History~~revisited

Oh my gosh!  Its been a few days since I had a post. 

I have been writing furiously in my many notebooks in long hand. I am writing a memoir of sorts of my life.   I have been inundated with memories that I thought were buried so deep in my sub-conscious that they would never surface.

Oh, but surface they have!! I have always said to myself, (yes, I talk to myself and I am quite fascinating)  I said, “self why do you not remember your childhood memories?   I have had a few, but they are mostly memories achieved through pictures or old 8 millimeter movies ( ya. I am that old but we will side-step that point with denial)... bits and pieces. Moving pictures without sound…….  my sister dancing the twist with a small little sister (me) dancing beside her mimicking every move in hopes to be just like her.  I was kinda’ cute! The admiration I have of my sister is so painfully evident even when I was 2 years old!

As I have been writing my so-called memoir, the memories have been bubbling to the surface like a small hot spring.

The steam of the memories rising.  Maybe I remember more than I thought.  I have many memories of my rebellious teen years…. I had an opinion and I was not afraid to express it causing many heated debates with my equally opinionated mother! The memories before are blurred and distorted.

Almost like an old black and white television that produces a picture in between static and white noise. I am struggling with the flimsy antenna trying to get the picture back into focus.

I think I will spend some time today…. watching those blurred images that have been now transferred on a DVD and get my notebooks out…..and see where it leads me~~!! To be continued.

Aside

small hurts~~ greater good?

 

“Blessed are they that persecuted for the sake of righteousness

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”

Oppression, victimization,mistreatment,abuse,discrimination………. all synonyms for persecution.  Heavy stuff.   Last night while I was at home, after a nice hot bath, clean pj’s, a nice cup of tea,  I settled in to watch the movie “The Help”.   I had read the book a couple of times.  When I read a book, I form images in my mind of what the characters look like, their mannerisms and the setting they are in.  That is one of the joys of reading for me,  but I digress.

As I was watching the movie, there were times when the tears came and I was so convicted.  I came to the realization of how people of “color”  “African Americans”, “black” people were so mistreated and discriminated against, abused, victimized, oppressed all the synonyms for persecution.  It was not that long ago, the 60’s, when this persecution was happening.  The mind set that black PEOPLE were not people at all, but items to “own”. I am sure that the mind set of racism  still goes on, that many people still feel the same way. It makes me sick.

That got me to thinking of all the ways we can persecute.   As a society, we are called to be cohesive and in harmony & peace with each other.  Ideally accepting and loving.    There are many subtle ways we persecute each other.   Can we say that we always feel that all people are created equal.  Do we have a sense of being better than, lets say the man who stands at the intersection with a sign that says… :”will work for food”  are we empathetic to his plight, or do we give a few dollars with the underlying thought that he will probably use the money to buy drugs or alcohol.    I have thought that before, but was convicted by my beliefs that I am not to judge and to give to others without expectation.

All people deserve to live their lives as they will, as long as it does not cause others harm.  It is funny how as I wrote the last sentence, it came to mind that some people choose to cast judgment on others, because they disagree with how they either are or what they believe in. Persecution…..

God made us to be individuals with free will.   I believe that God set out commandments for us to live by.  10 simple rules.  For those who do not believe in God, ~ Atheists have  beliefs that  I am not that familiar with, However,  an article I read in the Huffington Post, about Atheist “churches” that are springing up more and more in the United States.  It states~~They don’t bash believers of God, but want to find a new way to meet like-minded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.  And why not.  Again…. the free will part.   Everyone is entitled to their beliefs….. everyone.  

As I have always told my children, who grew up Catholic on their dads side…. and with me( a recovering Catholic, who believes the tenants of the faith, just not the religiosity and legalism of the Catholic faith)  as they got older,  I encouraged them to find their own beliefs. My oldest son is raising his family in the Catholic faith, church on Sunday, no meat on Fridays during lent, first communion and confession all the legalism of organized religion.   My daughter believes the Buddhist tenants are for her.  My youngest does not attend any church at all. As they were growing up, they attended the Catholic mass with their dad.  When with me, I gave them the choice of going to church or not.  When they went with me, they found a charismatic church that was very different in style of the mass but basically had the same message.

I do not know how I could live my life without my beliefs in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.   I believe with all my heart.    I also believe in free will and choices.   “Christianity” is my belief system.  I go to a church that is non-denominational.  It is a new church.  No building yet, so we meet at the local movie theater.  We have an awesome worship team and a pastor who is in essence very real, down to earth, & practical. I invite friends to attend and a few have and they have really enjoyed it and attended again. 

The point I am trying to make is about the persecution of anyone.  We have all been persecuted in some way.  The judgment of others is a persecution of you.  The person that forces you to believe what they believe is a persecution of the others free will to choose.  As a Christian,  I am called to spread the good news, that Jesus died for me and I will live again after death, if I believe.  I am not an evangelist, I do not hand out tracts to people on the street,  I do not wear a sign saying “Repent the end is near!!”    I do try to live a life that is non judgmental (it is not my job to judge), a life that reflects love, charity, generosity, good will, kindness and open mindedness to others.  To love others as God has loved me.  That is my evangelism to others.

 

Persecution is when someone is  oppresses another, abuses another, mistreats another, discriminates another…….  We are all called to abolish persecution.  ~~be kind one to another.  Respect each other.  Live in harmony with each other.  That is a start.

I believe that at this time and on this earth………….. we will not see persecution abolished  ~~ but in the next life….. those who have been persecuted will get their just reward.   (and theirs is the  kingdom of heaven). 

 

Aside

Peace..Harmony..

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Blessed are the peacemakers

for they shall be called children of God

 

 Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me~~  One of my favorite prayers is the prayer of St. Francis.   In it there is a reaction to the injustices that I am sure all of us have had to deal with.  Being a “peacemaker” can be very hard.  I have learned in my life that if I have an opinion or a mindset there will also be either an equal viewpoint but mostly an opposing opinion.

I never really liked to be in debate about how I believe.  In my heart, I have always been one to allow others their opinion and to make their point in honest and productive debates.   I thought I was a peacemaker, but in fact I was just someone who did not want to argue and I was the one with the question….. “why can’t we all just get along”   I am still of that mindset.

As I look at this beatitude, where it says “they will be children of God”.   I have found in my life, that children do pick up many of their parents traits, good & Bad.   In my faith my God has nothing but good to give His children.  Thus, as a child of God we are emulating His Godly nature to do good and be good, being a representation of God.

Being a peacemaker is learning, as my photo before my post says, “In your garden of thought  cultivate harmony”   I would have just that picture to conclude my post.    It really is very simple to cultivate harmony.  Harmony is peace with cooperation.   Harmony is blending together the whole of the music.  Sometimes the harmony is a bit off, but with practice and cooperation the orchestra can blend many different instruments and vocal qualities to be “in harmony” and in turn a beautiful harmonic blend of all the differences.   Celebrating all the different ideas in a cohesive tapestry of love and respect for each and every voice that is to be heard.

Being a peacemaker and one that cultivates harmony can be a challenge. When people hate it is very hard to cultivate love and not counteract with more hate.  When someone injures your spirit it is hard to forgive them the hurt and not hurt them back. It is hard to become stronger in your faith when all the signs around you make you doubt. When someone who experiences despair it is very hard to cultivate hope.  Experience  darkness counteract with light~~ Sadness with joy. It takes practice and diligence.

It is something we have to work at.  When we are being a peacemaker, we also have the additional benefit of  peace in our hearts.  When we cultivate that harmony ~~  our harvest will be full of peace and those around us will see that we are children of God, the ultimate peacemaker.

 

Mercy… Mercy… Mercy~~

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Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

 

 This beatitude should be a no-brainer…… Give mercy…. receive mercy.   Tit for Tat.   

When grace and mercy intersect…it will bring peace into your relationships.    That is all I have for today.  Have mercy on me~! 

 

I was up most of the night with a hell of a toothache… have lots of mercy on me.

ravenous righteousness

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Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

 

 

Without righteousness, you cannot live spiritually. I love that little illustration of how righteousness is found.  Not in us (self righteousness)~~ not by being unrighteous (sitting in and being unrighteous)  but by God’s grace is when we achieve righteousness.

Think about this: God will satisfy your deepest desires if you look to him for fulfillment.

Trust me when I say I know this from experience.  Most of my life I have looked to other “things” to fulfill me in my life.  While some have been very fulfilling (like the true and unadulterated love for my children and the pride I have for them,and I know that God graciously gave me them, my family no matter how dysfunctional and loopy,  and my friends who are always there for me…..)

None of these “things” are things.  They are people….. not objects of wanting.  Righteousness is an element of your spirituality.

When you feed on the element of righteousness,  you absorb  righteousness in such a way that it becomes part of you. Righteousness must be absorbed into your being in the same way that the food that you eat is absorbed into your body. It becomes part of you.  As it is “digested” within you ….. it becomes a nutrient of peace, joy, grace, love and a true sense  of justice overcomes you. You have to absorb it. You have to internalize the nature of God’s righteousness. You must have God in every part of your being.

  In order to hunger and thirst for righteousness….. you need to have an appetite for it.  If you are not hungry you have no desire for the “food”.  This is a conscious effort to seek righteousness in your life and in turn the life you lead. A starving spirit will look for spiritual food and when you look and seek out fulfillment through God’s grace, you will never go hungry spiritually.   No amount of religiosity  will fulfill your spirit.  It is a simple, primitive desire of your heart……. siting in church Sunday after Sunday just to fulfill an obligation and hoping you will get filled by osmosis will not suffice when you are hungry for righteousness.  You have to go right to the food source….  dig into the garden and pick the organic spirituality that fulfills your soul.  Take it and eat it.   Digest it and let it ruminate in your soul and spirit…. Most of the time people who are religious will sit at the table and see the righteousness on their plates…. and never partake in what is presented.  They externalize their spirituality with the rote mechanical or habitual repetition of prayers that are not truly ingested.

I want to be someone who truly hungers for righteousness, not only in my life but to be able to extend that righteousness to those around me.   Simple, primitive and organic ……. and with the “seasoning” of God…. so very delicious!!  

 

 

 

eek!! Meek??? seriously?

 

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“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”

 

Many associate the word meek with the word weak. To some the word meek brings to mind a person who is unable to stand firm on a position, is easy to persuade, is generally a weak minded and weak willed individual. Some one  who when in conflict or is asked to stand up for something or to someone,  will cower and retreat in a corner.

As someone who loves words and looks into the derivative of a word,  I have found that in these days the word “meek” has lost most of its meaning within the vernacular of our current language.  The word carries none of the meanings associated with weak. The meek, (hoi praeis) has been translated mild or gentle. The word was originally applied to the outer characteristics of things and people. It was not considered a virtue or an attitude but as the inner attitude of a person. Today’s meaning of meek has been watered down to the point it has lost most, if not all of its true meaning. The Greek historian Xenophon used the word “meek” to describe a horse broken to saddle, so that it is under control. When a horse is “broken to saddle”  it is in harmony with the human who will be in harmony with the horse as they ride together.   In becoming “meek”  the horse can be in harmony or at peace with its owner or rider.   When left “unbroken” the horse is unable to be in harmony.

Like I mentioned before,  I used to think the word “meek” meant kind of spineless and inept to stand up for ones own beliefs.  When in all actuality, the word meek means one who has an attitude toward others that is humble, gentle and kind. A person who is teachable is considered meek. A meek person does not have to be right all of the time and a meek person will live a life of strength under control. Quiet but strong resolve on doing what is just and good not according to themselves but according to God.

The “meek” have accepted God’s estimate of their own life. They  know they are to be humble as God asked them to be, but paradoxically, they know  at the same time that they are in the eyes of God of more importance than angels.  IN that humility or “meekness” they know that apart from God they cannot in all actuality achieve nothing of true importance but with God as they humble themselves to God, that nothing is impossible.  That is their motto and inherited hope for their lives.

So we become “meek” in our lives we stand resolute and strong in our beliefs and we sigh in our hearts and let those who oppose us to state their beliefs and offer up a quiet and gentle rebuttal to express what our faith is to them.  We do not engage in an angry and wrathful insistence on what they should believe but acknowledgement of what they have shared and  we are able walk away not only confident in what we believe, but also with a quiet and gentle prayer for them.

So what is “the earth” to inherit? To me it has always  represented the promise of God.  The very promise of love,joy and peace which surpasses our own human understanding. The ability to be in peace while the storms of life on this earth swirl with arrogance and turmoil ~~ it is the place of God’s promise.

To sum this all up,  Obedience and “submission”  or “meekness” to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days but this meekness will bring  to fruition the true sense of peace in our spirit as we live not only  in this world but  it will truly serve us well in the next .  

“Be-atitudes “

“Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good,
from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want.
Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us if it is compared with its opposite. Now the opposite of beatitude is misery.
~~St. Gregory of Nyssa

I have been doing a study of the eight beatitudes and I am going to take each of them one at a time and hopefully relay what each one means to me and in the long run how I can adopt these 8 “be-atitudes” to my day to day life. I have found they are very, very relevant today in our fast paced, go go go go society.

So here goes…..

The first one is… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

This always confused me. Thinking that being poor in Spirit means being lack-luster in your faith. Actually the more I looked into being poor in spirit the conclusion was..”Poor in spirit” means to be humble and to be one with humility.

There is another word I was always confused by “humility” I always was lead to believe that humility is subjecting yourself to be humiliated. Oh how wrong I had been.

Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. To have poverty of spirit means to be completely empty and open to God and His will for us. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God. When we humble ourselves then we are able to accept our frail, fallible and imperfect nature~~to repent, be convicted and allow the grace of God to lead us to the real truth and it allows us to do what is right in God’s eyes not in our own eyes.

Humility is a hard one. When we do a good job, we do want praise and someone saying “good job” which is not a bad thing to want praise and recognition. Being truly humble to me means to attribute all that I have…. all that I have done… and all that I am going to do~~ to God and all the glory belongs to God!!
This keeps me humble and this attitude will lead me to the rewards God has for me.

Next post will be ……“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I know some things about mourning so that should be a very interesting study.