Quick to Hear Slow to Speak

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James_Ch1_V19-20

How many of us are quick to speak and slow to hear? I would be willing to bet more of us than care to admit. We seem to live in a world where we never listen to each other any more. We have so many distractions, our attention spans have gone down to nothing, we can’t stop texting or answering our cell phones whenever they ring. It doesn’t matter who we are talking to, our spouse, our kids, our boss, our employee, God.

Today’s Gospel reading comes from James:

Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,  for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.

We need to listen more and speak less. Listen to what others are saying. Are they reaching out to us in some way? Are they asking for our help? What can we learn from them?

A little further down in the same reading is this:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

Whether you are a believer in God or not, this passage speaks volumes. Who do you see in the mirror? Do you forget what you see as soon as you walk away? Or worse, do you not like who you see looking back at you?

In the world we live in today, I wonder if this might be part of our problem, we look at ourselves in the mirror, we don’t know who is looking back at us. We don’t know who we should be, we don’t know which way of the moral compass is up, we have no guidance. How can we know if the person looking back at us is a good person or not when we have no guidelines? Think about it.

The End of the World Again

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Blizzard

As I sit in my living room, feeling the heat from the wood stove warming my old bones, the television is on and I am listening to the folks on the Weather Channel reporting on the latest “End of the World.” I am not sure how many ends have come this winter but it sure seems like a lot. While I know winter storms, especially ice storms in the south, can be bad, and they can certainly be destructive, but I can’t help wondering if the constant hype really helps or if it just creates more panic. 

I also wonder something else, something way more important. The reporters for the Weather Channel are talking about “a catastrophic event” and are preaching what people need to do to prepare. They need to get flashlights, batteries, generators, gasoline, non-perishable food, and on and on. Again, all good advice, but what about the real “catastrophic event” that is coming? Who is preparing for that? Where are the reporters and their live shots? Where is the expert to explain what is happening?

Look at the world around us, we kill our children through abortion, we are passing laws allowing us to kill the weak and infirm, we are destroying the true purpose of marriage, yet we don’t hear an outcry about that. We aren’t being told how to prepare for that “catastrophic event.”

The snow will melt, the power will be restored, the roads will be opened, and life will go on, but is that true with our morality? Will the culture of death be reversed? Will we continue to live in a world where we no longer put others before ourselves? Will we continue to live in a world where money is the God we worship? How do we prepare for that, how do we restore our “power” from that storm?

He answered me and said, “Measure carefully in your mind, and when you see that some of the predicted signs have occurred,  then you will know that it is the very time when the Most High is about to visit the world that he has made.  So when there shall appear in the world earthquakes, tumult of peoples, intrigues of nations, wavering of leaders, confusion of princes,  then you will know that it was of these that the Most High spoke from the days that were of old, from the beginning.  For just as with everything that has occurred in the world, the beginning is evident, and the end manifest;  so also are the times of the Most High: the beginnings are manifest in wonders and mighty works, and the end in penalties and in signs. – 2 Esdras 9:1 – 6

Another Coincidence – Nope

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Once again God has watched over me and protected me from harm. I am really starting to think He likes me. I know, I know, He loves all of us, but here’s my story.

The last two weeks I have been rather lax in my spirituality. I have missed Mass which means I need to go to confession before taking communion again (one of those Catholic rules you now) and I haven’t done that. And I haven’t been keeping up with my daily spiritual reading, like the daily mass readings or some of the other reading I do. And I certainly haven’t been writing in this blog disappointing millions of readers I am sure. (If only that were true!)

And I have to admit it has been more intentional than not. I had once again started to lose hope and faith the way things were going. Like in the past I have felt as if I am just spinning my wheels and getting frustrated with my life. And like in the past, this is where God steps in and knocks some sense into me.

Last week as I was driving along I rounded a corner hitting a patch of ice. I went of the road onto someone’s front lawn and when all was said and done, I was half off a retaining wall, stopped by the homeowner’s pick up truck. It was fairly low speed and I didn’t get hurt but once I was on the lawn it was like a skating rink. Well my vehicle was totaled and what was the first thing I did? I looked up and said “Okay, I get it. Time to get back on track.”

Sometimes God just has to shake us up a little. I could have hit one of the two rather large oak trees or the house or even gone back on to the road hitting an oncoming car head on, but I didn’t. No one was hurt, my vehicle and the pick up were damaged, but other than that all is good. Non-believers will say God had nothing to do with it, I was just lucky and if this was the only time something like this happened I might agree. But as I have written before, it isn’t. In fact too many things have happened in my life, good and bad, for it to be anything other than God watching over me.