Posted tagged ‘perspective’

Saint “Enemy”

April 18, 2013

Saints are my heroes
and–praise God!–
my friends.
Their lives radiate
who I long to be…
and what God has said He wants
for me.

God does not will
the mess we have made of ourselves.
He thirsts for our restoration
(with our participation).
He’s giving us time
to turn our lives around:

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some imagine,
but deals patiently for your sake,
not willing that any should perish,
but that all should return to penance
~II Peter 3:9

He wants us safe
in the truth that sets us free (John 8:32):

For this is good and acceptable
in the sight of God our Saviour,
Who will have all men to be saved,
and come to the knowledge of the truth
~I Timothy 2:3-4

More,
He desires our holiness, our glory,
the splendor of righteousness!

For this is the will of God,
your sanctification
~I Thessalonians 4:3

The just shall shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of the Father
~Matthew 13:43

But we all, with unveiled face,
beholding the glory of the Lord
are being transformed
from glory to glory
by the Spirit of the Lord
~II Corinthians 3:18

The glory of God is man fully alive,
but the life of man is the contemplation of God.
For if the manifestation of God
which is made by means of the creation,
affords life to all living in the earth,
much more does that revelation of the Father
which comes through the Word,
give life to those who see God.
~St. Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, IV, 20, 7: PG 7, 105)

As we become who we are,
we glorify the Lord
Who glorifies us!

…but God doesn’t just want this for me.
He wants it for every man, woman and child He’s ever created…
including the people
who try my patience,
get on my nerves,
frighten me.
That doesn’t mean they’re not saint material!
Saul (greatest persecutor of the Early Church)
became St. Paul (see Acts 9).
St. Paul & St. Barnabas had a falling-out over John-Mark
(Acts 16:37-39).
The list goes on.

It is a serious thing
to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses,
to remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person
you talk to
may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now,
you would be strongly tempted to worship,
or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet,
if at all, only in a nightmare.
All day long we are, in some degree
helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.
It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities,
it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them,
that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another,
all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations
– These are mortal, and their life is to ours
as the life of a gnat.
But it is immortals
whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit –
immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

And since God is eternal,
what will be
(in my time-limited experience)
already IS
for Him.
He doesn’t have to wait.
He can name His own
now
according to their final destiny.
He knew Saul as St. Paul
from the foundation of the world.
He knows my “enemies”
(and those I’m tempted to look down on for any reason)
for the glorious saints He created them to be.

I tried it on for size,
putting “saint”
in front of the names
of people I know–
myself, for starters
(I’m responsible for my own sainthood first!),
then the easier ones,
working up to the names that make me wince.

St. N., St. N., St. N…

Let it be, dear Lord.
And may the way I think of
and treat these people
help them to become
the glorious, winsome, inspirational saints
You created them to be!

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Storms: Lift up Your Heads

May 12, 2010

One thing God’s been working on is changing (or trying to!) my perspective. Instead of seeing difficulties as threats & cowering and/or getting defensive (my usual reaction), He wants me to see them as challenges and rise to them by His grace. “Let not your heart be troubled” -John 14:1 (He’s been rather insistent on that point!) “In quietness and hope shall be your strength” -Isaiah 30:15

I was blessed with a mother who loved storms. Yes, if there was a tornado warning, she’d bundle us down to the basement, but for an ordinary storm, she’d take us to the window with the best vantage point to watch the lightning show (God’s fireworks) and feel the power of the thunder. I’m trying to look at the storms of life that way, as exciting, bracing events that show God’s power and further His work in my life (this little flower needs rain & fertilizer!). “Lift up your heads and see, your redemption is near at hand” (Luke 21:28). After all, we have it on God’s authority that He will always give us a way out of trials (I Corinthians 10:13) & that He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). He’s got us covered.

God calls us to be soldiers (II Timothy 2:3-4; Ephesians 6:10-17 is all about the armor He’s provided), especially through our Confirmation. He calls us to look to Him as our Commanding Officer Who knows the battle plan, and Who already has the victory (John 16:33, I Corinthians 15:57). A soldier (unlike a civilian) expects to fight. He may be ambushed, may be surprised by the timing or location of any given battle, but the fact of conflict itself is no surprise.

There are no civilians in the spiritual life. We’re either soldiers or prisoners of war.

I’m sure I’ll forget & need to be reminded of this, but it’s helped my attitude a couple of times already in the past few days.

Onward, Christian soldiers!


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