Archives for March 2013

Easter

O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Good Friday

It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle.

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.”

When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events.

The River of God

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

As a child growing up in small town Kentucky along the Ohio River there were many times we would find ourselves at the river on a weekend, picnicking and swimming. Swimming in rivers isn’t as popular today but in my childhood there weren’t a lot of options. I’ve since found that, in some ways, we can compare God’s will for us to swimming in a river. You can choose to stand on the shore and watch it pass you by or you can get in the water and take part in life.

As we enter the river of God’s will we begin to feel the gentle tugging of God, urging us to follow him. If we stay on the shore and never go in the water, we will never feel this pull, we must enter the river and take a chance on trusting God.

In ankle deep water the tug is quite weak; we may barely feel even feel it. As we go deeper into the river we can feel the tug of God strengthen. At the knees, it’s a bit stronger but still easily ignored if we choose. In waist deep water the current begins to feel stronger and we may experience some fear and uncertainty. We might find ourselves pushing back against the current for fear that we will be swept away. As the water rises to chest level it’s even harder to resist the current. If we fight it we may lose our balance, fall and go under water for a moment.

Once we reach the point where we can no longer keep our head above water by standing on the bottom we have to make a choice:

  • We can go back to shore, pack up our stuff and go home.
  • We can go back to shallower water where we feel more in control.
  • We can tread water.
  • We can swim against the current.
  • Or, we can choose to swim with the current and accept God’s will for us.

If our decision is to go back to shore, God will not interfere with that decision just as he will not interfere with any decision we make. That is the blessing, and in some cases, the curse of free will. While this decision will get us out of the river and back onto solid ground, it will also cost us our relationship with God. If we refuse to engage, then God can’t share his many blessings and guide us to the ultimate happiness that he desires for all of us. Even though this decision will remove us from the pulling of God’s will, the fact that we have felt that will and rejected it will change our life forever. We will always question what would have happened if we had let God take us where he willed.

Going back to shallow water isn’t really much better than leaving the river altogether. At some point we will almost be forced to revise this decision. How can we feel the gentle pulling of God’s will and ignore it? We will eventually either have to choose to participate in His will or leave his will entirely. There are some people who may linger in this half-way state for most of their lives. They never fully experience God’s love for them, but are still longing for that love. What a sad, unfortunate position in which to spend a lifetime.

Treading water will allow us to fully feel the pull of God’s will for us, but we are hesitant to submit our will to his. We want to wait and see, we don’t want to commit. Treading water will work for a while but sooner or later we will tire and be forced to make a decision to either fight God’s will, accept God’s will or ignore God’s will and return to shore.

I sometimes think treading water is the place Satan wants us most. We can pretend that we are living in God’s will but at the same time we are resisting or are indifferent to it. We haven’t completely rejected it but we have refused to fully accept it. By failing to make a decision, we have already made one. We have chosen to reject the will of God for he would have us follow him, not remain indecisive. In the book of Revelation we read God’s message for the Church in Laodicea. “Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) They were treading water, failing to decide one way or the other. God wants us to make a choice.

Many of us make the choice to swim against the current, at least at first. We recognize the will of God but we aren’t ready to follow it just yet. We want to push back and follow our own will. In his journey to the Catholic faith St. Augustine knew what it was to swim against the current of God. In The Confessions of St. Augustine he wrote, “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.” And again, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” He knew God’s will but wanted to continue the life he was living rather than accept and follow. When he finally made the decision to accept God’s will, he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Too many times we, like St. Augustine, know the will of God but resist due to our own personal, usually selfish reasons. We can only swim against the current for a short period of time. The effort is too much to sustain indefinitely. Satan stands on the shore and laughs at our futile efforts to resist God’s will. There will very quickly come a point when we must either choose to respond to God’s will or give up from exhaustion in fighting it. If we continue to fight, we will drown and Satan will have won. He will claim our souls and we will never know the joy of living in God’s will.

Of course we still have all the other options available. We can go back to treading water, but not for long. We can go back to the shallow water and never experience the many blessings God has in store for us. Or we can leave the river, pack our things, go home and reject God entirely.

Hopefully we will choose the right option; swim with the current of God’s will. Anyone who is familiar with swimming in a moving body of water knows that once you figure out the current and use it to your benefit the effort is much less demanding. In many ways choosing to follow the current of God’s will is the same. However, even when we choose to follow God’s will, we can still expect difficulties and challenges. Satan doesn’t give up just because we’ve chosen God. He will continue to tempt, to challenge and to push us in every way possible to make us change our mind. He knows that simply because we chose to follow God’s will there is nothing to stop us from changing our mind. The free will that God has given us will allow us to turn from him again should we choose to do so.

There will be times when we can easily float with the current of God and there will be times when we will have to challenge the rapids Satan places in our path. Our security and our salvation rests in God. As long as we are willing, he will give us the strength and grace to resist Satan and continue to follow his will. Whatever the challenge, God can give us the strength to get beyond it and remain in His will. All we have to do is ask and be willing to accept the help God wants to provide us.

The next time you see a river remember the will of God and pray that he will help us to swim in His blessed current and place our trust, our lives, and our souls in His faithful care. It will be the most important decision you will ever make.


The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #93)

This week: A video wrap-up of the conclave, starting with the very best overview video. Then, a more detailed one. When the doors to the Sistine Chapel were closed. When the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist heard of white smoke. A beautiful photo essay. Dublin’s tribute to Benedict XVI. A love story.

— 1 —

This is a beautiful video from CatholicVote produced by GrassRoots Films from footage provided by Rome Reports on the election of Pope Francis. It is one to keep.

— 2 —

Another very good video on the conclave:

— 3 —

The start of the conclave. Extra omnes is Latin for “everyone out” (Cardinal Electors only).

— 4 —

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist were recording their debut album when news of white smoke reached them. It was time to drop everything:

— 5 —

A beautiful photo essay covering the election of Pope Francis is at TotallyCoolPix. These are professional (copyrighted) photos from Reuters photographers.

— 6 —

Here is another tribute video to Benedict XVI from the Archdiocese of Dublin:

— 7 —

A love story:

Spotted by Marcel

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Popes among us

Our new Pope, the Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Pontiff came to us last week “out of nowhere.” All the prognosticators seemed to miss him but there he was, humbly serving Our Lord in Argentina. Only a few weeks ago, people sat beside him as they traveled together on the bus or subway. Some would recognize him as the Archbishop and others undoubtedly saw him as “just” some priest (he dressed simply).

When Cardinal Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio washed the feet of AIDS patients, people saw a humble servant. When he was ordained to the priesthood, they saw a faithful man responding to God’s call. When he taught literature and psychology to high school students, people saw a good teacher. When he himself was in high school, people saw a future chemist.

Only at the last conclave was Archbishop Bergoglio seen as papabile (this time, it was assumed that a younger man would be chosen). Otherwise, before and after the last conclave, the future Pope Francis was just one of the faithful working among and with us. Had we stopped to consider him as a future pope, we may have remembered that no one from the Americas was ever chosen nor was a Jesuit ever chosen. “Theoretically” any man may one day be selected as the pope. Some might have thought Jorge Bergoglio would make a fine one but that his chances were the proverbial slim to none.

When the white smoke appeared, we were overjoyed! We did not know who had been selected but it did not matter. Our confidence rests in God that we would get who we need (not necessarily who we want). Even if the Cardinals were not open to the Holy Spirit, we know for certain that He will protect the Church until the end of time.

This is our faith in Christ and His Church. It is also our love for His vicar, even when we do not yet know who he is.

While we did not know who would become the pope (and neither did the Cardinals until their 5th vote), God – who is outside of time – always did. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was always a future pope, unbeknownst to him and everyone else. May his reign be long and fruitful!

One day, Pope Francis’ reign will end and another man will become St. Peter’s 266th successor (the 267th pope). Today that man is among us, somewhere in the world. No one, including him, knows that he will be the next Holy Father. Not only is he among us now, but so are several of his successors. On average, the last 10 popes were elected at 66.9 years of age and reigned for 13.5 years. With us now are possibly 5 future popes (267, 268, 269, 270 and maybe 271)!

Who might they be?

  • a Cardinal in his early 60’s who just attended his first conclave.
  • a Bishop who is about to turn 50 and will be named an Archbishop in a few years.
  • a parish pastor in his mid-thirties.
  • a seminarian in his early twenties.
  • a boy of 8 looking forward to becoming an altar server.

Whoever they are, those future popes (unless Christ returns first, of course) are out there now. God knows who they are and is forming them for exactly what will be needed. The Holy Spirit is with us.

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