Today is Ash Wednesday and that means that one of my favorite passages in scripture is going to be highlighted:
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.
Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.
If you go to a Catholic Mass today that reading from the book of Joel Chapter 2 verses 12-18 is the first scripture you’ll hear and it emphases one of the most important themes of Christianity and that’s this:
It doesn’t matter how bad your sins have been, how far down the path you’ve gone or what any person thinks of you and your sins. Even now at this very moment God will forgive and forget if you sincerely repent your sins.
Will the path be easy? Probably not, the other side is not going to let you go all that easy, and in modern society if you choose to turn to Christ without a question the Joy Behars of the world will ridicule you.
But in terms of eternity it pays dividends that the world doesn’t offer.
Lent is a time for repentance but in truth the time to take the first step in the right direction is always NOW!
Hologram Geordi Laforge:Something’s severed the ODN conduit between here and the antimatter storage deck. Counselor Troi:Geordi, could you repair the ODN conduit if you went into the crawlspace? Hologram Lt. Worf:Sir, that crawlway is in a warp-plasma shaft. He would never survive the radiation. Counselor Troi:I know that. Geordi, could you repair the conduit? Hologram Geordi Laforge: Yeah, I think I could. Counselor Troi:Then do it. That’s an order.
If there is one thing that everyone can relate to is having to do something that’s necessary but you really would rather not.
How many times have you not wanted to get out of bed to go to work or school? How often have you done chores from laundry to dishes to mowing the lawn to taking out the trash that you don’t really want to do?
There are more serious examples, you don’t go to the doctor to check out that pain or cough because you’re afraid of what might go wrong? You have something unpleasant to tell your wife, kids or parents that you would rather not but you know if something isn’t done.
Then there are dirty jobs or jobs that take one away from home. Trash collectors, oil riggers, people who work in sewers, long haul trucking. One might enjoy the financial rewards but these jobs involve a lot of time and effort
And then there are the things that are dangerous. Miners and fishermen put themselves at risk in their jobs Things that put you at risk that have to be done for the greater good. Soldiers, Police, Firemen routinely enter dangerous situations for the greater good.
The necessity of doing things unpleasant, distasteful or even dangerous is a most human thing.
And that takes us to the Garden of Gethsemane
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
It’s one of the most moving moments in Scripture and in the movie Passion of the Christ it is illustrated with great effect:
It is also an incredible illustration of the fully human yet fully divine nature of Christ.
His divine nature means he knows what that he will suffer personally a price his human self will have to pay
So he does an act that’s fully human, he pleads with the Father for a way to get around this.
But while he is fully human he is also fully God, the God of justice and mercy. His justice demands that the price for sin must be paid yet in mercy & love he knows billions of people that he loves will, if they wish, be reconciled to him, but only if he pays that price.
Furthermore consider this line from CS Lewis’ book Miracles:
“To Him all physical events and all human acts are present in an eternal Now”
If that is the case that he KNOWS that every single bit of torture, from the single strike across the face at his trial, to his scourging to his hours on the cross is something he will perpetually perceive even unto to the end of time and beyond.
It’s a price greater than we can even imagine and that’s where his human nature comes into play one last time.
Christ’s fully human nature gives him free will, the freedom to decide: “Shall I do this horrible thing that I will suffer and perceive for all eternity for the love of the father and of humanity or shall I not?”
There are many aspects of Christ’s life in scripture that are used to illustrate Christ’s humanity. We hear about Christ’s sadness at Lazarus’ death, his anger at the temple, his hunger during the 40 days of fast and even his cursing of the fig tree that had no fruit for him.
But I’d like to think most human moment of Christ’s life is when he looks at this thing that’s completely necessary for the greater good that he doesn’t want to do, that he’s horrified to do and does it anyway because it needs to be done.
doesn’t always work the way you want it to. No siree.
I wanted to post something inspiring about Lent and our Lenten journey. I’ve been pondering this for over a week unable to think of one inspiring thing to write about. It finally occurred to me that I didn’t have anything inspiring to say.
We’re living in a world gone bonkers, and are not equipped with a sense of exactly how to fix anything (if it’s even possible at this point). I don’t know how this makes you feel, but it leaves me feeling helpless and despairing of any real solutions.
I can conquer the despairing part, since it’s a sin against the Virtue of Hope to not trust in the Lord. The other sin against Hope is presumption, the attitude that states; “I can do this by myself without the help of God.”
The forty days of Lent coincide with the forty days Jesus spent in the desert fasting and praying before beginning his public ministry. The devil did his best to tempt Him:
The temptation of Jesus in the desert shows us the tactics of the “Dark Lord.” Bread, a symbol for all that sustains our physical life, is a great blessing. But Satan tries to make material things the ultimate, distracting us from a deeper hunger and a more satisfying food. Political power and all leadership is intended by God for the sake of serving the common good; Satan twists things to make leaders self-seeking, oppressive tyrants like himself. The lust for power and fame ironically leads not to dominion but to slavery to the Dark Lord (remember what happened to the Nazgûl in the Lord of the Rings!). Then there’s religious temptation, the trickiest of them all– Manipulating God for our own glory, using his gifts to make people look at us rather than at Him. Sounds a lot like the Pharisees. source
It seems like we’ve been living in a perpetual Lent since our current administration came into power. In some respects we have.
My solution is to spend this Lent telling myself that there is a whole bunch of stuff I can’t fix. All I can do is let God sort it out and place my trust in the One who loves us most, and follow His example through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
A Word About Comments:
I’ve long had an uneasy relationship with WordPress. Okay – time for truth. WordPress hates me with a hate that burns so hot it could well melt the earth. It goes on periodic tantrums and refuses to allow me to log on or leave comments at WordPress sites. Then, for no apparent reason, it once again leaves me alone. Talk about feeling helpless!
I’m a big believer in answering comments left on my posts. I figure if someone is nice enough to leave a comment, I should honor them with a response. I was unable to do that with my last few posts. In time I will get this straightened out.
In the meantime, please know that I read your comments and appreciate them.
Albert: Do you remember my briefing, Shona? Shona:Yeah. Well, no. I remember some of it. Albert:Some of it? Bellows:How much? Shona:Till he put his hand on my knee. And then I was just grossing. Albert: It was intended as a comfort. Bellows: For whom?
Doctor Who Last Christmas 2014
Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent. A time of reflection and repentance when we examine ourselves and our faults to prepare for the coming of Christ at Easter.
In Catholic parishes you will find extra devotions, regular stations of the cross, extra masses and many chances to receive the sacrament of confession for our sins.
Of course as I explained a few days ago if you have the right political views or are in the right political party you not only don’t need confession you can’t even “sin”
The victim this time is Stephanie Carter, wife of incoming defense secretary Ashton Carter, seen here holding forth on ISIS while his better half suffers the ritual indignity of the vice presidential droit de seigneur at swearings-in. Silver lining: Unlike most of the females whom Biden creeped on at last month’s oath-taking for the new Congress, Mrs. Carter is of age.
Biden’s behavior at the Carter ceremony follows his hands-on performance at the swearing-in of new senators in January. The vice president’s performance on that day brought comment from around the world, ranging from “Biden being Biden” to “handsy Joe” to “creepy.”
And asks the obvious question
Do the incidents add up to anything? Assume that all of Biden’s gestures were entirely innocent, just Joe being Joe. Still, in today’s society, sexual harassment complaints have been lodged for less. Biden’s behavior gives critics plenty of ammunition and puts supporters in a difficult position. Why is that kind of stuff OK when the vice president does it and cringe-making when it’s the overly-friendly guy in the office?
Now in fairness to Joe he comes from a time that was much more touchy and depending on his intent it doesn’t even rise to the level of sin.
But consider the kind of nonsense the left is calling sin & the standards by which is it measured when we have been seeing things like this:
I recently assisted a young man who was subjected by administrators at his small liberal arts university in Oregon to a month-long investigation into all his campus relationships, seeking information about his possible sexual misconduct in them (an immense invasion of his and his friends’ privacy), and who was ordered to stay away from a fellow student (cutting him off from his housing, his campus job, and educational opportunity) — all because he reminded her of the man who had raped her months before and thousands of miles away. He was found to be completely innocent of any sexual misconduct and was informed of the basis of the complaint against him only by accident and off-hand. But the stay-away order remained in place, and was so broadly drawn up that he was at constant risk of violating it and coming under discipline for that.
via hotair and you have to ask: “If the standards are holding the Vice president to are lower than the standards we hold college undergraduates to perhaps there is something wrong with these standards?”
I spent yesterday with My son and some Friends at Funspot in NH, the worlds largest Arcade. When I got home late last night this was waiting for me from Mike’s Comics.
Unless I’m very mistaken that package contains the a boxed set of the new audio adventures of a certain scarf wearing alien that I pre-ordered in July of last year.
The BBC has apparently decided that since I’ve given up a certain Science Fiction series first broadcast by the BBC the year I was born for Lent that naturally it is the perfect time to release the item in the US.
So that package gets to remain unopened with a paperback from Amazon Vine till Easter Sunday on April 4th. (Yes I know officially Lent ends on Holy Thursday for the Easter Triduum but that feels like cheating to me.)
Rest assured after that date they will be listened to rated and reviewed here and on Amazon. All I can say is they’d better not stink!
Oh and if you are a new reader since CPAC (Which began on Ash Wednesday the start of Lent) and you have no idea what I’m talking about despite the hints click here.