theROCK

Faith

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Faith. If God loves us, why do bad things happen? That isn't an easy answer. Some of the bad things that happen are the result of God loving us enough to give us free will. We are free to choose what we do and what we don't do. God created us with a conscience, reason, and gifts us with a whole lot of grace, so that we hopefully choose options that are in line with His will. Working counter to God's will results in actions with less than great consequences. That makes sense.

But what about those things that randomly happen. To this I would say, especially as it related to natural disasters, that the Earth has been doing what it has been doing for millions of years. Plates shift and move, air masses collide, stuff happens. People get in the way. The Earth is bigger than people. That makes sense. God has empowered people to develop ways to track storms and warn people so choices can be made.

Then the questions of illness, pain, suffering pop up. Indeed, these are the toughest because one can't reason it away. That is where faith steps in. When we struggle to understand why, our faith compels us to action. There's a reason in the suffering somewhere. It can be hard to find what the reason may be but faith leads us to it. This level of "bad" is to compel us toward God; to a dependence on Him. It doesn't make sense but it will if you have faith. It is said that hindsight is 20/20. When a person takes time to think back to a time of suffering, the fruit can be seen. What was to be learned? What was the reason? In fact, long suffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. How is suffering good? It brings us to dependence on God. Faith.

Through the Narrow Gate

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Since God revealed himself to Abraham in the Old Testament, all that was ever asked of believers was to have a relationship with Him. This entailed talking to God through prayer and following directions known as commandments. In return, God bestowed all forms of blessings upon them, including children. Children that were to be formed to believe in God as well. Throughout the Old Testament, believers in the one true God struggled but never fully lost faith. By the time history reached the New Testament,
God's people needed a reboot. They had all but lost faith when Jesus arrived on earth to reinvigorate our relationship with God.

In teaching us, suffering for us, dying for us, and rising from the dead for us, Jesus defines the love God has for us and models for us the love we are required to have for God. It is this love, through a relationship with God, that can get us through the narrow gate named in the Gospel.

I don't know about you but I don't want to be left outside the gate. I don't want my loved ones left outside. I don't want anyone left outside. In my mind, to be left outside means that a lifetime was wasted in getting to know Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In knowing Him, having a relationship with Him through the Mass and the sacraments and engaging with others in a manner that will assist all of us in getting to Heaven, I hope to pass through the narrow gate. No one should be left outside if we do our very best to lift each other up.

Sticking with Love

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“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood and sisterhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.

And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love.”

A portion of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered over 50 years ago.

 

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