Thursday, January 24, 2013

Some Coursings of Luke and Stephen

St. Stephen, pray for us.
Two items have been coursing through my mind. One being sporadic thoughts of the diaconate, which, in short I take to be a normal and healthy wondering about where my life in Christ will take me. The other being fairly persistent contemplation of Luke, Ch. 3/4, where Jesus is baptized, then goes into the desert (and is tempted by the devil), then returns to Nazareth, and in a quiet, unassuming manner, announces his ministry. I will discuss point number 2 first.

I have thought and thought and thought and thought about this sequence, which is very rich and suggestive, even while I drew no closer to a fresh understanding. Until today, that is, when it struck me that it is the absence of certain facts that has drawn my attention. In brief, it is incredible that Jesus did not voyage to Jerusalem to announce his ministry. He did not pick a particularly significant holy day. He took the scroll handed to him (with a passage from Isiah) and rolling it up he said, simply, The prophecy is fulfilled.

Well, of course everyone went ape-shit. I mean, who now would have acted differently? The people of Nazareth would have stoned him to death if he hadn’t simply passed through them and left. But here is the point (bringing in issue No. 1 – my own ministry). As a Christian, I am called to follow my Lord and my brother in the love for God, the Father. I, too, baptized, will be tempted – especially by all sorts of worldly riches – but what I should do is follow Christ. To say quietly, unpretentiously, This is me. This is what I believe, and This is what I will do. The prophecies are revealed in Christ, and Christ is revealed in me, as far as I am capable to reveal him, by the grace of God.

I certainly do not need the diaconate to be the Christian God wants me to be. What could be more obvious. What did St. Stephen have, except the trust of the disciples? First and foremost I must be true to the word. To Jesus Christ, my lord and saviour. I need to listen. I need to pray and listen and follow Christ’s example. What more could I ask for than to be equal to his word?

How simple. How impossible, without God’s help.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ministry and...blogging?

How can I repay the Lord
for all the great good done for me?
I will raise the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
- Psalm 116:12-13

I do not write to this blog nearly enough. It bothers me – though I think I know why this is. I am hesitant to express in a blog what belongs to myself only, or I should say, between myself and God. Not that there are any secrets – or separations. But still, the internal promptings for this blog are much more quiet, even more subtle, than those for my poetry blog. Thoughts concerning faith in any aspect can become a dialogue with the Lord. And I have no desire to post those conversations. However, I feel a strong compulsion to disclose what I experience to the extent that it offers something of myself to the reader in the name of my love of God.

So, why the sparsity and delay?

Perhaps my situation is something like that of the disciples after the passion, as they hid out in a room, bursting forth only once the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Though, the Spirit has descended upon me, and I am grateful for its propelling, saving graces. But blogging, well, it’s something different, isn’t it. I can imagine sitting here with the Lord trying to explain what this blog thing is all about, and He sitting there nodding his head, catching up on this latest derivation of how we try and communicate with each other – then getting it (of course) and I expect being vastly amused.

Yes, I love the Lord. You may get a kick out of this – when I bicycle and the ride gets tough, I sometimes say to myself, “Jesus, I wish you were here, riding with me. I know that you are of course, but I mean on a bike.” But you know, when I am on a tough run, I don’t have that conversation, because I am quite sure that the Lord would smoke me something awful running, while on a bike we at least could stay together to some sort of mutual satisfaction.

What else. Church is going so vey well. I love it. Every Mass is like my first ever. I am a very, very fortunate guy. Honestly, I don’t know why God bothers with me. I guess it’s true – because I need him. Though, you would think I could make more of an effort to write this blog.

Ah – I will try to do just that. Our ministries after all are are diverse as life itself. Open heart, open mind, full life. Praise.