He Knows Not How

There are over 7 billion people living on earth right now, which fact may lead you to wonder if you – little, tiny you – really matter in the grand scheme of things. If you’re like me (you know, human) then it usually feels like you don’t. The world is a mess and you don’t see how you can make it any better, you often feel like you don’t make any difference at all.

Last weekend, in the Scripture passages for June 17, 2018, the roughly 1 billion Catholics in the world (including me) were given a chance to wake up to reality and offered a glimpse of our true worth.

seeds

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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

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The Mystery of Suffering

You know you’ve asked this question before.  Many have.  And I am asking it now, but – well… I’d first like to start with a little thought on the wording of this question.  Do “bad things” exist?

To quote GK Chesterton as he paraphrased Saint Thomas Aquinas: “There are no bad things.  There are only bad uses of things.”  That is to say that God doesn’t create things that are bad or evil.  God looked upon all that He created and saw that it was good.  We human beings, however, often use the things that God has created quite poorly.  The very first human beings did this when they consumed something that wasn’t meant for their consumption.  And, yes, because of that freely chosen break from Divine Will, that Original Sin, we have suffered a separation from God and live in a fallen world.  There is evil in the world – but the evil isn’t a thing.  A mutated gene is a thing.  A tumor is a thing.  And, if these are things, and there are no evil or bad “things,” then are mutated genes or cancerous tumors “bad”?  Sacred Scripture tells us, “We know that God makes everything work for good for those who love God….”[1]

If we truly love God, then we trust God.  And if we trust God, then we are able to allow God to make things – even our great difficulties and sorrows – work out for our good.  We might not be able to see what that good is, especially in the midst of our tribulations.  We are, after all, limited, too small to see the big picture that is God’s Masterpiece.  But, loving God and trusting God, we believe in God’s promises.  We hope in what we cannot yet see.

That’s the first thought that I leave you to ponder.  In the pondering, think of how we can make our own natural sufferings worse. Continue reading

Lasting Words: The Gospel

What good news would you share with the people who will mourn your death?

This is an important question to ask if you, like me, want to plan your own funeral ahead of time.  I have no idea when my last day on earth will be – but, I do know that there will be a last day here.  That’s why I decided to write the blog post, Preparing to Die in 5 Easy Steps.  In my recent posts, I have shared the Bible passages that I want read at my Funeral Mass: Old Testament reading, psalm, and epistle.  Now for the Gospel – the Good News.

And, yes, the reading (continue to the end) is about Heaven, about life after death – but… with a twist.  The twist is that this particular reading, taken from St. Matthew’s Gospel, helped me to finally understand that Christianity isn’t all about what happens after you’re dead.

Christianity’s focus is about how you live right here, right now.  It’s about whether or not you know Christ and have encountered Him in the flesh.  In Christianity, having a divine experience, having a living relationship with God, isn’t relegated to the afterlife.  Because God is here.  God is here among us – right now.  Do see him?  Are you even looking?

HomelessnessDo you care?

Because, right now, God is living in your neighborhood, lonely, sick, and suffering.  God is hoping that you will, as my grandmother might say, “shiv a git” and drop in, even just to say hi.  Right now, God is holed up in the corner of a filthy room, having not eaten for two days, her mother strung out and wasted on heroine, waiting for you to knock on the door, to call protective services, or to become a foster parent – to do something.

What are you doing?  What am I doing?

Some people think that disabled people like me need religion as a crutch and a comfort.  But, even though I seem to be one of the needy ones, I am also called to give – not just to receive.  Christianity, in reality, is more of a challenge than a comfort.  In fact, if you are comfortable in the living of your Christian faith, then you’re probably not doing it right.

I’m not doing it right, I confess.

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

But, the good news is that we have one.

And our Savior isn’t far away on some candy sugar mountain waiting for us after death so that he can pat us on the head and say, “That’s okay, you didn’t have to listen to me.  You didn’t have to look for me on earth or go out of your way to care.”  Nope.  That’s not how it’s going to play out.  At the end of days, our Savior is going to tell us one of two things.

Either: “I remember you!  Thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for sacrificing and being brave enough to comfort me, to take care of me.”

Or: “Who are you again?  I don’t remember you.  I’ve never seen you before.  Where were you when I needed someone?”

Homelessness, poverty, Boston

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Lasting Words: Psalm 139

What Sacred Scripture do you want read at your funeral?

Continuing with the divinely inspired words that I want to share with those who will grieve my death, whenever that will be, (for more, click here) I turn to my favorite Psalm.  God knows that I strayed from Him in my life, seeking truth where truth was not – yet, God was everywhere that I looked and I could not see Him.  God was with me – and Mysteriously, in me – all along, and I denied Him.  I tried, as some ancient sages have written, to run from my feet….

Thankfully, God is merciful!

road, country road, searching, wheelchair, journey, path, disability

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Lasting Words: The Book of Wisdom

Sacred Scripture on Beauty and Truth….

For the first reading at my funeral (read more about that HERE) I would like these words from The Book of Wisdom proclaimed.  This is God divinely understanding primitive beginnings of finding Him – understanding my own primitive ignorance, when I did not believe in Him and, yet, sought the truth through science alone.  I have always wanted the truth and been drawn to Beauty, loving the beauty of the natural world, even in my ignorance of God.  God was speaking to me – and I recognized Him not.  God is merciful.  (It is clear to me now how Saint Augustine was inspired to write what he wrote on the Beautiful One.)

When my body is in attendance at my last Mass, I want all people in attendance to be filled with the same desire of truth that filled me in my earthly life – and to receive Wisdom from God, as I mercifully did while I still breathed within God’s beautiful Creation of the natural world.  Let us  have mercy on those who still do not know the fullness of reality, that they may come to know God and the fullness of who they are as God’s beloved creatures!

(In case  you’re wondering, yes, I am working on my book – although this is prescheduled,  I trust in God’s mercy that progress is being made.  I will be checking on the comments, so please bug me! 🙂 )

Fire, coastline, nature, Book of Wisdom

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Leaving with These Words

Last year,  I had several health challenges that reminded me, yet again, of how fragile and fleeting my life is.  Having been born with a rare disease and living all of my life with severe disability, I have always know that my lifespan would be limited.  But, how limited?  What will be my last year?  When will be my last day?

This is not something to obsess about, but, last year, I did realize that it’s okay to think about one’s death and to plan for it.  This is actually a good and beautiful thing to do.  I even wrote a blog post called Preparing to Die in Five Easy Steps.  One of these steps was to plan my own funeral.

Bible, funeral, Mass, church

I gave a lot of thought to what readings I would like to have read at my Catholic Funeral Mass, but didn’t finalize my choices until nearly the end of the year, when I heard a reading from the book of Wisdom, which I wanted, instantly, as my funeral’s first reading.  Everything else flowed from there.

And, now, I want to share my chosen passages of Scripture with you, dear reader.

As this is being posted, I am supposed to be busily working on my first book.  I prescheduled this post and one for every week of February in order to free me from distractions while I write.  The blog post for February 1 will feature the first reading for my funeral.  February 8 will feature the Psalm of my choice, February 15 will contain my selected epistle (Second Reading) and February 22 will reveal my chosen Gospel passage.  Taken together, these readings from Sacred Scripture tell a little of my personal story, my follies and my faith, my love and my hope, as well as give prompting and encouragement to all who will hear them to seek beauty and truth, finding God.

Seek and find the One who is Beauty, the One who is Truth.  Find and be found by God, who intimately and infinitely loves each and every one of us – and in loving Him, be fulfilled as the wonderful, blessed human being that you are uniquely created to be.

© 2018 Christina Chase


Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

Scripture Quotes on the Mind

Tree, earth, light, Creation

I left you (last week) with this thought:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2

I wondered how this might be the key to letting God love me – and the key, in so receiving Real Love, to authentically loving myself and others in my ultimate joy.  So… let me think… Continue reading

Scripture Quotes from the Heart

I’ve been trying to find a biblical quote to put on the wall of my bedroom.  In researching passages (focusing on the heart) I decided to share a few here with some reflections.  (This idea is inspired, in part, by my friend’s “Scription” at DonnaMaria.org.)

Heart, windowpane, cross

From Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

 

What do you treasure?

Would do you hold most dear?

For me, my treasure is my family.  According to this Scripture quote, therefore, I think that means that my heart, the core of who I am, is with my family.  My identity and my very being is intertwined with loving them and being loved by them in our interactions, our relationships.  If what I treasured was wealth or fame, then I would be caught up in money, possessions, and other people’s opinions, linking up my identity with them.  And I can see how that wouldn’t be good.  Either way, however… I see that I would be treasuring finite things. Continue reading

A Word of Encouragement

Sometimes, I seriously wonder if I’m doing the right thing.  Writing my life story, blogging, trying to build a social media “platform” – is this what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?  I don’t know how much time I have left, after all…

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What we are called to do in life, I believe, is to live well.  But, this doesn’t mean the advertisers’ version of living well: fine dining, cruises, laughing with healthy looking friends, and so glamorously on.  To live well means to LOVE.  Therefore, my intellect and worldly accomplishments (whether big or puny) are not what matter most.  The loftiest thoughts and most eloquent words in the world don’t amount to anything truly worthwhile, certainly nothing eternal, unless they come from a heart of real love.  It’s like that famous Bible quote from St. Paul, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”[1]

I know that I do love.  Always have I been filled with a love of life.  My commitment is to, with the gifts that I have been given, love God with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love the people in my life – and perfect strangers – as God loves me, through Christ Jesus[2].  I will be, and am, tested in this love every day, and sometimes I fare worse than others.  But, I am devoted to persevering.  Though I may fall, Lord, may I rise…

Hearing the following words, also from St. Paul, gave me a nice little kick where I needed it recently – for,we all need direction in our lives, encouragement, and community.  (The Bible, I’m learning more and more, is great for that.)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy: 4 (emphasis added.)

Thanks, Paul.  I needed that.  🙂

More words from the Saint next month – words that made the old pagan in me very happy.

© 2017 Christina Chase


Photo credit: “Communication” © 2017 Dan Chase, All Rights Reserved

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:1

[2] Luke 10:27

The Atheistic Questions: Genesis

Saw this classic on a preview for a TV sitcom:

“If God made Adam and Eve and they had Cain and Abel, then where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from?”

Genesis Roelandt-Savery

The little girl preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation seems to have bewildered and flustered her “very Catholic” mother with this question. But, any “very Catholic” person should know the answer… Continue reading