Seeds need darkness

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“The directions on the packet of flower seeds read: ‘Seeds need darkness to germinate.’  It makes me think of myself.  I want to grow.  I want to become more than I am.  Yet, so often my self-guided efforts leave me feeling empty, looking for Something More.  The ‘germination,’ the better life that I seek, must start in darkness.  Lent is that darkness.  It is not something dreadful or depressing.  Rather, Lent takes us back to what really matters in life.  We return to the beginning.  You are here.  Why?  Did you bring yourself about?  Is your life a reward from some accomplishment?  No.  You have been loved into existence by Someone.  Why would that Someone want to bring you into being?  The answer to all the dissatisfaction and unrest we experience every day is to be found in the love that acted (and acts) to give you life.  In the darkness of Lent we meet again this Someone whose love whispers to us, ‘It is necessary that you exist.’  In that desire of the divine heart we discover our truest worth.  Which sets us free.  We belong to this One who constantly speaks to our wounded heart. . . who constantly calls us in our darkness to come out of our darkness.  Lent is for leaving behind our distractions, our delusions.  We go into the darkness of Christ’s tomb.  What happens there to him will happen, too, to us.”  (Father Peter John Cameron)

“Blessing the darkness”?

We’re always questioning the darkness in our lives.  What good is it?  Why does God allow it?  Here are Ann Spangler’s thoughts:

Larry Crabb says that we find God only when we need him. Simple words, but true. It’s like looking for the light switch in a dark room. No one goes searching for it until the sunlight has gone. Similarly, darkness can impel our search for God.

Several years ago I met the last survivor pulled from the wreckage after the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. During our time together, Genelle Guzman-McMillan told me a story about flirting with faith but choosing to live without it. Then, on September 11, her world fell apart and she found herself in complete darkness, buried alive under a mountain of rubble

You can read the rest here.

When the thread snaps

If you feel things are out of control in your life (and even if you don’t), this is for you:

Hanging By A Thread

 A week ago, I thought I had things under control.  My blog post was up on Monday and I’d jotted down thoughts for another two; my upcoming classes with senior executives were planned; my beard was trimmed.
On Tuesday, I ate lunch with a friend I’ve been out of contact with for a while.  He gave me inscribed copies of his two most recent books, which I started reading that day.  Then, it all changed.
We brought our eight year old, Jopa, to the MD’s office that afternoon.  She’d been showing signs of what we thought was an infection.  We were wrong.  It was Type I diabetes.
One day her pancreas was producing insulin.  The next it was not.  Her life, and ours, changed forever with the mysterious shutting down of her relevant cells.
She and my wife went to the hospital, where they remained for three days.  And, that was the least of it.  She’ll be pinpricking her finger and giving herself shots for as long as she lives.
Something similar happened to a parishioner who was healthy and living a normal life on Friday.  Saturday, he slipped on the ubiquitous ice, cracked his skull, and underwent emergency brain surgery.  He is in critical condition, fighting for his life.
Read the rest here.

Trials of trust

This is for you who are going through times of great darkness and/or suffering:

“Hope and trust grow and increase only by trial, suffering, danger, sorrow, and even if it comes, horror.  For this reason, darkness is an essential part of the spiritual journey–darkness of many kinds.”

“Some have called this trust the greatest act of worship we can perform, because it unites us in a more realistic way with the mystery of Christ.” (Fr. Benedict Groeschel)

I thank all of you, on behalf of the Church, all of you who are offering the trials, dangers, even horrors to God as an act of worship.  May God sustain you and give you hope.

The temptation of temptations

“So go forth very bravely with perfect trust in the goodness of him who calls you to this holy task.  When has anyone ever hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?  Mistrust of your own powers is good as long as it is the groundwork of confidence in God’s power; but if you are ever in any way discouraged, anxious, sad, or melancholy I entreat you to cast this away as the temptation of temptations; and never allow your spirit to argue or reply in any way to any anxiety or downheartedness to which you may feel inclined.  Remember this simple truth which is beyond all doubt: God allows many difficulties to beset those who want to serve him but he never lets them sink beneath the burden as long as they trust in him.  This, in a few words, is a complete summary of what you most need: never under any pretext whatsoever to yield to the temptation of discouragement, not even on the plausible pretext of humility.”  (St. Francis de Sales)