Thursday, September 04, 2008

Christ centered education, formation for life.

In the life of a Christian there comes a time that we must learn that people have agendas of their own. People form agendas to get their own way and beliefs to be promoted. This is not learning or education, it is manipulation of people through finding data to fit conclusions that are already made. Education is a presentation of evidence and allowing people to come to conclusions that follow from the evidence. In any education people must be willing to say to others that they are wrong, presenting them with evidence and showing how the argument fails to follow from the evidence.

The biggest problem with arguments is in the meaning of words. The only reason this problem ever came into existence is because people started to forget that words have meanings and those meanings are important. The only reason that words are important is that words have in them the power to create, destroy and change. They are not simply arbitrary letters given a meaning through societal conventions. Words have a meaning for one reason and one reason alone. The reason is simply, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not" (Jn. 1:1-5). The Word was spoken in the darkness and all things came into being. What's a word? It's a name. A name for an idea, a thing, a place, etc. All words are really names of a sort. But what's in a name that gives it power? Moses asked that question and was answered. I AM.

When we realize that it is I AM (YHWH) gives all things being, than we realize that we must submit to One who is greater. The One who gives us being. In the Gospel of Luke (5:1-11) Jesus comes to the shores of a lake and is being followed by a great crowd of people. He got into the boat belonging to Simon and cast off from the shore alittle to teach the crowds. After He was finished teaching, Jesus told Peter to cast out into deeper water and cast the nets over the side of the boat. By doing as Christ commanded Peter caught a great catch, so great that he could not bring it in on his own. So is it with us, when we follow Christ and push out into the deep waters of life. Not staying in the safe shoals of what we want and personal agendas, but going into the depths of faith guided by Christ.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Roses, Suffering and the Cross

Human life is very fragile, much like the life of a flower. Almost all flowers wilt and die when their stems are harmed, so some flowers, like the rose, have developed defenses against the dangers of the world. A rose is also recognized as one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.

A rose is a flower, which reflects each person in a mystical sense. A rose blooms slowly over time with much loving care; it is the same way with our soul. Our soul requires us to shape and mold our life to Christ’s life. We develop defenses to protect the fragile bloom of our soul from the goats of the world who would come to eat it. The thorns do not come only from our own designs, but from the Cross. We must suffer in this world, because Christ suffered, pierced by our sins out of love for us. When we choose to follow Jesus, we must “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow him” (Luke 9:23). As Christians none of us have any right to expect an easy life, but rather all Christians must expect and be expected to be imitators of Christ in all things. Pope John Paul II teaches in Salvifici Doloris, “The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the redemption was accomplished” (19f). In the denial of the world, believers come to share in the redemptive power of the cross through sharing in the suffering of Christ. Each person is to redeem the world around them by being Christ to the world daily. But how does one become Christ to the world? Each person must daily reach out to the lowly, the sick, the hopeless, the despairing, the hungry, the naked and the homeless, since Christ came forth to each Christian when we were in a similar place. Every person has spiritual needs as well as physical needs and as a community of believers, we must be attuned to these needs. Unity grows out of love lived each day in action for our brothers and sisters. We are not meant to be fighting amongst ourselves; people are not the ones who we are fighting in the world. Hollywood is not the enemy, nor are all the Larry Flynts and Bill Clintons of the world. They are our patients, the ones entrusted to us to declare the healing of the Gospel of our Lord. They are the weak, sick, and broken parts of the rosebush of the human race. Christians are the leaves of the human race, who are working for food that will not pass away (cf. John 6:27). The leaves give a rosebush strength and color by spreading the food to all parts of the plant, even the sick and dying parts (i.e. the Larry Flynts of the world). These sick parts are usually given more food (i.e. the time we need to spend praying for them) that rebuild the cells of the plant to become healthy. The beautiful blooms of the saints struggle to bring the sick and lowly to the glory of our Father’s loving plan, so each person may know the beauty of the love of God blooming in their lives. But with the bloom comes the thorns, each person must be pricked in order to become the rose that Christ sees in them. In the winter of society, when all things seem to be dead or dying, we can still look at the roses and see the thorns, remembering the beautiful scent of the rose. Michael Phillips said it best in his series The Secret of the Rose, “For those who love the blooms even the thorns have a scent.” May Mary, who is the Mystical Rose, guide us to her Son, so we may become the beautiful flower which he planted on the hill of Calvary.

(Originally published in the Ave Maria College newspaper in Ypsilanti, MI).