Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Do You Take God’s Love: With Attitude or Gratitude?

Taking something away can be an act of love.


Imagine a child who likes to eat chocolates before going to sleep. His mother, knowing that those chocolates will ruin his teeth, will take them away. It was an act of love on the part of the mother. But how would the child react to it?

First, the most common, would be he will get angry. The child might think that his mother is being wicked because she is taking away the source of his pleasure. Or he might think that his mother is a dictator who wants to impose her rules on everyone.  Or he might think that he is being punished by something he did before.

Second, a rarity, would be that the child would be grateful. He sees and understands the action of his mother. He understands that his mother has to take away what pleases him for a greater good… saving his teeth.

Most of us only think that God loves us when things are going our way or when we get what we want. As long as everything is pleasing to us, we feel loved by God.

But God’s love goes beyond what is pleasing to us. God’s love goes beyond our selfishness.

God’s love wants the best for us, even if we don’t want it for ourselves.  God want to save our life in this lifetime and most especially in the next. He will take away want needs to be taken away to save us. Like a mother taking away a chocolate to save her child’s teeth. Or a doctor cutting away a cancerous foot to save the whole leg.

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” – Matthew 18: 8-9

God is love. He does not just act loving, He is love Himself. Nothing comes out of God except love. So everything He wills or permits come from His love.

Our pains and suffering were permitted by God’s love for reasons only we shall know when we are with Him in heaven.

God continually heals us from our fallen nature, from our sins. And sometimes, part of the healing process is something being taken away. To heal the alcoholic, one must take away the source of his disordered pleasure and addiction, the alcohol. The alcoholic cannot completely recover until he is to sacrifice his alcohol.

Maybe God is taking something from us right now to bring us to a better place, or to make us a better person, or to save our souls.

God will not take something away from you just for the heck of it. He loves you too much to mess with you.

So in abundance or desolation, let us be grateful.

For we are eternally loved by God. And that will never change.

So let your attitude be of gratitude.

It’s the way to happiness: Contemplate the Trinity

It is time to shout to the world that the Trinity is first and foremost joy and happiness. And contemplating the Trinity can overcome the great unhappiness of the world.
God is happy! St. Augustine says that God is happy and makes people happy. Happiness is part of the very mystery of his being. Being the highest good, he is also the highest and infinite happiness. St. Francis of Assisi exclaims, “You are joy; You are … joy” in his “Praises of God.”
God is happiness for the very same reason that the Trinity is happy: because he is love. Happiness, in fact, is to love and be loved. God, from all eternity, loves his Son with an infinite love, and the Son returns that love with an equally infinite love. The Father finds “all his pleasure,” that is, his happiness, in him. Since God is happy, he does everything that he does with joy: he creates with joy (see Job 38:7), he saves with joy, and he even suffers with joy.
The Holy Spirit, pouring the love of God into hearts (see Romans 5:5), at the same time pours into them the happiness of God that is inseparable from this love. Because of that, one of the first fruits that is produced in our souls is joy (see Galatians 5:22). The happiness of God is like an overflowing river “whose streams make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46:4), i.e., the church.
We all want to be happy. Just hearing the word “happiness,” people perk up, so to speak, and look to see if, by chance, you are able to offer something for their thirst. This is the one thing that unites all people, without exception, whether they are good or evil. No one, in fact, would be evil if he or she did not hope to be happy through that evil thing.
We carry the desire to be happy engraved on our hearts, because God has created us in “his image and likeness,” and since he is perfect happiness, he made us for happiness too.
But then, we ask ourselves, why are so few people truly happy? And even those who are, why are they happy for such a short time? It is not difficult to discover where the error lies. Scripture tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8); people have believed they can reverse the statement and say, “love is God”! Revelation tells us that God is happiness; again people invert the order and say, “Happiness is God”!
But what happens when we do this? Human beings do not know happiness that is pure, absolute, eternal, and transcendent, just as they do not know absolute love. They know fragments of happiness, which are often reduced to temporary intoxications of the senses, joys that are like fragile glass that always risks being shattered into fragments from one moment to another. In this way people deify the experience of joy and make it an idol.
This explains why whoever seeks God always finds joy, while the person who seeks joy does not always find God, but often finds only broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Augustine says, “you have made us and drawn us to yourself.” It is the whole Trinity that has made us; the Trinity is the Creator-God of Christians. We have been made for the Trinity, and our hearts will be restless until they rest in it.
Written by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a well-known Franciscan Capuchin preacher and writer. This is adapted from his book, Contemplating the Trinity, a series of meditations given to the papal household of John Paul II. Click here to read an excerpt.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Do It Anyway" - Mother Teresa

 “a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta.”

"Do It Anyway"

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.