If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illusions of the Imagination

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come . . . (Ecclesiastes 12:1). 
Several decades ago former Beatle John Lennon wrote a song whose lyrics endure to this day. It is a tragic song. And deceptive, even devilish. They encourage the listener to imagine there is no heaven, or hell . . . and by implication, no God, no Jesus, no sin and no eternal judgment.
Another Beatle, George Harrison -- a year before his death at the age of 58 -- circled around Lennon's lyrics without realizing it (I'm sure). Harrison remarked in an interview that the previous forty years of his life passed so quickly, they seemed like the snap of his fingers.

To those who take time to consider the calendar's swiftness, Harrison's comment resonates with wisdom lost on a lot of people -- probably not the least of which was his partner, John Lennon.
Who has not turned yellowed photo album pages and wondered: Was I really that young? That thin? Healthy? Happy? Hopeful? Whose mind hasn't time‑warped back to incidents twenty, thirty, fifty years earlier and thought: It seems like last week? 
Near the end of his life Solomon discovered what many of us who are older try to convince those who are younger: Time passes quickly. Very quickly. So quickly, it is the source of worn clichés: 'Time flies.' 'Where did the time go?' 
But clichés cannot conceal the cold certainty that our calendar pages continue to drop like autumn leaves in a wind storm – and the time will come for each of us when our time runs out. 
When that happens, we will be glad to have remembered – and served ‑‑ our Creator while we had the time, because there is a heaven. And a hell. 
And a judgment for those who have chosen to live as if those things are illusions of the imagination.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Third and Fourth Words of the Crucified Jesus

The 3rd and 4th words of the crucified Jesus echo through eternity, to this very day. And they demonstrate why nails didn't hold Jesus to that cross. Love did, when He saw your face and mine.  Here is my latest Lenten message: https://youtu.be/dUATCYcBM58

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daddy . . . Wait for Me. Please

During my prayer in our hotel suite, a young child outside the door anxiously called to her father, “Daddy, wait for me, please.” From somewhere down the hall I heard a muffled response, “Come on, we need to go.” A moment later small feet pattered past my door and down the hall.

Caught up in the unseen drama, I replayed the child’s plaintive cry again and again in my mind, “Daddy, wait for me, please.” Although I couldn’t see him, I sensed impatience from his muffled response, “Come on, we need to go.” I guessed he thought they needed to hurry along to get to wherever it was they were going. I can’t know for sure about his impatience. As I said, his voice was muffled.

I let myself muse a while on the unseen scene played out for me in the hotel hallway – until the Holy Spirit suddenly changed my focus. No longer was this about the strangers outside my door. It was about me in similar situations when our children were young.

How often did one of them call out to me, “Daddy, wait for me, please.” Countless times, I’m sure, as I raced to get wherever it was we needed to get to. And I know I must have called impatiently behind me more often than I like to think, “Come on, we need to go.”

“Daddy, wait for me, please.”

How often did the Lord Jesus say to others, “Come, follow Me”?  Lots of times. His offer is embedded from one end of the Gospels to the other.

And oh, how I want to follow Him.

Then why is it so often the case that I get so quickly distracted from following? Like a small child distracted by a bug crawling in the grass, or breezes blowing though leaves – or even by a piece of trash crumpled along the sidewalk – I so often get distracted by what really are trivialities of life that I take my eyes off the Shepherd and dally in the distractions.

And then I notice I’m no longer close to my Daddy in heaven.

“Daddy, wait for me, please.”

What causes a child to be so easily distracted and lose focus? Whatever it is of the many things that catch a toddler’s eye -- whatever it is should not be what causes me to lose focus. At my level of spiritual maturity I should be much better able to fix my eyes on Jesus and follow Him wherever it is He wants me to go.

“Daddy, wait for me, please.”

It’s important for me to tell you, never once has He ever turned back and said impatiently, “Come on. We need to go.” No. Never once. Instead, I’ve so often sensed Him call patiently to me, “Well . . . come along my darling, my beautiful one. Come along.” (see Song of Songs, 2:10)

And never once has He ever turned back and said anything different to you when you call to Him.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Serial Hypocrisy

It’s been 45 years, but I still remember it. My friend, Joe, and I were as close as two friends in their 20s could be – even though we had a couple of differences.

I was single, Joe was married and had two of the most precious daughters I’d ever known. One child was four or five, the other a year or two older. Joe was a Baptist. I was an agnostic Jew. Once in a while he invited me to visit his church. I never attended. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Joe and I met at the taxicab company where we’d both found employment. But after hours, we routinely partied together at bars to pick up on women. We were often successful – if for nothing else than a one-night-stand in the back of our cars or at my apartment.

Oh, did I mention Joe was married and had two wonderful, precious daughters?

Although I claimed to not believe in God, I still knew right from wrong. I also knew that God – if He existed – did not approve in the least of what Joe was doing as he cheated again and again against his wife and children.

I never said to him what I was thinking each time he invited me to attend his church. I didn't tell him I would never darken the door of his church since he obviously didn’t believe what his church taught.  Why should I be like him, not only in sexual sin, but in religious hypocrisy as well?

And so, Christian: What’s my point? Be holy. To the best of your ability, be holy. People who know of our Christian label – whether Catholic or Protestant – people know a serial hypocrite when they see one.

I’m not talking about the occasional fall into sin. I am talking about a lifestyle.

Our friends and neighbors are not fooled.

And neither is God. 

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 7: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’