In one of my meditations on Phil 2:5, I thought of the great gift of love that God gave to all humans by taking on our human nature as Jesus to reconcile with the Father. I thought about my own life and how I have to make choices and how the freedom to make choices does not make what I choose feeling for me. Feeing, in this sense, is what will gain me entrance to Heaven and to do the will of the Father, as Christ did. In the twentieth century, I am not cast adrift on a sea of relativistic thinking (everyone has the right to think what they want so whatever they think is right). In this context, I asked myself these questions. How would you answer them?
Not speaking for anyone but my own experiences as a Lay Cistercian, I know that this is very complex. Some people may be against abortion but be for fornication and gay lifestyle. Some may be so crazy radical that they forget all about mercy (mercy with the caveat of go and sin no more). They are sincere but do not think they are stewards (gardeners) in God’s greenhouse and let the environment decay. Some think there is no devil and evil just as they think god is like Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, nice child’s tale but not for prime time adulthood.
I am tempted by all these false god and prophets just as you are. Sometimes I have to say, I blew that one but must repent and re-center myself on the source that makes all things new, and not just new but reestablishes the way, the truth, and the life. God has blessed his followers with so many helps or gifts to combat the Evil One. While the World around me seems to be sinking lower and lower into depravity (godless living) and is sounding more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah, there is always Hope (note the upper case).
The only way to survive the World is by moving into the Spiritual Universe, one where God alone is God alone, and you are you alone and God is not you, and you, most certainly are not God. It is by doing just the opposite of what they world says you must do by default. That is why Jesus says, you must take up your cross daily and follow me. Do you know how heavy a cross beam (not even the whole cross) is? Christ carried that part way to his death until Simon of Arimethea was pressed into service to help him carry it. This is the cross you must take up, but this time Christ helps you to carry it. We learn from the Lord for he is meek and humble of heart. It is the opposite of what the world teaches. St. Paul tells us of the dichotomy in Galatians 5 between the spirit and the flesh. Christ asked the Father to have his cup (all the temptations rolled into one) pass from him. God said, no, you are called to carry this cross. We must carry our crosses daily in order to survive the struggles mentioned in numbers 1-11 above. If we fail, we pick ourselves up in the midst of the body of Christ (the church as it inexorably moves down through the ages) and continue. We are not alone. We have a purpose that is not of this world. We have a destination that is not of this world. We are born and we die by ourselves but we are not alone. We are one of many.
Lay Cistercian spirituality, based on contemplative Cistercian practices and charisms which is based on the Rule of St. Benedict, is my guide as I wander through these last several years of my life. Do you have a guide? http://www.ben.edu/center-for-mission-and-identity/resources/rule-of-st-benedict.cfm Look up Chapter 4. I read it every day in the hopes that I can be what I read. If I do just this simple act of love, I am whole as a human. We need the strength to combat the Wiley One every day as he tempts us with a few temptations (See 1-11 above) and we are asked to choose. What we choose is God’s will be done according to His will. This abandonment is called obedience, that which the World can never wrap its mind around. Lay Cistercian practices and charisms are all about wrapping your heart around what is true and following where that goes. Believe me, you cannot imagine how good that good is, judging from the little dab I have tasted.
Praise be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology