I think I remember seeing something like this in one of the Star Wars movies and I'm not sure I'd like to see these roaming the streets of Southern California but, imagine the possibilities this exciting technology could bring!
"And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
(Luke 11:9-13, RSV)
Questions for reflection:
Many times, people stop reading at verse 10 but to understand it, you must keep reading. In what ways do I interpret this passage? Do I ask God for material things and earthly favors or do I ask God for his Holy Spirit?
When have I been too proud to ask God for help?
Think about the times that God has bestowed His Holy Spirit on you. How did it change your life?
Reflect on when you have done God's will for you. In what ways has doing his will made your life harder? In what ways has it made your life easier? Is it worth it?
EXTRA CREDIT: Read Luke 11:14-28. What does this passage mean? How have you shored up your soul to keep it from being overcome by the devil?
According to Pope Benedict XVI, "Theology therefore becomes meditation, prayer, a song of praise, and the impetus for sincere conversion." He also advised Christians to meditate on the Bible daily “so that the Word of God will be the lamp that illuminates our daily path on earth."
During his catechesis in front of the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on October 21, 2009, the pope emphasized that theology without faith is a vain intellectual exercise. In quoting St. Bernard of Clairveaux, a master theologian, he emphasized that our faith needs to be nourished by prayer and contemplation and that God can be sought easier through prayer than through discussion.
I have personally known people who, though they have no formal theological training, possess an intimate knowledge of God because of their devout faith, ferverent prayer life and personal relationship with His son. It appears, anecdotally at least, that it takes more than just book study and heady discussion to really know God. In fact, I would ascertain that intimate union with Him is impossible without faith and prayer. Knowledge, quite simply, is not enough.
As Pope Benedict XVI related, "Faith is above all an individual and intimate encounter with Jesus; it means experiencing His closeness, His friendship and His love."
I have noticed that when I pray for the increase of a particular virtue, I am granted that request through the opportunity to practice that virtue. Case in point: Last December I made the decision to enroll in the Masters of Biblical Theology Program. I could hardly contain myself when I received word that I was accepted into the program in March, especially since returning to school to learn theology has been dream of mine for about a decade. Though school wouldn't start until the last week in September, in my anxiousness to commence my studies, I purchased a laptop computer in May, and in earnest, began to prepare for my return to college. I often lamented the fact that there wasn't a summer reading list that I could delve into (though my pastor half-humoredly said that all I really needed to read was the Bible...it is a SCRIPTURAL theology degree program, after all). I was so excited to start classes and drove down to campus for my first class, only to find out that it had been postponed for three hours (a wait I could not make because of other scheduled appointments that day). Deflated but not defeated, I decided to look at the bright side. At least the first class would be posted online within 24-48 hours and I could get caught up in time to attend the second session "in house." Funny thing, though, that class was not posted until the night before the next session. By golly, I was not going to have enough time to complete the viewing and homework before the next session. I was also told that one of the classes I wanted to take was being postponed until next quarter and was offered another class (of course, that class was being held at a time I was not able to make on campus). No big deal, I thought. I could easily take up that class online too. Maybe there was a silver lining in that I could study everything in my jammies and not worry about being called on by the teacher (I don't like being put on the spot).
Now here's where the patience part comes in. Four weeks have gone by since the start of the quarter and I have discovered that there's no telling when my classes will post. It appears that there's a technical glitch which is out of the university's control at the moment. I was stressed about getting started. Even perturbed and feeling downright put out. After all, I could not wait until school began and I did pay a hefty sum to the school when I signed the enrollment agreement. But, after some internal grumbling, I came to the realization that I was being given EXACTLY what I have been praying for...patience, in the form of praticing it. How else is one to learn patience if there is no opporutnity to apply it. Without the chance to become skilled at being patient, the virtue becomes merely a shallow definition, an intellectual exercise with no experience to make it real and permanent.
So, I am resigned to leave it all in God's hands and in His time. If indeed it is He who is calling me to know and love Him better, He will provide ALL I need, even if it's not to my expectations or liking. After all, I really do have an eternity to get to know Him.
Remember those "Happiness is..." cartoons? You know, the ones with the little guy and flowers from the 1970's? I happened to think about that comic strip series and I decided to create a "Happiness is..." litany here:
...having my dog immediately roll over when she sees me so I can give her a big ol' belly rub
...the sound of a child laughing
...a blue sky with white wispy clouds
...seeing swirls of Damascus Rose incense rise to the cupola at church and going home and smelling its sweet fragrance in my hair and on my clothes
...kissing hands, kissing head and cuddle time with my sons at bedtime
...a funny knock-knock joke (anyone know one?)
...a well crafted pun
...teaching my kids about Faith, church, life, love and God
...homemade presents for Mother's Day
...a good iPhone app
...a warm bed on a cold and rainy night.
...a loving husband who puts up with all my medical mysteries
...a tall mug of hot English breakfast tea in the morning
...being able to drive the kids to school in my jammies
...teasing my husband on Facebook
...making my kids laugh so hard they cry
...making myself laugh so hard I cry
...listening to God
...soft goat cheese and lox on an onion bagel
...the song birds sing early in the morning on a "backcountry" campout.
...a full harvest moon in a partly cloudy, moisture heavy sky.
...a shooting star
...when my son works really hard at making his writing better and comes home with his first "A" on a writing assignment.
...Praying the rosary.
...Eucharistic adoration on Tuesdays before picking the boys up from school.
I love this dog! She's a terrific companion, so sweet, so loving. She leans against me in her version of a hug just to say "hi, I'm here." When I'm working on my homework, she lays under my desk at my feet, content to hear the click clack of my keyboard, knowing that I will bend down and scratch behind her ear and rub her fat belly every so often. She's been a member of our family since we adopted her in July of 2008 and I can honestly say that I can't remember what life was like without her.
Today, Sammi McClellan, Deacon Jayce's wife, lost her battle with cancer and passed from this life into the next. My heart is heavy for the family and friends she left behind. Through their loving marriage, Sammi and Deacon Jayce gave us the perfect example of the meaning of true love; that is, complete sacrifice for one another as the perfection of God's love in them. Their sacred sacramental union, designed by God, is the epitome of Jesus' message in this morning's readings at Mass (27th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year B). What God joins, may man not separate.
Today, our loss, the passing of a beacon of Christ's light here on our temporary earth, is Heaven's gain.
In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.