Saturday, January 29, 2011

God's Silent Grace

He said, "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come." ~Mark 4: 26-29

The other day at Mass when the Gospel was proclaimed I was struck by the simplicity of this passage. I had heard it many times before, but this time I got something new out of it.

When we look at the seed that is scattered on the land we can look at the metaphor behind it all. The land is us. The seeds are God’s grace.  All throughout our lives we have times when we experience doubt; doubt as to God’s existence, God’s love, that anything really could go right for us. Because when we are down we feel that nothing matters. But that seed that is scattered on the land begins to grow without us doing anything.

How can this be?

God’s grace is able to work through our hardness of heart. Even when it seems that there is no point to hold a belief in God because it doesn’t make sense to us, God is still there even after we have shut him out. Just because we have shut ourselves to Him doesn’t mean that he has shut Himself from us. God is always there. It can also be correlated quite well in the Footprints in the Sand poem/prayer. Even when we think God has abandoned us, he is the one who is carrying us.

It is when we are our weakest that he makes us strong. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 St. Paul writes “but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”  Even when we think it is all lost, we can always take solace in the fact that God remains with us, is with us, and will always be with us. It is when we are weak, that God makes us strong.

God is good. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Making the Gospel come Alive

Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
 Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Howard Thurman

So I'm sitting at my desk listening to my crazy pop/dance music (you can probably tell that this isn't Nov. Adam) before heading over to Corpus Christi Church for their Don Bosco Fun Night, and one song in particular comes on that makes me think. For those of you playing the home edition, the song is called Raise Your Glass and it's by P!nk. It's been on a playlist that I use for my alarm, but listening to it this evening just brought me a surge of joy- I remembered that as Salesians we use whatever we have at our disposal to bring the Gospel message alive for the young people we serve (bet you thought I was going to say bring the Gospel to young people... truth is they tend to bring it to us in ways we couldn't possibly imagine).

So I'm listening to this song, and I'm insanely grateful that there is music out there that I can use as a Salesian to reinforce how young people are really created with the fingerprints of God all over them- they (and we) are unique, individual, one of a kind, priceless creations. I'm grateful that in a world that makes our young people feel like they have to be whatever image of "perfect" is shoved down their throats, there are artists out there who reinforce that they are special, unique, one of a kind creations. It's my job as a Salesian to make the connection between what the artist creates and what God has created, and it's so much fun doing it!

There are so many means for helping young people bring the Gospel alive, and (at the risk of sounding blunt) it's our own fault if we don't make use of them. So blog, sing, paint, draw, act, do whatever it is that gets you going, and if it really makes you alive and connected to the wider community, I'd be willing to bet that it's inspired

In case you haven't heard the song before- here's Raise Your Glass by P!nk

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Education is the key

In my opinion there is one way for us to be pro-life; and I am not speaking on just abortion. This would mean us taking a step off of the soap box, shut our mouths and listening with our ears, hearts and minds. The way to stop abortion is to think outside of abortion. There has to be an educative method to stopping it. There cannot be a 'war' on abortion. No one has ever won the hearts of people through combative techniques. That is only going to turn people away from any sort of pro-life cause (I think that it goes against the pro-life agenda personally) or people who may associate themselves with being pro-life.  The thought process I think has to go a little something like this:

Education--> We need to educate all, young and old, as to what life is. Life is the fetus in the womb, life is the man or woman or child on the street, life is Grandma or Grandpa in the nursing home, life is the person in prison. All stages of life in any situation or economic situation are important to safeguard. They are precious lives given to us from above.  The education has to be there so that everyone can receive knowledge to better themselves and their families and step out of the veil of poverty. With this education they would be able to have so many more doors open to them. They would be able to do anything and not be limited because their government or whomever failed them in that regard.

Self--> When we look into our self and examine why we are here, why we live where we live, we realize that we have no control over it. Someone decided to carry us to term and give birth to us, someone fed and clothed us, someone obtained for us an education; and someone made sure that we had a roof over our head. We should be overjoyed that we were afforded such a luxury. We must take that knowledge, that because of someone other than myself I am able to live the way I do and I should do all that is in my power to go out and help my neighbor. We need Social Justice. We need people not to be preyed on or cast aside because of their ethnic background or social/economic background.

Society--> When we are all educated enough to know that pro life doesn't just mean babies, but encompasses all, we will be able to see that as a society we can look out for our neighbors and their well being. When we are educated enough to know that the man in prison's life is the same in the eyes of God as my or your life is, we can change as a society. We can change in the outlook that is meant to be the pro-life agenda. That all life is Sacred and that we must be willing to help the man and woman in the street looking for their next meal and not attacking women who are going into a Planned Parenthood. Attacking someone for making an ill informed choice does nothing but hurt the woman or man who are in some way feel pressured into making the decision to abort their pregnancy.  When we are educated to know that love conquers all we can and will make a difference.

Through hard work and education I think that society can be changed. It will come down to "war" and 'civility.' St. Francis de Sales once said "You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

It is through education and love that we can save life. It is through  petty bickering and finger pointing that we will lose life.

God is good.