Friday, October 31, 2014

Another Election Day

Election Day 2014 in America is Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

Dear Readers:

You may remember that I first published a piece about Election Day in October, 2011. This piece contained the list of my son's concerns, as Election Day approached.

This year, my son is no longer a boy, he is now a young man in his mid-teens. I sat down with him recently, and asked him, What is on his mind this election season?

I asked him, what worries him the most?  His No. 1 concern is Ebola. I remember the day when he came home from school, and he announced, "Bad news. Ebola came to America." He was glum and irritable, and he would not discuss it further at that moment. But later, as he was getting ready for bed, he asked me, "Mommy? Am I going to get Ebola?"

I asked him about other concerns. He said, "That black boy in Missouri, who got shot by the police, when it seems like he did nothing wrong." He went on, "It seems like we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to treating black people right -- even after Martin Luther King."

I asked him about Pope Francis. He said, "He is the Christian for us all."

About a year ago, I sat knee to knee with my son, and told him what abortion is. I thought that he was old enough to start hearing about some of the most difficult subjects in life. He said, "Is this really legal?" Then, he began to cry. I asked him this year, "What about abortion?" He said, "It is awful, just awful."

We talked about violence. I know that he watches the news with me in the morning, while we eat breakfast. He sees the grainy footage from security cameras, showing crime victims being grabbed and taken away. He tells me that, when he and I shop in a "big box store",  he carries a small Swiss Army knife in his pocket, "just in case."

We have talked about seeing scantily- clad celebrities on TV, women who wear tiny, sexy outfits. He has witnessed this during Super Bowl half-time, for example. He says, "That is SO wrong! Now I can never un-see what I just saw!"

Another major concern of his is ISIS. He told me, "This is just like Hitler, only Hitler killed the Jews and ISIS is killing Christians!"  I asked him, "What should we do about this?" He said, "The first thing we do is, we get all the Christians out of there. Then, America can go in and really destroy ISIS and not harm the others."

I asked what he thought about a woman President of the United States. He said, "I don't think I am ready for that, yet."

I asked him what he thought of President Obama? He said, "I don't really pay attention to what the President is doing. But maybe I should start to pay more attention, since I will be able to vote in only a few more years."

I learned a lot from this conversation. What astounds me, first of all, is how aware my son is. A century or two ago, children were expected to be seen and not heard. Children were assumed to have no feelings, and to be blissfully unaware of what was going on around them.

I am not sure how much our assumptions about children have really changed? I often hear parents talking AT their kids as if they were family pets, "Sit down! Eat! Stay next to me! Be quiet!" How often do we sit at their level and really listen to what they have to say?

This Election Day, I challenge you to take time to talk WITH your kids, not AT them. Be the one to ask the questions, and then listen. Our children are a lot more aware than we think they are.

And what they say may just astound you!

[Related Posting, "Election Day", October 24, 2011].

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Question of Love

"A scholar of the law tested Jesus by asking Him, ' Teacher, which commandment in the law is greatest? ' He said to him, ' You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You will love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.' " --[ Matthew 22: 34-40].

This command to love others is central to being a Christian, because God IS Love. For, as John 4:20 says, "If anyone says, 'I love God', and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not."

Many may ask, 'Well -- how much shall I love?" What quantity of Love will count in God's eyes? This is not a theoretical question, such as the apocryphal question debated in the Middle Ages: "How many angels can fit on the head of a needle?"

The question of Love is one of those questions that is real--- and we hate to ask it, because we will probably not like the answer! Consider what Jack Jezreel, M.Div., founder of JustFaith Ministries says about Love: "If you love conditionally, then you do not love."

All of this Scripture about Love has been very much on my mind as the 2014-2015 Vatican Synod  has debated family matters, as they relate to Scripture and the Church.

Pope Francis has been quoted as saying, "Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities?" [Author John Thavis has called the initial 20014-2015 Synod document,  "an earthquake" in the Church.]

It seems to me that this debate about the role in the church, for the gay community, for single parents, for divorced and remarried Catholics,  goes straight to the heart of the question : How much do we love?

And yet, by the very question, "How much do we love?', we implicitly regard Love as conditional! We are trying to measure out and conserve our Love, rather than giving away our Love extravagantly, the way God does.

As Pope Francis and the Vatican debate this question of Love, which still today, remains central to the mission of the Church, I have this image that I cannot get out of my mind:

A long line of Jesus' Followers surround the Vatican, holding hands. After the line stretches all around the Vatican, the line continues through St. Peter's Square and down the block.

Holding hands outside the Synod are:

The Man with the Unclean Spirit: Mark 1: 21; Luke 4: 31-37;
The Many Healed at Simon's House, including his mother-in-law: Mark 1: 29-34; Mt. 8:5-13;
The Leper Healed By Jesus: Mark 1: 40-45; Matthew 8: 1-4; Luke 5: 12-16;
The Paralytic Healed by Jesus: Mark 2: 1-12; Matthew 9: 2-8; Luke 5:17-26;
Levi the Tax Collector, who leaves the tax booth to follow Jesus: Mark 2:13-17;
The Man with the Withered Hand: Mark: 3:1-6; Matthew 12: 9-14; Luke 6:6-11;
The Multitude at the Seaside: Mark 3:7-12; Matthew 15: 29-31; Luke 6:17-19;
The Gerasene Demoniac; Mark 5: 1-20; Matthew 8: 28-33; Luke 8:26-39;
The Girl Restored to Life: Mark 5: 21-24; Matthew 9: 18-26; Luke 8:40-56;
The Woman Healed From Hemorrhages: Mark 5: 24b-34;
The Sick from Gennesaret: Mark 6:53-56; Matthew 14: 34-36;
The Syrophoenician's Daughter: Mark 7: 24-30;
The Deaf Man whom Jesus cures: Mark 7:31-37;
The Blind Man at Bethsaida: Mark 8: 22-26;
The Boy with an Unspeakable Spirit: Mark 9: 14; Matthew 9: 32-34; Luke 9: 37-43;
The Disciples who Argue Who is Greatest: Mark 9:33-37;Matthew 18: 1-4;
The Little Children who Disrupt Jesus: Mark 10:13; Matthew 19: 13-15; Luke 18:15-17;
The Healing of Bartimaeus: Mark 10: 46-52;
The Centurion's Servant Healed: Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7: 1-10;
The Two Blind Men Healed: Matthew 9: 27-31; Matthew 20: 29-34;
The Canaanite Woman: Matthew 15: 21-28;
The Lost Sheep: Matthew 18: 10-14; Luke 15: 1-7;
The Widow's Son Raised by Jesus: Luke 7:11-17;
The Sinful Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Luke 7:36-49;
The Crippled Woman Healed by Jesus: Luke 13: 10-17;
The Man With Dropsy Healed By Jesus: 14: 1-6;
A Blind Beggar: Luke 18: 35-43;
Zacchaeus: Luke 19: 1-10;
The Poor Widow: Luke 21: 1-4;
Peter, Who Denies Jesus Three Times: Luke 22: 54-62;
The Women Who Are Not Considered Disciples: Luke 8: 1-3.

And a long line of sinners, a multitude too many to enumerate, clasping hands and stretching into the distance. (Do you dare to place yourself, a sinner, in that long line of petitioners, desperately hoping to find a place at the banquet of the Church?)

All of these petitioners are waiting, silently, desperately, for the chance to enter the doors of the Church.

They sing the hymn, "All Are Welcome", with a solemn look, all the while hedging their bets whether today's Church will open her doors to them.

The scribes and the Pharisees complained, "Jesus eats with sinners and tax collectors [the despised]." [Mark 2; 16]. Is that how, today, WE regard the petitioners around the Vatican?

How much do YOU Love?

Or do you respond, "That depends?"

[Related Postings: "Love Thy Neighbor", October 23, 2011; "The ABC's of Love", April 27, 2013.]

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

God Vs. Caesar

" The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might trap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to Him, with the Herodians, saying, 'Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the Truth. . . . Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?' Knowing their malice, Jesus said, ' Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.' Then, they handed Him the Roman coin. He said to them, 'Whose image is this and whose inscription?'  They replied, 'Caesar's.' At that, He said to them, 'Then, repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.' " -- [Matthew 22: 15-21].

[In this Scripture verse, the Pharisees were Old Testament scholars of the Law, who were deeply suspicious of Jesus' radical new way of knowing God. The Herodians were followers of Herod, the Roman Emperor of Judea, who would have been threatened by Jesus' claiming to herald the Kingdom of Heaven].

Most of us Christians-- especially Catholics-- have been in situations where someone has tried to trap us verbally. This situation that Jesus is in, where people are trying to trap him with trick questions, happens just as often, today!

One man, who is Catholic,  reports that a boss at work confronted him, saying, " C'mon! You are too smart to be Catholic." The questioner actually waited for a response. . . .

Consider those who argue FOR abortion, confronting others by asking, 'How many kids have YOU adopted?"

Or, consider those who confront Catholics saying, 'How can you be Catholic, when all the priests do is to abuse children and then lie about it?' As if, literally, "all priests" are child abusers!!

How I wish that I could come up with the perfect snappy response, to silence the religious critics. In this verse, and in many others in the Gospels, Jesus does just that!

The question posed by the Pharisees and the Herodians may be a "trick question". But Jesus' answer contains a crafty side, as well. For what does belong to God, except everything we have and everything we do? We owe everything to God! What else is left to pay to Caesar! Very little . . . .

Some commentators on this Scripture have said, that this argument of God vs. Caesar is an artificial conflict, arguing,  'Well, if we are true Christians, there is no conflict between Caesar and God, because as Christians, everything we do is out of Love and so must be, by definition, legal!

Now there, I disagree. As Christians, everything we have belongs and comes from God. But sometimes, "Caesar" requires from us something ungodly. In fact, as Christians, we face daily challenges in navigating the conflict between God and Caesar.

I am thinking now of my dear son, when he goes to school. When he was age three, and I sent him to school for the first time, he was eager and energetic and excited. I gave him this advice: "Use your gifts and energy for the good. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Help others.  Love others."

I thought that this was simple advice for a basically caring world, right?

But, in elementary school, my son's classes included some students with emotional and learning disabilities. Taking my advice, my son befriended these children. He called them "friend". At the end of first grade, one of his fellow students commented, "He plays with students that no one else will play with."

The next year, my son began to get into a bit of trouble at recess. I asked him what was going on? He told me, some other students were tripping the special education students  -- his friends.

 My son would see another student trying to trip his friends, and he would push the other student away. He was trying to save his friends. But my son was the one getting in trouble. I warned him,  "They only ever see the second punch."

But here is the Truth about this situation:  We are ALWAYS Christians. You cannot cut yourself into two, and be secular sometimes and religious at others. You cannot be Christian on Sundays in church, and also expect to be secular in the playground.

Pope Francis has said, " We cannot be part-time Christians! We should seek to live our faith at every moment of every day."

Yes, my son disobeyed "Caesar's law" in his school: No Pushing.

But he obeyed the law of Love in God's Kingdom. He loved and saved his friends, without regard to how popular or "perfect" they were. He was even willing to risk getting into trouble at school, for his Love.

My son was a Christian everywhere, and in all circumstances. At that moment, with his friends getting hurt, he disregarded Caesar's law and followed God's command.

And, I am so very proud of my son!

[Related Posting: "Give To God What Is God's", October 15, 2100].

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Banquet

" Jesus again spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He despatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time, he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those invited: 'Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.' Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, one to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.  The king was enraged and sent his troops, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then, he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.' The servants went into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, and the hall was filled with guests." -[Matthew 22: 1-14.]

There are many who argue forcefully that the Bible has no relevance today, for how we live or for how we think.

In this parable, Jesus draws a very definite line regarding how we are to see the kingdom of heaven.
In the kingdom of heaven, all are welcome, all are invited to partake.

Imagine this banquet parable, happening today:

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a lavish banquet for a wedding. The Host sends out engraved invitations to His guests, inviting them to the wedding reception for His son.

Many do come to the banquet.

But many others turn down the invitation. They are going away on business. They are working nights and weekends at their place of employment. The Host wonders, "I have prepared a bounteous table. Why are my guests too busy for me?"

The Host looks around and sees many empty seats at His banquet. He tells the banquet hall employees to go out and gather in some guests, any they can find. This feast is too laden with fine wines and gourmet foods, to waste.

An employee brings in a homeless man, who is weighted down with coats, scarves and capes. The guests look upon him with disdain. Some even move away from him, he is so filthy and poorly dressed. The Host says, "The shepherds who came to pay homage to the baby Jesus were nomadic and poor, and homeless like this guest. Why do you reject this man?"

Another employee brings in a man who has AIDS. The guests mutter that this man must have contracted AIDS, from something he had done wrong. Surely, this man was unclean. No one wanted to come near him, for fear of contagion. The Host says, "Jesus came near to the leper and touched him, and he was healed. Why does no one want to come near to this man?"

Then, an employee brings in an old man in a wheelchair. Everyone in the banquet hall looks away, as if embarrassed. The Host says, "Jesus cured the paralytic, without judging him or turning him away. Why do my guests judge this man?"

Next, an employee brings in an Asian man. This man is short of stature, beautifully dressed; and, as per the custom in the East, he brings gifts for the tables. The guests are critical that a stranger, from far way, would bring gifts, when the Host has already provided so much. What was this foreigner doing here? Was this Asian man superstitious, or something? The Host says, " The Magi came from the East to pay homage to the baby Jesus. Why do you denigrate this man's humble attempt to honor me?"

Finally, an employee brings in a poor, single mother. The guests react with horror, crying, 'Why do you bring THAT kind in here?' The Host says to them, " Mary was a poor, illiterate young girl. And yet I chose her to be filled with the Holy Spirit and bear a Son. How can you not love her?"

The Host turns out of the banquet hall all those who could not accept His other guests. The Host says, "Many are invited but few are chosen."

+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +  

My modern-day parable, here, brings together many of the stories in the Bible about how Jesus accepts and embraces the poor, the women, the lame, the leper, and those from far away lands.

How do we respond to the invitation to the banquet at our church at each Sunday service? Are we too busy with business? Do we ignore the call?

How do WE react, when we look around at the banquet of the Eucharist in our church?  Perhaps we see-- a man who is paralyzed; a poor or even homeless man;  a single mother ; or a person with a serious illness?

Are the unconventional guests at this banquet hard to accept? Are we squeamish or uncomfortable? Do we see someone to judge, ignore, avoid, disparage, or look down upon?

Or do we see all of God's guests, invited to His loving and bounteous banquet?

"Gather the people! Enter the feast! All are invited, the greatest and least. The banquet is ready, now to be shared. Join in the heavenly feast that God has prepared." -- Daniel Schutte, (c) 2005. All Rights Reserved.

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Guard Your Hearts

" Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayers and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." -- [Philippians 4: 6-9].

A medical professional, whom I know well,  reports that her practice is seeing an unprecedented number of young people who are anxious, depressed and on anti-anxiety medications.

My heart breaks over this.

WHY are our young people suffering so?

I am not a medical professional. I am not an economist, a statistician, or a sociologist, or a social worker.

Ask an economist why kids are so anxious and he may say that the competition to get into college is keen, and even when our kids graduate, (with a mountain of debt), there are no jobs.

Ask a sociologist, and she may say that in this time of incurable diseases such as Ebola, and this time of nuclear weapons and terrorism, there is in our young people a deep despair and even primal fear.

As a religious person, I have a different answer-- as parents, we ensure that our kids eat the best quality food that we can afford. We insist that they get an hour of physical activity each day. We fret if they get sick with even a cold. We lecture our kids about proper hygiene and sufficient sleep. We challenge our kids to work hard in school. We even urge them to engage in community service. We are all over our kids' mental, physical and academic overall health.

But, how many of us totally neglect our kids' spiritual side? Or even admit that our children HAVE a spiritual side?

I was taught to pray by my grandmother, who was babysitting one evening, when my parents had gone out. Her demeanor was like, 'Hurry up, kids, and memorize the 'Our Father'  -- and get up off your knees before your mother gets home!'  In praying that way, I felt as if I had done something wrong.

The world is not going to become more peaceful and less scary for us, just because we want it to.

Getting an education, staying healthy and working hard are survival skills in an uncertain world.

But, you have given your children a weak set of survival skills, if you have not taught them to pray.

My son learned to pray at an early age. And yet--- I would say that you can teach your children to pray, but they have to experience the power of prayer themselves, in order to believe it!

One summer, when our son was in grade school, we took a summer trip. Part of our trip included a ride on a ferry. Our son was excited to explore the stern, where jets of water gushed out in a huge wake. We watched a movie, we ate lunch, we dozed in our seats, we gazed out the windows looking for dolphins and whales.

After we docked, we retrieved our car. It was a rainy afternoon. Not too long after we had gotten underway again on the road, my son discovered that his beloved Beanie Baby was missing! He let out a loud cry. He and this little toy had been inseparable for so may years. I was near tears, as well.

We tore the car apart, even trying to lug out removable seats in a downpour.  We did not find our son's  favorite friend. We were not even sure where he had left the toy. We had been on the ferry, in a restaurant, at a gas station.

We had a hard time convincing our son to get back in the car and continue on.

Finally, we returned home, minus our son's Beanie Baby.

As I tried to calm him down before bed, that first night home, I told him that we needed to pray. I promised him that I would call the ferry company the next morning. Our son wailed, Bu-ut, he's my best friend!! My life will never be the same without him!" I told him, "Pray! and pray hard!"

 I reached the ferry company the next day; they promised to look in the lost and found. About 24 hours later, a man from the ferry company called to say that our son's "best friend" had been found!

I thought that my son would rejoice and breathe a sigh of relief, when I told him the good news. But then came the fretting about his "friend" arriving safely in the mail.

Finally, several days later, the package had not yet arrived, and I had trouble getting my son calm enough to go to bed. I told him that he needed to believe, and perhaps to ask for a sign from God.

Suddenly, I saw something flitting about his table lamp in his bedroom.. It was a ladybug. (And, ladybugs are named after Our Lady.)  I pointed out the ladybug and told him, excitedly, 'I bet your package will come tomorrow!'

The very next day, I could not believe my eyes, when the postman brought a small cardboard box, sent by the ferry company. When my son came home from school, we tore the box open. Inside was his "best friend".  We shrieked together. We high-fived. We cried tears of joy. We hugged and jumped up and down.

I said firmly to my son, ' NOW do you believe?!! '

My son is a teen now. He prays all the time. He prays over a small wound on his body, and 24 hours later, the wound is gone! He prays to see his beloved grandfather again in heaven one day.

The power of prayer banishes anxiety. The power of prayer talks to God, and taps into His strength. The power of prayer is REAL. It is a force to be reckoned with.

Teach your kids the power of prayer, and it will guard their hearts.

[Related postings: "Not To Worry", March 3, 2014].

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What is This Joy ?

" If then, there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." -- [Philippians 2:1-5].

The other day, a Christian woman I know was talking about "the pursuit of happiness".

 In American culture, there is a strong emphasis on being happy, as the ultimate measure of success. Every American schoolchild knows that our country's Declaration of Independence guarantees each citizen, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Many Americans would assume that the Declaration of Independence actually guarantees us Happiness. We are a people known by our popular songs about Happiness: Judy Garland's "Get Happy"; Bobby McFerrin's " Don't Worry, Be Happy"; Pharrell Williams'  "Happy Song."

Okay, but re-read this carefully . .  We are, guaranteed only "the pursuit" of happiness. No one is guaranteeing us a continual state of true Happiness, from cradle to grave.

I wonder, will all this emphasis on continual happiness actually produce more unhappy people?  How many people out there are worried and unhappy, because they find themselves unable to tap into that elusive state of continual Happiness?

I am beginning to think that continual happiness is really a myth. Maybe as Christians, we are not supposed to be happy? (Dare I say that?)

When you take a look at what St. Paul says in Philippians 2 above, what you see are, "consolation, Love, sharing, sympathy, joy, humility." Nowhere do I see Happiness mentioned, not in the sense that Americans would think about it, as eating, drinking, carousing, dancing wildly, showing off your new dancing shoes, etc.

Mother Teresa said essentially the same thing. As excerpted in her book, " Where There is Love, There is God", Mother Teresa said, "Joy is one of the most essential things in our Missionaries of  Charity Society. . . By this Joy, I do not mean boisterous laughter and screaming. No, that is deceitful, it can be there to hide something. I mean that inner depth of joy in you, in your eyes, look, face, movements, actions, swiftness, and so on.  . . What is this joy of Jesus? This joy is the fruit of union with God, doing the will of the Father. Living in the presence of God fills us with joy. God IS joy."

I have spoken many times before in this space about my cruel and harsh childhood. I had no happiness, no carefree childhood days. I was too busy raising myself-- finding food, putting myself down for naps, keeping myself safe from harm at the hands of family members. No, I did not have the luxury of Happiness, nor of anger, or curiosity or any other emotion. I was too bent on survival. I gradually I shut down, not feeling emotions, not eating, then not speaking or sleeping.

A relative this summer at our family reunion asked me if I was happy these days? I looked at him with shock. "Nooo", I said.

How can I be truly happy when I live everyday with the physical and psychic and emotional effects of my harsh childhood? How can I be happy with terrorists beheading children, just for refusing to renounce Jesus?

Happiness, I think, is not really in the regular realm of most Christians, not in the sense of raucous delight in all that goes on in the world-- the war, the hate, the violence, the despotism. We Christian are "in the world but not of this world."

And yet, another Christian woman I know says that, despite my desperate childhood, she sees real Joy in me! She wonders, How can that be?

Well, gradually I have been transformed from a solitary walking "ghost" to a living, breathing, faith-filled woman. I credit this to converting, and accepting God and Jesus in my life.

What I have is an unbreakable bond with God. I am not riotously happy. Actually, I feel rather sober and purpose-driven most of the time. But from my acceptance of my Faith and my time spent in the presence of God, I am coming to know who I am.

And so, instead of Happiness, I have a certain "knowing". I have an inner peaceful that comes from self-knowledge. I know who I am "in Christ". I know that, even if I belong to no other human being,  I belong to Him.

Jesus is "in me." I feel His Love, radiating out to all.

Jesus is "with me". I can feel His steady presence.

Jesus works through me. I can now feel connected to others through His Love, working in me. This is what Paul means when he says, " consolation from Love, sharing in the Spirit, compassion and sympathy, being in full accord and of the same mind, having the same Love, acting in humility" -- "make my joy complete."

Being a Christian cannot become a full experience when you are always alone,living out your dye in isolation. Being Christian means being in community, loving others, caring for others.

Recently, I wrote a letter to a life-long friend. She asked if I was happy. I said, 'No! But I do feel wonder, awe, gratitude at my blessings from the grace of God,  and contentment. I know who I am now.'

She wrote back, "Surely you deserve all of that---wonder, awe, contentment, gratitude. That is more than acceptable! That is awesome!!"

"I have come that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." --John 15:11.

[Related Postings: "Where is Your Joy?", March 30, 2013.]

(c) Spiritual Devotional 2014. All Rights Reserved.