Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pilgrim

"All these died according to faith, not having received the promises, but beholding them afar off, and saluting them, and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.  For they that say these things, do signify that they seek a country.  And truly if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless time to return.  But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city."

Hebrews 11:13-16

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Arvo Part - Festina Lente




Advent

Advent is my favorite liturgical season of the year for many reasons.  One major reason is that it balances the themes of penance and joy.  The season is penitential because we are waiting for Our Lord and without His Birth, we are living in the darkness of sin.  However it is joyful because we know He is coming and He will be coming soon!

As I drive around and notice all the Christmas lights and decorations around town, my heart warms to know how many people love Our Lord and celebrate His Birthday.  Even if many of those who are celebrating are doing it for "secular" reasons, their hearts are wired to Christ and they are doing all of it for Him, even if they do not know it.

I spent my first twenty-one years in darkness.  I celebrated Christmas for all the wrong reasons however Christ showered His Mercy on me and brought me into the Church in 2013.   As I begin this Advent, the thoughts of "why me" have come into my mind.  Why did the Lord pull me off the hellward ship that I was going on?  I am a horrible sinner who does not deserve to be in the comfort of the Church.

Oh Lord, please continue to guide me into the only place I really want to be, Paradise.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Marriage

“A marriage which does not constantly crucify its own selfishness and self-sufficiency, which does not “die to itself” that it may point beyond itself, is not a Christian marriage. The real sin of marriage today is not adultery or lack of “adjustment” or “mental cruelty.” It is the idolization of the family itself, the refusal to understand marriage as directed toward the Kingdom of God. This is expressed in the sentiment that one would “do anything” for his family, even steal. The family has here ceased to be for the glory of God; it has ceased to be a sacramental entrance into his presence. It is not the lack of respect for the family, it is the idolization of the family that breaks the modern family so easily, making divorce its almost natural shadow. It is the identification of marriage with happiness and the refusal to accept the cross in it. In a Christian marriage, in fact, three are married; and the united loyalty of the two toward the third, who is God, keeps the two in an active unity with each other as well as with God. Yet it is the presence of God which is the death of the marriage as something only “natural.” It is the cross of Christ that brings the self-sufficiency of nature to its end. But “by the cross, joy entered the whole world.” Its presence is thus the real joy of marriage. It is the joyful certitude that the marriage vow, in the perspective of the eternal Kingdom, is not taken “until death parts,” but until death unites us completely.”

– Fr. Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World