Greetings, peace, and all good to you all,
It has been more than two weeks since I have written an issue of the Innerstream reflections or insight on the book of Ephesians. To be frank with you, excessively much has been going on, both here at home and at our Parish.
I caught that nasty “bacterial” thing going around about four weeks ago. During my recovery from the Montezuma revenge, and the wheezy chest infection, my 87-year-old grandmother began to get it as I got better. It was not long before her oxygen level dropped so much that she began to hallucinate and I began to get scared. So I took her to the emergency room, and they admitted her to the hospital. She stayed there for four days, getting Levequin pumped into her system. In the meantime, I am still hacking and coughing, and feeling run down.
Finally, the day came when she came home. As I was getting ready to go to the hospital to bring her home, I got a phone call from a friend of mine. He told me that he had been fired from his position at our Parish. A new controversy arose out of this. It has been happening ever since. People are hurt, some are angry, and some have given up altogether. Now, there is a lot to the story, but I am not going to focus on that. What is on my heart is something that came to me last week, as we were sitting in the dinning hall of the Danville Nursing Home. It was family night there. My great aunt who is my granny’s sister resides there because she had two strokes in one day. Those are on top of the breast cancer that she has been fighting for several years.
In the dinning room, the staff had set up tables and put nice reservation labels on each table for the residents and their families. As I sat at my Aunt’s table with her, I looked around the room and noticed a few elderly people sitting at empty tables. They apparently did not have anyone to come on family night and sit with then. They sat there, alone.
I felt my heart getting heavy and a tear coming on at that sight. So many of us are preoccupied with mundane quarrels and bitter disputes, that we are missing our real mission on this earth. “Pure religion is to take care of the widows and the orphans,” says James. That is a universal apostolic principle that we should live by. But as I sat there thinking how unnecessary disunity really is, I began to remember some other instances that were happening while I had been distracted by the quarrel.
I receive an E-mail from a Brother in our Franciscan order asking all of us for a prayer vigil for a friend of his. This friend’s partner overdosed on drugs, after being beaten with a hammer by a drug dealer. Now, the friend of my brother is left behind in a suicidal state. I am grateful that my Franciscan brother is not distracted by the unnecessary strife that seems to distract so many of us.
Then, the other day I turn on the news an see a story about a 12 year old boy in Arizona who is shooting basketball hoops for dollars to raise money for orphans of AIDS patients in Africa. I was so moved by the story, being HIV positive myself that I E-mailed him at his religious organization to thank him, and encourage him to keep up the good work. So for, he has raise six figures, I think, and is now working on building a school house in Zambia for the children.
Austin is just one more reason why none of us should be distracted by quarrels and disunity. These are tools that Satan uses to distract us from accomplishing the work of Christ through us. They also keep us from doing the right thing. When a search for consensus distracts us, we can totally miss what God is saying to us through His Holy Spirit and the written word.
In fact, we do not even need a consensus until we have searched the bible and followed its wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit.
There is far too much going on in the world that needs our attention, as we are filled with the fruit of the Spirit, and that comes partly by the word of God being made incarnate in us by the Holy Spirit. When that happens, we find that we have a divine consensus created and placed in us by the Godhead, and the light not only comes on, it shines! When it shines, others see and we begin to accomplish the corporate works of the Body of Jesus Christ.
Prayer – Holy and Compassionate Christ, gently lead us to a place of rest and total trust upon you. Help us to love boldly, trust deeply, and live compassionately. Give us a single heart and mind; and souls on fire with the passion to love and serve you in unity with each other. Help us to see the divine Christ in everyone we meet, and teach us to nurture and restore those who cross our paths. In the Holy Name of Jesus We Pray – Amen.
Some Passages to Ponder about Strive, Bickering, and disputes
2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NKJV) 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV) 10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Matthew 18:15 (NKJV) 15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
Proverbs 26:17 (NKJV) 17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
Proverbs 17:14 (HCSB) 14 To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.
Proverbs 17:14 (NKJV) 14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
Proverbs 3:30 (HCSB) 30 Don’t accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm.
May God radicalize your life this week with love and power!