PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, July 31, 2009

 

"Pentecost reverses Babel"


"Pentecost reverses the curse of the Tower of Babel where different languages caused confusion among the people. With pentecost, people of different tongues hear the same message in their own tongue. 'The other' had become a cause of wonder, not of estrangement.

"Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians has a beautiful description of the Church as one body having many members. There are many gifts and charisms within the Church but one Spirit. Charisms are the diverse talents, gifts, or callings given by the Spirit to the different members for the common good. A person's charism is to be conretely used for the building of the community, never for its destruction. The use of the many gifts among the members is encouraged for mutual service and the building up of the whole. ...

"The biblical way of handling the gifts of the Spirit is that they are to be gathered within the community and exchanged with one another. As this gathering and exchange occurs, the individuals within the community are continually aware of the common good, of the unity that assumes yet transcends all. Gifts are not meant to be hoarded either, because the community will not be made whole through complementarity. Therefore, individuals in small communities in the Church are to avoid divisiveness by promoting reciprocity and mutuality in the use of their gifts and charisms. We must be reciprocal agents of mutual service."

- (same as below)


 

Catholicity


"Catholicity means wholeness in the unity of the many. There can be no unity in the Church if only one entity or culture dominates to the detriment of the others. We cannot achieve catholic unity by eliminating the many. Sometimes we may be tempted to ignore or push those who differ from us out of the picture so that it would be easier to have unity. However, there is no true unity if like-minded people are the only ones left; instead there would be isolation. We do not eliminate the plural; rather, the plural is incorporated within a totality.

"Unity has a universal extension and an inward movement. We see this double action of the Spirit consistently. One movement of the apostles is to extend outwardly and simultaneously with it to gather into oneness the world. If mission were always extensive, it would be dispersion. if it were always inward, then it would be parochial or myopic.

"The moment we speak of mission we open ourselves to pluralism. The Church has been cautious in this area, and for serious reasons. however, being overly cautious can sometimes impede the growth of the Church. For so long as 'the other' is not recognized as 'the other' who can be part of us as 'the other,' we only begrudgingly admit the differences and uniqueness of other people; but we do not achiever true catholicity."

- "Unity in diversity," in Luis Antonio G. Tagle's (DD, STD) An Easter People: Our Christian Vocation to be Messengers of Hope


 

Losing and gaining self


When we pray, we experience union with God, but in being united with Him, we lose ourselves yet we gain the knowledge that we are known, loved, and accepted by Him.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

 

Something and nothing


"We know something best by experiencing the opposite," Malou quotes from somewhere.

The quote is highly paradoxical, which is another way of saying it's profoundly true.

We know joy because of sadness. We understand profound happiness only because of profound grief.

We only understand relief if we've been through terrible pain.

We know the sweetness of rewards only after we've done our share of hard work.

We can find riches satisfying only if we have been deprived or poor. Otherwise, we tend to take everything for granted.

We can only take comfort in the meaning of life if we've been through emptiness.

We understand wellness and healing only in the aftermath of sickness.

We can appreciate light but only when viewed in the dark.

We know wholeness because of brokenness.


 

Txt msgs


God is nothing but goodness. Our soul is united to Him who is unchangeable goodness. (Julian of Norwich)

Joy is the flag of the castle of the heart which is flown when the King is in residence. (CS Lewis)

God is leading us to know who we really are because it would be impossible to deny and die to ourselves if we don't truly acknowledge who we are. (Malou)

It's easy to change. It's easier not to. Not everything can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. (James Baldwin)

Don't allow the negative responses of others to determine your value. Who are they to judge you, anyway? People are not the experts of your worth. God is. (via Ian)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

 

Contemplative vs. charismatic


"The Acts of the Apostles focuses on the external and visible development of Christianity and of the Church. This external and visible development is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit is present in historical persons and in the movements of missions to different places, spreading Christianity and building up the Church. This is one approach, knowing the Spirit by its manifestation in the external history of Christianity, the Church, and mission. The Spirit is not abstract but a wonderful turbulence confirming the history of Christianity, the Church, and mission.

...

"The second tradition in Scriptures, found mostly but not exclusively in the Gospel of John, focuses on the internal life of Christians within the sacred sanctuary of their intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. One can say that John's Gospel is more inward looking than outward or external.

"We get to know the Spirit on both levels; it is not an either-or situation. Some people like the external aspect more than the interior aspect of the work of the Spirit. Others are in touch with the Spirit purely on the level of the heart; the same people usually close their eyes to mission and apostolate. But the New Testatment always speaks to us on both levels -- the internal and external, the silence of the heart and the noise of the market place, the contemplation of solitude and the activism of missionary work.

**

"This is a good opportunity to work on two levels -- the deeply personal and the deeply ecclesial."


- Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, DD, STD, An Easter People: Our Christian Vocation to be Messengers of Hope


 

"Paradox of the Spirit"


"Has Jesus changed history? This is the paradox of the Spirit. The first thing that the Spirit gives Peter and the other disciples is a vision of faith -- to see the presence of God's saving power at work in history where God seems absent. It is the Spirit who enables people to see fulfillment in broken promises and to see God's fidelity in life's unpredictability. The Spirit beckons us to be like Christ's disciples who sang joyful songs of slavation in the midst of lamentation."

- Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, DD, STD, An Easter People: Our Christian Vocation to be Messengers of Hope


 

Healing in the darkness



http://soulselfhelp .on.ca/tshameg. html

A Parable:The Prisoner In The Dark Cave

There once was a man who was sentenced to die. He
was blindfolded and put in a pitch dark cave. The cave was
100 yards by 100 yards. He was told that there was a way
out of the cave, and if he could find it, he was a free man.

After a rock was secured at the entrance of the cave,
the prisoner was allowed to take his blindfold off and roam
freely in the darkness. He was to be fed only bread and water
for the first 30 days and nothing thereafter. The bread and
water were lowered from a small hole in the roof at the south
end of the cave. The ceiling was about 18 feet high. The opening
was about one foot in diameter. The prisoner could see a faint
light up above, but no light came into the cave.

As the prisoner roamed and crawled around the cave, he
bumped into rocks. Some were rather large. He thought that
if he could build a mound of rocks and dirt that was high
enough, he could reach the opening and enlarge it enough
to crawl through and escape. Since he was 5'9", and his reach
was two feet, the mound had to be at least 10 feet high.

So the prisoner spent his waking hours picking up rocks
and digging up dirt. At the end of two weeks, he had built
a mound of about six feet. He thought that if he could duplicate
that in the next two weeks, he could make it before his food
ran out. But as he had already used most of the rocks in the
cave, he had to dig harder and harder. He had to do the digging
with his bare hands. After a month had passed, the mound was
nine and half feet high and he could almost reach the opening
if he jumped. He was almost exhausted and extremely weak.

One day just as he thought he could touch the opening,
he fell. He was simply too weak to get up, and in two days
he died. His captors came to get his body. They rolled away
the huge rock that covered the entrance. As the light flooded
into the cave, it illuminated an opening in the wall of the
cave about three feet in circumference.

The opening was the opening to a tunnel which led to the
other side of the mountain. This was the passage to freedom
the prisoner had been told about. It was in the south wall
directly under the opening in the ceiling. All the prisoner
would have had to do was crawl about 200 feet and he would
have found freedom. He had so completely focused on the
opening of light that it never occurred to him to look for
freedom in the darkness. Liberation was there all the time
right next to the mound he was building, but it was in
the darkness.

How many of us, as survivors have to grapple with that
darkness, and how many of us want to run from it, to hide
from it: when our very survival, if not quality of life
depends upon our finding that freedom from and within the
darkness?

I am reminded here that without the darkness we cannot
appreciate the light and that the light in sharp contrast
to this darkness is not always as it first appears to be.
There is an authenticity waiting to be claimed, re-claimed,
born and re-born in your heart, soul and mind and it seems
to me that it is through the light within the darkness
that this path to freedom leads one to find......self, core
self.

Run not from the darkness of your life. Run not from the
past that the darkness in your life hold you prisoner within
while endless shadows upon your soul are cast...follow your
darkness to the light of soul: it is the pathway toward an
ever-deepening understanding of authentic self which
in and of itself leads to an ever-increasing freedom.

© May 28/97 A.J. Mahari


 

"The heresy of work"


"Slow down, you are moving too fast. Slow down, you're going too far. Come to think of it, a lof us get so caught up in the rat race and even begin to live like rats. The Lord reminds us again today that life is not so much about foing fast or far, but going to the heart.

"The bottom line is that we are just instruments, unworthy ones at that. In other words, it is God's work, not ours. More than being so focused on the work of God, les us focus on the God of our work. Instead of being so engrossed in our mission for God, let us focus on the God who called us for a mission. We are important, yes, but none of us is indispensable in God's eyes.

"Years ago, we had a confrere who put in his office a poster which said: "If you have nothing to do, don't do it here." He wanted to tell the world that he was such a busy and an important man that he was not to be disturbed by those who had "nothing to do." But, it was also a pathetic reality about a man who valued work more than persons, thinking of himself as a "somebody instead of "someone."


"By the way, the above-mentioned confrere, when he had no more function or position in the retirement house, hardly had any visitors or well-wishers. Sad, but true. The problem with him was that he forgot that we have worth not so much because of what we do, but because of who we are. That's why we are called human beings, not human doings, right?

"When taking to people, avoid these three possible turn-off questions: "What are you doing here?" (This question presupposes that ne is supposed to be doing something, somewhere); "Anything I can do for you?" (Again, this question presupposes that doing is the basis of relationships); "When are you going? (This question presupposes that one should not stay long, but should be moving on.) If you have the tendency to fire away these questions, especially to people who come to you unannounced or who come to do nothing, you have fallen into the trap of what our old novice master called the "heresy of work." It's all right for people to just be, to take time, and to stay."

- Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, "Slow down" in Moments, Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 2009


 

The dark night


[A]fter putting everything into seeking God and finding more and more delight in the embrace of God's presence in contemplative prayer[,] God seemed to walk out of my life, abandoning me in a church pew, so to speak. In the dark nights, consolations on the spiritual journey, including the rituals and practices that previously supported our faith and devotion, fail us. Faith becomes simply belief in God's goodness without any taste of it. It is is trusting in God without knowing whom we are trusting, because the relationship we thought we had with God has disappeared.

"'Here the great wisdom saying of Jesus comes to mind: 'He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to nothing for My sake discovers who he is' (Mt. 10:38).' To bring oneself to nothing -- no thing -- is to cease to identify with the tyranny of our emotional programs for happiness and the limitations of our cultural conditioning."

- Thomas Keating, The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation


 

Digging deep (Divine therapy 2)


"In the Near East, centuries ago successive cultures built new cities on top of the last ones. for some reason, people didn't bother usig new space; they just burned down what was there when they defeated an enemy and built something new. The ruins of these ancient cities built one on top of the other are called "tells." The spiritual journey is like an archaeological dig through the various stages of our lives, from where we are not back through the midlife crisis, adult life, adolescence, puberty, early childhood, infancy. What happens if we allow that archaeological dig to continue? We feel that we are getting worse. But we are really not getting worse; we are just finding out how bad off we always were. That is enormous grace.

"From a vertical point of view, our conversion begins at the place we are now in our relationship to God. First, we clear off the brush, stones, and debris at the top of our interior "tell"). (Keating must be referring to the obvious sins, the superficial or easily notice faults.- A.J.) ...This initial period of conversion corresponds to the springtime of the spiritual life, when prayer is easy, and we have great energy in pursuing practices of self-denial, various forms of prayer, ministry, and other forms of social service. As we begin to trust God more, we enjoy a certain freedom from our vices and may often experience great satisfaction in our spiritual endeavours.

"When God decides we are ready, he invites us to a new level of self-knowledge. God withdraws the initial consolations of conversion, and we are plunged in darkness, spiritual dryness, and confusion. We think that God has abandoned us. Because we don't enjoy the same emotional experiences as before, we think that God must have departed for the next universe and couldn't care less about us. This is especially poignant for people who have felt rejection early in life; now they feel they have been rejected by God, and that is the ultimate rejection. The dark nights are especially tough on them. But if they can wait them out, they will be completely healed of their sense of rejection for good when they rediscover God at a deeper level of faith.

"Instead of going away, God simply moves downstairs, so to speak, and waits for us to come and join him. ...

...

"Here the great wisdom saying of Jesus comes to mind: 'He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to nothing for My sake discovers who he is' (Mt. 10:38)."


- Thomas Keating, The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation


 

Divine therapy


"Rest in Centering Prayer provides us with profound healing. To be really healed requires that we allow our dark side to come to full consciousness and then to let it go and give it to God. The divine therapy is an agreement that we make with God. We recognize that our own ideas of happiness are not going to work, and we turn our lives over completely to God.

What happens during this process is a certain unloading of primitive emotions or a bombardment of thoughts that we never expected to have on the spiritual journey. To evacuate that material, all we have to do, under normal circumstances, is to wave good-bye as it passes through our awareness.

"To submit to the divine therapy is something we owe to ourselves and the rest of humanity. If we don't allow the Spirit of God to address the deep levels of our attachments to ourselves and to ur programs for happiness, we will pour into the world the negative elements of our self-centeredness, adding to the conflicts and social disasters that come from overidentifying with the biases and prejudices of our particular culture and upbringing. This is becoming more important as we move into a global culture and into the increasing pluralism of religious beliefs.

"...As we become more aware of the dynamics of our unconscious, we can receive people and events as they are, rather than filtered through what we would like them to be, expect them to be, or demand them to be. This requires letting go of the attachments, aversions, "shoulds," and demands on others and on life that reflect the mentality of a child rather than that of a grownup. The latter, under normal conditions, is responsible for his or her choices."

- Thomas Keating, The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation


 

Abandonment of self


The ultimate abandonment of [oneself] is not to have a self as a fixed point of reference; it is the freedom to manifest God through one's own uniqueness. ... [T]he bottom in the spiritual journey is also the top. To be no one is to be everyone. To be no self is to be the true Self. To be nothing is to be everything. In a sense, it is to be God. For Christians, it is to be a kind of fifth Gospel: to become the word of God and to manifest God rather than the false self, with its emotional programs for happiness and attachments to various roles, including the most spiritual. When you have been liberated from them all, you are in a space that is both empty of self and full of God.

- Thomas Keating, The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

 

Love is sweet but painful

To love much is to hurt much. "To love a person much gives that person the capacity to hurt you much."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

 

Laughter and cry


(Or, Hollow laughter; Or, The value of grief)

Quote:


If I could not mourn, how deeply could I love? If I could not cry, hollow would be the sound of my laughter. - Tim Hansel (via Malou)


 

God's delays are not God's denials


(Forwarded email)


GOD-INSPIRED DELAYS

So when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He remained for two days in the place where He was.
- John 11:6

Delays in our life are not always easy to handle or to reconcile in our minds. Often, when God does not answer our prayers in the time that we feel He should, we appoint all sorts of characteristics to God's nature that imply He does not care. Such was the case with Lazarus' sisters when Lazarus became ill and died. Jesus was a close friend to Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. (Mary, you may recall, was the woman who came and poured perfume on Jesus' feet.) When Jesus arrived two days later, Martha shamed Him by saying, "If you had come, he would not have died." She implied that He didn't care enough to come when sent for. It was a matter of priorities for Jesus, not lack of love.

God often has to delay His work in us in order to accomplish something for His purposes that can be achieved only in the delay. Jesus had to let Lazarus die in order for the miracle that was about to take place to have its full effect. If Jesus had simply healed a sick man, the impact of the miracle would not have been as newsworthy as resurrecting a man who had been dead for four days. This is Jesus' greatest "public relations act" of His whole ministry. What many do not realize is that the key to the whole story is in the next chapter. Many people, because they had heard that He had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet Him. So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look
how the whole world has gone after Him!" (John 12:18-19)

If Jesus had not raised Lazarus from the dead, there would have been no crowds to cheer the Lord when He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.

God often sets the stage so that His glory is revealed through the events that He orchestrates. He did this with Moses and Pharaoh, allowing delay after delay for the release of the Israelites from Egypt . He did this with Abraham and Sarah for the promised child, Isaac. God granted Sarah a baby, past the age of childbearing in order to demonstrate His power.

God did this in my own life. He delayed the fulfillment of what I believed He called me to do for several years. But the delays provided the necessary preparation and greater glory that God was to receive.

My friend, don't take the delays lightly. Do not faint as God places you in what seems to be a holding pattern. God is at work. God knows the purposes for His delays. Don't give up, for they are for His greater glory; so we need to remain faithful.

Sent by: Erlinda Velasquez-Mendez


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

 

Txt msgs


It's often difficult to wait for God's time. The waiting period often brings pain and confusion. But it's always worth to trustfully wait on God, even if He seens silent. Because when his plan is revealed, we'll surely thank Him for being right on time. "Be still and know that He is God." Ps 46:10

I didn't know how strong I was until being strong was th eonly choice I had as I let God be the source of my strength.

When our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers. -HJMN

It's funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.

I asked God, How do I get the best out of life? God answered, Face your past without regret, handle your preesnt with confiedence, prepare for the future without fear. Then He added, Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don't believe your doubts and never doubt your beliefs. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

 

Our end is God's beginning


A rephrased distillation of today's reading from Word Among Us:

"Personality tests can be helpful in knowing ourselves, but there is the temptation to put too much confidence in the results and start labeling ourselves, restricting the possibility that some unexpected option may be the best. Moses seems to have had a limited view of his abilities: "slow of speech and tongue" (Exodus 4:1-2,10). He knew who he was -- but he still had to learn who God was! He had to learn that nothing is impossible with the Lord, and that his grace was more than enough to transform Moses into the leader God wanted him to become. Like in Moses's case, God asks us to do things that we know we can't do on our own. he will push us beyond our limits so that we reach out to him for his help. And in reaching out, we laern how faithful God is -- and just how much he is prepared to do for us. 'When we get to the end of ourselves, we get to the beginning of God!'"


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