When someone gives you a gift, such as Christmas time or your birthday, you naturally think of money, expensive articles of clothing or fancy kitchen appliances. Most of these gifts are what we want, not what we need.
What gifts would God give us to help us achieve the purpose of life (Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22:34)? What are those bits of help, those tools, those footprints in the snow for us to follow, those snatches of wisdom from the Prophets, Apostles, and Saints to guide us through the briar patch of original sin and its false becomings and promises? God would not abandon his adopted sons and daughters to the Evil One. Consistent with natural law, he would give us how to find our North on the compass of life but not do it for us. He would tell us He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life but not make the journey of life for us. He would tell us, like the story of Lazarus that we have the Moses and the Prophets. (Luke 16:16-31).
We keep asking God to be merciful to us, but there is an interesting take on this in Matthew 6:9-13, also known as the Lord’s Prayer. Instead of an individual asking for forgiveness, Jesus takes it one step further. He says, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Notice here that mercy and forgiveness from God are contingent on how we forgive others. It is all about the sincerity of the heart, of course, known only to God.
It is prideful of us to think God will automatically forgive us. Something to think about when you are judging others as not being what you think Jesus wants them to be.
Here is a thought: did we evolve the notion of forgiveness as in natural selection? From what did it evolve? If it did evolve from us, current the state of affairs with political opportunism the new morality of the masses, makes me wonder how far we have evolved from our animal ancestors. There is too much hatred in the world, and Satan is exploiting weak minds and hearts all in the name of freedom from anyone telling them what God thinks It is classic idolatry. There will be a price to pay. To remain on this path much longer will result in enduring God’s wrath that will blot out the hatred as sure as Sodom and Gomorrah. Wait and see!
Mercy and forgiveness of each other lead to fierce love which banishes hatred. I must emphasize that only God’s love banishes hatred, not love as the world defines it.
What follows is an excerpt from my book on God’s mercy, entitled For Behold, I Make All Things New. You can find it in the Store section of this blog.
“Jesus did not go to all the trouble to become one of us, only to abandon us to our own self-destructive tendencies. Not one of us could survive the journey to Heaven. Genesis tells of our roots as living in a world of sin, original or archetypal sin, being alienated from God, complaining about pain, prone to the vagaries of nature and ultimately dying. The profound Genesis statement is that everything around us, including ourselves, is subject to decay, aging, and eventually death. It was to be the purpose of Jesus, Son of God, to provide us with the opportunity to reach Heaven if we so chose. There was one catch. We would still have to live out our lives in a condition of alienation and decay. I call that condition the effects of original sin. That is why we still have problems focusing on the purpose of life and your purpose of life. That is also why spirituality is a struggle and why we sin, sin meaning we miss the mark of loving God with all our hearts and minds and our neighbor as our self, (Deuteronomy 6:4 and Matthew 22:34 ff) Jesus became one of us to show us how to overcome the effects of original sin and to live…Forever. Jesus told us, in effect, I will show you the path to everlasting life, but you must still walk it yourself and it is not without difficulties. Just because your road is rocky doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road. I will give you my own energy (grace) to help sustain you, but you must still struggle with living in a world that does not know me. Those who use these gifts, and there are seven of them and persevere to the end, will make it to Heaven. It won’t be easy, says our Master, but neither was my dying on the cross. It is the price you must pay to be my disciple. These lessons focus on one of the seven gifts of grace Jesus gave us, Forgiveness. To use a dialectic example, Forgiveness is the antithesis of original sin, the thesis is the decay and death of all matter and time. The synthesis is living with God Forever, the restoration of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, the fulfillment of our destiny as human beings. Each day is a lifetime of trying to love God with all your heart, mind and strength but failing. These reflections are the product of my Lectio Divina contemplation and, hopefully, will provide you with some insights into how to take up your cross daily and seek Christ Jesus.” –Michael F. Conrad, Ed.D.
That in all things, may God be glorified, –St. Benedict