God Is Not Angry!

 

Cross in a blizzard art by jozef chelmonski 1907
Art by Jozef Chelmonski (1907)

 

Our God is different than we think. We have all heard of a God who demands atonement, a God who is just and wants restitution for the injustice he has been suffering. But our God is not justice. Our God is love.

We don’t need to reconcile God to us. God is reconciliation itself. God has never turned his gaze from us. It is we who have turned away from him. God had been waiting for us all along. No, not only waited. . .God has run to meet us with such overwhelming proofs of his love that it ought not possible for us to close our eyes to them.

It is not for us to appease God’s anger. God is not angry with us. Love is not resentful (1 Cor 13:5). It is, rather, God who tries to calm humanity’s anger. But he hasn’t been able to, since humanity is still angry at God. Has there ever been a time like our own in which humanity has been so cruel toward God? God is accused as never before: “What kind of God is it that allows for so much evil?”

Much of this human revolt against God is in reality directed toward a caricature of God—a God who seeks to judge, a God who looks for the first opportunity to punish. Such a God is only to be feared or despised.

But a God who hangs defenselessly on a cross, and who—with arms outstretched in a worldwide embrace—tries to unite all people with himself and one another, such a God is not hard to love.

 
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone at this trying and unprecedented times with COVID-19 Global Pandemic. . .
May God’s strength, healing and peace be with us all and the whole world!

 

Tend to the Seed of Faith in Your Heart

 

mustard seed art by jane n
Art by Jen Norton

 

Doubt and despair have their deepest roots in a fundamental distrust of God. It is quite often a long journey before a human being is truly convinced that God really wants the very best for him or her.

As long as your heart remains unconvinced that the one who has created  and sustains you, loves you and leads you, through whatever happens, you will not find lasting peace.

You have several resources with which you can help yourself toward a firm belief in love. You can try to confront your doubt by emphasizing trust and confidence; you can open your heart to receive testimony and preaching about God; most importantly, you can listen to God’s own word.

God’s preeminent message is that he is love. This message is in itself effective and active. If you listen to it openly, it will reach your innermost recesses.

Emotions of love will not reach the core of your being; only faith does that. The capacity for faith is like a small seed laid down in you. To some extent, it is up to you to decide whether weeds and drought are to suffocate the faith when it begins to sprout. You have within you an ability to turn your gaze toward God and turn yourself over to him with trust. Then the seed will flourish.

 
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

All Creation Is in God

 

hourglass 2
Hourglass, art by Akiane Kramarik

 

The world is fundamentally good. Everything is in God. The world is sacred, because it is created by God at every moment. You don’t have to go away from creation in order to find God—creation is God’s symphony.

God and the world are not opposites. God did not create the world at one time long ago and then leave it to its own destiny. Wherever there is a creature, there the Creator is present. As perfume spreads fragrance, so creation goes out as a fragrance from God.

You are, at all times, surrounded and swaddled in the love of Christ—you are created in him. All that you do, you do in Christ. This is why sin is so repugnant. When you sin, you abuse creation and force God to live in a soiled temple. When you dishonor a creature, it is the Creator you offend.

If you open your eyes and see that God is in everything and that everything is in him, you no longer need to seek him far away or ask yourself whether he is really near or not. If you have an authentically contemplative attitude, you no longer place yourself outside of life. Rather, you see right through everything and find God hidden in everything.

Every moment God creates all you need; all you have to do is to receive everything from his hand. If you learn to see the innermost meaning of creation, you will always find reasons for thankfulness.

 

~ A meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

 

 

 

Known and Loved From Within

Radiant Christ by anne chapin
Radiant Christ art by Ann Chapin

 

A miracle happens every time we open ourselves to the love of Jesus, every time we allow the light to enter and shine through us. Light exposes all that is impure in our hearts, and the impure becomes light. The one who discloses his or her darkness to Jesus will see it changed into light.

If Jesus only knew us from the outside—as a doctor knows the illnesses of patients—we would not, in spite of everything, be completely set free from our inner loneliness. But he knows us from the inside as well. He has been up against the reality we experience. Jesus knows from experience how tempting the way that is not God’s way can be: “Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested” (Heb 2:18).

Even though Jesus has not sinned, he has carried the sin of all humankind, yet not on his shoulders as were it a strange and unfamiliar burden which really didn’t impact him very deeply. No. He has carried this sin in his heart. Sin has entered and impacted him deeply. He has experienced—infinitely more than any of us who are sinners—how much sin hurts. Precisely because it was his nature to be one with the Father, the abandonment from the Father was, for us, an incomprehensible abyss of misery.

Jesus knows from within. No one knows us as well as he does. He is the only one who can change our darkness to light.

 

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Love Is Not an Ideology

 

roses and me
Art source unknown

 

Many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, are aware that love is the only transforming power in the world. But they believe in love the way they believe in democracy.

The love we Christians profess is not an ideology. Saint John writes in his first letter: “We have known and believe the love God has for us.” (4:16). This love is a personal relationship. We don’t believe the world is changed by ethical principles, however noble these may be. The Apostles’ Creed consists of twelve fundamental pronouncements about God’s love for humankind. All of the Scriptures, all of Christian theology, is nothing but an explanation of this love.

Through faith, you know you are loved by God with a creative, respectful, unique, and personal love. God calls you by name. God knows your joys and disappointments, your weakness and strengths, hopes and feelings. “You reach out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways… You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” (Ps 139:3,5).

The hardest thing for a human being is to comprehend that he or she is loved by such a love. Your whole life, every hour of prayer, all your spiritual reading, ought to deal with making this truth come alive in you. If you know yourself to be loved, you will radiate this love to the world.

 

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to All!

 

 

Love Chooses a “You”

 

Watching a star
Art source unknown

 

Love, true love, is always directed at concrete people. Love is never anonymous. Love chooses; love doesn’t love an unknown mass.

God also chooses people onto whom he focuses his love. God wills that all people be saved, but he doesn’t begin with all. He chooses one man, Abraham. And Abraham becomes a people, Israel. Israel becomes the Church, the people of God, and the Church shines throughout the world.

To choose and be chosen is a characteristic throughout the Bible. God chooses someone from among the anonymous multitude and pours his love and gifts of grace over this person. From this person, love will in turn stream out to others.

If you want to live in love, you can’t begin by loving all of humanity. Start with your neighbor! Choose people you meet in your daily life. Love begins with a “you.”

The fire of love needs to spread all over the world, but its spark is always ignited in a relationship between two people. If you want to love everybody right away, you’ll end up loving no one for real. First, love the ones closest to you, then, through them, you may later acquire universal love.

 

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

The Lord Killeth and Makes Alive

 

Baptism of Jesus art by Val Bochkocv
Baptism of Jesus, art by Val Bochkov

 

When a person is baptized, he or she officially acknowledges no longer wanting to live an inauthentic life. The “old” is drowned in the waters of baptism, and a renewal person rises. Invariably, the “old” will try, again and again, to make its presence known. Complaints and protests rise repeatedly. But just as insistently you shall arouse your confidence, the confidence that the old egoism is truly and irreversibly dead, since, through baptism, you have united yourself with the death of Christ on the cross where he, once and for all, died to sin.

The “old” no longer has any real influence over you. It can no longer have any control over you. As much as the “old” may try to entice and ensnare you, you can no longer be manipulated if you only keep to your belief that in Christ you have received new life.

Many years may have passed since your baptism—years in which you have not shown any attention to God and the new life he has given you. However, these years have not been able to eradicate the transfiguring power of baptism. You can, at any time, activate your baptism by forgetting everything that is behind you and focusing on the new life you have already received. Perhaps, for a long time, you have let the “old” live on in you. But from the moment you take your new life seriously, the “old” is helpless.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

Happy & Blessed Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord!