Satan and his fellow fallen angels were left to prowl the earth seeking souls to steal. Until placed specifically under Christ’s dominion, we remain under Satan’s and so baptism is keenly important. With age, however, comes increased responsibility to live out our baptismal covenant. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ancient tradition in the Church that aids us in this. In these troubled times, personal consecration to Jesus becomes more urgent than ever.
Our time here on earth is our probation for entrance to Heaven, and that path to Heaven is hoed only by sincere mercy. It makes sense, then, that forgiveness is a process not an act. Yet how to take that first step can be confusing and even fearful. Each situation, each act, creates knots in our heart and our life. The process of forgiveness is one of untying those knots.
Autumn is the perfect season for change: a transition from warmth to cold, from sunny days to clouds. A solitary leaf dances effortlessly when it falls from the tree. And our attention is placed upon the color and grace of the changing leaves, the eye-catching beauty. But once shed of all its finery, why do we ignore the tree? When stripped down to their trunks and limbs, we can see the tree’s true shape. Each is a unique shape too, a personality of sorts. There is a type of beauty in the barrenness found nowhere else in creation.
I pray that, as the leaves turn from green to gold and the trees fall barren, that I too will change my colors, let go of whatever inhibits me from following God, and be barren.
When I go to prayer with my agenda, it is like an orchestra that is simply a collection of noisy instruments wanting to be heard. When God works in the soul, it is like a conductor bringing together beautiful music, having already cleaned the instruments and tweaked their tuning. He brings them into one voice: His.
So, when I begin to pray I ask myself…who is setting the agenda?
In the small elementary school of my childhood, there was a bench outside the principal’s office where the ‘bad’ kids sat after school. As soon as class was out at 3:30, they headed to the Goof-Off bench and sat. Their moms were called and told to expect them to be late coming home; the kids were told to stay there 30 minutes, and everyone went home including the Principal and staff. Amazingly, the kids sat on the bench as required!
We obeyed because we accepted that there are natural consequences for our actions. It would frankly be stupid to think otherwise, and even as kids we knew that. We built steadfastness when accepting our natural consequences. Own it. Do it. Learn from it. Move on.
Do I accept consequences today?
Nowadays there is much made of discerning spirits and discerning God’s will (which are two different things), and opinions abound on the Internet. Discernment isn’t as much a matter of sitting in prayer waiting for a lightning bolt of wisdom to come. That too often is a psychological consolation. Real discernment is the product of honest conversation with God.
Honesty is the tough part. It seems easier to rationalize our seemingly ‘good’ choice, and the conversation with God can become a series of “I” statements. We forget that Jesus isn’t in the “I” statements and God’s will doesn’t need rationalization.