Some meditations are watersheds of clear teaching. Had one of those yesterday from Luke 6:27-38. In this passage Jesus tells us:
- Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man that robs you. (This one gives me the most trouble . . . I don't like giving without checking the legitimacy of the charity, and that 15% or less is going to "administrative". The second part seems to indicate that one's house would be repeatedly burglarized. Although my 10 year old daughter tells me someone was robbed recently and helped the crooks carry out their stuff and even asked them if they wanted their TV. Either they were living out Jesus teaching very well, or maybe they had excellent insurance and wanted a better TV. Sorry for the cynicism.)
- Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
- Love your enemies and do good . . . for he, himself, (the Most High) is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
- Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
- Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves . . . . Grant pardon, and you will be pardoned.
- Give and there will be gifts for you.
Meditiation Thoughts, some direct quotes, some paraphrased from Fr. John Bartunek in The Better Part (I am thankful blogs are not MLA):
- The more we know our lavish, generous, Lord, the more we will delight in serving such a Lord.
- The more generous we are to others, the better we learn the art of self-giving, of self-forgetful love, the more intensely we will experience the fulfilled and fulfilling life we long for. (I have been experiencing this the past couple of years. Still just over the starting line of a more generous life, but it is definitely more intense and more fulfilling.)
- We are created in God's image, and God is love; his very divine nature is all about self-giving. The more we develop our capacity for love--authentic, self-forgetful love - the more we mature into what God created us to be.
- As a mature apple tree bears abundant fruit, so a mature, healthy soul overflows with the spiritual fruits of profound joy (yes), peace (sometimes. . . for me this requires more growth in virtue to be lasting), and enthusiasm (yes!).
- The devil wants us to think heaven is boring --but there is just too much overflowing life and love to leave even a tiny nook or cranny of boredom to creep in! (This I think is really believable. Reminds me of times I have been laughing with my kids--who are very full of life and love, or having great conversations with friends. There is nothing boring about it. It is the best!)
- The identifying mark of a Christian is treating others - ALL OTHERS - the way God does, the way God treats us.
- God is kind and merciful "even to the ungrateful and the wicked". If we are his children, his followers, we will be kind and merciful too. (This reminds me of when my daughter, then in 3rd grade was practicing to cantor the responsorial psalm at the school Mass. My son, then in Kindergarten thought she was singing, "The Lord is kinda merciful . . . .The Lord is kinda merciful . . . " He has a better understanding now that he is in 7th grade.)
- We will be quick to forgive, quick to make excuses for others, quick to avoid judging and condemning them. We will think well of others, speak well of them, and treat them like the children of God, and thus our brothers and sisters, that they truly are.
- God never holds back his love, and neither should we.
- When we were baptized, he came to dwell within us, so that he could emanate his goodness to the world through us. Unfortunately, our pettiness, selfishness, and partiality, often obscure his light instead of transmitting it. Learning to let his love and light shine more and more, in every moment and in every relationship is the only task that really matters -- the only lesson that Christ is hoping we will learn (with plenty of his help) perfectly.
- The desire for happiness is a gift from God, a homing device that impels us towards God, the only source of true and lasting happiness. (Really? Because I thought our crosses were gifts too?)
- If Christ demands sacrifice and generosity, if his way of life seems hard, if the cross is painful, it's only a temporary pain, like that of someone recovering from reconstructive surgery. Christ is the doctor of our fallen, selfish souls, and he eagerly looks forward to the day when we will join him in heaven. (oh . . . that explains my question from the preceding point)
Lord, Send your Holy Spirit into my soul, and into the souls of all the members of your Church. Teach us to live lives of authentic Christian charity. Come Holy Spirit, enkindle within us the fire of your love . . . the love for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the love you will us to show to our brothers and sisters, the other members of your mystical body.
Thank you Jesus for coming to earth to show us the path to true human fulfillment both here on earth and forever in eternity. I trust you, Lord, teach me to spread your love, and your truth and so to draw others closer to you. Thank you that you love each of us so much more than we can begin to comprehend. Thank you that you are patient with us and long-suffering through our ingratitude, inconstancy, and give us grace, mercy and strength to get back up, even after we do things that injure the others you love. Please forgive us. Please pour out your grace of conversion and true repentance into our hearts.
Thank you for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. Please cleanse our hearts from all desires except the desire to love you better and to follow wherever you lead. Thank you that you are so eager to come into our lives, that you stand knocking at the doors of our hearts. Thank you for giving us the words that lead to fullness of human happiness here on earth and forever in heaven.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Isaiah 51:10)