DEAD FAITH?

I recently read the Book of James in the bible.  I quote:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism…Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Then I read a commentary by Steve Givens (Living Faith 2/21/2020):

“Without that living proof that Jesus has made a difference in our lives, our faith is dead – a museum piece that signifies ‘Christian’ in the same way a painting of a sunset looks nice on the wall but offers no heat, no light, no source of life for those who gaze upon it.”  He offers a prayer to us…”Spirit of God, breathe through me and make my faith come alive in the world around me.”

I offer the following:  FAITH THAT IS ONLY PROFESSED IN WORDS, BUT NOT EXPRESSED IN DEEDS, IS DEAD – IT IS A MERE MUMBLE OF WORDS, COLD AND WITHOUT THE SPIRIT OF GOD.  LET US BE DOERS OF THE WORD, LOVING OUR CREATOR, OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS AS OUR OURSELVES, AND BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF THE EARTH. WE WILL ALL BENEFIT. PEACE.

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOW DON’T TELL

20190412_233955701_iOSWriters are always reminded to “Show, don’t tell”. That advice is wisdom for life too.  It is easy to verbally express our beliefs, our opinions, our thoughts, but much more challenging to act upon those with conviction.

We can and do express outrage at injustice, however, we keep our wallets tightly closed when called upon to “put our money where our mouth is”.  We need to take action–for Love is an action verb, and we are called to Love One Another. (1 John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Romans 12:19).

We are not called to be God in the world – to judge and destroy.  Rather, we are called to be Jesus…to love, forgive, show mercy and demonstrate kindness. (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Romans 12:19).

Do not tell me what you do or believe – that is not impressive.  Rather, show me who you are by what you do. (Luke 6:27-36; Matthew 7:15-23).

When we love one another we receive blessings in abundance. Giving/serving others is indeed better than judging, condemning and criticizing…better for mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Peace to all.

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2019 – A TRANSFORMATIVE YEAR

I initially posted this in 2018 – Sadly it is still relevant so I will re-post.  Additionally, in light of recent displays of intolerance, I am posting the themes of Catholic Social Teaching as an educational tool. Racism, rude behavior, discrimination and hate are NOT Catholic.  Here’s to a more kind and loving 2019!

TRANSFORM:  To change in condition, nature, or character; to change into another form of energy.

Call it cliche, sappy, idealistic, pie-in-the-sky thinking…whatever you want…but people, and whole societies can change, can transform themselves into a higher nature, one that produces positive growth and nurtures the soul.

Desire, willingness, and the courage to dream for something better stirs us to action.  Peaceful action generates contagious, life-affirming energy that can affect peoples’ lives in truly remarkable ways!  Time and again we’ve been shown that one person can make a lasting impression – for good or evil. It isn’t a matter of IF we can impact the world, but more a matter of HOW and WHEN.

It is a matter of deciding to let go of destructive ideas, impulses, and behaviors, and choosing to be transformed into positive agents for the good of all.  Some people dismiss the notion that what is good for all is important. They are self-serving, self-righteous,  and self-deluded. They fail to realize that we humans are interrelated, interdependent, and interconnected whether or not we want to acknowledge it.

So, we must face the reality that if we want to live free, happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful lives, we must allow all others to live free, happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful lives too. We must choose to be transformed into our better selves. We must find the courage to let go of destructive impulses, and to embrace benevolence.

ACTIONS:  Resolve:  to solve problems with words, not violence; to volunteer to serve others; to try new things and entertain new ideas; to treat our addictions; to make healthy decisions; to become more informed with the truth; to disagree respectfully; to develop our spiritual nature; to commune in nature; to choose courage over fear; to develop our talents, explore our creative sides; to become charitable; to laugh often; to forgive freely; to be merciful and thoughtful; to be more loving to ourselves and others.  Let’s TRANSFORM ourselves and the world in 2019 – it can be done!   Peace, Joy, Love & Hope. HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Doctoraquarius.

SEVEN THEMES OF CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING for those who want to know you can read more about them online.

LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON

CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE

THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS

SOLIDARITY

CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION

From Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions, 2017 – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

 

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VIRTUES, FRUITS AND GIFTS

       I am a reader and writer; a ponderer and prayer.  I enjoy thinking about the big questions of life. Lately, I’ve found myself adversely impacted emotionally and psychologically by the horrifying and troubling cancer of hate and violence that seems to be metastasizing. I pray  hard for conversions of heart and mind – of my heart and mind and of others’ too.  I find that when I pray daily for virtues, and for the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, I receive relief and peace.  Here is my prayer:  “I pray Lord that You help me to be more joyful, peaceful, humble, kind, loving, patient, gentle, generous, forgiving, accepting, understanding, faithful, self-controlled, charitable, prayerful, long-suffering, compassionate, tolerant, persevering, strong, courageous, grateful, trusting, truthful/honest, hopeful, wise, knowledgeable, reverent, awe-struck, prudent and merciful. My prayer and hope is that you may too receive peace of heart and mind. Together we can eradicate the “cancer of hate” and transform our world.  I believe.  Peace, Joy & Love.

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A CHILD SHALL LEAD

This morning as I was reading scripture, inspirational devotions and writing in my journal, I ran across a prayer I wanted to share.  It is excerpted from Living Faith, Vol. 32; No. 3, by Phil Fox Rose.

THE SET ASIDE PRAYER

“God, please help me set aside everything I think I know about myself and this passage, and you, so I may have a new experience of these things.”

Short and to the point, it struck me that we could all benefit from the openness, and child-like humility that this suggests as we not only read, but also watch, experience and discuss. It takes humility to be teachable and open-minded. Oftentimes we adults are too arrogant, rigid, and close-minded to learn anything new. We jump to conclusions, judge others, and dismiss views that run counter to our preconceived notions about the world and its people. Scripture tells us to be open and teachable like children, and to be dependent upon God. My prayer is that we all open ourselves to new experiences during this most holy and festive of seasons. Perhaps we can take steps towards greater understanding, appreciation and respect for others. Peace, Joy and Love.

 

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UNITY & HUMILITY

The Last shall be first; the First shall be last.  This biblical phrase seems to run counter to what average Americans strive for in their lives.  It isn’t what we want to hear and yet over and over counter-cultural phrases challenge us – Love your enemies; turn the other cheek…

I was reading my daily scripture recently and the following passage really stood out:

Philippians 2: 3-4.  “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others.

This is the ideal; the Christ-like action.  It made me think of why we need some government regulations even if we would rather be free of them.   Unfortunately, not all nations, corporations, or individuals are as philanthropic as they should be.  Not everyone cares about the Common Good, the welfare of others.  Greed, self-interest and disinterest in others seem to be predominant “values” in our culture.  Therefore, we need to strive to be more Christ-like and to regard others as more important than ourselves.  Imagine the peace, joy and love that would flourish and how wonderful that would be.

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END TIMES MIND GAMES

Lately I’ve read enough doomsday and end-times scenarios to last me a lifetime!  I mean, the fear-mongering and hopelessness in these so-called prophecies are eating away at the serenity of the mind.  Jesus said to “Be Not Afraid.”  He said that again and again in the Bible.   And in speaking about the end of days he said in Matthew 24:36  “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself, ONLY THE FATHER KNOWS.”

So why persist in scaring people with talk of horrifying things and working them up with fear and hate?  LIVE…now…full of joy, hope, kindness for others, faith, courage, peace, love, mercy, giving, forgiving…  Create memories of great love and charity for all…not fears of others!!  GOD IS LOVE.  Why worry about death…it happens to all of us…to the best and the worst of us…it can’t be avoided.  But we can make a choice how to live the life we have been graciously given, not wasting it with rancor and division.  So, STOP preaching the destruction of the world and START making it a most loving, and hospitable place for all.

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DISTRACTIONS

Smart phones; television; social media; over-activity; food; alcohol; drugs – anything and everything to distract ourselves from looking within to examine our motives and behaviors.  We judge others, pick out the “log” in our brother ‘s and sister’s eyes, and condemn rather than searching our souls for fear we may discover that we’ve fallen short of our idealized self.  We justify our hate-filled remarks as “righteous” as though we were appointed by God Himself to be his judge on Earth.  How arrogant, misguided, and prideful- how deadly are our sins.  No one knows the mind of God; no one knows the heart and soul of another; no one knows the trials and challenges of another; no one has the right to judge another and to proclaim who God himself will choose to save.  So let us examine our own self-serving motives, our own fears, our own prejudices, our own pride, and stop trying to elevate ourselves to the divine position of God the creator, savior, redeemer, healer, and judge. HE ALONE has the power to save and/or condemn.   Let go of fear and embrace the peace and love of God.  Peace, joy and love to all.

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HATE IS A CANCER

Keeping in touch with old friends and colleagues via Facebook used to be fun.  After catching up I would also read articles, opinions, and, on occasion, politically-related issue pieces.  Lately, I’ve literally felt ill after reading some of the most hateful, cruel comments that are being made – often unrelated to the original topic.  It is as though FB has become a network for angry, destructive, and thoughtless people with nothing better to do than to spew hatred and incite violence.  It has become a platform for a disgusting display of ignorance being perpetuated, and the truth being stomped on as trivial.  It is so sad that we can’t seem to disagree with each other without being vicious. As this hate speech increases, so does the incidence of violence against others.  Fear is insidious, and it seems to be spreading like a cancer.  It is infecting all areas of our lives.  I believe it is up to the majority of us that are not yet caught up in this to respond to the hate with love, to the cruelty with kindness, to the violence with peace.  Fear begets more fear…hate begets more hate…violence incites more violence.  Lets put a stop to these horrible, contagious “diseases” of the heart and soul.

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HAPPY “LOVE” DAY

A wish for happiness and meaningfulness on this day we celebrate LOVE and the many ways we express it.  How about, in addition to chocolates, flowers, special dinners, and cards, we commit ourselves to expressing real love this year…caring for ourselves and others; forgiving; saying kind and supportive things; having mercy on others because we are all flawed and struggling; being generous with our time, talents and treasures, being accepting of ourselves and others because we are not perfect, just striving; respecting the human dignity of others even if we disagree; lifting up and helping all in need; making our corner of the Earth a safe, welcoming, and peaceful place to live, work and play; recognizing and celebrating the beauty in the diversity of life; loving one another as we want to be loved; praying for each other in this precious, difficult thing called LIFE.  Can’t we all use a little peace, serenity and love in our lives?

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