Monthly Archives: February 2015

Hanging with Jesus

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….on the cross. Lectio Divina with Luke 23: 32-43… yes I put myself, crucified myself, next to Him on the cross. I am the penitent thief; the one Jesus tells will be with Him in paradise.
Go back… walk with Him… There we are. We wait. I have been given just punishment, to be crucified for my sins, for being a thief and for all my other crimes. I have done many horrible things in my life. My friend, the other thief, the one who always talked me into stealing and hurting others, he stands there scowling at everyone, angry that he was caught, at our sentence. We are given our heavy crosses to carry through the streets to our death. There are three of us. My friend is in front, then a man named Jesus, then I bring up the rear. I watch Him, the man, so curious, so weak, beaten to a bloody mess, He can hardly carry His own cross. He falls many times and they mock and they beat Him. He is so bloody that he no longer looks like a man; it is horrifying to watch how they treat Him. His eyes are so bright, lights shining from his mutilated blood-soaked face. When I stop to ponder Him and His suffering they beat me too, whip me, hit me, shove me, and swear at me to move on, to carry my cross.

Jesus-carrying-cross
I know who he is. I had seen Him teaching and preaching in the streets and towns. I had seen Him cure many of diseases and drive demons out of the possessed. I saw the look of gratitude on the faces of those he helped and healed. He even looked at me once, eye to eye, while the crowds surrounded Him. He looked right at me, into me. I could even hear Him speaking to me, to my heart, without words, “Follow me.” That look, so loving and kind, I wanted to go to Him, but my friend, the other thief, laughed at the sight of the crowds and pulled me away, whispering in my ear the next ‘hit’ and the next ‘score.’ For a moment I almost went to Him. My friend yanked me away and the moment passed. Now here I am, walking along with this great man- the messiah- for I know deep in my heart He is the One. Tears pour from my eyes as I watch Him struggle along beaten by words and whips. I cannot keep my eyes off of Him. And then it dawns on me…. I am finally following Him.
The last stretch, up the hill to our death. They have gotten another man to help Jesus, but He still struggles to just walk. He looks back at me and nods. At the top of the hill I look out at the city below, my life. Here it ends. Then I am shoved down upon my cross, arms and legs pulled taut and then I am nailed to the wood. The pain is excruciating, unbearable, I can hardly breathe.

penitent-thief
Crucified. I watch as they continue to mock and sneer at Him. I am amazed that he forgives them. My friend, who is on the other side of Jesus, mocks and ridicules Jesus too, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” How can he say that? I want no part of their condemnation. I know who He is. I know my friend and I deserve this punishment. In my pain I see clearly, I see how it truly is. I look at Jesus; I see a light about his head, a glow, a halo. I know that this moment in time is important- one of the most important moments ever. Jesus, the messiah, is being crucified. He is dying for me, for us. He takes on all my sins, our sins. He is pure and holy and He is doing this for me, for us all. I beseech Him, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Though there is agonizing pain I feel a peace come over me as He tells me, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus death
As He dies it is as if the whole world holds its breath. The hush, the calm, and then… the earth quakes, the lightning flashes and the thunder cracks terrifying all the people on the hill. They look to the lifeless body of Jesus and consider for a moment… maybe He is…..
Cold rain falls on me, the heavens weep and I am cleansed, my sins lift up off of me. The soldiers are told to break the legs of those crucified. I watch as they break my friend’s legs. He cries out and I watch him die. They come to Jesus and see that he is already dead and move to me. With large mallets and empty eyes they swing and crack, break my legs. Oh the pain! I can no longer lift myself to breath and I suffocate.
As it all fades, as the light goes out of my life… I see Him step down from a cloud, all in white, and lift me whole and unblemished from my cross.

Jesus welcoming in Heaven

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Jesus Christ, Lent, Secular Franciscan, The Cross, The Passion

What St Paul Didn’t Say

woman praising god

I would like to introduce my friend and fellow Secular Franciscan as my guest writer… Joan.  Enjoy!

So I am honored to guest write and I hope I will have the opportunity to do it again. I am the crazy, single friend. I say this not to point myself as less-than because I am not married, but honestly sometimes I don’t seem to fit in as I get older and my friends are married. It is sometimes difficult to live this life as a Secular Franciscan and a single young woman. It is simple. But simple does not always equate to easy.

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I found myself having a very deep conversation with a friend of mine from another Christian faith this week. It was regarding chastity. With the movie “50 Shades of Grey” and I use the term movie loosely, we have learned one thing about our society, sex not only sells, it is socially acceptable to have relationships based upon sex. Sex should be an act of Love, Love is not a product of sex.

50 shades
I go back to the many letters of St. Paul. St. Paul said that if we as Christians could not be celibate we should be married. He did not say that if we could not be celibate, that we should be serially monogamous. However, in our society those of us that wish to stay chaste outside of marriage are the “different” ones. I asked my friend why this was. Why when almost every religion teaches chastity, is this true of society? The only answer that we could reach is that society has become more about what you can do for me rather than what we can do for God.
I remember a conversation when another male friend found out I observed chastity. He told me, “I couldn’t date a girl and not have sex.”

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I can only think how sad this is. Why should we be expected to give something that is not ours to give? Our bodies belong to God, were made by God for a purpose, and should only be used for a purpose that is respectful to Him, which is an act of love in marriage which is open to children.
I will go one step further and say this. Men are only half the problem. We women, until we learn to respect and value ourselves, will continue to be the other half, because women who observe God’s Law, will continue to be seen as abnormal as long as the majority of women continue to devalue themselves. I am glad to have the friends that I have who strengthen me in this journey. Because, I can do all things through God who strengthens me.

joanofarc

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Filed under Catholic, chastity, Christian, Faith, Jesus Christ, Secular Franciscan

Praise Him in the Blizzard

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“No storm can shake my inmost calm
while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?”

Interesting that the recessional hymn tonight was “How can I keep from singing” with a blizzard blasting its way into New England. So many people at the 4:30 Mass, knowing they will be snowed in tomorrow. And I am one of the few who loves this, just loves this beautiful snow. Yes. I just said that.

snowiloveyou

It is awesome. It makes me smile. It lifts my spirits. It brings that childhood joy into my heart. No I am not crazy. And I haven’t had a drink in over 4 ½ years… I am perfectly sober and sane. Don’t look at me like that.

This winter reminds me of all those classic childhood winters I had growing up in Syracuse NY in the 1970’s. Snow, snow and more snow. So awesome… Good memories.
But it seems… all I hear is people complaining.

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Just like in November, when I blogged about enjoying the season we are in NOW …. Again I say… Enjoy the NOW! Why can’t everyone just see the beauty in winter and stop complaining? The snow blankets the earth in pure white, it is beautiful. And each snowflake, each one, God’s creation, so unique and perfect and amazing… I love walking on winter nights relishing the quiet hush of the whispering snow. So powerful. So clean, pure, fresh… so new. It is beautiful.

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But everyone is complaining. Wishing for spring. Um… hello, it is February. It is winter. Stop. Really, just stop. Enjoy each moment. Again I always seem to come back to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 . IN EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING !!! give thanks. See the beauty in everything. Praise God for the snow. Thank Him for all the small beauties he places in your life. Stop grumbling. Stop stop stop stopstopstop complaining….

snow 4 letter word

Yeah that is what they think.

I am probably the only goofball who likes to shovel. Yes I do… I find it relaxing (and good exercise!) and I like to stop every once-in-awhile and just take in the winter moment. The other day I chopped ice and snow off my driveway for almost 3 hours… now that was a work-out! Sure these snow storms cause it to be icy and dangerous… and driving can be sketchy and scary … and yes I did back my minivan into the side snowbank as I was trying to back out of my driveway to get to work …my Aspie son, as he was watching and directing me out of the walled-in, narrow driveway monotonily (no I do not care if that is a word) said, “You just backed into the snowbank.” Like, really mom, didn’t you see that? haha. … Hey sure there are hazards… and seriously, where am I going to put another foot of snow?… the snow walls of my driveway are almost over my head.. O.o But still. Still I praise him for all he places before me. With my minivan in the snowbank I praise Him… perfect joy. HA!

I started reading Michael D. O’Brien’s Sophia House last night (Father Elijah was awesome so I had to read more!) and at the beginning of chapter 2 I found this line:
“And whenever the darkness was above, at night or during the dreariest days of winter, the angels sent snow as a sign. Don’t forget Pawelek, they seem to say. We’re here. We give you these stars as messengers.”

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Look up. Let them fall on your face. Cold kisses.
Breathe in.  Listen
That whispering wind swirling, dancing about you.
Angels laughing, brushing by you.
Touching your heart lightly.
This snow. Falling from heaven.
Each flake. Created by Him.                                                                                                                                                Beautiful in its complex luminous uniqueness.
A gift for you.
Catch one
Don’t let this moment go.

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Jesus Christ, Secular Franciscan, winter