of all a satisfaction that is real and deeply felt.
Cary and I continue to offer families other options of dealing with conflict whether it be within the family or in the workplace. Letting a third person in who can help you dissect the problem from many perspectives including the legal and moral and cost analysis and then look at creative solutions can change the process into one of growth, empowerment, freedom and a sense of relationship with self and others never contemplated. The family and workplace are the main identities of humans and as such, Cary and I have chosen to emphasize these two areas in our conflict resolution practice. We see people clinging tightly to positions in family and work situations that can and do have devastating effects on them, their identity at work, their children, and their family. These people are relying on the courtroom to find justice. Perhaps, but the chances are small and the win/lose disparity huge. It’s quite a gamble and with that ride you lose so much in collateral costs to your own well being even in the win. Think about another route. Do not be afraid for although we guarantee pain and suffering, this pain and suffering brings a deeper sense of peace and satisfaction than can ever be felt in the courtroom.
We spend entirely too much time these days analyzing and re-analyzing our feelings of love. If my concept of love depends on whether I feel in love at the moment, I’ll be constantly disappointed. I’ll feel good about you one day, perhaps just after we’ve had sex or because you said something nice about my hair. Then the next day I’ll decide I don’t love you, because “that spark’s just not there.
On the other hand, if I come to view love not as something I feel but something I do, I then can take full responsibility for whether I love you, and I don’t need any response from you. I love you because that’s what I do. I love you with curlers in your hair. I love you when you’re staring intently at the beer commercials between quarters of the football game on TV. I love you, purely, simply, completely. Now that’s love.”
Thank you Lee Borden. Lee has worked in the divorce field for many years and is experienced and extremely knowledgeable. But more than that, he is a very special person who helps people help each other survive divorce. Read why he does what he does. We appreciate him and you will too.
As people who help couples deal with conflict, we see couples who, whether in the divorce process or thinking about it or trying to save their marriage, are fixated on their “feelings” about love. I don’t feel in love anymore – is something we commonly hear. But love has little to do with feelings. To love someone is to will yourself to want their good…over and over – whether you feel good about it that day or not. For you to get something back, the other needs to love you…will your good…under all circumstances. That is the marriage contract. plain and simple. Giving love is what marriage is all about.
And in the big game of life, giving love is what makes life beautiful, satisfying. Love is what makes life worth living – not that great job or money or anything else. It is the love you gave and the love you know someone gave you is what you will remember.
“The greatest dramas naturally involve the salvation or loss of the soul…sic… Without sin, you have no story…sic..(But) …either one is serious about salvation or one is not.” Flannery O Connor.
We are all fallen. Our stories center around sin. Ms. O’Connor is not afraid to call sin what it is…sin. She recognizes the power and the real presence of sin. (Makes me think of Christ’s antidote – his real presence in the Eucharist.) And in each of her stories, O Connor leaves you , as Bruce Springsteen says, with this hole where you have got to think about which way you are going to go. Oh she offers the redemptive act, but will the character take it. Will you take it? Or will you just enjoy the meanness.
She is stunning – one of the best storytellers ever. Try reading this short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” you wont be sorry. And for you Bruce Springsteen fans take a look at this article of O Connor’s influence on Springsteen’s songwriting. Raised Catholic Springsteen does not define himself as a practicing Catholic yet his songwriting not only parallels O Connor’s storytelling but includes quotes and titles of her own works. Very Cool.
St. Maximilian Kolbe offering himself up to starve in the place of another at Auschwitz was on a continuum with his celibacy.
When I read this I exclaimed YES! YES! YES! You see, as Christians we serve a different Master than the world. “Because to serve the world means we serve comfort, power, efficiency, security and our sexuality.” As servants of Jesus Christ who we actually believe is the Saviour of the World, we serve love. When we say “I believe in God” we are really saying, “I view life as a gift, not a possession”… Thus, we serve a God who sacrificed Himself for us. His love burns within us like a fire. It is unquenchable. No act is too great out of love. Our Lord showed us that. We imitate it. We learn it on our road to an ever more intimate relationship with Christ. From giving up a cup of coffee to giving up your sexuality to giving up your life – it is all a continuum because, you see, the love burns from and for our Creator, our Life, our Protector, the Great I AM, our Provider, our Joy. He thirsted on the cross for US and we thirst here for Him and in that thirst, we learn to love others and our thirst becomes for others but all for Him.
Thank you Lord that the time has come for Pope Francis. Thank you that the servant leader of your Church is displaying charity and love for all so loudly. I pray his charity be seen in its relation to You and not boxed up as social work for the poor. His charity is a charity driven by his belief in You and Your gifts to us. Oh how beautiful the gifts you have given to us Lord. Forgive us for the sins we commit against your most precious gifts. Let hearts be converted to see and to know You so we can see and know Your gifts. With great joy and confidence I pray knowing my prayer is heard and the sacrifices I make through You and because of my love for You and the works of love I do through You and because of You are received. Remove any shred of pride that I may walk devoid of myself so that only You are seen and not me. In Christ’s name I ask all of this and through the intercession of Christ’s beloved Mother Mary I pray
“He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe
Because we owe a debt we cannot pay”
I got up and went to pray. I needed inspiration. I turned to Heather King, my sister in Christ who hit me a home run today. Make sure you watch the video. Beautiful and it made me smile. Thank you.
So live each day knowing this and taking the day as the gift that it is. Whatever befalls you – give it God – and live for Him.
Seven Stanzas at Easter
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
John Updike, 1960.
Love is God’s greatest gift to humanity, it is His promise and our hope. From the ENCYCLICAL LETTER
CARITAS IN VERITATE OF THE PONTIFFBENEDICT XVI.
When I use my heart to think instead of my mind I love and in so doing, I am much better at everything I do. For instance, I am more patient with others, with myself, with seeking solutions or solving problems. One of the biggest mistakes we make is acting in haste, responding too quickly, saying the first thing we think. Using our heart slows us down and makes us first and foremost, aware of people as dignified beings, as our brothers and sisters, as our keepers in the sense that we care for them and they for us.
I am also more kind. Instead of trying to be nice – fake nice – or “pc” or appropriate – I am simply kind which erases any need for superficiality, censors my tongue, changes my attitude, and allows me to see people, problems, solutions outside of my own self-serving interests.
I am also empathic and understanding. Judgment is gone because in my heart I know that judgment kills and brings anger which then takes things out of control.
Finally, when I use my heart to think instead of my mind I find a freedom that opens me and causes all the splendid faculties of my personality to spill out bringing a light and cheerfulness to the situation. Even in sorrow, even in pain…there is a peace, a hope, a perseverance that moves it all forward.
I wish I could say I am like this always. I pray to be more this than reliant upon myself because each day I know that by myself I am of little help but in Him and through Him I can do anything. Just recently I failed greatly by using my head instead of my heart. My words hurt, my attitude was harsh and judgmental, my body language closed. It got me ugliness. And there are a lot of excuses I could make justifying myself and it is easy – so easy – to believe them. But there was no love and without it, I failed myself, my neighbor and most importantly, my Lord.
Yet I remember Jesus who is the all-forgiving God-man. I repent and believe, because of my repentance and contrite heart and love for God, that I will be forgiven. The mercy and compassion of Jesus is greater than any sin! When I see my Lord’s compassionate eyes on me I am filled with hope and peace, thankfulness and joy. Rejoice in this Season of the Resurrection. I stand up again and move forward in Him.
Contrary to what we have been told, we have to learn to to get on with everyone, no matter what their defects, their ideas or their peculiarities. We must learn to be the kind of people who are open to others with a capacity for making friends and always ready to understand and forgive. Especially for those who follow Christ, you must not become shut in on yourself without any concern for what is going on around you.
From: In Conversation With God: Daily Meditations Volume III – p.32 Getting On With People Around Us
This is not about being a fool or a sucker. This is about not becoming a hardened person who condemns others and refuses to be around those who are not like-minded. You will be. Be part of a solution – help to heal them as Christ did. Meeting people where they are is so important as is being understanding and forgiving. So is drawing your boundaries with love. You do not have to be a push-over or overly sentimental. Showing love is not about throwing away your conscience or intelligence . You do, however, have to be civil, respectful, and looking for the good in others – because we all have some…really! Finally, be cheerful. If someone wants to gossip – change the subject with a smile. If they need an ear – give it with true kindness then refuse to let yourself gossip about it or whine about having to listen to them. Just do not let yourself do that. You will be amazed at what kind of person you become. You will begin to see others more positively because you are consciously looking for the beauty in them.
You have to practice though. This cannot be an idea that lives in your head. you must choose to live these virtues out. For Christians, this is living out Christ’s love and when you are not doing it, you are keeping Him locked up in the Church or a nice icon on a cross. A mere symbol.
This is Lent – the time to turn away from sin and face Christ head on. We can joke about ashes or talk about giving up meat but how are you going to turn away from sin. The receipt of ashes is a way to remind us about Christ’s own 40 days in the desert to strengthen him for his upcoming passion. Fasting and abstinence help us stop comforting our sensual self and work on building up our higher self. I suggest we use this Lent to work on civility and getting on with others.
Let’s view each other with warmth, gratitude, respect, friendship and optimism. Think about viewing those placed in your life around you as friends: parents, co-workers, family, neighbors. This would mean you must make an effort to live out virtues that make friendship possible, i.e. lack of self interest, understanding, a spirit of cooperation, loyalty. This Lent give that to the people around you without the need for them to “deserve” it. Just give it freely .
Be happy for others and cheerful around them no matter what you feel. Your feelings are what you are “giving up.” Refuse to be that person who swears at someone who cuts you off. It just happened to me yesterday. I was shaking my finger at him right after he pulled dangerously out in front of me and in response he veered intentionally back into my lane again. And you know what, this time I was successful in pushing that anxiety and anger away. I slowed down, stopped thinking about it, forced a smile and prayed for his safety on the road. It wasn’t easy but I did it and no, I did not get some immediate gratification or reward for it. Nothing but effort to let it go. But I know from my own dedication to living a life in Christ that continued practice of this kind of virtue has changed me – in a big way. And that I must do it more…
Being open to others in this way leads us to understand others more. When we understand others we become more accepting of both their virtues and their flaws. This opens up the other and gives him permission to release that goodness he possesses deep in his heart. It also releases him enough to allow himself to be helped because he knows he is not being condemned. Closely aligned to understanding is forgiving. Being able to forgive is necessary otherwise at the slightest upset our charity turns cold and we distance ourselves from others. You must be able to forgive because we humans need it so much.
For me, Christ is my example of love because God is love. He gave us His Son who came to earth imprisoned in the womb of a woman to be born both man and divine. At the same time he ate, drank, laughed, caroused, made and enjoyed friends, got tired, was tempted, felt physical and emotional pain, He also did what no other has done, He died on the cross to save us only to rise again in three days. His mission was fulfilled. He was obedient and above all, demonstrated love for us. We as His followers must imitate His love and Lent is the time to start anew, washing ourselves in His passion and His resurrection.
God bless Pope Benedict – a man of great intelligence and faith during a time where we have many who have faith without reason and many who have reason without faith. He will be remembered and revered so much for being a man of God who understood and embraced reason. The Church needed him and he obeyed, God bless him. A true Vicar of Christ. Pray for Christ’s Church this Lent and make sacrifices so that you can become more Christlike emanating and witnessing Christ in your daily life. The battle has been won by Christ, my friends, we just need to continue to say “yes” to Him.
The following quote comes from this thoughtful article placing Benedict’s article in the historical context of His Church.
“Perhaps in our initial shock we may have neglected to think of some of the advantages of this development. Benedict will be able to advise his successor, ensuring a continuity of governance that will be unparalleled in the recent history of the Church. He will be able to give the new pope “the lay of the land.” In this way Benedict helps to disintermediate various curial interests, which, like any bureaucracy, make it difficult to begin a reign. I believe this will be the most orderly transition of authority witnessed in historical memory, even in an age of peaceful conclaves. I offer one final thought: Benedict has offered us a witness of the exceptional sovereignty of the pope. Truly he is the successor of Peter who has freely manifested his resignation, which can be accepted by no power on earth. Such a demonstration of papal authority is astonishing in its constitutional implications. St. Peter Celestine pray for us and for your successors!”
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade and today I heard a lot of discussion about abortion. I will say that for the first time in a long time I am hearing those voices who are against abortion sound reasonable, loving, supportive of women and joyful in their message. Conversely, those voices that support abortion are sounding far more unreasonable, unsupportive of women and depressing in their message. Even more surprising are the use of fear tactics that are supposed to scare women into believing that if we do not support abortion that the massive amount of unwanted pregnancies will result in death due to back alley abortions, that the system will be suffocated with children low income women cannot support and that a woman will be set back in all the ground she has covered in the last 40 years in gaining respect and dignity in the culture in which we live.
Congratulations to the anti abortion voices who are countering this fear based assault with (1) a continual presence offering women information and real access to alternatives other than abortion; (2) support that includes a love that highlights the dignity of all people, rich and poor, as well as education and information not only on alternatives but how to travel down those paths and receive support in doing so; and (3) the voices of young women articulating a new feminism that celebrates a woman’s life giving ability in addition to her ability to earn a wage, and be counted in the culture in which we live. All of this is done with a public statement of faith and reliance on the Lord who has given us His Son and His love to rescue us from the lie that some life is just not as good as other life and therefore can be extinguished.
That so many women who have had abortions and experienced repercussions such as depression, post traumatic stress and alcoholism have come forth to talk about their experience, lends such insight to the abortion discussion and further highlights the need for alternatives to be made known. These stories, in my eyes, are what changes hearts and minds because these stories are real and these women are real. Some argue that no clear link has been made according to the AMA or the APA of a relationship between abortion and depression, alcoholism, post traumatic stress or other destructive illnesses. However, it is only recently that women have even had an outlet to discuss negative consequences of an abortion. And even today, there is still so much shame about abortion and furthermore, a great deal of pressure to only say it was the right thing to do.
That the abortion discussion is now including more and more voices speaking up from Pregnancy Crisis centers and sharing real life examples of women changing their mind about having an abortion not because they were pressured to do so but because, through love and support, they have begun to envision their life differently is such a joyful message. Through these real life situations women begin to envision their situations differently and they begin to see value and dignity in themselves and their baby. They also see a network that cares and is giving them hope and real hands on support. It is transforming.
Giving life is a gift. It may not seem that way under many circumstances. But think about how awful is it when a couple wants to have a baby and they cannot. How much they suffer…therapy can be involved….marriages break up….think about it. Is there some technical relationship between the inability to conceive and the consequences I have outlined above? Where is the APA and AMA on that? But we all know people who have suffered this way.
But those circumstances where pregnancy seems not at all a gift but a curse – I know they exist. But I think it is because we look at them through the lens of reason alone. When reason stands apart from faith, it can veer off course; lead man astray. Just like faith without reason can make a man fanatic. Reason needs faith and faith needs reason. Reason alone is cold and hard and unyielding. The human condition needs love and warmth and forgiveness and understanding to function. OF course it is reasonable to say that if I do not have enough money to have a baby, therefore I shouldn’t have a baby. But when that logic is introduced to the beauty of life itself, the value of life, a life made in God’s image and the uniqueness of being human, the reason alone seems void of a reality that is overwhelming. Life is ultimately more valuable than money…that life comes from a loving God and I will depend on that love to pull me through. I will see this differently now and live this “gift” of life without fear and in love and faith. I will apply myself in a way I have not thought possible. I will seek others out who want to help me without shame and with a humility that relies on their love and generosity.
How much more beautiful is this picture than one in which the end of the road is death. There is dignity, responsibility, a humility that life is sacred, that life is an inalienable right that must be protected, a lack of fear in the unknown, and a hope in the future. Above all, though, there is hope in the One true hope, the Saviour who has already won the battle against evil for us. All we have to do is act in His love and receive His graces and know that He is there for us through it all…
Brenda Baietto featured in the new book: