It reminds me of the day I decided not to become a saint.
See in heaven, there’s no room for divas. Strong personalities, yes. Stubborn, independent visionaries, yes. But heaven is our vision of God. Beholding Him face to face for a thousand upon a thousand eternities. If all you ever work for in this life is your own will, why would you ever want to go to Heaven?
We can’t give up on people just because they don’t give us what they want or tell us what they want to hear. I gravitate away from critical people like a dog from an open bottle of nail polish. I just veer away from the discomfort and negativity they bring because I will take it too personally and obsess over their picking. But I can’t give up hope for them, hope in me, hope in Jesus.
This is the King of Poverty. The King of Redemption. Pick up your cross and follow me. Each day Jesus may not give you what you want, what you hunger for. But He will give it to you eventually.
Jesus doesn’t owe you anything. Entitlement is when you have no sense of gratitude or appreciation. The only thing unfair in life is that some people believe it should be. God has given all of us enough, even if you don’t think so. Aren’t you just a little happy to believe in a God that you can’t fully understand?
He gives you what you long for that every gift you ask for: His love.
He offers you what you deserve: eternal life. The Passion of Our Lord is not about our guilt, it is about our worth. As we approach Good Friday we remember that Jesus had no separate will from His Father’s. We don’t know if Jesus wanted a different life than the one He lived.
Br. Damian Cayetano visited our Confirmation class on Sunday night and I'm still pondering the title of his first talk - Falling in love and staying in love.
I'm a quitter. I fall hard but I don't stay there. I don't know if it's a lack of commitment or a disobedience to grace, or straight up immaturity. I believe in God because though I can't really seem to stick with anything or anybody, whether it's friends, diets, boyfriends, New Year's Resolutions, etc., I somehow have been able to stay committed to Him.
Or maybe it's just that He has stayed committed to me.
I was joking about deciding not to become a saint. I may have acted that way at times but only because I know that I have a team mate I can count on, a Savior who will do all my dirty work even if I slack. I take advantage of Him.
Preparing for Br. Damian's talk, I kept thinking, over and over. Why did St. Peter follow Jesus? Why did Paul follow Him? Surely it was more than just getting called to a more interesting profession, out of the boat or off the horse. Surely it wasn't a mental, logical choice. They left things behind. They had no idea what they were getting into. Were they bored with their past life?
Working with teenagers and retreat ministry, I see it all the time. They fall in love with Him. We leave our lives behind because we fall in love and nothing can go back to normal after you've fallen in love with someone. You're always changed even if you didn't stay in love.
With Jesus, I think it's different. He's our primary spouse so when we fall in love with Him it's like we fall in love with the self He calls us to be, too. We realize who we really are and, powerfully, are unblinded to see that He will give us the power and strength to become it, to fulfill our wildest dreams and the secret desires of your heart.
When your best friend invites you on a road trip, you don't hesitate based on where you're going. When they ask you to come to their grandma's 90th birthday in smalltown Iowa, you say yes. Why? Beacuse you don't care about where you're going, what you'll do there or how long it will take. You don't care about costs. You know you're going to have fun. Because you're going to be together.
You don't embark on a journey in love worrying about the end results. You go because you love Him. Love is what dragged the apostles away from life. Love is what cost them their lives. Love is what gained heaven for them. Love is what was more powerful than death.
I love Jesus. I love Him. More than I love myself. More than I love any person. Staying in love with Him has simply meant choosing Him. Staying in love with Him often means nothing more than loving Him more than anything else - anyone, anywhere, any dream.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:31-32, 35-39
Thus says the LORD: Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words,
and return to the LORD; Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”
I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them. I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily; He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots. His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar. Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain; They shall blossom like the vine, and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols? I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”– Because of me you bear fruit!
Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.