Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Thy Kingdom Come!

Excerpt from Great Lent:
For in Christ nothing remains the same because everything is fulfilled, transcended, and given a new meaning. If the sabbath in its ultimate spiritual reality is the presence of the divine "very good" in the very texture of this world, it is "this world" that in Christ is revealed in a new light and is also made something new by Him. Christ bestows upon man the Kingdom of God which is "not of this world." And here is the supreme "break" which for a Christian makes "all things new." The goodness of the world and of all things in it are now referred to their final consummation in God, to the Kingdom which is to come and which will be manifested in all its glory only after "this world" comes to its end. This world, moreover, by rejecting Christ has revealed itself to be in the power of the "Prince of this world" and to "lie in wickedness"(1 John 5:19); and the way of salvation for it is not through evolution, improvement, or "progress," but through the Cross, Death and Resurrection. "It does not come to life unless it dies" (1 Cor. 15:36). A Christian thus lives a "double life"-not in the sense of juxtaposing his "worldly" and his "religious" activities, but in the sense of making this life in its totality the "foretaste" of and preparation for the Kingdom, of making his every action a sign, an affirmation and expectation of that which is "to come." Such is the meaning of the Gospel's apparent contradiction: the Kingdom of God is "in the midst" of us and the Kingdom of God is "to come." Unless one discovers it "in the midst" of life, one cannot see in it the object of that love, expectation, and longing to which the Gospel calls us. One can still believe in punishment or reward after death, but one can never understand the joy and intensity of the Christian prayer: "Thy Kingdom come!"-"Come, Lord Jesus!" Christ has come that we may wait for Him. He entered life in time so that life and time may become the passage, the passover into God's Kingdom.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sacred Gift of Life

I work in health care. It's called a skilled nursing facility/long term nursing care, or in layman's terms, nursing home. It's amazing with what's been in the news, to learn how my fellow caregivers think. I take care of two women in their 40's that are on feeding tubes. One has end-stage Huntington's Chorea, the other end-stage early onset Parkinson's disease. The first is confined to bed, and can't communicate at all. The second laughs, cries, and watches T.V., but nothing more than that. Who am I to judge their quality of life? Could I wish their feeding tubes removed and let them starve? Our priest sent a beautifully written article to the parish e-mail list, from the Wall Street Journal.As a Christian I am almost alone at work in thinking it is wrong to remove the feeding tube. I think it will only get harder. If we remove food from someone because their quality of life is "poor", where do we draw the line? Don't give healthcare to people who can no longer contribute to society? This all brings to mind the Russian nun-martyr Saint Maria of Gatchina, and I ask her prayers for Terri Schiavo and her family.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Spring Cleaning

It's that time of year to clean out the junk, dust the corners, pick up the clutter that has built up in our souls over the year. Yes, we should keep ourselves in order the whole year through, ideally. But that isn't what happens. Just like with our homes, we keep the surface clean.(Though some of us don't even do that) People come in and think we have a clean house. But they don't open the junk drawers, or look in the closets or the attic. I don't remember who it was, but I read of one saint who compared our souls to a dark room, and when we open the windows to the light of Christ, we can see the dust and cobwebs in the corners, and then clean it out. As Father said this morning, this time is set aside to work on ourselves. We need to fast from foods for ourseves. No, God doesn't care what we eat, but we care, it's hard. That's why the first sin involved food.

At Forgiveness Vespers today we sang "Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast, and prepare ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us purify our soul and cleanse our flesh; as we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit may we persevere with love, and so be counted worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God, and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Pascha."
I have a lot of clutter to clean out.
Today we ask forgiveness of all and forgive all, for sins known and unkown. God forgives.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hair Apparent

Items needed:
1.) rubberband
2.) kitchen shears
3.) a length of hair, 16 inches in this case

And with these I freed the hair. It is sitting on a bookshelf waiting to be mailed to Locks of Love. I think it will be very happy in it's new life and I wish it the best of luck.
I rented "Aound The Bend", with Michael Caine, Christopher Walken, and Josh Lucas. It was a really sweet, quirky movie. I don't know why I didn't hear about it while it was in theaters. I hope more people see this movie. I loved it.

For the Fan Club:
More wisdom from the Sailor...
"Don't send a sparrow to do an eagle's job."
"Horses are house-breakable, it just might take a little patience."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

nutty squirrels

I'm a little acorn nut lying on the cold, cold ground. Everybody steps on me, that is why I'm cracked you see. I'm a nut, I'm a nut, I'm a nut, I'm a nut, I'm a nut.

I was in the back yard with the dog early Sunday morning, letting her do her business. I was enjoying the sounds of nature, the birds, the creek, the squirrels fighting...The biggest tree in the yard had two squirrels running around each other on its side, fighting. Soon another squirrel joined in the fray. I walked over with the dog to watch. When I got fairly close they stopped and looked at me. Then one started squeaking at me, little squirrel swears. Another one joined in. The first ran up the tree, turned around, and came back to swear at me again. I expected fist waiving. Soon all the squirrels were squeaking at me, and then they all turned and ran up the tree.