Sunday, March 19, 2006

God Speaks

Sometimes He uses subtle messages to prod us in the right direction. But sometimes when we ask for His guidance, He directly points something out to us. Last night as I was sitting in bed and reading my daily inspiration and daily meditation, I asked God that if there was something I really needed to know, please point it out to me. So I then go to my Bible and randomly open it. The first thing I read was 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 which reads
  • Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. You know how, when you were pagans, you were constantly attracted and led away to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that nobody speaking by the spirit of God says, "Jesus be accursed." And no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the holy Spirit.
I thought that was interesting so I randomly opened it again. This time Ephesians 5:5 is what struck me.
  • Be sure of this, that on immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolator, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

So I decided to try it one more time and went for something in the Old Testament. Here is the passage that I read from 1 Kings 11: 4-10
  • When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the Lord, his God, as the heart of his father David had been. By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites, Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done. Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab, and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites, on the hill opposite Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. The Lord, therefore, became angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice (for though the Lord had forbidden him this very act of following strange gods, Solomon had not obeyed him.)

Do we notice a pattern here? I thought o.k. ; Idols. Idolatry. I think what God is saying is that I am still letting other things come before him. So I contemplate on it a bit, say my prayers and go to sleep.

Then I go to Mass this morning. I get there early so I can spend some time in prayer and reflection. I read the first reading for today which is Exodus 20: 1-17 (The Ten Commandments) Imagine what stood out once again.
  • I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them worship them.

I'm starting to really get the hint here. And can you possibly guess what Father Phan's homily was about today? I am sure it is no surprise, but he talked about the necessity of God's laws and that by following our own personal laws and standards we are lost. He used the example of the Golden Calf (and idol) and how it represents our human desires to live according to our own rules. He says we may still have a "Golden Calf" in our way when we put other things before God. He said that if you look where your heart is, there is your God.

And I admit that although I am trying to get on the right path with God, I still have other things in my life that I put before Him. And I still struggle with that. Thankfully, Father also mentioned that the remedy for all this is simply Christ. We must continue to live according to the laws of God. Obey the 10 commandments. Have a spirit of the Beattitudes. I know what I need to work on but won't air all of my dirty laundry on here. I will pray for help and guidance in the things I need to do.

The Gospel reading today was about Jesus casting out the money changers in the temple. I enjoyed Father's analogy that Lent is a wonderful season to clean house. Like Christ cleansed the Temple, we can also cleanse our souls of those things we put before God. He closed with a prayer of Trust in God. I will pray this throughout the season of Lent that I might have full faith and trust in Him. This is from Thomas Merton.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

1 comment:

Moonshadow said...

Merton is a personal favorite ... and this prayer of his, because of the great uncertainty it expresses ... and therefore, the great faith.

I'll remember you at the Easter Vigil Mass.