Catholic Soup is a food for thought blog based website designed to provide Catholic insight through personal experience.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Land from the Wall We've Built

It always seems like often times we forget that God exists in our lives. Like if all of a sudden we just get bored of his love and we turn to other things. It's like we think we know what is better for us and we abandon the love that is complete for a love that isn't. It's proof of how much we aren't able to completely understand his love for us, how I know because we turn away from it and forget about it. I'm always confused and I wonder with myself why is it that I love to put this brick wall between me and God. It's like a river dam that you just put there to stop all the water from flowing through the valley. Yeah, That's exactly what it is. We're either afraid or na├»ve of that love from God and so we try and block it off with this huge wall. We know how good it can be for us, we know how nourishing it can be and yet still, we want to try and contain that love because we don't see the good and joy it can bring. Thinking about it now I realize how much that is me in my own spiritual life, running from God's love, and hiding from His infinite goodness and sure happiness. 

I want to talk about this river dam for a little bit.
In our desire for happiness, somehow it gets twisted with the help of the devil and we end up turning to those things that we think bring us happiness. We desire good things so much, that we forget about the love that isn't visible (God) and turn to love that is (things). Because these things are visible, tangible and sensible to us it's good to us and we want more and more. Free pizza? yes please. Another beer? of course. Sex?...Oh yeah. All because it feels good, we can see it and touch it.. As Pink Floyd would say, All that is, is just another brick in the wall and by the time we know it we have this huge wall separating us from the perfect union and love with God. Now we can either do two things with this wall, we can pray that we are perfected through our faults, pray for the guilt to return to Christ OR we can walk away singing Tim McGraw's "I like it, I love it, I want some more of it."

In my experience, I found that during my "construction" of this metaphoric wall, that God was allowing it to be built. Does that mean God wants us to be separated from Him? not at all. But in my prayer and in my distress, I cried out to God because I felt that I had built a wall to big even for me to knock down. The perspective I like to look at is this: That God by his grace, instilled in me the desire to know His complete love. I saw where I was, I saw that the land I was standing in was dry and parched and as the Psalms say, "My body longed for you O God!"

The beauty that I find, is that God allows us to suffer in order for us recognize that there is a greater happiness that exists in Christ. By our sin, I think God allows us to recognize our own brokenness and through that, He shows us who we really are, what we really want, and He shows us what we really need. This is proof that we have a divine teleological call to true happiness! God in his infinite love for us, calls us to conversion and he calls us to remove the brick that hurts. Remove it through prayer, confession, and mass. If you think about the river dam, all it takes is for us to take out one brick, and that wall we had been building for so long will come crashing down. Remember friends, there is only one unforgiveable sin, and that is the sin that we don't confess. In order for us to move toward a true, holy, and perfect relationship with God we have to want that for ourselves and see the Good that is waiting.

God Bless

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friends: a call to Love

They say when you think of somebody your suppose to pray for that person, at that moment. Pray for their health, their well-being, their life, their struggles, that they may be lifted from whatever they are going through and that the Grace of God place in them a complete and total trusting in Him and His plan. More than likely it's a friend we might think about and I believe that happens because God knows how much of a friend we are or can be. If God is love, then that means he can see love. So we are called to love in our prayers all those people we think about, the dead or the living, our friends and family and in a bigger picture, humanity in general. But it isn't about just showing love in our prayers, it's about showing love through our actions and our words. Being there for people, being there for your friends, because we never know when that opportunity might be the last.

Early on I felt this call to love in the things I experienced in my own life. During high school, I remember hearing about a friend who had committed suicide in his own house. I remember feeling so useless when I found out, and so angry with myself because I had let opportunity slip from me, I had ignored the call to help and the call to love. I was torn just knowing that I had seen this guy that same night and the day after he was gone. That next week I remember telling myself everyday when I had woke, that I would care for each person that I knew, or came in contact with. I challenged myself from that week on, to care for and love everyone I knew.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus hints at a sacrificial love, an unconditional love that will soon redeem man and the world from all it's sin. He expresses that we are friends of God and because of that, we have an obligation to love and be there for each person with that exact same unconditional love.

"There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." 

There is a call to this sacrificial love, the love that wants what is best for the other and not ourselves. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that love is to will the good of another. It's a call to be a brother or sister to your friends and be there for them, be present to them. He says there is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends, in other words, put the life you've been holding up for so long now down. There's a paschal message in this that we should die to self and care for those around us. In the world today where the message we hear from Jesus is clouded by a self-centered society, basically a what's best for me and what can I gain type of perspective. It's radical to think about another before ourselves, but that's the message of Jesus and that's the call and obligation that we have as people. Jesus says that we should love one another.

"I no longer call you slaves...I call you friends."   [John 15:12-17]
Jesus has called you and me out of the darkness of sin and slavery, he has loosened our bonds and calls us friends. He calls us to be friends with the same love that he has redeemed us with. In my mind it's a commissioning for us, to go out and be a brother or be a sister, he calls us to be a father and lead others out of darkness, or a Mother to care for those who have no one to care for them. Guys were called to be friends. I am reminded yet again of the call to love everyone I meet, I want to be a light for people and I want to lead them out of darkness not into it. I want to be there for them, and serve them not be served. I want to listen to them and pray for them because I am called to be a friend and so a friend I will be.