Indeed, it would be a cruel joke if God created us in His image, and then somehow, failed to provide us with the things we truly need to live a prosperous life as a Christian. And the truth of the matter is that each of us has what we need (note: not want) to experience an exceedingly rich and joyful life, if we choose to follow Christ‘s teaching; to avoid sin and love others without reservation.
“Perhaps by design to illustrate and test the construct of faith, God included many resources for us to enjoy. Yet, as our free will would have it, we at times, enjoy too much, obsess too much and exclude what matters too much; to the point we lose focus on what is good, what has been provided and what enriches our soul.”
There are numerous tasks each of us must not only perform, but rather, master, if we are to realize our potential as beautiful and uniquely special children of God. Among the critical few are to identify and develop self-awareness, core values, faith, discipline, compassion, respect and humility.
Collectively, these tasks prepare us to love one another, which is the ultimate end-game of our existence. And make no mistake, we have everything we need in this life to reach that goal, to fulfill our destiny.
It is our use of choice that solely determines the path we pursue, and the extent we realize our future. And a wise choice is to use prayer to seek God’s wisdom, grace and guidance to reveal answers that will lead us into eternity.
The enlightened choice is the one we make when it aligns with God’s will, plan and future. And we possess all the worldly resources necessary to meet His expectations. If only we choose to use what we need and avoid what we don’t. Choose wisely.
Indeed, time is a fickle thing, albeit a creation of our feeble human minds as a result of our inability to comprehend and understand the vastness and pervasiveness of God, the Universe and Eternity. Endless phrases have been captured (over time) characterizing and lamenting its stronghold over our human lives:
“Time is of the Essence”
“Can’t seem to find the Time”
“No Time like the present”
“I don’t have Time for this”
“There’s never Time to do it right, but always Time to do it over”
“Time waits for no man”
“Time heals all wounds”
“Use your Time wisely”
“Having the Time of your life”
In truth, time is but a fabrication and rationalization of our minds in an attempt to avoid confusion and chaos. Simply, time helps us comprehend our existence within the limits of our knowledge. Now, let’s shift our perspective and view time from a spiritual perspective. As Christians, one of the tenets of our faith is the awareness and acceptance that each of us are born as imperfect beings, having inherited that imperfection as a result of the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The true beauty of Christianity, however, is that by being born again via Baptism, we are cleansed from sin’s blemish on our soul and are blessed to have the opportunity to live this earthly life in God’s Light, striving to become like Him, understanding that at times, we will falter and sin. And in the wisdom of our Creator, He provided a mechanism for us to redeem ourselves of sins via repentance, along with his Grace via forgiveness.
“Yes, faith is a peculiar construct, however, those that possess it do not perceive it to be peculiar at all. For you see, the expectation of faith is the realization that a life lived in God’s Light, following His Word, supported by love, kindness, humility, forgiveness and goodwill/intent, will be rewarded by the Perfect and eternal life in heaven, at some Future moment.”
Thus, the Future Perfect tense of life; My Life. I have but one breathtaking, awe-inspiring, profound, loving and Blessed word to describe this expectation in my life…. Hallelujah! Be well my friends. Watch and Listen…. and be brought to tears in the Joy of knowing Christ. God Bless You.
And for you “boomers”, let’s take a walk back in Time and relive another memory.
And something for the more mellow of us.
Lastly, how much Time do you have left?
Never in the recent history of the world, have we witnessed the unprecedented destruction of society, culture and security, as we do now. Religious and Ethnic persecution, Politically-motivated violence, social media attacks, Suppression of Freedom of Speech, Corruption in our Government. Seemingly unrelated issues, however, share a common thread of substance; the Core Family Unit.
At the dawn of civilization, the family unit was the basis for survival of self as well as the species. It was characterized by rules, heterosexual reproduction and safety (food, shelter and clothing). Enamored with nurturing, albeit crude, the family also served to educate the young, much like animals educate their offspring.
Progressing throughout recorded history, the family unit, let’s just call it the family, has evolved in function, form and features; yet, regardless of the changes, always served as the bedrock of social and cultural life and was revered, sought and protected because people understood the critical nature of the family to survival, legacy and individual reputation.
Toward the Industrial Age, families became larger, primarily due to the functional need to support the family farm in agricultural pursuits. Once again, survival was paramount and acknowledged by all. Love, not a subject of casual conversation in the public at the time, remained at the core of the family as it was considered to be the “X” Factor of sorts and the “right thing to do” with respect to how adults were expected to behave and interact with each other. What a concept, yes?
Let’s fast-forward to today. The traditional “family” is disrespected, ridiculed, demonized and undermined at every crossroad including television, media, government and education. Make no mistake, the destruction of the family as the core instrument of society and culture, has consequences; significant consequences.
“At the heart of the dismantling of the family, are sexual deviance/perversion, violence, and Godlessness. Together, these behaviors have become hallmark mindsets of our generation that collectively serve to undermine the family as the core and biblical unit of our species as human beings. They serve to impact our future in the most adverse scenario. Continuing to follow this path, we will ultimately lose our identity as children of God and only recognize ourselves as physical and mortal organisms.”
To combat this trend and destructive energy, we must change the way we think about the family. We must restore its reverence and meaning and we must painstakingly strive to protect and secure its future. And the way we will accomplish this goal is to change our personal thinking and bring back God into our lives. God and faith in Him are the antidote and foundation to the elimination of immorality and the downfall of society. Sin is our enemy, not God! God is the cure.
Any person with a logical mind that has studied the Scientific Method, knows about simple Cause and Effect and Root Cause Analysis, as the basis of effective problem solving. What we face now in America can be objectively and logically identified and understood, if we are willing to acknowledge and accept the responsibility to understand that each of us are a part of the problem. Most importantly, that each of us are equally the key to addressing and resolving the problem. It is not the job of other people to fix it, but rather, it is everyone’s job; it is Your job and it is My job. WE MUST OWN THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND MINDSET.
And the way we approach this problem aligns with the way we approach our lives. Invite God into your life. Submit to His Presence as the Divine Father. Learn how to live in His Light, Obey His Instructions for mankind and promote that mindset to others. Let your actions serve as testimony to the Truth. Let the Light of God shine in your life and permeate the world.
Economic bondage, Spiritual Decay, Health Issues and Decaying/Toxic Relationships, along with all of the afflictions of this world that have plagued our species, originate and are manifested, as sin in direct relation to our ability (or inability) to think, act, behave and consciously choose God’s way of life. We must deliberately decide to follow God and rebuke sin. It is clearly an All or Nothing scenario.
The tools to accomplish this transformation include prayer, role model emulation, love and compassion for others. The visible by-products of these efforts will be enhanced self-esteem, dignity, integrity, respect and inner peace. I call these things our Spiritual DNA. Over time, the adoption of this new mindset will cleanse our minds, spirits and souls and will demonstrate to the world around us that we choose God as our savior and redeemer.
Only then will things begin to get better.
Only then will the quality of our lives improve.
Only then will eternal life and salvation be once again within our reach.
Only then will we be saved.
There are few things in life that last forever, yes? Friends come and go, material wealth graces and eludes us, that incredible ’69 Camaro SS that made my heart “race” as a teenager… Gone! The perfect job we thought was immortal, well yes, that’s history too, baby. Even that hand-painting your 3 year-old child presented you for Christmas; oh yes, do you know where it is today? Take heed, my friend.
“You see, temporary is the nature of the world, with the exception of; the world. We are but leaves falling to the ground in the context of layers of soil. That’s not to say, however, that our lives are meaningless; to the contrary, our spirit/soul is indeed eternal, yet our physical “mechanism” that ingests and decodes the world around us, is but a layer of sorts that merely provides us some definition to others.”
Most of us have seen and/or heard the classic “Interview with God“. It speaks of the conversation one creative mind cleverly coined and shared to enable us to imagine what a one-on-one with the “Big Guy” might entail. And, without hesitation in saying, it is superb in its ability to transport each of us at the speed of light into crystal clear imagery as if we were Walter Cronkite on the set of the CBS Evening News.
And so it will likewise be for each of us upon our admittedly inevitable physical death, as if leaving the “job of a lifetime“, ultimately parting ways with our Boss. Imagine, if you will, yourself in the Hot Seat, facing God. There is no film crew, no producer, no-one else, and certainly and ironically, no exit.
Let’s be very, very candid, here, shall we? Much like “A Christmas Carol“, each of us knows deep within our hearts that this “Exit Interview” is by nature, completely and exclusively binary. In other words, it will either go very well or very badly. And it will be wholly and duly upon each of us, to a person, to determine which outcome will become our “reality check”.
I envision a dialogue that goes something like this:
God: “Well, Michael, the fact that you and I are here means your earthly life has reached its pre-destined conclusion. Do you know who I am?”
Me: “Yes, Lord. You are God.”
God: “And Michael, because you were born, raised and lived a Catholic, do you know Why you are here?”
Me: “Yes, Lord. This is my Judgment Day, to account for my life on earth, accept your assessment of my life, and receive your judgment for the good, the bad I did in my life and to what degree I utilized the gifts you gave me at birth”.
God: “Very good, Michael. Let’s get started, shall we?”
Me: “Yes Lord, I am yours”.
God: “Michael, although everyone experiences their own personal and detailed assessment of their life, this review is not focused solely on you. Do you understand?”
Me: “No, not really, Lord. Can you explain?”
God: “You see, Michael, the totality and significance of your life, most assuredly includes every thought, action and reaction you created while on earth. It also reflects, however, the impact, good and bad, your actions and words had on every person whose presence and light you touched during your life.”
Me: “Every person, Lord?”
God: “Indeed, every living thing that I have created on earth, whether it be animal, plant, and most certainly, people. It is precisely and inclusively, the collective impact of these interactions, that define your existence on earth and importantly, work together to become your judgment now. Everyone’s, precisely, your words and actions, influenced others thoughts, decisions, actions and reactions. The earthly experience is truly a dynamic, interactive and causal environment. Empirically, one you are responsible and accountable for at present. May I proceed?”
Me: “Yes, Lord. This is amazing, I had no idea how many and whose lives I have affected during my lifetime. I only wish I would have realized this during my life on earth.”
God: “Surprisingly, many others share your wonderment, Michael, yet, will still be accountable for their lives as you are now. Every spirit you elevated, every one you helped, ridiculed, harmed, supported, nurtured and prayed for, indeed, every emotion that resulted from your words and actions, even unknown to you then, have been recorded in reservation for this moment. Make no mistake, Michael, yours and everyone’s lives have immense value and significance; to me and to everyone whose life you touched.”
Me (stunned): “Please continue, Lord.”
And so it continued, until every facet and impact of my life upon others was reviewed and accounted for, and my collective judgment was given by God, and acknowledged and accepted by me; for eternity. The incredible relevance and context of this scenario is that each/every person’s life has tremendous and immeasurable value, meaning and most assuredly, consequence. Let this awareness guide you in your journey, cause you to emphasize and demonstrate kindness, forgiveness, humility, empathy, compassion and gratitude; and let it begin this instant. Be well, and most importantly, just Believe.
Children have long been referred to as the key to our future, and rightly so as they will inherit the world and eventually reside, influence and lead it as adults. From a theological sense, however, there have been many references to the guarantee of a place in heaven, much akin as the key to heaven, being the ability to see and live life through the eyes of a child.
What then, could it possibly mean to see through the eyes of a child? At a minimum, it is the absence of filters, pure honesty and innocence magnified. Moreover, it is authenticity, vulnerability and kindness without compromise, without prejudice nor fear.
The eyes of a child represents a naive, positive and pure observation of reality, absolute and unaltered in semantics and virtue. The eyes of a child observes the world with pure honesty, with unlimited potential, with absolute faith, blamelessness and harmlessness with the totality of purity of thought. Indeed, the eyes of a child sees the world framed in goodwill, truth and possibility.
And so it is quite profound and beautiful when the world is perceived without reproach. True beauty is not only possible, but exclusively witnessed through the eyes of the child. It is vision without disease or destruction. The eyes of child create happiness, truth and singular compassion for others without hesitation or reservation.
Could it be possible to replicate this experience as an adult? Can we learn how to see the world through the eyes of a child? What is preventing us from eliminating the interference and distractions of our world? Can we literally visualize and see the impact and consequence of God without fictitious alteration or contextual embellishment?
It is no wonder we covet childhood as we grow and mature into adulthood. The pure joy of experiencing life without adversity solidifies endless possibility and faith in mankind. It is no wonder that the most profound insight and revelation of life is witnessed exclusively by children. The essence of sinless beauty and proper perspective equates to a visual paradise of thought and consciousness.
Without question it is the journey we must embark upon to guarantee our transformation to eternal salvation. Physical death is only a partial transfiguration of the soul. Without seeing through the eyes of a child we are imprisoned spirits unable to escape our mortality.
The key to heaven rests with our perception of life and whether we choose to do and see the good in others and the world around us. I choose to believe and embrace the possibilities of goodwill and brotherhood as Christmas reminds us to think like a child. Let us remember our beginning in the hope of accepting and creating our future. Pray that we can behave and experience this special season as we did when we were innocent, young and full of joy and hope. Be well.
It is human nature to seek peace, love and solitude. And so, when we experience, as we all do at times, the opposite end of the spectrum of life’s offering; we question, we pain and we suffer. The unpleasant begs the question, “Why do we suffer?”
As much as happiness is good, suffering is important. For suffering is the cost of salvation and our attempt to move closer to God. It is in suffering that we experience, even as a fraction, what Jesus experienced in his sacrifice to us in His role as Redeemer. It is a deeply bonding experience that humbles us, focuses our energy and reminds us of the immense Love that God has for each of us as well as collectively for humanity. Love that is critical to not only return to God, but equally important, to each other.
I classify suffering into two categories or causes; one being acquired as a result of our choices and two, being inherent as a result of a physical or hereditary condition that is involuntary.
Suffering elevates our spirit and likewise, brings us closer to God. It serves to create and maintain awareness of our purpose in this life and of the harsh reality of all that is good, bad and inexplicable in this world. Acquired suffering reminds us that there are indeed consequences for our actions in life and most importantly, that we have the power of free will and choice in every thought, act, behavior we exhibit and breath we take.
In that light, suffering is a form of repentance and as such, is an inevitable fact of life that reflects our status as imperfect beings. It is also the surest path toward redemption and salvation in each of our “personal eternities.” Notably, suffering acts as a beacon of example to and for others and conducts compassion as powerfully as metal conducts electricity.
Compassion for others leads to the awareness and perspective of the essential and worthy aspects of life:
- God is the center of the Universe
- People are the most important thing on earth
- Caring is the most important sentiment and behavior
- Loving is the noblest and most valuable of pursuits
Inasmuch as suffering holds us captive and bounds us by its presence, forgiveness releases the control of suffering, frees us from its confinement and illuminates the path toward God. It can be equally as difficult to experience forgiveness as it is to accept suffering.
As the aged axiom indicates, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Let us be flattered and rejoice in our suffering in this life.
[This posting is dedicated to my mom, Agnes R Cerkas, who passed away one year ago today, September 10, 2011. May her light shine brightly in heaven and illuminate my path on earth. I love you mom.]