Some decisions we make are “gut decisions” using blind intuition informed neither by logic or emotion. Other decisions are based on facts, emotions, or conscience. What kind of decisions should we make?
Giving one’s self the chance to discover something new and wonderful sometimes requires us to step outside our comfort zone. We can choose to continue ordering chicken nuggets and mac & cheese just like a child all our lives, or we can risk it and try something from a place outside of our everyday environment.
Cities and countries may differ, but God is God wherever you are in the world. Last weekend we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi – and I need to be conscious that the Body of Christ comes in all shapes and sizes, across all nations and ‘encounter’ is close if I but dare to see it. Dunkin’ Donuts and the golden arches of McDonald’s may be the same, but each person has unique gifts to offer.
Clutter can be a sign of our squandered gifts of treasure, a result of poor stewardship of those possessions we have received, and an over attachment to material things. Our hearts and minds cannot rest in God when they are constantly busy thinking about and interacting with all the stuff we have in our lives.
“While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God,’” (Mark 14: 22-25).
If you take the time to gaze upon your God in the simplest of forms, and begin to reflect on what has actually taken place with bread and wine becoming the presence of the Divine, then you can begin to understand true humility, sacrifice, and love.
I became a Christian at age 17. I didn’t go to church growing up and really knew very little about Jesus. That is, until I met a girl whom I liked quite a bit. When I finally mustered the courage to call and ask her on a date, she told me that she would like to go out with me but that she liked to end her dates in prayer.
Being church is all about a company of witnesses who “stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live.” Is your life stirring up irresistible questions? Is mine?
When we take time to include “inactivity” into our daily life and into our year, we acknowledge that we are not the sum of our career, job, schoolwork, or even parenting. We have been given more by God and sometimes the only way to experience the richness of those gifts is to take a break from that which we normally do.
We are not like grass. We do not grow without a decision to do so. The grass receives water from the clouds, sunlight from a far off star, and the occasional fertilizer from yours truly, but it still never makes a decision to grow. It just does. You and I have to decide to grow, or we can find ourselves years later at the same stage of ignorance we are at now.
We all know sowing is the process of planting seeds. Jesus tells of the sower – some seeds fell on the path, on rocky ground, some among thorns and some on rich soil. We are also aware that the seed Jesus refers to in the parable is the Word of God. A sower might be careful not to waste seed on areas that will not grow, but Jesus knows that we cannot always tell who will represent the path, rocky ground, thorns, or rich soil. Therefore, we must lavishly sow seeds for the kingdom of God.
I collect smiley faces. The crown jewels of my collection are Harvey Ball autographed smileys and McCoy pottery smileys. When I started my collection, I looked for the McCoy symbol on each pottery piece, to verify it was a “real McCoy.” The stamp of the symbol told me that it had been made in the 1970s and was indeed made by the Ohio manufacturer. Without a stamp, I could only assume it was a counterfeit or copycat piece, coming from nowhere special and belonging to no known entity.
In a 2009 address, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke about the Holy Trinity in this way: “The ‘name’ of the Blessed Trinity is, in a certain sense, imprinted upon all things because all that exists, down to the last particle, is in relation; in this way we catch a glimpse of God as relationship and ultimately, Creator Love. All things derive from love, aspire to love and move impelled by love.” That means that you and I, and all material things, bear this imprint. The mark indicates our origin and Creator.
This implies three important realities: first, all creation is important and precious; second, all creation belongs to the Creator whose mark is imprinted on it; and third, the origin and purpose of that creation is love. Good stewards, then, should cherish everything and everyone around them and treat all of it with great care and compassion. Our belongings and the resources used to create them all bear the mark. Our children, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, and enemies–all bear the mark. There is nothing and no one who belongs to no known entity. It is all God’s. It is all the real McCoy.