The great 20th century thinker, Aldous Huxley, once said “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.”
Funny, now that I think about it, he’s right. Children have the power of a clarity of thought that is absolute and clear. No wonder they are so stubborn when they want something. It simply never occurred to them that they didn’t have the absolute right to have what they want when they want it!
You know the old saying “God works in mysterious ways.” Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t make my confusion over why things happen in my life any better! In fact, I have to confess to you that most of the short and cute little theological phrases (“Just trust the Lord” or “It’s all for the best” or “It was God’s will”) we use to “comfort” others during hard times are simply not helpful.
There goes some of my best one-liners to make me sound like I care and know what to do!
But seriously, why all the mystery about God’s will for my life? Why is it so difficult at times to “see” His purpose or His plan for me? It gets pretty frustrating at times, and there are too many stories to tell here of those who have lost their faith altogether when their life didn’t make sense.
Life can be frustrating, confusing, and scary, and the whole message that “this is all a test” doesn’t really help and usually hurts! Who wants to worship a god who just toys with you?
On this Sunday of the Holy Fathers, our Lord Jesus reminds us that “you are the light of the world”, not “you should be the light”, nor “you can be the light of the world”, but “you are…” If the light of the world doesn’t shine, then darkness trips us up. What obstacles in your life block you from shining?
Gives us some vital perspectives about an historic and theologically wise attitude towards death and, specifically, the Christian funeral. The truth is the Eastern Orthodox funeral service is one of the most profound services for Christian truth! Please don’t say these six things at my funeral!
The old saying is “blood is thicker than water” and it seems that every culture has some form of this saying to reinforce the idea that family comes first!
One of the strongest memories that I have as a boy growing up is my own mother reminding me that my behavior reflects on her and how she did as a mother to me. Bringing shame on my mother through bad behavior was always seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Besides, she would remind me, you have a family name to live up to. Family comes first!
Our ladies group at our parish is putting together a recipe book as a fundraiser for their many ministries. So, one of the leaders approached me and asked “Father, would you like to include a recipe and a message in our cookbook?” Of course, I said “yes.”
I love to bake, so I included a recipe for the best sour cream biscuits I ever made, and a family holiday favorite of mine. But I remember the first time I baked these little tastes of heaven, I forgot to mix in the sour cream! Holy smokes, they were awful!
One of the greatest practical jokes ever played on me was when some friends actually hid my car from me while I was at work. As a teenage boy, my car was my ticket to freedom. It represented my passage from a child to a man! Besides, I looked really cool driving it around the mall parking lot with the windows down, hoping that pretty girl would notice!
Politics in the US has really devolved into the competing desires and power of different “groups.” And it seems current political operatives are bound and determined to make sure every “American” is shuttled into one of several defined “groups” of competing “ideologies.” The “rich” against the “poor”; this “race” against that “race”; this orientation against that orientation; and so on.