Saturday, May 15, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
First century Gnostics made much of Jesus’s statement, “I have much more to tell you,” as does Elaine Pagels in her 1979 book, The Gnostic Gospels. Periodically, people discover what Jesus “really meant to say,” or, “Did say but the apostles conspired to cover it up.” These are not revealed to ordinary folks, they belong to the elite, especially to members of Ms. Pagels’ privileged social-economic status.
In fact, Jesus's “more to tell you” appears in his crucifixion, and it is hard to bear. This is how much he loves us. This is how much the Father loves us, who did not spare his only begotten son. This is how we are to love one another. We cannot bear it without the Holy Spirit which makes all things possible.
I can’t help but be delighted by Jesus’s additional teaching about the Holy Spirit. Like the Father and the Son, the Spirit defers to the others. The Father has given all authority in heaven and on earth to the Son; the Son does nothing but what the Father shows him; and the Spirit will not speak on his own.
Emperors, kings, tyrants, and self-styled individuals have never been fond of this story about God. The emperor Constantine struggled mightily to persuade the bishops at Nicea to adopt the Arian model of God, with the Father as supreme over the demigods, Jesus and the Spirit. Risking their own lives, the bishops refused.
Christians today, living by the Spirit, prefer obedience to creativity and originality, even in a culture that pretends to despise conformity and lionizes the so-called individual.
This is why I spend significant time each day reciting prayers others have written. How could I better a prayer than the Lorica of Saint Patrick, the Anima Christi, the Little Office of Saint Francis, the Divine Office, or the Mass? Could I fashion a prayer superior in depth and wisdom to the Our Father? What kind of fool would think so?
Let my spirit, mind, thoughts, and words conform to the blessed pathways created through these several millennia. Let my hesitant spirit conform to the Holy Spirit of Jesus.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
"Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well,you shall delight in rich fare.Pay attention and come to me;listen, that you may have life.I will make with you an everlasting covenant,the steadfast loyalty promised to David.
We must return to the One, Holy, Catholic (with a large C), and Apostolic Church; that Church founded by Jesus in obedience to His God.
Monday, May 10, 2021
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.
Which institution is built for the express purpose of speaking the truth? Government? (I don’t think so.) Military? (Not on your life.) Family? (Not very often.) Neighbors? (When it’s convenient and doesn’t cost too much.) Entertainment? (Not even close.) Science? (Just the facts, Ma’am.)
Speaking of science, the story is told of the Senator who convened a panel to take reports on climate change. A scientist sat before him with two massive piles of documents. “On the one hand,” he said, “we have these scientific data which show the Earth’s climate is affected by human activity. And, on the other hand, this stack of papers shows the climate is not impacted by human activity.”
Finally, Senator Ed Muskie (D-ME) said to his equally exasperated colleagues, “Will somebody find me a one-handed scientist?!”
Scientific facts are important, but they are not the truth. Facts are useful abstractions within their context. They can be used to reveal the truth, or to hide it; to heal or to harm people. When a drunk says he going to the grocery store to buy milk, he probably will buy a bottle of milk. He spoke a fact; he didn't speak the truth.
Facts are discovered; truth is revealed; it appears among persons who are willing to trust one another.
There is only one institution whose sole mission is to speak the truth; and that is the Church. The congregation of the Word made flesh has received and welcomed the revelation of Truth, even at the cost of many lives. They know that it always takes courage to speak the truth. It also takes time, compassion, and patience.
Not everyone wants to know the Truth. In that case, we do not throw our pearls to swine. But sometimes, in an apparently barren field, we broadcast seeds in every direction and hope that some will germinate twenty-, thirty-, and a hundred-fold. We risk it and face whatever happens next. When the time is right, the Holy Spirit often tells us which choice to make, but usually "the Advocate" does not tell what will happen next.
The Word of God appears in human words of many different languages. Very often we must wait upon the truth to appear as we study the situation.
Meeting people of different cultures, nationalities, and language we must diligently search for the right words and concepts.