Monthly Archives: February 2012

Forgiveness!

Another Lent! and I am afraid I still find it ugly and offensive. I think it is because like a diet I make up my mind to change, go for it, get sick and tired of it, and give up. Too hard! Too much work! No changes accomplished! And the hardest thing or person to forgive is ME!
This year Ash Wednesday was also the feast of an early holy man who lived at the times of the apostles. He did not know Christ but he did make a few friends of the early Christians–John in particular. He worked hard to spread the new ideas that were swelling into the great thoughts and actions of the second century. I am going to leave you with a few choice words of this holy man,St. Polycarp of Smyrna. Most people are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. One of the most exciting and disturbing lines for me:”Forgive us our tresspasses as WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US. We ask the Lord to be forgiving to us as we forgive someone else. A blessing or a curse?!
St. Polycarp wrote these words as a bishop in 107 A.D. “If we pray to the Lord to forgive us, we ourselves must be forgiving: we are all under the eyes of Our Lord and God, and everyone of us must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, where each of us will have to give an account.”
And because the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, I must learn to love myself; and forgive myself for all those things that bother me that I do not try to change. Then I must endeavor to love my neighbors for all those things they do that bother me. Jesus did not say “Take up my cross” but rather “Take up your cross.” Forgive myself so I can forgive others. Whew! Is forgiveness a Lenten struggle for me!

My Heartbeat: an Emotional Valentine

Valentine’s Day–a huge day in the life of most people…(an aside: this is another example of a Christian holyday becoming a worldly celebration like halloween, christmas St. Nicholas–)Really: take some time and look up the beginnings of these celebrations. How do you celebrate this day? No, I ask you, do you wish yourself a great valentine’s day? The Bible says that the summary of the ten commandments can be done in two parts. First, love God above all things with every part of your being. And second, love your neighbor, but it doesn’t end there. We must love our neighbors as we love ouselves. Oh,boy! Have I ever thought whether I love myself? Do I love myself? These are deep meditation points. Even those who say they don’t think much of themselves get very upset when someone agrees with that point of view that they are not so hot.
God has given each of us a unique “emotional” heartbeat-those things that intensely interest me and make my heart beat faster. Don’t ignore those interests. Study how you use them. Make a list of those things you really enjoy doing. Reading, traveling, talking to family on the phone, shopping etc. Then ask yourself, “When was the last time I did one of my favorite things?” If it has been a long time since you did anything for yourself, it could be why you are not as happy-content-fulfilled as you would like to be. Yes, you should be your first valentine.
But after you valentine yourself say,”Self, how do I use my favorite things, my emotional heart beaters? I enrich myself. Do I enrich others? Is it true that what I do for fun by myself can be more fun when I do it with someone else? Just a few thoughts to make this a very happy St. Valentine’s Day for you and another.