I Am?

WordPress.com has this option to show “possibly related links.” And, Creo en Dios! is a WordPress.com blog… which brings me to reading Susan’s blog, and finding a “possibly related link” to a guy who’s hot to discredit Ekhart Tolle… and a posting about “Who do you say I am?” (among others).

So, lacking wisdom or restraint I started reading not only his posts, but the extensive responses. Whoa!

It all comes back to what does scripture/Jesus/you/me mean with that cryptic little two word phrase – “I Am.” I get twisted up in the arguments (polite discourse, but arguments nevertheless.) In the Old Testament, “I Am” is the way God references God. Jesus uses the phrase from time to time… Let’s see, I think it’s in John’s Gospel (I’ll have to look this up) – He says something like “before Abraham was, I Am.” And we all know – “I Am the way, the truth and the life.”

But the discussions over on ProlepticLife keep circling back on is “I Am” something/someone else – God – or is “I Am” to be found in me? Not my problem, says I. “I Am” is definitely God, the source of all creation. Oh, wait, “I Am” is found deep inside myself, when I take the time to go into that secret room (the one where Jesus tells me to go to pray). It seems that most of the orthodox Christians on that site are convinced that looking for “I Am” inside myself is going to lead me astray.

It seems to me that believing that God is present in “I AM” that is the core of my being rings true. If I am God’s child, if God created me (with the assistance of my parents), then, just a I am made up of the same stuff as my parents (that being the nature of life), then there must be a bit of God that resides at the core of my being. I am not the same as my parents, but I spring from the essence of their being, just as I spring from essence of the Creator of Life.

Neat.

Lord, give me patience – NOW!

Yesterday afternoon provided me the opportunity to observe just how impatient I really am. As I sat through a 2 hours and 45 minute departmental meeting (which could have been completed in an hour, to be honest), I found myself scribbling notes along the lines of

Patience is a virtue, or so I’ve been told. But right now, if I had a couple of socks, I think I could fix this problem…

I practiced the “Am I breathing” technique for stepping back from the situation. It did allow me to step back, but in the process of becoming more awake and aware, the voices just got louder. Things that needed to be resolved by 2 or 3 people being aired out in front of 7 or 8. Talk, talk, no real action.

Made me start to wonder how God might feel about me sometimes. So much talk. So many plans. Anything to avoid real change or real action. Discuss the past, dream of the future, but forget being present right now (which is really all we have).

I survived. I didn’t embarrass myself, or stuff a sock in anyone’s mouth. We did reach some conclusions, and made some lists of tasks to be accomplished.

Lord, please be more patient with me than I am with others…

Rain

*The university shut down at 11 am today (tornadoes, rugged weather – the remnants of Fay). Nice day to reflect on all that I am grateful for.

  • For my youngest child’s graduation from college
  • For the same son getting a job almost immediately, doing something it seems he will really like working at
  • For the fact that Ella (granddaughter) arrived ahead of Tropical Storm Fay
  • That my son (Ella’s daddy) and his family survived Fay without damage or flooding (they live in Melbourne, where Fay camped for days
  • That my daughter and her husband sold their house (and are in the process of buying one in a new town)
  • For rain! Rain that can help the Southeast move past drought conditions. Keep raining!
  • For safety from nearby tornados
  • For Fr. Alex who filled in for our pastor for the past 3 weeks
  • For good friends
  • For my sisters in Christ (and their funny emails)

Unusual for me – I could go on and on.

Amen.

Who is Jesus to you?

Thursday evening after choir practice, [Fr.] Alex, Timothy and I stood around in the parking lot, sharing and discussing recent readings. I love to watch Alex when he gets going. He starts to talk about Jesus and his faith and his entire being lights up. Timothy too dove into the sharing…

As we talked, Alex shared that the question he will leave with us during the weekend masses will be “Who is Jesus to you?” — very adamantly he added that he wasn’t interested in what you have been taught as “fact” about Jesus or church, he didn’t want to know the “proper” answers.

How would I answer that question? The story of a Marine shot down in the jungle of Viet Nam comes to mind. As he struggled to get himself together and wonder how he would ever get to safety as native appeared as if from thin air.

“Follow me. I will take you to safety.”

“You will show me the path? You will show me the road?”

“No – there is no path. Follow ME. I am the way you get out.”

And so it is with following Jesus for me. He is the Way. Paths can be helpful. They can make it easier to cover certai terrain. But in the end – my individual path is simply walking with him, and knowing him.

Mary, again

I’ve long had difficulty with traditional Marian traditions/prayers/worship. Probably partly stems from my Calvinist introduction to Christianity. But, I think it may go deeper than that. I believe it involves the traditional image of Mary who honor is that she was submissive — and the idea that we often get that she was submissive to men. Yes, I see her as submissive – but only to the will of God. One has to be pretty well centered and strong in faith to submit to God’s will. One has to be ready to stand tall, face opposition and be willing to stand their ground to carry this out.

I’m not so strong. I am often submissive (and resentful) to the wrong things, to the wrong people.

And so, last week, at the vigil mass for the Assumption, I was very struck by Fr. Alex’s message. He asked each of us to share the virtue(s) of Mary that we wish to emulate in our lives. We’re a pretty talkative group, so there were several responses. Then he followed with the idea that the ultimate virtue of Mary was that she gave birth to Christ — she brought Christ into the world. And that is what each of us is called to do, over and over again.

This morning as I made my way through morning prayers and the readings for the mass (Queenship of Mary), the power of Mary as the first among the disciples, the first to bring Christ into the world came back fiercely.

I can only pray that on ocasion I too can bring the Light of Christ into the part of the world I inhabit.

When it rains, it pours

That’s what it feels like right now. We went away on vacation. But, we’ve not had too much company this summer. And then Bang! in August, I suddenly don’t have room… I feel a bit like the Innkeeper in the Nativity story. Everyone in town at once, and not enough rooms.