LEARNING POINTS ABOUT MERCY, FORGIVENESS, CONFESSION AND PENANCE

The following list is from my book, For Behold, I Make All Things New.  (see Books in this blog)

1. Whenever you use God’s energy, through contemplation or through penance, something wonderful happens inside you.
2. Penance re-aligns your spiritual purpose with God’s.
3. The template for self direction is: God tells you what is wrong; you know what is wrong; you are tempted to either do your will or God’s will; you choose. There are consequences for your choice.: death for your false self, and life for your true self.
4. I have noticed, since being allowed to follow the Cistercian way of life, that change does happen.
5. All humans are destined for Heaven, but not everyone will make it there.
6. Our Master came to SHOW us how to get to Heaven.
7. Everyone has a path in life. Just because your road is rocky, doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road. Walk the path of your destiny.
8. In your life, there are four doors through which you must pass. Do you know what they are and what each means? 9. Contemplation is being present to God without condition, without wanting something, without reserve, loving with all your heart and just waiting for what God has to say. There are no words. 10. No one goes to the Father except through the Son. How does this affect your relationship with God? The purpose for The Master coming to earth was to glorify the Father. What is your purpose?
11. Do you have a practice of doing penance?
12. Don’t worry if other have mercy or not. You are not God. Be content to continuously seek God’s mercy on you every day.
13. Reality is made up of both visible and invisible reality. Science does a good job with one of these.
14. Why do we need to convert our human self toward being like more like Christ?
15. Confession of our need for God’s mercy is part of asking for forgiveness of our own sins. Penance not only makes reparation for our sins but asks to make all things new.
16. Fast and pray that you not enter into temptation.
17. All humans, but one, have only one nature, human. One human, Jesus Our Lord, had two natures, both human and divine. Mary, his mother, had only one nature. She was not God, but the Woman Who Changed Time. 18. Being a disciple of Our Master is not easy. If it is, you may be on the wrong path. 19. Faith is not just an individual profession of faith, it is also being faithful to how Christ taught us to pray, asking for the food to sustain us from temptation and forgiveness when we do not love.
20. All humans are destined for Heaven, but not everyone will make it there. God will decide who goes there, not you (unless you are god.)
21. What you live on earth will be your frame of reference in Heaven. There is a caveat. Your frame of reference must be the same as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
22. Temptation tests us against the false promises of Satan to be like God. Genesis is the architype myth of the human condition and the promise of Hope. It is the same for you as it was for Adam and Eve.
23. Look at the human race as fulfilling its destiny. You, too, have personal destiny that is Heaven. You won’t get their without struggle nor without God’s help. Not all paths lead to Heaven.
24. The purpose of life is to know, love, and serve God in this world, so that you can be happy now and in the next level of reality, Heaven.
25. Life is about packing for the trip to Heaven. Only the rich get to Heaven. You must make sure that you take God’s riches and not your own. What are those riches? Read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict. It won’t be easy to get to Heaven without God’s help. Read Matthew 11:28-30. With Christ’s help, your burden is light, even when you struggle to love God with all our self. 26. Obedience to God’s will is the most difficult choice you will have to make, and not just one time, but each and every day. As an aspiring Lay Cistercian, I make a conscious effort to ask God for enlightenment as soon as each day begins with Morning Prayer. http://www.breviary.com As the Lord’s prayer states: Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
27. Read Psalm 95. How true it is, even today.

28. Beliefs are those truths we hold with our minds. All beliefs have assumptions. Those assumptions differentiate a Protestant from a Catholic, and a from a Muslim. You should be free to hold any belief system you choose, but know that only one of them can be correct. God is one. Truth is one. Assumptions must not be in conflict with each other, in terms of the assumptions you hold to be true. All humans are destined to be with God in Heaven. Depending on your assumptions, you may believe that people must agree with your assumptions and interpret and the Scriptures as you do. Don’t make yourself God. Read Genesis 20. Heaven is God’s playground, not yours. God is the ultimate judge of all those who live…Forever.
29. You make a bad confessor for yourself. Know why?
30. Yesterday does not count for today. Today is where you live. Love in the now…Forever.
31. God takes care of those who believe in Him.
32. As one who aspires to be a Lay Cistercian, silence and solitude in the midst of a secular world, whose default is original sin, allows me to enter into the sanctuary of my heart and wait for Christ to speak to me when He is ready. Read the beautiful Psalm 148. How can the Sun and Moon praise the Lord? They are not alive. When you have the mindset that sees the Sun and Moon as praising God by being what they are, you open yourself to the symphony of being, all praising God. You praise God, too, by being what you are: an adopted son or daughter of the Father, destined to live…Forever. You praise God by being your nature, the nature destined from before the world was.
33. Hatred and love cannot live in the same room together. Hatred is a way of de-valuing others and yourself. It is not the same as not liking the personality of someone. Hatred means you wish them ill, you can’t stand to be in their presence and you despise their key values. Hatred kills you. Mercy means you value others.
34. Mercy means we must be compassionate towards those who disagree with us or mistreat us or speak ill of us because of Christ. Read Matthew 5. Mercy also means we don’t condone sin, if that person to whom we have shown mercy goes against God’s will. Read John 8:1-11. Remember, sin means missing the mark set by God and not achieving the purpose of Life. Read Deuteronomy 6:8. (You will read these, won’t you?
Pray as you can and when you can. Prayer should be simple, not complex. Prayer should allow your heart to rest alongside the heart of Christ Jesus in silence and solitude.
35. Marriage and Holy Orders are relationships of fierce love that overshadows our faults and gives obedience to God’s thinking. Read Matthew 22:34.
36. Fierce love is love and forgiveness for those who hate you. Fierce love is the love God has for us, in us. There is no place for sin or hatred in the presence of this kind of love. It is the most difficult to achieve because it contradicts our instincts—to hurt those who hurt us, to strike back at those who bad mouth us and call them name, to seek revenge on those who have harmed us.

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