Monday, December 24, 2012

Sermon, St. Mark’s, LaGrange, GA, Advent 4, 12/23/2012


Micah 5:2-5a
Canticle 15
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

Here we are, just two days from Christmas and my sense of expectation is about to go through the roof. The family will all soon be gathering to exchange gifts and spend some time together, which is as I grow older, what I like very best about Christmas, just being together with my family. 

What are your expectations for Christmas?


This year I approached Advent, the season of approaching incarnation, with questions of expectations and the unexpected. I'm thinking of the Gospel of Luke's description of the unexpected pregnancies of Mary and her kin Elizabeth. Luke tells us, Elizabeth, barren and post-menopausal, "old" as the book reads, becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Mary, a teen aged girl, a virgin, also unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. How these unexpected events must have changed their expectations for life.

How must have Mary viewed this unexpected pregnancy, living in poverty, living in a land governed by a brutal occupation force which handed out crucifixions as readily as we today receive parking tickets. It was a common sight to see the roads into and out of Jerusalem lined with the crucified. How at times her heart must have been gripped with fear for bringing a child into a world of madness, violence and fear. 

And yet, amidst the fear and doubt of day to day living, from her mouth come these words, unexpected words, from some ancient expectation she carried in her heart, in spite of her trepidation and anxiety… her fear… come these amazing words, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on me his lowly servant.”

I don’t think this would be my expected response if I were in Mary’s place… I expect honestly my response would have been, “Why me Lord, why me?”


In these last days, of Advent, how many of us truly expect ourselves to approach an encounter with the One in whom the divine should come to us, as a human reality and experience? Who would expect the Spirit of God to be fully realized, incarnate, to us in human form, in the person of Jesus? Most of Jesus’ contemporaries expected the Messiah to be the great warrior prayed for in Psalms, as the mighty King with a sword strapped to his thigh and with countless sharp arrows to slay the oppressors of Israel. 

And yet, Micah describes the Messiah not as one who comes with expected greatness, but instead, unexpectedly, comes from “Bethlehem of Ephrathah who are one of the little clans of Judah”, the least of Judea, and who comes not to secure peace as one bristling with arms, but who, as Micah says, that instead “he shall be the one of peace.” 

Not exactly the expected solution to the violent Roman occupation.

How does this, unexpected Messiah, change our expectations for ourselves and each other? How does this unexpected God change the expectations of who it is we search out in each other? How are we expected to find resolution to conflict in ourselves and each other? 

The author of Hebrews reminds us, from Psalm 40, that God desires not sacrifices and offerings,
but desires instead a “body prepared for me”, where God’s law of love is “deep in my heart.”
“See I have come to do your will” Hebrews continues, meaning I and we have come to love God in loving our neighbors and unexpectedly, loving even our enemies alike.

Though Caesar rules over the Israel of Elizabeth and Mary, though this Caesar  calls himself the living son of god, though he calls himself the Prince of Peace, his god is Mars, god of war, and he is Mars’ son, and his peace is a boot on the throat, life held at bay by sword and spear point. His peace is driven home in the mind of Israel with nails and crosses lining the roads between Jerusalem and Bethany, between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Jesus is not the expected answer to the Lordship of Caesar or of Israel’s liberation from Roman occupation.


Four weeks ago, as we approached Advent, the final readings of the year for the Daily Office had the Gospel of Luke telling us about Jesus nearing his death in Jerusalem. The disciples have been told over and over by Jesus that he will soon die on the cross. Yet, the disciples will still view Jesus' death as unexpected.  This past week’s final readings in The Daily Office have been Luke’s telling of the Passion from which the disciples will later view Jesus's resurrection as unexpected joy from the sorrows of his death.

From his conception, to his life, ministry, teaching, death and resurrection, we can name him rightfully:

“Jesus, the Unexpected!”

Jesus, his life, death and resurrection are all things unexpected. His teachings, condemning the religious and embracing sinners, rejecting power and wealth, for the company of the vulnerable and poor, in the common thinking of the world, are all unexpected, of the Great Priest, Messiah and God, and are all leading us to different expectations of God's realm and judgment as being of compassionate forgiving, where we rather would expect God’s condemnation to be like ours in the way we might condemn each other.


A week ago Friday an unexpected horror and evil was visited upon an elementary school and community. And again the blood of the innocents was shed as a misguided offering, to some angry idol of mechanized violence… shocking us all. Seven who died will not celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. For the parents of 20 children, their expectations for Christmas are changed, by a grief, I cannot begin to imagine, and grief sure to be re-lived as they take away every unopened gift from a Christmas morning, now made much more quiet absent the joyful sounds of children tearing open packages. 

Sadly too, in the face of this and in no time, the spirit of the Accuser rose from his sullen pit and began finger pointing and laying the blame on one group or another instead of being silent as an offering of respect for the dead and the mourning. Sadly as well, there were the disrespectful voices of some preachers of lost faith, who instead of offering the compassion of the Lord, which as the Psalms says “covers all his works”… all his works… instead they slapped the mournful in the face, proclaiming in misbegotten voices that God had abandoned Sandy Hook as a condemnation, and that the promise of Jesus to remain with us always was somehow forgotten, was somehow lost in the hearts of these empty voices. 

Yet, we are people of faith who know God is not only in our midst, but that God is with us, and not only with us in our blessings, but shares in our wounds, in the wounds of Jesus. We know God is with us in Jesus sharing our suffering and sorrow. We know God is with us even in our dying, as Jesus shares in our dying. We also know that resurrection, new life, is with us in Jesus by sharing his resurrection with us through our baptism, and also in the comfort of God’s compassion, which covers all his works, given to us as a gift for us to give each other.

In a few moments we will come to the table and celebrate God’s great compassion for us in the breaking of the bread, the Body of Jesus, for which God exacts not vengeance, but instead gives to us as life to feed on, so that we may feed those in need. We will receive the innocent pouring out of Jesus’s sorrow, as life’s blood poured out and shared with us, for which God’s justice is mercy poured out, so we may better pour ourselves out and share ourselves with each other, in sorrow and in the joy of the New Creation.


Unexpectedly, God is with us in places where we least expect.

From Bethlehem, the least in Judea, Emmanuel, comes unexpectedly a peasant, poor and itinerant who will be given reign over the heart and soul of humanity. Emmanuel!

A girl born into the burdensome world of oppression, poverty and violence, will now bear an even greater burden, and still this girl’s heart is so full that her response to these burdens is “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”

She knows she bears the unexpected joy of healing and love within her, Jesus. And we, baptized by water and Spirit, know we bear Jesus inside us as well, as Jesus promises us,  the Spirit of love dwells within us. We are written into the scroll, the book of love.


In any loving thought and gesture God remains with us. In the face of evil, God remains in our knowledge of a love which ultimately overwhelms it.


By God with us, we reply to Mary’s song: we lift up the lowly, we fill the hungry, we live mercy by the promise of God’s love in us, and to every generation, from Abraham and his children forever, for us, our children, and their children’s children for as long as the sun shines in this world and beyond.


In every act of compassion and condolence, learned from the acceptance of our own suffering, God remains as our strength, and is in our strength, to persevere towards healing and our making what is wrong, right.


In every healing tear and every healing embrace, God’s joyful expectation is with us, deeply in our hearts, to heal and be healed. 

Come, God is with us!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From Silence Broken

Continuing meditations and reminders while on the way.

Most recent are 98-100.

1. After taking his vows and being vested in his habit, the monk sat in silence and came to know that should he dwell in the desires of arrogance, anger and condescension, he would be nothing more than a hanger for his habit.

2. He sat in meditation upon the ascetic way, thinking, perhaps if I act holy, then I will be holy. Mother Spirit then reached down. Taking his face in her hands, she looked into his eyes and and said, "Be holy and you will act holy." The monk asked, "What is holy?" She the Spirit answered, "What is Love?"

3. Jesus calls us to be disciples, radical as he. Paul calls us to dare to be radical, to actually consider changing one's mind, to be transformed. It is radical indeed to consider discipleship. It is radical to truly ponder changing my mind, my self-perception as unchanging, to truly consider I need changing. Be transformed! It is radical to love without forethought but as a simple response to The First Love. But be not hard on yourself. Most often the most radical thing to do is to simply Believe.

4. Must I forever remain a neophyte? God willing!

5. Do I prefer guilt over healing to avoid the painful cleaning of my wounds?

6. Of all the things we can do, mercy and charity will bring us quicker into the heart of God.

7. Compassionate love, love and kindness, is joy to the heart of God. Praying for those who despise you is a song in God's heart. Sing then! Sing a joyful song!

8.Obsess on nothing, not even God. Joy is known in pure simplicity.

9. Without ceasing is God born into us, and with us, in the great communion in union with all.

10. The sands of orthodoxy can bury the head and swallow the heart.

11. The monk sat in silence, but his mind was mulling which form of asceticism to practice. Many masters taught that by disciplining the body, the heart would follow. Many taught that by disciplining the mind, the heart would follow. He wrestled with these notions until he could think no more. In this quiet Spirit came to him. She whispered into his silence, "Your true ascetic is of the heart. The heart is the body and mind of the soul. This is where the ascetic heart is trained: you hear me with your heart, you see me with your heart. Where the ascetic heart leads, the mind and body follow."

12. The monk's true abbey is the heart. Otherwise, he's just a man in a dress.

13. "Forgive me" cried the monk, again and again and again. Lost in the duality of sorrow and guilt, he felt his faith wavering in such agony so as to lose it. She came to him, Spirit asked, "Do you not believe, do you not know? Faith can be lost. Don't you know what you experience? Knowledge of Love can never be lost and never forgotten. Would you rather have faith or knowing? Faith is the final veil of the mind, discard your faith so that you may know!"

14. I need not the desert of wind, sun and sand to temper my heart. Sadly, I have the desert of my compassion wherein to find myself.

15. Vanity is a shelter from fear, truth its destroyer.

16. There is only one thing I need to remember: God is Love, God is with me now and always. This is the course of my orbit and the song of my being.

17. Mother Mary, you first bore He who we all too must birth into this world.

18. Love is not a goal or a prize, but is a blessing, known, unknown and unfolding.

19. Christ is present in everyone. Practice is required for Christ to be realized in me. Practice realizes the Love and reciprocates the Love into the communion of humanity and creation, never fixed but ever gaining in the expanse of God's Love.

20. Without the purification of contemplation, I am but an empty bowl, forgotten on a shelf and full of dust.

21. If I fail to reciprocate and realize Christ Compassionate, my endless repetitions of prayer and scripture have less value than the endless summer croaking of frogs.

22. The tree of gratitude bears endless fruits of compassion: this is the Tree of Life.

23. Loving is waking prayer, is being Christ, one with one and all.

24. Justice isn't something to be fought for and won. As with Christ, justice is something which must be lived in our selves and realized in each other.

25. If I fail to move, to realize compassion, I am a hollow idol, in a box, on a shelf, in a forgotten closet.

26. Shimmering light is absent without the shadow's willingness to dance.

27. The Spirit is moving, be ready!

28. Finding God in our fragility, knowing God in our forgiveness and compassion.

29. Moving in The Mystery of Faithfulness: Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ is with us always.

30. "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (Matthew 21, Advent 1, Tuesday) What is my faith? Faith built on belief, belief built on knowing, knowing built on the experience of Christ. Then my knowing Christ should direct me towards asking faithfully in prayer what is true in my heart in response to God's love. Why should I pray for anything else but for the Father's loving direction, for Christ's loving compassion, for She the Spirit's loving wisdom? Why would God not answer this prayer of faith?

31. Liberate me, loving God, to love all creation in Christ, and to be free to be loved by all creation in Christ. Free to know your love in the earth beneath me, in the embrace of the sky and heavens above me, to hear your call to my heart in the red tail's cry, to feel your love in the rhythm of sea oats in the ocean breeze, to know and taste you in the ocean breeze, to see the power of your love in the Appalachians, to deeply breath in the perfume of your love in the rhododendron, to see it all in the last hanging raindrop on the blossom tip.

32. The answers gained lead me to more questions enveloped in the mystery of God's love.

33. The things I think I possess in truth would possess me.

34. Ignore the noise of certitude. All that matters in the journey is being in Christ.

35. My wrong choices are more easily forgiven. The choices of my ignorance are less so.

36. More and more through prayer, and in the intention of Christ, I'm finding myself lightened in the simplicity of true need rather than in the endless absence that is the vacancy, the emptiness, of desire.

37. I am finding myself increasingly at home, of simply being present in the mystery of God's love, unquantified and unfolding, rather than being in the thinking of attachment, possession and accomplishment.

38. Being held in the loving Spirit, the wonderful mysterious God of the cosmos, is my truest retreat.

39. At this later stage in life I am falling, no, I am in love with the Psalms. We in the West have tended to read, say, study, sing, or chant the Psalms, all good and lovely things full of their own merits. But now, finally, I sit and rest, I breath and pray with the Psalms. Praise be to the glory of our Living God's love for us all... Listen for Her tender voice, beloved world, listen.

40. I must remain careful to not allow my beliefs, seeking in themselves, to become names for God.

41. If I rest on the laurels of God's victory, the eternal power of love, then I practice a stagnant idolatry of my own self, and I fail to the whole point of God loving me: to love others. This would be an idolatry of the immobile tin god of selfishness, and empty praise from my hollow heart. The Living God is constantly moving in loving purpose and we in the Spirit must keeping moving to Love's purpose.

42. Regardless of where we come from, in the spectrum of light that is living in the love of God, we all speak the same language of Love's purpose. I don't hear or see different language or interpretations, just different dialects. My dialect is Christ and even in the dialect of Christ, there are countless variations of the same dialect, the same language.

43. The most tangible of Love's language is a sign language, the language of doing.

44. I am a foolish monk to wait on grace. Do I wait to breathe? Then how is it possible to wait on grace?

45. The question arose: "How can the Christianity be more relevant in today's world?" The Spirit, She answered, "Feed the hungry. Shelter the homeless. Heal the sick. Live justice and peace."

46. Again I say, and I'll say it again: Poverty is violence.

47. In Jesus' compassionate love, I pray for open hearts, open minds and open hands.

48. Poverty is violence and violence is the poverty of the soul.

49. The glory of love is not revealed until I experience its loss.

50. Meditations on Martin Luther King's "Poor Peoples' Crusade"

Poverty has never been a question of racial divide based on the color of skin but on the color of money. Poverty is the great tool, great weapon, of powers and principalities, used to keep us separated from each other and from Christ in each other. Poverty is violence of the most subtle and insidious form as it causes us all to be seemingly guilty by association. We can not let shame, guilt and misplaced desire hinder us, as we have Christ with us and in us; Christ to first allow us to forgive ourselves and each other, as one body in Christ, and to end the worldwide violence and tyranny of poverty. We have the God-given power to do this, the power to end the cycles of accusation and guilt, of fear and violence, by refusing to give in to the cynicism of the unnatural divide of human interests as being "black and white", "rich and poor" or "us and them". We who claim Christ must lead the way, as we claim the power of God's love to change ourselves and the world by our belief in God's love and therefore, our love. If we don't believe in Jesus, in realizing Jesus in the lives of the poor, then we deserve every criticism and accusation of superstition and hypocrisy made against us.

51. It seems we Christians, especially of the west, are woefully short when it comes to examining suffering and human suffering in particular. Whether or not this is residue from Augustine's confused embrace of Paul's struggles with morality is another topic to consider; yet it's unfortunate that at the moment of decision he flipped open his scripture to Paul instead of Jesus, which he took to be God's direction. It seems to me Jesus spent comparatively little time on morality, choosing to focus instead on human suffering, our roles in it, and the healing of it, through loving God and each other; the "morality" of intention and purpose, if you will. We would mostly rather talk about "sin" and "salvation", and numerous other code-words, than simply examine suffering, our part in it and the means to our being freed from our fear of it, it's impact on us and how we treat ourselves and each other.

52. Poverty is violence and in the truly rational mind and the spiritual heart, an abhorrent absurdity.

53. These are little prayers which came to me in meditation for receiving communion.

With the host: You feed me so that I may feed others.
With the chalice: You pour yourself out so that I may be poured out.

They remind me that I am but one step in the cycle of the communion with God, humanity and creation.

54. The road to hell is paved with certitudes.

55. The moment I think of myself as holy, is the moment I am lost.

56. One step at a time, then a few, then back, then around nearer, further and back, our lives are walked as a labyrinth.

57. The question isn't why the poor feel "entitled", as though a living wage is an entitlement. The question is why the powers feel entitled to make the poor suffer for their pleasure.

58. Who are you, or am I, to judge? We can overcome bad theology without resorting to the same belittling tactics and scapegoating used by extremists. In fact, we will only overcome the bad theology by first overcoming the bad rhetoric. There is no time for hyperventilated rhetoric. The time is now for options and solutions in our discourse. Even more, the time for discourse is fast passing, as we are now in a time for action in the care of those among us who are suffering in spirit, mind, body and economically: the actions that are God's justice and compassion. Jesus Compassionate calls us to act, not to judge.

This is a bittersweet time, yet full with emerging grace.

59. When I returned to the church, I wrestled with the liturgy's language and the Creed, I couldn't say the parts I didn't agree with, but eventually I did, and do, say them as a practice of humility: I just might be, could possibly be, wrong about some things. It is possible that I don't have all the answers. There are days when I don't want to go. I may be depressed or tired. But sometime we just have to show-up. You never know wonderful little thing may occur, a smile from someone who never does, or a hug from someone who never does but just happened to need one more than me and was willing to give it a try. You just gotta show-up sometimes, you never know what may happen.

60. The way of the prophets is hard to endure, yet graces the hearts of God's people with courage and love for all creation. The prophetic voice shatters hearts of glass.

61. God's call, and the prophetic echo, has always been liberation. Though it takes on different voices through history, the Spirit has always moved humanity towards liberty. We continue to move forward, as more people experience liberty, more people desire it. The more people desire it, the more they move towards it. Liberty, freedom, is the natural state of the garden, therefore, in a certain sense we humans are the last to evolve to it. But we will, it is inevitable, unless we completely destroy the garden before we can get there.

62. I think this is where the Spirit is leading us to ultimately.

People, from all around the world and different traditions will move past the ancient barriers of ideology, personified in brick, mortar and doctrine. Because we communicate now, literally "through the ethers" of electronic media, the barriers are dissolved. Because the barriers are dissolved we, the Church of Christ's communion of compassion, can make direct contact, right now, to accumulate help in addressing the needs of those who suffer around us. We who hear Christ's call to first value love, and loving God through loving each other, will ultimately move on beyond those who would despise, judge and ignore the pleas of the suffering.

It's only a matter of time before the regional "minorities" of disciples will look beyond their denominations, their regions to find each other and connect with each other. We will then realize, "Wow, the Church has been here the whole time, we've just been separated from each other." We, from our compassionate minorities, will join each other in a "super-majority": the loving, compassionate, justice bearing community Jesus promised us, if we but believe and do.

63. She the Spirit is rising and lifting us all with her. Powers and principalities are terrified, their minions' stocks are declining and with their declining influence, we are retaking stock of ourselves and each other. We go online (my blog is receiving as many hits from Russia as from the US), pick up our phones, and see each other, in real time, and see simultaneously, we are the same. We start to see that if we are the same, then perhaps we are one divided against ourselves, to someone else's profit. Eventually we say enough, we are one. We can therefore move as one. We can peacefully, as one worldwide community, communion, say to powers and principalities, with their machines of poverty and war, and say to them: Enough, we will participate in your illusion no more!

She the Spirit is moving. Can the church keep up? We must follow Spirit beyond the walls of stone and wood and beyond the walls of doctrine. If we must, we must leave preachers, priests and bishops behind. If we must, we must leave all the fearful behind with our sacrificial fears. We can simply follow God's call for loving justice. Pray and let Spirit remind you. Pray and be moved to remind me.

64. "Conservatives" are never good for national economies, good times or bad, as they only want to conserve their stranglehold on wealth. These professional "conservative" politicians and preachers function as agents for the wealthy elites, who have no desire to remove any more wealth than what they deem "necessary" from their clutches. If economies grow, then wealth is being removed from their clutches and then is distributed among the general populations, which is in truth, the sole purpose of capitalism: to generate flow of wealth through a society. Yet the wealthy elites, powers and principalities, would strangle economies for their purposes and strangle the individuals who make up economies. Think about this. This is not capitalism.

Poverty is collateral damage. Poverty is warfare. Poverty is violence. Poverty has never been God's will, as some think, or chance, or survival of "the fittest". Poverty has always been violence manufactured and sustained by human hands. Even by mine.

God help me, I have been so freaking thick. Mea Culpa.

65. I have a sense, a notion, that full integration of spirit and body, of prayer and work, contemplative and active, is what being a mystic is truly about, rather than the idea of being one who simply resides in the ethers. I am convinced that this is important in fully realizing the incarnation in ourselves.

It is seemingly a great struggle, and it is in the western mindset. Yet, as immensely powerful as that mindset is, that's all it is, a mindset; one to be transformed and restored to it's proper perspective of wisdom in the Spirit. Or as Paul puts it, we have a mindset to repent of, to be turned around back to the mindset of Jesus, of She the Spirit Incarnate.

66. The compassionate heart is an open heart: open to be emptied and open to be filled.

67. The religion Jesus lived on Earth excluded no one. All were welcome. All were welcome to his feast, his party, his journey. The only people who weren't there were the ones who declined to be there. They declined because ultimately they just couldn’t bring themselves to share in the heavenly banquet with everyone else Jesus invited. They would rather make up their own guest list and guidelines, to throw their own party, for their own kind. So when someone doesn’t want you at their party, the good news is that Jesus still excludes no one. Whoever you are, you’re invited here. All you have to do is show up as you are, mingle, take what you need, and pass the rest.

68. I suggest that perhaps relevance for Christianity as whole would be found in again discerning priorities indicated in Micah 6:8, Psalm 112:9, and Matthew 25: 31-40, and pray that we be so moved in our prayer, intention and application. I know of no other way to grow the Church in a more meaningful and sustainable way. I know of no better way to evangelize than in the compassionate way offered by Jesus: healing the sick, feeding the poor, comforting the afflicted, embracing the outcasts, joyfully taking the Good News out and raising up those who are dead in spirit and heart.

69. Could it be that the varieties of Scriptures and their meanings are not problems for evangelists, but rather for the literalists?


Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.
Psalm 61

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62

Into the heart of intentional compassion, into the transformed heart, these lead me.

71. We are evangelists. We are evangelists of the Compassionate Heart of Jesus. We carry the Good News that God is love, with mercy and fullness beyond all comprehension, beyond the boundaries of what our minds can conceive or imagine. We proclaim that the greatness of God's love is available to fill anyone who will accept it in humility and with contrite hearts, accepting the vulnerable truth of who they are: in being forgiven and in being forgiving. We invite you into the New Creation born in Christ Jesus. We call on you into the compassionate life, the life of receiving and giving, the breathing in and out of God's Spirit within you, the life of living love, the work of living love. We welcome you into community.

72. There are more manifestations of love to be known then there are stars to be counted in all the cosmos.

73. Hell is life lived within the constructs of fear.

74. How would we be as Christians if we spent more time loving in God, rather than in the playing of God?

75. My being an evangelist is not my bringing Jesus to you, or bringing you to Jesus. My being an evangelist is my simply loving you as Jesus loves you.

76. What a folly is my life as a Christian if I fail to finally find anything but the Christ within you. What a misery am I should I then fail to embrace you in worship of the Christ within you.

77. Jesus says the time is now to worship God in spirit and in truth. Then in his Spirit of love in truth, I must kiss the lips that just spit on me, I must caress the hand that just struck me, I must embrace the one who would kill me, I must truly love the one who would deny me God’s love.

78. What a vain fool I would be if I believed God would really stop loving you because I can’t find it in my mind and heart to love you.

79. It seems that there are times when fear is more than the natural response to a threatening world, there are times when it’s a weapon to fight fear with fear. Worse, there are times when fear is simply a justification to hoard and a license to kill. Most worse is when fear is worshiped as the cause for living and the meaning of life.

80. Fear is the idol and nihilism is its truth, sacred individualism its theology, and manifest greed its liturgy.

81. The fearful life bows and grovels before a sterile god.

81. Jesus, make me drunk in the wine of your making, a staggering fool in love from the strength of your vintage!

82. There are more facets to love than in the number of stars in the whole of the cosmos. Everyone can be a guiding light. Find one! Chart your course home!

83. Intention is the setting of my heart, the compass to the map of my life. Like a compass, I must keep it oriented to the way. The needle always points to Love’s morning star, to which my intention must constantly be aligned so to navigate the way when I’m taken off course by obstacles or storms. The rule is the mind’s map to my life, the means to direction on the way. As wonderful a tool as the map is, without the direction of my compass, my travel through the wilderness is at best just hopeful meanderings.

84. How can we be judged as wrong if what we do is loving? How can we hope to be right if what we do isn’t loving?

85. The question for us isn’t one of right or wrong, but of loving or not loving. Our true identity is love, as we are all truly God’s children to be known in our loving heritage and perpetuation. Compassion is the fruitfulness of our linage. Therefore, go forth and be fruitful.

86. We judge, Jesus does not. We are not called to judge, in fact Jesus directs us not to. We are called to strive in our love for everyone and to compassionately serve everyone. 

87. God is calling us to Live the true religion as compassionate lives lived to care for the vulnerable and the poor, and to live unstained by the greed of the world. God's mercy is in us, to worship in the spirit of Jesus' love, and in the truth of our giving.

88. If companies paid living wages, we could virtually wipe poverty out. Poverty isn't a law of nature, it's a human decision. Poverty is violence.

89. Slowly but surely, She the Holy Spirit makes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We need only to be willing to enter in.

90. You feed us Jesus so that we may feed.

91. People of peace are people of faith.

92. Know the joy of compassion! Live the joy of compassion!

93. She the Holy Spirit is moving in grace, compassion, wisdom and understanding! Have courage and be moved!

94. Compassion is the engine that pulls the mercy train. 

95. It may be said that all our transgressions are rooted in the inability to have compassion for one's own self. As my priest confessor always reminds me, "Be gentle with yourself." We do treat each other as we treat ourselves, a hard lesson to accept. We love God in loving ourselves, our neighbors and our enemies, even if our own worst enemy is our self.

96. It is love, compassion, which connects the dots of understanding creation as a loving act by a God named Love, rather than as a road of sorrow, suffering and despair tumbling towards a post-modern void. Where we see love, we see God. Where we live love we witness God. Where we know love, we know God. When we see the world through compassionate eyes, we view the world through God's eyes.

97. We, who know the presence of Christ in us, are blessed with new eyes to see the faces of God in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our enemies. In all we adore or may despise, God's glory is found in our love and compassion, found in our willingness to be vulnerable to God in the Other, vulnerable to God in me, and in thee.

98. Its not that I lose my faith but that I'm shedding my thin perceptions of faith.

99. The movement of my soul towards all that is good, all that is God, begins with the humility to accept God's judgement as none, as the mystery of mercy. Sometimes my ego is so large that even in my darkness I feel to big, my transgressions are too big to be forgiven. With humility I approach the Mercy Seat, the place within me, and us, ever untainted, which remains God's sole possession, the place in the heart where God reserves a place for the Godhead, the place from which forgiveness resides and from which we may all withdraw into and emerge, healed, restored and transformed, by Christ's love. If we are vulnerable to this place and to the tears of first regret, then mercy, then joy, we emerge from tears, like from the Baptism waters, a new people, realizing in the crux of that moment, this moment of sweet release, as the future moment promised to us, as now, right now, the living eschatology.

100. From the fields of my shame, by grace, grow the sweet vineyards of compassion.