Wednesday, June 30, 2004

So last Sunday we talked about Brother Lawrence and the notion of Practicing the Presence of God. Actually, we had several meditative quotes from the lay brother, and we were encouraged to stay more conscious of God . . . and to adore and love Him constantly. Want to know how I've been doing? Well it's Wednesday, and really no better than the week before. I can't say that I've been particularly more aware of God or increasingly focused on the imminence of the divine in my life and around me.

Does that mean Sunday was a waste? No . . . because if I take a much longer view of where I am and where I have been, I would say that I am more conscious of God now than I was several years ago. But then again, last Sunday wasn't the first time I had been introduced to the practice of God's presence. Sunday was another nudge in the direction God's been leading me for a long time. Often the spiritual results aren't instantly apparent, though on rare occasions we humans are treated to an epiphany that does create dramatic change. We get more nudges than we do epiphanies.

Here I sit thinking about how I need to be more aware of God. Last week I wasn't thinking about this on Wednesday (at least I can't remember thinking this) . . . so last Sunday's meditation is having an effect.

"Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes" (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A long time ago I came to understand that pride is the root of our spiral into deepening separation from God. Satan's pride resulted in his fall, and serves as a warning for us. If pride has a child, it must be selfishness - and an awful child it is. How do we mentor those who are so consumed with themselves that all they can think about is their personal circumstances, how they can get what they want, or what is going on with them? How do we encourage dying to ourselves and destroy that devastating tendency to make "me" the center of everything?

One solution seems to be in a discipline of helping others (getting out of exclusive self interest) - but selfish people won't do that. "Sorry, I'm too busy with myself to practice that . . ." Even if the discipline is presented as a way for they themselves to be helped, the spirit of selfishness has too tight a grip. My experience is that all my attempts seem to fail. Selfishness continues to cause those caught up in it to destroy themselves. I can't break that hold in someone else no matter how I try.

Humbled by the power of sin, and have to turn back to faith in God. If the spirit of selfishness will be driven out it will be through the Spirit of God. May God do the work that I cannot do in myself nor in others. Sola Dei!

Monday, June 21, 2004

I just got back from a two-week trip to Honduras (June 3-18). As you might imagine, the experience was rich with God's presence. There is little that can equal spending a couple weeks just doing good for others. There were no distractions and since our basic needs were provided for by workers at the place we were staying, we could devote ourselves to simply serving the Hondurans. Every Christian finds such a trip appealing because it is an intense participation in the discipline of good works.

As much as we might like to live this way always, it is not possible. When I got home there was the grass to mow, errands to be run, and work (the kind that is the source of my paycheck) to be done. Though markedly different, this too is the will of God. The truth to be recognized is that the presence of God which we sense so clearly in concentrated service like through this Honduras trip, is equally available in our ordinary daily existence. Tasting God's goodness in a special circumstance should help us find Him in more typical activities.

May our experiences of holy presence in the ordinary things increase.