Life in a small town

The Real Presence, the Resurrection & the Trinity … Part 1, the Trinity

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)

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The Light of The World …

14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Rev 3:14-22)

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G’day all … lots of things to think about these days. Every now and then my friend in Toronto the “Good”, as it is known in the “minds” of gentle Canadian Progressives, hits one out of the park … he articulately and accurately encapsulates an observation to which I mentally cheer “Hear! Hear!”.

Today, David posts: The “smart” economy” in which he turns his scalpel on the reality of post secondary “education” in our “Smart” economy and “Smart Society” at large. A taste of this follows:

Graduation 2019 …

” … Some sense of the current world can be had if we consider college education as a fiat currency. The graduating student receives, in addition to a mountain of debt for him to climb, a piece of paper or e-paper that can be exchanged for a paid position in the labour market — the better the more wisely he shops. This “degree” indicates that he has useful virtues, the crucial one being patience.

A doctorate, for instance, indicates that the holder is willing to spend x consecutive years in an extremely tedious, and rather pointless activity, without doubting the benefits that will accrue. He may be secretly rebellious, but few have been provided with the religious skill of self-analysis, leading to self-knowledge. Natural feistiness in the human being is displaced from creative to destructive activities, such as crime or progressive politics.

Depending on the human, a voracious sex life is an alternative, or this can be combined with politics via social media. … ” read the rest of this delicious confection here.

Elsewhere in the Mundane world we are continuously injected with healthy doses of our secular progressive reality intended to keep us distracted and spiritually diseased lest we discover the foundational lie of our existence and all that is missing in our lives.  I just received word, by Facebook of course, that one of my “Professional” 20-something nieces, unfashionably married a couple of years and a bit, one young child still occasionally breast feeding but mostly weaned, with a hard working but “accessorized” husband, having just moved into their first house, eminently upwardly mobile and the apple of several related eyes, has now been diagnosed with acute Leukemia.

causes of Acute Leukemia (AML)

The doctors (in Ontario) have immediately put her on chemo and she is looking at a week(s) long stay in the hospital for starters. The aggressive level of response doesn’t fill me with optimism since everyone is already talking “acute” and at the same time are making comforting noises about 70% survival rates. This is a tragedy however one looks at it.

I had a friend who died a couple of years ago of “chronic” Leukemia, and he lasted 12 years after diagnosis. Most cancer stats only talk about the “5 year” survival rate. My friend and I, we talked from time to time and often thanked God that it wasn’t “acute” because in that mercy God gave him time to get his life together and get right with his family, his responsibilities, and eternity.

My  niece belongs to that part of our family (the majority) who don’t believe in GOD or anything spiritual except for a couple of New Age, Wiccan witches and animist shamans who are thought of as “cool” by the atheist majority. Anything remotely resembling Christianity is reviled, mocked and pitied.

As for that “moral philosophy”, that world view which informs most of the extended family’s thinking, I think “delusional” pretty much covers it … the 70% 5 year survival rate stats include all those many sufferers of “chronic”, with likely the “acute” victims falling into the 30% no one likes to talk about. Nuf said.

Some of the elder members of this godless clan have been contemplating their eminent deaths and departure from this mortal coil to their various rewards over a spectrum of acceptance and panic alternating with anger and self pity, so to suddenly discover that one of youngest of the clan is in mortal peril in an area where “this world” is notoriously short on success and/or comfort has been rather a bombshell blasting through the worshipers at the pool.

We will continue to pray for their conversion and for my niece to recover in spite of the mortality stats. I also pray that she discovers something beyond this world before it is too late.

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

I have been reluctant to post lately because the muse I have relied on for years has been “of this world” and mostly focused on what is “wrong” with this world, all the things that annoy and irritate us, or at least they annoy and irritate me. I have been indulging in much thinking and contemplation on what matters and what does not matter.

Broad categories are becoming apparent. This World and Eternity, the Presence or Absence of Christ, the Resurrection or not, awareness of love of GOD and of love of Self and their opposition, love of the created versus love of the uncreated, the mystical body of Christ and the mystical body of Anti-Christ. Things like: What defines Christianity and Christians? What defines Antichrist and antichristians? Why does it all matter?  I am currently focusing on 3 things …  the Trinity, the Resurrection, and the Real Presence of our Risen Lord, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist … the Trinitarian GOD, the Resurrection of our Lord, and the Real Presence of our Lord and Redeemer in this world.

I will try to keep these parts to around 2 or 3 thousand words per post because I don’t think anyone reasonably wants to read much more than that at a sitting, and I’ll start with the mystery of the Trinity.

For quite a few years, in my limited understanding of the Blessed Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the quintessential Catholic mystery has been aided by a metaphor of “images”, as in photographic images as created and produced by human’s but elevated to absolute perfection as God’s thoughts.

The analog of the flat 2D photo recording the “thoughts” and “affections” of the human creature is embraced to help one understand, as much as humanly possible, a concept of Divine Trinity.

Even in our own imperfect way we have a mental image of the loved one like a photograph in our mind. God, who always was, is now, and always will be in the eternal now, is perfection defined, all perfection, all goodness, and God’s “thoughts” are so perfect that His mental image becomes substantial, that is real in reality as a real person.

God’s first thought was about Himself, since there was nothing else but God “in the beginning”. That thought, of Himself, was so perfect that the thought substantiated as the Son, begotten of the Father. Immediately the Son and the Father regarded each other with a love so perfect that it substantiated as the Holy Spirit, the spirit of perfect love. So in the beginning there was only The Blessed Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now, I would like to highly recommend a book of Carmelite meditation, “Divine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. I really can’t say enough good about this book, and it has made a huge difference in my life. It is available at Baronius Press. It is worth every penny. I am quoting now from “Divine Intimacy (pp 637-638)” what is perhaps the best explanation of the Blessed Trinity that I have encountered anywhere, any time.  I am quoting it in full because it is so profound:

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God, the sovereign, infinite Good, is self-sufficient. He finds all His happiness in knowing and loving Himself. Because he is the infinitely perfect Being, knowledge and love are essentially fruitful in Him, and from this fecundity comes the mystery of His intimate life, the mystery of the Trinity. The Father knows Himself perfectly from all eternity, and knowing Himself, He generates the Word,the substantial Idea in which the Father expresses, and to whom He communicates, His whole essence, divinity, and infinite goodness.

Thus the Word is “the brightness of the glory and the figure of the substance” of the Father (Heb 1,3); but He is a substantial brightness and figure, because He possesses the same nature and the same perfections as the Father. From all eternity, the Father and the Son contemplate and love each other infinitely, by reason of the infinite, indivisible perfection which they have in common.

In this eternal love, there is a mutual attraction, a mutual giving of Themselves, one to the other, diffusing Their whole nature and divine essence into a third Person, the Holy Spirit, who is the terminus, the pledge, and the substantial gift of Their mutual love.

Thus the same nature, the same divine life circulates among the three divine Persons: from the Father to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity is therefore the mystery of the intimate life of God, a mystery surging from the most perfect operations of knowledge and love by which God knows and loves Himself.

More than any other mystery, that of the Trinity shows us our God as a living God, as One whose life is essentially fruitful, so fruitful that the whole divine nature and essence can be communicated by the Father to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Spirit without any loss or diminution, all Three thereby possessing the same infinite perfection.

This mystery, above all others, reveals to us the perfection of God’s goodness. It tells us that God is good, not only because He is infinite Good, but also because this infinite good that He is, is communicated: from the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit. Whereas in works outside Himself God communicates His good only partially, in the bosom of the Trinity He communicates it integrally and necessarily, so that his intimate life consists precisely in this eternal, necessary and absolute communication of His whole good, His whole Being.

The mystery of the Trinity teaches us that in God there is a boundless, inexhaustible ocean of goodness, love, fruitfullness, and life. Precious knowledge this, because more than any other, it enables us to develop a sense of the infinite greatness of God.

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The Black Gate, Lord Of The Rings, The Return Of The King

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

In an older time, from my own family tree, when life was often short and even brutal, bigotry was more overtly common, virulent and not selectively restrained and restricted to a few targeted religious minorities by PC considerations and fear of retaliation and violent reprisal, and of course, literacy was not widespread amongst the common man outside of their spiritual life in the church, but ancient prayers still survived from the very first years of Celtic Christianity.

Celtic crosses in an old Irish cemetery – Mark E Tisdale

There were prayers still, from the time of my Celtic Forefathers, the third period of Celtic Druidism, and they survived over the years into later centuries, under English Protestant persecution. Powerful prayers, that had come down from ancient times and which are now lost to most modern peoples, prayers abandoned along with the sacraments and the worship of GOD by the progressive humanists of our “polite” self-worshiping society.

By the way, an excellent book, available on Amazon.com as an eBook, on the topic of “Self Worship” is  Paul Vitz’s “Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship”. A trenchant analysis of modern psychology, an enterprise that Paul Vitz maintains has become a religion, a secular cult of self, now part of the problem of modern life rather than part of its resolution.

Virtually rewritten, this second edition of the original 1977 text takes into account much of what has happened in the field of psychology during the past nineteen years. Two completely new chapters are also included — one on education and “values clarification” and the other on New Age religion. Paul C. Vitz is professor emeritus of psychology at New York University. His other books include Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious and Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism.

Anyway, where was I, O ya … “Ancient Prayers” …

Sometimes called “The Deer’s Cry”, this is one of those prayers, translated from Old Irish around 1898, to be read aloud as a morning prayer, attributed to St. Patrick (ca 433?)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
(“I Arise Today”)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Domini est salus, Domini est salus, Christi est salus. Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum. (Salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of Christ. May thy salvation, Lord, be always with us.)

OMNIA AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM

Joe

Empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”. The Lord patiently knocks at our door. Will we let Him enter?

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The Inner Struggle

From the Point Of View Of Spirit …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

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The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516

Today I have used images taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Niclaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516.

I will not just copy everything they have to say about it but suffice to say go on over and visit it and read the article, it is worth one’s time to understand better the past history which contributed to Western European Civilization’s rise, especially since we are in such a hurry to blow it all away in our modern progressive wasteland.

So after the last blogpost it might appear we have swerved off the road, but in fact all of the items, objections, observations, and situations complained about, and judged, and questioned in that post are firmly rooted in my own biases, attractions, beliefs, and narratives in and about this material world.

In short, my ego, my “self” is intimately enmeshed in all my observations and conclusions, MY plans, MY dreams, MY opinions, MY understanding. I don’t believe that I am uniquely blessed. I believe that we all share these attachments to the material, especially if we strongly believe that this time based material reality is all there is.

Viewed through my human nature, all these things are ultimately important, but viewed through my soul nature they are really seen to be unimportant and irrelevant, mere distractions on the path. And yet … and yet … we insist on refusing to see what is right before us. We dive into the unreal and forsake the real for the sake of our passions, our tastes, our desires, our egos.

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Grunewald – Isenheim Altarpiece – First View

Barabbas is in each one of us. We are scoundrels, experts in selfishness, boasting, lust, violence and greed. We are bandits, taking God’s many gifts and ungratefully neglecting them and squandering them.

We take for granted the most precious realities of life: family, life, nature, health, faith, and the sacraments.  We squander our talents, our money, our time, and the love others offer us.

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Grunewald Isenheim Second View

We are quick to criticize and judge, to steal others’ honor and sully it with our moral and intellectual myopia. What do we, who are so flawed, so weak, so slow to repent, and so reluctant to serve — what do we deserve?

Certainly not God’s love, certainly not his continued forgiveness, certainly not redemption, hope, peace, and heaven. Strictly speaking, we deserve to be cut off from the kingdom against which we have so often rebelled — just like the murderous insurgent Barabbas.

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Grunewald Isenheim Third View

And yet, Jesus overlooks what we deserve. It is Passover, and the angel of justice passes over the sinner to wreak his punishments on the Lamb of God instead. Look at the Lord with the eyes of Barabbas. Is there any heart that loves you more than His Sacred Heart? Is there any heart more trustworthy than the heart that died so that you might have abundant life? John Bartunek, LC, ThD.The Better Part”, pp321

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Grunewald’s Risen Christ

We insist on refusing to see what is right before us — we refuse to see reality through the eyes of our spirit/soul — we clutch at our “self” and our passions, appetites, vices, and sins, because, as Screwtape says (about half way down one of my posts): “you must remember that he (us) takes Time for an ultimate reality”.

As we walk through this “valley of death”, this mortal world full of evil both without and within, we find that the closer we cling to the visible, material, temporal vision, the more we fear.  Because when you really look at everything around us, the happenings, and events, and personal relations, and national relations, the EVERYTHING in TIME, the more we fear.

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Mathis Gothart Grunewald’s “St. John The Baptist” illum oportet crescere me autem minui (Vulgate, John 3:30 ), “He must increase, but I must decrease.

Because, if we actually pull our collective heads out of the “sand” (or wherever) the more we have to acknowledge that there is not one damned thing we can do about any of it and if this is all there is then we may just as well end it all. If this is all there is then what is really the point? 

This morning I visited another WordPress blog which I follow at “Finding Hope”  Often I am encouraged and given hope reading what this person writes. This time I found there a story specifically about this struggle with “What’s The Point”. It brought me to tears and to prayer:

A Prayer of Sorrow

” I have fallen, Lord, once more. I can’t go on. I’ll never succeed. I am ashamed.  I don’t dare look at you. And yet I struggled, Lord, for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.

But temptation blew like a hurricane, and instead of you I turned my head away. I stepped aside, while you stood silent and sorrowful. Lord, don’t look at me like that.

For I am ashamed and sorrowful. I am down, shattered, with no strength left. I dare make no more promises. I can only stand bowed before you.

 Come, Child, look up. Isn’t it mainly your vanity that is wounded? If you loved me you would grieve but you would trust. Do you think that there is a limit to God’s love? Do you think that for a moment I stopped loving you? But you still rely on yourself.

 You must rely on me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly. You see, it’s not falling that is worse, but staying on the ground.”

Wow …

If we are not careful we find ourselves angry with God because “He is doing this to me!” and we can’t bring ourselves to recognize our own failings and faults, and that God is not really “doing this to us” but just watching us sorrowfully from His eternal NOW as we do these spiteful things to “punish” Him.

And then consider how much of what we do daily is out of spite and passive aggression.  Spite at family members, spite at neighbours, spite at friends, spite at groups of people we “have a bone to pick” with, spite at other drivers, spite at other folks in public places or in the news, spite at professional groups, anyway, you get my drift.

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Matushka Juliana Schmemann, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Our spiritual point of view completely obscured by passion , resentment and pride, so we do and say things we later regret or find are mistaken in their target and intent. “Every evil screams out only one message: “I am good”! And not only does it scream, but it also demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: ‘You  are good, you are freedom, you are happiness’ “(Father Alexander Schmemann)

All of these passions painting layer upon layer of darkness on the vision of our soul/spirit, completely obscuring reality. These “little sins” of spite, of holding grudges and passive aggression until vengeance be meted out are really great big sins of pride, of our ego, of needing to be seen and heard and esteemed, even by God, if we still remember Him.

My mother (God rest her soul) went to her grave, “died unshriven”  as they say, or bás a fháil gan sagart” as our Irish ancestors would say, that is “not having confessed sins to a priest and been given absolution”  after 32 years of rejecting God and the church and the sacraments. Because she just couldn’t accept that God’s plan for her life did not align with her plan for her life. After my father died, at 57,  my mother (always a very stubborn woman) rejected the church, priests, God, religion, holding out for her plan, until vengeance be meted out.

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Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In her early life, although we were poor, she did her best to raise us children so that we never wanted for anything essential, even including making our clothes.  She looked out for us with devotion and worshiped my father as her eternal love.  She died a unhappy woman at 92 still holding out for the material reality of her plan and rejecting the soul/spirit view of eternity.

God gave her 32 more years after he took Dad, to come to an understanding of reality and we discussed it and argued about it countless times for 32 years. I must have been a real pain in the ass when all she really wanted was to be left alone in her bitterness.

In some ways she reminded me, in the last 30 years of her life, of “The Old Woman and The Onion” fable which appears in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov“.  My mother refused to give up her narrative and her plan regardless of the cost.

And all that misery and bitterness because she took TIME for reality and could never bring herself to accept that this world didn’t matter, that she had to give up HER plan for life and accept God’s plan:

15Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2, Douay-Rheims Bible)

We would be better to write poems of Love to God:

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Ah, Love, let us be true to one another!
For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

(Mathew Arnold, English Poet, 1822 — 1888)

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“An Taiseirl (The Resurection)”, Noirin Ni Riain and The Monks Of Glenstal Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube”, (1996)

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Inuit Snow Goggles

It seems obvious at this point what reality is and what the choice is that must be made, between a short syllable of time or all eternity, to devote our short lives to chasing happiness and success in this world or take off our goggles and pursue eternity.

But in order to detach from the important material things which fill up our lives and leave us bitter and afraid we have to abandon our “self”–ishness and trust God. Selfishness is rooted in “FEAR” of loosing something good for ourselves or missing out on something which might make us happy, or whatever … we often do not even know what it is we are afraid of loosing or missing out on, but we are sure someone else is getting it and we are not.

The main obstacle or hurdle to overcome when approaching the spirit/soul point of view is self love. It is immensely difficult to develop detachment from this world while fully immersed in the pool of self love where this time based world is everything.

By immersing oneself in the world of spirit, outside time and space, where everything material is unimportant we are able to appreciate and understand just what an infinitesimal part of reality is the part with time, which we choose to believe constitutes all of reality.

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Air Force One

So we have to give up our self and trust God, a difficult target when we have so much trouble trusting our family or our friends, or the folks at work or at the corner store.

Trust; trust God, who knows us so much better than we even know ourselves since he conceived us and created us and he loves us more than we love ourselves and he wants nothing more than our absolute happiness and well being. He knows what we need.

So in conclusion (for now)  “LET IT GO!” We have to move from “My will be done” to “Thy will be done”. Our future depends on it. Salvation does not arrive on Air Force One. Or any other means of conveyance.

Cheers

Joe

 

100-canadian-landscapeWe fight the long defeat because results are not as important as our Father’s delight. We fight the long defeat because we are not the authorities over “success.” We fight the long defeat because the final victory is coming.

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