The Master Painter

 

 

JESUS does not take away our crosses — He helps us to carry them.

So often in suffering, we feel God has abandoned us. This is a terrible untruth. Jesus promised to remain with us "until the end of the age."

 

OILS OF SUFFERING

God permits certain sufferings in our lives, with the precision and care of a painter. He allows a dash of the blues (sorrow); He mixes in a bit of red (injustice); He blends a bit of grey (lack of consolation)… and even black (misfortune).

We mistake the stroke of the coarse brush hairs for rejection, abandonment, and punishment. But God in his mysterious plan, uses the oils of suffering—introduced into the world by our sin—to create a masterpiece, if we let him.

But not all is grief and pain! God also adds to this canvas yellow (consolation), purple (peace), and green (mercy).

If Christ Himself received the relief of Simon carrying his cross, the consolation of Veronica wiping his face, the comfort of the weeping women of Jerusalem, and the presence and love of his Mother and beloved friend John, will not He, who commands us to pick up our cross and follow Him, not also permit consolations along the Way as well?

Prepare Your Heart!

WITH URGENCY I write this tonight… we must put our hearts right with God. We must look squarely at our sin, and repent of it — leave it behind, at the foot of the Cross.

CONFESSION… we must go regularly. St. Pio said every 8 days. Pope John Paul II said every week. Once a week… come to the Father, pour out your heart, and let him speak words of forgiveness and healing. Why be afraid of so great a gift?

I can hear objections. But it is more important than work. More important than kid’s soccer. More important than watching television. Our soul is more important than these things.

We must prepare our hearts to receive a great Light by ridding anything in our heart which would create a shadow.

IN REPLY to someone who wrote, doubting that God could speak through the violence of nature:

    Creation belongs to God, and as such, he has the right to assert his presence when and how he pleases. We know from the revelation of Jesus Christ, and of scripture, that God is not just loving, God IS love. Thus, he is merciful, patient, and forgiving. But he is also just, and because he is our Father, scripture teaches that he also disciplines us.

    Neither does God force humanity to love him… but the wages of sin is death. In other words, humanity reaps what it sows. If we sow destruction, that’s what we reap, both naturally and spiritually. Continue reading

DURING prayer today, a word came to me…

    It is no longer the eleventh hour. It is midnight.

Later on around noon, a group of women prayed over Fr. Kyle Dave and I. As they did, the church bell tolled 12 times.

AT MORNING Mass, the Lord began speaking to me about “detachment”…

Attachment to things, people, or ideas keeps us from being able to soar like an eagle with the Holy Spirit; it muddies our soul, preventing us from perfectly reflecting the Son; it fills our heart with other-ness, rather than with God.

And so the Lord wishes us to be detached from all inordinate desires, not to keep us from pleasure, but to enrole us in the joy of heaven.

I also understood more clearly how the Cross is the only Way for the Christian. There are many consolations in the beginning of the sincere Christian journey–the “honeymoon”, so to speak. But if one is to progress into the deeper life toward union with God, it requires a self-renunciation–an embrace of suffering and self-denial (we all suffer, but what a difference when we permit it to put to death self-will).

Didn’t Christ already say this?

Unless a grain of what falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. –John 12:24

Unless the Christian embraces the crosses of life, he’ll remain an infant. But if he dies to himself, he will produce much fruit. He will grow into the full stature of Christ.

FROM the first night of the St. Gabriel, LA parish mission:

    Pope John Paul II seemed to speak as the eternal optimist — the glass was always half full. Pope Benedict, at least as a Cardinal, tended to see the glass half empty. Neither of them was wrong, for both views were rooted in reality. Together, the glass is full.

TODAY’s best line on the tour bus (writing from St. Gabriel, Louisiana):

Mommy, I lost my gum!

Where is it Greg?

In Levi’s mouth!

JESUS continues to send me to near empty churches… but there is at least one lost sheep in attendance. This I am sure of.

Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn't leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? –Luke 15:4

AT times God seems so far away…

But He is not. Jesus promised to remain with us until the end of the age. Rather, I think there are times when He draws so near in His transfigured brightness, that one’s soul squints until it closes its eyes. Thus, we think we’re in the dark, but we are not. The soul is blinded by Love itself.

There are other times also when the sense of abandonment comes because of adverse trials. This too is a form of Christ’s love, for in permitting this particular cross, He is also preparing for us a tomb from which to rise.

And what is supposed to die? Self-will.