“Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family. ..”
Indeed a powerful response to the terror we face and a wise message to all youth:”Let our best word, our best argument, be our unity in prayer. ” Pope Francis at World Youth Day in Poland
Touching words extracted from a post Touching the Stars by Michelle Franckl-Donnay
We describe prayer as talking to God or listening to God. Yet both these images of prayer let me keep a bit of distance between God and me. I sit on the sofa, God next to me. I look up to the altar or to the heavens, God before me, God above me. But I’m starting to wonder if to pray is in reality to touch and be touched by God. To move toward God, reaching out, and at the same time, to be still, allowing God’s hand to rest upon me. To let go of my boundaries, to be uncertain where I end and God takes up. To be willing to risk letting God within me.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis urges us to get our hands into the mystery that is God and let it get into us: “If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.” We are called not just to walk with Christ but to be clothed in Christ, to wrap ourselves up in God.
… And what do I desire, if not the infinite, invincible, ineffable God, come to dwell within my very ordinary life?
As the deer panteth
I came across this statement recently in a post by Adrianplass that has me wondering :
“The world is filled with desperate people. They need Christ, not Christianity.”
Some soul searching going on here. Am sure I have been one of those who has contributed to separate Christ from Christianity !!
Thank God for the reminder which I hope will stick with me. And thank God for people like Pope Francis who helps us to refocus/re-align with the merciful Christ.
The world needs Jesus, not systems. A real person among real people doing real things. Informal, sometimes bewildering, often captivating and exciting, not very religious, frequently alienating.
I have posted before my thoughts and questions on Why the Cross in which I asked “What did Jesus come to save us from”.
Whereas I fumbled with my answers – this post on an Ignatian Spirituality website (quoted in its entirety), gives a beautifully simple answer to the question I had posed.
Jesus came to set us free. From what?
The kind of freedom Ignatian spirituality preaches is freedom from the attachments, fears, and blockades that inhibit our human flourishing.
One of those blockades, sin, is more than choosing to do wrong. Sin includes operating our lives from a place of fear—preventing us from being our truest selves. Blockades to the freedom of our flourishing are those places in our lives that seem comfortable and safe but in truth keep us stagnant in faith and keep us from our dreams.
For instance, in marriage I might like to keep an escape hatch open so I can get out “just in case.” What seems to be the freedom of keeping options open prevents me from genuine commitment. When the thought of financial freedom keeps me in a job that drains the life from me and does not utilize my gifts, I’m impeded from the freedom of developing my gifts. The fear of change and endless “what-if” scenarios may cause me to freeze in the safety of my current life situation.
The paradox of Christian freedom is that when we take risks and make choices, we don’t restrict our freedom; we increase it. God calls us to have freedom from our fears and attachments so that we may have the freedom for a full life. When we cling to our comfort zone in fear we sin, a sign that the evil spirit is trying to prevent us from fully living out God’s call. We must allow Jesus to lift our burdens from us!
The genuine freedom that comes from following the call of God to let go of the illusory “safe path” leads to greater trust in God and one another. When we let go of unhealthy attachments, fears, and other blockades, we gain the freedom to be our best selves, our most whole selves. And then our dreams can unfold, our relationships can be more trusting, and we can cultivate our gifts and talents in new ways.
Source: The Paradox of Christian Freedom – Ignatian Spirituality
Freedom from what binds us
Spiritual freedom is an interior freedom, a freedom of the mind and heart. People who are spiritually free know who they are – with all of their gifts and limitations – and are comfortable with who they are. **
When we let go of unhealthy attachments, fears, and other blockades, we gain the freedom to be our best selves, our most whole selves.
** See Day 3 of following link for full quote on Spiritual Freedom
Picture Credit : found on various sites on internet. Have not been able to obtain original source.
My response to an Essay Question “The incarnation of the Son of God and the problems that this doctrine has given to Christian believers and thinkers.” in a Christology Classroom Exam, First Year, Degree in Theology. The links have been added for this post.
Extract – Answer Script
The historical fact of the birth and death of a man called Jesus Christ who entered history just over 2000 years ago – and changed its course so that the Western World counts time from his death – is not a matter of great dispute.
Neither is there any great dispute that this man was a preacher and moral teacher par excellence. Even detractors of his time granted that he worked miracles and wondrous signs and healed persons, cast out evil spirits and performed many wonders. The biggest problem was however the fact that he claimed to be the Son of God and that his followers believed him.