Tag Archives: reflection

The Testing of Faith

In these few weeks’ Sunday Gospel readings, we embark on reading the Bread of Life discourse found in John 6.

Last week, we saw Jesus asking Phillip: “Where can we buy some bread to eat?”
Obviously Jesus knew that the Apostles didn’t have enough money, neither did they possess the resources to go and get bread. Jesus knows it all.

Why then did Jesus “test” Phillip? What was He testing?
He was testing Phillip’s faith. He wanted to know if Phillip would believe that Jesus could do the impossible, He wanted to test if Phillip would respond with “Lord, this is all I have — 200 denarii. Take it. All I have is Yours. I know You can work wonders.”

Likewise, Jesus is asking us to do the same. In our lives, Jesus asks us to do something that we obviously don’t have the resources to do. Sometimes He asks us questions that we don’t know the answer to. And most times, we respond in a similar Phillip-fashion and tell God, “I only have this much, how can I do what You’re calling me to do?”

But the real test is this: can we respond to the Lord and tell Him “Lord, I only have so little. But the little I have is Yours. Take it, use it, and make it profitable for Your Kingdom here on earth.”

Are there times in our lives where we are so stricken with fear that we shut ourselves off completely to God? Are there times in our lives where we are like the crowd — we who only turn to God for the miracles and wonders that He can do? We often go to God for what He can give us, but we rarely go to God to offer what we have.

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Originally posted at Catholic Rambles.

Image: Giovanni Lanfranco, Miracle of the Bread and Fish

The Treasure in the Field

By guest writer Kimri Thetadig.

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I didn’t know my heart needed to be broken into to be set free.

It makes sense though: ensconced in comforting cold rock lies a humble sparkle of gold that the great Finder knows and sets out to uncover.

I’ve yearned for You a long time. Since before time. And all those countless timeless aches of missing and hungering and begging for the comfort of Your embrace, as I stumbled down thorny dark paths searching for my place, seem now like a fairy-tale but for the fact that most of my life I’ve lived the pain of being utterly and indescribably stuck.

As a child, staring out into Mama’s hilly rock garden behind my favorite blue house, I recall gathering all my friends (which were the rocks and sticks of Mama’s garden, a battered old teddy bear whose eye was about to fall out, shells from the ocean); we’d explore the world that was there and it made me happy to see sunlight on water, rippling down green leaf and ants carrying a predator 10 times their size. But then, the Thought gonged. At first without afterthought, then repeatedly like a death knell in the pit of my young guts: “What if there’s nothing, Nothing, NOTHING, N.O.T.H.I.N.G. after this?”

My first remembered encounter with the true despair of my humanity: “From dust we came and to dust we shall return.” The world is a funny, strange place.

I grew up here, the world, and its thoughts began quickly to set like weeds in my soil. I fed my garden the way I knew how. With the fresh bottled water of pessimism and the choicest fertilizers of discontent, sprinkling her undergrowth with a spritz of faithlessness, that I know now reeks of death. I saw that no matter how much I tried to block out the clamor of hurtful noise from outside, it is a battlefield. and for a young soul who does not know or understand the food of love, to be fed on the food of world is rot to the flesh.

I’d found You though in many guises and forms throughout my wandering on this earth. You appeared in my Mama who’d strengthen me every night with the coconut oil shield of faith and strength as she taught me with her hands and her heart how true love is a daily fight for good, a choice every day to get up and prepare breakfast, walk me to school though her bones would wail and crack with every step, sneak in a roll up and chocolate cookies in my bag for lunch and buy us ice-cream on our bus ride home with her last $5.

Again, You were there in the blaring beauty of the bee that hovered into our apartment window every day around lunch time, visiting me as I offered fake honey from a bottle I took from you, little bee. You didn’t seem to care I was feeding you with the food you fed me. You came back time and again and my heart was elated.

And then You came to me as I recognized for myself the path I would not choose to walk down. That took a lot to be true. You kissed me in the gentle breeze as I walked away from the path I hadn’t willfully chosen but walked down anyway, and gave me a friend so strong and loving to help me believe it ok to desire something off the beaten path.

You were generous Love. You were my loyal unpretentious Friend. You were comfort and hope.

Tonight, in Your holy Silence, I understood, fleetingly, Your presence. I have found the treasure in the field, that neither time nor death can steal.

Pulsing eagerly beneath our caged physical bodies is the beat of all life that finds wonderful expression when the beat drops, the right rhythm pulls and the soul recognizes her spirit’s call in the physical, her Creator birthing in her immense unspoilt joy. All inhibition disappears, limbs dance to the sound of her first love.

You came to bring fire to the earth. But like a gentle breeze, Your love touches my brokenness and i choose surrender over fortification now.

Once, when I was a child and thought like a child, I believed the possibility of there being nothing else after we live this life here on earth. Now, returning to that time before time I recognize again, the reality of where I am, my place, and where I am going.

I am going to my Father’s House, which He has broken open for me when He rolled away the cold rock and allowed me to dance on the dust of death and behold His gentle golden glory.

I am surrendered.

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Originally published at Destillation.
Bio: Kimri Thetadig is a young Samoan Catholic living in Brisbane, Australia. She says: “I don’t know how else to describe who I am other than a desperately weak and constantly sinning daughter of an ever-loving, ever-forgiving Father. My name is Kimri. I write, I eat, I read, I laugh, I live, I ask God daily for the strength to love Him and every creature He created enough and unselfishly. It’s not the easiest, but His Love shows me it’s possible. I pray that my words can contribute to making a well world, by God’s grace.”

Jesus Expelled

[An exegesis and reflection on Mark 1:40-45]

In the readings this week we may consider the primary themes that of ‘expulsion’ and ‘re-entry.’ A man, in Leviticus, when he was declared unclean by the priest or by the community was expelled for the safety of the whole. He had to cry out “Unclean!” to warn others of his passing and live outside the community of believers.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus cleanses a leper who comes to him. He says with heartfelt sincerity, “If you will it, you can make me clean.” Jesus, pitying the man, expresses His divine power and says, “I do will it. Be made clean.” But our Lord also gives him a command: Tell no one; go to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses provides. Jesus is allowing this man to reenter the community and to join himself fully to the people of God.

Yet the cleansed man disobeys Jesus. We are not sure, but the evidence that the Gospel provides suggests that he did not go to the priest and instead he told everybody of the affair. At first glance, this man would seem to be doing Jesus a favor: he is proclaiming the power of God to the people and others, in turn, flock to him!

But in disobeying Jesus, this man effectively expelled Jesus from that same community He came to serve. The Gospel tells us that Jesus remained in a deserted place. Everyone “came to him from everywhere.”

Initially we may admire those in the Gospel who go to Jesus and seek Him out, but the Gospel is framed in a way to make us pause and reflect on the truth it teaches.

Jesus wants to enter the community of believers but, along the way is stopped by a man seeking His mercy and His healing. We too go to Mass, receive the Sacraments, and seek Jesus in good faith; this I believe. Yet a multitude rush to Jesus when one receives what he desired. In our own hearts we have many competing desires, wants, and pains. While we recognize our need for Jesus, when all of these things in our heart rush to Jesus at once they may indeed be healed, but it also leaves Jesus outside of us.

Jesus wants to enter into our communities, our families, and our hearts. When we go to Jesus with our wants and needs we are, in a sense, in control. When we allow Christ to come to us we allow Him to be in control and to heal what He needs to heal at the core of our being. Our core wound is our separation from the perfect love of God.

Of course we should pray for healing and help, but when we get better or when we weather a storm, how often do we find ourselves returning to the same old sin, the same old habits, and the same old wounds over and over again? Sometimes going to Jesus isn’t enough, and it isn’t what will actually heal us. We need to allow Jesus to come to us and we need to receive Jesus on His terms.

This is difficult because Jesus may comfort us or He may challenge us. Many of us are in the habit of asking, but few reflect on the act of receiving His love and His grace, which He bestows readily and freely.

How, then, are we to allow Jesus to enter into our community, our homes, and our hearts? It begins, first, with prayer. Getting away for a moment and praying for ourselves, not just for our wants but for something far more important: His mercy. Jesus came to express the power of God, yes, but the power of God is expressed most profoundly in His love and mercy. Prayer prepares our hearts to seek and receive the Lord. Thus silence is also essential to receiving Jesus.

Moreover, reading the Scriptures openly and prayerfully helps us to receive God. In reading Scripture without agenda or expectation of one, we allow the word of God to speak to us. Scripture speaks to us where we are in our lives and, I guarantee to you, it also reveals to us what we need to hear – whether it is consoling, rebuking, or challenging.

Among other things are spiritual directors, the Sacraments, the teachings of the Church – all given to us to allow us to meet Jesus according to His desires and not on our own terms. While some directions, some Sacraments, and some teachings may seem contrary to us, they work more deeply in that they teach us to be humble and they teach us to reflect on what we truly desire: the desire behind all desires. Namely, the One and True God who desires that we be one with Him, as the Father and Son are one.

This day do not expel Jesus from your hearts, but hear His voice, do as He commands, and wait for Him. He will enter the homes of all who prepare a place for Him.

Joyful Mysteries and the Christian Life

I have always experienced the Rosary and its fruits as independent items, that is, when I meditate on the carrying of the Cross, I grow in the fruit of patience by exploring how patience corresponds to the act. I then move on to the Crucifixion and grow in fortitude as I contemplate His death.

And so on.

However, when praying the Joyful Mysteries the other day, I realized how much the mysteries and their corresponding fruits tell us about daily life and our relationship with Christ over time.

The first Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation and the fruit is humility: when Mary received God’s will and said “yes” fully to His entrance into her life. It begins the entire meditation of the rosary. All other mysteries follow accordingly.

This is fitting. Nothing in God’s providence can follow in our own life if we do not first have our own “personal annunciation.” We must first experience Christ asking to enter our lives and we must respond “yes,” before God’s other joys can come to fruition.

Only when we have accepted Christ’s plan for us, can we then move to love our neighbor – the fruit of the second mystery, the Visitation. By taking the joy of Christ which now resides (quite literally in Mary’s case) within us to our neighbors, we may become the vessel for another person’s “personal annunciation,” as well as “Mary” to our “Elizabeth” friends.

This “personal annunciation,” seems to result in an “eternal annunciation,” of sorts. God continually approaches us to ask if He may enter more fully into our lives. When we say “yes,” we repeatedly imitate Mary in her response. In humility, we receive the Lord, and in receiving the love of God we are able to bring Christ into the world.

In this way, our own life echoes the act of the Father and the Son from which proceeds the Holy Spirit. The communion of our love with God bears a third fruit in our own “personal nativity.” That is, just as the Father, eternally pouring love out onto the Son, and the Son, eternally receiving the love of the Father creates the Holy Spirit, so too do we create our own trinity with God which brings about a birth of Christ in our lives and in the world.

The first two mysteries and their fruits (Annunciation and humility and the Visitation and love of neighbor) then work together in us to bring about our own nativity – third mystery.

This “personal nativity,” then leads us to our fourth mystery- the Presentation. It is fitting that we give all of our work back to Him, as it is not really our work, but rather, it is the work of the Father done through us. Thus, we each experience the Presentation in the Temple in the faithful fulfillment of our vocation and in the act of returning to God that which He lovingly gave to us and did through us.

In our obedience, the fruit of the Presentation, we align ourselves ever more with God’s will, so that in the fifth mystery we are able to wondrously experience the Joy of Finding Jesus in the temple of our work again and again.

Then it begins again. When we have full joy of finding Jesus in our daily life and work, we are faced with His eternal annunciation again: May I come ever deeper into your life?

We choose, once again, whether or not to allow Him in, to allow Him to repeatedly transform us until we, just like Mary, make Christ flesh in us. When we say “yes” to Him enough that we are no more, it is Christ made flesh in us that goes to our neighbor, gives birth to more love, presents His work to God (on the Cross), and finds the joy that comes from loving Him alone.

The life of the Christian is truly a joyful one indeed!

New Language for Speaking about Homosexuality?

One of the more popular, misunderstood, and challenging problems Catholics face today is the topic of homosexuality. I think of the many great strides we as a Church and as a culture have taken in speaking about it. In the same way, neither side whether secular or religious, has spoken more clearly on the subject. Catholics, at the very least, have always been very good at making distinctions. The process of making distinctions is not just good philosophy and theology, but it also aids in our practical and charitable responses to what we experience.

When we respond to homosexuality we should know what it is. Moreover, when someone is homosexual it does us little good to categorize that person according to preconceived notions about their sexual activity, sexual purity, or moral state. In fact I’ve usually seen these reactions as one’s own personal, moral blindness than as a useful discussion geared towards understanding something so as to respond to it more effectively.

That being said, I also see among many Catholics, (more understandably, perhaps) secular homosexuals, and supporters of “gay rights” a departure from language such as “disordered.” A great deal of language focuses on “natural” sexual desire. It should be granted that the word “nature” (or “natural”) is not as clear as it first appears, but some have achieved a greater sense of clarity about it.

Part of my worry is that even good, Catholic homosexuals have found the language of “disorder” offensive and disheartening. My worry is not so much their individual feelings about the word, but it does bring forth the valid question as to whether or not our language about homosexuality is unsound, invalid, or ineffective.

This is also not as easy to determine right away. Our language could be unsound if it simply isn’t true or because we are operating under false premises. It may be invalid simply because what we do know about the human person and human sexuality is not properly expressed (i.e., our conclusions may not be properly derived from our premises). Our language may be ineffective as a result. Effectiveness is not only a matter of truth but also rhetoric. Speaking ineffectively is just as damaging to an argument as it is to be untrue or be lacking logically. This also accepts that, like Jesus, some people simply will not accept what is true—but this should stop us from pausing and considering our own words.

Should we discard the use of the term “disordered,” then? I am inclined to say ‘no’ for the time being. I say this for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll list:

(1) Scientifically speaking we do not know what causes one to be homosexual, in what way they are inclined, exactly, or to what degree one is a homosexual. Furthermore, as part of our species, what function or role does homosexuality play?

(2) The notion of “disordered” is often improperly univocated. There can be disordered states of being and there can be disordered acts. An act whose content or purpose is “good,” such as sex, but which is realized improperly is disordered. Thus both homosexuals and heterosexuals can engage in “disordered” sex.

Something that is disordered, however, is both simple and complex. An eye that cannot see is “disordered” insofar as it can not operate according to its purpose. A keyboard whose keys work except the “t,” “h,” and “e” is unable to fulfill its function adequately.

Thus something can be “disordered” either in execution (i.e., how it’s carried out) or through inability (i.e., it’s incapable of doing what it should).

Catholics hold that the purpose of sex is unitive and procreative. The act of sex is reserved as an expression of marital love. This does not mean that sex must result in procreation. Marital sex must be open to the possibility of procreation lovingly, otherwise that act of sex is disordered. Thus to be truly married and have sex according to the order established by God, the couple must execute the act in an “orderly” way (i.e., they must be married, freely have sex, truly love one another, and be open to (one of) the natural consequences of sex) and both must also be capable of fulfilling these criteria in order to be “ordered properly” in the first place.

(3) We should not be afraid to label ourselves as “disordered,” homosexual or heterosexual. Sin itself is a disruption of “order” insofar as all sin is contrary to God’s will. One who is addicted to masturbation acts in a disordered way. One who is prone to spreading rumors and gossip acts in a disordered way. Those of us who do not go to mass on Sunday act in a disordered way. Those who do not forgive others for their transgressions against us act in a disordered way.

Many of us, because of family history, genetics, or circumstance are also born into a state of greater probability for certain sins or vices, whether we want them or not. We are all born into an existence both ordered by grace and disorderly because of sin.

And so…?

My intention is not to “solve” the problem we have since I do not believe we have the full tools to solve it. I have some self-criticisms that I will briefly connect to my points above:

(1) Sifting through today’s science (biology, sociology, psychology, etc.) on the subject is at times biased, confusing, and willing to promote certain findings for reasons that aren’t always “scientific.” Nevertheless honestly engaging what we are discovering about human sexuality, along with their impulses, are necessary endeavors. Regardless of a lack of scientific clarity those of us who do minister to or interact with homosexuals (etc.) must recognize them as persons created in the imago dei.

(2) My hope is that there is still clarity and a lack of clarity in the term “disordered.” How do we call homosexuality, the state of being, “disordered.” For too long we considered someone who was openly homosexual as one who was by necessity sexually active and predatory to the same sex. This is simply untrue, otherwise we would have to bring the same complaint to heterosexuals.

Homosexuals, by virtue of their homosexuality, are still fully capable of practicing virtues, discerning right from wrong, and making rationally informed choices. Thus their homosexuality is not a disorder to their will and, perhaps one could even say with confidence, their souls.

Their biology is another matter. Their homosexuality does not affect their internal or reproductive organs. In fact we have seen cases of homosexuals who have a desire to reproduce yet, for obvious reasons, can not do so by means of their ‘native’ sexual inclination.

Sex has the ability to improve (or deteriorate) intimacy and trust, to procreate, and give pleasure. In what ways does our insistence on procreation cloud our understanding of sex. I remain, however, a firm believer in the premise that procreation is one of the biological purposes of sex, to which pleasure and intimacy aid in the realization of a new human life.

(3) Perhaps this is too negative a view of the current state which we live in. Some are more willing than me to speak of the goodness of the world/state/circumstance we live in. On the one hand any of us are capable of loving another and love is the only means to break the cycle of sin, since it is only love (according to Paul) that is eternal. Since we have the capacity to love does this mean we are more ordered than disordered? In many ways there is a greater confusion over the terms “evil” and “sin,” in my view, than terms such as “homosexuality” and marriage.

It would be good for all of us to consider more deeply the difficulties at hand with intentionality and patience.

To that end I would suggest two documents by the USCCB for your consideration:

The first is “Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers” (1997).

The second is “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care” (PDF, 2006).

Reflection on the Holy Land

When visiting my family in March I received many questions concerning “What was your favorite part of the Holy Land?” Perhaps they were looking for certain answers concerning beautiful places. I admit that swimming in the Dead Sea was a neat experience and seeing Middle Eastern markets, landscapes, and people were interesting as well.

This being said, many people answer that the best part about the Holy Land was seeing the places where Jesus and the Apostles walked. This is also wonderful and I cherish these memories. My favorite part about the Holy Land, however, was learning to love Scripture again. Learning about the ancient and modern history of places we hear about every year in Scripture. In some ways it is putting an image and a story to the story we hear about.

For example, we hear that Amos was “among the shepherds of Teko’a” (Amos 1:1) and I got to see first-hand what shepherds do and the mountain of Teko’a itself. I got to experience and imagine the life of a simple shepherd traveling up and down the countless hills, praying for rain so their flock could eat, setting up their tents when they found a place to stay for a month.

All of a sudden Amos is called by God to proclaim His word in the Northern Kingdom, Judah. A shepherd with no attachment to politics was called to condemn the corrupt king Jeroboam even though he was a resident of Israel in the Southern Kingdom. So Amos left everything he had and followed this strange and terrible call: to condemn the Northern Kingdom for abandoning God, for practicing injustices, and for whoring themselves out to foreign powers.

Then Amos was to return to Israel to preach a similar message. It’s not hard to imagine if you see Amos as a plumber, a teacher, a doctor, an electrician, or as some other day-to-day worker. Who will the Lord call? How will I respond?

These landscapes brought these thoughts alive. In a way, you really do walk in their shoes, and there’s a lot of walking.

One landscape that was my absolute favorite was the Sea of Galilee. A popular spot for many, but watching the sun rise over the sea was beautiful. The area is remote, away from major populations or construction, so you could sit by the sea, much like Ss. Peter, Andrew, and John and see the sun rise. Jesus, who spent a lot of time in Galilee, perhaps appreciated the relative silence of this place.

The Middle East is a land of commotion, sometimes discrimination, and sometimes violence. This was as true 3,000 years ago as it is today. Finding silence and peace is always at a premium. It’s a land, unlike the United States, that makes you realize how precious silence is.

I prayed for the intentions of many in the Holy Land, keeping in mind all your generosity and love to me. In fact, I would say that in my lowest moments it was remembering everyone back home in prayer that made me strong. It’s another grace from God that I cherish very much. Being so far away made me realize how close we all are, and how our prayers make all distances seem close, both on earth and across the chasm of life and death.

Thank you for your prayers. I will be ordained in just about a month. Please continue to pray for me.

My Desire for Marriage

As I approach ordination to the Diaconate after 12 years in the seminary it’s easy to think about the many “what ifs” in my life. Things such as career, money, jobs, a wife, children, and even a permanent home are things I’ve given up in pursuit of this call. A call, however, is both something desirable and undesirable. When it comes to vocations I call to mind that “when you were young, you fastened your own belt and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will fasten your belt for you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (Jn 21:18). Any walk of life requires sacrifice and any vocation, in my view, goes against the grain of our desires.

While the Apostle Matthew was called, “rose and followed him” (Mt 9:9), this is not true of all followers. Calls demand a response, not necessarily a wholehearted desire for the content of that call. Peter himself said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Lk 5:8). Isaiah lamented, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lip in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Is 6:5a). Jeremiah complained, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth!” (Jer 1:6). All types of people are represented in Scripture. The overwhelming majority are those who aren’t too keen to do what God has asked of them—it’s not bad to see ourselves in them.

The Lord responds to our response. “Do not be afraid” (Lk 5:10). “Whom shall I send?” (Is 6:8). “To all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you to speak I shall speak” (Jer 1:7). The formula of God’s call is uniform: He reassures us and says, “Do I send whom I have not chosen?” (cf., Is 42:1). This is true because “it was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” (Jn 15:16). Then he tells us rather bluntly, “You will do as I command” (cf., Dt 12:32). We must confront the reality that life is not what I want but what God wants in His time and in His way. Prayer sharpens our hearing, but it is time, grace, and the Church that makes us desire His will as if it were our own.

The call is, for some, a process of constant humiliation, disappointment, frustration, and difficulties. Yet, “Await God’s patience, cling to him to do not depart, that you may be wise in all your ways. Accept whatever is brought upon you, and endure it in sorrow; in changes that humble you be patient. For gold and silver are tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation” (Sir 2:3-5). I know what awaits me from others moving forward: disrespect, hatred, dismissive attitudes, and many other things. I know that in my own heart there is a fear of timidness, complacency, and apathy. Yet God has cared for me with those who love me. He has cared for my heart by giving me peace, courage, faith, and hope. I’ve come to find that all things in me are good but not fulfilled. No one can fulfill himself and love is never fulfilled except from outside of myself. This is His gift to me: the love of God and neighbor is my own fulfillment.

Having given up everything to follow Him I approach a new chapter in my life: sacrificing personal desire for the sake of those sheep whom Christ said to feed and shepherd. I will soon experience this call and experience it with the people of God, and there are many trials and many blessings herein.

As I prayed about these things in my heart I called to mind the couples that I will marry. I called to mind that they too are called and respond as all men do to God’s call. I thought of my friends with children and the unique opportunity that having children offers in your life, but I also considered the many trials they will experience. In a life that is, by necessity, “focused on the things of this world” (cf. 1 Cor 7:33-34). What hope is there for a married couple and, I thought, what could I say to them to take the concrete experiences of their life and see God?

This, then, is my desire for marriage: that couples reflect on the fact that their relationship truly reflects the Divine Life and to keep this close to their heart throughout their own trials.

Only parents can experience God as a parent. Reflect that God calls us sons and daughters, too. A child comes forth in pain, crying, but it is met with love. The child is needy, depriving sleep from one’s eyes and peace from one’s mind, yet it is loved because it is life and the “fruit of my body” (cf., Dt 28:4). Throughout his or her life, their suffering is your suffering, their anxieties are your anxieties, and their joy is your joy. When they are sick you heal them. When they are scared they run to you. When they are arrogant they turn from you. When they are bad they anger you. When they are away they sadden you. Through it all these emotions are intensified because of the love with which you first loved them.

Your spouse, the one whom you love, was a co-creator and cooperator in your own love. You share life and you share hardships, even if each one bears it unevenly. Your love changes you and it is completed by being received and then returned. This too is the life of grace. This is a life of faith in as concrete a manner as one can experience it. This is the God of the Old Testament and New in as intimate, reasonable, and accessible way as one can approach it.

Any child becomes a sign of God’s covenant with His people. Know that your feelings for your child are merely a fraction of what God feels for you. Yet despite your child’s suffering that result from his wickedness, from misfortune, or persecution your love for him remains undaunted. If a mother or father’s love can endure evil and even death, how much more does God’s love endure through our sins and the sins of of the world!

Jesus promises that “his burden is easy” and his yoke light (Mt 11:30). Life has shown us that it is not easy. “Much labor was created for every man, and a heavy yoke is upon the sons of Adam” (Sir 40:1). Christ said this, however, because not only is this life of imitating God possible, it is peace for the soul. For “when a woman is in labor, she has pain because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world” (Jn 16:21). This is love God shows to those who return to Him, love and peace we all have access to.

Life for both of us, ordained or married, is a unique call from the others. It is a life of responsibility unlike any other. This is a gift given to us, even if it doesn’t always seem good or desirable. All life is a gift, no matter the type, since we are all pilgrims on one path—may our feet not stray! We have all been called.

His response is simple: Be not afraid, follow me.

Let it happen to me according to your word.