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God is good - all the time. I bet you've heard that one before!! The phrase is basically a mantra in some of the circles that I run in.
For some, this statement has become an automatic response. For others, it is one that is used carefully. In either case, nothing belies the truth of it's reality.
GOD IS GOOD.
AND HE'S GOOD ALL OF THE TIME.
So, given that this is something most Christians would agree with, why is it used so commonly?
Perhaps it is because PEOPLE are NOT good all of the time. In this culture's great effort to humanize God to the point that He reflects our limitations, we really need this reminder.
Thanks to the Fall of Man, human beings are loaded with limitations and faults. People fail, are mean (downright cruel in some cases), and struggle from baggage.
But God is NEVER cruel, He NEVER fails, He NEVER struggles from baggage.
He is PERFECT GOOD, and only ever could be. He can only love us to the point of no return. This means that no matter what we do to attempt to push Him away or disregard His great gift of love, He will ALWAYS be there waiting, until the end of time - literally.
Does this mean that He takes away the pain? Does it mean that He removes all suffering? No - that's not what true love does, as much as we would like it to.
True love dives deeper into us than anything possibly could so that it will not only allow what must be, but do all things necessary to solidify our chance to be with Him forever.
Yes, the Divine Lover cares about our lives here. But, His point and purpose is to reclaim our souls. Nothing means more to Him than this.
And guess what? Nothing should mean more to US than this either.
I won't digress into how life gets in the way to prevent us from making this a #1 priority - most of us are painfully aware of this already! But, I can't help but wish that we, as the human race, could make rejoining our Divine Lover as much of a priority as He does.
I hope you can join me today in doing something a little extra special to show God that He is the King of our Hearts, our True Love Incarnate.
I can almost imagine the Divine smile of joy that will come from it!!
en.wikimedia.org: Golden Calf the Providence Lithograph Company - http://clipart.christiansunite.com/1246444861/Old_Testament_Clipart/Old_Testament009.jpg
New Lego and Craft Challenge:
Moses and the God of Second Chances
Boy, did the Israelites blow it. While Moses is up on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God as a sign of His Covenant with His people, the Israelites were down in the valley worshipping a golden calf! How did Moses respond? And what did God do about it? Read the story in and watch the video to find out, and then start creating!
(Click on the Catholic Challenge Zone above to submit your creation!)
You've never seen virtues explained like this! Join the Teen Take Team as they demonstrate the virtue of perseverance by relating it to unicycling. You'll never think of perseverance the same again!!
Click below to check it out!
"The future starts today, not tomorrow." St. John Paul the Great
Wow...talk about an incredible man, priest, pope and saint!! He truly was 'the people's pope' and still is today. Reading several books on his life and teachings has had a direct influence on my spiritual life and I couldn't be more grateful.
If you haven't had a chance to get to know this truly astounding man, there are a LOT of awesome books out there. There is one, however, that stands out to me to be a perfect jumping-off point: Saint John Paul the Great - His Five Loves by Jason Evert.
Chocked full of incredible true stories of his life and loves that are well-substantiated by documented witnesses, this book does an astounding job of bringing "JPII" to life. I could hardly put the book down once I started it!
I seriously encourage you to read it...but be warned: you may find yourself developing a deep affinity for this man who so beautifully held the Seat of Peter!
As always, there is so much to be grateful for. 5 weeks ago, 50 new chicks became new residents of our little abode, to our children's delight. Then, yesterday, the kids released our 3 week-old ducklings into the pond that we are presently digging for their first encounter with swimming! Observing new ducklings fall in love with water is one of my personal favorite parts of spring - my heart melts each time!
Just taking the time to smell the spring air, to take in this season of new life, beginnings and hope, is a joy in itself.
No matter where you are in the world, I hope you have a chance to embrace the season you are presently in. Each one is God's gift to us, a gift from a wise and merciful Father.
May God bless you in a special way today!!
New Lego and Craft Challenge - Pentecost -
Birthday of the Church
Twelve Flames. Eleven Apostles. One Lady. Boy, when Jesus promised to send power from on High through the Holy Spirit, He wasn't kidding! Read about the amazing story of Pentecost, which is also the Birthday of the Church, and create something related to it!
Click below to see an awesome explanation of Pentecost using Legos!!
Click on the Challenge Zone Above to submit your creation!
Image attribution: Pentecost 33 - The Holy Spirit @ www.flickr.com
I wish we could all step back and really take a second and think about the significance of this awesome feast of Pentecost. As Father Jerry Bednar, our Associate Pastor, says so aptly, it is the day that "Christianity went public." I love this!
The Holy Spirit literally "lit a fire" under the Apostles (well, I guess over the Apostles would be more accurate) who had been told by Christ to remain in Jerusalem until the Paraclete returned. Their response ignited the Christian faith in the city streets, blazing the trail for all Christians until eternity. This is part of OUR history.
So on fire with the Holy Spirit were His followers that for the rest of their lives nothing could stop them. In fact, it is precisely this undeterred tenacity that has brought several historians to admit their conclusion that the Resurrection must indeed have occurred. To them, no logical explanation can be unearthed as to why each and every Apostle and closest disciple (with the exception of Judas, of course), spent the rest of their lives in complete devotion to the task of spreading the Christian faith, fully aware of the immense risks and danger involved, most of them ultimately giving their lives for Christ. Add to that the extraordinary growth of the faith among Jews and Gentiles alike that continued to accelerate at lightning speed - well, no other deductions (barring a "crazy, fanatical worship epidemic") could be found likely.
The power of the Holy Spirit overflowing upon Jerusalem through Christ's followers that day did not end when the last original Pentecost participant perished. Like ripples on a pond, it flowed outward upon all nearby, continually empowering new followers and saints as history progressed.
We are part of that history. We are the newly empowered followers, called to be both proteges and conductors of the Love of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit continues to infuse Himself into our lives, into our very souls, as He draws us to Himself.
This is how lives are changed and brought to Christ. This is how saints are formed. I am so excited to be able to celebrate this history-changing day!
Pentecost - the day WE went public! Let's not be afraid to herald the news!!
Come Holy Spirit!
When I was young, one of my favorite mysteries of the Rosary was Pentecost. As I prayed the decade, I loved to imagine the scene, detail by detail. Most of the time I couldn't resist placing myself in the room with the Apostles.
In my head I could hear the sound of a distant wind, barely a whisper at first, then growing strong enough to catch the Apostles' attention. At it's peak, tongues of fire would appear on each person's head.
The next part of the scene seemed to change each time I imagined it. I couldn't seem to make up my mind which way it might have happened! Sometimes I would picture each Apostle speaking out loud in a different language. At other times I would see some of them focusing on deep prayer while others prayed out loud with fervent voices of praise. In either case, the Holy Spirit had entered each of them, bestowing upon them both collective and personal gifts.
If I had time left in my rosary decade, I would be able to continue on and imagine their meeting outside of the room with the people on the street. I wished I could have been there to see the miracles that had occurred!
As an adult, I can still put myself there. However, my mind spins in different twists as my understanding of our faith has grown throughout my life. Now, I might picture myself as a person who has just arrived from out of town, someone with my own native tongue not matching those with whom I am with. I also imagine myself having no prior knowledge of the Son of God. Suddenly, men cascade into the streets, telling amazing stories about this man Jesus so fervently and so lovingly that I am overtaken with wonder. And I am not just in awe of the stories...I am in awe of the fact that I can understand them in my own language!! I watch astounded as miracles occur around me and one begins to stir in my own heart...could it be??
The gift of Pentecost is truly life-changing. The ways that it gifts us are too numerous to count, but they surround us daily. If we look hard enough, we can pick out different aspects and events in our lives that are direct consequences of that fateful day. Being able to take note of the different gifts of the Holy Spirit in others around us are just one example. Today, try to see if you can pick out an effect of that amazing day in the history of our faith and time itself!
Image attribution: www.wikimedia.org
New Lego & Craft Challenge: Happy Mother's Day!
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