God’s Path in the World

The path to Anna Ruby Falls

The path to Anna Ruby Falls

    As three of us (Carrie, John Paul and I) walked up the trail to Anna Ruby Falls I could not help but think of my son Kevin.  Almost every time we are out in the woods he says,”God made nature, and I like it.”  Kevin, at the tender age of nine, recognizes God imprinted his law on us through natural law.  He “gets it” better than most of us much older folks.  I just wish the politicians would go back and read the Declaration of Independence, and learn the founders state all laws must conform to natural law (or nature’s God) to be just.

    Many people today, afraid to be labeled religious or tied to a group, call themselves “spiritual.”  They find their way on their own through the forrest of life.  If they are attentive to natural law, and heed it, they have great potential to make good choices in their moral lives.  The problem with just finding your “own way” though the forrest, is your experiences are very narrow.  So the chance for misinterpreting a sign is higher than if you had advice on reading the signs as you approach a rattlesnake habitat.  If you stumble and the snake strikes, no one will be there to hear your cry.  There is also nothing supernatural to sustain your body and soul in this earthly journey if you go it alone.

    In this photo I purposefully left the trail in the shot.  I did this because as I thought of Kevin’s statement, I was also thinking of the peace which comes from growing ever more into a Catholic life.  The trail stood out in my viewfinder.  With each glance I found a reminder of how God also gave us so much more than natural law.  He gave us a path of safety through the dangerous forrest of life, and a means to walk it.  All we need to do is use the path and his grace to avoid the greatest dangers of the forrest.

    I revel in the knowledge I do not have to be Solomon, Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila or John Paul II to survive in the forrest.  I just have to turn to the collective wisdom imparted over almost 6,000 years through revelation and illumination of God’s laws to my church and the world!   Being the thinker I am, I fall more in love with the Catholic magisterium as each new lesson clicks into place like custom made Lego blocks in a slick design.  I know this magisterium is stronger than the efforts of fallible men who may try to twist it to their own political designs.

    Not only do we Catholics have the lessons, but we can receive supernatural graces pouring forth from sacraments.  God cleanses in baptism, restores with mercy in confession, nourishes at communion, sanctifies matrimony and holy orders, and comforts in anointing of the sick.  So not only do I get a path to follow, but a complete pit crew as well for my life journey using supernatural grace.  This allows God to be with me in every place, in my body, and in my most important earthly relationships.

    So God’s path through the forrest is the one I chose.  I pray after reflection, you may chose to investigate the strongest and safest path through the woods to heaven.

   

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The First Steps towards understanding Mercy

        Today our youngest, John Paul, got serious about crawling.  A few little steps and lunges at a time, but it is the beginning of his journey towards independence.  The troubles and joys this will bring will arise in the minds of each and every parent who survived it at least once.

    One of the interesting things about our John Paul, compared to his four siblings, is his very delayed desire to crawl.  The fact is the boy loves his standing bouncy toy.  He bounces in that thing for hours each day.  He also realizes if you walk, your hands can play with toys when you go places.  So the reality is, crawling is not a very efficient or fun use of time.  So after some coaching, the boy finally realized all the pieces for walking are not in place yet…so crawling is not such a step down.

    Today I decided to join the nine day consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary being directed by Father Heilman of the website The Roman Catholic Man (Nine Day Consecration) using the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe.  I’m already glad I did the reading and lesson…because like John Paul I found myself wanting to walk faster in faith, but I found myself without all the necessary tools.

   The one lesson I gained the most from today is the need for mercy in the grand plan for creation.  I recently came to understand grace as the extension of kindness to the unworthy, and mercy as the withholding of a justified punishment.  This made sense, but how does that relate to our salvation.

   St. Maximillian Kolbe explains the role of mercy in salvation history in the form of a math problem we all once faced in middle school.  Remember the problem where the teacher says:”To win this game you must obtain 100 apples.  I will start you with 33.  How long will it take you to obtain 100 apples if I give you 1/3 of difference you are missing each day?”  At first you say two days!  1/3 each day!  Then reality sets in.  

    You realize each day you would get only 1/3 of the way to the objective each day no matter how hard you try.  Even when you are down to one apple, the teacher will only give you a third of the remaining apple needed to reach victory.   Therefore you will NEVER reach 100 apples because I will keep giving you smaller and smaller slices for ever!

  Having the sun shine on us as we collect those apple parts would be a whole lot of grace.  But to reach 100 apples you need a game changer.  That game changer would be mercy from someone who will bridge the gap by giving you some of his apples, I will not provide, to reach 100.

  This is the mercy we need from God everyday.  We are imperfect creatures, and no matter how hard we try will always be imperfect.  God took care of this imperfection problem by providing a game changing assist. God the creator of our souls, worked through the Holy Spirit to place Jesus in our physical world as the son of Mary.  

    God became one of us, spoke to us, broke open the gates of hell, and offered each of us a spot in his family through his offer of adoption.  These acts provide us the missing “apples” to put 100 in in our basket if we but stay on track to be in his family.  This offer of mercy still must be earned, but it sits on the table for all to take advantage of if we are smart enough to grasp it.

    Quite a lesson, and there was so much more…what a wonderful journey to start crawling on.

-ehw

Was this a test of Faith?

Do you cross the bridge if called? 

Do you cross the bridge if called? 

     Yesterday as I ate lunch I overheard two men discussing faiths other than their own Evangelical beliefs.  One gent was a little louder than the other, and I could clearly hear someone in his past incorrectly explained a number of Catholic beliefs to him.  He then said, I am willing to,listen to what they (Catholics) have to say, but from what I know they are going to hell.

     I was nervous, because inside me I was hearing a call to simply explain the errors he heard.  To let him know if what he said was true (for example that we worship Mary like a God) I could not be That type of “Catholic” either.  So I finished my lunch and made a decision…I would offer to both men my services to understand the Catholic faith from a Catholic who really wants to know truth as well.

     With my mind made up, I walked right up and made the offer.  What followed was one of the most respectful ten minute discussions I’ve ever had.  We discussed Mary, sin, Saints, intersession, problems with language translations, how God’s plans for us all vary in time and process, baptism, reconciliation and our goals in life.  Near the end, one of the men looked at me and said “Why do you know scripture?  Most Catholics don’t.”

     I told him I was embarrassed I don’t know more, but it was a lesson I took from the Evangelicals I met.  One had to have faith, keep learning as an adult, and be willing to share it in evangelization.  So I learn something, learn how much I still don’t know, and then adore how the tenets of my faith interlock into something more beautiful with each lesson. 

      When I left I was shaking a bit.  Did I do justice in my explanations?  Did I honor the teachings of the Lord with my deeds?  Did I show my sincere respect for fellow seekers of the Lord’s timeless Wisdom?  Did I do what God wanted me to in this test of my faith?

    I’ve been praying God would discern to me what my future should be…maybe this was part of the process.  Until then I will have to keep praying my Faith grows in the Wisdom of the Lord and I do him honor and Justice in word and deed.   I also will be praying for those two nice men, that they continue to honestly seek the Lord’s Wisdom themselves.  The Lord wants nothing less than for us all to come home to Heaven.

Praying for Divine Mercy

Ash Wendseday a lifetime ago.... 

Ash Wendseday a lifetime ago…. 

   Today Lord you make the perfect sacrifice for me a sinner.  I know you offer grace freely if I but ask. I know I must accept justice for my sins against my fellow man and your creation.  I know my sacrifices here can never be as perfect as your was in antonement for my sins.  So I humbly beg for your Devine Mercy, to which I am not entitled but can only receive through your devine will. 

  I also ask you provide this final gift to the all souls in purgatory…so they can participate in glory of the eternal mass in heaven today.  

St. Faustina pray for us! 

-ehw