Prayers, please, for Sr. Lany Jo and her Mom, still near death.
Prayers, too for Casimir Pieczarka, who died yesterday, and his
family, especially his nephew, Richard. Prayers for Jerry, who has
died, and for his family, also for Linda's Mom, who died, and for her
family. Prayers, too, for Fran, in ICU, and for Mary Ann, her
daughter-in-law at her bedside. God's will is best! All is mercy and
grace. Thanks. NRN JL
January 4, May 5, September 4
Having our loins girded, therefore,
with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14),
let us walk in His paths
by the guidance of the Gospel,
that we may deserve to see Him
who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).
For if we wish to dwell in the tent of that kingdom,
we must run to it by good deeds
or we shall never reach it.
But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet,
"Lord, who shall dwell in Your tent,
or who shall rest upon Your holy mountain" (Ps. 14:1)?
After this question,
let us listen to the Lord
as He answers and shows us the way to that tent, saying,
"The one Who walks without stain and practices justice;
who speaks truth from his heart;
who has not used his tongue for deceit;
who has done no evil to his neighbor;
who has given no place to slander against his neighbor."
This is the one who,
under any temptation from the malicious devil,
has brought him to naught (Ps. 14:4)
by casting him and his temptation from the sight of his heart;
and who has laid hold of his thoughts
while they were still young
and dashed them against Christ (Ps. 136:9).
It is they who,
fearing the Lord (Ps. 14:4),
do not pride themselves on their good observance;
convinced that the good which is in them
cannot come from themselves and must be from the Lord,
glorify the Lord's work in them (Ps. 14:4),
using the words of the Prophet,
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to Your name give the glory" (Ps. 113, 2nd part:1).
Thus also the Apostle Paul
attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself,
"By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
And again he says,
"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (2 Cor. 10:17).
Ever have that funny feeling of surprise that the world and time and
life and events go resolutely on, even when you are stalled in
heartbreak? It is a strange egocentricity that allows us to feel
that. I remember clearly such a feeling when my father died. I was
not quite eleven. My world was shattered, everything had stopped or
changed or been put on hold.
Child that I was, it stunned me slightly to notice from the car
window on the way to the cemetery that it was just another sunny day
for everyone else. People were working, shopping, going to school.
The world WAS going on, nothing had changed for them. It made me feel
strangely even more alone in my pain: he wasn't as important to the
rest of the world as he was to me.
We can still have these feelings as adults, but hopefully we are at
least more used to them and less inclined to think the world really
DOES stop when we think it should. Tough though they can still be,
they are reality and reality is truth and truth, after all, is not
only humility but what also Jesus called Himself.
What does all this have to do with the Prologue? The same sort of
really unfortunate egocentricity can let us think that we are the
center of the known universe in other ways, can allow us to foolishly
think that our gifts or the tiny packets of virtues we have stashed
here and there are our own. No way, folks! It is grace, it is gift,
ALL is gift, beginning with our very existence!
If a city has clean, wondrous, spring water, no one in their right
mind praises the pipes. No, one praises the purity of the Source. So
it is with us, m'dears, pipes one and all, nothing more or less. God
is the Source, God's mercy and love and grace and gift are the purest
of waters. We are His conduits and we dare not glory, except in the
There is an excellent theology of works and faith here, one which
both Lutherans and Roman Catholics should love, with things each side
needs badly to hear. We need on the Catholic side to recognize that
there is no good in our works that is not of God, of the saving act
of Jesus, and on the Lutheran side to hear that works are important
as the way to the dwelling place to which we are called. Both sides
need faith and no one is anything at all in terms of good without
God, without Christ's perfect sacrifice.
So yes, we must do good works, but, "Not to us, O Lord, but to Your
name give the glory!" Works and faith are not the Western thought
dichotomy of "yes and no" of "either or," but the Zen mind of "yes
AND no." Without God, neither works nor ourselves have any meaning at
all. With God, both are enriched, but only because of Him.
Love and prayers,