Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tough luck...

Allow me to geek out for a moment.  I LOVE J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings(LOTR).  It is one of my favorite books.  I feel that there is so much that a person might learn from reading this story. 

Today's LOTR lesson is: Life is Hard.
Life is incredibly hard.   I'm sure that we've all had those days when we just feel that we cannot go on.  It's painful.  There is an overwhelming sense of long, unending, difficult monotony.  We think to ourselves, "This is it.  It's never going to get better.  This feeling is not going to end.  Everything is such a struggle.  I want to quit.  It's all such an impossible mess."

Think of Frodo.  A lot of people don't like Frodo.  For some, that is exclusively do to the Elijah Wood interpretation of Frodo.  For others, they just feel that Frodo is a difficult, whiny, weak, and pathetic character.  In some ways, I think that's true.  Frodo complains.  Frodo is weak and fragile.  He is injured.  He carries a burden that is too great for him.  There is an evil, which is always pulling at his heart, begging him to give up.   He has to take this great evil, which lurks in his own heart, and destroy it.  All the while, this evil whispers, "Just give up.  If you give up, this will all be over.  All of this pain, all of this struggle will all be over if you just give up."
For me, the entirety of Frodo's struggle is excellently captured in the above picture.  You guys, I've been there.  I've been there so many times.  It stinks.  Sometimes, things are just bad, with no consolations.  It happens.

Sometimes, the pain doesn't go away for a long time.  Even after the cause of the pain is long gone, sometimes the pain remains.  Sometimes, we don't get closure.  Sometimes, it takes a long time to just begin to move on.

Before you freak out, I am not currently in such a place, but I know a few people who are or have recently been there.  So, it's on my mind and now I'm writing about it.  There are so many people who know what I'm talking about and it really isn't fun. 

So, here is the second LOTR Lesson of the Day: There is Hope
No matter how dark things get, no matter how alone you feel, no matter how how desperate things seem, there is always hope.  At the end of all things, there is something worth fighting for.  There is a reason for keep on keeping on.  Don't abandon that.  Don't give up.  =)  You matter to someone.  You matter to me!  Don't be afraid to face the hard stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ten Lepers

Today at Mass, our associate pastor gave a very insightful homily regarding today's Gospel reading(Luke 17:11-19).   He began by focusing on something which I often don't really think about: leprosy.   Anyone who reads the Bible has at one time or another encountered a passage that deals with the subject of leprosy, but do we ever stop and think about what leprosy meant to someone in Jesus's time?  Or even to someone of our time who lacks the necessary resources to be cured?  Well, here's an idea for you:
For a better understanding of the technical aspects of the disease click here.
Leprosy is horrible, painful, slow, hideous, divisive, lonely, depressing, and so much more to the person afflicted with the disease without a hope for a cure.  

Take a moment to think about that.   Really.  Think about it.

That is what sin does to our souls.  It slowly eats away at the life within us.  It cripples us.  It isolates us from what is good.  It leaves us alone and without hope.  We are in pain.  There is no escape.

Sin brings doubt, fear, distrust, anger, selfishness, loneliness, restlessness, despair, sickness, and suffering.

Enter Jesus!

He lovingly and persistently offers a way to be healed.  It is not an easy way.  It is a way of sacrifice.  A way of martyrdom.  But it is a way of supreme joy and love.  It is such a beautiful thing to be healed and alive!   There is such a peace in knowing that you are no longer decaying from within.  Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Sweet Friend...

Today is my girl's feast day.  St. Therese and I have so much history.  She's pretty much been there with me, the whole way.   Her life is a special witness to God's grace because it was so ordinary.  St. Therese was sort of a spoiled little girl and she was a tender, sensitive person.   She wasn't tough.  She wanted to be.  She had a great admiration for Joan of Arc.   She was certainly no great fighter like Joan, or at least not physically.

But Therese had a great love for her Lord.   More importantly, she trusted blindly in His great love for her.  She had no fear as she threw herself at the feet of His benevolent mercy.  

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!