We are the workers

oscar_romero_slider_2_darkenedd.jpgAspire not to have more but to be more.

Defense of human rights, equality and freedom is a matter of policy rooted in the gospel.

Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.

If we are worth anything, it is not because we have more money or more talent or more human qualities. Insofar as we are worth anything, it is because we are grafted on to Christ’s life, his cross and resurrection. That is a person’s measure.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. we cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. this enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are the workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

Archbishop Oscar Romero

gnats & camels

Another of Jesus’ nonnegotiables is the work of justice and generosity toward the poor and the outsider. That’s quite clear, quite absolute—page after page of the Gospels. Yet Christian history, even at the highest levels of church, has thought nothing of amassing fortunes and living grandly (while others starved), and rather totally identifying with power, war, and money (they tend to go together).

At this point in history, when most people can read Jesus’ (and the Bible’s) clear and consistent bias toward the poor, the foreigner, and the marginalized, it can only be ignored with a culpable blindness and ignorance. Most Christians have indeed been “cafeteria Christians” when it comes to this. Usually they will markedly emphasize something else (often a sexual issue) to divert attention from what Jesus did not divert attention from. As Jesus himself put it, “you strain out gnats and you swallow camels!” (Matthew 23:24). The issues never change in any age, as long as the same old ego is in charge.
– Richard Rohr, ofm
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(photo: Portland, ME – February 2019)

lost sheep

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(photo: Greene, ME – January 2019)

What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert
and go after the lost one until he finds it?
And when he does find it,
he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home,
he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,
‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people
who have no need of repentance.
– Luke 15:4-7

if you behaved badly…

IF YOU BEHAVED badly in the past, if you have been destructive, you can do something about it. By touching the present deeply, you can transform the past. The wounds and injuries of the past are still there—they are within your reach. All you have to do is come back to the present moment, and you will recognize the wounds and injuries that you have caused in the past and those that other people have caused you.

You should be here for these wounds and injuries. You can say to them, “I am here for you,” with your mindful breathing, your deep looking, and your determination not to do the same thing again. Then transformation is possible.

– thich nhat hanh

What causes God pain, I believe, is not our sins as such (I don’t think God is easily offended), but the consequences of our sins that cause us so much pain: humiliation, frustration, guilt for harm done to others. In actual fact, the moment we accept negative feelings, sit with our despair, desolation, hopelessness or frustration, and the overwhelming sense of failure, God takes them all upon Himself, makes them His own, and joins us in our sufferings.

Fr. Thomas Keating