The book of Jude

🌈 Important message about inclusion…
“In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19)

Who is dividing us more or doing more damage to souls out there than the priests and church leaders who have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit (unconditional love and mercy), and instead, teach the literal interpretation of scripture which divides, puts certain people before others, and marks some for heaven and others not so? If I may vent for a minute: The other day I was on the phone with a very vocal newly baptized born again Baptist. He not only told me that prior to getting saved he was going to hell (but now he is not) and that everyone in the lbgtq community is going to hell and all people from other religions are also going to hell. It was hard to listen to this because every ounce of me knew all he said was a lie. But what made it worse was that he had heard that kind of talk preached at his new church. I felt every word of his produced a death in me somewhere. So, let it be very clear: If you think you’re going to hell or live in a similar world this man does, you’re already there, in hell. I personally don’t believe hell exists outside of this world. God is Love and Mercy. God will NOT guilt you, nor does God want anything to do with your guilt. God wants you to notice God in creation and love creation, and God loves you no matter who you are. Your spirit was created in Love because of God’s Love and to Love your spirit will return. Period. Just be Love, because it’s the only Truth we know. I said my piece to that man on the phone with peace and love, and hopefully, someday he will remember my kind words to him and they will ring through the hell in which he is currently living. My prayers go out to him and to all others trapped by lies of hatred and division.

Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Needed me a little Robert Murray M’Cheyne this morning (19th century Presbyterian Minister—Edinburgh, Scotland). His pastoral letters supply a thirsty soul with living water. He knew the Bible so well and never failed to tie a small sermon into his letters.

To comfort a parishioner after the death of her brother:

“Are there any need to be brought off from the love of the world? Let them hear the voice of God from your brother’s grave, saying “What shall it profit a man though he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Your brother, though dead, still speaketh. To you he says, Lean on the Beloved as you come out of the wilderness. The Lord is at hand.” -Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Dundee February 28th, 1841

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The book of Philemon

What do you miss?? These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s ok! .

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The book of Philemon is a brief letter from Paul to Philemon begging for the freedom of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He asks Philemon to think of Onesimus instead as a brother in Christ. Onesimus knows he must return to his owner because it is the honest thing to do, but this time he comes with a letter, an appeal for his freedom, to be seen and treated as a brother and friend. .

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For a moment we are still. Ask yourself, what do you really miss? It is the question I’ve been asking myself lately as I remember old projects and ambitions I had my heart set on before quarantine. As this time allows for stillness I can self-examine without the usual distractions asking myself—What was holding me captive? Or do I now feel like a prisoner?

I can tell you with all honesty that I don’t miss anything except the freedom to hang out and be close to my family and friends. Host little bbqs, make food for them, talk at a short distance, and even though I’m not much of a hugger, I even miss those. That’s it. My old projects took me to Detroit a lot, but when I think of it, I’ve never been a city girl and lately all I can think about is owning a sheep farm (for milk) and possibly making it a spiritual retreat. I wanted to work with animals when I was a child, where did that inclination go? I have found that I don’t think my purpose is protesting injustice and speaking out aggressively against anything, that is not my nature. God made me for a reason, so what is the honest thing for myself & God’s call for me? It is instead feeding people, whether spiritually or with actual food, beauty, color, light—probably why I loved working the soup kitchen so much. I think if we all asked this question (what do I really miss?) and went back to the places from which we began, I think we would find new things of ourselves.

The Book of Esther

In what simple way is God calling you to act that would draw you closer to Him? For me it was spending a year to read and study the Bible. .

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These are my own contemplative thoughts. If you disagree with the below that’s ok! .

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Before Christ, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, only priests were allowed near the altar, and they acted as the mediators between God and man. The book of Esther is symbolic to this as it describes her standing in the inner court in front of the king’s hall. The king sees Queen Esther just outside his inner court, HE FINDS FAVOR IN HER (a statement we read often in scripture when God’s relationship to his people is discussed) and holds out his scepter to her as a sign that it is ok to approach him. She moves towards him and touches the very tip of his scepter, a sign of her obedience and humility. To me her approach is like those hoping to come to God either for the first time or after a long hiatus. We have to approach with humility and an open heart, yet we do not have to be pure, or holy, or of a certain worldly stature. We are allowed to come as we are. Esther, who despite knowing she was doing something against the man-made laws of the day said she would approach the king to save her people the Jews from being slaughtered, “even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” In this statement she showed her bravery. This kind of bravery is what God wants to see from us, wants us to cut through all the worldly “laws” like our own expectations, guilt, rules, etc., right to Him. And He will find favor in us for this—we will become his special students in that moment, He will take us under His wing and show us wonderful miracles and bless us tremendously, especially show us how to find His kind of joy in this life if we keep our eyes open to Him. .

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The First Book of Chronicles

These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s OK!

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“…Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so I may know how many there are.” —1 Chronicles 21:2

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Most of the first part of Chronicles is a genealogical list, which I skipped in my reading. But then the book goes on to speak of David’s

rule as king. As king, David did the best he could, but like all humans he was not perfect. He’s written some of the most beautiful psalms (poems & songs) deticated to God,

because he truly felt he and God were in it together, he truly felt God’s presence in his life and it overwhelmed and inspired him. So the fact that he asks for his troops to be counted so he can measure his army’s strength is very unlike him. In this action he separates himself from God and is relying only on numbers, & on his own strength and pride. The simple definition of ‘sin’ is an act which separates us from God. So David was wrong to count the strength of his men, when he knew (and it had been proven to him many times) that God had his back, that God was with him. By this he pushed God away, thus separating himself from God, thus committing a ‘sin’. But don’t worry, our ‘sins’ are not counted by God. I think this shows that fact. That neither we should count against God, nor should we think God is counting against us. We simply try to keep our faith, and pray God will help us keep our faith in Him. We must hold fast to the sleeve of God’s robe or to God’s hand like a child who does not want to be lost in a world crowded with trivialities. In David’s case he said he was sorry to God and went on his merry way, hand in hand with Him (or if you like, Her) after this, and left with us his beautiful and inspiring dedications to his One & Only True Love.

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Seasons of Grace by Leslie Tentler

Possibly the driest book I’ve ever tried to read, but I feel like this might just change my thinking somehow or maybe even my life. Why do I think this? I don’t know. It was a recommendation from one of the archivists at the Archdiocese. I trust this guy’s opinion, though I think he may be on a different level. When I first met him he was translating an 18th century journal from Latin to English. 😬

I’m going to give it a try and see what I learn—probably more than I’d ever want to know! I was so desperate for it I ordered it from the lending library program! 🤷‍♀️ Hey, maybe when I finish I’ll pick up some lessons in Latin!

The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II & St. Teresa of Avila

The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila is more of a workbook than I would have liked. I have read it over and have prayed the Glorious Mysteries using it as my guide today. Though I was hoping for more a reflective experience from these two Saints on praying the rosary, I think this book is helpful. However, I began my own reflections on it. Today I journaled my experience and let me tell you, when I reflected after each decade the impact of it as almost meditation on both my mind and body, I realized many things. Maybe I’ll type it all out for those of you interested. I was really surprised at the beauty of the experience because praying the rosary can sometimes be like a chore, and I never think I’m going to get anything out of it…until today when I used this book. So maybe it is a useful book after all.

The book of Judges

“Then the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.” –Judges 2:16

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Judges is one of my favorite books of the Old Testament. In this book, God raises up 12 judges over the course of 325 years to help keep the Israelites on the right path. I enjoyed this book because it helped me realize that I too had judges raised up for me in my life to help guide me. When my great grandpa (my grandmother’s father) died, I went 12 years before another person ‘passed through’ my life to lead me further to God. And I was lucky to have the perpetual guidance of my mother and grandmother. My other grandpa (my mother’s father) was a born again Christian and had a very aggressive approach to evangelism, but his wrong way guided me also, because I didn’t want to be like that. Since, I have thought much of my judges, and I give thanks to/for them and pray for them—which, to me, is basically any time I think of them with pure love and gratitude and meditate on their well-being with the knowledge of God’s presence(in this way many of us have ‘prayed’ without realizing it was prayer). Let us all give thanks to those who may have been our guides in the dark.