Knowing God, following God

“There are two ways of knowing how good God is:
one is never to lose Him,
and the other is to lose Him and then to find Him.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen


(the Conciergerie or Prison in Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2018)

“It is, then, in following the will of God,
in spite of all the difficulties that may arise both from within and from without,
in the constant offering of ourselves to God as the creatures of His hand to do and to be
what He would have us, in the surrender of one thing after another that comes between us
and Him and holds us back—-
it is in such acts that we unite ourselves with those glorious beings
who cast their crowns before the throne and with those unfallen creatures who have
never known what it is to have a wish or thought apart from the will of God.

Amongst those glorified saints there are, indeed, many whose wills were for a long time
in revolt against God’s will and who brought themselves at last into subjection,
many to whom the will of God here on earth meant the sacrifice of everything the heart
most loved, many to whom it meant the sacrifice of life itself.

But all that is past and over, and its fruits remain—-
the eternal life of oblation and union with God, where one will rules those countless
multitudes and binds them together and to God,
where each one of those countless millions lives his own complete and perfect life yet
never jars on any other, where each is perfect in itself and all together
compose one perfect whole—the Body of Christ.”

Fr. Basil Maturin, p. 47
An Excerpt From
Spiritual Guidelines for Souls Seeking God

Should I go or should I stay…

Darlin’ you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Lyrics by the Clash

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(springtime visitor / Julie Cook / 2016)

“The call goes out,
and without any further ado the obedient deed of the one called follows.
The disciple’s answer is not a spoken confession of faith in Jesus.
Instead, it is the obedient deed.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Discipleship

They were busy…
preoccupied with the business of the day.
Counting, looking, figuring, chatting, organizing and arranging.
This day was like any other day…
just like the day before…
And it was safely assumed to be pretty much the same tomorrow.
Life innocently being life.

Friends, customers, coworkers were all coming and going…
each equally busy with the business of the day.
No one sensed that change was in the air…

Was the sun shining or was it overcast…?

It was most likely warm, dry and sunny…
Yet it appears the weather was not to be a factor…
Change was to come with or without the shining sun.

He was accustomed to folks passing by his booth.
Some would stop, having a need of his services, others would pass taking no notice.
Maybe that’s why he looked twice when the stranger approached him.

Was he tired of his business?
Had life dealt him one hand too many?
Or was it something else.
What could it have been about this stranger to have made him simply walk away.

He was a Jew who was accustomed to working with Greek speaking Romans…
yet took the money of the Hebrew Jews.
Why was this stranger, who was also a Jew,
who obviously had no businesses with taxes or a collector of such,
now stopping by his booth?

They had all observed a conversation between the two men.
No exchange of money passed hands…
Just what appeared to be a causal conversation…
Yet what could this stranger have said,
causing Levi to get up, leaving his money and his papers to simply walk away?

He walked away from everything he had known.
His business, his associates, his income, his dealings, his family…
He left it all behind, at his booth, in order to go with this stranger.
“Was that not the Galilean?” one was heard to ask…

We know there was an encounter…as well as a request…

Come…leave…follow…

That simple.
There was no haggling, no convincing, no defending, no arrangements.
Just a simple agreement and in turn, a walking away from the known…
while now entering into the unknown…

It is one thing when asked to simply respond with a causal “Yes. I believe.”
Or even a “yes I can” or “yes I will…”
It takes far greater courage to actually get up, leave, go and do…

The question we must all ask ourselves today–are we willing to get up, leave, go and do?

As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
Mark 2:14

Hey you…yeah you…what are you waiting for?

“God gave Himself to you: give yourself to God.”
Saint Robert Southwell

“Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”
St. Ignatius Loyola

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(a fussy youthful crow at the Cliffs of Mohr / County Kerry / Julie Cook / 2015)

You’ve been skirting around the issue forever.
Avoidance, deference, denial…
Yet it’s nagged at your heart, nipped at your heels and hounded your idle thoughts all these many years.

Oh sure, you casually said “whatever” years ago…figuring that was good enough…
yet deep down you knew, you always knew, more of you was wanted, needed, required.

Life was cushy enough with you just sitting on the fence, balancing that wire…
but now the swinging and swaying has grown almost impossible for you to keep your balance. You know a fall is inevitable but as to which side you fall, you’re still a little concerned.

One side requires all of you…which sounds like a lot of work and effort…”hummmm” you muse deep within…
…the other side…well, the outcome is touted as a bit dire. “Reckon they know what they’re really talking about?” you fumble over your thoughts like a handful of loose change.
You’re not so sure if you’re up for this whole kit kaboodle of giving the required all of you–
yet that other dark dismal world thing doesn’t sound like it has a very good ending.

You try not thinking about it, hoping it’ll just all go away–leaving you to live your happy little life…as the fence tilts more and more with you hanging on tighter and tighter.
You busy yourself, living life loud and large trying to drown out that nagging pull—
You bury yourself in your work, filling your brain with things other than the aching pull— hoping to ignore the slow throbbing pounding in your head.

You just don’t get it do you?
God is more determined and more patient than you—He’s waiting, but I think time is running out…
hopefully one day soon, you’ll figure it all out…before it’s all too late…

“Don’t you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart – and very often degrade it – leave all that and come with us in search of Love!”
-St. Josemaria Escriva

Will you dare to be the inspiration, the leader?

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“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams

Are you willing to lead others to inspiration, to fulfilling dreams, into the unknown, uncharted waters? Will you lead others to greatness regardless of yourself? Will you lead others to joy, to learning, to living, to laughing, to loving?

Are you willing to follow those who have a clear path or a jumbled way, those who make promises or those who offer falsehoods? Are you willing to take the responsibility or hand it off to another?

Dare to inspire, to offer hope, to encourage, to shape, to help, to mould, to assist, to love, to laugh –dare to be to others what you wish others would be to you and do for you………….
What new paths will you be taking this weekend………….