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Mother, Daughter and John 15:13


A friend of mine was texting me the other night with issues she was having with her daughter, Mothers Day had come and passed and all she received from her daughter was a text stating Happy Mothers Day. Shallow and cold, I will admit, but not unexpected. The relationship between them has always been a bit strained. Even as a young child, the daughter is now in her 20’s, she was a self-centered child. Looking to always serve her own interest. The blame, as always, lies between the parents and the personality of the child.

Her parents are divorced, I do not know the father, but know the mother well. She holds on to the divorce live a badge, she will not let it go, never have and most likely never will. She is bitter and hurt. For what I do not know, for I only know one side of the story. And as we all know, one side of a two-sided story is never enough. What I do know is the deep roots this divorce has caused. I have known the mother for over 15 years, at one time we dated, and we have remained friends after the break-up. Her lack of ability to let it go causes much pain in her and those around her, this, of course, cause issues with-in the family unit. From what I can tell, based on what I have been told by the mother and the kids, she has two, a boy and girl, the father is not very concerned with rules. He is laid back and not very concerned with structure. Is that the case, I do not know, like I said I have never had the change to meet him. But it is the narrative played out in the kids and mother.

The mother, she is controlling and likes structure, she is deeply emotional and likes lots of affirmations, one could say she is needy.  Is she a bad person, no, I think she has a big heart and means well, but I do think she has a difficult time defining love, to me it seems she places a tangible value on love and fails to see love as intangible. She needs to “see” love, the feeling is not enough.

Sure, I will be the first to admit Love is many things, tangible and intangible, but I will also be the first to admit that Love is not one thing, it’s not seeing over feeling, and Love does not always show it self in the ways we would expect. Sometimes the smallest of acts, a smile at just the right moment, says Love more than the words could ever do, Sometimes, but not Always…

Sometimes that same smile can be spiteful and hurtful… Love is…. What is it?

The bible offers us many passages about love, but the one that came to mind when I was talking to my friend, trying to help her through the latest issue with her daughter was this…

John 15:13

13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 

Why this passage of all passages… The Holy Spirit works in odd ways, let me tell you….

Some back ground of the conversations:

As I said, the daughter text her “Happy Mothers Day” her son, who is in Mexico as part of his seminarian training, called her and talked for 2 hours. A drastic difference, but the two kids are as different as night and day, so not unexpected. But back to the issue at hand.

She asked me what I thought of it all, my response, What did you expect from her. Her response, Love. This conversation went on for about 45 minutes (by the way, I hate texting).

She asked for my advice on what she should do, my advice, same as it has been for a few years now, Stop expecting what she will not provide you. Her response, What, I should not expect my daughters love.

Not exactly what I was talking about, I explained that she loves you, but you will never get the response you want, and if you keep setting yourself up for disappointment, that’s what you will always get.

Still no go, her questions, Is it so wrong for a mother to want her child’s love. My response, No, it’s not wrong, but you cannot force anyone to love you in the way you want or need. Love does not force, it does not control and it is not needy. She did not really like that response from me. Sometimes the truth hurts.

But she knows me well, and she knows I always speak my mind and tell it as I see it. No harm was intended and I am sure no harm was done. So she asked for clarification.

My clarifications, We have to learn to accept the love that is offered, not try to change the love to be what we want. This did not help. She still felt that love was a tangible thing.

Her plan of action

The daughter’s birthday is next month, so her plan is to give her daughter a photo of the three of them, the mother and the two kids. Sounds nice, unless you know the daughter, and I do… She will reject this, not because she hates her brother and not because she hates her mother, but she will reject it out of spite. Just to retain the control over her mother. The more she rejects her mom, the more control she has over her. Her mothers need for tangible love is strong, and her mothers need to control is strong (she is a passive aggressive controller).So the rejection of the photo would only lead to the mother feeling hurt and trying to figure out what she can do to earn her daughters love. This, of course, gives the daughter all the power, and the mother none.

My response to the planed gift, Not a good idea. Do not play into her hands. So what than should I do, was her next question.. Text her, Happy Birthday, and offer her a dinner. Leave it at that… She was not happy with that recommendation. Her concern, if the daughter rejects the dinner invite, that would hurt more, and she really wants to give the photo and birthday card.

The real concern, she wants to gain the upper hand, to have control, to tug at her daughter’s heart-strings, and she thinks the family photo will do the trick.

But she is missing the point, the text and dinner offer gives her the control, the daughter would not expect the same treatment she gives her mother. Now some would say I was being childish, but I beg to differ. The response is not meant to hurt, but to level the playing field, to stop setting oneself up for one disappointment after another, to start to accept the kind of love the daughter was offering and to learn that sometimes we must let go.

So this is the point where I offered my bible verse:

13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

The point of the passage was missed on her. But it was too late at night for me to get in to is, so I told her to think on it. She asked me to send her an email explaining it to her, so this post is my response (I will only send her the part concerning the passage, all the above back ground information is for us only…Unless she reads this blog…)

Why did that passage pop into me head as a good passage to use? What was the Holy Spirit leading me to? And how do I explain it? Well here I will try:

When most people read that passage, the first think that comes to mind is Jesus upon the cross, offering up His life for our sins. Offering it up freely… WOW, that is true love and friendship. So most of us think of it as the ultimate act of sacrifice for love and friendship, to offer ones life, and it is, if it is not takes to lightly. We read stories and see it on the news, people placing themselves in danger for a child or a loved one, we even see it being done for total strangers (think Boston Marathon bombing).

The gift of life should never be taken lightly and should never be given lightly. But is that the only way one can lay down ones life for a friend? I think not!

*Parents lay down their life for their children on a daily basis. Not always by risking death, sometimes it is by stand by their child through a sickness or by supporting a child through hard times. The love of a parent knows no bounds. The parent knows that rejection of the love is always a possibility, but it is offered anyway, parents know a child my do something that may go beyond anything they may have ever dreamed their child was capable of (think school shootings), but even than a parent will stand by their child. They may not approve of the child’s actions, they may even be the ones to turn them in to the authorities, but there love for that child does not falter. They are willing to take the mean words offered to them by others who do not understand, that will defend their child even if it means they to are persecuted. This is a death they are willing to undertake for their child. Not a physical death, but yet, it is still a death.

Consider a parent of an addict, they offer help and forgiveness to their child, they take them in and support them, only to have the addiction take over their child, yet again. But they continue to support and make excuse for the child, to shelter them from the crudeness of the world. Thinking that they are helping the child, suffering with the child, only to see the child falter again. This is not laying down ones life, it is protection of ones own life. The child needs to learn how to fail, so they can learn how not to fail. For the parent this means to let the child fail, and in doing so, they to will feel the failures the disappointments and resentment of and from the child. This is a death, but like the death of Jesus, there is a resurrection, a new life.

The new life comes from the child’s understanding that actions have consequences, that the addiction causes pain. But if the parent kept sheltering the child, the pain is always shifted to the parent, the child takes no responsibility for their actions. But by the parent allowing the child to feel the failure the parent is also allowing the child to grow to learn and to experience a new life. And the parent is also allowed to grow, to learn and to experience a new life. This most likely will not happen in tandem with each other, the parent may experience the new life before the child even realizes what has just happened, or the parent may take years to come to terms with the fact that they allowed their child to fail. But in the end, Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends… And a life can be laid down in many ways.

God Bless

Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach

* The examples are given to illustrate a point, I am not implying that this is always the case. And before anyone starts yelling at me about the addiction example, yes I do understand additions, yes, I know what I am talking about… But remember, it was an example, not a real life situation, so deal with it…

 

 

 

 

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Overturned: A Lenten Reflection


 

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12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

Matthew 21:11-13 (NIV)

Jesus showed a side of Himself not often portrayed in the bible accounts of His life, a justified anger. Yes, there is such a thing, and yes even Jesus got angry, as we just read. Jesus cleansed the Temple, overturned the tables and set the birds free. Does not sound like a “Jesus loves you just as you are” sort of guy. YES, I know Jesus LOVES YOU! That is not in question, but the idea or theology that goes something like this: Jesus Loves you just as you are, he asks nothing of you, you are fine just as you are… You know what I’m talking about. Well, that just wrong, and not biblical.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV)

We are the Temple of the Lord, the new Temple instituted at that Last Supper when our Lord instituted the Eucharist. We partake His Body into out Temples, the new dwelling place of the Lord. Does the Holy Spirit reside in a den of robbers, or is it fit for the Holy Spirit? Have you overturned your life? Emptied it of the money changes or are you still allowing space with in your temple for them?

This is a hard question, one that causes us to stop and look within, and most of us would rather not look within, we find it much easer to look out and see the other people’s den of robbers.

 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Luke 6:41-43 (NIV)

We are called to make our Temples fitting for the Lord, to provide a “New Wine Skin”

 

16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Matthew 9:16-18 (NIV)

Our souls will rebel and pull away from the Lord, sin leads to tears and rips in the wine skin of our souls. The money changes of our life, anger, pride, envy and such, rob of us our ability to commune with the Lord. We need to enter into our temples and overturn the tables of anger, pride and envy, we need to set free the birds of sacrifice and offer up ourselves to the Lord. We need to allow the Lord to dwell within His temple, we need to make room in our souls/life for Him, we need to cleanse our Temples, and Lent offers us the opportunity to do this.

Lent is a time of fasting, of giving up the bad in exchange for the good and Holy.

The Catholic Church observes the discipline of fasting or abstinence at various times each year, especially during Lent. For Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one’s intake of food, which may or may not include abstinence from meat (or another type of food). The Catholic Church teaches that all people are obliged by God to perform some penance for their sins, and that these acts of penance are both personal and corporate. The purpose of fasting is spiritual focus, self discipline, imitation of Christ, and performing penance. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Fasting a way for us to overturn the tables within our Temples, it offers us the opportunity to purge our body/souls of unwanted toxins, sins. Fasting helps us remember what is truly important in our lives, what we can live without and more importantly, what we cannot live without, God.  This Lent I offer up this idea, besides abstaining from meat on Fridays, offer up Wednesdays as a day of Fasting, eat only one small meal all day, no snacking, no grand 18 coarse meal at the end of the day to celebrate your fasting, just fast and tell no one, just offer it up.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
Matthew 6:15-17 (NIV)

Cleans your temple this Lent, make room for the risen Lord within your soul and rejoice in knowing you His Temple.

God Bless & Happy Lent

Paul Sposite

 

Guided Insight Life Coach

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Suffer the Children


adamcohn

But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.

Mathew 19:14 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Yesterday was a sad day in Detroit, Michigan and Chardon, Ohio. (Select the city to read the stories) Our youth, our children have become murderers. Nothing new you may be saying to yourself, and right you are, Children have been killing each other over silly things since Cain and Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

Genesis 4:2-12 (NIV)

Youth, from the start, have been envious of others; it seems to be a part of them. So no, murder is nothing new within society, but something has changed. I am not sure what, but something has.

Yesterday I was thinking about the senseless acts of both the Detroit youths and the Chardon, and I knew I needed to write about it today, to offer something, but what that something is I do not know. My mind goes from one thought to the next, one direction to the other, and it is hard for me to focus on one train of thought. I know this, I know that this has to stop, that we have to find a way to make the madness stop!

The responsibility falls on all of us, the Family, the Community, the Church, State and Nation. The violence is an epidemic a cancer eating away at our cities, our youth. Killing off the next generation of Doctors and scientist, politicians and fathers and mothers. We are aborting our responsibilities, all too often in the name of, of what?

We no longer “discipline” our youth, for fear of social services coming in and taking them. We are more concerned about their self-esteem them about their lives. Me, I say low self-esteem for a few hours is well worth the price of a lifetime. We no longer “force” youth to follow basic rules, in order to allow them to express themselves. I am sorry, they will have a lifetime to do that, in school rules are to be followed, and at home, rules are to be followed. This idea that the child and the parents are “best friends” is silly at best and destructive at worst. We are not “friends” to our children, we are parents, and we are caretakers and guardians of their little lives. We are to nurture and love them, but we are also to teach them and sometimes “punishment” is part of teaching.

In the real world, if I break a law, I must pay the fine, be it cash, time or whatever the price is, I am expected to pay it. Yet all too often, we teach our children that there is no punishment, there is no fine for the crime they commit.

I remember, years ago, when my boy came home from playing soccer at the local soccer club. This club charges $5 per person to play. He did not have the $5 to play, because I was at work and unable to give it to him. Nevertheless, when he returned home that day, he told me he played. I asked him how he paid, he said he didn’t, I assumed one of his friends paid, so I asked, who paid for you? No one he said… Therefore, me being the ever-smart one, asked, so how did you get in, and he being the ever not so bright at times said, we waited until the girl left the counter and walked in.

Yep, he walked in, without paying. Sure, it was only $5, at least that is what he said to me, no big deal, its only $5. Now I could have said, your right, they make enough money, and they should not charge you anyway. But what I said was, I don’t care if it was only one penny, what you did was wrong, it was stealing and you will pay it back, you will go and apologize and you will never, ever do it again. Because if you do, you will be one sorry young man. So we got in the car, drove back to the soccer place, I made him look the person in the eyes, tell them what he did, say he was sorry and offer his services to pay back the $5. He washed windows for about 45 minutes. Than we drove home. On the way home, I told him I was disappointed in him and that I loved him, we stopped for dinner and enjoyed our night. Now, he still did not think he did anything wrong, but a few days later he came back to me and said he understood and that he was truly sorry.

Yep, sometimes punishments have to be part of love and understanding. Yesterday my reaction to the Detroit mess was to bring the death penalty into Detroit, it was a knee jerk reaction, but I feel it may still have some merit. The problem, most of the violence is from youth, under 18. However, we need to do something, we need to fix this, and we need to fix it soon.

I do not have the answers, no one person does, God does, so I know we need to pray for the youth and pray for the cordage to do what is needed to be done. I also know that it is going to take all of us to fix this mess, all of us working together, putting aside our egos and city verse suburbs mentality. I know that I love the city of Detroit, but I also know that I am, for the first time in my life, getting a little scared to go to the city. The youths are running wild and they have no respect, none for themselves and even less for others. Life to them is expendable. Sad… However, expected…

We, as a nation, began to teach our youth that life is expendable. It started in 1979, and has grown. The land mark case of Roe v Wade, making abortion the law of the land, murder on demand. What do we expect, when Planned Parenthood goes into our schools and tells the youth, you do not want the “problem” you created, get rid of it, kill it, toss it out on to the streets, murder it. So life becomes worth nothing. Oh, and by the way, you want to do, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot, you just do it. We have allowed our youth to be taught that parents, the caretakers, guardians and we have no right to tell them, the youth, how to live, what to do, what is morally right and wrong. We have created a generation of individual morals, a generation that thinks they personally are more important that the person standing next to them. This flies in the face of what we know to be true.

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mathew 20: 28 (NIV)

We know, as Christians, that we are to serve others, yet we have created a generation that sees it as, others are to serve them. The question is how do we get back to that, Jesus calls us to?

This Lent, use the time to pray for our youth, to ask God for guidance and grace and to protect our youth from the evil one.

God Bless & Happy Lent

Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach (website is being updated, current web is just a template)

 

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An Open Letter to all Catholics, to all Americans


Dear Catholics:

clip_image002This Open letter it to all Catholics, be they liberal or conservative, laps or practicing, fallen away or on their way back home to Rome. In-fact this open letter should be shared with non-Catholics, non-Christians and anyone who is concerned about their personal liberty and freedom. This letter is intended to excite you, motivate you and call you to action. This letter is a letter of protest and a letter of compassion; it is written from my heart and shared with the world. It will, undoubtably contain miss-spellings, bad punctuation and grammatical errors. However, what it will not contain is false emotions and lack of integrity. It will be heartfelt and passionate, it will be my personal views and my faith presented for you and for all.

Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The above quote is the foundation upon I build my letter. The words of St. John in the book of Revelation needs to be in our hearts and on our minds as we read this letter and internalized. It is the basis of all that I have to say concerning the current state of anti-Catholic, anti-liberty rhetoric coming from Washington DC.

The Obama administration continues their attack on Liberty and Freedom; they continue to erode our rights to religious freedom. The latest being their insistence that Catholic Institutions abandon their core beliefs and offer healthcare benefits that cover birth control, sterilization and abortion causing drugs. This is a direct act against our religious freedom and anti-American. (Source)

We, as Americans, as Catholics as a freedom loving people must stand up, speak out and protest this act of religious bigotry. We, as Catholics, are called to do so, by our very baptism, we have been given the responsibility to stand up for and defend our faith and our Church. Yet, all too often, we fail to do so. If we remain still and quiet the Obama Administration will win, not just the healthcare debate, but even more importantly they clip_image003will the war he and his administration has waged against religious freedoms.

Our right as Americans and our obligations as Catholics are being challenged and we must respond, and we must respond loudly and boldly. This administration is forcing Catholic Charities, Hospitals and Schools to support and pay for treatments that are counter to our faith, counter to our faith structure. This should shock all Americans, not just Catholics. This is an attack on all Freedoms, not just Religious Freedoms. The Founding Fathers would be shocked to their core and the call for Revolution would once again be heard over this great land. The Founding Fathers fought for Freedom and Liberty, the ability for people to choose their Faith and practices it as seen fit by the faith. They fought for less government and more personal responsibility, not for Big Brother and Government intervention into our daily lives. Healthcare is a personal responsibility and one that the government should not be involved in, but that will be saved for another time. Back to this open letter and the attack on our religious freedoms.

From Bishop Boyea of the Lansing Diocese

Diocese of Lansing Responds to HHS Mandate

These past days have seen a grave error on the part of the federal government, as well as a blessed response from Catholics all across this great state and nation.
By now, all men and women of faith know that the United States Department of Health and Human Services has declared that health benefit plans must include coverage for sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs. This unconstitutional and unconscionable mandate is to take effect in stages during 2012 and 2013.
The Catholic Church in the United States will never comply with this mandate. Told that the federal government has allowed a one-year grace period during which the Church can adjust itself to this mandate, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York responded that the Church does not need a year to determine whether it would comply. He is right. In offering this supposed mandate, the federal government misreads the Constitution of the United States. It equally misreads the determination of Catholics.
This nation is built upon the three-legged stool of the First Amendment. Our precious freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly underlie everything this nation is, and everything this nation has ever accomplished. Religious liberty gives the freedom to preach the Truth. And the truth is that pregnancy is not a disease. Nor is the natural fertility of a woman a disease.
Through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Michigan Catholic Conference, we are exploring a number of options, including litigation and Congressional reform. As these efforts move forward, Catholics should make clear to their elected officials the crucial importance of religious liberty, and they should pray daily for those who have the responsibility for making these decisions.(Source)

God Bless Bishop Boyea for his strong stance, he truly is a Sheppard of his flock, and I for one am proud to know he is in Michigan and at one time was part of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He speaks boldly and strongly, and his statement should be ours, we, as Catholics, will never comply with this mandate. We need to refuse, to protest and to vote with our Catholic heart and sensibility. We need to let Obama and his administration that he cannot, that no politician can dictate the pillars of our faith, that no mortal man can overturn the laws of God! We will not stand for this and we will, we must, fight back!

It is not only Conservatives or Republicans that should be upset, but Liberals and Democrats, this is not going to stop, the power grab will continue if it is not revered. We will see more laws; more directives infringing upon our Liberates and Freedoms enter into the cause of fairness and equality. The forced secularization of Catholic institutions is neither fair nor equal; it is tyranny in its infancy. It is socialism at its birth and will continue to grow unless we, as Americans, stand and fight! It is time that we rejuvenate our revolutionary hearts and stand for what is right.

Please do not miss understand me here, I am not talking about bloodshed, but I am talking about revolution, a change in the current regime and a return to Liberty and the Constitution. This Administration has trampled this document more than any other has; they have no respect for the Founders and see the Constitution as outdated and in-need of an update, The Constitution 2.0, if you will. Obama himself has stated this:

The President said,”…our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” (Source)

clip_image004Really, the system Obama is referring to is outlined and detailed in the Constitution… Hmm, How dare the Founders limit King Obama’s power to force his radical and leftist views upon Americans. That is exactly what he is doing with the contraceptive healthcare law being enforced upon Catholics. I know some Liberals and pro-abortionist are hailing this as a victory. However, they should be careful not to celebrate too much, because soon the heavy hand of tyranny will crush your freedoms and liberties, as it is ours. Hold your convictions tight, as Americans; we have the right to do so, and an obligation to defend them. However, be careful and de diligent, the road to socialism is paved with many tempting things. Such as forcing all to accept, for the betterment of all, abortion, birth control and serialization. It promises a nation with “free” healthcare and equality that is not only protected by the government but also guaranteed. The temptations of Utopia are many and they shine and glimmer of in the distance, just like fools gold below the waters of injustice. We all want Equality and Liberty, we all strive for Freedom and Fairness, but as we quest for and search for this Utopia, this perfection of Government and men, we often times forget the men to whom we are governing. Our Nation was designed with one concept in mind, that it is man who gives government its power, not government who gives man its Freedoms. We, as a Nation allow the Federal Government the power to withhold Liberties and Freedoms as a payment for protection of our Liberties and Freedoms. We give them the power, not the other way around. Yet they seem to see it differently, The Obama administration seems to see it as they grant us our Freedoms and Liberties, and in doing so, they rightly feel they have the power to remove, to hold ransom, our Liberties and Freedoms. As long as we allow them to feel this way, as long as we do not stand and fight for our Freedoms and Liberties, they will continue to act as if they have the power over us, and not as our Founding Fathers intended, we have the power of them. It is our Government, we created it and we can destroy it or we can restore it! What will it be? This is a defining moment in our history; this is a turning point for our Great Nation. How will we react?

Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

I for one am going to stand and Fight!

God Bless

Paul Sposite

Guided Insight Life Coach

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Could Boys Town work today? And other thoughts on Charity and Social Justice.


Cover of "Boys Town"

Cover of Boys Town

“What’s “just” has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”
– Walter Williams

Williams was born into an AfricanAmerican family. His family during childhood consisted of himself, his mother, and his sister. His father played no role in raising either child.[3] He grew up in Philadelphia. The family initially lived in West Philadelphia, moving to North Philadelphia and the Richard Allen housing projects when Williams was ten. His neighbors included a young Bill Cosby. Williams knew many of the individuals that Cosby speaks of from his childhood, including Weird Harold and Fat Albert.[4]

Williams was a talented high school student who displayed a very inconsistent performance in his studies. Following high school he came out to stay with his father in California, and attended one semester at Los Angeles City College, in regard to which he would later state that he was not ready yet to be a serious student.[5] In 1959 he was drafted into the military, and served as a Private in the United States Army.[4][6] While serving in the Army, he “waged a one man battle against Jim Crow from inside the army (where he was nearly court-martialed for challenging the racial order).”[4] Williams:

wrote a letter to President John F. Kennedy denouncing the pervasive racism of the American government and military. “Should Negroes be relieved of their service obligation or continue defending and dying for empty promises of freedom and equality,” Williams demanded of the president. “Or should we demand human rights as our Founding Fathers did at the risk of being called extremists….I contend that we relieve ourselves of oppression in a manner that is in keeping with the great heritage of our nation.”[4]  (Link)

The above article, or at least part of the article from Wikipedia and the beginning quote should be an inspiration to all Americans, it talks of Faith, faith in the American system, faith in self and faith in humanity. It talks of self-reliance and justice, not handouts and welfare.  It talks about picking yourself up and taking care of business, your business, and not relaying on the government to do it for you. I like that!

So what is “just”?

As a Catholic, social justice is a huge part of my faith, we have Bishops and everyday pew sitters working on this issue daily, we have documents coming from the Vatican and our local Church. I could spend hours reading and re-reading the documents, many of them online and available for free. I can read the words of many a great men, saints and some not so saintly. But in the end, I think that simple quote above states it very distinctly:

I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you — and why?”

 

That about states it all… Now I can hear everyone asking, what about the poor, who is going to help them… We need to take and give to them.. True, I agree, you are correct. But… And this is a big but… It’s not the government’s job to decide who or what charities I want to support, it is not the governments job to decide how much is too much. That my friends, it totally up to me… That is “just”.

Humanity will, if allowed, care for herself. In the United Stated we have proven this, prior to big government stepping in, it was left to the local communities to care for one another, and they always did. During the many recessions and depressions this country has gone through, the local community always cared for their own. As it should be. The “Great Society” and the “New Deal” and all other forms of Social Engineering has done nothing to change the simple fact that we will always have the poor. But what it has done is created a whole generation that is now dependent upon the government to fix and provide for all there needs. No longer is it a community coming together, but now it laws and regulations and dependency.

The local out reach programs, Faith based community services and alike are now governed by the Federal Government, bogged down with regulations and paperwork that much of there “good deeds” go undone due to lack of resources to meet the ever-expanding hands of Big Brother. Prior to the government handing out the tax payers money, the local community gathered its resources from the community itself, depended on the community and thrived with in the community it served.

The Catholic church was the prominent provider in many communities, depending upon the Church and the community at large to provide free services to whomever needed them, regardless of their faith. Look at Boys Town as a perfect example. Fr. Flanagan did not ask the Federal Government for moneys to build his Town, nope, he depended upon the common person to send in donations, and the work of building the town, well that was left up the him and the boys. In todays “regulated” world this could never happen, the government would not allow the young men who made up the community of Boys Town to do the labor, they would consider it “degrading” and “child labor”, were as Fr. Flanagan and his boys considered it “Character building” and “Edifying” . How times have changed.

The government would have required trained social workers were as Fr. Flanagan required love and respect. There is not law or regulations for love and respect, so the government would not consider them to be important. How times have changed…

“Charity” and “Social Justice” and not be regulated or forced, they have to be organic in nature. they have to come from the souls of the ones offering. When government sticks its hands into our pockets and forces us to “give” the act of Charity and Justice has just become an act of redistribution and extortion.

In the books “Who Really Cares” and “Gross National Happiness” Arthur C. Brooks, the author, makes the case that charity is a human act, not a governmental act. That it is the benevolence of man and not the redistributionist of government that keeps charities rolling. Both books are well worth the reading.

The Catholic Church, like many organization, has its fair share of redistributionist, who feel that humanity in-of-its-self is not able or capable of caring for each other. To me this is a travesty and a slap in the collective face of man kind! But, truth be told, we allowed this mind-set to happen, we, as a nation have become “dependent” upon the government to not only govern our national affairs, but also our personal affairs.

A return to a simpler time, a time when communities cared for each other, relied upon each other and depended upon their neighbors was when true social justice existed in this nation. We now live in a nation of not social justice, but a nation of social engineering, other wise know as socialism, tyranny or any other work to describe personal liberties and personal responsibilities being replaced by group think. We are teaching our children not to depend upon themselves and the community at large, but rather to look to and depend upon the government. We have generations of Americans that have no concept of charity and giving, of time, talent and treasure. But we do have generations of Americans who understand the concepts of give me, I deserve and “fairness”. Using the term “fairness” not as it was meant, “Equal opportunity” but rather as “Equal treasures” regardless of effort put forth.

The America of pre-New Deal and The Great Society is not yet lost, but is quickly becoming so. We have the opportunity and obligation to change the course of this great nation. To right the wrongs and return American and her citizens back to personal responsibility and community minded obligations. We have a unique opportunity in America, the opportunity to wage a revolution with our guns and blood, a revolution that uses the most powerful weapon ever know to man, the vote. This November we must vote to return America back to Americans, to restore Charity and Social Justice back to the people. It is time to take up the mantel of liberty and forge a new path to prosperity by returning to the founding principles of this great nation. Principles spelled out in our founding documents, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Documents that outline the path to prosperity and freedom, documents that never, not once, call upon the Government to care for the personal lives of its Citizenry. But rather call upon its Citizenry to care for the Government.

God Bless

Paul

Guided Insight Life Coach 

 

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Forgiveness… Can you do it?


Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven, as in the r...

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The only survivor of white supremacist Mark Stroman’s bloody rampage after Sept 11, 2001 is asking that his attacker be spared the death penalty Wednesday for his crimes….

…I forgave Mark Stroman many years ago," he writes on his blog. "I believe he was ignorant, and not capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, otherwise he wouldn’t have done what he did." (You must read this)

How many of us could say this? How easy is it to forgive? Look around you, examine your own life, have you forgiven people who have hurt you, wronged you? Have you forgiven your parents that abused you or the priest that took advantage of you? Have you been able to let go and let God? Have you found the place in your heart were forgiveness lives? Or is it just a dark spot?

Forgiveness is not easy, yet it is something we all must learn to do. Jesus, on his cross, forgave:

And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots. (Luke 23:34)

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the best known instance of such teaching and practice of forgiveness.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly spoke of forgiveness, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 (NIV) “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” Luke 6:27-29 (NIV) “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (NIV) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

Elsewhere, it is said, "Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy-seven times.’" Matthew 18:21-22 (NAS)

Jesus asked for God’s forgiveness of those who crucified him. "And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’" Luke 23: 34 (ESV)

In his time, Jesus created controversy among the Pharisees, when he told people their sins were forgiven. "The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’" Luke 5:21 (NIV) (Read this)

Pope John Paul II also forgave his would be killer (read this), But can we, me and you, forgive? I know I have a hard time with this concept, I hold grudges for a long long time… It is one of my many human traits that I must work on, daily. It is some thing I have prayed about, seek guidance for and something that I am aware of. It is, in a nut shell, something that is holding be back from being the creation that God wishes me to be. Forgiveness… We all say it, but do we all truly mean it, do we truly understand it. I know I don’t, but I also know that once a crack that nut, I will be in a much better place than I am now…

God Bless

Paul

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Death, Faith, Forgiveness, Life, Love, Religon

 

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Simon Peter offers us our best hope


Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-20

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The summer seems to be going by so fast, it is already the end of July, were did the days go? As a Catholic/Christian I am faced with many conflicts with my feelings and my faith. And this summer I have had to confront a few. Both being on the same thing. I know that we are called to forgive and to love our enemies. I get that part, but the part I often am confused about is what then, what’s next, so I forgive them, than what?

Do I have to forget what took place, do I have to be friends with them again. I know I have to love them, but do I have to love them like a brother or sister? Do I have to be friends with them? The questions nag at me and beckon for an answer.

My view point is no, I do not have to forget what has taken place, I do not have to be friends with them I do not have to love them like a brother or sister. But yes I must forgive them and I must love them. But love them how?

In the bible when Jesus questions Simon Peter three times about his love for Him, Jesus uses two different word for love. The first time Jesus questions Peter He asks Peter if he loved Him as God loves. A love that is all consuming, a love the know no bounds. That’s the kind of love that God shows us, a love that is unending a love that loves regardless. That was the kind of love Jesus was asking Peter about. Yet Peter responded with a brothers love, a love that knows limits, a love that fills the heart but falls short on the soul. Jesus asked again, using the same love, the same question and Peter responded the same way. The third time Jesus asked Peter, Jesus used a humanly love, a love that Peter could understand, a love that he could comprehend, and Peter responded in-kind.

God calls us to love, he even calls us to love with a love that we do not yet understand, but He also knows our limits, and like with Peter, God will ask us to a higher divine love, yet he will accepts a lower humanly love. A love that fills the heart but fails the soul.

So when I forgive what love am I called to? The higher divine love or the lower human love? That’s an easy question, we are all called to the higher divine love, yet we all fail and we default to the love we understand, a love with conditions, a human love.

The love that Jesus asked about is a love that knows no bounds, a love that is willing to die for the ones it loves. Simon Peter denied Jesus, yet Jesus still asked Peter if he loved Him with a divine love, and Peter was to frail, to weak, to human to respond in-kind.

We are but lowly creatures. yes we are made in the image of God but we are not God. Yes we are called to be a Jesus is, yet we are not Jesus. Simon Peter offers us our best hope, he too was like me, he too had difficulty understanding the love of God in contrast to the love of humanity. He to wanted to love as God loves, yet found that he was only able to offer the love of a man. Yet God accepted it, Jesus calls Peter to feed His sheep, to tend His flock. If the love that Peter offered was acceptable to Jesus, was adequate than the love that I offer must also be.

Yet it still seems shallow, some how it falls short and fails to fill even the heat. Yet I must strive to love as Jesus commanded, Love thy neighbor as I have loved you. A tall order in-deed, yet one that He feels we must be able to accomplish. So I will continue with my struggle, and I will continue to strive for the divine love that I am called to, but until than I will love a man loves, a love that is hollow, yet it seems to satisfy.

God Bless

Paul

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Posted by on July 31, 2010 in Faith, Forgiveness, Friendship, Life

 

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Reading and Ranting


soda-tax-usda

I love to read, I read books, magazines, newspapers and anything else I can find to read. I love to read different types or styles from Stephen King to Bishop Fulton Sheen. Give me a Catholic book, magazine or newspaper and I will read it. I have read the liberal press and the conservative press. I just love to read. Most people I know read for enjoyment, not to expand their knowledge base, not to learn a new fact or verify a teaching, they just read to be entertained. Me, I read knowledge, I read to grow my mind, my understanding and my ability to process information. I love to find new facts or expand my understanding of what I already know. It doesn’t matter what I am reading, for the most part, with very few exceptions, everything I read teaches me something. I will admit that at times I just want to read, I don’t want to learn anything new, I don’t want to grow, I just want to read. And when that feeling hits me I pick up one of my “car” books, books I have that I place in my car for emergency reading, like when I have a doctors appointment or decide to go out to eat on my own. My “car” books are mindless pocket books, detective type stories, no moral message, just good old fashion 1930’s style detective books. They are good for a fun and easy read, so they make perfect “car” books. But mostly I read to grow…

This fact is nothing new to anyone who has read my blogs before, I often talk about reading and relay some interesting fact along from what I have read. Well this posting is no different, except instead of a fact to pass on this time I am going to pass on a concept, an idea I read. I know I have blogged the same idea or concept along before, but sometimes you just got to keep beating the same drum. Over the weekend I was reading through all my Catholic newspapers I get, it seems that Saturday and Sunday are the only days I get to read them… So I am always playing catch up on the weekend. But be that as it may, I was reading my favorite Catholic Newspaper, The Wanderer, by the way if you do not subscribe to this paper, do so now, it is by far the best paper I have read. What makes me like it so much, it is only 8 pages, the news is conservative and it always has interesting articles. But back to what I was saying, I was reading The Wanderer and ran across an article about abortion, they always includes a pro-life article or two in each weekly paper, this article used and example of how truly ridicules the liberals can be when it comes to there pro-murder stance with adoration. The author used the example of how the government is deciding to regulate soda pop in schools. In-of-itself not a bad thing, but is it truly something the government should be concerned with, is it not more a parenting issue? I think it is, but the liberal government seems to think that they are charged with the health and wellbeing of your child, and they have to look out for and care for them. Once again, as a conservative I feel it is up to the parents and the community to decide if soda pop should be allowed in schools, along with candy bars and pizza and any other unhealthy items. But our Big Brother Government has decided we are to stupid to deal with it. But our government, who is so concerned about our child’s health and well being will allow that same 12 year old, who can not get a soda to get an abortion. Stop and think about that…

Government will not allow soda pop but will allow murder…

Government feels children should be “protected” in schools from harmful things, such as soda and candy, but hands out condoms to 5 year olds like it was candy…

Government requires a parent to be present and notified for an under age child to get an ear piercing or tattoo, but allows a 12 year old to get a major operation to abort the baby, with out parent notification…

Government states that you, the parent, are responsible for that child until they turn 18, yet they undermined your authority at every step of the way. They decided that it is ok for your under aged child to murder another human being, they decide that soda is harmful, yet murder is not.

The article in The Wanderer made the simple comparison of soda banning to abortion, the rest was mine and the list is endless. The nanny state is growing in the country and we, the American People, are allowing it to do so, We are tossing our hands up in the air and allowing the Obama administration to do as they please. Our freedoms as parents and care givers are being striped away, one silly law at a time, our freedoms as law abiding adults are being minimized with each passing day, yet we do nothing, Why? Why do we do nothing, why do we just sit back and allow this to happen? Because we have been sold a bill-of-goods that sounds utopic in nature. We have been told that they care for us, they know best for us, and and by the way here is some money… They have purchased us, and we are becoming powerless, complacent and sedentary. Shame on us, shame on the Catholic Bishops of the United States for not teaching the truth boldly and loudly! And why don’t they, why are the silent on most issues, because most of the Bishops are in the pockets of the liberal Democratic Party of this great nation. Sure they state they are pro=life, but not to loudly for fear that the Democrats may hear them. Sure they write there papers and event send them to the press, but the liberal press will use it only to degrade the Church.

Our Bishops should be marching on DC, demanding that abortion be abolished, that our children should be protected from Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to be in contact with our children. Our Bishops should be teaching and informing the faithful and the true teachings of our faith, the Church established by God. Our Bishops should be speaking out against the Obama administration and its efforts to allow millions of illegal immigrants to gain entry into this country, a act that has nothing to do with compassion but everything to do with the 2012 election. Our Bishops need to take a stand for the faith, the true faith and not some liberation theology version of the faith. And if they refuse to do so, they should leave the church and find one that represents there version of the truth. Harsh I know, but that’s how I feel most of the time. I do not understand Catholics who disagree with 90% of the teachings, yet remain Catholic. Our Bishops need to hold the Catholic politicians feet to the fire of truth, calling them in, confronti
ng them with the truth and forcing the issue at hand. Basically our Bishops need to stand up and be men, be the voice of the Church, the voice of Christ calling out in to the wilderness and calling His sheep back in to the fold. They need to stand tall and strong in the face of deception, toll the line of truth and fly the flag of our Church, The Church established by Jesus Christ, the visible Church here on earth.

The more I read, the more passion I get for the Truth, for the Faith. The more I learn the more love I have for my Church and Her teachings. I may not understand them all, and I may wish at some of Her teachings were not, but that is a human problem, my problem, not Hers. Reading provides me with the ability to discover the truth, in my own time and way. Be it Stephen King or Catholic Answers Magazine, The Truth will shine through the pages. The Truth will set you free, a lesson we all need to learn and relearn on a daily basis. The Bishops would be smart to remember this, and to teach this truth.

Please know that in no way do I assume that all Bishops are failing in there duties. Most are, i assumed, good and holy people. But over all the Catholic voice in America is silent, and that voice belongs to the Bishops. Yes Catholic laity and priest and other religious have a duty to proclaim the Good News to all the ends of the earth, but it is our Bishops who should be leading us, teaching us and guiding us.

God Bless

Paul

Ethics of Procreation and the Defense of Human Life: Contraception, Artifical Fertilization, and Abortion
Matthew 4:4“Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

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A strong conviction


Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer

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With the political session to start in full swing soon, I thought I would take the time to mention a few things. As any reader of this blog knows, I am a concretive both in my faith and politics, I state my opinions, sometimes not very well received by others, but I still state them and stand up for them. I have written in the past about standing tall and proud for your beliefs and crying them from the roof tops so all can hear. I believe I do that, via this blog and in my daily life. Not many who know me do not know were I stand on any given issue, be it my faith or politics.

This election year is a tad bit different for me, this year I not only state my view points, I am also running for a political office, I will be on the August 3rd primary for the very first time in my 44 years of life, and I am excited! The office I am running for is Republican District Delegate, a nonpaid political office, but still an office that will give me a voice. Win or not I know I have tried to make a difference, I took the next step. So wish me luck and pray for me, that if elected I will serve the my district, county and state with strong conviction and God on my side, or should I say with me on God’s side.

Strong conviction, strong state

The ability to actually run for a political office amazes me, the simple fact that this year, on August 3rd when I enter the polling both I will see my name on it, that I, a proud American, can vote for myself is just amazing. And that I can win, well that is something all on its own!

A strong conviction is the driving force behind my run for office, a conviction that America is headed in the wrong direction, that she is headed down a road that Americans do not want, a road the Europe is currently on, a road that lead to the EU bail out of a whole nation. A road called Socialism, a road of Government run corporations and a welfare state that becomes the norm, not the exception. Can I, as a Percent Delegate really do anything about all that, would I posses the power to make a difference. The simple answer, NO! But nothing is ever that simple.

The Complex in the simplistic

As a delegate I would sit in on local conventions for the Republican party, help define the direction and needs of my constituents, I would offer advice and be the go to person for the politicians running for state or national office, offering my communities point of view in to the mix. I could be invited to the national convention to help define the planks of the platform. It gives me a voice, it gives the community a voice and allows the average citizen to enter in to the process.

It is this simple fact that made me decide to enter in to the race, to test the waters of the political ocean, to see how hard the waves truly hit and break. Each voice added to the mix will change the direction just as each stroke of the rowmen add to the direction and speed of the boat. Every person has a roll in this nation, and I am searching for mine.

Faith and Politics

The ability to take my faith in to the political waters is exciting for me, I love the chance, any chance, to share my faith, and more importantly, the ability to apply my faith to the important issues of today. The founding Fathers did this, just read any of their documents and you will see morality and God permeate them. Yet in modern times we have seemed to have lost that, we have drifted away from the framers basic intent, and have driven a wedge between faith and policy.

I am currently reading “Common Sense” by Thomas Pain, one of our Founding Fathers, the book offers many lessons for today’s politicians even though it was written over 230 years ago. Mr. Pain offers his readers, pre-revolutionary war America, an argument for the a separate and distinctive United States of America, one free from England and free from religious tyranny. A lesson that once again needs to be taught.

The Silent Revolution

Today we are privilege to live in a country that has just elected its first African American President, but we are also cursed, not because he is African American, but because he is socialistic in his point of views. The Obama view point is not new, it has, in the past, been offered up as the “great fix” the “cure all” for all that is wrong with the great nation. The “New Deal” and other social programs form the past was the start of this new silent revolution, a revolution that is designed to take away our rights slowly, with minimal direct effect on us, the average citizen. The idea is lull us privet citizens into a dreamy state of dependency on the government, the “Big Brother” who will provide for all our needs. And sadly we have allowed this to happen, we have, in many cased, opened our arms and warmly welcomed the striping away of our individual freedoms, all in the name of social fairness.

But there is a new Silent Revolution brewing. One that is not of the government or establishment, but one that is of the people and for the people, one that wished to return the government to its rightful place, as protector of personal liberties and national securities. One that our founding fathers would recognize as the maturing of the great nation they established over 230 years ago, one that they were willing to lay there life down for. This new Silent Revolutions is the wave that carried me in to the race, the one that lit the fire of passion and conviction with in me.

God Bless

Paul

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine – Include active table of contents
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Posted by on July 6, 2010 in Faith

 

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Wash all of me


3rd quarter of 16th century

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"Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"), the statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34) by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.

Today is bath day for Catholics all around the world. Holy Thursday, the Last Supper and the washing of the feet. Jesus uses the last few hours on earth to teach a lesson of humility and love. A lesson that any man finds hard to learn, a lesson in how to be a servant to others.

Picture the setting, Jesus and his friends reclining at table in the upper room. The flame from the oil lamps flicker and the smell of the Passover meal lingers in the air. Everyone is in a good mood because they are spending time with the ones they love. Even Judas has forgotten, for the moment, what he has to do, his heart is light.  A song is in the hearts of all. Yet Jesus just doesn’t seem himself today, they all notice, but they also know that He has a lot on His mind, little do they know or understand the mind of the Christ.

Now Jesus does something strange, he gets up and takes off His outer garment and puts on an apron. His friends wonder what He is doing, but let it pass, Jesus seems to always be doing something they don’t understand. Jesus walks over to the water jug and fills a smaller vessel with water. Grabbing the vessel and a basin he walks to John, the one He loved, kneeling down before John he smiles and gently grabs Johns ankle and unties and removes is sandal. With tenderness and love that could be felt and seen by all Jesus began to wash the feet of John. The others looked on in disbelief, asking “What is the master doing?” “Do we not have servants to do this?”. Jesus just smiled and tenderly continued. With such care and tenderness that no man could ever posses, Jesus completed His task than moved on to the next.

Peter spoke the words all were feeling as Peter always seems to have a way of doing. “No Lord you will not wash mine” yet Jesus knowing the heart of Peter looked him in the eyes and said in a soft yet firm voice of a caring parent to a stubborn child “If I do not wash your feet you will have no part of me”. Peter gave a look of bewilderment and responded “Than not only my feet but all of me”. Jesus smiled the smile he only gave to Peter and continued at His task.

The story of the washing of the feet is familiar to all of us, it is a story we hear every year and a story used by educators and speakers to talk about service and servanthood. Yet have many of us really put ourselves into the story? Have we really tried to imagine what it would have been like to have the Son of God washing our feet?

The concept of washing feet is an odd concept for us to begin with, the custom is lost on us in our modern world.  But in the days of Jesus it was common place. Jesus lived in a desert and walked everywhere, thus the feet became dusty and hot. When a guest entered your house you would have a servant wash there feet to clean and comfort them. We even have a story in the Bible were Jesus’ feet were not washed, as was the custom, and a woman washed them for him with her tears. The washing of feet was not an odd act to perform but rather a customary act. The oddity of the act that Jesus performed was the fact that he was not  a servant but rather the master.

The reactions of the apostles must have been comical at first than one of shock and finally one of indigent such as Peter shown. But Jesus continued to teach the lesson, using Peters oh so perfect human response to teach an even deeper lesson. Peter represented humanity in the simple statement. He meant no disrespect, on the contrary, he was trying to show Jesus the ultimate respect. Peter was probably thinking the whole time “Why do the others let the Lord, the Son of God wash their feet, have they no respect for the Son of man?” Yet it was Peters rejection of the humility that was disrespectful. Oh the confusion Peter must have felt at that moment.

Peter must have had the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face when Jesus to ld him either I wash your feet or you have no part of me. The incomprehensibleness of the whole thing. God himself washing the feet of a sinner, the sinless cleansing the sinner.

Jesus was teaching an act of humility and Peter took it to its end, “Wash all of me than Lord”. This is what we should be asking of Christ, to not only wash our feet but to wash all of us. To cleanse the body and sprit. To wash away all sin and inequities to make us anew. Peter, in his simple statement of protest than acceptance summed up mans life. We reject the Lord and with Gods grace we accept the Lord.

Yet Jesus was teaching even more than that, He was also teaching us that we too must be servants to others that we too must wash the feet of our fellow man and we to must submit to the rejection and acceptance in a humility required of a servant. 

Jesus knew that in four days time he would have suffered died and risen to new glory and that the humiliation of washing feet would be seen as a glorification. Jesus understood that Peters words would soon take on a new meaning a new life that even Peter would not fully comprehend. Jesus understood the significance of washing the feet of His persecutor in the likeness of Judas. Jesus understood the yesterday, today and tomorrow of His actions. The fulfillment of the prophesies and the promises of the future.

Lord Jesus, On this Holy Thursday

I ask that you show me how to be humble

Teach me to wash the feel of my loved ones

And give me courage to wash the feet of my enemies

Jesus, Son of the living God

Wash not only my feet

But my head and hands also

Jesus, my humble Master

Wash all of me with your tender heart

Amen

 

God Bless

Paul

Letters to My Brother Priests: Complete Collection of Holy Thursday Letters (1979-
2005)
Psalm 14:1“[For the director of music. Of David.] The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.”

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Posted by on April 1, 2010 in Faith, Friendship, Lent

 

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