Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Satanic attack on the family: The truth will set you free. (5/5)

No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other” [Matthew 6:24].

When we are committing sin and not letting go of it, we are slaves to it no matter how clever we justify ourselves in pretending that we are free. "Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin" [John 8:34]. Our loving God calls us to his light, away from a life of darkness. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" [John 8:12]. Yet he calls us to love him freely without overwhelming our free will.

God's call is his grace to us, and our positive response to grace can only begin with humility. Without humility we can do nothing good. We remain instead self-absorbed, self-justified, and self-righteous. Only by humbling ourselves, we can respond positively to God’s call and start walking toward freedom in the light of truth. "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" [John 8:31]. Yet being humble is itself a given grace.

If you are not aware of God's grace within you, kneel in front of a crucifix, the symbol of grace, love, and humility, and speak to God with whatever comes to your mind. You will find yourself saying words like these: "My God I don't even know if you exist. I don't even know that I want to turn to you. I am so attached to my way of life that I find it so hard to turn to you. My will is not yours, and my actions and thoughts are far from yours. But God, if I am lost in darkness let me hear your voice and show me who I am and what have I become, enlighten me from within and have mercy on my distorted will. Cover my shame with your mercy and give me humility so that I may see the light of truth and have the new will to turn toward you. I have nothing to offer other than my sins, disbelief, and mistrust in your ways, but if you are truly here and can hear me, then save me from myself. I ask for humility so that I might have faith and live." When you are done speaking, listen for days to come.

God’s grace is sometimes infused directly in our souls, such as when we suddenly gain a new insight from within, that brings us joy in sensing God's presence and we simply and easily let go of what bonds us and turn toward the light. At other times God chooses to reach us through our senses such as seeing or hearing something or meeting someone that draws us closer to God. Since the gift of self is the greatest gift one can give, the greatest grace that we would ever receive is Christ. Humility is a state of awareness of who we are and what we are capable of doing. We need first the grace to be humble and then we will be more receptive to receive all other graces from God.

If you are dwelling in darkness, humble your heart and respond to the one who made you to be his beloved son not a slave. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” [Matthew 11:28-30].

Our Lord Jesus Christ says: "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and the one who knocks, the door will be opened." [Luke 11:9-10] And once we are God’s we are assured that no one can take us out of his hand (John 10:28).

Satanic attack on the family: I love you more. (4/5)

When Adam first saw Eve, he said: "A man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh" [Genesis 2:24]. When Jesus was asked about divorce, he responded: "From the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate" [Mark 10:6-10].

Today, divorce is very common and in some cases, I must admit, it is necessary. However, my focus here is on those who disrespect and humiliate themselves and their spouses even prior to any divorce. How did our Lord respond to them?

A woman was once caught in adultery and was brought to Jesus, and he was asked: "Teacher, . . . In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say" [John 8:5]. "Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' She replied, 'No one, sir.' Then Jesus said, 'neither do I condemn you. Go and from now on do not sin anymore" [John 8:6-11]. And so must we do, throw our stones on the ground, walk away, and leave the accused ones to God, since none of us measures up anyway.

Jesus knew that the woman's accusers were not interested in seeing her repent but condemned. It does feel good to condemn in others the wrong we see in ourselves. He wrote on the ground, probably their deepest hidden secrets, so that whomever looked at the ground to pick up stones and heard the words of Jesus, realized that God knew their hearts (John 2:25).

Jesus did not excuse the woman's actions. Instead, he tied her sinfulness with the sinfulness of her accusers, and hence her fate with their fate. He sent them away reflecting on their thoughts and actions in lieu of judging others. He sent her un-judged, saving her life, instructing her to go and sin no more. He called her and them to step out of darkness into the light. But how can one go and sin no more?

Human beings can only let go of something they love by loving something else more. To go and sin no more, she must love a higher beauty, a higher truth, and a higher good, more than she loves her sin. She must love someone more than she loves her sin. She must look at her sin and look back at God and say, “God I love you more.” Each one of us must look at all that surrounds us or come our way and say “God I love you more.” That is how we follow Jesus commandment: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” [Luke 11:27].

Satanic attack on the family: The greater good. (3/5)

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” [Genesis 1:27]. We therefore always seek what we conceive as good, beautiful, and true. We may at times choose evil but never intentionally. For example, although God’s way resides in forgiveness not in revenge, when we are offended, we may choose revenge convinced that we are doing the good that our enemies deserve. I believe in absolute right and wrong, but people will always choose what they think is right although it may not be. The same is true with beauty and truth.

Even when we make wrong and evil choices, we make them not in order to seek evil but rather to seek what we consider is good. Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree because they were convinced it is "good for food [goodness], pleasing to the eyes [beauty], and desirable for gaining wisdom [truth] " [Gen 3: 6]. In the same way when men or women leave their spouses in pursuit of new lovers, they do it seeking what they justify to be good, beautiful, and true, although it is far from it all.

We are created to seek what is good, beautiful, and true, secondarily, so that we may love and enjoy God’s creation "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good" [Genesis 1:31]. Primarily, we are ultimately created for God who is the source and summit of beauty, truth, and goodness and we will continue to thirst and hunger in life until we are united with God: "Our heart is restless until it rests in you [God]" (St Augustine)

When we pursue goodness, beauty, and truth outside God's will for us, we are settling for a less; i.e A lesser good, a lesser beauty, and a lesser truth. For example, a child is given two pieces of chocolate and told to share one with his sister. On his way he thought to himself: "It is so good to eat them both" (i.e. a lesser good), then he thought again: "I will instead share one with my sister" (i.e. a greater good). We can see right away that a greater good requires obedience, trust, discipline, sacrifice, selflessness, but most of all love of others. Has he chosen the lesser good, the child would have satisfied a temporal desire. By choosing the greater good, he has brought himself and his sister one-step closer to each other. It is not that the purpose of a greater good is to achieve a higher reward, rather it is chosen out of love and expects no reward but love itself.

Adam and Eve, by choosing a lesser good, loved themselves more than they loved God. Men and women, who leave their spouses for others, love themselves more than they love their spouses and God. But what are we to think of them? By excusing them, we would have excused the pain and suffering that they have caused their spouses and children? By judging them, we would have ignored their suffering in enduring what they considered loveless painful relationships. It is in these situations that we turn to our Lord for guidance, in his sacred scriptures and in his Holy Church.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Satanic attack on the family: God is Love. (2/5)

What does it mean for a Christian to say "I have faith"? Even angels of darkness believe in God. So then why is faith so important for a follower of Christ? The Christian Faith is a trust in God's ways. It is a trust that God is sovereign over all things, and that even when things do not go our way, we trust that God is in control. The Christian faith is a trust that God loves each one of us unconditionally. It is a trust that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." [John 3:16] But how does God love the world?

When I said to God, "Look at this man and look at this woman, look at how angry they are with their spouses and their children, look at how badly they treat them, look at the verbal and physical abuse they put them through, look at the lust that drives and justifies their actions, look at their hatred and their self indulgence and self justification ... crush them Oh God and revenge their spouses, crush them almighty God and avenge their children . . . Justice demands it."

God answered me: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believe in the name of the only Son of God." [John 3:17-18] But again, what does that mean?

God is saying telling me that he loves this man and this woman whom I am asking to be shunned by him. He is telling me that he is the God of mercy and his ways are not our ways. God is loud and clear "Georges, I love this man and I love this woman. I sent my only Son Jesus to save them and not to condemn them. Not only I love them, I love them like you love Alexander and Maya and Michaela even when they wrong each other. If you can imagine your love to your three kids, you would have begun to scratch the surface of my eternal love to this man and this woman that you bring before me."

I asked God, then why do they do what they do? He gave me an image of wolves hunting in the desert, roaming and searching for the weak sheep who have strayed from the flock and the shepherd. He showed me how the wolves lock their feigns into their necks carrying them to be devoured. Then he said: "This man and this woman are my sheep, and although they are farther from me than you are, I love them just the same. Satan's jaws are locked around their necks."

"Do they have hope?" I asked. "I am Jesus their only hope" he answered. Then he added: "The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God." [John 3: 19-21] That is they have hope only in their capacity to trust in the light, to trust God and seek his truth. That capacity is given when we pray for them. If we judge them, then our salt has lost its taste, we are called to love them and pray for them with love, so that their darkness may turn into the light of Jesus.