A force of nature

A force of Nature

A force of Nature

Wind and fire are forces of nature that command our attention. The Holy Spirit is a force of God’s nature that demands our attention.

The Holy Spirit pushes us, compels us, directs us, and sets us on fire to imitate Jesus. The Holy Spirit fuels our passion for justice, our desire to forgive, our impulse to reach out with compassion, and our commitment to love.

Be swept away by the wind. Feel the heat of the fire. Trust the movement of the Spirit in your life.

And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:2-4a

RESOURCE: The Racial Divide in the United States, text and study guide

Originally posted on PAX CHRISTI USA:

from the National Black Catholic Congress

racial-divide“The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015,” is a study-guide is designed to assist parishes, schools, study groups, Small Christian Communities, and others who wish to participate in serious discussions of Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.” This study-guide should be seen as a flexible resource that can be adapted for use by large or small groups. While the guide is arranged for the participation of members of a group, it can also be used by two people or by an individual. It is for all who, with Christian faith, would like to examine the complex racial divide in our country that is documented in each day’s headlines and the personal experiences of many people. The study-guide will aid you in…

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Seeing God

JESUS MAFA. The Ascension, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48398 [retrieved May 17, 2015].

JESUS MAFA. The Ascension, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 17, 2015].

Looking at Jesus, we see that God forgives, touches, heals, listens, welcomes, serves, and walks with people from all stations in life.

Looking at Jesus, we see that God seeks to fulfill the law of Love: love of God, self, and neighbor.

We see God by studying the person of Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we have been given the grace to imitate Jesus and so give others a glimpse of God.

No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. 1 John 4:12

How many ways to love

Tissot, Le lavement des pieds

James Tissot, 1836-1902
Le lavement des pieds, between 1886 and 1894
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Brooklyn Museum

Just for today I am going to think of one way to love one other person.

I may smile at a stranger.
I may invite someone to tea.
I may respond with patience to someone who is irritating me.
I may contact someone who is lonely.
I may thank someone for being there for me.

[Jesus said,] “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” John 15:12

Pruned

Cixi_Vines_with_fruit

Empress Dowager Cixi, 1838-1908
Vines with fruit
ink and water color on silk, first half of 19th c.
Warsaw, National Museum
via Wikimedia Commons

If my heart remains open to and my mind stays focused on Jesus’ teaching to love God, my neighbor, and myself, I can count on being pruned.

Pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-centeredness, shame, low self-esteem, self-pity: these are traits God will prune in order that the fruit I bear in the world ripens into compassion, kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, peace, faith, and love.

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” John 15:1-2

 

Lay down your life for a moment

Anton Mauve, 1838-1888 Shepherd and Sheep oil on canvas, ca.1880 Cincinnati Museum of Art

Anton Mauve, 1838-1888
Shepherd and Sheep
oil on canvas, ca.1880
Cincinnati Museum of Art
via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes I lay down my life for a while when a friend is in need. I put aside my own chores, amusements, or quiet time to listen and encourage. When the time is right, I take up my life again and go on.

Sometimes I lay down my life for a while when my elderly father needs an advocate. I make phone calls, ask for information, and get some answers on his behalf. When the time is right, I take up my life again and go on.

I have the power to lay down my life for the moment and help others. I have the power to take up my life again and move on without having lost myself. It is my privilege and calling to exercise this power in a way that reflects the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

[Jesus said:] “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” John 10:18

Open minded

Andrey Mironov oil on cnavas, 2010(Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Andrey Mironov
Peace be with you! (Christ appearing to the apostles)
oil on canavas, 2010
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 Unchanging yet dynamic, the Scriptures call me to listen with my mind, heart, and soul to what they are saying today.

Today I will open my mind to hear the call of God’s word.

Then [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45