Standing in line for a cup of Starbucks coffee, a person in line noticed the St. Benedict medal I was wearing, having just come from Mass at Good Shepherd Church, Tallahassee, Florida. She remarked that she thought it was nice that I believed in something, but that she did not believe in any organized religion. I asked her if she believed in any unorganized religion. Brief encounters produce brief results. If your Christ loved you for as long as you stood in line for a cup of coffee, would that be worth the struggle to convert your life to have in you the mind of Christ Jesus? Christ is today, tomorrow and forever and so His love endures Forever.
Animals don’t have human intelligence nor free will. They are hostage to the forces of nature. Humans can go against nature. Humans are hostage to their intelligence and free will. They can think that everything they do is correct. After all, it makes them happy. The spiritual person is not hostage to free will because they try to do God’s will as given and shown to us by Christ. Lent is a time to refect on the big picture. Ask yourself: Am I god? Am I my own church? Is my center in life me or God?
Lent can be a time of giving up jelly beans and watermelon or it can be a time of penance and conversion of heart to prepare for the Resurrection of Christ once again.
If you begin your day with the Morning Offering (60 seconds) nothing you do that day is a failure.
When abberations (sin) becomes the rule, then there is dissonance in your spirit. Conversion of life is about seeking God in daily living through silence, solitude, prayer, work, and community. This is resonance.
If you look up New Advent.com, under the nature of God, there is an interesting concept. It says that the theological thinking of the West (those who think that the more we know, the more real something is) tended to focus on One God first, then each of the distinct persons, whereas those in the Eastern heritage (those who think that mystery is the preferred way to look at the Sacred, and the more something is mysterious, the more real it is) tend to focus on the three distinct persons and their being One God is second. The writings of the Sacred Writers commenting on Scripture and the Life of Christ have different approaches, both valid.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE CHURCH BECAUSE IT IS CORRUPT, CONSIDER WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HUMAN. While in Starbucks one day last month, a friend of mine asked me a question which I find intriguing. She said, “Have you ever considered joining my Church since the Roman Catholic Church is corrupt in its clergy and administration?” I thought for just a quick moment and told her, “Tell you what. I will leave the Catholic Church because some of its priests committed horrible crimes and covered them up, but you must also do something for me.” What is that?” she said. I told her, “You must then leave the human race because some of its people commit horrible crimes of incest, adultery, fornication, murder, stealing, calumny, detraction, drukenness and drug abuse and these victims lack justice. Do this and I will leave the Catholic Church.” “Of course not,” she said. “Neither will I leave the core of my belief because some of those who profess it have abused it,” I said. Our conversation turned to how she thought President Trump was immoral and a failure as a President.
The core reality in all sin is wanting to be god.
Does joy come before you love someone, or is it the result of a series of activities which you transform from just everyday experiences to truly extraordinary moments of the heart?
Do you perform reparation for your sins? Sin has consequences. Ask Adam and Eve. To make up or restore what we have lost by our sins, we must do penance or actions that remake us in the image and likeness of God. Advent is a time of penance. Penance is not just praying or doing works of charity, although it is that, but the conversion of the heart to the heart of Christ through humility and obedience to God’s will.
What you place at your center is your god, so be careful what you put there.
You are only born once. You can only die once. You are only Baptized once. You can receive the Holy Spirit daily. You can make all things new in Christ daily. You can take up your cross daily. You only go to Heaven once.
The thing about invisibility is you can’t see it. Do you SEE with the eyes of your heart or listen with the ear of your heart (Prologue, St. Benedict’s Rule). Do you live in a two universe reality (physical and mental universes) or a three universe reality (physical, mental and spiritual)?
It is wonderful to behold the face of the Lord.
Sin is an abberation in the life force, the lack of conformity to the principles of life that endure and sustain us in our journey to Forever. One thing about sin, it is not the opposite of grace, it is the abberation or misuse of grace, how not to fulfill ourselves as humans, how not to act if we are indeed adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Sin is the exception not the rule.
If it is true, as Erich Fromm postulates in his book, The Art of Loving, that we must learn how to love, then it is also true that we must learn how to love others as Christ loves us. Cistercian practices and charisms help me to do that in the context of silence and solitude. How about you?
There are three dimensions of reality. One is creation, one is the Resurrection and one is the Mystery of Faith with Christ present to the Father in each age. The Father is Lord of Creation, Christ is the Lord of Redepmtion, and the Holy Spirit is Lord of Enlightenment and Faith. The Universal Church participates in each of these three sources of energy to make Christ real for each age through Faith. Faith is a gift from God, God’s own energy, belief is from humans, our energy to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father.
Can you answer these three questions? 1. What is the speed of light? 2. What is the speed of enlightenment? 3. What is the speed of love? Well, these are three realities that permeate where we are going in Heaven. How do they fit? Do you know?
One thing about Faith. If you got it, you don’t have to make a big fuss about it, when someone says you don’t have it.
Belief is not the same as Faith. Faith comes from God, belief comes from humans. Belief may or may not be true; Faith is the way, the truth, and the life. Belief is diverse; Faith is One, as One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism. Be careful.
If your Church is easy to leave, if it doesn’t meet your standards, it is probably not the one founded by Christ.
Let me ask you something. You are military, put in over twenty years of service (thank you) to our country, have been totally immersed in your military career. All of a sudden, you are a civilian, no military, to struucture, to colleagues, different assumptions about what is meaningful, no chain of command. On what do you now stand? What is the North on your compass? What is your purpose in life?
Do you know? I do, and have what I consider the foundations on which anything you do, any direction you go, you will always be able to know North on your map of life.
Why is it that the most essential things in life always seem like the most boring? When you go to Heaven, if you go, all there will be is to glorify God…Foever. Isn’t that boring? No Kardashians! No Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible! No James Bond! No Harry Potter! No kidding!
In the confusion of our age over what is true, what is just, what is meaningful, one person can’t make a difference, do you think? Jesus did.
It is very difficult to go from traveling 100 miles an hour when you work to 1 mile an hour after you retire. The transition is sometimes more than a person can bear. Look into Cistercian spirituality as a Lay Cistercian. http://www.trappist.net/about/lay-cistercian
his one comes from a novel by Dorothy L. Sayers.
There was an old man of Khartoum
Who kept two black sheep in his room
“They remind me,” he said,
“Of some friends who are dead;
But I cannot remember of whom.”
Retirement is a time to gather all your treasures and pack your bag for the trip…to Forever.
On earth, we are successful if we do something important, in Heaven, we are succcessful if we accept our inheritance as sons and daughters of the Father, and are important.
The recent report of clergy abuse in Pennsylvania should have brought the Church there to its knees. If they had been on their knees all along, one wonders what the outcome might have been. That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict
The earth is God’s playground and you are a guest while you live where you learn the rules and practice how to play them later in Heaven. Heaven is our destiny. The more we know how to play in this playground, the more we can enjoy the next life. Life is about knowing, loving and serving God in this lifetime so that we can be happy in the next. (Baltimore Catechism, question six)
Today, when you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
INSTAGRAM FROM THE EDGE OF TIME: I just viewed a science program that said that the earth will no longer be here in 3 billion of so years. The program said the challenge foo humans is to find a way to go to other worlds that can sustain us. So far, we have found no candidates fitting that description, 3 billion years or not. So how can a God that is good and loving abandon us to oblivion? Doesn’t make sense. Actually, it makes perfect sense, if you think like God and not like the World teaches. The World says humans live seventy or eight years, then die. They need atmosphere (combination of oxygen and other gases) for us to survive. We won’t live long enough for space travel, but several generations might do it. We are prone to asteroids, rocks in space, cosmic rays, heat, radiation, in any journey we might make to another planet. We can’t land on stars. The odds don’t look good, according to cosmologists who study these things.
Let me offer you another scenario. God loved us so much that he wants us to be with him. He even adopted us as His sons and daughters and prepared a place for us where we can live comfortably as humans.
All he asks is that we learn how to love one another with the love that Christ had for us. Philippians 2:5-12. This is fierce love transcending matter and time, in the physical sense.
Our space ship to get to heaven is to die, but not just death as the World thinks of it. While on earth we are ask to die to self so that we can rise to new life. This is the Resurrection to new life with Christ. We are transported to a new world, one that has awaiting us since the beginning of time.
A world that does not exist in a way that we can comprehend time and matter but one in which there is only love and one consistent with our human senses and experiences. We know what that love is because Christ loved us with that same love. Our destiny as humans is not the earth (the name for Adam was dirt or earth) but to be with God forever.
So, we actually do have a way to get off of this earth, one that does not depend on physical universe or even the mental one (death is the end). The spiritual universe is there for us to prepare to pack our bags for what is to come.
St. Paul says we can’t imagine the good what is waiting for us in Heaven. Being a Lay Cistercian gives me the map, the suitcase, what I can pack for the trip to forever.
There are other suitcases out there, but only one destination, one way to travel, one truth about forever, one life to lead beginning now and culminating in fulfilling our destiny as a human.
We are spiritual apes, destined to love God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength and our neighbor as ourselves…Forever.
This is the good news of salvation.
This is the joy that comes from realizing the scope of what God has prepared for us since before the beginning of time and matter.
This is why, as St. Augustine says, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.
This is why the Church Universal exists, to help us make the trip to Forever.
So here you are, just died and standing before the Throne of the Father and the Lamb, and he asks ” Do not be afraid. What have you packed in your suitcase. Did you love others as Christ loved you,? “Did you see me on earth?” Read Matthew 25:31-46. If you used your reason and tried to love with all your heart, your mind and your strength and your neighbor as yourself, God will say, “Good and Faithful Servant, come share your Lord’s joy.” If He does not say that, well, you got what you wished for.
DUALITY OF LIFE: Scripture points us to a duality of life when it says, no one can love two Masters.Luke 16:13 “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” This either/or points to one of the crossroads of belief and the implication is, you must choose one. Choosing is of significance here. If your center is Christ, you have selected a tough but kind Master. He tells us, take up your cross daily and follow my example to love each other as I have loved you. If your spirituality is easy, you probably are not carrying your cross (crosses are very heavy), and you might be serving that other Master (yourself). Temptation comes in when we must constantly choose Christ over and over. No one time is good. Each day we are tempted to choose another Master. Christ tells us, my grace is sufficient. If your Christianity is like cotton candy (tastes good but there is no nourishment for the spirit), you have chosen the wrong Master.
DUALITY OF LIFE: Those who do not have Faith from God see a light at the end of the tunnel of life but it is only a flashlight with two Duracel batteries in it. Those who have Faith from God (grace) and see a light at the end of their tunnel of life, either because they need a neart transplant or have cancer, find out the light comes not from this life at all, but from the Light of Christ in Heaven, leaving the light on for us.
DUALITY OF LIFE: You have essentially two choices in life. One is choosing you as center of the universe with all that it implies (i.e., you are god, you make uo all the rules, no one can tell you what to do with your body, do what makes you happy, you have to be faithful to who you think you are, love is what you say it is) or God is the center (covenant relationship, Resurrection of Christ, Philippians 2:5, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Christ, Christ is the only gateway to the Father, the Holy Spirit continues life, love others as Christ has loved you). All choices are the choice of Adam and Eve– they are god or God is God. All sin has an element of idolatry in it, in that we make outselves as the center of the universe verses doing God’s will as manifested through the Faith of the Church Universal.
The three rules of the spiritual universe are: The Rule of Threes, The Rule of Rovolving Centers, and the Rule of Opposites. Science has Laws governing matter and energy. Spirituality has Rules, but these Rules comes from God, not humans. The Rule of Threes: To be fulfilled as a human being, you must live in all three universes (physical, mental, and spiritual). The Rule of Revolving Centers (Original Sin) means you will be tempted to choose between good and evil your whole life on earth; The Rule of Opposites means, once you choose to enter the spiritual universe, everything is the opposite of what the World teaches. You are a pilgrim in a foreign land until you get to Heaven.
The one place you are afraid to look is the one place where you will find rest for your soul and peace for the anxiety of your heart. In the holy of holies of your innermost self. Christ is there. Contemplation, using silence and solitude, is the doorway to your inner self. You sit on a bench on a cold, cold day and wait for Christ to come by. It is the anticipation that is your prayer, not your words or thoughts. Love is the force that drives you out in the cold (Original Sin) to hope Christ comes by. Your waiting is a prayer, your hope to see Him is your prayer, your faith is our prayer. Blessed are those who wait for the Lord and hope in his arrival in their hearts.
When you calumniate and detract from others, your own integrity goes down the drain with the one you grasped so tightly.
I am not you; you are not me; God is not you, and you, most certainly, are not God. –mfc
I can’t stand Natonal News of any type these days. It is too hate-filled. News used to be journalism now it is just sensationalism that sells. The President is not respected by both Democrats and Republicans. One thing about respect, if you pull someone down, you lose respect yourself. Mud thrown is ground lost. What both political parties are doing to the American electorate is far worse than what Russia is alledged to have done to our elections. (I wonder who will be the Special Council to look into what our Country has done to the elections in other countries. Double standard? Triple standard?) Journalism becomes so predictable. I can tell what the news is before any publication. I know exactly what the Democrat platform is–whatever President Trump is for, we are against. That violates my intelligence. Republicans are not for President Trump but tolerate him. That violates my sense of participation and compromise–needed when you legislate. I watch sports channels like First Things First and The Herd with Colin Cowherd, National Geographic, and History Channel. I am even beginning to enjoy The World Cup.
Idolatry is the number one sin to which humans fall victim by Satan. It is the primal, archetypal sin of Adam and Eve and the root of all sins we commit. Modern idolatry says:
All sin has consequences. Adam and Eve has consequences to their Original Sin. We have consequences to the sins we commit. Granted, we don’t go about committing adultery, murder and offering incense to idols, the three big offenses that cut you off from the Body of Christ, but we do sin when we don’t love others as Christ loved us. We are the archer that misses the mark, the dart thrower that can’t hit the bulls eye, the driver who loses the road map and gets lost in the back roads of thinking he or she is God. Reparation for past sins is something I practice. There is an order of Carmelite nuns who live at the former consentation camp at Dachau whose purpose if to make reparation to God for the sins of humanity in killing all those people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhDmUgHxzaE
Do you ask the right question, when you ask God to heal you of your physical or mental infirmity, then you don’t get better? Are you expecting that God does your will or do you do God’s will? What is the right question?
How many times should you pray before you get your prayers answered? If you pray ten times a day is that better than a prayer from the heart? Does praying make you holy or are you holy because you lift up your heart and mind to God?
Faith is not the same as belief. Faith is when God adopts you as son or daughter. Belief is when you acceept adoption. No one deserves adoption.
The practice of conversion from self to God means you must practice daily. No free lunch. Read Matthew 25:31-49. What do you practice? Eucharist is food; Reconciliation is making all things new; doing means loving Jesus as He loved us. Read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day and you may become what you read. I hope that I do.
You have had a successful career in the military or government service or as a health care professional and you retire. Now what? What is your next milestone? What does it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? What is the worth of your life in the grand design? There are seven questions that you must answer before you die. Everyone must answer them. No exceptions. Some don’t even know what the questions are. Do you? I do.
We know what love is because Christ loves us. (Phil 2:5-12).
Want to know the secrets of the gods? How about the secret of Jesus? It is this: there are no secrets. Jesus says: I have revealed to you all that my Father has revealed to me. So, what have you done with the secrets you have received from Jesus?
Just because your road is rocky, doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road. –mfc
When you see this goldfish bowl, are you the fish looking out, or the person outside looking in?
Christ left us just one command: love one another as I have loved you. How ironic that this seemingly innocuous statement contains all that we need to get to Heaven. Like so many other statements from Christ, there are layers upon layers of meaning hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be teased out by curious minds and hearts over a lifetime. –mfc
When you die, stand before God, your Creator, and wait for your particular judgement before entering Heaven, there is no line with those who are bishops and clergy at the beginning, and we sinners in the rear. The line is a horizontal one one not a vertical one. Each person will be called by name to answer for what they have done or not done. Matthew 25::31. There is but one command Jesus us: love one another as I have loved you. Of course, everything is packed into that one drop of Faith, much like a black hole contains super ,ultra-dense matter.
Baptism is not just about your acceptance of God, but of God’s adoption of you as an heir of the Kingdom. –mfc
A friend once asked me to explain the difference between a clergyman and a layman. I told him, the clergyman is told where to go by the bishop, whereas the layman can tell the bishop where to go. mfc
You are not me; I am not you; God is not you, and you, most certainly are not God. –mfc
Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.
When you are more obsessed with how many times you read the bible more than hearing the Word of God and keeping it, you have the hyprocrite’s itch. -mfc
Some people take more care of their car with tune-ups and change of tires than they do with their relationship with God. Doing nothing for a relationship, any relationship, will not sustain it. If you fell away from the Church, don’t blame it on God or the Church. –mfc
If you are what you eat, then what are you if you hate God? –mfc
Mud thrown is ground lost. –Proverbs
If you read Scriptures and say something is true and your brother reads the same Scriptures but says it means something entirely different, who is correct? Is truth what you say it is? Is truth what your brother says it is? Is there one truth or many truths? Who is to say? This is the big problem of relativism that permeates secular thinking and keeps us from discovering God as He is, but only as we make him in our image and likeness. Each individual is a church, each individual is a pope,, each person is the Holy Spirit, each person is god. (small g) What a mess we have gotten outselves into. There is a way out, but only one way. –mfc
If you want to be the disciple of Christ, you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him. What does that mean? If you deny yourself, can you still be human? If you take up your cross, what cross is that? Following Christ can be hazardous to your tendencies to be god. –mfc
Today, September 29, 2017 is the Feast Day of St. Michael, my namesake. I was baptized into the faith of the Body of Christ on September 29, 1940 at 12:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church, Vincennes, Indiana. I did not and still do not choose Christ as much as He has chosen me to be an adopted Son. Praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever; the God Who Is, Who Was, and Who is to Come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen.
Contemplation is your heart at rest in the presence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is the summit of spirituality and the most difficult of spiritual attainments (because you only approach it, you never attain it). It is worth a lifetime of trying. –mfc
When disrespecting the symbol of our collective sacrifice for freedom becomes more important than respecting it, time to worry seriously about the future of our country. -mfc
If God were to give you one gift, one that would provide everything you need, what would that be? I know what I think it is. -mfc
It is important to keep a balance when talking about God or contemplative practice. If you talk about God exclusively, you may fall into the trap of thinking that what you think is what God thinks. Adam and Eve had that problem.. –mfc
The number one offense against God is, as it always has been, thinking that you are god, the First Commandment, the sin of Adam and Eve, the reasons why God’s wrath is kindled against humans in this age. It does not look good for us unless we repent of our collective sin. Have mercy on us! –mfc
Treat each day as a lifetime, where you explore truth, discover the mystery of meaning and fulfill your purpose in life. –mfc
Have you ever noticed that everything in life that is meaningful is free? –mfc
?Start the day, each day, with a short prayer to God, setting up the day so that God’s will an not yours be done. Twenty seconds means a lot, if done consistently. –mfc
What does it mean to be holy? -mfc
Who prays for you, when you are working or can’t pray? There are people who do that as their life’s purpose. They are called religious and clergy. In communities that follow various rules of their order, these men and women recite the Divine Office at least five times a day. They offer it for you, as part of the living body of Christ on earth. Here are some ways that people practice their faith.
As a member of the living Body of Christ on earth (the other parts being those saints in Heaven and those awaiting their purification), there are those who pray for the Church Universal, that we might love God with our whole hearts and minds and our neighbor as ourselves. (Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22:34)
Watch what you say! If you belong to the company of the saints, when you use any words, you must make sure that you use the definitions God uses and not those of the world, and your own. You are a pilgrim in a foreign land with a foreign language, if Christ has accepted you as adopted son or daughter. –mfc
What does “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all else will be given to you” mean? Spirituality is more than just a way of thinking about Jesus but more about acting as He would have us do. Christ came to SHOW us how to act in such a way that we can live in the kingdom of heaven. Read John 20:30-31. –mfc
There are three universes (physical, mental and spiritual). The spiritual universe has two levels. Here on earth, and in Heaven. Our purpose is to discover the spiritual universe on earth and be happy with God in Heaven. mfc
Humans need two basic things to survive. food and water. How does Jesus use both food and water to sustain us in the spiritual universe? -mfc
Mud thrown is ground lost. –Proverbs
The grass is greener on the other side of the fense because there is more manure over there. mfc
We have reason for a reason. mfc
In contemplative prayer, wordiness is weariness. mfc
What is faith? Reflections of a broken-down, old Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you have it? How do you know? Is faith just for individuals, as in, “I believe in Jesus, Son of God, Savior?” Are there multiple dimensions of faith, such as faith of the collegium of believers past, now, and awaiting purification? Why could not even Jesus work miracles in some places because of their lack of faith? Not all religions have the same view of faith. Which one is correct? Does heritage play any part in faith? Is there anything more important than faith? If so, what. What part does faith play in your daily living as you seek God?
Let me suggest that we create together a fictional every-person called Doc. Doc represents what the world thinks is true and finds meaningful. When Doc hears the word “faith” as in “you must have faith to love God with all your mind, your heart, and your strength”, what does he hear? (Deuteronomy 6) We throw these words around with such abandon that we often forget that “faith” has a different meaning for those who have faith and those who do not. Is faith just fidelity?
To make things more complicated, “faith” even means different things to people of faith. When I was swimming at Premier gym in Tallahassee, I struck up a conversation with a retired Protestant minister. I was talking about how I had just come from an hour of Eucharistic Adoration at the chapel. He told me that he could not adore a piece of stale bread and did not believe in Transubstantiation (the Real Presence of Christ under the appearance of bread). Sincerity aside, I quoted him the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “For those who have faith, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not have faith, no answer is possible.” Truth is one.
Think about it. Pray about it. Contemplate it.
That in all things, God is glorified. –St. Benedict
IS YOUR COFFEE WEAK?
How full is your cup of God? Like a cup of coffee, you have to brew the contents and make it. It may be too weak, or too strong (Starbucks). Only you can make it just right, with much practice. That is like contemplation. If you don’t fill your cup with God, you will have nothing to drink. Faith, like coffee, gets cold, stale and you can even have an empty cup. Contemplation and Cistercian spiritual practices are some ways to keep your coffee brisk and flavorful. –mfc
There are two ways to look at reality. One is with the assumption that you are the center, the Lord of all you can see; the other is with the assumption that God is the center of all you can see and not see. One of these will get you to heaven. mfc
Once you are authentically spiritual, you are a pilgrim in a foreign land. mfc
Render to Science that which is scientific and to God everything else. mfc
The problem with invisibility is you can’t see it. -Michael F. Conrad, Ed.D.
You are not me; I am not you. God is not you; you, most certainly, are not God. –mfc
Just because your road is rocky doesn’t mean you are on the wrong road. — Michael F. Conrad, Ed.D.