Monday, March 22, 2010

Miley Cyrus on faith

Ugh. I was reading in Parade (March 21, 2010) the young actress/singer, Miley Cyrus' take on religion. Popular from her Hannah Montana television series and her famous father, Billy Ray Cyrus, this 17 year-old gave her opinions about faith.

Here's what she was quoted as saying in Parade on this subject:

"My faith is very important to me, but I don't necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday. Because now when I go to church, I feel like it's a show. There are always cameras outside. I am very spiritual in my own way. Let me make it clear, though--I am a Christian. Jesus is who saved me. He's what keeps me full and whole. But everyone is entitled to what they believe and what keeps them full. Hopefully, I can influence people and help them follow the same path I am on, but it is not my job to tell people what they are doing wrong."

Okay, being 17, I'll give her a break, but I think her viewpoint is one which has been adopted by many young people in our culture today--and it is not good. Not at all.

If you are a Christian--a follower of Christ--than you pay attention to what he did when he walked on this earth. One of the things he did was leave a model for us of community. He spent time in community with his followers. He never indicated that a "me and God" attitude was the rule. He never talk from a relativistic viewpoint that said as long as you are satisfied, than all is good.

Jesus taught about suffering. He showed us what it means to love. His life revealed sacrifice. He certainly did not live with a "me" mentality, separated from others in worship and prayer.

I could say a lot about this, but I really can't say it any better than my sixteen year old--If she really wants others to follow her in following God, then she should go to church. Then, when everyone sees her there, maybe they'll go to church as well.

God bless,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No need for church?

I came across this great quote of St. John Chrysostom in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Paragraph 2179):

"You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests."

This quote is a great reminder for anyone who is tempted to think they do not need to attend church. For anyone who thinks it is just between "me and God." When we attend church, we do indeed cry out to God "as from one great heart." How important it is to join our brothers and sisters, in our "union of minds!"

Together, Christians praise and worship God. May our voices continue to become one, beautiful, harmonious offering to God!

God bless,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trust in God

The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of the temptation of Jesus by Satan, saying: “Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act.”

It is an interesting interpretation to consider that Satan tried to force God to act. The clarity of that statement struck me as I began to wonder if we, too, at times, try to force God to act.

Perhaps when we try to make deals with God so that an outcome will go our way, we are trying to force God to act.

Maybe when we use our prayer time to try to manipulate God into doing our will, we are trying to force God to act.

The Catechism (2119) goes on to say that when we try to tempt God, it “wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord. It always harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power.”
Ask yourself where you have doubted God’s love, providence or power.

If we completely trust God, then why would we try to force God to act in accordance with our own designs?

It becomes very clear that when we try to force God to act, we are revealing a lack of trust in Him, for if we have full confidence in Him, then we will submit to that, rather than think we know better.

Lent is a good time to ask ourselves just how much we actually trust in God and His love and compassion.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Isaiah 1: 16-18

I was reflecting on this passage in Isaiah and what a call to conversion it is!

Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds!
Make justice your aim
Redress the wronged
Hear the orphan's plea
Defend the widow
Set things right

Then, scripture tells us:

You may become white as wool

If we spend some time on these words, we can hear God's call for us to change and we should be able to truly celebrate the possibility for conversion that comes through the power of God.

Whatever your sins, whatever evil you may have done up to this point today, the possibility that you can change your ways, be forgiven by God, is great. He tells us what we must do: take care of those who plead for help. Bring justice to those who have none. Quite simply, just set things right.

We can all do our part. Seek to convert from your old ways and God will reward you greatly.

God bless,

Monday, March 1, 2010

How can we love like this?

Paragraph 2074 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ends with this quote from the Gospel of John, Chapter 15, Verse 12:

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

I literally, could not turn the page after reading this. My reflection began with the question How does God love me/us? and ended with How can we possibly love like that?

First, God loves us so immensely, so tenderly, so selflessly, that he carries us as his sheep, enfolding us in his arms, without any care beyond the fact that we have returned. When he welcomes us back, our sins are not an obstacle, because we are ready and willing to accept his divine love and mercy.

To love as He loves us, then, requires a divine love. But, we have a human love. So, our human love, overshadowed by His divine love, makes loving as He loves us possible. It is true that for this to take place, we must decrease and He must increase. Our self-interest, our judgmental tendencies, our unforgiving, grudge-holding ways must diminish--disappear really--if we are to love as He loves.

For this to be accomplished requires us to have a deep, intimate connection with God. Through prayer and silent listening, seeking and the Eucharist, not to mention Reconciliation, we can find hope.

Take time this Lent to reflect on God's love and grace poured out on you. Forgive yourself and accept God's forgiveness. Love, as He has loved you.

God bless,