Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't be so quick to judge!

I was reading in the 2nd chapter of Romans, Verses 25 and following about and its relationship to the law.  If you recall that circumcision was the sign of the covenant with Abraham, it is easy to read "under the covenant" when we read the word circumcision.

So in this passage, then, it becomes very clear that circumcision loses its connection to righteousness if one who is under the covenant breaks the law.  Likewise, one who is uncircumcised but is following the law, is under the covenant.

Romans puts it this way:

"If an uncircumcised man keeps the precepts of the law, will he not be considered circumcised?  Indeed, those who are physically uncircumcised but carry out the law will pass judgment on you, with your written law and circumcision, who break the law."

Ouch.  A pious Christian who sees himself as holy because of his devotional practices might want to be careful, because one who is not attached to a particular church or devotion, may be greater than you if you start thinking yourself better!

An examination of conscience may be in order here to be sure that your attachment to spiritual (or other) works is not leading you down the path of the circumcised who "keeps the law" but separates himself from its spirit.

God bless,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Justification through the Law?

I was reflecting on Galatians and the last verse (21) of Chapter 2 caused me to pause.  I kept repeating it over and over, trying to absorb Paul's intent.  He said:

" . . . for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing."

I think it is pretty clear that Paul is identifying that Christ died for us and through his death we are saved.  We are not saved by the law, because, if we were, then what need would there be of Christ's death?

Metaphorically speaking, I think there are many "laws" today that we look to for salvation.  Salvation not from death, but from misery.  What do you look to for happiness?  For fulfillment?  For satisfaction?

In one of his You Tube presentations, Fr. Robert Barron says we have a cavern, a deep hole, that we keep throwing things into--things that we think will fill up that hole and bring us satisfaction, but rather than filling us with joy, the cavern remains empty.  It isn't until it is filled by God--or our relationship with God--that it becomes full.

So, rather than metaphorically talking about "laws," I think we can talk concretely about those things we throw into that cavern that we hope will fill us up--not only material things, although there are certainly those, but also intangibles like pride and superficial, trivial matters that we overemphasize and give a place of primacy in our lives.

How much of your day has been focused on details that only really matter to you or satisfy your perfectionism, i.e., pride?

How much busy work do you create to satisfy your need for self-importance?

When was the last time you were charitable with your words or your time? (This would be a good hole-filler for sure!)

Getting back to Paul, then, if we seek to be filled by the things of this world, or are under the illusion that they bring justification, then we are drawn back to the question, For what did Christ die?

He died so we would know and love the Father.  So that we could have eternal life.  We must center our lives on Him and give of ourselves wholly because we love Him.

To do anything else is to stand peering into that cavernous hole, day after day, throwing stuff in, without every being filled.

Jesus died for us.  He is the only one who can save us.

God bless,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A dry river bed of tasks

I was reading, just recently, about biblical scholars and literary scholars and their approach to the bible.  The rising question was, Should we consider  individual pieces (books) of the bible separately, or look at it as a cohesive whole that creates one unified book?

As always happens, words can never truly describe an image given clearly, and that is the case here, but I will try.   Drawing from this study, I suppose, I saw an image of life as a dry riverbed of tasks, lined up sequentially, standing erect like stonehenge, except linear.   In a flash, the image raised the question, Is this what life is about, moving from one thing to another?"

Now this could be erroneously interpreted as a negative, or unhappy view of life, but that would not be right.  For to me, it was the vehicle that brought life to the realization that God's plan is greater than what we try to create.  That riverbed of tasks is what we create; God is the one who gives it meaning.

Each of those tasks that we line up to do every day, if done without an awareness of the bigger picture that is our life in God, stand like those magnificent Stonehenge rocks--a beautiful arrangement that offers nothing beyond what you see.

I do not think we were created just to move from one thing to another without contemplating God in it.  It seems terribly empty if that is the case.  Very one-dimensional. 

A life that is simply lined with tasks in a dry riverbed falls far short of the purposeful life God gives.  It seems there must be more to life, because indeed, there is.

Put this image of the dry riverbed in your mind.  See your daily tasks lined up in it.  Then ask yourself what meaning can be found in them collectively. Move like the scholars from the individual books of the bible to the bigger narrative called life.

Why do you do what you do? 

What might God's purpose be in them?

I welcome your comments . . .

God bless,