A blessed Epiphany to all who are celebrating that today, and a bit
of hopefully holy envy to all those who still keep Jan. 6th. Somehow
these Sundays never feel quite the same, rather like "assigning" a
national holiday to the nearest weekend. But I digress...
Prayers for Paul, that a particular character defect be removed, and
for another Paul, depression. God's will is best. All is mercy and
grace. Thanks so much. 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!
Everything good, in every way is all from God, not us. We dare glory
in nothing but Him, for we would be less than nothing without His
grace acting in us. Picture a battery operated toy, that someone else
skillfully made, without a battery. Beginning to get the picture?
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
Love and prayers,