Daily prompt -Saintly Strength

As a boy I never thought of Saints as strong men.   From my perspective they were odd,  usually poor,  meek, they didn’t care about power, physical strength, wealth, fame.   These were all the things I DID care about.

Even though I had a strong attraction to God and spiritual concepts I gradually moved closer to things of this world.  Saints were not something that interested me other than to acknowledge that they were Saints; some unachievable status granted by the Church.

Then, the world turned on me, as it usually does.  In very difficult circumstances, I realized what friendship really meant.  I realized that this world is temporary, not just in the life or death sense, but even more so.  It is temporary by circumstance.  One day you are healthy and successful, interesting and sought after – and overnight you find yourself very sick, weak, unable to defend, so you are taken advantage of, betrayed and in need of Mercy.

Saints, of which I am certainly far from, have a different, permanent strength.   They are there when the world turns on us.   They can be called on for Mercy.  They love us unconditionally, no matter our circumstances.  They can be beaten, tortured, burned alive and they do not change.

Saintly Strength is true Strength.   This Strength is offered to us.  It is not easy to receive but it’s there when we needed it – all we need to do is humbly ask.

 Saintly   

Please let me know your thoughts…

Stress killer – what’s yours?

We have fun ways to escape stress.  The bar, or any reason to have a few with “friends” is clearly popular.   Food and TV – that’s a good standby or how about Food, TV and Wine.  A healthier version is to knock yourself out at the gym.

These are short-term escapes and some come with baggage.

Usually, escapes don’t kill stress.  They just move it out-of-the-way for a little bit.  Whatever is the cause will certainly materialize again.  It’s the people in your life;  your kids, your spouse, parent expectations, the boss that give your stress staying power.   We don’t want to let them down.  We don’t want to fail in their eyes.

It’s in times of extreme unbearable stress that we look for a higher power.  We want to be saved, we want hope of a future, we want redemption, we want forgiveness.

And, it is possible.  Stress is ultimately created through desire and attachment to the things in this world.  You DO Not have to become a cloistered monk – and even they are not immune.

Do your work the best you possibly can and at the same time practice detachment. Do not define yourself through your work – rather honor God with it.

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.  ~ Tao Te Ching 9

Who doesn’t want a life full of wealth, independence and joy.  We strive to achieve this and provide security and opportunity for our families.

The secret to killing stress is to learn to detach from these pursuits. Continue doing them; don’t let them define your value.  You are Loved regardless of your status, wealth, or independence; embracing this, believing it, kills stress and provides joy.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.anointest: Heb. makest fat
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Psalm 23

When you reach the point where you can fight no longer, there is no way out – stop and surrender your Self and your Desires to the Lord.

Do your work do your best and then step back.  It’s all you can do and you are Loved for it.

Learning

Our best teachers  start a fire inside us. The fire will last a life time if you tend to it.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

Watch this Amazing 103 year old women –  still loving the life long learning of Dance

Learning, unlike a degree,  is life long and makes life long.  The more you learn the more each minute is lived.  Each scene, each emotion, each relationship is enhanced through your leaning.

Learning keeps you young.  Tending to that fire of curiosity keeps our mind and spirit active.

Learning is the path to the gift of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom.  Wisdom is within-accessible to all of us; is a gift to us.  This spirit becomes more accessible if we humble ourselves and seek to learn.

The curiosity to learn a new skill, sport, discipline, hobby – keeps you alert, on on the right path and away from the stress and damage of pride and arrogance.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:29

Help Anyway

The person on the corner is just trying to get money for booze or drugs.

The refugee family is in another land…

For I was hungry and you gave me no food,I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say,

‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘

Amen, I say to you,what you did not do for one of these least ones,you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment,but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25: 41-46

It is natural to rationalize reasons to stick our routine and our comfort zone.

We here our leaders announce that the immigrant and refugees are not welcome unless we can be sure they are safe and won’t hurt the economy. We agree that the beggar on the street should seek out the mission or church for goods and services.

If you believe what Jesus has to say on this issue – it would be better to err on the side of taking the perceived risk to help those in need. The risk of ignoring there cries is far greater.

So what are actions that you and I can take.

Call your local shelter or look up their website – ours provides practical suggestions for directly helping the poor. I found that handing out money is not recommended but handing out granola bars and bottled water is helpful. I found that not all will be grateful or accepting – don’t let that bother you, they may just be having a bad day.

Write to your political leaders at the State and National to encourage a more open policy to immigration and refugees. Many times, the families have no way of being vetted as they cannon prove anything about their background. There is a solution which gives them a chance for peace and safety to build a new life- that solution has risks.

I am sure there are many more ideas. Please leave yours in the comments section.

Are you your “self”?

Control yourself!

Our Self is a troublemaker. It is our self that we must learn to control and ultimately detach to connect with life.

Self discipline, Self Denial, Die unto ourselves – who is this self and where did it come from and why does it seem to lead us astray?

It easy to get lost in yourself. Through consumerism, busyness of daily life, achieving financial security, getting the most likes or followers on social media, selfies we are Self Zombies.

Yoga and meditation have helped people detach and tend to the eternal now that exists within. The energy and awareness that exists when you sit and let the daily concerns, relationships and even your own identity detach from you. By observing them, in a detached way, you begin to feel the eternal, the source, The Way.

The Christian Self must die in order to live.

Jn 12:24 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

There are many similar passages. It sounds troubling but it really comes down to conscious detachment from the ego and your self desires to become bigger than your self.