Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cotton Candy Spirituality

Photo Credit: Indi and Rani Soemardjan via Compfight (cc)
Who doesn't love cotton candy? It’s sweet, it’s light, it’s fun. At the same time, you wouldn't want a steady diet of it. Our bodies need more than light, sweet, and fun. We need our meat, vegetables and whole grains. Not as much fun, but enjoyable in their own way and vital to our physical health.

Our spiritual lives are no different. We love the fun, upbeat events. We like the witty homilies. We need a little of the light and sweet once in a while. But when that makes up the bulk of our spiritual diet, we find ourselves spiritually malnourished.

Mass can as dry as an overcooked roast. But a dry roast still gives us protein and iron, just as the Mass always gives us the spiritual food of Christ’s body and blood. Our experience may be less than what we hoped for, but the result is just the same. The Mass is still a foreshadowing of the heavenly banquet regardless of the human limitations that
keep our experience of worship from being what it could and should be. A cute story in a homily might entertain us or even teach us a lesson, but is it enough to move us to conversion?

On the same token, our personal prayer time can seem like a chore—just one more obligation we have to meet. That time we set aside with God becomes time spacing off about work, unfinished projects, or the laundry. I find myself wanting the “warm fuzzy” presence of God in my personal prayer. I recently viewed a video by Fr. Robert Barron in which he quotes a homily by one of his professors, “The love of God is not a warm fuzzy!” One only has to look at a crucifix as evidence of this truth. Occasionally I am blessed with a profound sense of peace and intimacy in my prayer, but if I don’t drag myself through the desert I’ll never get to the oasis.

We can’t always have the treats nor always have things prepared just right.  In a fallen world things don’t always seem like the “juicy rich foods” God promises us.  The question is, are we mature enough to take in what is good for us instead of what we like?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God vs. Meatloaf

Photo credit Brett Davies via Compfight (cc)
Have you ever heard the song “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meatloaf? (I’m not really that old, just a student of history).  The chorus goes, “I want you, I need you, But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna  love you...”

I thought of this song while watching a video of Fr. Robert Barron explaining various proofs of God’s existence. God is sort of the opposite of Meatloaf. He wants us, he loves us, but he doesn’t need us.
God does not need us, yet we exist. Why? Because God is love.

God wants us. He wants you. He wants to see you become the amazing, talented, spirited man or woman he created you to be. He wants you to have babies, build houses, fix cars, care for the sick, run your business. He wants you laugh. Yes, he wants you to cry. He wants you to be a saint. He wants you to love.

God loves and wants us so much he not only created us, he became one of us and died for us. As speaker and author Mark Hart put’s it, “God would rather die than spend eternity without you.”

Loved, but not needed has other perks. I think we have a tendency as followers of Jesus to worry about whether or not we are doing our part. In a way this is good. We have a role to play in the Church and the world, we need to play it. At the same time, knowing that I am not needed for God to accomplish his saving plan takes a lot of pressure off. I want to play my part because I want to participate in the same love that willed us into existence.

This is what God wants for us--to participate in His love.

How are you a participant in God’s love?