Posts Tagged 'love'

FOR GREATER THINGS YOU WERE BORN: A PASTORAL LETTER TO THE FAMILY OF GOD IN LOS ANGELES ON GOD’S BEAUTIFUL PLAN OF LOVE FOR OUR LIVES AND OUR WORLD – Archbishop Jose H. Gomez

Some Lenten reading. Bishop Barron put up a link to this on his Facebook page.  I think it’s worth a read. I’ve read a bit of it so far and it is a good read. While Archbishop Gomez is not my Archbishop (I’m in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon with Archbishop Sample), I can’t recall an prohibition on reading the works of Archbishops not my own. So go ahead and read. Ponder. Reflect and maybe re-read again.

http://archbishopgomez.org/planoflove

In Response To Those “Catholics”

I suggest reading and meditating on this section from Christopher West’s book Theology of the Body for Beginners. A direct contrast to the ‘God is out to get you and damn you to hell crowd’ that prefers a harsh, unforgiving tyrant than a merciful Father who who forgives when asked.

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West, Christopher. (2004) Theology of the Body for Beginners. Ascension Press: West Chester, PA. p.43

Between the Black and White

In which having run into the Angry God crowd again, I remind myself that they are not ones I should listen to.  Not at all.

It’s been interesting these past two weeks.  The Gospel readings on Sunday that is.  The Second Sunday of Easter dealt with a doubting Thomas and the Third Sunday with eleven apostles who had to see the risen Jesus eat fish to finally get it. 

What has stood out to me in both cases is that Jesus is rather patient and even gentle with Thomas and the Apostles. Jesus met Thomas at his doubts and showed him why they were pointless.  And while Jesus chided him a little for having to touch him to believe, Jesus provided Thomas exactly what he needed.  Jesus showed up because Thomas asked him to.  Jesus didn’t hide himself or berate Thomas. He didn’t demand Thomas believe just because Jesus said so.  Jesus showed Thomas his wounds. He acknowledged Thomas’ doubts and met them to banish them completely.  Jesus didn’t force Thomas to do anything, believe anything.  Jesus did not deny Thomas after Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds.  He showed himself to Thomas.  Jesus respected Thomas’ doubts, met them face on, and them banished them.  All patiently and with love.

Jesus does the same with the Apostles.  He talks to them but knows they doubt.  So he, probably a little amused, asks for food even though they’ve been together for three years.  Jesus eats and they finally get it.  Again, Jesus doesn’t demand or force or berate.  He is patient and helps them get it.

So Jesus, even with the Apostles he chose himself and knew very well, he was patient and understanding of their doubts.  No Angry God out to punish people for even breathing wrong.  Could Jesus be forceful? Certainly but he was never a tyrant or a dictator. And more firm than force.  He spoke with meaning and purpose.  Jesus did not use words carelessly.

Jesus came along side people and met them where they were at.  He didn’t demand. He asked.  He could also be asked.  Prayer is that asking.

In running into the Angry God crowd, I realize many of them want to play God not love like God.  They want to make rules and set impossible standards.  They want people to fail so that they can say they are better than those people.  They don’t allow God to be merciful because they are not merciful.  They condemn people for even the littlest thing and expect that person to make themselves perfect before they can come crawling back on hands and knees to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.  They don’t want Jesus to forgive them because they wouldn’t forgive.

Thankfully, those in the Angry God crowd do not speak for the Church.  I do not have to listen to them.  They may say they are Catholic but their words and actions don’t show that they believe in or know Jesus very well. Or at all.  They are too interested in promoting their interpretation and application of Catholic beliefs instead of listening to and obeying Holy Mother Church.  No mercy, love or forgiveness, just pain and endless suffering.  A dictatorship not the Kingdom of God.

I think I’ll take mercy, love, and forgiveness.  And, oh yeah, Jesus.

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Because none of that would work without him.

Bringing Back the Angry God

I thought God was love not anger.  I mean, the Bible even says so.

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It’s Jonathon Edwards and his “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” with a Catholic bent.

This isn’t coming from one thing or article but multiple blogs, articles, and even CAF (Catholic answers forums). 

I don’t understand this need to punish others.  Reveling in the pain and suffering of others who have been deliberately hurt and abused in the name of God and saying this is a good thing.  These are Catholics who are advocating Edwards’ tyrant of a god who dangles sinners over an open pit of fire and then throwing them in with glee even after the sinners beg for mercy. 

These Catholics want God to hurt people.  They would be extremely happy if God destroyed certain people.  Their God is not the God of love that we hear about in the Bible.  Their god is a bully and a tyrant and an abuser who only loves them and loathed everyone else.  They make proclamations of judgment and condemn everyone who isn’t like them to a fiery Hell that is much worse and more violent than anything the Church teaches or accepts.  They like to hurt people and they want their god to hurt people, to torture people for fun.

This is not the Catholic God.  This is not the Christian God.  This is no God.  This is evil.

Wanting the destruction of another person is a mortal sin. It violates the commandment to love your neighbors as yourself.

God does not punish, at least not the way these people want. Most of our punishment comes from our own choice to sin. 

Our sins hurt us, not just God.  God does not seek our destruction but our salvation.  He loves us.  He doesn’t hate us.  He doesn’t love our sins.  Rarely does God need to actively step in and smack us down.  And he doesn’t even smack.  Mostly he let’s us suffer the consequences of our sins.  He might magnify the consequences, make them worse or more painful but he doesn’t deliberately set out to hurt us.  He doesn’t need to.  We’re pretty good at hurting ourselves.

Yes, God did punish the Israelites in the Old Testament.  But look at the context.  This was a people who were like children in their faith and God acted like the father he is.  Yes, there were time when his punishment seems excessive but then then look at what the Israelites were doing and the context.  The Israelites got a lot of second chances.  And I mean a lot.  And they still kept being disobedient.  So God escalated the consequences.  But he kept giving them chances, kept forgiving them even after sending them into exile.

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And Jesus changes the whole game.  Forgiveness, mercy, grace, salvation are there for the asking.  And if we fail, we sin, we have recourse to the Sacraments.  We aren’t cut off or sent into exile or have plagues sent.  We have grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation all because God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

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Nowhere in there is punishment. God isn’t a pushover, either.  We do have to repent of our sins and change our ways but God will give us the grace to do so.  We have but to ask.  We have but to ask.

People who want punishment don’t want mercy or love or grace or salvation or forgiveness.  They want rules and formulas and lines and penalties and punishment.  Oh, the grace and mercy they can have but they don’t want other people to have it.  They want to horde it all to themselves.  They refuse to understand or accept that God doesn’t discriminate in whom He gives his mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation to as long as people ask for it.  They make god in their own destructive image.

I don’t want that god.  I don’t want a god that is out to get me just so he can hurt me.  I grew up with that god.  That god was going to send me to hell just for existing.  I don’t want that god.  I don’t like that god. That is not god.

I want the God who is love.  That God that forgives.  The God that gives mercy.  The God that gives grace.  The God that offers salvation and eternal life. 

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That God is a much better God than the god that I grew up with.  The god that certain Catholics want to impose on everyone.  The god that hurts and punishes and isn’t a god at all but a bully and a tyrant and a condemner and abuser.  The god that isn’t God but a demon, a devil, a god made in man’s image.

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The Jesus we need.

Breaking News: Catholic Church Welcomes Sinners

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Following the controversies among Catholics Monday, the Catholic Church has reiterated its position on being a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. 

Apparently, the Catholic Church has been open to sinners for its entire two thousand plus year history.  Jesus started the whole messy business of meeting with actual sinners while he walked on the earth.  He even selected twelve to be his inner circle, so to speak.  He also ate with sinners, talked with them, and most astonishing of all, forgave them their sins. 

He didn’t tell people to come and follow him only AFTER they had become perfect and sinless and could recite all the rules.  No, he met them while they were still in their sins.  And they had faith and he forgave them and told them to go and sin no more.  Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden light.  He was nothing like the Pharisees who placed heavy burdens and were more concerned with the letter of the law. 

The Catholic Church has continued this message of repentance and forgiveness for the last two thousand years along with mercy and love.  These things are strange in the modern world, which considers love to only be about sex, repentance to be outdated, and mercy to a shallower form of kindness.  And with forgiveness to be entirely conditional on what the world through society and the media want or at least in vogue.

Jesus is not outdated.  Neither are mercy, compassion, forgiveness, love, or faith.  The Catholic Church, Holy Mother Church, will continue to teach her children the unchangeable truths that have been entrusted to her Jesus and the Holy Spirit protecting her from sin and error.  She is unchangeable but she is also loving and forgiving and merciful.

It’s Begun

Lent, that it.  I still have many other posts I should finish and post but part of my Lenten observerance this year involves updates and posts here.

This year for Lent I am:
Going meatless (I do this every year)
No pizza (something I’ve done the last few years)
Apply or at least look for a job every day during Lent (well I need a job and I wasn’t putting in the effort or work I needed to to find one)
Weekly posts to this blog, on Wednesdays, on a Catholic topic
Go to Confession (okay, that’s been on my to do list for a while and just needs to be done)

So all in all not doing a lot but I shouldn’t do a lot.  I have problems, which I may or may not have explained before, where I think, even believe, that I need to do more and do it perfectly.  Actually, I believe I just need to be punished and everything will finally be all right.

I’ve always believed, had it in my head, whatever, that Lent is not a fun season.  Not only that, it was a time where you had to absolutely miserable and suffering.  I needed to not only give up sweets and meat and not eat all day on Fridays but give up more and add heaping penances on myself.  If I gave up sweets, I couldn’t have even jelly or jam on toast.  I could not have anything that was remotely sweet in anyway or I would be sinning.  I had to go above and beyond and yet that still wasn’t enough.  I had to suffer.  I had to be punished.

Being punished was all I was and am good for.  If I was punished, things would go back to normal.  Would be the way they were supposed to be, not what reality was.  I had it my mind that if I punished myself then my mother would finally love me.

It doesn’t work that way.  Just replace mother with God and you’ll understand how messed up my thinking is.  I didn’t figure out that I wanted to punish myself to make things right until about two years ago.  But I still think it and believe it, to an extent. 

I understand that I can’t make my mother love me.  She never has and never will.  She’s not really capable of loving someone beside herself.  She’s just too self-centered for that.  And I can’t make God love me but then I don’t believe he loves me either.

You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that God and Jesus loves me and that the Bible even says it but I don’t believe it.  I don’t get it either.  If you grow up not being loved or at least not loved very much or loved very conditionally, being told you are loved and by a person you can’t really see or hear,or touch is unbelievable. 

To me, I’m not loveable and cannot be loved.  I need this to be true which would then explain how my parents treated me and how others saw and see.  How can I be loved if I’m not loveable?  I’m not loveable, therefore I am not loved. 

Love is conditional.  I can  only be loved if I meet certain conditions.  I don’t meet those conditions therefore I am not loved.  I have never been able to meet those conditions so I have never been loved.  I am exceptionally good at doing things wrong and terrible at doing things good.

Just look at where I am now: unemployed, broke, in major debt.  Nobody liked or loves people who are those things.  They are people to be pitied, looked down up, cast aside, and ignored.  You must be successful to be loved.  Nobody loves a loser.  Losers are pathetic and deserve condescension, not help.

Not everybody deserves love, hence conditions.  Everybody has conditions to be met before they will love someone, even parents for their children, even when they deny it parents still only love their children conditionally.  Love is too precious to just give out unconditionally.  There has to be conditions and they have to be properly met before love can be given out and even then it must be in small doses.  Can’t go overboard otherwise they might get the stupid idea they deserve to be loved and they can expect that love whenever they want.  And without conditions.  That cannot be allowed, not at all.

I don’t know the conditions or at least the ones I’ve know I haven’t met therefore I can’t be loved.  I was never able to make my mother happy or do what she wanted.  And she was always changing the rules, which didn’t help, but then she was allowed to change the rules since she made them up in the first place.  And as she repeatedly told me, I was going to Hell.  And since Hell was full of people God didn’t therefore God didn’t love me.

I have no problem with God loving other people.  That makes sense.  Other people have always has it easier, had fewer conditions, if any, to meet.  Me, like I said, am not lovable.  I’m used to that, in a way, though probably not as much as I should be.   I don’t believe it fully but I do believe it.  And in my head I believe I need to fully and completely accept that 100% for everything to be alright.  For everything to be as it should be. 

I’m under a different set of rules and conditions and I know that.  I’ve always been under a different set of rules, a different set of standards. 

I’ve always had to go to extremes.  Normal, average wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough.  I had and still don’t have anything  that sets me apart, makes me unique.  I could die tomorrow and nobody would notice.  Or care.  That’s how worthless I am.  And unloveable.  Too many says I deserve going to Hell.  Too many days I’ve thought my mother was right and deserves to go to Hell.  Too many days I’ve thought of suicide.  Too many days I’ve thought if I just accepted fully and completely that I am not loved, that I am useless and worthless then things would finally work out.  Too many days  I’ve thought punishing myself would make things better.  Too many days I’ve thought killing myself would finally make everyone happy.  Just too many days.

I just don’t believe God loves me.  And I’ve told Him to punish me and He isn’t doing that either.  Therefore, I’m probably not even on God’s radar, which is probably a good thing or a bad thing.  I don’t know. 

I’m not sure what to believe anymore. There are many says when I want to walk away from the Church.  I don’t know why I haven’t.  There’s no real reason for me to stay though I suppose there’s no reason for me to go.

Oh, To Be So …

I’m not sure what.  I had been meaning to write a whole post on compliance and obedience but here it is Good Friday and all I want is Lent to be over.  It’s not about being able to eat meat again or being done with fasting.  I just don’t want to deal with Christ dying and the emotions that go along with it.  I just want to flee, to run away.  To not have to deal with the fact that even though I believe I don’t seem to have any faith, that I don’t feel anything.

I read the post that Elizabeth Esther wrote today and it brought up that all I feel is that I’m being pushed away, that I’m holding on and Jesus is pulling my fingers off one by one so that I’ll fall away, that I’m not wanted, that I’m not loved.

Even though Good Friday service is optional, I feel bad if I don’t go, like last year and feel like I have to go because if I don’t it means I’m not really believing, that I don’t love Jesus enough to go, that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not loving enough, that wanting to feel something about my faith is evil and sinful, that I don’t exist to Jesus unless I do everything right. 

I feel like if I go I’ll be reminded how lost and unlovable I really am and everyone will know about it, that I’ll be kicked out of church and told to never come back.

For writing so much about how I feel I really don’t feel anything about my Catholic faith.  I hear all the time that you shouldn’t feel anything about your faith and if you do feel anything that you might as well be the devil.  You have to be stoic and somber and serious and have no feelings to be a good Catholic and never enjoy anything and don’t have a personality at all.  Maybe I’m not meant to be Catholic if this is what being a Catholic involves. 

Certainly this is what traditionalists think.  They just want automatons that spout off their rhetoric about Latin Masses, modernism, feminism, and how the Church went to hell in a handbasket because of Vatican II. 

Depression doesn’t help but it isn’t the cause of this either.  It’s just a symptom in this case. 

Jesus died for me and I don’t want to deal with.  That hurts because I’m not lovable like that.  None should love me like that.  I’m not worthy like that.  I don’t do anything even close enough to be worthy of that.  I have to do things to be worthy of love.  That’s what I’ve always be told and taught.  And I’ve never been worthy of love.  I’ve never done enough to be worhy of anybody’s love, not my parents, not anybody.  I’ve always been a loser and a failure and a disgrace and I’ve never amounted to anything.  I shouldn’t be loved at all.  I’ve never felt loved only hated.  So why would would someone go and do something like that even before I was born?

I don’t get it and I don’t really want to deal with it.


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