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Friday, July 29, 2016

And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you… And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut 8: 2-4)

Just as He did back then, with His people for forty years in the wilderness, so does God “humble” those who belong to Him today. How does He do this? He periodically “lets you hunger,” and feeds you in ways “which you did not know” before. Thus God opens me up to the gift called “humility,” this road to true freedom, by walking me through the way of the cross. Humility enables me to walk as He did, through the pain and problems, rather than running fro...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sell your possessions, and give alms (ἐλεημοσύνην); provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Lk 12: 33-34)

 

Give it away, the Lord says to me today. Give “alms” (a corruption of the Greek word “eleimosini,” meaning “mercy” or “pity”). This includes my material possessions, but not exclusively and not even essentially. The kind of “alms” our Lord is talking about (eleimosini) involve a self-giving of the heart; an overflowing of the heart with mercy, pity, and compassion. This kind of giving is the opposite of self-pity, self-seeking, and self-isolation, and it provides me with true wealth “that does not fail.”

 

Let me tur...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

“…And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind (μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε). For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!” (Lk 12: 29-32)

 

So the Lord reminds us to relax, in Him. He says, do not be “of anxious mind,” as the RSV translation puts it. But more literally, He is saying, “μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε” – do not be tossed to and fro in the air, like a meteor. He offers us focus, or direction, which brings us peace, allowing other things to fall into place. This reminds me of a (non-theological) explanation of what “GOD” stands for: “Good Orderly Direction.” I find...

Friday, May 6, 2016

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Mt 28: 18-20)

 

So – “go,” He says. Because “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Also, most importantly, “I am with you always.” He says this to us, because He knows we might procrastinate, crippled either by fear, or self-doubt, or simple laziness.

 

Today let me let the Lord’s authority and presence lift me out of inactivity, that I may “go” and “do” in Him. Let me not get stuck in the dead-end of self-reliance, but embrace His help, wh...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

 

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, Jacob, little Israel, do not fea...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

 

Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days…” (Lk 1: 72-75)

 

This prophecy, spoken by Zacharia after the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist, mentions us serving God “without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him.” What kind of “fear” is Zacharia talking about? The kind that is an obstacle to “holiness and righteousness before Him,” before God.

 

The non-holy and non-righteous kind of fear usually involves: 1. Fear of people and their opinions, and/or 2. Fear of economic insecurity. If I pay attention, I find that most “sins,” most misd...

Saturday, September 19, 2015


“The seventy (apostles) returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’ At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants…” (Lk 10: 17-21)

Here’s a liberating fact: Evil does not exist as some objective force, floating about like a dark hole, on its own. Evil only exists w...

Friday, September 18, 2015

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Gen 1: 31)

 

My spiritual journey consists mainly of developing, in God’s light, in God’s grace, three essential relationships, all interrelated: 1. My relationship with God; 2. My relationship with myself; 3. My relationship with other people. Today I’m thinking about the second one, my relationship to myself.

 

The above-cited passage in the book of Genesis reminds me that, as part of the whole picture of His creation, God sees me, as well as all other people, as “very good.” This “very goodness” exists as a whole, within the interrelated whole of Creator and creation; of “every thing that He had made.”

 

I begin to realize my dignity and my “very goodness,” that is,...

Thursday, September 17, 2015


The Lord is my light and my saviour-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 26/27:1)

 

The opposite of faith is self-reliance, which breeds fear and anxiety. Whenever I cease to lead a God-centered life, whenever I neglect to put myself, everything, and everyone in His hands, I am left alone to play God on the stage of my concerns, challenges, situations, and relationships. Of course I inevitably find that I’m ill-suited for this role, because my own shoulders are simply too insecure a foundation for the burdens of the world. This insecurity is what brings all sorts of fear into my life, like fear of people’s opinions, of failure, or of economic insecurity.

 

Faith turns all of this around. And by faith I don’t mean just holding “firm belief...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

“O Lord, hear my prayer, give ear unto my supplication in Your truth; hearken unto me in Your righteousness. And enter not into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You.” (Ps 142/143: 1-2)

 

The “fear of God,” that is, the fear of His judgment, is a liberating thing. This is true for two reasons: 1. God, as the source of justice and truth, is the only perfect Judge. As distinct from human beings, He does not embrace prejudice, nor does He form trivial opinions or hold petty grudges; and 2. His justice is not “fair.” He can be quite unreasonable, bestowing mercy, no strings attached, to the repentant heart.

 

A fear of judgment is a gift, inherent to a normal human being from a very young age. But a proper use of this gift, I think, is something we develop and disce...

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